A Plymouth teenager has revealed how he made £21.2m in less than 12 months on the financial markets – but still shops at Lidl.
Sam Cook, 18, started with a £2,000 loan from his father, Peter, last February. An amazing run of fortune saw him make £6m in one day last summer, trading across currency, stock and commodities markets on V8Options trading platform. Sam has dyslexia and struggled at school, leaving Kelly College, Tavistock, with two GCSEs. He splashed £170,000 on a Ferrari and a £12,000 watch but says he is ‘tight’ with money. Sam says he has no plans to quit while he is ahead.
“I want to have £2billion by the time I am 50,” he said. Sam, in his dad’s jumper, wearing a pair of charity shop trousers and sipping a glass of water in a city cafe, made his latest wins last week gambling on currency. He gambled on the Euro dropping against the US Dollar, and won. Then he gambled on the European currency recovering – and won again. Ker-ching: another £1.5m in the till in a matter of days. Despite his casual appearance today, Sam has splashed some cash. He had a holiday in Barbados, and bought luxury watches and a bright red Ferrari F430 Scuderia. “It’s worth £170,000 – but I paid £135,000.”
That sums him up: he clearly has a gift for making money; he also has an eye for a bargain. His shop of choice is a budget supermarket. “I like a nice hotel and fine dining – you get your money’s worth out of that – but I’m not into designer clothes and I don’t waste money. I don’t believe in paying more than you need to. I shop at Lidl.”
One amazing day in July 2014 Sam had been watching the growing volatility across the markets due to the sanctions against Russian over political interference in Ukraine. “I did 29 different trades, some that certain prices would rise, others on prices to fall. I was lying on the beach at Crantock and my phone was bleeping. Every trade was going the right way. It did not feel real. I felt there must be something wrong. The family promptly left the beach so Sam could go on to his computer at home. It was all right. I’d made £6 million. I felt a bit sick. I could not believe it.”
Sam is careful about making friends since he got his fortune. He and girlfriend Evelyn Simpson, 25, got to know each other before he revealed his secret. “I wanted to make sure she was not there for the money,” he admits.
“The more money you have, the more you can make. If you make five per cent on £23,000, what’s that? £1,150. If you make five per cent on £6m that’s £300,000.”
As his money has grown, Sam has allowed himself some luxuries. He has enough high-end watches to wear on each day of the week. His favourite is a Cartier studded with pink diamonds, worth £120,000. “I do like my watches,” he says, adding quickly: “They are an investment. They won’t go down in value.”
His father, Peter, is still cautious about his son’s achievements. “I’ve always had a slight interest in stocks and shares,” says Peter, 49. “Sam started asking me questions so I explained about ‘Mr Kenco’ and ‘Mr Nescafe’ and told him about how the price of coffee changed with harvests and demand and the rest of it.” Sam, then 15, was still at school and dabbled in the markets, but only with a dummy account where he could win – or lose – points rather than money. The casual interest would later develop into an obsession when he had more experience of the world and had done his research. He was at fee-paying Kelly College, Tavistock, at the time.
“I never excelled at exams. I hated being cooped up in a classroom. Learning Support was alright, more relaxed. I was put in there because I didn’t listen. I was always thinking about ways to make money. About ten minutes before the end the lesson I’d ask to go to the toilet. I’d go to the tuck machine and buy up most of the favourite sweets. When the lesson ended there’d be a big queue. The ones at the back knew they wouldn’t get what they wanted, so I’d go round selling them at a pretty price.” Basic economics. “Demand and supply,” he grins.
At the back of his mind, though, was the thought of making money on the markets covering stock, currency and commodities (resources such as minerals and agricultural products such as sugar and coffee). “I did a lot of research and studied how they were connected. I knew a lot more about the world. My dad let me borrow £2,000 last February to trade on V8Options. Every time I made money, I put it back in and made more.”
Sam is there for the money – and the long term. “I want to have £2billion by the time I am 50. You could really do something with that amount of money. I’d get more satisfaction giving that away than buying things like Ferraris. I’d like to build some schools if Africa, maybe a refuge for former child soldiers.”
For now, though, he has other business to attend to. “I have to go pick up my girlfriend. She’s shopping at Lidl. You should see people’s faces when they see a Ferrari in the car park. My advice to anyone who wants to be the main man and not a bystander in life. Learn to trade. Work hard and fast. The more you risk, the more you can gain. Play it safe, you can still gain, but it’ll take a lot longer.”