Motivation by Frustration

Working at my first job after college in 2007, I recall getting the idea to start a fund. It was mostly a “that would be cool” kind of idea. Very wishy washy and dreamy. My motivations turned serious though when the Financial Crisis unfolded. I lost money and my job at JP Morgan. I felt very unprepared for the future.

The pain and frustration of losing money while missing out on great opportunities was too much for me to sit still. Thus, I began working towards launching Melissinos Trading.

For many people, the Financial Crisis was a period of tremendous pain and loss. It didn’t have to be though. There was plenty of opportunities to 1) get out of declining assets early on and 2) profit from strong trends (in many asset classes). I learned this in 2008. I saw the light. Had the a-ha moments. I saw what I needed to do.

The dramatic fate that befell many during the Crisis wasn’t going to happen to me again. I couldn’t let it. I didn’t want it happening to my friends or family either. I needed a new way to approach the markets. They needed it too.

Side note: I don’t think love is a pre-requisite for anything you start doing. Love can come later. Frustration and embarrassment are often the biggest motivators for me. In high school, I was motivated by beating out the other kids on my baseball team. I couldn’t walk the halls or hang out at parties being #2 or #3. That was too embarrassing for me to live with. Those feelings fueled me to do better. I fell in love with the art and grind of the game later on.

Currently, we’re in the midst of another equity bear market. Many investors are feeling the pain because their trusty bonds have not cushioned the blow. This 100-year flood wasn’t supposed to happen. It did. The Financial Crisis wasn’t supposed to happen either. It did. Things like this always happen. I’m thankful I learned this in 2008 at 23 years old.

Maybe this painful period will motivate some people to take another look at their investing approach, to identify the blind spots and find a solution. Or perhaps they’ll continue praying to the central bank gods to come to their aid once again. If they don’t, well, we might get a 200-year flood event.

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