Recently, I have been following a thread on the www.forexfactory.com when I saw the post below from the user Cristiano Teixeira (tradista). In my opinion, it carries so many truths about a trader life, about the process on how really to become a trader, that I have decided to share with all readers from the Outspoken Market. Please, read it carefully and paying attention to the details.
"I wasted too many years of my life working a 9 to 5 just to see the unemployment line in my early forties, when the crisis took down half the world by storm. I saw my savings of many years go down the drain in a couple of years (not losses, just regular expenses, kids, mortgage, etc). I can't give advice, I can only tell what I know from my own perspective. Trading or any other endehavior won't save your life when you're in real complicated situation like I once was. What will save your life is keeping your head up, think by yourself (not from others opinions), get good at reading your own gut and instinct about people and about what you want to achieve, always believe you can handle whats coming (not always easy), read as many inspiring stories as you can, learn to trade without indicators and most importantly don't rush it, don't be in a hurry for anything when it comes to trading.
Pick a strategy, stick to it and see if it fits your temperament (took me 2 years to find this out as I was so stubborn and obsessed that I should make money to pay the bills, so... best scenario is no rush! Believe me, you'll be glad you took your time, because it'll end being faster than forcing things to work out. Find something to support yourself, either by getting another job (temporarily) or doing your own thing, but don't really expect anything from your trading journey until you actually see it happen!
People say "if you can see it in your mind you can achieve it", yeah sure... keep dreaming... of course, that has some truth to it, but that's not it... that's just the starting of the journey of hardship that you must be willing to endure. After seeing it in your mind you must work on your confidence, so you must see it with your eyes! How do you do that if you're a noob? Well, learn, study, trade every day without getting fixed with the profits, don't put your cash on the line, trade on demo for a while, but do it with a plan, a purpose, like "I'm testing this method for the next 30 days" and do it like if it's your bread and butter way of trading... keep track on your progress on that particular system. If it feels good and you didn't cheat or made some stupid non-related trades, then cool, that's the way to go... else, you're not taking it seriously enough, so no wonder you'll stay mediocre and never make money, you're just wasting time and playing the "wanna be" game.
If you really want to become a trader you must commit to becoming very extremely good at one particular method, and master it fully. This takes time. Then, little by little it will make sense and become part of you, of how you view your trading and the market. Put it to the test some more, bottom line being to try to trade under all market conditions possible, using always the same approach. When you start to see the profits based on an absolutely consistent approach, never deviated from the plan, never placed stupid "just trying" or "revenge" trades (which in a live account would cost you) then you'll start being confident in your ability, because you're seeing that you can be profitable each week, each month, time after time again. In the meantime, keep 'saving' money for a real account that will serve you to build on it (not to pay the market fee to learn the hard way!).
Then little by little work on growing the acount(s) by not taking money out too early for expenses, use compounding based solely on your consistency to make good trades. Focus should always be on the process of making the trades and never look at the balance once you're trading live. Then, little by little things start to pickup, people will come to you, you'll start making acquaintance with other traders, investors, whatever and opportunities will appear to grow your potential. Just give it time and stay at it (wanting to master your craft) like a maniac !
That's how I would have done if I could do it again."
Unless you live in another reality or are a beginner and naive, you have realized that being a trader is not easy. I have posted on the blog a series of posts about some fundamental points that challenge you as a trader. In today's post I highlight the 5 most important points you need to keep in mind before you start doing your trades.
1. Know Yourself
It sounds likea philosophy jargon, but it's not. You need to carefully define your risk tolerance and understand your needs. To profit consistently you must, before knowing the markets, know yourself. The first step is to gain self-awareness of your risk tolerance by allocating the adequate capital. I'm not just talking about the famous risk management, but I'm talking about carefully studying your own financial goals and what you really want to gain from trading.
2. Define your goals, keep your plan
Once you know what you want, you should systematically set a deadline and a work plan for your career as a trader. What is failure or success for you? What is your deadline to accept a win/lose situation, perhaps more the lose ones than the winners, as long as you understand that this is an important part of your learning? How long can you devote yourself to your new journey? Do you aim for financial independence or simply want an extra income? These questions must be answered before you actually trade. Answering them is part of establishing your trading plan, your goals. Also, having clear and realistic goals is what will help you succeed.
