I was broke, and my livelihood was nearly destroyed, so how did I achieve financial independence? How did I get here…?

Not too long ago, nobody involved in the stock market or option trading knew who I was.

After a devastating flood wiped out our family gift shop business, I let Jack (my husband) contend with the repairs and renovations, and I decided to pursue a new career as an option trader. I honestly had no clue how to begin.

So, day after day and night after night, after five brief (2-hour) introductory option classes, I taught myself how to read charts, how to use an online broker, how to read candlesticks and patterns, how to interpret an option chain, how to select the correct expiration – and how to pay the overflowing bills that came whether our business was opened or closed.

Facebook and YouTube were just a few years old, and “online trading” was in its infancy at the time.

Little by little, the pieces began to fall into place.  Every stumbling block or foreign aspect was met by determination to solve the mystery, conquer the concept, and make it work for me.

After five years, I learned the elements that were important and what was intended to keep me – along with other traders – confused and on unsure footing. If we could trade for ourselves, we didn’t need brokers and financial specialists’ advice, and we didn’t need them to handle our trades for us and charge high management fees.

Eventually, I started winning more trades than I lost and made more money than Jack and I ever earned working long hours seven days a week at our gift shop.

In 2009, I started writing my first book on a fold-out table upstairs in the gift shop during the day and at home at night.  My approach was to teach my friend Virginia McCullough to trade options.  I would write down the important nuggets that were needed to trade successfully and cut out all the nonsense designed to confuse.  I knew, if I could teach Virginia, I could teach others.

If Virginia didn’t understand something or needed clarification, I rewrote or added to that section or topic until the subject was clear, and she understood and was able to apply the concepts.

I wanted more than anything to write and inspire other women to improve to their financial circumstances through option trading. If I could learn to trade without having a financial education, so could other women.  Women working as teachers could trade during summer vacation, retirees could trade and add to their social security income, stay-at-home moms could trade during kids’ nap times, working women could choose trade candidates in the evening and place trades online.

I learned during this trading and writing process that many of us are averse to change, and we sabotage ourselves with negative self-talk.  We have our core “belief system” (which I now call “BS”) that can limit or attack our efforts to advance and improve our life circumstances.  These beliefs can be our own, or they can be imposed upon us by others. Either way, these beliefs encourage us to wallow in the status quo and do whatever is necessary to avoid change, even if it means remaining in deprived life.

When I faced the walls of the corner that Jack and I had painted ourselves into back during the time of the flood, I wasn’t happy with the alternatives that our life had to offer.  We had everything tied up in the gift shop… our income, 25 years of life-effort-equity, non-existent savings and retirement … and it had all been wiped out. We stood on the edge of bankruptcy and homelessness.

So I decided to learn how to improve my life and our family’s financial future.

Honestly, when I began this dream of trading it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. I quickly failed, realizing after my first option trading classes that I had learned just enough to be dangerous.

Yet, I was convinced that option trading held the key to improving our life.  I had a great deal of my own “BS” to dispose of, and, believe me, my beliefs and fears used every method available to suggest I was insane to jump into a new career, something I had no education to support – and, besides, at the age of 56, maybe I was too old to learn something new.

I had no money to invest. Geez, I was in debt up to my ears. It got so bad I used money we’d set aside for the electric bill at the shop to pay for those first trading classes, but then the electric was off due to the flood, so why not?

I was thankful that Jack was able to work on drying out the shop, making repairs, and painting. We had a place to live, but our cottage was so small that I used the dining room table as my extended desk, where I stacked all our bills and my trading notebooks, laced with fears that needled me with new concepts.

One night, Jack and I held each other and cried under the weight of our bills. It broke my heart.

But it also made me face the reality.

I decided that I MUST change the situation and pursue my dreams with more intention and purpose.

I decided to think bigger, to stop letting our small business experience make me small-minded.

I decided not to worry about critics, including myself, who said I was crazy. I wanted to share what I had learned, but I couldn’t help but think, “Just because I taught myself to trade options and had made some money doing it didn’t mean I could write a book about it. After all, I wasn’t a writer.”

However, instead of worrying about how to write a book and how to get it published, I just proceeded and wrote it, teaching my friend how to trade. I formed a local women’s trading group, and we learned together. I gave my whole heart to learning every aspect of trading, and I began teaching other people who wanted positivity, progress and financial independence in their life.

I studied successful traders, practiced teaching the techniques I’d learned, and I worked each and every day at becoming the person, trader, and contributor or mentor I knew I could be.

Today, everything has changed. It’s because of a lot of work and a go-for-it attitude.

