Embracing the Fear of Losing Money

  • FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real. Almost all fears never materialize.
  • When facing these fears, and we must face them, it might be good to ask the question “what is the worst thing that could happen?” If the pain in the answer to this question is too much to bear then simply exit the trade.
  • The main reason traders’ exit their losers is that the pain of losing one more dollar becomes almost unbearable. All of this pain could be eliminated by using a trading plan and learning to think in probabilities — nothing is certain.
  • Ask yourself what is the worst possible thing that could go wrong with the trade and what would be the best possible outcome that could happen with the trade? Somewhere in between these two extremes is the logical outcome.
  • Differentiate between rational and irrational fear. If it isn’t life threatening, it is probably irrational fear.

Patience is a virtue

Virtue -PatiencePatience is a virtue, and no place does this truism hold more water than the stock market.  When a trader allows doubt, a facet of fear, to inform his trading decision, he sets himself up for failure.  The market does not care about the wants of an individual trader, whereas when making a turn across oncoming traffic, a mistake may result only in an oncoming driver slamming on his or her brakes in order to avoid an accident.  The market will not extend such a courtesy.  It will run over anyone and anything between it and where it is going without as much as an afterthought.  It is the responsibility, not of the market to go where the trader wants it to go, but for the trader to determine the most likely course of the market and plan accordingly.  Patience, achieved by a trader monitoring his internal dialogue, makes it possible.

How to Counter Your Fear In Trading

My fears:
1. Holding on to a position and some trashy news or major unexpected world event happens that causes the market to tank, and I do not have the stop loss in place to take money off the table. The market takes all my profits away.
2. Holding on to a losing position and sweating while it continues to either tank or move sideways.
3. Reporting to my son that I stubbornly held on to a losing trade instead of trading my plan, aka, behaving like an idiot!

My learnings to far:
1. Easy to read and talk about cut loss. Emotionally hard to do as we all want to win. Having done some major cut loss, its now easier. I guess practice makes perfect. If a trade/scalp is not going my way, I will cut loss without hesitation. Yes, it may reverse and go my way later after I cut loss. No matter because it could also go the other way! I’m learning to trade my plan. Easy to read about, talk about, very hard to do.
2. I’m working out my stop loss positions to be activated for my value stocks as well in case I don’t have time to react to market conditions
3. Trade with the trend. If trend reverses against me, I cut loss. Hard to fight the trend, and harder to keep hoping day after day that tomorrow will be better.
4. After cutting loss on a losing position, I feel better, mind feels at ease, feel calmer and can think better. Easy to talk about, hard to do.

Market is like an Ocean

oceanThe market is like an ocean – it moves up and down regardless of what you want. You may feel joy when you buy a stock and it explodes in a rally. You may feel drenched with fear when you go short but the market rises and your equity melts with every uptick. These feelings have nothing to do with the market – they exist only inside you.

The market does not know you exist. You can do nothing to influence it. You can only control your behavior.

The ocean does not care about your welfare, but it has no wish to hurt you either. You may feel joy on a sunny day, when a gentle wind pushes your sailboat where you want it to go. You may feel panic on a stormy day when the ocean pushes your boat toward the rocks. Your feelings about the ocean exist only in your mind. They threaten your survival when you let your feelings rather than intellect control your behavior.

A sailor cannot control the ocean, but he can control himself. He studies currents and weather patterns. He learns safe sailing techniques and gains experience. He knows when to sail and when to stay in the harbor. A successful sailor uses his intelligence.

An ocean can be useful – you can fish in it and use its surface to get to other islands. An ocean can be dangerous – you can drown in it. The more rational your approach, the more likely you are to get what you want. When you act out your emotions, you cannot focus on the reality of the ocean.

A trader has to study trends and reversals in the market the way a sailor studies the ocean. He must trade on a small scale while learning to handle himself in the market. You can never control the market but you can learn to control yourself.

A beginner who has a string of profitable trades often feels he can walk on water. He starts taking wild risks and blows up his account. On the other hand, an amateur who takes several losses in a row often feels so demoralized that he cannot place an order even when his system gives him a strong signal to buy or sell. If trading makes you feel elated or frightened, you cannot fully use your intellect. When joy sweeps you off your feet, you will make irrational trades and lose. When fear grips you, you’ll miss profitable trades.

A professional trader uses his head and stays calm. Only amateurs become excited or depressed because of their trades. Emotional reactions are a luxury that you cannot afford in the markets.

Trader’s Emotions

The hardest thing about trading is not the math, the method, or the stock picking. It is dealing with the emotions that arise with trading itself. From the stress of actually entering a trade, to the fear of losing the paper profits that you are holding in a winning trade, how you deal with those emotions will determine your success more than any one thing.

To manage your emotions first of all you must trade a system and method you truly believe will be a winner in the long term.

You must understand that every trade is not a winner and not blame yourself for equity draw downs if you are trading with discipline.

Do not bet your entire account on any one trade, in fact risking only 1% of your total capital on any one trade is the best thing you can do for your stress levels and risk of ruin odds.

With that in place here are some examples of emotional equations to better understand why you feel certain emotions strongly in your trading:

Despair = Losing Money – Trading Better

Do not despair look at your losses as part of doing business and as paying tuition fees to the markets.

Disappointment = Expectations – Reality (more…)

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…)

"The Confident Trader "

Confidence overcomes fear. Confidence also overcomes greed because a component of greed is an underlying sense of scarcity. To be confident doesn’t mean that every trade or trading day will be profitable. What it does mean is that when you look to where you want to go, you know that you can figure out a strategy that will get you there. And you know you can execute that strategy in a consistent manner. A successful strategy doesn’t mean anything if you don’t or can’t or won’t employ it.

Theoretically we should be as successful at trading and investing as our trading and investing strategies. Unfortunately the vast majority of traders and investors fall far short of the results of their strategies. They trip over themselves again and again on the way to employing their methods. My work as a trading coach is to enable traders around the world to become as good as their methods.

Confidence need not waver when you have dips and troughs and plateaus in your trading. Confidence is developed when you realize you can correct mistakes and learn from failures. You don’t persist in failing. You learn and move on. You don’t fear repeating the failure either, you simply anticipate correcting it.

Self esteem is basically the sum total of all the thoughts we have about ourselves. This is quite important because we do tend to become what we think about ourselves. The noted philosopher and psychologist, William James, said, “People, in general, become what they think of themselves.” Not only did he say this but he added that this was the essence of all we had learned in psychology in the prior 100 years.

What do you think of yourself as a trader? Do you believe that your dream of excelling as a trader is possible? Do you have a set of philosophies that support your dream? Are you as good as your methods? If not, it’s time to do something about it.

Consider my coaching program. I speak for an hour on the phone each week with the traders I coach. We review your trading, beliefs, attitudes, habits, and philosophies. I help you do more of what works and stop doing what doesn’t work. Through exercises, assignments, and repetitive listening to the CD’s I send, you can become as good as your methods. The money you invest in yourself—especially in difficult times—is truly the best investment you can make. It will pay you exponentially because you never leave yourself. Call me at 800-692-0080, and we’ll discuss it.

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.

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