3. Focus! Do not diversify
Yes, it may seems crazy and go against the common sense. But the truth is that the markets are deep and complicated. It is difficult to master all the different kinds of events taking place in this world, so it is a good idea to restrict our vision to the asset we understand and are familiar with, always remembering to join the most liquid and widely traded assets, whether you are a beginner or an advanced trader.
4. Do not add to a losing position. Do not make average price
Seriously, do not make average price. Sorry, but I had to be very clear about that. Nothing can be said about the future, so you do not know how long a stock will go up or down. If you are at a loss, the smallest one is the first.
5. Take notes. Study your success and your failure.
Have you ever heard about the trading journal? If so, why have not you made one yet? If not, know that the successful trader will keep a journal of his operations, where he will carefully understand his mistakes and successes to find out what works and what does not. This is one of the most important trading tips you will receive from a good mentor.
Thanks and see you next post!
Scalping in trading is a term used to describe the skill of take several small profits on a regular basis, buying and/or selling several times per day. Scalpers like to try and scalp a few pips from each trade (3 up to 10 pips) and then repeat this process over and over throughout the day. Using high leverage and making trades with just a few pips profit at a time can add up, especially if your trades are profitable and can be repeated many times over the course of the day.
We can also say that scalping is a variation of day trading. A "day trader" opens a position and then close it again during the current trading session; in other words he/she never carries a position overnight. A day trader may look to take a position once or twice, or even a few times a day, but scalpers are much more dynamic and try to take really small profits multiple times in a trading session. In particular, some scalpers like to try and catch the high-velocity moves that occur around the time of the release of economic data and other important news events, such as the release of the employment statistics or GDP releases if that is what is high on the economic agenda. And, for sure, As a scalper you only want to trade the most liquid markets. It is, in my honest opinion, almost impossible to scalp in the stock market. The best market to do it is Forex. We are talking about a key factor that is liquidity, and the Forex Market is by far the most liquidy one in the world. Also, we are usually talking about the major currency pairs, such as EUR/USD or USD/JPY.
The Scalper's way of living
One may think tha scalping is not a good way to trade. Yes, for sure it is for a minority, but still can be profitable. What you must have in mind is that a scalper will be in front of a computer for several ours, and they need to enjoy the intense concentration that it takes to scalp. You cannot take your eye off the screen. You must be the kind of person who can react very quickly because there is no time to think. Being able to "pull the trigger" is a necessary key quality for a scalper. This is especially true in order to cut a position if it should move against you - you have no time for the market take you out some few pips.
Saying it once more, scaping is a very fast paced way of trading. If you like the action and like to really focus, then scalping may be for you. If you have the temperament to react quickly, and have no shame in taking quick losses, then scalping may be for you. But if you like to analyze and think through each decision you make, perhaps you are not suited to scalp. There are lots of other ways to trade. Pick up the one that fits for you and dont worry about any buzz that may bother you when you are trading the markets!
"It has already been said that the true concepts bear the signature of their author; And I believe that are very few of those who carry a signature as sharp as the unconscious of Freud. "
There are few studies and references approaching psychoanalysis and economics. Such approach can be started in the face of the fact that economics is treated as a human science and therefore a social science. This means that it is thought and managed by individuals who are inserted and organized in a form of society. Thus, the fields of study of economics, among them: relations between individuals, way of society organization in relation to production, the exchange and consumption of services and goods in general, exchange of currencies - are the result, and inevitably , pass by individual and social meanings.
Regarding the psychoanalysis, one of its fundamental concepts, the unconscious, which was postulated by Freud and later by Lacan, is a system organized and governed by principles and laws of language: "... it must be assumed that the unconscious is the general basis of psychic life. The unconscious is the wider sphere, which includes within itself the smaller sphere of consciousness. (...) the unconscious is the true psychic reality " (Freud, 1900, p.554).
The manifestation of the unconscious on the individual occurs on daily occasions - as in dreams, symptoms, failure acts, as well as in mass behaviors; As well as in the subjectivity of each individual, in desires, choices, paradoxes and anxieties. According to Lacan (1990): "Stumble, faint, a crack. In a pronounced-written phrase, something pops out... There, something that wants to be realized - something that appears intentional, certainly, but also of a strange temporality. What is produced in this hilarity, in the full sense of being fully produced, presents itself as a finding. Thus, from the beginning, that the Freudian exploration finds what goes on in the unconscious " (p. 30).
