36 votes

What are DPers views on 401ks?

I personally view them as a suckers bet at the moment.

The way I see it the stock market is in a huge propped up bubble that will come crashing down soon. Perhaps even before the dollar falls.

Another way I view look at it is that even if they do not collapse themselves, then the Government sure would try to get their hands on everyone's 401ks. It's a lose-lose-potential win in my opinion. I'd rather have metals and land.

What do experts like Peter Schiff believe? What do all of you think?


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

This is an isue that is

This is an issue that is always going to confront society and government. It is very easy to say, "let individuals handle their retirement! They will do what is best!" It is equally irresponsible

The problem is that your bad investment choices invariably affect others. That is what happened during the great depression, when poor people and old people, due to very little fault of their own (or what I would call fault), lost their savings, and were out on the streets. They had nothing saved for their retirement.

So what could society do? Let them starve on the streets? Well, that will cause housing prices to drop. A large part of the economy suddenly lost buying power; that will hurt everyone. Theft and crime will go up. And, of course, the fact that there are people dying on the streets will cause poor sentiment, furthering an economic downturn.

I guess you could give them welfare. House them in government poorhouses. Except, those aren't free. It is coming out of our tax dollars. That in turn hurts everyone, shrinks buying power, and hurts the economy.

This is what 401Ks and social security are about. Help people have a retirement so that they can rely on themselves; they can rely on their own contributions. They hurt no one else. Social Security and Medicare are the "safe" parts of it: they ensure that even if the markets crash, elderly people will have SS as a fallback and Medicare to take care of their healthcare. 401Ks exist to expand that buying power so that individuals will be encouraged not to spend their entire paycheck now, but to put it away for the future.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

In Theory Yes

In practice, however, we have near 0% interest rates and will continue to for a few more years. That's not exactly encouraging people to save.


Land is the easiest thing to tax. If you don't pay, you can't hide it in your mattress or bury it so you can get it later. You are a sitting duck. Use South Holland IL, for example:
A 3000 sq ft commercial building is for sale right now at 17050 South Park Avenue SOUTH HOLLAND, IL 60473 for $179,000. The yearly property taxes alone are $26,905.97, or about $500 per week.
A few years ago I was looking in the Chicago area for a shop and noticed all these reasonably priced vacant properties in South Holland but I thought the taxes listed in the ads must be a mistake, so I called someone at City Hall. They were very defensive initially but after they calmed a bit, they explained that residential home owners vote, but business owners usually didn't live in the town, so they hammered the non-voting business owners to keep the voting residential property owner's taxes low.

My crystal ball says real estate taxes will go sky high everywhere in the near future, when the flow of Federal money to the cities, townships and counties dries up.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty" TJ

Cyril's picture

Exactly right

"Land is the easiest thing to tax. If you don't pay, you can't hide it in your mattress or bury it so you can get it later. You are a sitting duck."

Exactly right. Go check out about the level of property taxes in France, too, for a good laugh ... er.. or should I say ... "a good cry".

What else of real value and "a little easier" to hide ?

This or that isn't too bad, I heard.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Stopped adding to mine

Stopped about 5 years ago when I realized it's going to be worthless someday.

Cyril's picture

My current view on 401k :

My current view on 401k :

not quite a bright one; now considering the options I may have to opt out of it as soon as I can with the least damages, if even possible. And it's no fun.

Too bad I didn't know about Ron Paul three years ago.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

401k's just defer your tax

401k's just defer your tax obligation to a time in your life when you have less tax write-offs. If you're young, you probably have a mortgage, kids, business expenses, etc. That all puts you in a lower tax bracket. As a retired person, hopefully your house is paid off, your kids are grown and on their own, etc. If you've done well for yourself and saved up lots of money, you can draw off quite a bit to have a great retirement full of travel, fine dining, etc. If that's the case, count on paying a lot of taxes. Also, 401k's tend to have limits on what you can invest in so you can't optimize your investment. I don't have a 401k anymore. I have self-directed brokerage accounts that I pay taxes on the short-term holding that I sell off. I have lots of write-offs right now. When I am retired, I will be able to draw off my account without being put into a higher tax bracket as I've already paid the taxes.


It's all about the CUSTODIAN

401k's, IRA's and the like are special types of trust accounts. Like other trusts, there is a trustee, which is usually not you, though it can be in self-directed accounts.

However, unlike other trusts, there is also a CUSTODIAN, which can NEVER be you under any circumstances. The custodian is the real trustee (just called "custodian").

