Disclaimer: This is a cautionary tale.

One I do not wish on anybody.

     I am still in pain. Physical. Emotional. Spiritual. Financial. I went long AAPL calls Monday morning August 24, 2020 and I broke all of my trading rules. 

      1. Never buy a stock at its high. 

      2. Never buy at the open. 

      3. Don’t trade in August or until the market has a clear direction 

      4. Set a stop loss. 

      5. Never go all in; average in.

     But I purchase the August 28 AAPL 530 calls right at the open. I go all in and get printed high 8.71. 

      The high

     I studied Apple over the weekend and it was about to break out over 500 and the split was coming and all the data, charts, statistics show the stock was going to run.

     What could possibly go wrong?

     It’s Apple.  The most talked out, profitable company in the world.  Everybody's trading it.  Including my friend who worked in cosmetics at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. 

     How can she know more about the stock market than I? I'm a seasoned trader.  I worked as a Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley in New York. I covered hedge funds in an equity sales capacity. 

     When my friend told me she bought Apple at a 52 week high the summer of 2018, I just kept saying, “It’s too high. You’re going to get burned.”

     She wasn’t burned. She was up over 100%. Even after market collapse of 2020.

     I wasn’t a buyer and holder of stocks. I had seen too much. Besides, I liked quick, easy money.

     But that Monday morning, I never expected the stock to open as high as 513. 

     I had two accounts and I bought 100 contracts in one and 50 in another right out of the gate. 

     My account was down to its last $100k because I was short after March 2020 and got burned by Powell and the Fed and all the liquidity flooding into the markets.

     But with 10 times the profits you can make on options, I could be at over a million dollars in no time!

    That was the plan. 

     And I am the queen of plans.

     Right out of the gate, my account jumps from $111,000 to $122,000 in SECONDS.


     And all I think is this is going to be good… I should have jumped on this train a long time ago.  And I’m watching …and this is awesome... And I’m making bank.

     Until suddenly Apple drops 10 points within seconds. It breaks 500 and my account is disintegrating before my eyes. 

      It drops so fast, I can barely fathom what is happening.

     I can’t breathe.

     I wait. 

     I take the little money I have left in my account and I do what is the worst thing to do on a losing trade. I average down.  That's known as the MORON TRADE -- Piling MORE money onto a losing trade.

      I buy more contracts.

     The stock begins to climb.  

     I'm relieved.  

     It looks like I’m out of the woods.

      I now have a $7,000 profit.

     Too early to sell, I tell myself.

     I want more.

     I always want more…

     I take a shower. I’m writing a book and need to get cracking on that.  I also need to find a job.  When I come out of the shower, Apple is trading higher at 509, but my profits HAVE CRACKED IN HALF.

     I’m now only up $2,000!

     This isn’t good, I realize. This is the decay they talk about in options.

     I have been asked by other traders a thousand times: “Why don’t you just trade options?”

     “Because options expire worthless,” I’d reply.  

     But here I was trading them.  Why didn't I just listen to myself?!

     No, my options won't expire worthless, I tell myself.   I’m different, I’m special.   It’ll be different…FOR ME.

     Monday ends up being a bad day. 

     The stock is a behemoth. 

     It takes so much pressure and volume to move it and all I can feel is that it wants to go down.

     I’m all in a stock I never traded before and never liked and I’m holding it at an ALL TIME HIGH. 

     I hated everything the company stood for and even though I have an iPad, I believed that all of this technology was just ruining people’s lives.  And all the executives at Apple were pompous and taking over the world with their wealth. I could go on and on, but I won’t. 

     Because it doesn’t matter.

     I'm blowing up as we speak.  

     That day, Apple closes down at 502 and I hold the options overnight.  I’m down over 50%. 

     Maybe more.  

     It’s hard for me to look at this point. My $111,000 account fluctuated between $122,000 and $59,000 and it was a rollercoaster ride.