Correlating the concepts mentioned above, psychoanalysis can contribute in the sphere of economics - since they are two sciences that perpass the social/human relations - going beyond the conceptions of conscience, considering the unconscious character that transpasses the actions of the inserted subjects in a society. Moreover, by providing the individual's autonomy and responsibility in his choices, psychoanalysis disrupts the individual with psychic and social alienation and can help with the apprehension/understanding and transformation of the production relations and monetary exchanges as conceptions of value. That is, the psychoanalytic investigation can become an important element, allowing the reflection and transformation of the subjects' actions against the markets and its transactions.
FREUD, S. The interpretation of dreams (1900). RJ: E.S.B p. 554 (Portuguese Edition)
LACAN, J. The Seminar - Book 11. RJ: Zahar, 1990, p.30.(Portuguese Edition)
About the author: Carina Guerra - Psychologist, expert in psychoanalysis and an Outspoker.
This is a question that many investors (if not all) try to answer every day. In fact, if it were possible, it would be possible to make large returns in a short period of time. However, there is a theory that says no, it is not possible to predict the value of an asset on the stock market, for example. It is known as Efficient Market Theory.
This theory is based on the assumption that all available information is rapidly absorbed by the market by all of its participants and it is impossible to make significantly gains above the market average. This characteristic is the concept of efficient market (FAMA, 1970). Secondly (FAMA, 1991), there are three variants for this hypothesis of efficient markets. The first is the weak hypothesis, which considers that markets absorb only the historical information that is public available. A medium or "semi-strong" hypothesis is based on the principle that asset prices reflect this public information instantaneously. Fama further adds the strong hypothesis, saying that the market instantly reflects even the information considered as insider.
That is, the theory of efficient markets suggests that stock prices follow the Random Walk theory. It states that it is not possible to predict the future on the basis of past data (in line with the theory of efficient markets), that is, it does not mean (for example) that the stock price has increased today, yesterday, or in another period that the price will increase tomorrow as well, because the market works irrationally so the price of a stock will be unpredictable (as well as the movement of a molecule into a fluid).
Let's show in practice how this works by using a decision tree. They are a supervised learning algorithm whose output is If - Then rules that classifies a discrete set of values, given continuous or discrete value inputs. In the figure below we have a classic example of a tree that assists in the decision to play or not given certain conditions like climate and humidity.
In our example we will use a database containing the trading information of the Ibovespa index, from 14.08.2014 to 04.09.2014, every 5 minutes. The available data are Date, Time, Opening, Maximum, Minimum, Last, Volume (contracts), Volume (R$). With this data (1617 records), we created 22 variables to try to predict if, in the next 5 minutes, the index will be up or down.
We run the decision tree in free software Tanagra. After loading the base, we run a χ 2 test to select only the attributes that are really relevant. Here we have our first cut. Of the 22 variables, only 3 remain. The first is if the difference between the maximum and the opening is less than 30 points. The second is whether the volume average of the last two periods is greater than the average of the previous period. Finally, the third measures whether the maximum price of the last period is greater than the maximum of the period prior to it.
Analyzing the result of the decision tree with these three attributes, we see that the chance of knowing if the market will fall or rise in the next 5 minutes is a little bigger than playing a coin. From the confusion matrix, we see that practically the decision tree goes right or wrong at the same frequency.
Notice also the rules that were created. None of them is able to hit more than 62% of the records, with most of them close to 50%.
A curiosity is that in the stock market, a strong consensus among traders is that the traded volume is a strong trend indicator, either for high or low, since it shows that market agents are determined in relation to a specific movement. Of our 3 attributes, 2 are related to the trading volume, showing that the tree was sensitive enough to understand this behavior. Even so, our result is in line with the theory of efficient markets.
Of course, there are more complex methods to try to estimate market movement, but even so, our approach shows that it is a Herculean task that has not yet been completed. The question that remains is: is there any information that is not immediately absorbed by the market, and given this, is possible to use it to predict stocks movement?
The studies continue around the world and if someone finds out, maybe we will never know ;)
There is no better way to understand how hard is to be a trader or investor than actually start being one. Open an account with a small value and buy your first asset. Remember that the account must be small because you will break, then you can not lose something that will hurt you. Established this begining, feel the emotion flowing and hands shaking every time you push the button. Precisely because it is difficult, you should try to be a trader. This difficulty makes you start off the promises of easy, fast and astronomical gains. How many times have you read that a person Y has won more than XXXX% in a few days ... sometimes hours. Pure quackery.
