Trading Decision-Making Process

There is a huge difference between a wish and a decision. A wish is a negative and puts the trader in a frozen state waiting for something to happen (generally associated with trying to get even on losing trades). That is negatively charged energy. Decisions, on the other hand, are positively charged energy. It makes the trader take action. Taking action is taking responsibility. You alone are responsible for your current mental state or condition. Decisions can be both good and bad of course. The sooner the trader realized the bad decision, the sooner they can act to correct it.

The first step in the decision-making process is to realize that what you are doing is not working. Remember that falling down is a positive motions is you bounce right back. Make a list of the positive and negative things that will happen when you take action on the decision.

Don’t expect instant gratification if you make the decision. Decision-making is a process that begins with the first step but these steps are the foundation for a stronger behavioral structure. This structure will give you the confidence in your trading. Confidence plays a key role in successful trading. Having the confidence necessary for successful trading can help the trader in difficult trading environments. Whereas one trader lacking confidence and good decision-making skills may be frozen and unable to act, the trader who has taken the time to build this foundation will be prepared to take the appropriate actions.

Many times specific decisions a trader makes will not yield profits, they will result in a loss, but more importantly, it will position the trader to be able to recognize and act on the next opportunity. Practicing and applying this process will pay dividends throughout your lifetime.

The Strategy Of John Neff

MUST READTaken from the April 26, 2013 issue of The Validea Hot List

Guru Spotlight: John Neff

Most investors wouldn’t give a fund described as “relatively prosaic, dull, conservative” a second glance. That, however, is exactly how John Neff described the Windsor Fund that he headed for more than three decades. And, while his style may not have been flashy or eye-catching, the returns he generated for clients were dazzling — so dazzling that Neff’s track record may be the greatest ever for a mutual fund manager.

By focusing on beaten down, unloved stocks, Neff was able to find value in places that most investors overlooked. And when the rest of the market caught on to his finds, he and his clients reaped the rewards. Over his 31-year tenure (1964-1995), Windsor averaged a 13.7 percent annual return, beating the market by an average of 3.1 percent per year. Looked at another way, a $10,000 investment in the fund the year Neff took the reins would have been worth more than $564,000 by the time he retired (with dividends reinvested); that same $10,000 invested in the S&P 500 (again with dividends reinvested) would have been worth less than half that after 31 years, about $233,000. That type of track record made the understated, low-key Neff a favorite manager of many other professional fund managers — an “investor’s investor”, if you will. (more…)

The Same Winning Principles

In life, as in trading, the right mindset is crucial for success. You must be confident in your decisions because they are based on cause and effect, not on emotions or opinion. Negative people who are unsure of themselves are not successful in any field. You need faith in yourself and your methods to be able to persevere and not give up before reaching success.

• You can risk too much and lose it all in your business, life, marriage, friendships or family. You have to measure the potential cost of every action. One affair can cost you your marriage, just like one big trade with too much risk can cost you all your capital.

• In business there are certain methods which bring in customers and turn a profit, and others which cause a business to turn away customers and lose money. Trading is similar: methods which turn a consistent and long-term profit are essential for success.

• Having unrealistic expectations in a marriage, job, or business will lead to unhappiness and failure just like it will in trading. You have to set realistic expectations so
you do not get discouraged easily and quit in any of these areas. You have to be satisfied that the results are worth your effort over the long term. You need to understand what to expect before you begin a marriage, a job, a business, or trading. (more…)


Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, recently gave the following remarks to the Princeton Class of 2010.  This is another example of how one short speech for a few can become one giant leap for many.

What do I get out of it?  That as a trader, educator, and coach I must not allow my cleverness to get in the way of my kindness and in so doing I will build a great story…a story that will pay dividends for much longer than any equity curve.  The greater question:  What will it do for you?


Video Version:  Please note that Bezos speech begins about 6 minutes into this recording.

As a kid, I spent my summers with my grandparents on their ranch in Texas. I helped fix windmills, vaccinate cattle, and do other chores. We also watched soap operas every afternoon, especially “Days of our Lives.” My grandparents belonged to a Caravan Club, a group of Airstream trailer owners who travel together around the U.S. and Canada. And every few summers, we’d join the caravan. We’d hitch up the Airstream trailer to my grandfather’s car, and off we’d go, in a line with 300 other Airstream adventurers. I loved and worshipped my grandparents and I really looked forward to these trips. On one particular trip, I was about 10 years old. I was rolling around in the big bench seat in the back of the car. My grandfather was driving. And my grandmother had the passenger seat. She smoked throughout these trips, and I hated the smell.

