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How one investor’s Amazon misfire led to a 99% loss in his trading account

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 12/12/2018 Shawn Langlois
a close up of a fire: Sob stories are piling up on WallStreetBets© Reddit Sob stories are piling up on WallStreetBets

If you’re feeling bruised and battered by this whipsaw stock market, you might consider heading over to Reddit’s “WallStreetBets” board.

You’ll find of plenty of company in your misery.

One options-flipping YOLO’er by the name of MightBePresident, for instance, shared his story of a wildly volatile, and ultimately devastating, year of trading.

Check out the chart he just posted:

a close up of a map

Yes, $4.81. Just enough for a Double-Double, hold the fries.

As you can see, it was looking pretty good there for a while. Buying puts on Netflix (NFLX) before the stock got hammered on earnings gave him the upward spike. Then he says he decided to trade Amazon (AMZN) and S&P (SPX) options at exactly the wrong time and that dropped him from $56,000 to $970 in two days. He said his final gut shot was when Tesla (TSLA) tanked after CEO Elon Musk went on the Joe Rogan podcast.

MightBePresident may have lost almost all his trading money, but he gained a valuable lesson he tried to impart to the rest of the group.

“I have come to realize that the majority of us have absolutely no discipline whatsoever. Most of us are 20 somethings and will be able to recover from any losses in the future,” he said. “However, I am becoming increasingly concerned that the habits some of us have developed while we YOLO will carry on down the road.”

The top response to MightBePresident’s sorry situation was about what you’d expect from this forum: “You are good at this. Please deposit more funds.”

There were also some words of sincere wisdom sprinkled in there.

“I blew my first 5-figure trading account in my twenties. And my second. It took ~6 years before I came back,” Mezzhimself wrote. “In your 30s you will have more free capital, patience and discipline. In the mean time, learn the lesson and make it count. Take care, all the best.”

One investor felt inspired to up the ante with his ugly journey:

a close up of a map

That’s from Wheremoneygoestodie, who explained a huge chunk of his $60,000 disappeared while he was short volatility (VIX) earlier in the year.

“When the numbers hit a certain value, you lose the connection to money,” he wrote. “This enables otherwise ‘smart’ people to do dumb things with it. Throwing around 20k at a time is a simple as a swipe on a smartphone.”

Judging from all the tales of woe on the subreddit, perhaps the most sensible point of all was offered up by MauldotheLastCrafter: “Why are people coming here and taking us seriously or allowing us to enable them? Don’t do that,” he wrote.

Oh, but where’s the fun — and schadenfreude — in that?

Related video: Amazon's road to $1 trillion (provided by CNBC)

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