Trading Interviews

Joe DiNapoli

The challenge of the market place – the promise of being my own boss. Being able to work and live where I please without the need for employees.

Background Info / Introduction

Q. Can you please start by making a few comments about yourself to include your trading style and what products you trade, your experience in years, and what other things of a trading nature take your time on a regular basis (e.g. writing trading books/contributing to forums/coaching/speaking engagements)?

Regarding extra curricular trading activities, I’m involved in all of the above and I thoroughly enjoy the interactions with my clients. I’ve been at this about 40 years. I’ve been a registered CTA for over 20 years and I’ve traded almost everything under the sun. I traded the S&P futures index since it started in 1982 and the value line index before that. The list of what I’ve traded is just too long to include in this. Suffice it to say, I trade all time frames… from three minute to quarterly and damn near anything that moves.

Q. It is fair to say that most people are initially attracted to trading by money. Is this what initially attracted you or was it something else?

These days, most people are attracted by the lure of easy money propagated by the sharks in the industry. Make 1832% on your money in just three weeks! If we get past that layer, I think money is the excuse. The challenge and the risk are the real attractions. Figuring out the puzzle was a big motivator for me.

Q. What are some of your good and bad memories of your early trading days?

Well, some good memories have to do with making more money than I knew what to do with. And some of my bad memories had to do with being plugged into a heart monitor due to excess stress reactions brought about by trading too many markets on an absurd schedule. I’ve mellowed with age.

Q. How would you describe a couple of your biggest mistakes in your early trading days?

Well, you have to realize that we’re going back about 40 years, 1967 to be specific. Back in those days, I thought that buying on heavy margin was the right thing to do. I was working at a defense contractor in Southern California, fresh out of college with very little capital. The Credit Union, in their wisdom, was willing to loan 70% of the asked value of the stock and they weren’t sophisticated enough to know a highly speculative stock from something that was stable. This story is part of the Trading Course I offer. I managed with limited skills, to parley a very small amount of money into a considerable amount of money and lost about half of it back in a very short time. Excess margin was a mistake, one that I have never repeated.

Q. Looking back to the beginning, in the face of the usual challenges, what motivated or inspired you to learn to trade well?

The challenge of the market place – the promise of being my own boss. Being able to work and live where I please without the need for employees. It’s worked out as I planned but it was far from easy.

Q. On reflection, was there a single moment in time or situation that ultimately had the greatest influence on your trading?

Well, I met some people along the way who gave me a helping hand. This was confined to five to fifteen minute meetings where these people pointed me in the right direction. In the 70’s, we didn’t have any organized ways of learning this game. I spent years poking around a black closet. Fortunately, I ran into some sympathetic people who had a flashlight and they pointed it in the right direction. The understanding, use and development of effective leading indicators are what really turned me into a professional trader.

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