     One I wanted to get off.


     The stock went up after hours and I stayed up most of the night watching it.  At 1 in the morning, someone posted that Apple was trading at 111 overseas. 

      We were all overjoyed. 

     Our calls will be saved!

     We will live to trade another day!

     I finally fall asleep and wake up three hours later. I grab my phone and I check pre-market. Futures are up but Apple is red and down 3 points.


     And as soon as I buy it, it turns.

     Isn’t that always the case?

     I feel sick.

     I watch the open.

     If I there ever was a time I could give back one trade – this would be it. All traders should get one chance at a DO OVER. 

      A redue. That one bad trade that they could give back.

I open my Etrade account and my balance is $42,000.

     I am f*ed.

     The stock is dropping.

     My stomach is in pain.  

     I'm panicking.  

    How could this be happening?  How could I do this to myself.  

     I can’t breathe.

     I have been in this situation many times before and now I’m on my last shred of patience. Between the quarantine and being so isolated for the past six months, my day trading has gone off the rails. 

      I weigh 90 pounds. It's very thin on a 5” 5 body.  I study trading 20 out of the 24 hours of the day. Because my car is dead from not driving it and I have no where to go anyway, I walk to the grocery store for food. I tried Instacart, but who wants to pay $5.99 for a package of Oreos? 

      The groceries are heavy and I lug laundry detergent and liters of water ten blocks home. I am only able to buy what I can carry. My arms are ripped from carrying these bags. (pun intended; the grocery bags and my trading bags)  I am sunburned because the only escape out of my apartment is to jog ten miles on the beach everyday.   It hasn’t been the easiest summer or year for that matter.

    But some days are great.

     The days I am winning.

     The days that I am trading and making $3,000 – $14,000 a day.

     But the days that I am losing, it’s hell.

     Pure, unabridged, hell.

     I don’t have that much money to begin with.

     I was putting my unemployment money into my Etrade account like most people.

      I didn’t know when I would get work again.  Who wants to work anyway?  

     I'm a trader, I'd tell myself.  

     But things were pretty damn bad no matter which way you sliced it.

     My world got very small during Covid.  My friends; it was hard to talk to them sometimes. Usually in a friendship, one calls the other with good news or bad news and you either listen and console or congratulate them and buy them dinner.  But now, everybody was in the same boat. 

      Everybody was sad, depressed, and worried. Nobody could go anywhere. Nobody had good news. The conversations became fewer and farther between.

     Trading became my life.

     It had always my life. 

      But now it was really my life.

     Because I had nothing else going on.

     I watch as Apple goes lower.

     I’m not getting out of this alive, I realize.

     I call Etrade and I’m on hold for forty minutes. I see there’s a way I can “roll the options,” but have no idea what this means. I need more time. This needs to jump by Friday!  Or it expires worthless! 

      I’m in the August 28 calls and I have everything riding on this.

     As I’m on hold, Apple starts to rise.

     There’s hope, I tell myself, and I hang up.   Etrade can go F themselves.   

    I’m a trader after all.  And I know exactly what I’m doing.      I take a shower and come back to my screens a few minutes later.

     The stock has gone lower.

     My account is now under $30,000 and dropping fast.

I call Etrade again and wait another thirty minutes on hold. I am praying I get someone smart on the phone. 

      Someone who has an answer for me. 

     Being that I worked on a trading floor and most of my work was done over the phones, I have a very quick read of people within the first 5 seconds.  

     A guy finally gets on the line. He’s young, but seems  calm and knowing.

   But what I do next is something I never do.

    I start crying.

    The conversation, from what I can recall, goes something like this: “I don’t know how this happened. How can $120,000 be wiped out in twenty-four hours? This is everything I have. I can’t lose this money. What are my options?”

     On these options that are destroying my life?

     He stays calm.

     He doesn’t make fun of me.

     He doesn’t laugh, he doesn’t yell.


