Ways to Recognise and Defeat Your Evil Trader

  • Have a plan.  If you don’t have a plan, your Evil Trader has zero boundaries and will take over entirely.  When you have a plan, you’ll start to notice him telling you not to follow it.  You’ll hear him whisper seductive anti-plan ideas that sound and look perfectly reasonable – except they aren’t in the plan.
  • Have an Evil Trader Journal.   The thing with ET is that often his ideas sound great and are really hard to ignore.  So as not to discard potentially good ideas, keep a log and after each trade is closed make a note of whether the idea would have been positive or detrimental to the outcome of your trade.  After a period of listing these ideas you’ll be able to notice that a) ET is wrong and he needs to shut it, or b) his idea deserves some further testing as it’s possible it has merit.
  • Try to make your method as water-tight as possible.  A signal needs to be a signal without a shadow of a doubt.  An exit needs to be a definite exit, no two ways about it.  The more black and white the better, as your Evil Trader loves to second guess your judgement.  Planting seeds of doubt is just the way he rolls.
  • Make a check-list for those times when you’re just not sure.   There will always be times when things just don’t seem so clear-cut.  This is your evil trader’s very favourite moment to strike.  You need to be armed with your weapons of ET destruction – aka, your check-list – to guide you through.  Having a checklist on hand allows you to objectively determine whether what you think you’re seeing is in fact what the market is presenting.

Investment philosophy

  • “Good information, thoughtful analysis, quick but not impulsive reactions, and knowledge of the historic interaction between companies, sectors, countries, and asset classes under similar circumstances in the past are all important ingredients in getting the legendary ‘it’ right that we all strive so desperately for.” 
  • “[T]here are no relationships or equations that always work. Quantitatively based solutions and asset-allocation equations invariably fail as they are designed to capture what would have worked in the previous cycle whereas the next one remains a riddle wrapped in an enigma. The successful macro investor must be some magical mixture of an acute analyst, an investment scholar, a listener, a historian, a river boat gambler, and be a voracious reader.Reading is crucial. Charlie Munger, a great investor and a very sagacious old guy, said it best: ‘I have said that in my whole life, I have known no wise person, over a broad subject matter who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. Now I know all kinds of shrewd people who by staying within a narrow area do very well without reading. But investment is a broad area. So if you think you’re going to be good at it and not read all the time you have a different idea than I do.'” 
  • “[T]he investment process is only half the battle. The other weighty component is struggling with yourself, and immunizing yourself from the psychological effects of the swings of markets, career risk, the pressure of benchmarks, competition, and the loneliness of the long distance runner.”  (more…)

Paul Counsel-Trading Wisdom

Successful trading has absolutely nothing to do with making money and everything to do with trading successfully. Making money will only ever be a by-product of successful trading. Successful trading is not a by-product of making money. When you attach trading to money and money to emotions and emotions to money you’ll have taken your first loss but you won’t know it yet.

Trading has everything to do with personal psychology, rules, systems, discipline, focus and skill. Like anything else that’s skill based, once you start it takes time and practice to become skilful.Ultimately trading is about making decisions between two choices, to buy or sell. As simple as these two choices are the variables that effect the decisions surrounding them can be as complex as the human mind can make them.

As a trader your central focus should be on your system. You should know your system inside out, its strengths and weaknesses. Your system should be comprised of a set of rules that ultimately guide you in making either of two decisions, to buy or sell. You should be able to read your system with respect to market conditions and base your trading choices on what your system is telling you.

As a trader you must understand that you’re the weakest link in the system because the complexity will reside with you. Good systems are simple. They are nothing more than a series of instructions called trading rules. The primary thought that should be central in your mind is that it’s the system that makes the money, not you. The more skilled you become at reading market conditions and marrying these conditions to your system the better a trader you’ll be.

Wealth creation is an uncertain activity for most people and, to do something without certainty of outcome, takes courage. It takes courage to do what the majority is not doing. It takes courage to overcome scepticism and cynicism. It takes courage to deal with fear and overcome fear barriers.

Gerald Loeb’s Market Wisdom

Gerald Loeb’s Market Wisdom
1. The most important single factor in shaping security markets is public psychology.
2. To make money in the stock market you either have to be ahead of the crowd or very sure they are going in the same direction for some time to come.
3. Accepting losses is the most important single investment device to insure safety of capital.
4. The difference between the investor who year in and year out procures for himself a final net profit, and the one who is usually in the red, is not entirely a question of superior selection of stocks or superior timing. Rather, it is also a case of knowing how to capitalize successes and curtail failures.
5. One useful fact to remember is that the most important indications are made in the early stages of a broad market move. Nine times out of ten the leaders of an advance are the stocks that make new highs ahead of the averages.
6. There is a saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” One might paraphrase this by saying a profit is worth more than endless alibis or explanations. . . prices and trends are really the best and simplest “indicators” you can find.
7. Profits can be made safely only when the opportunity is available and not just because they happen to be desired or needed.
8. Willingness and ability to hold funds uninvested while awaiting real opportunities is a key to success in the battle for investment survival.-
9. In addition to many other contributing factors of inflation or deflation, a very great factor is the psychological. The fact that people think prices are going to advance or decline very much contributes to their movement, and the very momentum of the trend itself tends to perpetuate itself.
10. Most people, especially investors, try to get a certain percentage return, and actually secure a minus yield when properly calculated over the years. Speculators risk less and have a better chance of getting something, in my opinion.
11. I feel all relevant factors, important and otherwise, are registered in the market’s behavior, and, in addition, the action of the market itself can be expected under most circumstances to stimulate buying or selling in a manner consistent enough to allow reasonably accurate forecasting of news in advance of its actual occurrence.
12. You don’t need analysts in a bull market, and you don’t want them in a bear market

3 Types of Traders

Three popular trading personality types are intuitive, data oriented, and impulsive.

The data-oriented trader focuses on concrete evidence and is often very risk averse. They seek out as much supporting data for a trading decision as possible. The trader who prefers to do extensive back-testing of a trading idea exemplifies data-oriented type. Consider incorporating elements of data oriented trader personality into your trading style regardless of your natural inclinations.  Make sure you have adequate information (a reason) before executing a trade. Particularly important is to have and trade a detailed trading plan in which risk is minimized and entry and exit strategies are clearly specified. Most often however, the data-oriented trader may take things a little too far. Searching for “the perfect” knowledge that just doesn’t exit in the trading world. At some point, one must accept the fact that he or she is taking a chance and no amount of data analysis can change this fact.

The intuitive trader is the opposite of the data-oriented trader. Trading decisions are based upon hunches and impressions rather than on clearly defined data. There’s a difference between being an intuitive trader who develops this style over time and one who is naturally intuitive. The experienced intuitive trader, bases decisions on data and specific market information. But, as a seasoned trader, analyzes the data quickly and efficiently. It happens so quickly that it seems like it occurs intuitively, but it is actually based on solid information. Ideally, all traders should gain extensive experience to the point where sound decisions are made with an intuitive feel.

A third trader personality type is the impulsive trader (gambler). This is the most dangerous style. The impulsive trader allows his or her decisions to adversely influence trading decisions. Rather than looking at information logically and analytically, information is discounted completely. The impulsive trader seeks out risk and enjoys taking risky, exciting trades. Impulsive traders can often make huge profits one day and see large draw downs the next. Your personality can have a huge influence on your trading performance. Identify your assets and liabilities, and work around your personality when it is necessary. 

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