If you work for an employer who has a 401k plan, the employer finds a company to be custodian, such as Fidelity. Then it is that custodian who SETS THE RULES.

It is perfectly legal to have more than one 401k account (one of which could be from your side self-employment job). It is pefectly legal to transfer SOME (not all) of the funds from one account to another, called a partial-rollover. BUT MOST CUSTODIANS WILL NOT ALLOW IT.

It is perfectly legal to invest funds in gold, real estate, oil wells in Nigeria, or any other investment. BUT MOST CUSTODIANS WILL NOT ALLOW IT.

It is the CUSTODIAN who is the problem for any person who wants to do something with a 401k but cannot. Wall Street is set up to make money for Wall Street, not YOU. But that is no different than any other business. Ford is set up to make money for Ford, and cars are the vehicle. Same with investment companies -- but mutual funds and financial services are the vehicle. (The only problem comes in when government steps in to force rules or bail out losers.)

So ...

If anybody has a problem doing with their 401k what they want to do, it is the fault of the CUSTODIAN and the rules they have set.

You can either:

(a) Get the custodian to change their rules, or
(b) Get your employer to change to a new custodian with new rules, or
(c) Live with it.

There is no reason not to have NON-401k accounts, too -- and the prospect of future confiscation is one good reason to do it.

if you have a solo 401k

if you have a solo 401k through your own small business, you are your own trustee. You have checkbook control and only answer to yourself.


“Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it’s realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy.”
― Ron Paul

AFTER-TAX 401K "Brokerage Link" Strategy

I work for a large company, and participate in their 401K plan, which is managed by Fidelity. I contribute 6% of my salary, and the company matches 100%. So if I made $100,000/year, I would contribute $6000 annually, and the company would match $6000 annually. According to company policy, contributions are immediately “vested”, but cannot be “withdrawn” until passing through 2 full calendar years. Our plan permits us to utilize Fidelity’s “Brokerage Link”, allowing for investment in thousands of specific stocks and funds (not just the dozen garden varieties offered in the “Standard” arrangement). This includes stocks/funds related to precious metals, such as the Tocqueville Gold fund (TGLDX), which is basically a basket of gold mining companies as well as physical gold.

My contributions are made AFTER-TAX. After funds pass through 2 full calendar years, I can make a withdraw my contributions, company match, and any earnings on those funds. Because I am not retirement age, the IRS immediately slaps a 10% penalty on all 3 components, then I must pay tax on the company match and earnings (those portions were PRE-TAX). If my investments broke even (I didn’t make or loose anything), I would STILL end up with a 61% return on my original investment after 2 full calendar years— this is possible because of the huge 100% company match. It is possible to keep only 2-3 years worth of funds in the plan (in the “system”), and every year (on Jan 1) withdraw all funds that have become available for withdrawal. Having a revolving 2-3 year window is significantly less risky than would be the case where someone had 10, 20 or 30 years worth of PRE-TAX 401K funds tied up. Additionally, if I should get laid off, ALL funds can be withdrawn, so it’s a hedge against losing my job.

I TOTALLY agree with the position that the “system being broken”. It is absolutely corrupt, from corporations to judges, and in all likelihood, Fidelity is using my (supposedly) “segregated” 401K to make investments, and (like MF Global, Knight Capitol, and others) may squander it away, and I may loose my entire 2-3 window of investments. But being a 1.5 trillion (TRILLION) dollar company, Fidelity is probably near the top of the “to big to fail bailout” list. If it were possible to employ “Direct Registration” of my investments, then that would completely eliminate the risk being discussed in this paragraph, but (I am told) that this is not possible through Fidelity. For a detailed discussion on “Direct Registration” and how it legally protects you against MF Global, Knight Capitol, and other such fiascos associated with the systemic corruption, check out jsmineset.com (regularly!)

So I am aware of the risks, not only via govt intervention and theft, but also through corporate (Fidelity) mismanagement and corruption. At this point, it would seem that the benefits outweigh the risks, so I continue my participation in the 401K plan, making periodic withdrawals out of the system, with my eyes open as the financial world heads towards the cliff.

for those who don't think

for those who don't think that the government will not confiscate your 401k in times of an economic emergencie.. this is NO rumor.

Keep beating the pots Sierra...

some WILL listen...

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?

Hopefully thats the right

Hopefully thats the right one.. lol.. I know for a fact that Reagan wrote the EO.

In reality...while things like this place lines on the gridiron.

