Archive for October, 2009

5 P’s Of Trading Success

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Have you ever heard traders say, “The market is just against me”?

The truth of the matter is that the market does not care about you. It does not care if you win or lose. It does not care if you are right or wrong. The market is neutral.

A lot of us try to figure it out and beat the market. For many men, it is like figuring out women.

This reminds me of a bestselling book called “Everything Men Know About Women” (written under the pseudonym of Dr. Alan Francis) by Cindy Cashman. It has sold over a million copies. What if I tell you that every page of it is blank? Yes, it is…

By the time you try to figure out the market and outsmart it, you usually have lost the game. Instead, if you try to be in the flow of it, then you can win.

A lot of traders think that the market owes them. Maybe they see other traders who are successful and they say to themselves, “I should be able to do the same.”

When you try to model the most successful traders, sometimes you forget the process they have gone through to get here. Every one of us can learn the basic rules. To become very good so that it becomes a habit for us, it takes practice, patience and perseverance.

Did you know that only 5% of traders are successful?

Some might say you have to be lucky. I say we need to create our own luck. The question is how do we do that?

How can you increase the odds so that you are part of that 5%?

There are 5 P’s to being a successful trader. They are:

  1. Preparation

    If you are not prepared, you cannot get the results that you want. If you have not done your homework, you are not going to succeed.

    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

    ~ Winston Churchill

  2. Perspective

    When you trade, know why you are trading that position. You can listen to others, and remember that you are the ultimate decision maker.

    I remember a client of mine who is very brilliant; he knew why he was getting into a trade. Then he would trust others much more than himself, and as a result, he would change his mind and would lose. Needless to say, he has learned to trust himself and develop his mental edge. I am very happy to say that these days he is doing very well.

    "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose. . . The fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side."

    ~ Yoda

  3. Practice

    One of the most important keys is to take action. You cannot be on the sidelines and expect to become an expert.

    You can learn the basics of reading the tapes, reading of the charts, and deciphering the news. However, to be really good at it, it becomes an art. It is a skill that you can develop.

    "To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all."

    ~ Johann von Goethe

  4. Patience

    Be patient with yourself. As you might have heard, Rome was not built in one day.

    "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal."

    - Hannah More

  5. Perseverance

    It is very important to give yourself a realistic time frame when you are testing new systems or new markets.

You need all 5 keys of trading success to succeed.

“Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. “

~ Dr. David M. Burns

Here is to making trading success your habit™,

The Missing Element of Your Risk Management

Monday, October 12th, 2009

We all have heard about the importance of risk management and how crucial it is to our success.

However, nobody really talks about all the elements of the risk management. The most talked about risk management is market risk. Then credit risk. After that, you hear about counterparty and operational risks.

As a previous risk manager, I can tell you that all of these are important to your success. You need to look at your process and make sure that you have a great risk management system in place.

There is one element of risk management that is seldom talked about and often overlooked. This element can make or break your trading success.

Often, it is forgotten as part of the stress tests.

Have you guessed what it is?

If not, let me give you a hint. Depending on how you look at it, it can be consider part of counterparty or operational risk.

Some examples are as follows:

  1. Do you have occasions when you know what to do but you don’t do it? Then you wonder what happened. You get angry and frustrated. You start losing money. If you don’t stop yourself, before you know it, you are in a deep hole.
  1. Do you know of traders who have a system and know that their success is based on probabilities? However, they start picking and choosing which signal to pull the trigger on. Then they wonder why they are not making money consistently.
  1. Have you ever put a trade on and immediately started doubting yourself? You move your stops, and you realize if you had just left it alone, you would be more profitable?

Have you figured it out yet?

If you have guessed that it is your mindset, you are correct.

All the above examples have one common thing – the human factor. Unless you have a completely automated system, you are the operator. Your results depend on you.

It does not matter what happens. It matters how you react to the event and where you put your focus on.

You can have the best systems in place. However, if you don’t develop your Mental Edge and are not in the zone, you are not going to execute your trades properly and thus you will lose a lot of money.

This element is so important that JP Morgan has a group called the 'Behavioral Finance Team' which deals with how mindset influences the execution of their trades.

Your action plan for designing your risk management system is:

  1. Counterparty risk: Make sure your business plan matches who you are
  2. Operational risk: Put yourself in a supportive environment
  3. Counterparty and operational risks: Develop your Mental Edge

Risk management is vital. To ensure more successful execution of your trades and a consistent way of making money, make the above action plan part of your overall risk management system.

Here is to making trading success your habit™,