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15 Common Sense Rules For Traders

Common sense can be brutally honest sometimes. As traders we get so focused on the little inconsequential detaisl sometimes that we miss the world around us. I have had this discussion with too many people over the last two months that told me they were bearish on the market and were taking a beating on the “high probability” that the market would reverse. Who sets those odds by the way? Are trends more likely to reverse than persist? If so, why the hell are we studying technical analysis?

Take a look over these trading rules I stumbled across last year and see if there are any realities that surface from them. Each time I look these over it reminds me of the realities of what we do here.

1. No matter what you read about trading, until you use an approach and test it with your money on the line you will never learn how to trade. Paper Trading is NOT Trading!

2. If it were really possible to “Buy Low Sell High” or “Cut your Losses and Let your Winners Run”, then almost everyone would be making money rather than losing it.

3. Remember that there is ALWAYS someone on the other side of your trade who is using a trading technique exactly the opposite of yours who hopes to make money with his system.

4. If 90% of all traders lose money, they must be following generally accepted trading rules. The 10% who win do not!

5. You trade your beliefs and your beliefs about your system. If you have a problem with yourself, fix yourself first.

6. Impatience, Fear and Greed will make you poor. Any need to trade is rooted in greed and impatience.

7. If you really understand the markets then YOU KNOW that there is the same opportunity on every time frame, in every market, every single day.

8. Waiting for the perfect trade is “chickening out”, and caused by your lack of faith in yourself or your system.

9. Any hardwired, automated trading system sold that truly works 70 or 80 or 90 percent of the time in every market would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and would not be for sale at any price. (more…)

Discipline-Risk Management-Passion

DISCIPLINE: The trader must have the ability to control themselves and follow a plan. Discipline is a required skill in trading without it there is no edge, you are either a gambler or simply trading off fear and greed. You will not be successful, instead you will be gamed by those in control of their emotions.
RISK MANAGEMENT: Risk management must be a top skill for a trader to even survive in the markets. You must structure your risk per trade to be no more than risking 1% or 2% of your trading capital. You have to be able to survive 10 losses in a row. These strings of losses come around more often than a new trader would suspect. If you lose just 5% of your trading capital in each of ten trades you will be down almost 50% and need a 100% return just to get back to even. At this point you are ruined.
PASSION: A trader must love to trade, without a passion for the markets and trading the new trader will not survive the learning process because anyone with common sense would believe that it was not worth the struggle. Passion will be needed to bring a trader through the learning curve and later the losing streak.

Trading Truths

  1. It’s all about risk management … never risk what you can’t comfortably lose.
  2. Never fall in love with a stock.
  3. To be succesfull in trading; study, understand and practice. The rest is easier.
  4. Always start by assuming your analysis is WRONG and that people much smarter and with more recent information are already positioned opposite you.
  5. Never take on a position larger than your comfort zone. (Don’t overtrade)
  6. Patience. never chase a stock.
  7. Before entering the trade very think carefully what will make you wrong, write it down clearly and put it infront of you where you trade, and when your wrong get out happy you’ve followed your trading discipline.
  8. Buy strength, sell weakness. Most traders are essentially counter-trend; most traders lose.
  9. No one ever went broke taking a profit!
  10. Once you find a good one, hang on unless of course they do you wrong.
  11. Never add to a losing position! (Unless scaling in was part of the plan).
  12. Whenever you think you’ve found the key to the lock, they’ll change the lock.
  13. Do not overtrade.
  14. Trade price not perception.
  15. Know the difference between stocks that you want to stay married to and those that are just a fling.
  16. The only sure way to make a small fortune is to start with a large one.
  17. and to paraphrase Will Rogers: Buy only stocks that will go up. Don’t buy the ones that don’t go up. “THIS is GAMBLING.”

  18. Cut your losses quickly and you may have a chance.
  19. An indicator works until it doesn’t.
  20. “MR. MARKET” IS ACTUALLY “MRS. MARKET” ONLY WOMEN CAN THINK, AND ACT THE WAY THE MARKET DOES. THAT IS WHY -ON AVERAGE -WOMEN ARE BETTER TRADERS THAN MEN, THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY DEALING WITH! (more…)

Trading Errors

 Ignoring the downside of a trade. Most traders, when entering a trade, look only at the money they think they will make by taking the trade. They rarely consider that the trade may go against them and that they could lose. The reality is that whenever someone buys a futures contract, someone else is selling that same futures contract. The buyer is convinced that the market will go up. The seller is convinced that the market has finished going up. If you look at your trades that way, you will become a more conservative and realistic trader.

Taking too much risk. With all the warnings about risk contained in the forms with which you open your account, and with all the required warnings in books, magazines, and many other forms of literature you receive as a trader, why is it so hard to believe that trading carries with it a tremendous amount of risk? It’s as though you know on an intellectual basis that trading futures is risky, but you don’t really take it to heart and live it until you find yourself caught up in the sheer terror of a major losing trade. Greed drives traders to accept too much risk. They get into too many trades. They put their stop too far away. They trade with too little capital. We’re not advising you to avoid trading futures. What we’re saying is that you should embark on a sound, disciplined trading plan based on knowledge of the futures markets in which you trade, coupled with good common sense.