It is recent financial/legal events in our country, coupled with historical events in others, underscored by the absolute certainty of the end to the dollar hegemony of Bretton Woods personified in recent BRIC agreements that assures me that what Barnhardt is sounding the Klaxon about...will happen.

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?

Being self employed

Requires that I pay double the SS rate. so I pay 15% to SS and medicare..in effect for someone else. My rational 30 years ago was if I am paying 15% of my wages for someone else's retirement, the least I can do is save 15% for me. So for me, I did the right thing as I am less than 5 years from retirement and have a nice stash in my retirement accounts. However one of my biggest concerns is that the government will soon start means testing many programs including SS and medicare, meaning I have a great chance of paying my entire working life for SS and medicare and not receive any benefits.

And I think that anyone that has not considered a ROTH is missing the boat.

The great con.

A sucker is always seperated from his money. Doesn't matter what the promise is, they get money out of your pocket, and into their "system". They entice you with "deferred gains", "tax deductions" and other tricks of the trade, but the bottom line is "they" have your money and you may or may not recieve your fancy promises, and even if you do, they'll get their share. I know how the "financial authorities" strongly advise to put as much into "their" system as possible, and if we had a Congress and a Dollar with integrity, I'd agree, but we don't.

alan laney


Using words like "over-time" and "long-term" they trot out statistics that make no mention of purchasing power...and the artifice they use to get your attention, beyond slices of pie floating on air, is "tax-avoidance" or mitigation.

Don't fall for it. Playing in the markets...in any way...is a highly dangerous endeavor and those giving advice for a living are the last people who know how to make money there...the absolute last.

...Dumbest bastards I ever met when enjoined into a conversation about trading securities....sheesh.

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?

gold, silver, copper, nickel

If you cannot afford gold coins, get your hands on individual silver coins, pre-1964 dimes, pre-1982 pennies, current nickels (before they change the metal content), scrap gold or silver jewelry, or anything else that will have value as tradable goods once the dollar is worth ZERO. That could be tobacco, coffee, toilet paper, alcohol, chocolate, or anything else that people would buy on the black market when things go to h3ll. I don't know how old you are, but I am betting the dollar won't last long enough for me to "retire."

Very pleased.

I'm very impressed with the large amount of responses this gathered. Great information to be had in this thread. Also, a nice change of pace from the Paul vs Johnson bickering

need you input please . .

like the unfortunate person below, I just found out that I cannot withdraw my money either. I can take a loan and THEN a withdrawal. I'll need to find out how I can do this, but, let me ask this.

If I lost my job, then I could roll over ALL my money?
So, IF I thought I'd lose my job in the next year, it might be better to quit and save the money NOW before its all drained away.

Of course I probably wont do that, but I like thinking through this and I feel this type of discussion is profitable for gaining knowlwedge and wisdom.

Jackson County Georgia

War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.
Thomas Jefferson

Just a thought...

I funded my own retirement account with gold and silver coins in 2004, 2005, and 2006 which coins I placed under my mattress. These retirement plans are a joke.

I like your position better than ANY 401k out there

ANY...given the piranha pool that 401k's have to exist within. Long ago there was a thread in which people like Barracuda Trader warned that, handing your money to others, to manage in that pool was inherently dangerous if not completely stupid...without a basic/advanced personal knowledge on how to read and understand charts.

That sentiment is just as important today if not far more so.

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?

401ks have risks like everything else

Discipline, dollar cost averaging, current year tax benefits and employer match make 401ks attractive for most workers and I recommend taking advantage of them for some of your investment monies if you can. Many even offer Roth accounts as well. Since all investments -- including gold! -- have unique risks, you don't put all your eggs in one basket.

I am amazed how many bright investors are injured by their certainty and how many ignorant ones prosper simply by following the time-tested rules of balance, diversification, diligence in saving and not trying to time markets.

I posted this below as a reply and decided to repost it here.

I am a trader. And I can tell you, not only are the markets not "random" they are readable to a very precise degree...if you know what to look for. But very few people know what to look for.

Nothing moves the markets but "Big Money" in collusion...which is how Congress Critters become so freakin' wealthy after receiving a carved coconut in the mail...and which is why you see what the "financial people" will call "the business cycle". Understanding this surface information, you might see that collusion of "Big Money" can inflate or deflate any sector of the market...at any time they please...thus the "cycling".

All of the money "lost" in 1987, 2000, 2007...and soon...was not, and will not be lost. Big Money created a bubble and dumped their positions in equity sectors at the top of the rise...further shorting once they had emptied their hands and in initiating the fall.

But the Funds their minions and other lessers operate on your behalf...those were the entities buying for you in the wonderful bull market...and even more at the exuberant top. Those who are so large and cumbersome that any movement or decision once the trouble starts, is slow and ineffective...and draining. Well, they are the ones that will be losing your money.

In the beginning,when Big Money is ready, they short heavily into the markets, having set themselves into position before the fall, and as they reap downside gains, they cause alert bull-traders to start taking profit by unloading their positions, and the fall begins to gain momentum.

The pedal is pushed down further by Big Money short selling more, joined by alert traders, and connected Funds. Then, like clock work, "fire" is yelled in the theaters of CNBC and their ilk, wherein the lesser funds begin unloading in increasing speed to get to cash first. Then the progression works its way down the food chain swallowing your money.

In the interim and multiple times, downside profit taking is initiated whereas Big Money begins to buy...just enough to slow then halt the drop...and to quell fears a little...wherein they get the attention of the market reading traders and lesser Funds (as well as the connected Funds who help stop the fall) buying a bit and the market seems to want to move up.

Buying what you ask? Why the stocks Big Money and the connected Funds (the ones you can't buy into) just bought at the bottom..until their hands, and then the connected Funds hands are empty again...wherein they load up their short position again, stop stepping on the gas pedal, roll down the window and scream "fire" again.

This process continues numerous times until "the market" has dropped to a predetermined level...and then Big Money and their minions step in and buy all of these equities at a FIRE SALE since there are NO buyers to be found. Look at March 9, 2009 and the associated volume for some understanding of this.

My friends, money in the market does not disappear, it changes hands...then it disappears out of one sector and into another predetermined sector...which is at its bottom...or it's taken elsewhere in the form of cash or commodities.

When this process starts happening by massive daily lurches...what do you think happens to the people who actually watch their money? Call them the "educated" 401K owner...I'll tell you...they try and get to cash...dumping everything just to get off the field...or out of a house they see burning. The Funds do the same, only slowly as not to cause too great a burden on price, which still doesn't work...only they get paid either way.

If Big Money so desires, they can make this thing so painful and scary that far more people start "watching" their money and calling their broker or financial planner and demanding a flight to cash. Given what I've said, what do you think this does?

Now we have a government out of money, losing its reserve currency status, and unable to do anything to finance itself but print more money that the rest of the world eventually won't take in payment for goods and services. if this doesn't settle down for a long period, and if the haircut is great enough...what do you think the public outcry will be? Especially in the face of rising prices resulting from Stock Market winners buying up all of the "stuff" that will take dollars, all of the Petro dollars from around the world...that now can only be spent in America will compete for your goods and services driving prices through the roof, and in the face of job lay-offs? And what happens to uneducated fixed-income retirees? They begin to clamor...and loudly.


So how does the government save you? They make a "deal" with you that you can't refuse, they take your retirement money and turn it into a government backed "tax-free" security, paid as an annuity or some other inane artifice...to help the country and "Get America Back To Work".

And you, Joe Hamburger will feel safe and sound...as they then spend YOUR retirement money...until they can't anymore because it's gone. And those in Washington who caused/allowed all of this will resign in disgust over their colleague's stupidity...retiring to a life of comfort ensured by Big Money in some far off, out of your clutches land. And a new band of thieves, proffered by the criminals, will come forth and promise to save you...and return America to its greateristerer status in all da world.

All politicians start "programs" based on their benefactors desires and the golden parachute that awaits them. And you can't touch them afterward as you typicality asked for it.

As to the minions...the tools and weapons of their murderous financial operations who no one would blame things on. Well lots of things...ever hear of "The Circuit"? Its a place where a person can give speeches for 60,000 to 150,000 or more per engagement,...to corporations...or colleges with large endowments (or government stipends) on subjects like "leadership"...."military might"...liberalism...conservatism...assholiness...you name it they talk about it and get paid big bucks... in reward for their "playing days".

There are quite a few generals walking around right now who have never held an MIC job since retiring that are far more wealthy than you'd believe. Not hard doing 4 speeches a week at $150,000 a pop...for as long as they want to keep talking about their days in the desert. The same goes for political appointees and other big wigs you think want to "keep their jobs". They are the disgusted ones who "quit their jobs in the face of corruption" and parade around and point fingers at untouchables.

