Reuben Blamey took his first trade over five years ago and never looked back. Starting in his university dorm room, Reuben is now a full-time trader alongside running a mentorship program and a trading podcast.
Reuben spoke exclusively to TraderLife's Chris Johnston as part of our Trader Dozen series. Read below as he discusses how he got into trading, the evolution of his trading style, the importance of avoiding complacency, and the future of crypto...
You don’t need a university education or an A in maths to trade. You can have no qualifications and become a successful trader, it’s down to you. Get involved and do the work, that’s all you need.Reuben Blamey
1. Can you remember when and why you got into trading?
I remember it very well, my interest in trading first came about when I had just started University. I was only a couple of weeks in when I was browsing Instagram and came across a ‘friend of a friend’ popping huge bottles of expensive champagne in swanky London clubs. Naturally it got me wondering what it is that he did for a living.
I saw he claimed to be a successful Forex trader, so I investigated it further. To cut a long story short, he turned out to be taking thousands from teenagers fresh out of college by selling dreams of riches from trading, so he certainly was not what he seemed! Even though this put me off right at the start, I decided to research further about trading and the realities of it. After a lot of researching, studying and playing around with demo accounts, I decided to find a mentor to teach me.
It’s been over five years since that first interest sparked, and I’m still here addicted to the charts just like I was when I first looked. It’s been a very difficult journey with huge ups and even bigger downs, but that’s what shapes us as traders in the long run. I trade 14 major FX pairs alongside gold and oil. The commodities I picked up after a few years, as I believe one needs experience trading FX before jumping into commodities. Also, leave that for when you’re confident in the major markets.
2. What’s your trading style and how do you fit this into your other life activities? Do you trade around your life or does your life/job fit around trading?
My trading style has hugely evolved over the years. I used to be what I would call a ‘price-action’ trader, as in I would use candlestick patterns from areas of interest to enter trades. However, I found that unreliable and highly prone to stop runs. Now I utilise limit orders to buy and sell strong areas of support or resistance in confluence with tools such as Fibonacci, trendlines etc. alongside a top-down analysis bias of market direction.
I find this to be very good for time because your orders are placed and therefore you have no need to sit there and watch the charts waiting for the setup. I know what I want to see, I know where I want to see it, I place my order and then it’s up to the market to decide what happens. I also use fairly large stops to allow for drawdown due to entering on pending orders.
I can never know the exact point that the market will react to. I could talk for hours about the intricacies of my setup, but hopefully you get the idea. In answer to the second question, I would say my style of trading can fit around life, it’s not the sort of style where you’re required to be at the charts all day or constantly checking up on your phone while you’re away from the desk.
3. What motivates you to constantly work on improving your trading and enjoy what you’re doing?
I continually work on my trading because I’ve seen first hand what happened when you don’t. There’s been times when I first started learning that I thought I’d cracked it, I got complacent and then the market showed me who’s boss. I’m big on keeping a detailed journey of every trade with screenshots of before and after. I’ve found that this is a massive help on identifying your strengths and weaknesses in trading and allows you to always improve and monitor yourself. If you don’t keep up the work rate, then you’ll never be successful in trading. Never become complacent.
4. Throughout your journey, are you able to pinpoint a moment or a routine that you start doing that then made all the difference to your trading and/or life?
Absolutely, and it’s having a defined daily/weekly/monthly routine with small daily habits to fulfill. The problem with trading is that unless you work in an office, you aren’t required to stick to a structure. This comes back to the previous question, you start to become complacent and fall out of structure.
Wake up at the same time every day, have a routine for the day that benefits both your trading style and your health, get plenty of sleep. Every week have a structure for end of week analysis/review, prep for the week ahead so you don’t wake up on Monday unprepared. The same with the end of the month, check the high timeframes and understand what’s happened during the previous month.
5. I’m presuming that you’ve come up against failure in the past. What has been your approach on getting past these failures and has this evolved since?
Failures hurt, but ultimately, they drive you forward. I know its cliché, but every failure really does have a lesson you can take away. If something goes wrong, even things not related to trading, identify the root cause of it and honestly think what you could have done differently to change the outcome. If you were at fault, don’t do that thing again. Failures are an absolute requirement to progress, you can’t become a better trader or a better person without fucking up along the way.
6. What would you put your success down to? Just being lucky, your intellect and smarts or just consistent hard work? Or possibly a combination?
I wouldn’t say there’s been much luck involved, it would have to be a combination of consistent work and my academic background. I’m used to studying and spending long hours on tasks and I think that translates well into trading. I’m highly methodical in the way I do things, very detailed when it comes to my journaling, and determined to complete a task no matter how long it takes.
7. What do you think sets you apart from others who are trying to be successful?
I can’t say really. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, there will be areas that other people excel in over me and areas I excel over others. At the end of the day, I stay in my own lane but keep building myself up according to how I think it should be done, and I don’t give much thought to what others might think. Just get on with what you think needs to be done.
8. What advice do you have for those who fail, give up or never get started? For either trading or something else in life.
Unless you win the lottery, there’s no such thing as success without failures along the way. Everyone has their limits, but failures are what can and should propel you to keep progressing so that one day, you can look back and know how far you’ve come despite the hurdles. For every failure, write it down and analyse it. Acknowledge your mistakes and plan to improve on it for the future.
In terms of never getting started in trading, most people have this silly idea that “I can’t do that it’s too hard” or “I’m not good with numbers” or some drivel along those lines. You don’t need a university education or an A in maths to trade. You can have no qualifications and become a successful trader, it’s down to you. Get involved and do the work, that’s all you need. Identify what’s really holding you back, it’s probably an irrational fear.
9. Do you set yourself goals? And do you feel that it is a good way to achieve what you want?
Goals can be helpful yes, and I have set some in the past and given myself deadlines to have them completed by. I think it gives you a kick because they are written down, you know exactly what you have to do and so you’re fully accountable if they don’t get done. I’m not like some people where I’m writing lists every week and preaching about goal-setting, it’s just something I’ll do occasionally. But yes, I would say that having goals is a good way of advancing. Just be careful that you don’t set the bar ridiculously high. If you keep setting huge unrealistic goals and you’re not meeting them, it can have the opposite effect because you keep getting deflated that your goals are impossible to reach. Make them realistic, smash them and move onto the next.
10. Knowing what you know now and how you got to where you are today. Is there anything you would like to have done differently, maybe done something earlier in life (or later) etc.
Well specifically in regard to trading, a big mistake I made was not putting in the time and effort when I actually had the time to do so. As I started trading while in University, I had a good amount of time to dedicate to learning and testing strategies. But I was very lapse with it, focusing more on social life and procrastinating. Social life is very important, but I certainly could have divided my time much better. So yes, not putting the work in when I had the time and low amount of responsibilities is something I should have done differently.
11. Not only have you become a successful trader but you’ve also built up a successful trading mentorship & FX course. What were your reasons for sharing the knowledge and skillset you had gained? And was this something that occurred organically?
Well, I never actually intended to start a training program. A couple of years ago I started making a poster for identifying candlesticks for a friend of mine. I discovered that I found it relatively easy to explain concepts and demonstrate them in a graphic. This could have been because I’d been doing academic writing for three years and so I was used to explaining concepts, making designs for educational resources and whatever else.
Also, there was a satisfaction in having someone learn from something that you’ve created, passing on the knowledge so to speak. Anyway, from this I decided to start making more in-depth guides, first on trend lines, then risk management. Then, I thought to myself why not create an entire guide to trading, put all my knowledge and experience into a book. This then developed into a business of its own alongside trading. I was determined to make something of quality and value for money to go against the sheer amount of rubbish that is put out on social media, overpriced courses taught by amateurs that simply teach the basics etc.
12. You’ve recently launched ‘Let’s Talk Trading’, a new podcast interviewing some of Instagram’s most followed traders. As there are many trading podcasts out there, did you feel like there was a gap in the market for new content or was it something you always wanted to do?
There certainly are a few others trading podcasts around but mine is solely focused (for now) on the Instagram community, for which there isn’t one. It was a gap in the market for sure. Instagram is the only social media trading community I’m really a part of, and so it made sense to do it myself. People have tens of thousands of followers but 99% of those followers don’t know a whole that about the person behind the account. This is a great way for people to get more personal with their audience and for the audience to learn about the journey their favourite traders have had.
13. The crypto market has had a lot of attention in the last few years. As an investor yourself, what do you see the main advantages of crypto are? Do you trade crypto or do you buy and hold for the long term?
Crypto has potential on a scale that most people, including myself, can’t quite comprehend. There are uses in every single industry out there for blockchain technology. But people must realise that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies aren’t the same. There are over 1000 cryptocurrencies out there, I believe that most of these will die out over the years leaving us with a much lower number of useful cryptocurrencies.
However, the number of various blockchain technology applications that don’t necessarily need currencies will be huge. I am absolutely no expert in crypto, I would actually consider myself rather an amateur in the crypto space. I just know that there is a need in this world for decentralised monetary systems, crypto offers that. My primary investment is in XRP and the Ripple technology, which I believe has the most practical use of all the cryptos at the moment (and is being used!). I don’t trade crypto, I buy the digital coins and hold them, as the returns that can be provided are phenomenal.