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Crazy About Travel

Trading and Traveling the World With Teri Ijeoma

The year’s top performing S&P 500 sectors are those that ended 2021 with the lowest price-to-earnings ratios. The energy sector traded on Dec. 31 at 11 times its projected earnings and is now up 23% year to date. The financial segment, which entered the year at 14.7 times earnings, is the only other sector in positive territory for the year, with a gain of 4%. The U.S. Treasury yield curve has been flattening over the past few months as the Federal Reserve prepares to hike rates. And some analysts are forecasting more extreme moves or what is even known as yield curve inversion.

U.S. household debt hit $15.8 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2021. That’s an increase of $333 billion from the previous quarter. Credit card balances alone hit $860 billion, up $52 billion in that same time frame. That’s the largest quarterly increase in the 22 years the Fed has been collecting data. The surge in debt overall was driven by home and car purchases. Keep in mind that overall credit card balances are lower than they were pre-pandemic, about $71 billion lower. And according to the Fed, Americans used a lot of pandemic-era government aid to pay off their debt, which means they had available credit to use on new purchases. We’re going to see how much firepower consumers have if inflation lingers at these high levels. Consumer sentiment hit another 10-year low in January.

Meet Teri Ijeoma

Teri Ijeoma began her professional career working in education and nonprofits. When she started trading stocks over a decade ago, she was able to supplement her income so she could afford luxuries such as travel. Teri was so successful that in 2017, trading became her full-time source of income, and she then founded Trade and Travel. With 10+ years invested in trading education, courses, and workshops, Teri has developed expert strategies and proprietary intelligence that fast-tracks the learning journey and earning performance.

What’s in This Episode?


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Imagine if you could quit your day job, trade the market, and make enough money to travel the world as you trade. Sounds like a fantasy, and social media is full of people who say they’re doing it. They’re living their best life. But what does it actually mean to make that happen? Teri Ijeoma may have figured that out. She began her career working in education and in the nonprofit sector, but nine years ago, she taught herself to trade so she could travel. And now she’s teaching thousands of students around the world how to do it. I don’t know how we managed to catch up with her, since she is literally all over the world and all over social media platforms. Well we did, and Teri is our special guest this week on the Express. Welcome, Teri.

Teri:

“Thank you so much for having me, Caleb. This is great.”


Caleb:

“We’re really delighted you’re here. Take us to the moment, Teri, when you realized that you could actually make money trading stocks and that you could actually make enough to live your dream to travel and trade. What were you doing when all that happened, and how did you put it together?”

Teri:

“Sure. So, I guess I’ll take you back to… high school was when I first was introduced to the stock market. I went to a program at Northwestern University. It was for juniors in high school, about to be seniors. And they introduced us to finance and they took us to the Chicago Stock Exchange. So, that was my first introduction to stocks. And I remember going home that summer as a senior and Google had their IPO. And I remember asking all of my teachers and my great, my grandmother, ‘How do I get in? It’s $83 a share. How do we do it?’ And nobody knew what to do so. So, I remember feeling so discouraged because we couldn’t get in. We didn’t know how to open an account. We didn’t know what to do to buy the share.”

“And I ended up going to MIT later and interning at Morgan Stanley, and that was my second introduction. I was like, ‘OK, people are actually doing this.’ But when I really learned that I could make money to travel and supplement my income, I was assistant principal at an elementary school. I had gone down this whole different track in education for 10 years. And I remembered, ‘I think I can actually make some money in the market.’ I was looking for an exit strategy. My bosses were crazy. I wasn’t happy. My friend had just passed away. And I said, ‘You know what? All I really need is $300 a day to replace my income as an assistant principal.’ That’s it. I don’t need a ton of money. I don’t need to, like, be balling. Like, you see some people know. I just need $200–$300 a day. So, I started practicing with my old retirement. So, several of the companies that I had left, I had an IRA or 401(k) and 403(b) sitting there. I moved it to a self-directed IRA and started practicing with that until I could make enough to replace my income.”

Caleb:

“So, you would do this as an income replacement thing before you even thought about truly building wealth. You said, ‘Get me out of this paradigm, and get me into a new one where I can control my time,’ which is a fascinating way to go. Tell me about the early days of you learning how to trade. When you go to cash your retirement accounts out, anyway, that’s a tax implication. But then you have this money in your hands. Tell me about some of your early mistakes.”

