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Be Prepared

Trade long enough and you will have every conceivable thing you can (and even cannot imagine) happen to you. Let me just give you some great examples first, OK? I have 18 years of garbage happening to me on the internet, with trading and with computers.

I have had monitors just go dead. Poof. Just like that… more than once.

I have had mice just die right in the middle of a trade. You get to push a button and you go to adjust a stop or a target and that mouse is flat out history!

I have had keyboards go out the same way; they just quit all of a sudden!

I have actually had cables perish too, as rare as you can imagine this is. I had, in 18 years, two monitor cables just cease to function without warning. I have had a few Ethernet cables do the same thing. There is no warning at all.

Even modems! I also have had a few modems just expire on me and quit.

Now you have to hop in car, drive to a store a half hour away, wait in line, etc… Hours can pass and all for a mouse, a cable, a modem or a cord. It’s just peachy.

I have had computers expire 5 times, Raptor hard drives just go poof and the computer is stone cold dead. Do you know that it takes time to bring the computer to the store? They have a waiting list too and other customers come first. Yours gets shelved and maybe you get it back in a week. Are you OK with that? Are you OK with all of this so far?

I had lightning strike a pole and blow straight through my battery backup power supply and fry a $5,000 computer system.

I’ve had trees fall 2-5 times a year and knock my power out anywhere from just a few hours to a day or two and all the way up to ten days.

So let’s chat about this. Do you have a car? How about insurance? How about AAA or a tow plan? Got a spare tire? How often have you actually used your spare tire? It’s darn nice to have that jack and tire when you need it once every few years or so, right?

What is that you say? You have had a battery croak once every 4-5 years? Oh! So that is why you have that set of super long, super thick, high quality jumper cables in your car instead of those cheap baby $20 ones? Now I get it.

Look, I am Mr Preparedness himself! Why? Because I have learned! Many years ago in the Allagash wilderness of Maine, I was on a one week camping trip. I had neoprene diver gloves packed in my bag. We once had to get out of the canoes… (a bridge had come down in the winter, leaving horrible super dangerous metal poles sticking up, just under the surface of the water… if we hit those rapids and one of them ripped through the canoe, someone could have been cut in half!) …in order to put ropes on the canoes and get them over the rapids safely. I convinced a friend to put the gloves on. At one point, the canoe tipped and in less than a second it filled with a few hundred gallons of water and that rope smoked through his hand so fast that if those gloves weren’t on, his hand would have been ripped off.

During the same trip we returned to the trucks and found a tire flat. Calling a service would have taken at least 4-5 hours for anyone to get to us. I reached in the back of my truck and there was a complete $20 kit to fix any flats. It had the reamer and the nylon and the glue…. all things necessary just like a tire shop. I even had a $50 high power battery cord-operated pump to fill it. In an hour we were on the road.

So why do I say mention all of this? Things happen and we need to be prepared for anything and at any time. That is why I am going to suggest to you the following:

Do you have a 6 or 8 monitor array? Congrats! Buy one more. Leave it in a box and when… not if… but when one of yours decides to give up the ghost, you will be so proud and happy that you had foreseen this. 5 years from now your monitors will be so out-dated that you will be hunting everywhere for a replacement and waiting a week for shipping; used, on EBay.

Buy a backup cord; buy a backup keyboard even if it’s just a $5 one. Buy a backup mouse.  Buy yourself a backup Ethernet cable. Buy extra batteries for your mouse and keyboards if they are wireless.

Buy a backup modem and have it ready. Have everything ready at the drop of a hat.  Pull a file cabinet drawer or some other easy to access container open and lay all this out nice and crisp and clean so you can replace anything in 1-5 min!

If you don’t have much money to spare you can always get stuff super cheap and used on EBay. You need this and I think you know it. Mistakes cost so much money. It’s so time consuming to fix problems. Why wait?

Buy a UPS, an uninterruptible power supply, and have everything plugged in so that when lightning strikes (literally) you don’t blow out (just remember that they get old and need to be replaced every few years. I found this out the hard way and it cost me $3,000 to get a new computer system!

Get a backup computer! Yes, you heard me right. I’m not kidding here. If it’s just a cheap $100 used laptop that is fine… just get one! Make sure your trading platform is up and running and you are ready to go. That way you can take a punch and not get knocked out for a week. It’s very stressful to not see your trades and not be able to manage them should a failure happen. If you have not been here, just trust me. Survive and you will have it all happen to you as well. I am trying to save you the trouble.

All this stuff is like the tool kit in your car, you know? The “preparedness” bin you have in your trunk; a quart of oil, a quart of transmission fluid, a pint of brake fluid and power steering fluid, the extra washer fluid, the jumpers, the 35ft 10,000 lb. tow cable, the fix a flat kit, the tire pump, etc.

Do you want to take it to the next level? Install two modems in your house with two separate cables; perhaps cable and satellite. Have one full trading system in your office and another in another place as a backup. If one goes down and you just walk over to the other one and flick it on. I have three full systems and 21 monitors. Let’s just say with that, the 5 mice, the 9 keyboards, the boxes worth of cables… you get the picture; I am prepared!

I even had a $200 trading chair kick the bucket on me. The piston broke and snapped and the chair was unusable. Do you have an extra chair in a corner you could use? I’m just saying!

I hope this got you thinking! Until next time.


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