Trader's Story John Gow

As featured on A Current Affair

Having reached my 40’s and working in a job where I spent half my life on an oil rig in the East Timor Sea, I started searching for a way to make my fortune the best way I could and with what little knowledge I had. 

Not really knowing much about investing I knew it was going to be a long road ahead, and not without some hiccups along the way.

My first taste of the share market came about when I was working on B.H.P Petroleum FPSO (floating oil Rig) in the Timor Sea called the Skua Venture back in 1993, where I was offered some shares through the employee share plan with a no interest loan.

Now that’s what I call a good investment, no money down and I get shares that I can pay off over time with no fees. 

Well the shares went up and I was hooked on the share market as a way of making money.

I remember that I would check the market regularly to keep an eye on my profits, and when I was in front by about $4000 I sold out and bought myself a new stereo. 

It was a great feeling, especially because this was my first investment into shares and I had made a nice profit.

After that good experience the share market was always in the back of my mind; the seed had been planted and had now started to grow.

But I was young and a single merchant seaman having a great time travelling the world and getting paid for it. 

So as you can guess I was more interested in other things than the share market and it was quite a while before I got around to looking at it again.

Then I met my wife and somehow, as good woman often do, she got me to slow down and take stock of where I was in life and everything changed dramatically after that.

I sold my fishing boat, bought my first home, had some kids and got some investment properties before the market took off!

The share market was still on my mind and I firmly intended to get back into shares at some stage.

Then the tech boom happened and so with my limited knowledge and armed with the experience of having had a successful initiation into the share market, I bought some technology shares.

At that time they only ever seemed to go one way, so how could I lose?

That was until the tech wreck when they all of sudden headed south, falling heavily literally overnight.

And over time some of them actually disappeared from the market altogether. 

Bugger! What I thought was going to be my road to riches turned out to be an almighty mess.

Then I received a nice windfall as I was given some NRMA shares (through our membership and insurance), which I quickly transferred into my E-Trade account and sold; after all they weren’t as exciting as the tech shares.

I then used the money to buy into what I thought were some great stocks that cost only 5 and 10 cents, which the guys on the internet chat websites said were going to go up like a rocket! 

Well they did move up for a while before they also headed south to become 2 and 3 cent stocks; so I had done my money again! 

My pursuit of getting rich was taking a real beating and I was getting nowhere fast.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it wasn’t long before we had problem tenants in our investment properties, which resulted in some serious repair work including repainting and re-carpeting the houses.

Given that I spent half my life in the middle of nowhere on an oil rig, I found these investments were taking money and time away from the more important things in life; my wife and children, who I cherish greatly.

I discovered that the properties we had bought were actually in a low socioeconomic area and as such were not such a good investment after all.

So it was time to get out before they cost us more time and money. 

We sold the properties and with the substantial cash left over bought another house as an investment, but this time in a nice area.

After sorting the properties out I started thinking about putting some money into shares.

I had seen and read an advertisement about Wealth Within on a website called the Freestylers, who were a group of like minded individuals that support each other in investing whether it be Property, shares or start-up businesses.

I registered on the Wealth Within web site to receive their free fortnightly E-news , and after some time I got a phone call from Wealth Within asking whether I would like to attend an educational workshop they were conducting in Brisbane.

As always happens to me, the date the seminar was on was when I was going back to sea for work so I didn’t go.

It wasn’t long after this I received a very large envelope (not from Wealth Within ) with some very nice and very glossy photos of people driving very expensive cars, laying on the decks of some very expensive yachts and lounging on some tropical island beaches with a laptop by their side.

The brochure said it was easy to obtain a lifestyle like that with their software, all you needed to do was push a couple of buttons, tick a couple of boxes and the software would do the rest.

They also said the software would tell you what to buy and when to get out of the trade. 

So you didn’t have to do any analysis at all, the software program did it all; ‘it was too easy’.

I was also told it took into account fundamental analysis and as I look back I’m pretty sure it was this functionality with the software that got me, although it might have been the hard sell over the 6-8 phone conversations. Boy was I an easy target!

So I got the software for the bargain price of $5,995, loaded it up paid the monthly fee of $47 for the data feed and I was off and running on my road to financial success or so I thought.

After following the software recommendations and reading the accompanying 35 page book on share analysis I started trading and that is when the fun stopped because I started losing money again!

Little did I realise at the time that I was on a path to self destruction in the share market.

I rang the company who sold me the software and asked why it was not giving me any winning trades.

Their reply was that I wasn’t using the software correctly, so I asked politely for the correct method.

Well after about 5 minutes of tuition on using the program I was off again with this new trading sensation. 

After a couple more weeks of trading I was now certain the program was useless as I was still losing money.

After doing a bit of research, which I should have done in the first place, I found that this wasn’t the first incarnation of this software program. 

I also came to discover that I was actually using what is referred to as black box software.

So then I tried to get my money back, but it wasn’t any good; all I got was cold conversations from a very insensitive person who didn’t seem to care.

So I decided to give up and take the loss of almost $6000 for my new expensive coffee coaster plus the losses I had made in the market.

During this time my wife was in and out of hospital with a condition that she would have for the rest of her life and each time I went to work it caused more stress for the whole family.

I really wanted and needed to find a way of providing an income so I could be with my family more and look after them.

It then hit me that what I really needed was to educate my self on how to trade since it was obvious that all the software in the world was not going to give me the knowledge or the ability to become a successful trader.

So I started searching again on the internet for someone to help me. 

I had heard about mentoring programs from friends in the property market and it was while I was talking with these people (who were successful property investors) that I came across Wealth Within again.

After looking through Wealth Within's website I decided to subscribe to their fortnightly Newsletter.

Not long after I rang Dale and had a chat about my journey as an investor and share trader and about where I wanted to be as a share trader (well wannabe trader anyway).

A couple of days later, after checking out a few other similar services offered by Australian companies, I decided to sign up with Wealth Within to undertake their education program, now known as the Diploma of Share Trading and Investment.

I think it was the way Dale Gillham' (Chief Analyst of Wealth Within) explained things about trading that I actually understood how I could make a success of the share market which finally convinced me I could be profitable as a trader under his guidance.

After only 3 months into Wealth Within's education program, and only trading when I was at home from work on the oil rig (28 days on 28 days off), I was actually in front with my trades and profits were steadily rising.

Thanks to the quality education and support from the team at Wealth Within I had actually made more money from trading in those first 3 months than I had ever made in share trading.

I had actually recouped the cost of my education with Wealth Within as well as the cost of the 'black box software' that was so convincingly sold to me.

After only 18 months learning to trade the share market, I was able to retire from my job working on the oil rig to spend quality time with my family.

I now consider trading my full time profession, but as Dale always says, 'trading is about creating a lifestyle, not making it your lifestyle'.

So I am pleased to say that I spend around 6-10 hours a week managing my portfolio and the rest of my time is spent enjoying quality time with my family.

There is no better lifestyle and I have to say that this opportunity is available to everyone of you if you are willing to put in the effort. 

Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch - but if you are willing to invest in your future I can say you will reap the rewards as I have done.

I wish you well in your journey.

John Gow

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