Teri:

“Oh, I made so many big mistakes. So, I’ve been trading now 12 years. I started in 2010, and all of this time it was just a side hustle while I’m in education. One of the big mistakes was I didn’t know what I was doing for the first six years. I lost more than I made. I knew that it could work because I was just watching CNBC and watching Jim Cramer, and they were doing it. And I figured this has got to work. But I called myself smart, so I said, ‘Well, I’m going to come up with my own algorithm. I’m a MIT girl. I can do this.'”

“I think one of the biggest mistakes was not learning from the people who had come before me and thinking that you had to do it all by yourself. There’s so many good traders out there that have had systems that work. I wish I had known to even go to classes or do research earlier. Like even Investopedia. I’m so glad that you guys are around because… you can do so much research, and I didn’t know back then, I just thought I had to figure it out. I think another big mistake was feeling like if I had made a mistake, I just had to wait for it to come back up. And not knowing that there was any risk management, I didn’t even know there was a stop loss in the beginning. I found that out probably six years into trading that I could protect myself. Like, what?”

Caleb:

“‘Wait, wait. I could set a price where I don’t want to get out of this stock no matter what?’ Definitely, right?” 

Teri:

“Right! Man, how much money would I have saved if I knew that was a thing? But six years in, I learned that I could protect myself. And then just so many other things. I had my biggest loss, after I had finally quit my job as assistant principal, I started traveling all over like you asked about. And my first place was South Korea, and then I went to Thailand. That’s where I had the first biggest loss. I had been trading earnings of Pandora. And first of all, all that was wrong. Like, I now feel like I shouldn’t trade earnings. It’s too risky. But I know a lot of people make good money from it. For me, it was my biggest loss, so I try to stay away from it. And I remember we had this beautiful ceremony in Thailand, we were letting balloons fly. Have you ever done that ceremony or seen one of those?”

Caleb:

“I’ve seen it. It’s beautiful.”

Teri:

“It’s gorgeous. And I remember one of my wishes was, ‘Lord, I just want to be a better trader.’ And I had let my balloon go. And then I go to a side alley, it’s past midnight now because the U.S. market opens really late in Thailand, and I find a seat. I open my cell phone because I’m trading on my phone while I travel, and I look down and it’s just dropped $3 overnight. And my silly self, I had 8,000 shares. That was another big mistake. Why was I even trading that many shares? That’s a bad risk management thing too. I panicked. I remember calling my mom crying and bawling, ‘Mommy, I’m going to have to go get a job again.’ So, biggest mistakes, so many things. But one of the big ones was not knowing about risk management. I think that’s been huge for me. That’s been something I had to really build out in my trading career.”

Caleb:

“That’s the core of everything. Know how much you can lose, how much you can afford to lose. Diversify, so you’re not all loaded up in Pandora. I laughed because I made the same mistake. Lehman Brothers fell from $80 to $19. I think I’m a genius because who’s going to put Lehman Brothers out of business? They’re out of business two weeks later, and there goes my biggest investment. That stung a lot, but you obviously have a passion for travel. You did this so you could replace your income, but you also want to travel the world, and you’ve been doing it. How do you do that and trade the market at the same time? Do you set yourself up in a place where you say, ‘Every morning, when the market opens in New York, I’m going to be in a place where I can make sure I set my positions?’ How do you actually do that, Teri?”

Teri:

“Yes. So, actually, I’m traveling right now. I live in Puerto Rico, but I’m in Atlanta for interviews. So, what I do is I make sure that no matter what time zone I’m on, I set my alarm for an hour before the market starts so that I can look at the pre-market, do some research. And I trade for about… honestly, the actual trading is about 15 minutes in and out. But that first couple hours of the trading day, I want to make sure that I’m present. I know what’s going on in the news, I know what the stocks are doing, and then after that I can have the rest of my day. So, no matter what time zone I’m on… the coolest thing is when you’re in Asia, because that means you’re trading at night, and you get to have the the whole day to yourself to explore. And then you come back and you’re like, ‘OK, cool, now I’ll open it at night while everybody else is chilling, and I’ll make my money.'”

“So, biggest thing is I like to trade those first couple of hours. I check back around lunchtime of the market. So, wherever I am in the world, I just check my phone. And then at the end, I check for about the last hour, I see what’s going on, make any new decisions for the next day. But that’s kind of the cadence. And then I’m a big technical analysis trader, so I can set up my charts and see, ‘OK, this is the price I want to get in or this is the price I want to get out,’ and have that homework sit in there for the week. That also is helpful. I’m more of a swing trader than a day trader, but I look at it every day.” 

Caleb:

“So, folks, day traders… and Teri makes a great point here. They only need to trade a few hours of the market. Some day traders just trade the pre-market or the post-market, close their positions, take note to stocks with them to the next day. Typically, swing traders may hold a position overnight, a week, a month, sometimes even a year. So, you’ve got positions and you got your stops in there, you got your limits in there. You know the patterns you’re watching and the price activity. And then you just set it up, and you look and you have your alerts coming to you every day on the stocks that you’re monitoring on your watchlist, right?”

Teri:

“Alert to one of the best secrets that I have found. Instead of actually placing the trade, you can actually have an alert. It tells you on your phone, like a little notification, and then you go in and check. That’s one of the biggest secrets, I think, for a trader that’s active like me. If you can’t watch it all the time, at least have a notification pop up, and then you can go work and look at it.”

Caleb:

“That’s so important for folks. So, you created Trade and Travel, which is your online platform, but it’s also the gateway to your courses that you’re teaching on trading and investing. And I’ve been watching the testimonials from your customers and your fans. They love what you’re doing and you’re teaching them a lot. But that’s not easy to do, Teri. Trade the market, travel like you want to travel and run this business of online education. We do it too, and we’re a big company. You’re Teri. How are you doing this?”

Teri:

“I’ll tell you the truth: It is something that’s an adjustment. You go from being just a trader to now being a trader and CEO of the company. And I look at it more like I’m back to being a principal because it feels like a school and we have 12,000–16,000 students coming through the school at all times. So, it is an adjustment, and I have had to figure out how to manage both.”

“One thing that I’ve tried to do is make sure that I have teams that run the school, so we now have coaches that can do live study groups and office hours, and I don’t have to do every coaching call, which is nice. But sometimes it’s fun. I did a five day challenge the other day teaching people how to get started and take their first trade. I still love teaching. So, it’s hard to juggle. It’s a lot. But I love both, so it makes it so much better.”

Caleb:

“Teri, you’ve been doing this for a long time and you know this well, but a lot of folks coming to this for the first time or who came into the market in the past couple of years don’t really know what it’s like to trade a bear market or trade a choppy market or trade with that uncertainty that you and I… if you’ve been in doing this as long as we have, we saw it in 08 and 09. We saw it a couple of years ago. So, now we’re in this choppy time. How do you teach and navigate these massive sell-offs, especially when everyone looks like a genius when things are on the way up? What are you telling your customers and your students now? 

Teri:

“So, in Trade and Travel, it’s eight weeks. The first half is mainly focused on how to make money when the market is going up. So, you’re picking good companies, you’re doing risk management, you’re looking at charts. But the second half, when we talk about short selling, gaps, and Globex and then options, I think is really built for people that can make money when the market goes down. So, one of the things I’ve been taken advantage of is selling options or selling verticals. So, instead of trying to guess to see if I’m going to be right, I’m looking at… ‘OK. As long as it stays above this place, I can bring in some credit. OK, as long…’ and I might be saying the term wrong, so y’all look at Investopedia. But I just think of it as I’m selling options. But as long as it stays kind of above this area, I’ll bring in some credit. Or as long as it stays below this price, I’ll bring in some credit. I’ve been doing those type of trades so that I can have a little bit more flexibility. I don’t have to be exactly right and still make money during this season. And then also short selling has been big for us too. We’ve done really well. I say we, but I’m thinking me and many of my students have done really well being able to make money when some of those stocks have been falling.”

Caleb:

“The most important thing there is actually keeping your eye on that because if you short sell, you could end up, if the market turns against you, with some massive losses there. I assume not a lot of margin going on, but it’s OK to short sell. But you got to keep your eye on these things. So, it’s not set it, forget it. If you’re going to do this, you have to do this with rules in place, right? You have to have a system. And I’m sure like a lot of good traders, Teri, you probably keep a log or a journal of ‘What did I do that went well there. What did I do that went wrong and how can I learn from it?'”

Teri:

“I do. We talked about mistakes earlier. I was on the wrong side of Tesla when it started going up a long time ago. I had short sold it, and then it started skyrocketing up. So, you definitely have to have protection if you’re short selling and if you’re selling options. And you’re right, it’s something that you have to keep your eye on. So, even now, when I am busy, then I can pause. And I think people don’t realize, if you’re a trader, it’s a skill set that you can turn on and off. So, if you get really busy and you’re not able to look at the market, it’s OK to take a break. That’s actually a superpower for traders. Take the best trades. You don’t have to take every trade, and when you are too busy to look at it, you might want to think about selling some of those positions that you can’t pay attention to.”

Caleb:

“Yeah. In deciding not to make a trade is also an investing and trading decision, and it’s a pretty powerful one. As you say, nobody is required to do anything unless you have a big position that could get impacted. You don’t have to do anything as a trader. You could liquidate everything today. Come back tomorrow and start anew. As a long-term investor, and I know you teach some of that as well, that’s a different game.”

“So I look at all the testimonials from your customers and you have people from all over the world and all ages and everything. But you have a lot of women there, which is important because women typically are not as active in the market as men are and haven’t been and haven’t had access. But you’re also serving communities that typically don’t get this type of exposure. And that’s so important because they’re missing one of the great pathways to building wealth or being able just to make some money to help them with their bills. So, I know a lot of what you’re doing is to help people just learn in general and and continue to improve your craft. But touching the community and helping those underserved communities is important to you, right?”

Teri:

“It’s so important. There was an article that came out on CNBC recently, and it said that many African-Americans had missed building the wealth gap or bridging the wealth gap because they weren’t invested in the last couple of years when the market had gone up so high. So, recently, I was telling you we had a five day challenge. We had over 7,000 people, and 90% of them were African-American. Many of them actually 35 to 55. Either they’ve been in their jobs for a little while and just want to make a pivot or they’re looking to retire. But they were learning for the first time how to take their first trade so that they can be invested. I think that’s going to be the real way that we start bridging the wealth gap.”

Studies of the racial wealth gap vary somewhat in their relative measures of the different groups’ wealth. However, all confirm a gap of many multiples between the wealth of White families and the wealth of Indigenous, Black, and Latinx families.

Caleb:

“Yeah. And we’ve had an unbelievable few years of returns that could change your life and could change your family’s life if you were invested the at the right time. That said, Teri, and you know this well, you’re never going to be able to pick the right time. So, get in there, and get started.”

Teri:

“Just at least try. You got to start now. If you never try, then you’ll never be able to see what could happen.”

Caleb:

“So, we talked about some of your early mistakes. Tell me about one of your big wins. What was the first big win where you said yourself, ‘Man, I can do this!'”

Teri:

“OK, I’ll tell you my first one and then one that I’m really proud of. So, first one that I’m… well, two that I’m proud of. I was sitting in my office as an assistant principal and just think, Caleb, on a regular basis, I would be crying in the bathroom because I was so disappointed. My assistant principals would always get on me, me and the other… no the assistant principals, but the principals would get on me, and me and the other assistant principal would cry in the bathroom all the time. So, this is one time I’m sitting in my office and I’m trading… I can’t remember right now what I was trading. But it makes $3,000, and that’s almost my salary. That’s my salary as an assistant principal.”

“So, my principal comes in. This is the person that’s been giving me all this grief. I just made my salary in a day trading, and I look up at him, and he looks at me and I’m like, ‘I wish you would say something right now, because today is the day I would leave.’ So, I will remember that trade forever because it was my freedom trade. It was a day I knew that I could be free from trading, and I could leave the job if I wanted to. I decided to stay until the end of that school year, but that’s when I knew that I could actually go fulfill my dreams. And that’s something I want more people to know, that they have options. If you learn how to to trade and make some money and supplement your income, then now you have options to do whatever makes you happy, and it could be staying at work. But at least you don’t feel stuck, and you’re not crying in the bathroom like I was.”

Caleb:

“That’s great. That’s a beautiful story. And to your point, you could do this to change your life like you did. You could do it to supplement your income. You could do is just to turn on another part of your brain and maybe make a little money in the process. And then there’s all kinds of fulfillment. And you know this as well as I do, this is a never ending educational journey. You don’t get to the end of learning how to trade. You’re always in process.”

