rss

Traders :It’s OK To Be Emotional

Read any book or blog about trading and you’ll be told controlling one’s emotions is a key skill needed to trade well. On the surface, this sounds like good advice. After all, greed and fear are killers at a trading desk right? 
But the evidence doesn’t back up such a notion.

These writers are saying you must be very calm and not get too excited. You must keep an even keel and not ride an emotional roller coaster – as if to imply emotional restraint is a desired state.

I’ve never completely agreed with this concept because I know from casual observation most successful people are very emotional.

SOME EXAMPLES

  • Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods – very intense, very emotional!
  • Bobby Knight, Coach K – love them or hate them, they’re extremely emotional and extremely successful.
  • Muhammad Ali – intensity, passion, showmanship and yes, emotion.
  • Paul Tudor Jones – if you can get your hands on a copy of the PTJ 60-minute documentary the subject supposedly bought up, you’d learn he has off-the-charts competitiveness, intensity and is very emotional.

THE TRADING TEMPERAMENT

Yet it’s a rarity to meet a calm trader, who doesn’t seem to be overly intense or competitive, become successful. This doesn’t mean you have to hurl your keyboard out the window every time you lose money.It’s just means you aren’t likely to succeed if you don’t have a little fire in your gut.

Trading is tough. It takes years of study and practice. Without a strong emotional drive, it’s unlikely a newbie would be willing to put in the time necessary to get good. (more…)

New Golf expressions

A ‘Rock Hudson’ – a putt that looked straight, but wasn’t.

A ‘Saddam Hussein’ – from one bunker into another.

A ‘Yasser Arafat’ – butt ugly and in the sand.

A ‘John Kennedy Jr.’ – didn’t quite make it over the water.

A ‘Rodney King’ – over-clubbed.

An ‘O.J.’- got away with one.

A ‘Princess Grace’ – should have used a driver.

A ‘Princess Di’ – shouldn’t have used the driver.

A ‘Condom’ – safe, but didn’t feel very good.

A ‘Brazilian’ – shaved the hole.

A ‘Rush Limbaugh’ – a little to the right.

A ‘Nancy Pelosi’ – Way to the left and out of bounds.

A ‘James Joyce’ – a putt that’s impossible to read.

A ‘Ted Kennedy’ – goes in the water and jumps out.

A ‘Pee Wee Herman’ – too much wrist.

A ‘Sonny Bono’ – straight into the trees.

A ‘Paris Hilton’ – a very expensive hole.

A `Tiger Woods’ – Wrong Hole.

During and After the Trade

1. What’s your game plan if it goes against you and threatens your survival?

2. Will you be able to get out? Did you take that into account in your workout?

3. More typically, what will you do if it goes way against you and then meanders back to give you a breakeven? Or if it immediately goes for you or aginst you?

4. Would you be willing to take a ½% profit if you get it in the first 10 minutes?

5. Did you test whether taking small opportunistic profits turns a winning system into a bad one?

6. How will unexpected cardinal events affect you like the “regrettably,” or the pre-annnouncement of something you expected for the next open? And what happens if you’re trading an individual stock and the market goes up or down a few percent during the day, or what’s the impact of a related move in oil or interest rates?

7. Are you sure that you have to monitor the trade during the day? If you’re using stops, then you probably don’t have to but then your position size would have to be reduced so much that your chances of a reasonable profit taking account of vig are close to zero. If you’re using 10% of your capital on a trade, they you’ll have to monitor it for survival. But, but, but. Are you sure you won’t be called away by phone calls, or the others?

8. Are you at equilibrium in your personal life? You’re not as talented as Tiger Woods, and you probably won’t be able to handle distressed calls for money or leaks on the home front. Are you sure that if you’re losing you won’t get hit on the head with a 7-iron, or berated until you have to give up at the worst possible time?

9. After the trade did you learn anything from the trade?

10. Are you organized sufficiently to have a record of all your trades for your accounting and learning?

11. Should you modify your existing systems based on it?

12. How does recency and frequency and value affect your future?

13. Did you fit your after activities to your mojo?

14. If you made a good profit, did you take some capital out of the fray for a rainy day?

15. Have you learned to say “fair” whenevever anyone asks you how you’re doing and are you sure that you don’t spend a fortune after a good trade, and dissipate your profits with non-economic activities?

