Last time we talked with Carol Harmer, it was in June 2010. After 30 years in the banking sector, she was at the front of her company, “Charmer Charts” to train independent traders in technical analysis. She still trains traders and has joined a new trading room as a coach. Describing herself as a workaholic, Carol says she does not have much of a private life, but it is a choice and she is happy that way. She truly believes it’s possible to find a balance between work and personal life. She finds regrettable though that so few women trade. “Until they gain that confidence that they are more than capable of trading”, she says that will not change.
More a way of life than a job
* Do you still have the same job than the last time we spoke, in July 2010?
Yes I still have the same job, although I have changed my company name from CharmerCharts to CharmerTrading. This is because I am doing much more trading now. I also run a online chat group and have just recently been asked to join “Which Way Today” which is basically combining more with Charmer Trading.
* What is “Which Way Today”?
There are 5 of us who are involved with WWT. Tom Hougaard is the founder of the room. We are diverse and trade Stock indices, Forex, Gold and Commodities. We give short term trading signals on all these markets throughout the day and also project into the “Trading room” our ideas visually. So technology has come on such a long way in the last 5 years! So I still have the same job, but a different method of getting your point of view across.
Also WWT has its own fund so we are very diverse and a very slick operation. The account was 135% up in 2014, so we are very excited going forwards. It’s all documented, we are very transparent. We have a weatlh of experience covering all markets traded around the world. We are open 7am till 7pm every day.
* Why did you decide to join this new project?
To be fair 5 years ago I knew this is something I wanted to do more and more. The experience of the LIFFE floor with its manic mix of wonderful characters and the buzz, then bank dealing room where there was a lot of interaction… I feel very strongly that sitting home alone on a computer as a retail traders is isolating and depressing. I feel sorry that this is the way that trading has gone now, which is why 95% of all retail traders fail. Now this is too big a number… So joining a group like ours, which trades for the room and talks traders through the trades is a wonderful thing. It gives the novice traders a chance to work with experts and also gives them a sense of belonging to something, which is what we had on LIFFE and in bank dealing rooms.
* I can sense you are as passionate about your job as you were 5 years ago…
I do not just enjoy my job, I love it! That is why I still get up at 5am every morning and finish at 7pm. It’s more a way of life than a job to me but one that after all these years I am still dedicated to the trade. Since 5 years ago I have also done Seminars for the The London Investor Show at Olympia and also Madrid Forex day, which is Spain’s biggest FX show. I love the interaction with people and I have done countless webinars for various people and companies.
Balance between private and professional life
* You work from home. How do you manage to keep work and private life separate?
Tough one! I am not your typical women. I do not have much of a private life because work takes up so much of my time. My family are grown and I am sadly not married any more. We close the Trading room for 2 hrs every day between 12 and 2pm, then I can go to the gym, have a swim etc. But I am very different, I am a workaholic and therefore Monday to Friday is a school night and as far as I am concerned and I stick to that. Friday afternoon if not a NFP day I call it quits about 3pm and enjoy the sunshine from living in Spain. Then I start again Sunday late afternoon.
So my particular job doesn’t give me much time for a social life. But I have to say that in my 33 years, I’ve had the most brilliant social life you can imagine. We had set hours of trading back then. These days its 24 hrs so it’s got a lot harder to have a private life if you do what I do… which is to be on call for retail traders for 12 hrs a day.
* Any advice to women traders?
My advice to women out there wanting to be traders is that you do need some balance in your life. If you work for yourself then it is up to you the hours that you work. As a retail trader, get to know when the quiet periods of the markets are and then you can combine the 2 quite well.
Women and Men in trading
* Back in 2010, you said that very few women actually trade their own money in comparison to men. Do you think it has changed?
I still hold that and I think that is a shame. But that is the nature of the game I guess. I am not sure whether it is a confidence thing. I know that there are more women in trading now than 5 years ago. I can see them coming onto the group, but it is still very much a man’s world because he can dedicate the hours needed to succeed.
* You said 5 years ago that “women traders are better than men because they do not have egos.” Do you still have the same opinion today?
I stand by every word I said 5 years ago about women traders. In fact I think I feel it more now after being so heavily involved with the retail market in the past 5 years. Until they gain that confidence that they are more than capable of trading, sadly it will just go on with the majority being men. I wonder if I will still be saying the same in the next 5 years… Its a point to think on!