  • Our gift shop was restored, conducted business until 2012 when it was sold and Jack retired.
  • Our retirement account has been fully funded.
  • Option Trading in Your Spare Time, my first book, was published in 2010.
  • 14 Option Trading Strategy books have been published by TradeWins Publishing
  • We’ve paid off our cottage in town and the cabin 30 miles north in the mountains.  We also purchased the 100 acres and lodge (guest residence) surrounding our cabin, which is located on top of a mountain.
  • My You-tube videos help new traders, and my webinars are well attended by both new and seasoned traders.
  • I publish a chart list viewed every day by hundreds of traders.
  • I offer five subscription services for people who need more direct support in their trading
  • Every day, I moderate a real-time trading chatroom with traders around the world.

Other things have changed as well.

That tiny fold-out table where I wrote my first book is gone with the sale of the shop.

Now I trade and write in my dream library on a fancy desk, overlooking a valley of farm land and far-reaching mountain ranges stretching 30 miles as the crow flies. Even rainy days bring vivid rainbows.

I’m blessed to share author space, speaking platforms, and webinars with the great option traders who I studied and share my trade techniques with traders around the globe.

And, finally, I don’t have to eat cheap noodle dinners or watch my family struggle anymore.

I guess you could say that, as Facebook and YouTube matured and defined itself, so did I.

This became a bigger calling and business that I decided to really become vested in because I saw its impact on my readers and subscribers. It changes lives.

There’s no doubt that you guys made these results happen because you let a feisty old woman like me follow my dreams, cheer you on, and you absorbed my ideas and incorporated them with your own and shared my work.

And that’s why, in my books, I break it all down for you and tell you how I did it. I’m always reminding you that you can do it, too, and I continually try to create innovative strategies to help us both reach new levels.

At the beginning, there were just a few of you, five or ten. And then there were fifty. Then a hundred, then a thousand, and then, as I stayed with it for five years, every single day with full belief in the possibilities and gratitude for my early success that put me on this path and a dedication to excellence and serving others… well, here we are.

And so I say this to you, my friend:

Never limit the vision you have for your life based on your current circumstances or competencies.

You are more powerful, capable, and stronger than you imagine.

I had no reason to believe that I could one day live my dream as an option trader and writer; no reason to believe, I suppose, except that my heart told me it was my path, except that my mind invented dreams that felt so real, that my belief said all the struggle and the hardship, and the hard work would be worth it.

Please, my friends, believe in your heart and your conviction and your goal even when it’s difficult.

The journey to success begins the moment we set aside our preference for what is easy and let our drive for challenge and change overpower our fears and negative belief system (“BS”). From there, deeper understanding comes when you share your gifts with others.

Don’t forget that growth often come from events that may seem negative (like a life-changing flood) and many seemingly endless, fruitless days and nights of faith and discipline.

Option trading can change lives through the possibility of financial independence. Keep working, keep at it, do the part that you can do, and believe the rest will happen.

No matter how small you start, start.  Start something that will change your future.

Achieve the Dream of Financial Freedom with the Right Mindset

Couple on Couch

My name is Wendy Kirkland, and I help everyday people earn more money and achieve their own financial independence.

Are you familiar with the monetary frustration of knowing you can do better, but feel tethered to exactly where you are?

I’m sure you can relate. Many highly creative, intelligent, and productive individuals are familiar with the feeling of consistently falling short each month, which is even more frustrating because they know the lack of money is beneath their own expectations and potential.

Most people are in need of an extra paycheck.  Often, we feel isolated, like we are the only ones who seem to be falling behind in our bills with never enough for the unexpected things that all too regularly strike our bank account. 

Do you dread late summer because of back-to-school expenses? Does it take nine months to pay off last year’s Christmas gifts?  Do you only pay the minimum requirement on your credit cards?  Are you stressing about how to send your child (who has really tried hard) to college?  Are you regularly funding your retirement account?

If any of those statements apply to you, you are a member of a huge club.

Most of us hope that, if we continue to work hard throughout our lives, we will be in a financial position to enjoy the “golden years” of retirement.  But, statistics tell a different story.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010) published in 2014, of people age 65 and older: 

  • 19.6% have incomes under $25,000
  • 35.1% have incomes from $25,000 to $50,000
  • 19.4% have incomes from $50,000 to $75,000
  • 25.9% have incomes more than $75,000

Living comfortably on $50,000 a year in retirement, which would require a $1 million plus nest egg by the time you reach the retirement age, will depend on your expenses, investment returns, and health-care costs. This figure does not factor in other benefits, like pensions and Social Security, which can boost your retirement income, but are often much less than we expect for a lifetime of work.

This said, for those of us who have lived month to month with never enough to put aside into savings, we can look forward to working as a Walmart greeter through our retirement or moving in with our kids because a $1-million retirement account is a pie-in-the-sky dream.

Option trading provided a path to my dream. More and more, I’ve realized that the beauty of option trading is its ability to be what people need the most. It is possible for a person to trade options to buy new furniture – or a whole new house. It works for someone who wants to work at option trading on the side or as a full-time occupation. For me, trading options has provided amazing financial possibilities for me and my family. This is what motivates me to pass on what I know and to support people who are looking for their own financial independence.

