Everyone dreams of escaping the rat race to live life on their own terms. After all, modern corporate life can be hell: A boss breathing fire and brimstone down your neck over Excel spreadsheet deadlines, Bruce from accounting busting your balls over expense reports, the never-ending desire to escape the cubicle farm at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon before Sally the tattletale reports you to HR. The thing that keeps most people complacent in the daily office grind is the financial security that comes with the 9-to-5 life.
Paul Scolardi is a escapist of that corporate culture. Call him a survivor, if you will. Working in corporate finance out of college as a CPA, he helped other people get rich. Then he cashed out those chips to make money for himself, becoming a successful stock trader and the CEO of a stock trading education company called Super Trades. Because he looks like Clark Kent, he’s earned the nickname “The Superman of Wall Street” and has a portfolio to backup that claim — He’s made over a million dollars this year in trades, according to a talk he did with the Huffington Post.
“Almost as good as having the money is being your own boss, I can’t stress that enough,” he tells me on the phone. “I enjoy my independence, making my own schedule, working from anywhere. I usually travel around to Miami, New York , Los Angeles, Scottsdale, Austin, and Vegas and trade stocks because I can office out of anywhere. And as far as the money goes, it’s not necessarily that it brings happiness but I’m able to help my family out, as an example I’ve bought a couple family members cars this year. I fly my friends around on trips to major cities — kind of like of Entourage.”
Before you started trading on your own, you worked in corporate finance. What was initially your draw to the world of finance?
Well personally, I was always inclined to get into finance. I graduated Arizona State in accounting, then I was working in corporate finance. But when you’re working in corporate finance, you’re helping other people get rich. I had an interest in stocks, and I saw it as a way to build my own wealth and eventually have the financial freedom that I now have. That’s the great thing about stocks, the great thing about my strategy is that anybody can learn it if they’re willing to put the time in. You don’t have to have a finance background; you could be in college, you could be working a full time job and you could learn and profit from the strategy.
How did you decide that you wanted to strike out on your own?
Like I said, the good thing about my strategy is that it’s not day trading, you don’t have to be glued to the computer screen, you just have to have the ability to check it a couple times throughout the day. I excelled at my full time job; I received awards and was very decorated in my field, but I was helping other people get rich. I saw that I had this talent not only for myself, but that I could eventually teach others, and I waited until I built bit of a safety net. I didn’t just jump with nothing — I was able to build myself a little bit of a safety net and I was able to make the switch. Then my personal trading took off, and then I started the teaching service, and that’s taken off with great success as well.
I’ve always had a talent for finding great stocks, but I had to learn trial-and-error about when to buy and sell. I had a lot of failures on the way to where I am today until I sat down and learned from my successes as well as my failures to create my strategy. Now I’m a multi-millionaire. I have tons of students, many on their way to becoming millionaires as well.
What is an example of some of your failures?
I was going from boom to bust. I was buying great stocks, I was making a lot of money, and then because I didn’t have the discipline I now have, I would a lot of times lose it. And a couple times I had taken small accounts, like from several thousands, and turn it into the hundreds of thousands, and then I would lose it all. It was devastating. And I had to say to myself “I’ve got the talent to find these stocks, I’ve got to learn from my failures as well so I keep and compound my wealth,” and that’s when I created this strategy that teaches the discipline and rules when to buy and sell stocks, as well as find them. From those three or four years using it and teaching it, I’m a multi-millionaire — $3-4M personally and with several students on the way to becoming millionaires.
How is your strategy different from other strategies that traders tend to deal with?
Some strategies just focus on technicals, like what the chart looks like, and other strategies focus on fundamentals, or the story of the stock, and they’re mutually exclusive. I’m a perfect blend of the two, and my strength is and has always been to find momentum before it happens — find stocks that are going to make big moves before the rest of the crowd does. That’s what I’ve been known for throughout my entire time of trading. And that’s why they call me the Superman of the stock market, as well as the fact that I kind of look like Clark Kent.
Before you got into doing this on your own, what was the best advice you got for trading?
To focus on the psychology and discipline of it, and not just the financial aspect. They’re equally important — you have to be disciplined, the biggest risks psychologically are fear and greed. When I teach students now, not only do I teach them from ground zero — the financials, reading charts, how to buy and sell stocks — I teach them and I coach them on how to be disciplined. I’ll yell at them if they don’t listen. It’s like an athlete — I call myself a coach and they’re the athletes, and they have to discipline themselves psychologically so they follow the rules I teach to know when to sell and not to be greedy, and not be ruled by fear and greed. That is crucial just as much as learning the financial part of it.