Nassim Taleb's Six Rules For Succeeding In Life

TalebSuccess in all endeavors is requires absence of specific qualities.
1) To succeed in crime requires absence of empathy,
2) To succeed in banking you need absense of shame at hiding risks,
3) To succeed in school requires absence of common sense,
4) To succeed in economics requires absence of understanding of probability, risk, or 2nd order effects and about anything,
5) To succeed in journalism requires inability to think about matters that have an infinitesimal small chance of being relevant next January, 
…6) But to succeed in life requires a total inability to do anything that makes you uncomfortable when you look at yourself in the mirror.

EXIT in Trading

exit_strategy1Exit– The exit is critical to being a successful trader. Let your winners run and your losers run out quickly. Two factors determine your exit, the Target and the Stop loss you have set on entering the trade.

1. The Target is determined by the type of market and the trading history of the stock.

2. If the trade proceeds in your direction move the Stop loss keeping it tight.

3. It the trade continues to move, you may want to take your money off the table!

4. Profits should be taken before reaching a S/R. SO WHAT if it continues to run after you left!

5. Take Profits quickly and often! And remember discretion is the better part of valor.

6. The two most important factors in determining the Stop loss are the last S/R and providing enough margin for the trade to be successful. You must balance these against each other.

7. The Stop loss can be predetermined by your maximum loss limit but understand a small loss limit can positively impact your probability of success.

8. I must balance courage and common sense when staying in the trade. The money may be better used in another trade.

9. Remember small losses are the key to success in an environment where you may be wrong greater than 50% of the time.

10. Don’t give back, remember you can always get back in!

11. Don’t change my rules and therefore my settings.

6 Mistakes

Mistake number one: not having any knowledge of the simple visual indications for when to enter a trade based on market behavior and common sense.
Mistake number two: not being on the right time frame at the right time for the current trading opportunity.
Mistake number three: entering trades long AFTER the real entry occurred and exiting way BEFORE the exit occurs.
Mistake number four: no trading plan or direction for a consistent entry and exit strategy.
Mistake number five: following some scam Forex system they recently bought on the internet and using dozens of “proprietary” indicators.
Mistake number six: entering and exiting trades for reasons other than their own trading method. (fear, greed, etc)

Mark Douglas Trading Discipline Exercise

Nothing revolutionary about it, but a lot of common sense.

Here’s the exercise with some of my personal observations added:

Pick ONE trading signal. It doesn’t matter, what signal exactly, but it’s important that it should be one you consider reliable and really intend to start your career as a consistently profitable trader with trading this signal (I will explain in some of further posts, why it is so important to start trading with minimal number of different signals). (more…)

Discipline-Risk Managment-Passion for Traders

  1. DISCIPLINE: The trader must have the ability to control themselves and follow a plan. Discipline is a required skill in trading without it there is no edge, you are either a gambler or simply trading off fear and greed. You will not be successful, instead you will be gamed by those in control of their emotions.
  2. RISK MANAGEMENT: Risk management must be a top skill for a trader to even survive in the markets. You must structure your risk per trade to be no more than risking 1% or 2% of your trading capital. You have to be able to survive 10 losses in a row. These strings of losses come around more often than a new trader would suspect. If you lose just 5% of your trading capital in each of ten trades you will be down almost 50% and need a 100% return just to get back to even. At this point you are ruined.
  3. PASSION: A trader must love to trade, without a passion for the markets and trading the new trader will not survive the learning process because anyone with common sense would believe that it was not worth the struggle. Passion will be needed to bring a trader through the learning curve and later the losing streak.

11 Biases That Affect Traders

Overconfidence
As the name suggested, it is the irrational faith in one’s skills, methodology or beliefs. For example, you see a certain chart pattern and make a maximum leveraged trade, even though you understand that any chart pattern cannot predict market with certainty. Trading excessively after a winning streak also shows overconfidence.
Cognitive Dissonance
It means finding excuses for something which makes you ‘uncomfortable’. For example, jumping from one indicator to another when you face losing trades; or continuing to trade in stock even your trading methodology does not gives you a positive expectancy. 
Availability Bias
It means being biased to information which is readily and easily available. For example, people begin to trade using RSI without understanding the internal relative strength; that is, RSI is most talked about on forums so start using them without rationally researching it. Being affected from attractive advertisement or intelligent sounding articles (including this one!) without due diligence also signifies availability bias.
Self-Attribution Bias
It means giving yourself unwarranted praise for outcomes which may just be an outcome of chance. For example, people make money in a bull market through buy and hold and start begin to believe on their trading acumen rather than the market regime which favors their trading style. (more…)

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