Everyday Traders Who Made a Fortune

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I’m going to tell you an inspiring story this week. It’s about a group of everyday people who made $175 million in the markets. And the best bit is, it’s a true story.

Now, most of the people you’ll hear about began with no experience. They came from all walks of life… regular people with regular jobs. But with the right mentor, they made fortunes.

So the year was 1994, and I was now a fully-fledged trader. My boss at the time was a man called Carlos… a senior trader who’d been at Bankers Trust for years.

I’ll always remember Carlos’ comment one morning. As I arrived for work, he said:

‘Jason, we’re going to become turtles.’

Now, I had no idea what Carlos was talking about. Maybe it was a funny way of saying volatility was picking up and we should hunker down.

But I wasn’t even close!

Carlos was saying we were going to learn about a secretive group of traders called the ‘Turtles’.

You see, the Turtles were the result of an experiment. It began in 1983 following a discussion by two legendary traders — Richard Dennis and William Eckhardt.

So the men were discussing what makes a top trader. Dennis’ view was that he could teach almost anyone to trade, while Eckhardt said trading skill was a special gift.

The name ‘Turtles’ comes from the turtle farms Dennis had seen in Singapore. He thought he could produce traders in the same efficient way the farms were breeding turtles.

So Dennis placed an ad for traders in the Wall Street Journal… no experience required. Over 1,000 replies came flooding back. Of these, just 14 made it into the project’s initial intake.

The group was an eclectic mix of characters…

There was a blackjack player, a security guard, a Dungeon & Dragons expert, an actor, a linguistic PhD, a state chess champion, an accountant and several with trading backgrounds.

The common theme was that they all enjoyed games of chance and strategy.

Dennis’ view was that successful trading involves following a set of rules. He thought just about anyone could learn these rules and make money from the markets.

Another name for a set of rules is a system — a consistent process that removes uncertainty from decision making. A system’s buy and sell order are made according to the rules.

You see, systems have no room for emotion, gut feel, or second guessing. The key is to have the discipline to follow the rules. Ignoring the system was a deal breaker for Dennis.

The Turtle trading system dictated that it was OK to lose money, as long as the turtles followed the rules. But if they broke the rules, then they were out of the group — even if the outcome was profitable.

The Turtles began with two weeks of intensive training. Dennis then gave each of them $2 million of his own money, and let them loose on the markets.

So how did it work out? Well, the overall experiment was a success.

A former trainee says the Turtles made over $175 million in five years. And more than 30% of the 14 original Turtles went onto hugely successful trading careers.

It’s been said that one of the Turtles — Jerry Parker — has a net worth exceeding $1 billion. His success is largely the result of being able to follow trading rules.

Now, I can’t promise you a 1 in 14 shot at becoming a billionaire. That’s a big ask!

But I can teach you about the strategies and tactics that contribute to success. That’s what these weekly videos are all about. I want you to become a more skilful and confident trader.

The Turtle experiment shows that everyday people can become successful traders. The key is to find the right process, and then have the discipline to stick to the rules.

There’s no doubt about it, amazing things are possible when you know what to do.

So that’s all for this week. If you liked this video, or even if you didn’t, scroll down and leave me a comment, or maybe a thumbs up. Also, if you’re watching this anywhere other than my website motiontrader.com.au then head over and have a look.

So until next time, I’m Jason McIntosh, and let’s find some trends this week.

Meet Jason

I'm Jason McIntosh, the creator of Motion Trader. My career began in 1991 on the trading floor at Bankers Trust. Nowadays, I trade my own systems from home in Sydney. 
Motion Trader is for investors who value robust analysis, data driven entry and exit signals, commentary, and education. I use engineered algorithms to identify when to buy and sell ASX stocks. No biases or guesswork, just data driven signals.