If you are thinking about, or are already actively, trading options, you’ve taken the first step toward changing your financial future, putting yourself in control. No one cares more about your future than you do. No one cares more about your money than you do. Let’s set the stage for your future success in the option world.

Addressing Fear

At different times in my life, I’ve seen people aim for nothing and hit it with amazing accuracy. When you are ready to change that by taking control and tackling something new, it takes guts and time. You have to be patient with yourself as you learn the particular ways to gather information and analyze what options to buy and sell. Just like the cliché about the journey starting with a single step, option trading is learned by studying the principles and learning some basic facts about the stock market and individual stocks. It requires a commitment to learning the language of trading and for some, overcoming the fear of the stock market and investing in general. It also requires that you understand the modern world of online transactions and become familiar with online trading services and accounts.

Once you have the basics, you’ll be ready to apply what you’ve learned and practice trading options. Virtual trading is a method of investing that can be practiced online without spending a penny until you are ready. This practice is what builds confidence in what you have learned.

From there, you can focus on the specific trading strategies that fit the time you have to spend and your trading personality.

When I first set out to learn option trading, I have to admit it was scary. There was great potential to change our lives for the good, but also potential for failure that made me afraid of any potential long-term consequences in trying something new. I realized being frozen in that fear affected my health, relationships, how I acted and reacted to difficulties, and determined my outlook on life. As I struggled on my own to understand option trading, I learned that life is always guiding and teaching us. It gives us little pokes in the back to nudge us in the needed direction. I want to help save you some of the time spent struggling that I experienced.

Consider the following question yourself. Does fear keep you doing what you do, to not only earn a living, but keep you from trying something new? Does it shadow your whole lifestyle and way of thinking?

Fear will offer you a life of denial, of sacrifice, inner turmoil, and a basket of convenient excuses. Fear will never allow you to experience true prosperity. The best you can hope for is temporary wealth, but physically, mentally and emotionally, you will pay the price. In reality, fear is nothing more than your own thinking and beliefs about something that doesn’t exist.  Don’t do that to yourself!

Living from fear does not honor you, and you are definitely worthy of honor!

We all deserve abundance in its many forms. Enthusiasm and passion are powerful. To be enthusiastic about your work, about new endeavors or courses of study, relationships, and life has its own quality of attraction. You not only attract like-minded people, but you attract solutions to problems that may occur. You draw to yourself focused, insightful answers.

Emotional Responses to Trading

I have discovered that one reason many people are afraid of financial markets and investing in general is the perception used to describe the mindset involved. For example, if you were to tell a friend, a neighbor, or even a relative, that you’re reading a book on trading options, you might hear comments like, “Oh, I’d stay away. That’s riskier than Black Jack,” or, “You’re kidding—you might as well use your money to light the barbeque.”

Of course, I realize you’ll also encounter others who are seasoned investors and have an understanding of the markets. These individuals may be quite interested in what you’re learning.

Because of the impact brought about by the emotional responses many individuals have toward investing and to the financial markets, it’s necessary to clarify the mindset that successful investors need. In fact, this is a vitally important topic.

Ninety percent of option trading (and other types of investing) success is determined by mental and emotional control. If you don’t understand that, you may mistakenly assume that successful traders in either stocks or options are extraordinarily brilliant, lucky, or otherwise in possession of some rare gift. That is not necessarily the truth behind trading.

In fact, you’ll find some traders talk smart, think smart, but act dumb. By that I mean that they sound technically proficient and they know the lingo and may have a feel for the nuances of the market. Yet, when it comes to the bottom line in their portfolio, many do not consistently make successful trades. Many of these traders, brilliant as they may be, are not in control of their emotions.

No matter how brilliant the trader, when fear or greed show up, his thinking inevitably becomes distorted.

Gaining Trading Confidence

Learning how to trade options in a systematic way leads to confident investing, and confidence is a key to financial independence. I see people of all ages, educational backgrounds, and locales taking part in options and changing their viewpoint on trading. I also see these people come to realize and appreciate that they are part of an elite group that involves taking controlled risks.

These same people have stepped up to take charge of their financial futures.

I’m sure you would agree that deadliest catch fishermen or race-car drivers have risky occupations. But imagine a crew of these fishermen or drivers getting together. Do you think they gulp down coffee and agonize about the risks they’re taking? Not likely. These risks are no longer foremost in their minds. They have learned how to minimize those risks. These workers are much more likely to discuss a new tool that helps them perform even better, and they’re likely to hang out with those who are successful.

As you learn more and take the next step on your trading path, you will see the opportunities and advantages of seeking other option traders, either through my website, chatrooms, or through face-to-face trading groups in your community.

Like the fishermen and race-car drivers, you’ll share the tools and techniques you’ve found to become a successful option trader who is building wealth.

I wish you a successful trading career and your own financial independence.

Happy trading!

Wendy