- Always live to fight another day
- Entries must have a statistical edge
- Patience and discipline
- Be a jellyfish (swim with the current)
- Trade only liquid securities
- Focus on trying to capture the middle 80% of a move
- Know your exit points when you open a position (and stick to them!)
- When in doubt, reduce position size by 50%
- Limit losses to 2% of total equity for any single trade
- Start each day with a clean financial and emotional slate
The above list is relatively generic, but it helped provide me with a framework for organizing how I would approach trading as a business, what strategies I should adopt, how those strategies should be executed, and ultimately defining what success should look like.
Trading rules are vitally important – as is knowing when they should be broken. Even more important, I believe, is the process that one goes through in order to arrive at these rules and to make sure that as new market situations unfold and new blind spots are revealed, the rules and guidelines are enhanced to maximize the opportunity for the trader to continue to grow and develop.
Your biggest enemy, when trading, is within yourself. Success will only come when you learn to control your emotions. Edwin Lefevre’s Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (1923) offers advice that still applies today.
- CautionExcitement (and fear of missing an opportunity) often persuade us to enter the market before it is safe to do so. After a down-trend a number of rallies may fail before one eventually carries through. Likewise, the emotional high of a profitable trade may blind us to signs that the trend is reversing.
- PatienceWait for the right market conditions before trading. There are times when it is wise to stay out of the market and observe from the sidelines.
- ConvictionHave the courage of your convictions: Take steps to protect your profits when you see that a trend is weakening, but sit tight and don’t let fear of losing part of your profit cloud your judgment. There is a good chance that the trend will resume its upward climb. (more…)
1. OPPORTUNITY. There are dozens of these every day, unfortunately you can’t buy them all, so only pick the top 10 and then narrow them down to 2 to 3.
This is done by using your buying criteria which is part of your trading plan which you already have written down. (Hopefully you have one?)
2. BUYING and SELLING. I have a pre planned strategy which I have developed by trial and error; this was achieved by learning by my trading mistakes and the mistakes of others.
3. PATIENCE.This is definitely a virtue worth developing. Sometimes the market is going up in the right direction, but is not going as fast upwards as you would like. Be patient and use a “stop loss” to lock in those profits. However small they may be. Also don’t always be in a hurry to “buy that next share” just because you have that money burning a hole in your pocket. Do your homework and then you have chosen the right share for the right reasons and not just because it looked good
4. STRESS.If it is hurting! Don’t do it, cut your losses or be content with a small profit and get out. (more…)
The following 10 reasons may be why the 10% of long term profitable traders take the money from the 90% that are unprofitable. I see these differences in real life all the time. There is a big difference between profitable and unprofitable traders that usually comes down to homework, mental discipline, and risk management.
- Winning traders let winning trades get as big as possible before exiting. They have the really big winners to pay for all the losers.
- Winning traders have no patience for losing trades, they keep losses small. They know how not to give back their profits with big losing trades.
- They are focusing on trading actual price action not their own opinions or beliefs.
- They are experts on the trading vehicles that they trade.
- The trade with the trend in their time frame.
- Good traders know that their trailing stops are smarter than they are.
- Profitable traders know that it is their robust methodology that makes them profitable not any one trade.
- Winning traders are great risk managers. Their #1 concern is how much they can lose, their #2 concern is how much they can make.
- Profitable traders have put in the time, usually years and thousands of hours to learn what really makes money in the markets.
Profitably traders have studied historical price data, chart patterns, trends, and price action.
Excitement (and fear of missing an opportunity) often persuade us to enter the market before it is safe to do so. After a down-trend a number of rallies may fail before one eventually carries through. Likewise, the emotional high of a profitable trade may blind us to signs that the trend is reversing.
Wait for the right market conditions before trading. There are times when it is wise to stay out of the market and observe from the sidelines.
Have the courage of your convictions: Take steps to protect your profits when you see that a trend is weakening, but sit tight and don’t let fear of losing part of your profit cloud your judgment. There is a good chance that the trend will resume its upward climb.
Concentrate on the technical aspects rather than on the money. If your trades are technically correct, the profits will follow.
Stay emotionally detached from the market. Avoid getting caught up in the short-term excitement. Screen-watching is a tell-tale sign: if you continually check prices or stare at charts for hours it is a sign that you are unsure of your strategy and are likely to suffer losses.
Focus on the longer time frames and do not try to catch every short-term fluctuation. The most profitable trades are in catching the large trends. (more…)
1) If you insist on trading during unstable or volatile markets, keep your positions small.
2) If you go into cash, don’t get upset on days when we rally, it’s simply part of the game.
3) Don’t buy or sell stocks because someone else is doing it. Have your OWN plan, find a philosophy that works for YOU, and don’t blindly follow anyone!
4) Wait for the wind to be at your back. Right now, it’s swirling. No sense in forcing trades to make a few pennies when there are dollars to be made in better environments.
5) Let the market correct, let the dust settle, don’t be in such a rush to trade. I see too many people trying to bottom-fish this market and I feel like screaming: “You don’t have to trade!”
I am not saying all this to be an ass. I simply want traders to learn from my mistakes. I have lost too much money in the past by forcing trades in unfavorable environments. You are better off protecting your capital and more importantly, protecting your confidence. Wait for proper bases to form, wait for some institutional accumulation, and wait for sentiment to be “less bullish.” In other words, wait for a healthier environment…it might not be that far away. The key right now is discipline and patience.