Anne Arundel Co. teen’s day-trading hobby turns into business

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Charles Engler, 17, poses with his dad (also named Charles), sister Sydney and mom Chantal. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WTOP/Michelle Basch

Charles Engler, 17, just graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WTOP/Michelle Basch

Charles Engler, 17, of Lothian is a day trader who recently started his own company to help others learn the basics of successful stock trading. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WTOP/Michelle Basch

The coronavirus pandemic fueled a spike in the number of young people trying their hand at day trading, and one Anne Arundel County, Maryland, teenager wants to help them.

Charles Engler, 17, of Lothian, is self-taught and in the past seven months has traded $135,000 in stocks and made a 13% return. The teenager has been trading since he was 14 years old.

“Since I started investing, I’ve made about 12-15% off the stock market,” said Engler.

He’s put away money for college and treated himself to some expensive shoes and clothes. “I would say I’m somewhat successful. Not at the Jeff Bezos level yet, but hopefully one day.”

For his very first trade, Engler invested $200 from his dad in Cronos Cannabis. After three weeks he made an $80 profit. However, his next five trades were losses.

“It’s just like any other sport, right?  You practice to get better,” Engler said. So he read numerous books and investing websites, studied, and traded some more.

Engler said he’s typically an aggressive investor who averages about 250 trades a month. But with the wild ups and downs of the stock market brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, he challenged himself to ease up and focus on testing his methods.

“If I’m able to get my strategies down throughout these crazy, volatile years … what do you think’s going to happen in a bullish market? I’m just going to be that much more prepared than so many other people,” Engler said.

One of his quickest trades for profit was made at school. “I was on my gym break and I was getting ready to change into my gym clothes. I saw a stock was currently ripping,” said Engler.

So he used what’s called a bounce play strategy to decide the best time to buy. He bought the stock and sold it again within 30 seconds, turning a $250 profit. “And that was that,” Engler said. “Then I got ready for gym class.”

But as Engler learned early on, day trading can be risky due to its ebbs and flows without any constantly.

He said all the tools available to investors today — including stop-loss orders — can really help. “The stock market is one of the few places where you can actually control the risk.”

In recent years, Engler has been posting alerts about promising stocks on Twitter and Stocktwits, as well as videos on TikTok.

He said younger investors started reaching out to him for advice, and that’s what prompted him to start his own company a few months ago. OnPoint Day Trading‘s offerings include downloadable courses, one-on-one coaching and email support.

Literature teacher Paul O’Hearn could see Engler’s day trading passion in a class in 2019.

“The moment that I started to understand his passion, was a class break. I usually give the class a 5 minute break. They’re 85-minute classes here at St. Mary’s, so it’s a long period,” he said.

That’s when O’Hearn saw Engler looking intently at a computer screen, and decided to peek at what had captured his student’s attention.

“I see a day trading platform up on an iPad. Not ‘Clash of Clans,’ not some game or anything like that,” said O’Hearn. “A full-blown day trading platform, which was not what I was expecting to see,”

Engler just graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis, and in the fall he will head to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York state to study economics and finance.

“One thing that’s always impressed me about Charles is how much he cares for others,” said St. Mary’s High School Principal Mindi Imes. “We want to encourage students to be servant leaders, and I see that in Charles.”

What’s Engler’s ultimate goal?

“I would love to help out any young investor get interested or get started in the stock market,” he said. “At the same time I love the feeling of just being on Wall Street, or even working at a hedge fund somewhere. Maybe even Goldman Sachs one day.”