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Penny Stock Basics

I Apologize for Being a Jerk Sometimes

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 2/24/2021 7 min read

I need to tell you the truth about something … I’m human and I make mistakes.

I know, I know. Some people doubt that I’m even real. But I assure you I am, and I’m thoroughly human.

And the thing about humans? They’re not perfect.

I live a great life … and I do a LOT. At any given time I’m traveling … going through different time zones … working on charities … teaching and trading … trying to provide good educational content.

But — true story — I’m not always at my best … sometimes far from it!

apologies for sometimes being a jerk
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You know how you feel when you’re at the airport at 5 a.m. and everyone and everything seems like a chore? That’s my life a lot of the time.

I’m doing a lot. I’m not always at my best. And sometimes I can forget to … well, be nice… and considerate to others.

Think about watching the NFL on TV, seeing your favorite team flail, and being like, “What’s going on here?”

… then finding out later that the star player was injured and not at peak performance.

Yeah, that’s me … the majority of the time. I’m trying my hardest all the time, but I’m not always at my peak.

I’m not trying to make excuses for my behavior sometimes. I’m fessing up to it … but I also want you to understand it better, and understand me better, so I can be of better use to you!

It’s important for me to recognize that as your teacher. It’s important for me to recognize that as a trader. Maybe you’ve experienced it at some point in life, too?

We’re only human. As much as we want success, as much as we want to get ahead, as much as we want to be our best selves all the time … we’re not. Not all the time.

So, it’s important to take a step back from time to time and look to be better. That’s what I’m doing here.

This is my fess-up post to myself.

This is my fess-up post to my students.

Yes, I admit it: I can be a jerk … a big jerk! Sometimes, I come down too hard on my students in my webinars and they get discouraged … and I do it to people in my own life, too.

That’s on me. That’s my bad. I’m not proud of it at all. But most importantly … that’s NOT what I want my students to use as an excuse not to study hard.

You see, I’m a perfectionist. I’m not just that way with myself, but with others, too. I can see SO CLEARLY a vision of how people can enhance their lives through trading … and it can be frustrating to see students not following the instructions or not getting it.

But it’s a fact: Not everyone is on the same timeline, and not everyone learns in the same way.

I’ve admitted it to myself, and now to you: I can do a better job being more comforting and stepping away from the drill-sergeant role every now and again.

Don’t get me wrong. Drill-sergeant mode definitely serves me well from time to time. It can help motivate and galvanize action. It can help you get on track. In fact, it works VERY well when teaching the stock market.

But it’s a hard balance … every now and again it does take away from my teachings and my message when I come down too hard and say things in the wrong way.

Listen … I’m human. As a perfectionist, I wish my delivery was spot on all the time … But if I’m honest, it’s not — and a big reason is that I care about what happens to my students. I want the best for them.

Yes, it’s true … if it’s any solace, it’s because I care… probably too much. My teaching is very passionate so I tend to take things pretty personally. Remember, pretty much the whole world thinks penny stocks are a scam and I’m a scam too. So I’m usually on guard 24/7 to prove how real I am … and it gets tiring after a while.

Maybe it would be easier if I could separate myself more … just read scripts, have fake testimonials, just post month-end and year-end snapshots of my trading that don’t show how much money was used or risked in any trades. I could be fake like so many other people in my industry.

I can picture it in my mind …Tim Sykes 2.0! Glossier than ever, saying, “Trading is beautiful! Trading is easy! Just look at this nice, easy pattern that works 95%–100% of the time!”

But I’d be lying…

tim sykes standing in a crowd
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Trading is a battlefield. It’s not pretty. And I guess I’d rather be a jerk some of the time and save you from losses than be a hand-holder who leads you to financial despair.

If given the choice, I’d rather have you hate me but still take small losses. If my being hard on you kept you from experiencing a huge loss … then I’m willing to take the hit.

But that’s not to say it would feel good. Because I do care about you, my students. I want to see you succeed.

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Other traders in other chat rooms CAN be fake. But to me, that’s insidious, because they’re also totally insincere. They have deals with brokers, so they encourage traders to trade more because they have an interest vested in it. They’re making commissions … they do NOT have your best interest at heart.

Actually … brokers don’t like me! That’s because I urge students to NOT trade so much … I want them to act like retired traders who need to be coaxed out of retirement. Nope, not good for the bottom line of those brokers.

It’s the good and the bad of being real … sometimes I go too far.

Now, just in case you’re wondering – there isn’t a single event that made me post this … just a general sense.

Just as I’m constantly trying to improve my trading … just as I’m constantly trying to expand my worldview … I’m constantly trying to improve myself. And that means recognizing what gets a hold of me!

I really mean this … and I want you to know how much I care.

I recognize that I can do better, and I really appreciate that you’re willing to stick with me through thick and thin.

As a trader, you’re going through very real emotions … and I guess I want you to know I’m real, too. I know I can be harsh, but please know: it’s with your best interest at heart!

How could I do better? Yeah, I’m ready to hear what you have to say!


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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

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* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (205) 851-0506 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”