Interview with Joe Milazzo – eToro Trader

In the past days I had the pleasure to interview my friend and colleague Joe Milazzo. He is a trader and blogger. He operates on eToro from 2016 and since then he’s obtaining great results.

I had the opportunity to interview Joe and I think he gave incredibly interesting answers to my questions. I asked him about his trading activity and blogging activity.

Read the interview to find out his own story, his advices and his secrets!

1) Talk about yourself and your investment strategy.

My name is Joe Milazzo and I’m an investor from Australia. I’ve been investing for about 15+ years since I was gifted my first shares when I was a teenager. Recently (2016) I was introduced to eToro (Thanks to Jim!) and started to shift my focus to online trading. In 2018, I started my blog Stock Up With Joe which focuses on 3 areas

  1. Finance (all things to maximise your money)
  2. Investing (ideas on how to invest that money and what different terms mean)
  3. eToro (how to fully utilise eToro to your advantage)

I started this blog as a way to speak to my followers and copiers from eToro and keep them up to date about how my portfolio was doing and any tips and tricks I learnt along the way.

My investment strategy is different for the various channels I use and whom I’m investing for but if I was to narrow it down to one strategy, it would be Buy and Hold. Most of my investments I’ve held on to for 10+ years, taking advantage of dividend reinvestment programs (DRIPs). I have stocks that I’ve held onto for 15 years and others I buy and sell within a day (mostly Forex and Indices). On eToro, I suspect my hold time will grow as I believe in the stocks I’ve invested in and want to hold them for a long time.

2) What is the main goal behind your investing?

My main goal behind my investing is to have an additional income in my later years. This is so I am not relying solely on my salary. It should be another avenue for my passive income. I’m also investing for my daughter, so when she grows up, she’ll have a nice little nest egg that she can use towards a house, education and of course, investing. This will be my $210k challenge that I’ll go into detail below.

3) Tell us something about your experience on eToro (considering that you trade on the platform since 2016)?

I found eToro very easy and intuitive to use. For those readers who may have not heard of eToro before – I suggest two pages to read.

What is eToro and all my blog posts relating to eToro.

As someone living in Australia, we have large brokerage fees and minimum buys that we need to do for each and every trade going through the Australian brokers. Having smaller fees through their spreads and the ability to buy stocks in the USA, London, Italian and Chinese stock exchanges also gave eToro more incentive to trade using their platform.

When I started on eToro, it was around the time the US Presidency race was going on and I thought – hey, there’s some money to be made here! I was right, there was money to be made but unfortunately, I didn’t follow the rules of trading and made a loss in my first year. 

By switching my tactics and focusing on research and particular stocks, I grew my portfolio by 42.96% in 2017. That set the foundation on which I started my trading strategy.

The best way to think about eToro is to see it as a mix of an online trading platform and a social media account. You’re able to chat and interact with other traders, copy their portfolios and get an insight into what’s happening in the markets. I think overall it is a great platform to use and it is only getting better as time passes.

My recommendation is to use the practice account (Virtual Account) first to get a feel for how the platform is used. Use my formula to find the best copiers to trade and keep up to date with my monthly reviews to see what stocks I’ve added to my portfolio and why.

Overall, I found the platform very easy to use and gives unparalleled insight into the markets and what they’re doing. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

4) Can you suggest us 3 traders to copy on eToro?

I’d be a fool not to recommend myself! But using my formula and personal views, these are my 3 traders that have caught my attention

Rubymza – https://www.etoro.com/people/rubymza

Auenwald – https://www.etoro.com/people/auenwald

Woron2008 – https://www.etoro.com/people/woron2008

5) How do you select “good” traders on eToro?