I have repeated countless times and it is time to do it again: everything in life takes time, is molded with practice, with trials and mistakes. It takes a while to you really call yourself a trader. You will do this in the beginning. You will spread the word to everyone around you about how much your portfolio has grown in a week while your friends will still be in single savings accounts. One day you will lose a lot, then will be ashamed of them and everything you said, but do not not give up. So you start to be more cautious with each one f your words. A trader has born!
But if it's so hard, why should I try to be a trader?
There is a person's profile that likes to excel, to be challenged and do more of it. They like clearly to feel the reward for every act and constantly improve. Being a trader is thinking in psychology, discipline and finally strategy. Starting with psychology, you have to control your emotions before all of it. Then, when you're thinking with your head, you must have discipline (remember the post on the reward for consistency) to strictly follow all that you have learned. Finally, you have the strategy, the trading system to operate in the market. I say most people lose money because they already start in the strategy but forget to control the emotions and at the lower bump in market they are are out, settled and emotionally wounded. Then the guilty one is the market or yourself? You will see it is not so easy to buy low and sell high.
You are (or should be) responsible for your actions. We grew up listening to it and this concept is present in discussions about determinism and free will. If there is no free will, how can be there an individual responsibility?
Free will is the possibility of having the power to make a free choice. It has been discussed by science and religion and is still controversial. The deterministic thinking says that all events are caused in a necessary and sufficient way for previous events, that is, a person is deprived of freedom to decide and influence the phenomena that him/her takes part. In the other hand, libertarianism supports the view that people have free will and are the agent's actions that always produce the event. The latter concept is most commonly used in economics.
At the end of the day, we know that we are responsible for our actions. And these actions would not have been committed without free will. It was our decision. It is common today to assign the responsibility of things to others ... Outsourcing guilt corrupts you and prevents you from going futher, in life and in the market. We blame the government, a friend, the neighbor, the hole in the street, politicians and many other concrete and abstract beings, but we forget that the decision was made by ourselves. This is very hard to accept, that is way we have this tendency to outsource the guilt and responsibility. When you take your part in the error, you open the door for a new journey of knowledge to be started, once you can identify what are the most relevant factors about the error, and which are the secondary factors of error (here we can allocate the third party responsability), and try our best to prevent or avoid a repetition of this harmful action.
How being a trader help you with that?
You, as a trader, will go wrong. You will make mistakes. And also will blame the market, the big sharks, the speech of a president of the Central Bank or the "current economic environment". But it will be hard to look at yourself and remember that it was you who pushed the button. No one forced you to it. We have a natural difficulty in accepting our mistakes, and denial is a strong step in this process. Those who are released faster from the denial phase accelerate the acceptance stage that cause natural evolution as a trader and as an individual.
As many things in life, trading is not different: if you are consistent about doing something, you will have your reward in the end. Of course, this is not related in doing wrong things all the time (although it will also “rewards” you somehow). Let us say after you have decided to be a trader, you may be luck and have a great first profitable month. Ok, for sure it has a chance of you just being lucky. However, let us assume you were not and were helped by your skills as future trader. As things in life are not linear, in the following month you not had the chance to trade as you did before. What happened? Probably a non-profitable month. Then yours self-steam as trader starts going down and you are done: your emotions will take control of you.
However, in fact, what happened?
Having as premise that you have a profitable trading system, there is one thing you should care about that is the fact that your trading system for sure is not 100% accurate (as none trading system is in this planet). It will be right and wrong according to the market fluctuation. That is why you went in loss for the second month. As we do not know when your trading system will fail, you must do your trades consistently in order to be exposed in the market as much close as possible to all “right” and “wrong” entries. Then you, on average, will be right according to yours trading system average – which means profits. If you trade occasionally, you are setting the odds against you – unless your method tells you to trade occasionally.
Besides this mathematical effect of consistency, we have another point: we humans are very good classification machines. We learn with time from observations. Therefore, if you are trading frequently naturally on every new trade you will become a better trader than before. This is how life works – it is not me saying it, just observe from your experiences. Ok, it is very hard to accept this somethings – but this is what shows that you have emotional intelligence to be finally a trader. You must accept that things does not happened exactly in the time you want them to happen, so be patient (another great skill you develop from being a trader).