At that age, I’d take any excuse to make estimates and do minor arithmetic. I’d calculate our gas mileage — figure out useless statistics on things like grocery spending. I’d been hearing an ad campaign about smoking. I can’t remember the details, but basically the ad said, every puff of a cigarette takes some number of minutes off of your life: I think it might have been two minutes per puff. At any rate, I decided to do the math for my grandmother. I estimated the number of cigarettes per days, estimated the number of puffs per cigarette and so on. When I was satisfied that I’d come up with a reasonable number, I poked my head into the front of the car, tapped my grandmother on the shoulder, and proudly proclaimed, “At two minutes per puff, you’ve taken nine years off your life!”

I have a vivid memory of what happened, and it was not what I expected. I expected to be applauded for my cleverness and arithmetic skills. “Jeff, you’re so smart. You had to have made some tricky estimates, figure out the number of minutes in a year and do some division.” That’s not what happened. Instead, my grandmother burst into tears. I sat in the backseat and did not know what to do. While my grandmother sat crying, my grandfather, who had been driving in silence, pulled over onto the shoulder of the highway. He got out of the car and came around and opened my door and waited for me to follow. Was I in trouble? My grandfather was a highly intelligent, quiet man. He had never said a harsh word to me, and maybe this was to be the first time? Or maybe he would ask that I get back in the car and apologize to my grandmother. I had no experience in this realm with my grandparents and no way to gauge what the consequences might be. We stopped beside the trailer. My grandfather looked at me, and after a bit of silence, he gently and calmly said, “Jeff, one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

What I want to talk to you about today is the difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.

This is a group with many gifts. I’m sure one of your gifts is the gift of a smart and capable brain. I’m confident that’s the case because admission is competitive and if there weren’t some signs that you’re clever, the dean of admission wouldn’t have let you in.

Your smarts will come in handy because you will travel in a land of marvels. We humans — plodding as we are — will astonish ourselves. We’ll invent ways to generate clean energy and a lot of it. Atom by atom, we’ll assemble tiny machines that will enter cell walls and make repairs. This month comes the extraordinary but also inevitable news that we’ve synthesized life. In the coming years, we’ll not only synthesize it, but we’ll engineer it to specifications. I believe you’ll even see us understand the human brain. Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Galileo, Newton — all the curious from the ages would have wanted to be alive most of all right now. As a civilization, we will have so many gifts, just as you as individuals have so many individual gifts as you sit before me.

How will you use these gifts? And will you take pride in your gifts or pride in your choices?

I got the idea to start Amazon 16 years ago. I came across the fact that Web usage was growing at 2,300 percent per year. I’d never seen or heard of anything that grew that fast, and the idea of building an online bookstore with millions of titles — something that simply couldn’t exist in the physical world — was very exciting to me. I had just turned 30 years old, and I’d been married for a year. I told my wife MacKenzie that I wanted to quit my job and go do this crazy thing that probably wouldn’t work since most startups don’t, and I wasn’t sure what would happen after that. MacKenzie (also a Princeton grad and sitting here in the second row) told me I should go for it. As a young boy, I’d been a garage inventor. I’d invented an automatic gate closer out of cement-filled tires, a solar cooker that didn’t work very well out of an umbrella and tinfoil, baking-pan alarms to entrap my siblings. I’d always wanted to be an inventor, and she wanted me to follow my passion.

I was working at a financial firm in New York City with a bunch of very smart people, and I had a brilliant boss that I much admired. I went to my boss and told him I wanted to start a company selling books on the Internet. He took me on a long walk in Central Park, listened carefully to me, and finally said, “That sounds like a really good idea, but it would be an even better idea for someone who didn’t already have a good job.” That logic made some sense to me, and he convinced me to think about it for 48 hours before making a final decision. Seen in that light, it really was a difficult choice, but ultimately, I decided I had to give it a shot. I didn’t think I’d regret trying and failing. And I suspected I would always be haunted by a decision to not try at all. After much consideration, I took the less safe path to follow my passion, and I’m proud of that choice. (more…)

Common Mistakes to Avoid while Trading:



  • Failure to cut losses: Pride, ego, or stubbornness prevents the trader from selling.
  • Not knowing “how much” to trade on each position: Overtrading positions can kill your account and take you out for good (risk of ruin).
  • Average down in price: Placing good money after bad is a loser’s game.
  • Listening to rumors: Forget the talking heads, rumors and tips as they are nothing but garbage and a sure way to substantial losses
  • Lack of patience: It takes years to master trading as an advanced skill; even then, you are never done learning or adapting
  • Not knowing when to sell: Determine your price objectives and risk-to-reward ratios prior to entering the trade; never allow emotions to make this decision. (more…)

How Indian investors get a lifetime of free meals

In one of the AGMs that I attended, there was an impatient “investor” sitting next to me.FREE LUNCH

He confided to me that he was waiting for this AGM to get over so that he could have his lunch and then he could attend two more AGMs !