     I'm embarrassed and ruined. “It’s APPLE,” I plead, “how can this go down? If I roll the contracts, will that buy me  time?  What about the split – won't the split help the contracts by doubling?”

     I’m grasping at straws.

     And he can hear it in my voice. I’m desperate.

I hear him breathe evenly on the other line. His voice doesn’t change. He’s steady.

     Thank God for this. Thank God.

     He is a life jacket right now and I am drowning.

     He puts me on hold.

     I wait.

     Apple ticks up. It’s trading at 495 now.  But I am still f*ed! I BOUGHT CALLS AT 512!


     I wanted to kill myself.

     I’m lying on my couch, waiting for him to come back on the phone, and I wish that I was dead.

     I wanted to die. In this moment, I wanted to not be alive. And it wasn’t the first time I felt this way trading.

     He gets back on the line.  Now I can hear his voice shaking.

     “Umm Juliana, yeah….” He begins, “Ummm well, it looks like… basically….”

     I hold my breath.

     Give me something.

     Tell me I'm going to be okay. Please.

     “Basically, the split is going to impact your options, it looks like, in a negative way…”

     I tune out for the rest of the conversation. I watch the stock and it's dropping and every second we are on the phone, I am losing more money.

     Every time I hit refresh on my “APPLE iPad,” (how perfectly maddening) my account fluctuates up and down $3000.

     A SECOND.

     I now have $26,000 left.

     “What’s the break even number I need to get to on Friday to get out of this?” I ask.

     “Let me figure that out for you.”

     I wait again. I should know this myself. But I can’t even begin to figure it out because I’m so panicked. I can’t imagine what I’m going to do for money if I lose everything.

     I can’t imagine how I’m going to survive. What’s worse was, WHAT ON EARTH WILL I DO ALL DAY LONG IF I CAN’T TRADE?

     He gets back on the line. “The options look like they need to hit… 537 Friday.”

     I try to breathe.

     No way was Apple going that high by Friday. Unless there was a miracle. 

      And I needed one now.

     The whole market is red and it looks like it’s rolling over. Everybody in the SPY message boards was saying that the market was so TIRED, so spent. GOING DOWN MOFO’s.    And always in the back of your mind, every trader wonders, is this the beginning of the crash?

     Because we all know it’s coming.

     But until then… Ride it out…ride it out for as long as you can… And don’t be the last one out the door.

      “So should I wait?” I ask, knowing the answer to my own question. “To sell?”

     If I wait and the options don’t hit 530 Friday, they will expire worthless and I will lose everything.


     My account will be zero.

     If I sell now, I can walk about away with the measly $26,000.

     “Can you sell for me? Can you just get me out of this with $26,000?”

     I didn’t think I could do it myself. But I knew the rules. By the time he walks me through the long verbal DISCLAIMERS that he has to read to place the trades, I will only lose more money. 

      It will take too long.

     And I had to sell this second. This trade is getting further and further away from me.

     I think pretty much I just blacked out after this.

     The moment reminded me of the day at Veterinarian’s office when my cat died. It was time to put him down but I BEGGED AND PLEADED, “Please Doctor, I don’t care how much it costs, can you please just keep him alive a little longer?”

     I paid the doctor so much money until it didn’t matter anymore. All the money in the world wouldn’t save my cat.

     That was this day.

     I remembered as I stared into the Doctors eyes watching as he shook his head at my utter grief. He was quiet and soft spoken, very similar to this Etrade guy, and he said, “There is nothing more we can do.”

     And then I hear the Etrade guy say, “There’s nothing more we can do if the stock continues to go lower.”

     And here I was, reliving that day.

     The saddest, worst day of my life.

     When the doctor told me this at the Vet, I took my cat outside for one final goodbye. We sat on the curb on Sunset Boulevard in LA and he was in my arms and I cried and cried and cried.

     I got up and brought him back inside so the doctor could inject him with the needles.  It was the worst moment of my life.