Right now, when I am writhing these words, I am in a position that is against me. It is not easy to be comfortable with it but I did my entry based on my trading system. There is nothing to be afraid once I know why I did the entry and when I must leave. As it is an entry based on a high probability trading – and I am doing this for quite a long time – I have the odds in my favor. In case the odds turns against me, a suitable stop loss will take place and tomorrow, I will have another chance.
After so many years, maybe I can say one thing about trading: nothing in your life will be more unpredictable than when you are staring into a chart trying to understand what will happen next. You will start to see things in your life - things you think are the hardest ones to deal - in a very different way. Then, you will fell in love with it. In case you do not, it is not a bad thing. People have different talents and maybe trading is not for you. You can see this when trading stocks. However, there is something else I would like to talk about: it is called Forex Trading.
Ok then, what is Forex?
Forex means foreign exchange rates. A currency is evaluated against another currency based upon several criteria, such as the economic situation of countries, political news, media and so many others factors. The easiest way to understand a currency is think about it is the value of that country in the same way a share represents the value of a company. Trading it means buying or selling foreign currencies. If public companies have shares that you can buy and sell on the market as you wish, then countries have currencies.
In forex, you do trades based on pairs of currencies. An example is buying EUR and selling USD. There are other major pairs made with the USD, like GBP (British pound), JPY (the Yen), CAD (the Canadian Dollar) and so many others. These ones are the pairs with the highest liquidity in the market. In addition, liquidity is another wonderful thing about forex. It is a market of 5 trillion dollars a day. By day, you should understand that Forex is a 24h trade, starting on Monday at 0:00 and ending on Friday at 23:59. During this time, you can be 100% connected to the market. Any open position you may have can be influenced for something happening during overnight.
In the Outspoken Market, we always talk about emotions on trading. That is because we believe this is the key player on trading. Especially if you think about Forex trading, it should be a sniper duty. Cold and accurate. What does it means in real life? It means that emotions should not be used as the sole foundation for your actions. A little bit of control must be exerted continuously on emotions. The two main emotions: fear and greed. In the trading world, greed is one of the two reasons people are losing money. In real world, greed is one of the two reasons people are losing their lives. The second reason is fear. Fear manifests the moment you do not enter that position because you think it will go lower or higher, or when you close a potion too soon, thinking about that the market will turn against you or will never be in your favor. Fear makes you lose money by not letting yourself taking the profits that you worked for.
One common thing about these two feelings is that both will make you staying in a losing trade and hoping for the market to turn into your favor. This is definetely the worst thing a trader can do. It will never happen. You will learn that the small loss is the first one.
Welcome to our place. Welcome to Outspoken Market!
Well, there are problems and try to bypass or avoid them only will make them become larger. This is not news to anyone, although people still insist on ignoring this fact - and yes, we all do it. That is, the zero step to solving a problem is to accept that there is one.
There are some outstanding features of the people who are natural problem solvers. We can see that they naturally take more risks, are persistent, with an open and curious mind; and not only! Being nonconformist is another key skill. There is always a way to do something and if it was not found yet, the nonconformist will not rest until they find a way. We can then say that being a risk-taker, persistent and curious will make us an incensed person.
And is that good?
The daily exercise to become a trader makes us develop these special skills to be a problem-solver more practical and effective. The first major problem of a trader is to control the emotions and know the right time to make an entry. With some exceptions, traders have good strategies, but they usually do not work because their own. Thus, the daily exercise of patience and observation during the trading is extrapolated to other areas of life, as we are inseparable beings. A familiar problem will affect your performance during a trade and vice versa. Do not ignore this fact.
Being aware of this leads us to the level of reflection. Decisions will become more meticulous, taking into account different views and perspectives on the problem. In addition, there will be an association with past experiences. A troubleshooter is also a good associator, learning from past mistakes and repeating good behaviors. Whenever we encounter a new problem (in life or trading) it is interesting raise some points first:
What is the real problem?
When it happened?
What is preventing me to solve it?
Is this problem influencing other areas of my life? (Remember that we are inseparable beings)
Is this above a manual? No, we do not like manuals. They are some points to help you to think better. There is no magic formula for anything. But there are the so-called starting points, which are useful when we have no idea where to start. Then your experience will guide you to your own method.
Now it is the part that seems self-help book: play sports and take care of your health, family and be happy. No problem will resist to a motivated person. And you can not "blame the market" by your misguided actions. Having this empowerment, this sense of responsibility, brings more clarity to understand what the real problem is, which is the first step to find a solution.
If there are still doubts, complement the reading with our post When in doubt...