Great Expectations

The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations – ELI KHAMAROV 


 Legendary trader Roy Longstreet was once asked by Intermarket Magazine, “Why have you succeeded in trading to such a degree and why do most traders fail?”  Roy answered “Many major problems people have in trading are caused by their expectations – of where the market is headed, how much money will they make from this trade, etc. One thing I learned that has helped me: it is wrong for a person to enter any market with any preconceived expectations.” 

He went on to say, “I know that there’s always the possibility that what I don’t want to happen, will happen. The market will not act in accord with my expectations. You have to ask yourself the question, how must you function to survive? The answer is to be able to accept a loss. Not having expectations makes it a little easier to accept a loss. You must realize that losing is part of soul growth, so to speak. It’s necessary. It’s hard to accept, but necessary.” 

This problem of attaching ourselves to an outcome is not exclusive to trading, but is a problem in investing in general. Expectations of higher and higher returns have become commonplace in an environment of lower opportunity to do so. Few people consider the fact that when they invest today, the riskless marketplace pays close to zero.  For example, the one month Treasury Bill pays $40 for a $100,000 investment, and inflation is running around -1.3%, based on the Consumer Price Index.  (more…)

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