Thomas Wood Interview
For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself and how you got into trading.
I come from a blue collar family. My father owns a construction company and I grew up working with him building houses.
One thing he always said was:
“Thomas, you don’t want to be in a job like this when you grow up. You want a job where you can use your brain and still make good money.”
I watched my dad work really hard to provide for his family. But I also watched him struggle to get ahead financially.
In middle school he started getting into trading as a way to generate some extra income.
He was so excited and started sharing what he was learning with me.
He’d read a book and then give it to me to read. The more I read, the more fascinated I got!
And by the time I was 14 I had placed my first options trade (with his help of course)!
Wait a minute. Did you say you were 14 when you placed your first options trade? So you’re in like what, 9th grade or something?
Yeah. And you know, I always enjoyed playing video games growing up. So when I got introduced to trading it reminded me of just another type of video game. Just when you win, you make money!
These were exciting times as I imagined that soon trading would allow my dad to stop working all these long grueling hours doing backbreaking construction work.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.
I watched my dad lose hundreds of thousands of dollars by blindly following the advice of these so-called “gurus” who he trusted so much.
And the financial problems only got worse for my family. It was devastating.
All I kept thinking was, “This is wrong. How do these charlatans get away with this crap?! They take advantage of hard working Americans like my dad and then get to profit from it!”
How’d that make you feel as a kid, watching your dad go through this?
Oh man, I was furious! I hated watching my dad get burned by all these pretend experts. The more I learned about trading the more I realized how off base their advice was. It destroyed people, like my dad’s, life savings!
So I decided to do something about.
I determined to not only become a successful trader myself but to also make a difference in the lives of people like my dad.
I wanted to take this industry, which everyone seems to think is super hard and complicated, and simplify it so normal everyday people could learn to consistently profit from the markets.
Tell me more about that. Because I think a lot of our listeners believe trading is very hard and very complex. That’s interesting to hear you say it’s not.
It can be as complex or as simple as you want. There are quants with thousands of lines of code that trade that way, but you can also profit from very simple setups that are repeatable with a fairly high degree of accuracy.
Also, there are so many different ways of trading, breakouts, momentum, candlestick patterns, indicators, etc. most traders bounce around from one thing to the next and never settle down to master a single style of trading. But there are also some universal principles that apply to every type of trading. For example, if you do not have a good balance between reward risk and win rate, then you won’t be profitable… period.
Also, many educators are actually making this worse. They want new products to push, so they come up with a “new” way of trading every month just so they can sell it. Which in turn leads to traders not focusing on one thing. That is why we have always taught price action first before anything else for as long as we have been in business.
Ok, well that makes sense…. So your dad gets burned by trading gurus who you think either intentionally make trading more complicated than it needs to be — or don’t know how to really trade themselves — and you set out on a mission to change all that. To help people by simplifying trading, etc. Which you’re doing today… but how did you get from the point where you had that vision to where you are today?
Well I knew I needed some “credibility” so people would listen to me. You know I was pretty young, even though I started trading at 14 I knew my youth would be a liability so I wanted to, you know, manage that risk. And so I thought the hedge fund world would be the perfect place to prove myself.
That’s when I reached out to Drew.
Drew Day from Base Camp Trading?
Yeah…I was getting ready to graduate college and I did a search of all alumni who were in the hedge fund space. And that’s how I got connected with Drew Day.
So I emailed him and said: “Hi, I’m Thomas Wood. I’m a senior at Liberty. Saw you went to school there. I attached my resume. I want to get into the hedge fund space…”
When we met he seemed really curious to know WHY I wanted to do that. I finally told him the story about my dad which seemed to resonate with him.
After that he brought me in and introduced me to the technology they used and the strategies from the hedge fund space.
For the next 18 months I spent 8 hours a day studying the markets. It was during this time that my belief that trading is NOT hard was confirmed. The more I studied the markets and the more I traded with real money the more I realized it really is simple. It’s just pattern recognition.
But everyone has this mindset that you have to go to Wall Street… You have to go to Harvard or Yale to be smart enough to do it. You don’t. What you need is discipline, patience and good risk management rules.
I remember during this time I called a guy who was a trader for a $4 billion fund. I told him what was going to happen. He called back, “Hey Thomas, how did you know that? You called that perfectly.”
It was exhilarating to know I finally cracked the code on trading. I realized that anyone could trade if they just had discipline, patience and good risk management rules.
So what are you most proud of in your career as a trader?
Well I’ve had a lot of success personally as a trader… I could tell you about the day in my early 20s when I made $50,000 in one day. That was fun. But honestly, what I’m most proud of are the people who I’ve taught. My students. These are hard working, blue collar people who remind me of my dad. They’re not greedy for gain. Most of them just want to be better providers for their families… or make enough money trading that they can quit a job that’s sucking the life out of them. I love helping people like this.
For example, there’s a guy named Gary who joined Base Camp Trading last year. He was a single dad who had a 14-year old son he wanted to spend more time with. He was a military guy and was always away from his family and he wanted to become a successful trader so he didn’t have to be gone so much.
He had already lost a bunch of money listening to these gurus so when he came to me he was pretty beat up but he was still willing to learn the right way to trade.
Just last year he took a $30,000 account and turned it into a $200,000 account in about 2 months.
Now Gary can spend more time with his family and also trade without the fear of blowing up his accounts.
That’s great. And something to definitely be proud of.
Yep. And that’s why I do what I do.
My number one priority is making the traders I work with as profitable as they can be and hopefully changing their lives and the lives of their families in the process.
The difference between what we do and all other trading rooms is that we are not trying to just spoon-feed people trades every day because that does not really help them become better traders. What we do is teach them the reasons for the trades, the logic behind market moves and how they can profit from them. Teach them to fish instead of giving them fish.
Well thanks for sharing Thomas. So where can people go to learn more?
The first step is to check out what we’re doing here at Base Camp Trading. If you’re not already a member I’d strongly encourage you to check it out. I think there’s some sort of low cost 30-day deal we usually offer so people can check it out with super low risk.
But don’t just sign up and do nothing. Like anything in life, you’ll get out of it what you put in. So check out the trading room, engage with the other members, go through the price action course and open a simulated account to start testing our strategies out.
OK, great. I’ll make sure to include a link when we post this interview so people can check it out. Yeah, I think it’s only like 7 bucks for the first 30 days…. Well thanks again Thomas for sharing your story. It’s been a pleasure.
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