'I Wish I'd Thrown the Money Out the Window'

Doc's note: Would you throw $100 out the window? In today's issue, Extreme Value editor Dan Ferris explains how doing just that could make you rich...


Want to get rich? Throw $100 out the window...

That's right.

If you're really committed to getting rich, you need to throw $100 out of the car window. The next time you're driving down the highway, give it a try.

Just so we're clear, though... you didn't get this idea from me. I don't want a horde of angry readers hunting me down to get their Ben Franklins back.

This outside-the-box idea comes from master trader Mark Minervini...

You might recognize Minervini's name... He's one of more than a dozen elite trading geniuses profiled in Jack Schwager's 2001 best-selling book, Stock Market Wizards: Interviews with America's Top Stock Traders (an inspiring must-read for traders).

I interviewed Minervini a few years ago for an episode of the Stansberry Investor Hour podcast. Before the interview, I did my usual homework to prepare for the episode. While doing that, I went to his blog. And that's where I discovered his "$100 Challenge"...

If you are going to be a big success, then in the big picture $100 is meaningless. Tossing it out the window is a declaration to yourself that you've moved beyond scarcity thinking. That $100 is nothing in comparison to the financial success you are going to manifest. Do you believe in yourself?

When you release it out the window, make a wish for the person who finds it. Imagine it going to someone who really needs it – or someone who receives the money as an affirmation of their own worthiness and success around the corner. Do it with the intention of becoming part of something far bigger that connects all of us.

Before I go any further, I have a confession... When I read this, I immediately thought Minervini was nuts. I e-mailed our podcast producer and considered canceling the interview.

But instead, I let myself calm down... and thought about it for an hour or two.

And you know what?

Minervini is a genius.

In fact, there's ample historical precedent for the logic behind Minervini's suggestion to throw $100 out the window...

It's just like when Alexander the Great burned his ships in 334 B.C...

Young Alexander hadn't earned his famous nickname yet. But like Minervini, he was on his way to big success...

In 334 B.C., Alexander set sail with his men on a fleet of Greek and Macedonian ships. They aimed to cross the Hellespont – a narrow waterway in the northwestern part of modern-day Turkey that's known today as the Dardanelles. It's recognized as a piece of the traditional boundary between Europe and Asia.

For an ambitious guy like Alexander, crossing the Hellespont was a big deal...

His empire would eventually stretch all the way to India – more than 3,000 miles east. But before Alexander could get there, he needed to defeat one of his greatest enemies... Persian Emperor Darius III.

So Alexander sailed across the Hellespont. And as he came ashore, he took a $100 bill out of his pocket and tossed it out the window... so to speak.

Alexander immediately ordered his men to burn all their ships. He told them, "We will either return home in Persian ships or we will die here." Alexander needed ships... but he needed to conquer the Persians more.

Alexander needed his men to understand one thing... Failure was not an option.

As Minervini and I spoke, he stressed the symbolism of the $100 bill...

If you don't accompany the act of throwing out the money with a deep, emotional commitment to becoming successful, then you're just wasting $100.

You must make that $100 count.

You must burn your emotional ships... and totally commit to winning at trading – or whatever other endeavor you've decided to embark upon.

Without that commitment, throwing the money out the window won't mean a thing.

I know what you're probably thinking...

It's all well and good for a guy with millions to spare to throw $100 out the window. But what about the rest of us... for whom $100 is a lot of money?

Well, this isn't something Minervini came up with after he became rich...

In fact, he took his own advice while driving down the road many years ago... before he became a rich-and-famous trader. He recounted the story during our interview...

Many years ago, Minervini and a friend – another aspiring trader – were driving. The two young men liked to tell each other how successful and wealthy they would become one day.

During the drive, Minervini asked his friend how good of a trader he intended to become. Knowing Minervini's total dedication to learning how to trade stocks successfully, the friend said... "Even better than you, Mark. I'm going to be one of the greatest traders in the world."

On this particular day, as they drove down the road, Minervini wanted to up the ante. He wanted to put his money where his mouth was... and he wanted his friend to do the same.

So Minervini took all the cash out of his pocket – about $400, a substantial sum to him at the time – and he threw it out the window.

His friend was shocked.

Then, Minervini asked his friend how much money he had on him. "About $200."

"Well, throw it out the window." Minervini said. "If you're so committed to being such a great trader – better than me, one of the best in the world – $200 is nothing to you. If you can't throw $200 out the window, maybe you're not that committed."

The $100 Challenge obviously worked for Minervini...

He dropped out of junior high school, enjoyed a brief career as a musician, and then devoted a decade of his life to developing a successful trading system. And it paid off...

During one five-year period in his career, Minervini generated a total return of more than 33,000% – 220% per year, compounded – with only a single down month. That kind of success would turn $100,000 into more than $30 million!

And his friend? He didn't throw his $200 out the window that day. Nor did he ever become a wealthy, successful trader.

Decades later, he met up with Minervini. And he told him, "Mark, I'm so proud of you. You really did it. Congratulations... and I wish I'd thrown the money out the window."

Now, I'm only human...

When this insanely successful, wealthy guy makes a case like this for how to end up where he is, it gets under my skin. And every day that passes seems like one more in which I still have this $100 bill in my pocket, itching to be set free.

But in reality, I doubt I'll ever take Minervini's $100 Challenge. I made my own lifelong commitment years ago, while recuperating from my first back surgery at my parents' house.

Before my injury, I led a bohemian lifestyle...

I played music in restaurants, coffeehouses, and the occasional music theater orchestra throughout Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. I also played a bigger gig at the Kennedy Center, back when Plácido Domingo was the artistic director of the Washington National Opera. (Talk about intimidating... When he looks at you, you'd better get your act together, pronto!)

But afterward, as I recovered on the bed at my folks' place, I realized that I needed to get serious. I needed to start making a stable income. That decision eventually led me to the markets... and then to Stansberry Research.

I'm already all-in and have been for years. But if I weren't, I would be driving down the highway right now... chucking $100 bills out the window... and swearing up and down to become a roaring success or die trying.

It's not something I would recommend for everyone...

The idea of throwing $100 away to seal a commitment to excellence is personal. You must decide for yourself to do it or not. But on his blog, Mark explicitly recommends it...

Liberate yourself from attachment. Toss that $100 bill into the wind and the unknown. Let go of labels of this act being wasteful or crazy. This is how you learn to control your own perception and the meaning you assign to life's events.

Declare your life of abundance. If you do, your thinking may change, and what you thought was a burden will become powerful and motivating.

It's a powerful message... The guy obviously made a huge impression on me.

Now maybe, like me, your choice to commit looks different. (Not to mention that when it comes to the markets, you obviously don't want to risk everything in your wallet.)

But you do need to build wealth over the long term – because, just as Alexander the Great realized, defeat is not an option.

And in order to do that, you need to wholly and completely internalize the dedication it takes to get there. This will change your thinking... and give you courage in your convictions.

Good investing,

Dan Ferris

Editor's note: Right now, Dan is sharing the secrets of a moneymaking strategy so powerful, it helped him go from having just $268 to having everything he could ever want... luxury cars, a music room filled with guitars, and a life spent traveling first class around the world. According to Dan, the exact setup he used to grow rich is happening again. To learn how you can use this powerful strategy too, click here.