What do you look for when it comes to picking winners?
That’s what I call the qualitative aspects, or the story of the stock. So what I’m looking for is either stocks that are entering a growth phase, or stocks that are in a hot sector, and I’ll give you an example. In the last year, biotech stocks, explicitly cancer and immunotherapy stocks — companies that are trying to use the body’s own immune system to fight cancer — have been super hot. So I was looking for the quality stocks in that “theme” as we call it, and one for example, ticker symbol TRIL, I bought it at $8 and I wrote about it, I told my subscribers about it, and it eventually hit $29.There’s another stock this week, LPCN, that I bought and wrote about at $7. They’re making an oral testosterone pill (…the testosterone market is filled with gels and now they’re the first pill) and I bought that and wrote about it to my subscribers. It’s actually hit $14 in the last week, so I’m up several hundred thousand dollars and my subscribers are up thousands of dollars as well.
When it comes to some of the stocks you pick, are there certain trends that you look for that you like to capitalize on? Are there certain things that you prefer over others when it comes to looking at industries as a whole?
I like hot trends, because they have great growth in front of them. I’ll give you an example: besides biotech there’s been cyber security. Cyber security stocks are very hot — they’ve been hot all year. It’s an issue that’s in the news and it’s not going away, and when you think about cyber security and you read the news you can understand why almost every company and government agency is going to need this kind of software and protection. So that’s an example — I look for growth, I look for companies that are going to enter a growth phase and are not valued appropriately yet.
What do you see as your next goal, what do you see for yourself next?
I have individual goals, like this year was personally to make $3M and I’m well on the way to that. But more than that it’s to have my first millionaire student and that should happen this year, where a student will learn my strategy and he becomes a millionaire.
But beyond that and beyond stocks is to use my knowledge to perhaps buy a business someday. That could be in one of these growth fields like a cyber security business or an industry that I’m interested in because of its growth, and use my knowledge from both my corporate background and hands-on experience. I know how to run a company by doing it and from studying all these companies for all these years.
What’s it like to have your first student cross the seven-figure mark?
I’ll be honest, it’s more rewarding than my personal gains, because it shows that my strategy works, and that I’m not just sitting here making a bunch of money for myself, but I’m able to use it to help other people achieve financial freedom.
How long has it taken your students to reach that mark using your strategy?
The one furthest ahead is a 24 year-old college student from Florida. He’s @Triforcetrader on Twitter. He’s been with me a year and a half and he’s almost at the $900,000 mark, but I also have a guy — @DrMatt30 on Twitter — that’s been with me a year and a half. He’s older and has a full time job and he’s at the $500,000 mark from my strategy, so those are just two examples.
Something that really differentiates myself from most people out there is that we actually verify our trades right from our stock account; there’s a website Profit.ly that actually goes right to your brokerage account and verifies all of your trades. So that sets me apart. I’m not just saying that I’m making all this money, I’m actually verifying it, and very few if any people utilize that service out there. That’s a big differentiator that I back it up right from my account. That’s gains and losses; if I lose, I verify it and I say “Hey I should have followed my own rules on that” but that’s what it is, and I’m verifying it.
Why did you feel like you needed to verify your trades?
Credibility. So many people out on Twitter — which is heavily used in the stock world — they miraculously only talk about their gains, nobody ever talks about losses, and it’s a credibility thing. The number one thing is if I’m going to teach people, I have to be a leader and leaders have to lead, and you want the credibility by verifying it. Once people saw that I was verifying my results right out of my account, I just gained so much more credibility than people out there without verification. You have people on TV, CNBC and all these shows, if you can’t verify what somebody is saying, why would you ever want to think about learning from them?
Have other people recognized that you do that?
Absolutely, people recognize it. You always have trolls and haters on the Internet, but my level of trolls and haters have been reduced greatly because I verify both gains and losses, and it’s gained me great credibility and it makes me stand out from a lot of my peers. I’ve seen people that were verifying that stopped doing it, and it’s like if you’re going to call yourself a guru or a leader, or say you have something to teach, then you should be able to back it up.
No one’s going to be 100% accurate, but if what you do works, you’re going to be compounding wealth over time.