Paul Scolardi may not wear a cape (although he does have a striking resemblance to Clark Kent), but nonetheless, he is known as the superman of stock trading by the thousands who follow him. That's not in small part due to the fact that in 2020 his stock trades generated $5.3M, just one of many multi-million dollar trading years he has had since leaving his job in corporate finance to become a full-time trader. His strategies are also taught to thousands of students, many of whom are reaching trading success in their own right. So what shaped Paul Scolardi into the trader he is today and what lessons can other traders glean from it? We sat down with him to find out.
What drew you to stock trading instead of other business ventures?
Paul Scolardi: I was already working a demanding full-time job in my career choice of accounting and corporate finance, and I initially saw the stock market as another revenue stream. All successful people tell you to have multiple revenue streams. But then I became so successful that I was able to leave corporate finance and just manage my own money. After that I became popular online because of my success which led to me starting my own trading education business with students from all over the world.
How did you get your start in trading?
PS: I was an accounting major in college, and I always had a strong interest in the stock market. It was 1997-1998 and the internet tech boom was soon to follow. One of my good friends in college was into the stock market big time so I asked him to show me how he trades online. That's how it began.
Are there specific personality types that excel more in trading?
PS: The best personality types are those that are self-disciplined and can control their emotions to follow general rules and as well as a trading plan with specific rules for each trade. Personalities that are prone to being lazy and or want to get rich quick as well as those with a gambler's mentality are the most dangerous. Those people have to pay attention to what I teach about the psychology of trading, where I help them train themselves to be disciplined traders.
What are the most important skills an aspiring trader needs to develop?
PS: Hunger for knowledge. They have to want to learn a system and not just jump in without any education, which causes most new traders to lose ALL their money. That is why my strategy is so important for new traders. It can be learned in 1-6 months depending on how much time you have to put into it. I teach not only how to find great stocks but how to trade them with discipline-- minimizing losses, maximizing gains, preserving capital, and compounding wealth.
Additionally, as discussed, it is equally important to learn to control your emotions and be disciplined as it is to learn the technical knowledge about stocks. Fear and greed can destroy accounts. Hope is not a strategy in the stock market. Regret can paralyze your ability to make money in the stock. I coach my students like athletes to master trading psychology.
How do you balance managing risk with the need to scale your account?
PS: I have simplistic yet important risk management tools that work. I have general rules regarding position sizes and mindset as well as a trade plan for each trade to minimize losses and maximize a gain. This consists of an entry that is not chasing a price point, a stop loss to keep losses small if an idea does not work, and a profit-taking plan to maximize gains for the ideas that work really well.
Could you share the biggest mistake you ever made in a trade and what you learned?
PS: Not following my rules as well as not controlling my greed has caused me to turn seven figure gains into big losses twice in my career. That is why I am so passionate about teaching newbies to avoid similar mistakes.
What has been the most rewarding part of mentoring other traders?
PS: I have received endless messages in 2020 that I have changed people's lives financially. I cannot tell you how rewarding that is and that is why I teach. Knowing that 2020 was such a difficult year for so many, it makes me feel better that I have helped others more so than the fact I have made over $10 million in the last 10 months at the time of me writing this. Additionally, knowing that I have helped so many traders avoid the account-ruining mistakes I made when I was learning stocks is also why I decided to teach in the first place.