A good trader in its simplest form is someone who is making positive returns on their investment. But I believe that a good trader is subjective to the person choosing. Some traders might focus on dividend returns, so portfolio growth isn’t as important. There are definitely things that you should look out for when selecting someone to copy on eToro. I’ve written two articles about this

  1. Who to copy on eToro
  2. What is eToro Copy Trader?

But I’ll break it down for you here. These two articles should be used together. One helps you filter out the good traders, the other lets you refine those traders into something worth your money. There are over 9 million people trading on eToro, so you have choices. These are the go-to filters that I believe will produce a list of solid traders to copy.

  • Time Period = Have at least been trading on eToro more than 12 – 24 Months
  • Profitable Months = >50%
  • Risk Score = <6
  • Daily Drawdown = <5%
  • Weekly drawdown = <10%
  • Average Trade Size = <4%

In my article, I go on further to explain why I chose these filters and how you can work then. Once you have a list of potential candidates, you’ll need the second article. This article covers a number of examples and subjects. For your readers, I’ve highlighted the main things to look out for below.

These are the things you need to ask yourself.

What kind of copy trader are you? Are you a day trader? Buy and hold? Do you want to copy someone who has the same trading style or is more/less risk-averse? You may want someone opposite to your style, so you balance out.

What level of risk is acceptable for you? A trader with a risk of 5/6 tends to take riskier trades now and then. This could be a result of trading high leverage markets or volatile stocks/cryptos etc. The higher the volatility, the higher the risk and the potential for bigger rewards and losses. The lower the risk score the more stable the traders’ portfolio is – but normally the returns are a lot lower.

The traders trading record/stats. Have a look at the stats tab within the traders’ profile as there are a number of key items to look for.

How has their performance over the last few months/year? How have they been performing? Is it a consistent return or did they just get lucky for a few months, or on the other hand, did they have a terrible month which skewed their stats? They could have 120% but have only traded for the last 2 months.

How long they have been trading for? Are their results constant or fluctuate wildly? A good indication is to compare them to the S&P 500 growth rate.

Portfolio % performance vs actual trade performance. Did you know that the last 12months performance is different from the actual performance? This is portfolio growth vs realised trades. As the saying goes, you don’t make any money until you’ve closed the trade.

How is the market performing currently? Is it a bear market or is it bullish? Depending on your trading strategy, you don’t want to jump in on a downtrend because you’ll be behind. Look at how the trader’s portfolio is fairing in relation to the market – are they following the same pattern? If their portfolio is down for the month, is there room for it to grow the following month? The timing of when to copy is paramount to ensure that you’re getting the best results possible! Is earnings season coming up?  Earnings Season is volatile and can spell disaster if it goes the wrong way.

I believe that reading through the two articles above will arm you with the best knowledge of choosing the right trader.

6) Why did you start your website?

I initially started my site as my popularity on eToro blew up overnight. I think I went from about 3-4 copiers and 50 followers to about 135 copiers at its peak and 1500 followers in little less than a week. I was receiving dozens of questions each day about my portfolio and trading style, so I thought, why not start a site where all this is detailed? And so StockupwithJoe was created. It became my one stop shop for any questions my followers wanted to ask.

The number of copiers has since dwindled as people realised I wasn’t into a get rich quick scheme and more into buying and holding. But for those who believed and stayed have enjoyed a 19% portfolio growth from Jan to April alone! Beating out the S&P500 for every month this year.

My site is now shaped towards:

  • Helping people navigate eToro,
  • Providing my monthly updates on my portfolio,
  • What shares I’ve recently bought/sold and my reasoning behind it,
  • Finance help
  • Investing tips

It’s now more of a way of keeping myself accountable to my goals for 2019. I’ve been a Consultant for a number of government departments in Australia for nearly 10 years and I’ve always stuck by the mantra What gets measured, gets managed a famous quote by Peter Drucker from his book The Practice of Management. If I’m not keeping tabs on my own goals, how can I expect to learn and grow from them?

7) What is your plan about it for the next 2 years?

I would like to continue to provide my monthly summaries but start to expand into more areas within Finance and Investing. I quite enjoy reading your passive income journey and have thought about a similar approach. So that is something I definitely want to begin documenting within the next 2 years.