      Now I was putting my account down.   As all this was happening, I realize the Etrade guy is no longer on the phone and I am crying again.

     He had left me alone to end my account.

     The same way the doctor did with my cat.

     I hit the bid and click, “Execute trade.”

     And it’s done.

     My account is dead.

* * *

     I don't eat.  

     I don't sleep.  

     And now, I can’t trade.

     The thing I spent 90% of my thoughts and my time on, was over.

     It was better than a lover and I was obsessed with it. I always was.

     I needed to call someone so I call a close friend, Beverly.  She's older and like a mother figure to me. 

     “How’s it going, Juliana?”

     But I can’t speak.

     I’m speechless.

    She told me for years I had a “gambling problem.“

My money was none of her business, I’d tell myself. I’m a F*ING TRADER. 


     But now it's all different.

     I blew up.

     On APPLE.


     I start crying again. She’s never heard me cry. Crying is for wimps. You can punch me in the stomach and knock me down, but I’ll get up bruised and battered and beaten, yet I always rise again.

     But I had no fight left in me now.

     And I knew I couldn’t keep living like this.

     My life was contingent upon: am I up or down?

     Did I make money or lose money?

     Is my account high or low?

     And the truth of it was:   it was never enough.   All this money, and none of it really made me happy.  

    “What happened Juliana?” 

     “I lost it all," I tell her.

     “Everything?” she asks.  

     I'm speechless. The shock rolls over me like a bad dream.

    “What do you mean, everything?” she pushes.

    “My trading account. I blew up. Down to $25,000.”

     “Well, you didn’t lose EVERYTHING, you still have $25,000 left," she replies.

     And then I feel hope.



     And I hear her say, “So what you’re really saying, what you are really trying to tell me, is that you hit a bottom in your gambling addiction.”

     And there it is.

       Her words sink in.

     “You’re right.”

     And the instant I say it, it’s a load off.

    We talk more. At the end of the conversation, she asks if I know anyone who has a gambling problem and suggests that I reach out to them. 

     And if you don’t know anybody who blew up worse than you have on Wall Street, then you’re not a real trader.

     So I call my friend Daniel and it’s like he's expecting my call.  He has taken me to some of his Gambling meetings before.  I didn't like them.  

     But what I didn't like worse was what I had become.

     I was running a small $100,000 account and I was obsessed with it.  

     And was trying to make it go back to $300,000 or $3,000,000 even worth this?

     When would $3,000,000 need to be $30,000,000?

     Was anything worth this?

     This stress?

     What was I contributing to the world?

     I felt sick.

     I couldn’t go on.

     So for the first time, I admitted, “You’re right. I have a problem. I will stop trading. I’ll get help.”

* * *

    The next morning, I wake up and the first thing I want to do is check futures. I wonder where Apple is trading and if it’s higher and if I held on, would I have gotten more money?

     Or would I be left with nothing?

     But I don’t check.

     I can’t.

     I can’t look.

      I feel sick and I have no energy.

     I need to reinvent myself.

     I need to get a real job like a normal person and make a normal living.  I need a routine and I need to be in the flow of life.

     Maybe this is the best thing that could have happened, I tell myself.

     But I don’t know. 

    And I don’t know if I am done with trading either.

    Why am I even writing this?

     I don’t know that either.

     Am I embarrassed?   


     But there is nothing anybody can say to me right now to make me feel any worse than I do. 

     I have scraped the bottom of the barrel. I have found that small hole and have fallen through it. 

     I was in free fall and crashed hard.

     I can’t say for certain that I will never go back to trading.

     But maybe I will try.

* * *


@copyright Citygirl Juliana Jones 💕💋


Don’t give up my fellow traders!  Better days ahead! 

Yours, Citygirl 💕💋

To see some of the losses and trades, click here:

For more random chapters of my novel, click here:

* * *

For Chapter One click here:

* * * 

For Chapter Two, click here: