The investment principles I’ve learned, and applied, to achieve superior results for my real estate clients.
Have you ever been at the wrong place at the wrong time? Be sure to avoid the next bird bomb dropping from the sky. Sh“IT” happened to me a few of weeks ago.
On the flip side…
Have you ever been at the right place at the right time? These are the best of times. I recently found a $20 bill on the street. After looking and asking around to see if anyone was in the area who could’ve dropped it, and no one was, I put it in my pocket.
After each week, month, and year that goes by… I would like to think most things that happen tend to even themselves out.
The law of averages as many of us call it. Whatever we call it, the averages can’t be true all the time.
At 23-years-old I was at the right place at the wrong time.
That’s right. The RIGHT place at the WRONG time.
I was trading 30-year Treasury Bonds at the Chicago Board of Trade. A boy amongst men, I was. It was a real life kill or be killed environment in an octagon shaped pit of controlled chaos.
I remember, I couldn’t wait to go to work every day because of the adrenaline rush I felt, walking in then up the stairs to the pit. The rush was at a level I cannot describe to you. I guess it was the element of calculated risk I took every day. I never knew if I was going to be up money or down money at the end of each trading session. This risk had my attention. Not to mention the 700 screaming and yelling men getting your attention gesturing their buy and sell orders.
It was intoxicating environment. Not to mention, I was pretty good at it.
For those few prosperous years I was on the floor, I made money almost every week. I think I had only two losing weeks I can think of. I had razor sharp discipline. My focus was off the charts. I never let the losses get too big. And I let the winners ride…
These were some of the best, most informative, years of my life.
However, at the time, the C.B.o.T was going under massive changes. The advent of electronic trading was starting to push open outcry trading off the floors.
Membership values, or as we traders called them “Seats”, were plummeting in value. An Associate Membership had dropped from $500,000 to $75,000 in the matter of 12 months.
YIKES!!!!! That’s huge!!!!! Traders were scared. They thought the institution was coming to an end. Because the 150-year-old open outcry system of trading seemed to be doomed.
Another trader, in my section of the pit, asked me if I would buy one of his seats at the time. I said, “Yes.. But I can’t. I would if I could because the exchange, open outcry or not, is not going anywhere.”
I was right.
I said yes because I believed the exchange would be transacting in futures contracts in some form or another for many years to come. The C.B.o.T had and still does have a monopoly when it comes to trading treasury bond futures throughout the world. I didn’t see that changing at the time nor do I now.
The reason I couldn’t purchase the seat is because I had only been trading for a short period of time. I scraped every penny I had to open an account to trade for myself. I didn’t have the necessary capital to make the purchase. Or else I would’ve. I felt so strongly about my position I tried to get a loan.
To no avail.
Who borrows money to someone who doesn’t have any money to back it up? Especially a trader. And who borrows money to someone for an asset that has plummeted 82% in 12 months?
Not many if any at all!
Three short years later, as electronic trading started to take hold, the exchange seats were converted into stock. The C.B.o.T went public on the stock exchange and shortly thereafter the converted stock shares skyrocketed to a value of $2.5 million when it hit the open market.
A $75k investment, could’ve, turned into $2.5 million in just a couple of years.
If you didn’t already know, returns like this don’t just happen. This scenario was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And I was not able to take advantage of it.
I have this want to ask myself and you, my readers, are we prepared to make the big decisions when the time comes? In reality, we all can be ready if we are positioning ourselves to be ready. This is what successful people do.
While watching the stock run up in value my lesser self was devastated!
Overnight, I could’ve been a millionaire.
The consequence, of not being prepared, caused me to live in a perpetual state of coulda… shoulda… woulda… for years.
Obsessing on what I didn’t have instead of what I did.
When I left the floor, as many of you know who follow my journey, I lost everything trading from the computer.
I lost my life.
I lost all my money.
I lost my purpose.
And most importantly I lost ME.
I became a self-loathing drunk loser who internalized my struggles. No one knew how I felt inside because I was too afraid to tell anyone. Those around me saw the happy go lucky guy on the outside. Not knowing how I felt on the inside.
My battle turned into an all-out war with THE ultimate demon. The demon that holds a lot of us back from living our dreams…
I began blaming everyone for my problems, but me. I had an excuse for why I wasn’t successful like I was in the past. I had an excuse for EVERYTHING!
It’s because I was too afraid to fail again.
It took me six LONG years before I could let go of what I had thought I lost. When in reality I had lost nothing.
When I finally had the courage to let go I realized it wasn’t money that I lost, it was ME who I had lost.
I defined success by how much money I had, or didn’t have.
Not by what made me happy.
In the book ‘What You Do When It’s Your Turn’ by Seth Godin, he says, “Careful about how you define success! It should be your definition of a thing worth doing, not someone else’s. Invent it, don’t accept it.
This is how I live today. I’ve invented my own idea of success in my head. Not what you or others think.
What’s great is… your idea of success may not be mine. And vice versa.
Today, even though in reality it’s not, that $2.5 million is sitting in a suitcase right beside me.
Ready to open.
This holds true for my real estate clients too.
I may not be able to find $2.5 million worth of truth. However, there is thousands of dollars’ worth of hidden profit in the sale of most people’s homes. They just have to be willing to commit to our documented approach.
The ones who decide not to commit are those like me many years ago. They live in the coulda… shoulda… woulda… world.
Not where you want to be.
My ‘Value Driven Approach To Sell Real Estate’ has not only been extracting more profit for my home sellers/clients in Chicagoland, it has been for people all over the country who execute this documented approach with my colleagues/investors. If you’re considering selling your home, I hope this message resonates with you. And when the time comes… I hope you are willing to commit to increasing the value of your home by thinking like an investor. Not like your average home owner who leaves thousands of $$$$ on the table by committing any of the fundamental mistakes laid out in the book.
I confess, these days, I don’t obsess on what I don’t have. I obsess on the hard part, the process. Not the end result. Because it’s the process, the commitment to improving 1% a day, that gets us the result we desire and way beyond.
When I look at the suitcase sitting beside me today it’s filled with an endless amount of opportunity.
Opportunity that is ripe for the taking. Something money will not and cannot buy.
C. Steven Weirich