Another topic/journey I want to do is the $210k challenge – it’s a step up from the $140k challenge in the Barefoot Investor book I recommend reading. Simply put, I want to be in a position that I can give my daughter a $210k cheque for her 21st birthday – $10k for every year she’s been alive. So following this journey will surely raise some eyebrows but I’m going to go through what I’m doing in order to achieve this goal.

Hopefully, it’ll make people realise that I’m not putting away $10k each year into an account and doing nothing with it. I’m hoping by the later years, it is the compound interest that is taking care of the bulk growth! (As a quick example – you only need $500/month and around 5% interest in order to grow $0 to $223,000 in 21 years). What’s even crazier, if she didn’t touch that money at all and didn’t make any more deposits – that number would grow to nearly $1million by the time she is 50! By the way, if she did keep up the $500/month – it would be over $1.4million!

So in the end, I can see the site beginning to focus on advice and guidance regarding investing and personal finance. There’s so much information out there, it’s hard to narrow it down.

8) What are your financial goals for 2019 and what about by 2025?

In January 2019, I wrote down a number of lists for my financial goals. My main list was for my eToro investing goals. They are:

  • Copiers = have more than 50 copiers
  • Followers = have more than 2,000 copiers
  • Portfolio growth = +15%
  • S&P comparison (beat the S&P500 for 2019)
  • Realised profit = +10% profit for closed trades
  • AUM = over $50,000 AUM
  • Risk = 4-5 or below
  • Provide in-depth monthly updates

Below is how I’m going this year so far. I’ll have my May stats up once the month is over.

Goals Table

You can also see all my month’s reviews here.

My other financial goals were to:

  • Set up 3 more passive income channels. These have been achieved through
  • P2P lending
  • Becoming a Popular Investor on eToro through copytrading
  • Microinvesting through Acorns and dividend income outside of eToro

I’m actually really interested in P2P lending – that’s how I came across your site! So I’m hoping to add more of my investments into P2P and real estate funding.

9) Finally, what is your advice to someone who is looking to invest?

Firstly, you need to invest in yourself. Read books, articles, blogs, chatrooms etc about what you’re interested in. An ordinary person with a plan will succeed far more than a genius without one. One piece of software I’ll really found useful was Simply Wall St. They provide analysis and recommendations on thousands of stocks in a number of markets. Definitely worth checking out. If you’re going to start reading to help with your finances, I recommend looking at these 5 personal finance books for beginners.

Whilst you’re increasing your knowledge, get rid of your debt. Whilst this isn’t a necessary step, you’ll soon realise that not having any debt gives you more freedom and financial stability.

In addition I’ve written a few investing articles here but my all-time favourite is Warren Buffett’s rules to investing:

  • Rule #1: Don’t lose money…and don’t forget Rule #1
  • Rule #2: Invest, but don’t speculate
  • Rule #3: Invest for the long term and forget the bumps
  • Rule #4: Have Patience
  • Rule #5: Remember you are buying a company!
  • Rule #6: Do your homework

Thanks again, Domenico! Really love being able to chat with you about my investing and eToro. Hopefully, your readers get as much out of this as I have done writing it. Happy to chat with anyone – they can reach me through my website or via email.

Conclusion

As a result these are the super answers that Joe gave to my questions. I truly hope you enjoyed them.

One more thing: Joe made me an interview similar to this one. It’ll be published on his blog, Stock Up With Joe, so stay tuned.

If you have any questions about eToro feel free to write an email to Joe or me.

Moreover do not forget that I opened a Facebook page for FinanceShot. You can find it here or on the right of every page of the blog. Like it if you don’t want to miss anything or interact with me. It’ll be a pleasure for me!

Finally, if you want to receive my posts directly on your email, remember to subscribe to the blog by inserting your email on the form you can find on the bottom right of the blog.

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