Teri:

“Always learning something new. As a trader, I feel like you get something, you try to master it. And I do encourage people to do that. I try to master at least one thing first. Then you can go to the next thing like, ‘OK, I got Teri’s seven steps down. That’s what she does in Trade and Travel. It is making me a little money. Now let me go check out this thing, and let me go check out this.’ You can never stop learning, but all of a sudden you start growing your confidence. I have one student, he’s trading for his kids’ college. He has twins, and he’s trading to afford to pay for their college. And one of the things he said, ‘Teri, I didn’t know that I could feel this confident when I learned this new skill and I started seeing that that I’m able to do this. It gave me this new level of confidence,’ and then also discipline. It increased his discipline, it increased his patience. So, he’s growing as a man and a husband and a dad by trying to learn this new skill set of trading.”

Caleb:

“That’s just got to make your heart sing. I mean, that is kind of what you’re here to do, help these people find that kind of freedom that you were able to find. What a beautiful story.”

Teri:

“It definitely does. Oh, I was going to tell you… I know we’re probably running short on time, but I was going to tell you one other thing. I finally made a million dollars in a day from a trade. Yes! I was trading Amazon. And you guys know I was starting with just $300 in a day, and then I got good at that and I went ‘OK, well, and how about a thousand dollars in a day?’ I started making that pretty pretty easily. And that’s now what trade and travel we teach our students. How do you make a thousand dollars in a day on a regular basis? And then I said, ‘OK, well, I’m doing that and hitting that pretty consistently. Now what about $100 thousand in a day?’ So, in 2020, I made my first $100 thousand in a day and then I said, ‘Well, OK, I’m able to do that? This is getting… not easy, but more consistent. How about a million dollars a day?’ 2021, I finally hit a million dollars in a day trading stocks and this was trading Amazon.”

Caleb:

“Teri, you know, we’re a site that’s built on our investing terms. People come to Investopedia to look stuff up. I know you’ve been there recently. I’ve been there recently. What’s your favorite investing term and why? What speaks to your heart?”

Teri:

“You know, what? Risk management is so important to me. After that first loss and feeling like, ‘Dang, I’ve got to go back to my job?’ Anything related to risk management, stop losses, quantity, size targets, limit orders. So, I’ll say stop loss. That’s probably one of my favorite terms right now.”

Caleb:

“It’s a huge part of risk management, and a lot of folks don’t know that you can do that to protect yourself on the downside, and even on the upside there. So, very smart one. I love that, we love that. One of our most popular ones here at Investopedia. Teri Ijeoma, so good to be with you. Folks, check out tradeandtravel.com. Look at what Teri is putting out there in terms of courses. She’s all over the social media channels, so you can find inspirational stories from her and also some great lessons. And it is a real delight to meet you and have you on the Express, Teri. Thanks so much.”

Teri:

“Thanks so much for having me.”

Term of the Week: Price-to-Earnings Ratio

It’s terminology, time. Time for educated investors like us to smarten up with the investing term we need to know this week. This week we’re going back to basics and Sean in Woodbridge, Virginia, is taking us there with P/E ratio also known as the price-to-earnings ratio. This is one of the most popular terms on Investopedia, and it’s getting a lot of attention right now, given the sell off in tech stocks and the weakness in the broader market. Well, according to Investopedia, the P/E ratio, the price-to-earnings ratio, is the ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its earnings per share (EPS). The price-to-earnings ratio is also sometimes known as the price multiple or the earnings multiple. P/E ratios are used by investors and analysts to determine the relative value of a company or an index of shares in an apples-to-apples comparison. It can also be used to compare a company against its own historical record or to compare aggregate markets against one another over time. P/E be estimated on a trailing, backward-looking or forward-projected basis.

“A high P/E ratio could mean that a company’s stock or an index is overvalued, or else that investors are expecting high growth rates in the future. Well, let’s put this into context. When we look at the S&P 500, the benchmark index, it traded late last month at a low of 19.3 times projected earnings over the next 12 months, according to FactSet, falling below 20 for the first time since April of 2020. That was down from the 21.5 multiple at which the benchmark entered the year, but still above the five year average of 18.9. Translation: Even though the stock market has sold off to begin the year, it still has a relatively high price-to-earnings multiple and may be considered overvalued by some investors. Good suggestion, Sean in Woodbridge, Virginia. We’re sending you a pair of the slick and reliable Investopedia socks for your next hike over to the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge right there in Prince William County.