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Dear Michael,

First off, I would like to thank you on the excellent work you have done. You should be very proud of your efforts. The courage you have shown at times is highly impressive.

I am not a particularly good writer, but I will try to keep this concise and accurate. I have been working in the finance area for roughly ten years, but until recently I didn’t know of you. In fact, I only discovered Richard Dennis and the turtle story a few years ago. I read up on them for a bit, then as daily work took over and whatever else, I never went back to them. I then lost my job, became pretty sick, moved country…well, a lot happened. I have always been surrounded by fundamental type fund managers and analysts, who never really wanted or asked my opinion, I was just their operations or trader guy. I never had the confidence to voice my opinion. Listening to conversations with lines like ‘China mobile is cheap at twelve times earnings’ or ‘I should really tweak my estimates slightly on mediatek’. The usual blah blah, by guys who only cared about beating their peers, despite meaning that could mean their clients losing money. While I never believed it, I never really took the time to seek an alternative way. I was generally more interested in sport. Also, I never had any kind of mentor. I know these sound like lame excuses, maybe they are.

To use your words Michael, I am ‘making a commitment to change’. My motivation is one for change in my life. I have consumed a lot of your work in recent months, mostly the books and podcasts (an outstanding service). I am very interested in purchasing your training program. I am more than humble to admit, I can’t turn things around without help and sound advice. I am not seeking a Holy Grail as mentioned on your site. I want to give myself minimum one year full effort and commitment, part of a plan to turn things around. Of course, it will hopefully be one year or many more.

About the program, I am concerned that I may wander off course, so to speak. There is a lot of reading material. Can I read that over time? Can I educate myself with the systems at the same time? I worry that without checkpoints along the way, the books will gather dust. I guess that is up to me. My capital for investments at the moment is relatively modest. I also worry that I should have more questions to ask, but don’t.

Thank you for your time. I am happy to call you if you have a spare five mins, I understand you are a busy guy. Email is more than fine.

Regards,
[Name]

Sure, we can talk. I look forward to the chat.

In advance of that call listen.

“Why has the turtle trend-following system stop working?”

A recent chat thread about “Why has the turtle trend-following system stop working?” [not accurate headline]:

Forum guest: The drawdowns are horrendous for long term trend following systems. Don’t go near them!

Covel: Chris Clarke has good insight on this podcast ep. for those that scream “drawdown” when discussing trend following.

Also, drawdown goes far beyond trend following. Consider an excerpt from PragCap:

Another way to illustrate this is if you look at something like Berkshire Hathaway. BRK has gone down 50% three times in the past (or maybe more). Once in the early 1970′s, once in 1999 and then again during the recent crisis. Of all the investors who owned BRK in 1970, how many have done better than the 20% or so return of the stock over the years by getting in and out of it in order to avoid the 50% drawdowns?

Big returns over time come with big drawdowns. Buffett has also said himself:

“Unless you can watch your stock holding decline by 50% without becoming panic-stricken, you should not be in the stock market.”

No wisdom there (heavy sarcasm).


My thoughts on Michael J clark of Clark Capital Management, one of the Trend Following Legends.

There Is Only One Turtle Story

How do you make it on Wall Street? Some feedback:

Dear Mr. Covel, My name is [Name] and I just finished reading “The Complete TurtleTrader” for the second time. I recently graduated college as a psychology major but I am determined to work in the finance/investment world. Therefore, two quotes from page 15 and 16 really spoke to me:

“I think it’s far more important to know what Freud thinks about death wishes than what Milton Friedman thinks about deficit spending.” “Go down to Wall Street today after work with the hot-shot traders all earning $500,000 a year at the big banks and you’ll find very few who talk about Freud being the ticket to making millions.”

I’m writing this email to get your advice. I’ve applied to many big investment firms and haven’t even gotten a call back. I’ve even applied to Vanguard as a lowly Client Relationship specialist just to get my foot in the door. I did get a call back from them, but it’s been two months.

How can I secure the career I desire? It seems as if nobody recognizes the importance of psychology in finance. I’ve read well over 100 investment books in the past two years, I’ve beaten the market and I’ve even started an investment/personal finance website. I’ve included this in my cover letters and there’s STILL nothing. Right now I plan to go at it on my own and take my Series 65 soon, but I wonder if there’s a better way.

Because your work really affected me and it seems as if you (and Richard Dennis) understand how I feel, what should I do?

Thanks a lot. I appreciate your time, keep up the amazing work!

[Name]

But you missed a big issue. The role of entrepreneur in investing, trading. Trading has a few stories of working for someone else, but the real way to freedom and success in the space is DIY. I would recommend a non-trading book: Linchpin by Seth Godin. 50 pages in I suspect you might see the flaw in your pursuit.

PS. Only one Turtle story.

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