I understand the mindset of retirees perfectly...as they are the last fish left in the holey barrel after the gun smoke clears...and who have no power what-so-ever to affect this criminal paradigm. They have been led to understand that removing their cash from the paying field will "cost them"...trained like Pavlovs dogs to avoid taxes...and as oblivious as kindergardeners to the piranhas swimming in their kiddy pool and about to eat their legs off.

I'm sorry my friends you need to wake up now and look around at your financial positioning before its too late. Or you can return to this post in a year and wish you were't so knowledgable. Personally, I don't think you have anywhere near a year...but that's just me, and what do I know? I'm just another schmuck posting on a Conspiracy Theorist laden blog.

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?


thanks for this!!

your writing is easy to read and informative.

Jackson County Georgia

War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.
Thomas Jefferson

No problem...

...take heed as things are looking dicey on my monthly chart as we approach the 2007 high. We may pump again after some retracement, probably under that high (not sure yet), but it is the coming retracement that will tell us where and when a raid might start...especially if it doesn't find a new high presently (before the end of the year). My guess...take it or leave it...as I am not a "financial planner" or broker...just another schmuck posting on a blog.

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?

I just found out that . .

the money my wife and I have in our 401k cant be used either.
We can each take a 50k loan. No withdrawals unless we can prove hardship.
I am considering two things:

stopping the 401k and taking that money ans just putting it in savings and silver so i can use it.
also, moving some money over to a vanguard brokerage account to invest in china stocks like Yanzhou coal mining, some copper mining, etc. they are really down right now and will proabably come up in the future. If a Us collapse happens i might retain that value?
Your thoughts?

Jackson County Georgia

War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.
Thomas Jefferson

Not licensed...all that follows is crap

I took the Series 65, 7 years ago, and never pursued it after passing the test. I was struggling, at the time, with trading my own money and lost all desire to trade other's. At that time, and I could easily be wrong about this as I don't remember, I'm not sure there were such phucked up restrictions on liquidating 401k's.

I thought there was simply a conversion penalty of 10% (plus the imputed tax's) and possibly forgoing contributed employer funds that were not "vested". This penalty, but not the tax's, could be circumvented for job loss, various other hardships, or legal decree/judgment reasons. But then again, the only reason for conversion, in my mind then, would have been catastrophic perturbations like the loss of a job in the face of continuing bills. I never considered governmental interference...just that they'd have their hands out were you to try and get at it. Now, all of that certification related "education" is distant in my rearview mirror. As for myself, I do not have a "retirement account".

You see, I do not trade stocks. I only day-trade trade the e-mini S&P Futures as the imputed taxes on gains in these contracts are a little less than 25% and I never go to sleep with my money in the market. In fact...I never take a dump with my money in the market! After I pull the trigger, I immediately set up for the exit and ensure that I am one click away from safety...even if I can see safety for hours and a good run in front of me. I never take a loss greater than 1.25 points. ($500,00 per contract, $50.00 per point) I hit a point and I click. Thankfully, I don't have to make this click very often anymore.

I also have a clear line with the brokerage's trade desk on speed dial installed in my trade room and no one around here is aloud to use it...ever...just in case my internet goes out wherein an immediate exit is called for...no matter what.

I've learned my lesson one too many times on leaving money in the piranha pool when I'm not in the lifeguard chair with my Maui Jims on and binoculars scanning the water. So now you know how I feel about "Markets" and any "investment" that relies upon them...any of them.

With this said, for "retirement" I like physical commodities (metals), cars, equipment, and real estate, neither of which are available to you with what you now have. I tend to think in terms of things that can never go to zero...as I have seen zero before and don't like it very much.

Were I you, in this environment, I'd get to some kind of Stable Value Fund right now. These would be things that never have any drawdowns as they are unattached to the markets. I don't know what is available to you through your plan. The Barracuda mentioned a whole life program in another post so, research that too. He's a smart guy.

It just seems that stocks, foreign or domestic, right now are in a very precarious position...even though they still may have some short-term upside potential.

The tentative nature of the dollar, right now throws all kinds of dogpoop on the playing field and trying to run down field and score a touchdown while avoiding getting it stuck in your cleats (or your cleats stuck in it) is going to be somewhat difficult for the foreseeable future...as the death of the dollar will affect the world and its corporations...all of them.

What you have to understand, is what I wrote in that long post above, and that is what no one will tell you about as most have no idea how the markets really work. All of the "smart" people in the financial planning industry will "simply" (a double entendre here) point to your needs when you get to be an old fart. The "really smart" ones might point to the coming inflation coupled with the need to keep up with it. To do this they might point to future inflationary increases in the revenues of the corporations, and thus the prices of stock..and that's the "really smart" ones.