16. Is there a better use for your time than monitoring the ticks or the market every minute of the day if you do, and if you don’t, do those who do so and have much faster and better equipment than you have an insurmountable advantage against you?

Learn from Losses

As a trader you have to learn how to take losses. Period. Don’t be a crybaby. Learn how to take losses.

Learning how to take losses is one of the most important lessons you must learn if you want to survive as a trader. Nobody is 100% right all the time. Losses are inevitable. Even Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods lose sometimes and they’re considered the best in their field.

There will be trading streaks where you’ll have a number of successful consecutive trades, but that will eventually come to an end you will take a loss.

As that point it’s very important not to lose your head, you must remain in control of yourself. Don’t have a cow man.

Take a break. Calm down and relax. Take a chill pill dude.

Until you’ve regained a clear mind and an ability to think logically again, stay out of the market.

Don’t whine about your loss and never carry a prejudice against a loss.

The key to manage losses is to cut them quickly before a small loss becomes a large one.

I repeat. The key to manage losses is to cut them quickly before a small loss becomes a large one.

Never ever think that you will never lose. That’s just ludicrous. Losses are just like profits, it’s all part of the trader’s universe.

Losses are unavoidable. Get over the loss and move on to the next trade.

Inside the Brain of Peter Lynch, Investing Genius

Those readers who have frequented my Investing Caffeine site are familiar with the numerous profiles on professional investors of both current and prior periods . Many of the individuals described have a tremendous track record of success, while others have a tremendous ability of making outrageous forecasts. I have covered both. Regardless, much can be learned from the successes and failures by mirroring the behavior of the greats – like modeling your golf swing after Tiger Woods (O.K., since Tiger is out of favor right now, let’s say Jordan Spieth). My investment swing borrows techniques and tips from many great investors, but Peter Lynch (ex-Fidelity fund manager), probably more than any icon, has had the most influence on my investing philosophy and career as any investor. His breadth of knowledge and versatility across styles has allowed him to compile a record that few, if any, could match – outside perhaps the great Warren Buffett.

Consider that Lynch’s Magellan fund averaged +29% per year from 1977 – 1990 (almost doubling the return of the S&P 500 index for that period). In 1977, the obscure Magellan Fund started with about $20 million, and by his retirement the fund grew to approximately $14 billion (700x’s larger). Cynics believed thatMagellan was too big to adequately perform at $1, $2, $3, $5 and then $10 billion, but Lynch ultimately silenced the critics. Despite the fund’s gargantuan size, over the final five years of Lynch’s tenure, Magellan  outperformed 99.5% of all other funds, according to Barron’s. How did Magellan investors fare in the period under Lynch’s watch? A $10,000 investment initiated when he took the helm would have grown to roughly $280,000 (+2,700%) by the day he retired. Not too shabby.

Background

Lynch graduated from Boston College in 1965 and earned a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968.  Like the previously mentioned Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch shared his knowledge with the investing masses through his writings, including his two seminal books One Up on Wall Street and Beating the Street. Subsequently, Lynch authored Learn to Earn, a book targeted at younger, novice investors. Regardless, the ideas and lessons from his writings, including contributing author to Worth magazine, are still transferable to investors across a broad spectrum of skill levels, even today.

The Lessons of Lynch

Although Lynch has left me with enough financially rich content to write a full-blown textbook, I will limit the meat of this article to lessons and quotations coming directly from the horse’s mouth. Here is a selective list of gems Lynch has shared with investors over the years:

Buy within Your Comfort Zone: Lynch simply urges investors to “Buy what you know.” In similar fashion to Warren Buffett, who stuck to investing in stocks within his “circle of competence,” Lynch focused on investments he understood or on industries he felt he had an edge over others. Perhaps if investors would have heeded this advice, the leveraged, toxic derivative debacle occurring over previous years could have been avoided.