I remarked that he must be having lots of shares to attend so many AGMs. He replied in Hindi “Nahi, Nahi.Sab mein 5-10 shares hai .”

Looking at my puzzled expression, he explained” You buy 5-10 shares of a company.In a AGM, they normally have a meal (lunch or snacks). If the venue is nearby, you attend the AGM.By attending two/three AGMs, you recover the cost of your shares.Sometimes the management gives gifts also.Plus, you get dividends and a lifetime access to free meals !”

If Ben Graham heard this approach to value investing, he would probably turn in his grave ! 

Trading Mistakes: Avoid at all Costs

Common Mistakes to Avoid while Trading:

  • Failure to cut losses: Pride, ego, or stubbornness prevents the trader from selling.
  • Not knowing “how much” to trade on each position: Overtrading positions can kill your account and take you out for good (risk of ruin). (Learn to position size)
  • Average down in price: Placing good money after bad is a loser’s game.
  • Listening to rumors: Forget the talking heads, rumors and tips as they are nothing but garbage and a sure way to substantial losses
  • Lack of patience: It takes years to master trading as an advanced skill; even then, you are never done learning or adapting
  • Not knowing when to sell: Determine your price objectives and risk-to-reward ratios prior to entering the trade; never allow emotions to make this decision.
  • Buying 52-week lows: Don’t be afraid to buy stocks making new highs. The garbage sits at the bottom along with weakness and downward momentum. Buy strength and the momentum moving higher.
  • Pure Fundamentalist: Technical analysis is a must! Use candlestick charts that show the price, volume and major moving averages – this is all you need, don’t complicate the process.
  • Making trading decisions based on taxes: Never buy or sell based on taxes alone.
  • Buying based on dividends: Don’t buy based solely on dividends; most growth stocks will never give out dividends
  • Buying familiar names: Yesterday’s leaders are not likely to be tomorrow’s stars. Look for solid new companies with great earnings, sales and a product in demand. Don’t buy a stock based on a popular household name.
  • Lack of action: Be able to move on a dime. Time is money, don’t procrastinate or hope for something that may never happen.
  • Lack of Consistency: Develop a method suited to your personality; stick to it and don’t trade blindly.

Common Trading Mistakes

In trading, as in life in general, we all know that experience is the best teacher. However, failures in stock market trading bear more weight since you stand to lose thousands of dollars (or more) with each mistake that you make. So as to help you recognize red flags and prevent you from losing money further, here is a list of some common mistakes you might want to avoid.

# 1: Lack of proper knowledge
Many people who come into stock trading with the notion that they can simply learn the ropes along the way may be fatally mistaken. This is because this kind of activity requires some degree of stock market know-how, as well as experience. First, you have to learn how to trade stocks, because this is the only that you can be familiar with terms, such as “stocks,” “shares,” “dividends,” “trends,” and so on. Without proper education, you might make decisions that could prove to be costly in the future. If you want to engage in trading, the first rule is for you to learn about the basics-read a book, enroll in a course, attend lectures by experts-anything that can help you understand what this is all about.

# 2: Acting on Impulse
In learning stock trading, you will realize that many emotions may come into play as you go through each and every transaction-impatience, greed, fear, and over confidence are some of these emotions. One of the most common mistakes people commit while trading is making decisions based on impulse. While it is true that you can feel a wide range of emotions as you evaluate the data in front of you, do remember that a cool, logical reasoning must prevail. Do whatever you can to always make decisions on a clear head.

# 3: Not having enough practice
As you engage in trading, the saying that “practice makes perfect” could not be truer. Again, if you want to learn how to trade stocks and are serious about engaging in trading, then you should also enhance your skills apart from just learning the basics. However, you could not afford the trial and error method using real money, because this is impractical and a waste of time. Fortunately, there are now some sophisticated tools that can help you practice through simulated trading and practice accounts. For a fee, companies can help you set up a practice account, through which you can execute “simulated trading.” What this does is it helps you learn how to trade stocks by honing your skills without the risk of losing actual money.

# 4: Having unrealistic expectations
Finally, another common mistake in trading is having unrealistic expectations. Sure, we may have all heard of those who got rich quick because of the stock market, but you cannot expect to earn millions without being able to make sound decisions based on fact. In the process of learning stock trading, you must be able to set a clear set of objectives, and not unrealistic expectations that could lead you to make rash (and costly) decisions.

In the future, try to avoid committing similar mistakes so that you can truly benefit from the time and effort you are trading in the stock market.

Go to top