Of course, you can now see from my post, this is only the "Ying"...it's the "Yang" that I defined that has claws that will tear your guts out...and certainly it is a beast ripe for a rampage as it is the populous's emotion that the pirates use for cover in these raids...and the plundering is perfectly "legal"...and dude...I think there will be a good bit of emotion.

I don't know your age, and it really doesn't matter. Were I you, I'd look at the world with trepidation right now and forgo all of that "popular thought" about age brackets and levels of risk. Take the lesson I tried to relay and make your decisions accordingly as the risk we're talking about now is carrying neuro-toxins that no one knows the affect of...

"Paper" metals are horribly manipulated making physical (I believe) highly under valued right now...but I have no idea how long this paradigm will last. I am surprised that it happened in the first place. Having said that, I would still buy at todays prices and do.

Good story: My father has a wholly owned commercial property worth probably about 2.2 Mil in todays dollars given a long term deep pockets tenant. In 2007, when it was appraised at 2.7 Mil., I was trying to warn every person that I could...that the sky was about to fall (no one listened) and I went to see my father to try and explain what I knew and to try and get him to mortgage the property for 100% of appraised value and use the money to buy gold. He looked at me like I was cross-eyed.

Gold was then $647.00 per ounce...so $2,700,000 / $650.00 = 4,153 Ounces

Gold hit a high of $1,920.00+ per ounce

So what'd he miss? 4,153 * $1920.00 = $7,973,760 - $2,700,000.00 = $5,273,760.00+

He's still shakes his head when I jab him with that one (which, by the way, I love to do).

Think Capital preservation...

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?

day trading

where's could a pseron find a decent book/video/study material on this topic and activity?

Jackson County Georgia

War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.
Thomas Jefferson

A free ebook...it is a marketing tool

of a software company...Tradeguider...which explains Toms years of syndicate trading knowledge and methodologies and in the second half, shows some of the volume spread analysis that the program itself uses and how it is portrayed by the software company.

I do not use the program...but the book, Master The Markets by Tom Williams is probably the best layman's education you'll ever see and it is delivered in understandable concise fashion...again...for free.

Another great book is Charting the Stock Market, The Wycoff Method. (Wycoff was one of the greatest traders in the world, early in the last century but his methods are still pertinent today.)

These two resources will educate you well beyond what most financial planners or brokers will ever know or understand...and should the world ever return to normalcy, enable you to manage your own investments with a good degree of accuracy.

Day-trading is akin to 5 year degree and it has been known to cost as much as one...with even less of a guarantee of financial viability in the end. But most who make it for 5...will be able to continue. I have spent years trading every day...on paper...years. So it didn't cost me much in losses before I finally became competent...but it had its operational costs that I covered with my other business (computer, platform, data feed)...again, it was years before I became profitable.

Most people would not have made the commitment I did, nor managed themselves in the process like I did. When I began this, I was told by a very successful trader that this was going to be the hardest thing that I ever did, and boy was he telling the truth. But he also showed me a methodology and said that if I stuck with it, it would take 5 years...but that I'd arrive...again...he was right. But once I understood that charts, are charts, are charts...and that trading, is trading, is trading, wherein it is your expertise in reading the price/volume action that is important, I shifted from his options trading methodology to day-trading at the behest of another mentor. I've been more comfortable doing this as I don't trust the market to look after me while I sleep.

Day-trading is an endeavor where all of life's ghosts, the ones that we control, ignore or even utilize in the real world, come to life to haunt your every decision...until you learn to control the inner mind. When there is no "team" to rely upon, and only the voices in your head to keep you company...you must understand who is talking in there...as we are all an amalgamation of voices, thoughts and beliefs that are handed to us by our parents and processed by life.

This can make for disaster when left alone in your basement...and that is after being able to successfully walk uphill on paper which, in itself, can take awhile.

Most people don't understand that when CNBC says, "The S&P closed up 7 points today"...well it could have moved: up 12, down 7, up 3, down 14, up 2, down 2, up 9, down 2, up 6... This provides for a lot of opportunity to make a ton of money...or instead...lose a ton.

As a trading psychologist once told me, he wouldn't be in business if it weren't for 50 year old men...still trying to prove themselves to their long dead father...so trading is never to be taken lightly...neither is employing money in the stock market and letting someone else do the work...and especially expecting them to care.

Charting Books:



The tough Stuff: Google Rande Howell

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?