Is Having A Mentor A Waste Of Money? Is Not Having A Mentor A Waste Of Time?
These are loaded questions and both may be right or wrong depending on both the trader and or the mentor. The mileage varies for everyone based on the available resources and prior experience.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each.
Pros of Mentorship
- Focused guidance
- Most efficient use of learning time
- Instant access to clarification
- Leveraging someone else’s knowledge base
- Learning from someone else’s mistakes
Cons of Mentorship
- Quality may be questionable (possible waste of time and money)
Pros of not having a Mentor
- Self discovery of the markets
Cons of not having a Mentor
- Learning on your own (this can waste time and money in the markets)
- Lack of direction in the learning path (time wasted)
- Sifting through hours of videos to find the rare valuable insight (time wasted)
- Studying the wrong material for the type of trader that you are (time wasted, possibly money wasted in the market)
- More likely to fall into the cycle of strategy hopping (infinite amount of time wasted)
I think everyone is in agreement that anyone can learn to trade without a mentor, but a mentor will often shortcut the learning process by having a defined learning path that keeps the new trader from distractions. The problem is that mentorship usually isn’t free and some people have more time than money. With a mentor you are more likely to spend more money than time learning. Without a mentor you will definitely spend your time and what you save in mentorship fees may be lost to the market.
As someone that is largely self taught, I found YouTube University less than helpful and huge waste of time. By the time I get done watching several minutes of someone begging me to like, comment, and subscribe, a flashy intro, and then a very basic overview of trading that added no additional value over most other videos, my time has been wasted. Searching for actual valuable information on YouTube is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
I liken YouTube learning to taking 5 unsolved puzzles and dumping them all into an unmarked box, shaking the box to mix the puzzle pieces, and then attempting to solve 1 puzzle using pieces from 5 puzzles without a picture of what the finished puzzle should look like.
So much time is wasted discarding irrelevant puzzle pieces and restarting the puzzle because relevant and irrelevant pieces are mixed. It would be better off having someone give you a puzzle with only relevant pieces inside and giving you a picture of what you are trying to solve. I learned faster once I abandoned the YouTube learning model and not because doing that gave me focus, but because it eliminated the distractions of the irrelevant puzzle pieces. The other thing about YouTube is that even though free information is available, it is often given to induce you to buy a course later. There is nothing wrong with that business model, but with the free information it’s like getting a white belt in karate, they will teach you just enough to go out to a bar and get your butt kicked.
Not having a mentor myself, I can only speak to what I think a mentor should do for a student and that would be to guide them on a focused path of learning so that time is not wasted on distractions. To me the mentor shouldn’t charge for basics that are available on babypips for free. A mentor should pick up where babypips leaves off and expand on specific areas of expertise to teach the student to be a self-sufficient trader. A mentor shouldn’t slow drip the student in order to keep them paying longer, but give information at a rate that is digestible to the student. Likewise the mentor probably shouldn’t rush through material so fast that the learner doesn’t have a chance to fully absorb the information.
I think a GOOD mentor saves time even though that mentorship may cost money. A bad mentor may cost you time and money. Learning on your own can save you money but you will not save yourself time. Of course learning on your own may also cost you in money foolishly lost to the markets because you have learned just enough about trading to be a danger to your account balance.
If I had to take this journey again, I would probably use a mentor at some point in the beginning, just because there were very specific questions that I had that were nearly impossible to find the answer to by searching on online. Searching on YouTube, you can only search titles and tags not the words people speak in the videos. Asking questions in forums wasn’t helpful because if you’re asking a question you probably don’t have the knowledge base to know if the answer received is accurate or not (and they are often not). Having a mentor to answer my exact questions with an explanation that is tailored to me would have been invaluable. I eventually found the answers in the charts on my own, but that is not an efficient use of time. I only tolerate using time that way because it’s chart time and there is no way to avoid fulfilling that necessity.
Some of us will have the ability to learn on our own, some of us will need a mentor, Some have more time to spend than money and being self-taught is the only affordable option. Some of us can’t afford to pay the opportunity cost lost to time spent learning so a mentor will be preferred.
My philosophy is that time is the more valuable resource and it cannot be replenished, so I value time more than money. The time that I saved in learning allows a trader to start making money sooner, which in turn allows for earnings to compound for a longer period of time.
As mortal beings we can always earn more money, but we can never get more time.
As a new trader you will likely pay for mentorship, either to an actual mentor or to the market itself.
Ultimately it’s a personal choice of the path that you take as far as having a mentor or not.