Do Your Homework: Building the conviction to ride through equity market volatility requires rigorous homework. Lynch adds, “A company does not tell you to buy it, there is always something to worry about.  There are always respected investors that say you are wrong. You have to know the story better than they do, and have faith in what you know.” (more…)

Learning from Tiger Woods

tigerwoods

I am sure most of the questions on the eve of the third round of the British Open revolve around Tiger Woods absence.  “What’s wrong with Tiger?” “Is he losing his mental edge?”  “Is he hurt?” “Has something gone wrong in his personal life?”  “Why so many mistakes?”
Here is my question: Why can we not celebrate the fact that Tiger Woods is human? He is human isn’t he?  I know he is as mortal as we all are. That is what we all have in common. Why do we insist on him winning every tournament he enters? He won the last tournament he entered.
I think someone who always wins dies a slow death.  You know, the Alexander the Great syndrome.  “He [Alexander] wept with sorrow,” Plutarch said, “Because there were no more worlds to conquer.” (more…)

My Checklist :During and After the Trade

checklist-1. What’s your game plan if it goes against you and threatens your survival?

2. Will you be able to get out? Did you take that into account in your workout?

3. More typically, what will you do if it goes way against you and then meanders back to give you a breakeven? Or if it immediately goes for you or aginst you?

4. Would you be willing to take a ½% profit if you get it in the first 10 minutes?

5. Did you test whether taking small opportunistic profits turns a winning system into a bad one?

6. How will unexpected cardinal events affect you like the “regrettably,” or the pre-annnouncement of something you expected for the next open? And what happens if you’re trading an individual stock and the market goes up or down a few percent during the day, or what’s the impact of a related move in oil or interest rates?

7. Are you sure that you have to monitor the trade during the day? If you’re using stops, then you probably don’t have to but then your position size would have to be reduced so much that your chances of a reasonable profit taking account of vig are close to zero. If you’re using 10% of your capital on a trade, they you’ll have to monitor it for survival. But, but, but. Are you sure you won’t be called away by phone calls, or the others? (more…)

CONCENTRATE ON EXECUTION

Trade execution is very important.  It is the same in sports – you can have a good team, a very talented team that you put on the field.  But if they don’t execute the plays like they’re trained to, the team will probably not win.  It’s a simple fact of life.  You’ve got to be able to execute.  Tiger Woods can have a game plan when he hits that course, but if he doesn’t execute and follow through his game plan, no matter how talented he is, the competition is going to beat him.  This is a very important factor in trading a portfolio of technical or priced based strategies that is grossly overlooked. You need to get the execution of trades correctly day in and day out, because there’s just one or two missed opportunities which get away that could have made your month or there can be mistakes that can take away weeks and weeks of profitable work.  This is where the use of good automated trading software can control some of these variables. 

5 Principles of Leadership and Trading

What are these principles?

  1. Knowing why you are in the trading business

You can start by asking yourself:

  • Why are you in the trading business?
  • What was your initial attraction to trading?
  • Are you thinking about it as a business or a hobby?
  • Are you passionate about your trading?
  • Does trading feel like a lot of work?
  • What are your trading goals?
  • Are you enjoying the journey or just focusing on the end result?
  • What do you want to get out of trading?
    • Money
    • Excitement
    • Challenge
    • Power
    • Other things (more…)

Trading ,Not So Simple

Becoming a good trader doesn’t happen overnight. Just as with any other skill or discipline, it requires time and practice to become proficient at it:

One of the biggest problems I see new traders struggle with is the mindset that somehow trading can be approached differently from other ventures or activities. This is something which either comes from too much focus on the prospects of profits and easy wealth building (greed, in short) or from just not considering that it is an activity which requires skill to do well.

In Enhancing Trader Performance, Brett Steenbarger talks about trading as a performance activity. He relates it closely to athletics, but you could very easily extend the metaphor to any other activity which takes time and effort to progress in skill. The point is that you cannot expect to just jump right in and be an expert. You must progress through stages of understanding, competence, and experience.

Trading is easy. I mean pointing and clicking to buy and sell is about at simple as it gets. (more…)

Go to top