Wednesday, 18 May, 2022
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No secret formula to stock market, it’s an addiction that made me lose money

Campus Voice is an initiative by ThePrint where young Indians get an opportunity to express their opinions on a prevalent issue.

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As humans we have all heard about the stock market at one point in our lives. As a child, I thought it was a place where people went to work so that they could make a lot of money.

Though I was fascinated by that world I didn’t have much money on me and more importantly I was a teenager during the early half of the last decade. To me the timing was more important than the lack of cash.

It would also be a mistake to not point out that my parents made sure that I had very little access to the Internet. So my exposure to the world of capital markets was zero to none. I didn’t know any of it’s nuances, I didn’t know what you had to study to partake in
that profession and I didn’t know a single person who dealt in that world. I would also like to point out that I didn’t know anybody who gambled.

I used to live in Oman and as an Islamic monarchy that practice was considered haram and was banned. Finally, I became an adult and I had more money and freedom than I ever had before. I started going to college and stayed at the institution’s hostel. I was not a good student and I was not interested in engineering. To me, it was too tough and just not worth my time.

Now as I learned pretty early on, once you become an adult you are expected to make money. The harsh reality of being an engineering student is that it is
not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s hard, it’s scientific and the results are slow to come by.

So there I was one day, just surfing the net with no particular purpose, when I saw an ad for a website that I could trade on. I clicked on the ad, made Google a little more rich and
landed on this page filled with bars and lines of various colours. There were numbers constantly moving and all in all it looked a bit complex. The only thing that was not complex was the presence of two buttons that were really large and coloured red and green with SELL and BUY written on them.

That was my first day of trading. I really didn’t know that I was going down a path that would lead me to losing lakhs of rupees while gaining nothing in return. I could talk about how I traded and what my strategy was and I will do that, but I want to take a slight detour.

It took me no money and 10 minutes to open an account. I didn’t have to deal with a single piece of paper.

Boxes with little texts next to them were already ticked and I was in the world where all
the money was made. So I deposited a small amount of money, the trading interface was very colourful and the best part was I had to spend next to nothing to place what were actually misguided bets.

I lost a significant amount of money pretty soon and I realised that maybe I needed to study a bit more than what I knew. The learning material was freely available, easy to
understand and not challenging one bit. So with my newfound knowledge I went back to trading, again I lost a lot more money.

My parents and friends started noticing. They suggested that maybe this wasn’t my cup of tea. Well my arrogance did not allow me to pay heed to their words. I continued trading, placing bets.

Though I made myself believe that they were educated guesses. It took almost two years, a lot of lost money and countless sleepless nights to escape my addiction.

Betting as entertainment

Today even more new startups are springing up all over the place and established players are changing their game to become what’s known as discount brokers.

It takes minimal effort to open an account, even less to add money and start trading. The moment you fail people will surround you with offers to teach you about the game. The only problem is that they aren’t teaching you Maths or Economics. They are just pushing down a bunch of lies that they strongly believe in.

Now there will be a lot of people who will say that you and not the system is the
cause of failure. That if you have it in you to find that winning formula then there is no stopping you. All I can tell from my own personal experience is that there is no formula, unfortunately. There really isn’t one.

As Covid-19 struck and our country started going into lockdowns, even more people started dabbling in the markets. Stock brokers are making more money as more people trade and even more fail. They have no reason to make you stop.

They only make money as long as you trade. I was lucky enough to get out of that rut. It’s a lie that I so strongly believed in. Lies are fine if you are not losing anything while believing in them.

But in the stock market, the lies that you believe in make you lose money every single day while you gain nothing.

All around us betting is veiled as entertainment, where you apparently get to show how smart you are.

I just want you to know that maths is a really hard and amazing subject. More importantly, a computer is better at it than you, so maybe trading and betting is meant for highly educated mathematicians that know theorems you and I don’t.

There is no shame in acknowledging that we don’t know enough. People die because of this industry. Many people have failed and lost their life savings. It’s better for us as a community to not fall for lies that promise us easy money.

Jayanth Roy is a student of St. Pius X College, Kasargod

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