COOLIDGE — On the wall of Jovann Thompson’s office are a series of graphs that would be unintelligible for most people. Lines go every which way along with abbreviations and words that seem to come from another language.

But like a play hastily drawn up by a coach on a whiteboard that only his or her players could understand, every inch of those charts makes complete sense to Thompson. Not only that, they’ve come to form the bedrock for a new and lucrative stage of his life.

At 21, the former all-state Coolidge High School basketball star is turning heads not from what he does on the court but how he has figured out financial markets. On that front, things are going so well that he expects to make six figures from his investments by the end of the year. And he thinks if others learn from his success, he could spread the wealth across his hometown.

Thompson averaged more than 21 points per game for the Bears his senior year, which translated to an offer to play basketball at Benedictine University in Mesa. Shortly into his college career, however, he became a father and his focus shifted from the sport to supporting his new family. Eventually, he stopped playing basketball altogether.

Now, about a year after he hung up the sneakers, he has found a new place to put all his competitive and obsessive energy, one that has yielded plenty of results.

“In that year period, I knew I always wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what I wanted from life with basketball out of the picture,” Thompson said. “I had a son, so I couldn’t focus on basketball, but I couldn’t find anything I wanted to do. It just so happened that the stock market fell in my lap. So I feel this was all in the making. Everything I’ve done before helped prepare me for this moment. I had the discipline and the focus from playing basketball. I just translated that into the market and it worked out.”

Thompson started dipping his toes in the financial waters in September, just trying to figure out what was going on and if he was interested. He started with $50 and added small amounts over time that didn’t lead to much profit. But in January, a friend introduced him to trading options, which he quickly realized could lead to a lot more money.

With that reward, however, came the realization that it was going to take more work. Trading isn’t just putting money into a portfolio and seeing what happens. It’s about constantly staying up to date on what’s happening, and understanding where the market is going. He went through some growing pains those first few weeks, “losing but learning” as he says.

Then some luck came in. When the infamous stock market surge fueled by Reddit and amateur traders consumed the country for a week or so, Thompson realized he already had some stock in AMC Theatres, one of the companies whose stocks skyrocketed for that short time. He bought an option on that stock when everything took off and made $1,000 in one day. From then on, he was hooked.

“I realized trading is where it’s at,” Thompson said. “So I took it more serious ever since. I started studying a lot, and by mid-February I was getting a hang of it.”

Thompson took the $1,200 he had from the AMC stock and combined it with $800 he had from other trading and put it toward an option in a marijuana company he had stock in from its low point before several states started legalizing the product. That $2,000 bet got him $8,000 in one day. But he quickly learned that luck won’t always be there. He lost about $4,000 from subsequent trades in February, but he was learning.

In March, the big paydays were traded for consistent returns. There were still some losses here and there, but on average he was bringing in $200-300 per day. That was when he became confident that his methods could lead to steady profit. So in April, he had a bigger pile of money with which to trade, which only led to larger returns. Now, he’s averaging $650-$700 every day and has profited $35,000 over the past two months. Meanwhile, his long-term account that he started in September with $50 now has more than $10,000.

When those numbers started popping up, it didn’t seem real. His family didn’t believe him at first when he told them how much was coming in.

“I thought I was doing something wrong,” Thompson said. “I thought there was no way you could make this much money that quickly.”

In the stock market, the more money someone has the more they make. So Thompson hasn’t actually spent any of the money he has made from his investments. Instead, that money just goes right back into making bigger trades. He still works a regular job over the weekends to pay the bills. Always financially literate, he said he was good at saving money before he got into trading while working a minimum-wage job, so he’s able to allow his investments to compound without interference.

With that comes more risk management, since he has a lot more to lose now than when there was only $50 invested. He minimizes losses instead of hoping they turn into gains, knowing that if he stays smart the profits will be there in the end.

Throughout this process, Thompson was posting updates on his results on Instagram, giving his friends and family some insight into his process. He said a lot of people started asking for his advice on how they could get started with trading. So he decided to write an e-book called “Jovann’s Blueprint,” which details his strategies and methodology in a way he hopes people will understand.

But while Thompson wants people to feel that success in the market isn’t just for people in nice suits on Wall Street, he also doesn’t want them to make big mistakes like he saw when the GameStop surge happened early this year. People with no experience in the marketplace started putting big money into a stock that had already ballooned well beyond what was sustainable, thinking they were going to get their piece of that easy money. The truth is, many of those people wound up losing.

He tells people that if everybody is talking about a stock, that means it’s too late to invest. To do so would only mean getting in at the top of the value, where the price can only go down. The market isn’t a game, he said, and there’s no such thing as easy money.

“You have to put in an extreme amount of work,” Thompson said. “I study for at least three or four hours every single day, and I learned from my mistakes. In time, I was able to get consistent. Anybody can do it if they’re willing to put in the work.”

To find Thompson’s book, and to follow along with his journey in the market, visit his website, jovanninvests.com.

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