As you may know by now, Mike Carr has joined our Money & Markets team as chief market technician.
I’m so excited about this partnership between Adam O’Dell, Mike and our whole team! We’re going to work hard and give you the best investment advice out there.
I’ve known and worked with Mike for many years now, and I can tell you one thing… The guy knows his stuff. His experience developing computer systems for the Air Force before retiring as lieutenant colonel gives him a unique perspective on investing and the economy.
Recently, I tapped into my old journalism roots and sat down for an interview with Mike. I wanted you to get to know him better, using his own words.
Without further ado, here’s our brief conversation in full:
Matt: We’ve heard about your exemplary service in the military, but I want to know more about your journey in the markets. How did you start and what did you do?
Mike: I had long planned to trade for my account when I left the military. As my retirement neared, I realized that might not be the best idea. My trading style doesn’t allow me to qualify for trader tax status. I’d be taxed on my gains but wouldn’t be able to deduct my expenses.
The solution to my problem was to become a writer. If I used my market data and home office to write, I could deduct expenses. So I started writing.
During that time, I wrote my first book — Smarter Investing in Any Economy. It was the first book written about relative strength in 40 years. I spoke to a few groups about the book. One was a group of market professionals in Denver. After the presentation, an attendee asked me to meet with him. He offered me a job managing money.
That was my first job in the industry — managing an $80 million portfolio. To grow the firm, I had to learn a lot about operations and realized I disliked that part of the job. That led me back to writing, which is where I still am today.
Matt: Now, I’m going to go “yearbook” on this question. Throughout your career in the military and in the markets, I’m sure you’ve been given a ton of advice. What was the piece of advice that has stuck with you, and where did it come from?
Mike: I heard the same advice from many senior officers in the military — protect your reputation. There were many stories of individuals who spent decades working hard and earning the respect of their peers. Then they made a bad decision. It was never a simple mistake. It was always a bad decision that changed how everyone perceived them. It would be something that they couldn’t undo, and they could never get their reputation back.
Matt: I have the privilege of being in your Precision Profits trade room Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. Tell our Money & Markets readers about what the trade room is and why you started it.
Mike: I know the Trade Room is a work in progress. My goal was to teach individuals how to trade. I sometimes say that if I got hit by a bus, they would still be able to trade without me and might not even notice I was missing for a few days. Now being hit by a bus isn’t all that uncommon! Experts, and by experts I mean lawyers who chase the ambulance from the accident site, estimate there are 15,000 injuries and more than 250 deaths every year from bus accidents.
In the Trade Room, we really try to cover why we are taking positions and how we plan to exit the trade. It’s focused on the practical. At the last Federal Reserve meeting, we didn’t wonder what the Fed would do. We planned for how to trade the announcement that afternoon.
I like doing this because the questions from other participants help me see what they find interesting about the market action. It lets me develop new insights, which I work on turning into practical trading strategies.
Matt: One last question before I let you go… If there was one piece of trading advice you would give our readers, what would it be?
Mike: I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many old floor traders. These were men who traded on the old American Stock Exchange or the New York Stock Exchange. Their job was to take the other side of all trades. If you wanted to buy, these were the guys who sold to you.
They needed to trade thousands of shares in seconds and know how each trade affected their account balance. These were smart guys. Now, their job is done by computers.
Every one of them could explain complex concepts in simple terms. They also had a lot of life lessons and trading advice. One bit of wisdom that covered both life and markets is a question I heard dozens of times: Do you wanna be right, or do you wanna make money?
The simple view is that you want both. But life doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes you have to pick. If being right is more important to you, you can’t be a trader. Successful traders know they can’t hold losing positions even when they know the market is wrong. They need to make money and that can mean selling losing trades no matter what your analysis says.
I noted that this is a life lesson as well. Think about some of the discussions you have with your kids. They’re 100% in the wrong — you know they are. But do you want them to acknowledge you’re right as they look for opportunities to keep doing what they’re doing? Or do you want them to learn the better alternative? Focusing on helping them understand the error of their ways is, in effect, making money.
So that’s the advice I think of so often. Whenever I know someone is wrong, I ask myself if I wanna be right or if I wanna make money. I always choose the latter path and it eliminates a lot of aggravation.
I hope this gives you a little more insight into Mike and what he’s bringing to the table here at Money & Markets.
Adding Mike to the family is only going to make our investment analysis and advice stronger now … and in the future.
Welcome to Money & Markets, Mike!
Stay Tuned: The Man Himself
Mike is going to kick off the week by going over why he joined Money & Markets in the first place. One reason has to do with a system that you may be very familiar with. Stay tuned!
Before you go: Do you have any of your own questions for Mike? Feel free to reach out to StockPower@MoneyandMarkets.com and we’ll feature them in a future edition of Stock Power Daily.
Matt Clark, CMSA®
Chief Research Analyst, Money & Markets