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A Successful Trader


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#1 TechMan

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 09:20 AM

The term "successful trader" is somehow associated with someone that's rich and famous. And, since most people don't personally know too many people, if any, that are rich and famous, they naturally deduce that there's no such thing as a "successful trader". To me, a successful trader is a working class person, who's able to earn sufficient income to support himself. It's that simple. They may make, say, $50,000 or $100,000 a year, and they don't go on TV to tell the world about it. Other than their family and friends, no one else in the world knows about them. Let's say a person's goal is to make $50,000 a year. He can break it down to $960 a week, $190 a day, or $38 per trade, if he makes 5 trades a day on average, to achieve this goal. Given the skill, the experience, the right trading system, and luck, it's not really all that complicated or unachievable. Most traders fail because they want to hit home run on every trade. Home runs do happen, but it's only because of all the hard work that's put into it. And, the harder we work, the luckier we get.

#2 DrWu

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 09:39 AM

Most traders fail because they want to hit home run on every trade.


Not unlike traders always attempting to get into position for that wave-3 (better yet, the 3-of-3). Just like crack-cocaine.

Have you noticed that the $100K income level has been used as a benchmark for 20 years or so? Same thing for "millionaire".....that's been going on for over 50 years.

#3 relax

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 10:44 AM

in my studies conducted in Switzerland I came to the conclusion that succesful traders have a more extreme sex life, either in terms of frequency, fidelity, prostitution or fetiches my studies only included men, and therefore the more extreme sex life was deemed being a natural way of expressing success for men, whereas women already from a young age experience great "demand" and therefore express their success in different ways this of course implies that successful female traders will react to success in a somewhat more balanced way than men women on the other hand will face other obstacles in trading than men men will have difficulties dealing with success, whereas women will have obstacles in terms of objectivity as early "success" and "demand" distorts their perception of reality in a greater way (from this distorted perception often arises the so-called "female intuition" which will naturally provide issues during dealing with liquidity and trading) so your reaction, in short, depends on whether you have a P**** or not sorry for using the p-word, but I have never done so on this board and just wanted to try it (it actually felt quite good) also, sorry if I offend anybody, but the education of a trader or just a personality includes being able to react in a balanced and argumentative way

#4 TechMan

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 11:37 AM

DrWu - I use those income levels merely as examples rather than the "benchmarks", but I get what you're saying. The nominal median household income's still hovering around $50,000, but the inflation adjusted figure is another story. relax - You've brought sexy back. :=)

#5 Om_Namah_Shivay

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 12:38 PM

DrWu - I use those income levels merely as examples rather than the "benchmarks", but I get what you're saying. The nominal median household income's still hovering around $50,000, but the inflation adjusted figure is another story.


relax - You've brought sexy back. :=)


:) its all there in my tag line:)
Know the DIFFERENCE between WINNING and WINNINGS; One is KARMA and One is EGO!!!

www.bubbleshort.blogspot.in My Blog with focus on markets and "Act" of trading

#6 IndexTrader

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 01:33 PM

The term "successful trader" is somehow associated with someone that's rich and famous. And, since most people don't personally know too many people, if any, that are rich and famous, they naturally deduce that there's no such thing as a "successful trader".

To me, a successful trader is a working class person, who's able to earn sufficient income to support himself. It's that simple. They may make, say, $50,000 or $100,000 a year, and they don't go on TV to tell the world about it. Other than their family and friends, no one else in the world knows about them.

Let's say a person's goal is to make $50,000 a year. He can break it down to $960 a week, $190 a day, or $38 per trade, if he makes 5 trades a day on average, to achieve this goal. Given the skill, the experience, the right trading system, and luck, it's not really all that complicated or unachievable.

Most traders fail because they want to hit home run on every trade. Home runs do happen, but it's only because of all the hard work that's put into it. And, the harder we work, the luckier we get.


At one time I traded on a futures exchange. It was populated by "locals", guys who traded their own account (there were no women at the time). Alot of guys said things like "I only need to make $100, $200 per day". And as your arithmetic shows, it ought to be easy. But it rarely seemed to happen. I'm sure the reasons for this probably varied by the person, but I have a theory as to why it was.

When a guy starts off with the idea that he only needs to make let's say $50 per trade on 4 trades, here's what happens: The first day he makes 4 trades and makes his $200. The next day he has a couple of $50 losses, and a couple of $50 profits, so the day was a scratch, 0. So now our trader has made an average of $100 per day for the 2 days, under his goal. If he makes $200 on the third day, he is still under his goal.

Now, making these skinny profits is in itself a problem, because it's difficult to keep your losses that small. Take the ES for instance. One point is $50. So if you're going to make $50, what type of loss are you going to take? I defy anyone to show me a method where they took $50 profits in the ES and only lost $50 on their losses. You have to approach it from the standpoint of how big your loss may be in the market your trading. Take the ES again, let's say you determine that it's reasonable to trade with a 5 point loss, or $250. To make this work for you you're going to have to have a profit of perhaps $500. All of a sudden we're expecting a profit of 10 points ES, and obviously you're not going to be able to do that 4 times a day. So using these numbers, a $500 profit one day, offset by a $250 loss the next day, gives you $250 profit over 2 days. Unfortunately that only gives you an average of $125 per day. And further, a 10 point day trade every other day is not going to be so simple.

Over the years I've decided approaching the market in a way where you break it down as you have done does not work. "Trading the market for a living" gives you the wrong approach. And I might add, I saw few people trading as locals on the floor actually "make a living" for a long period of time. Many more went broke trying. And keep in mind, these were guys in a position to do exactly what you suggested, paying extremely small commissions, ability to make quick trades that the public trading off the screen can't do, and the advantage of seeing the order flow.

The guys I know that made a living off the market traded bigger swings typically. Not that there aren't examples of guys doing as you suggested. The bigger swing allows you to set your stop appropriately for the market. But, what the bigger swing won't do is give you XX every trading day. Your money will come more unevenly, perhaps similar to the compensation for a salesman on commission or a store owner who sees swing in his daily income.

Frankly, I think "trading for a living' sets you off on the wrong road. "Trading to make a fortune" seems to me to be the right tack. A guy who can pick up some of these bigger swings is has that potential. A guy who recognized March 2009 as a bottom could have really cashed in with judicious leverage in futures or options, allowing the market to work for him, instead of working at the market every day.

Just an opinion. Maybe it's just my age.

IndexTrader

#7 TechMan

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 01:33 PM

He can break it down to $960 a week, $190 a day, or $38 per trade, if he makes 5 trades a day on average


...assuming 100% winning percentage for simplicity sake. Of course, in real life, the lower winning % would require higher number of trades. higher profit per trade, or the combination of both to achieve the same goal.

==============

By the way...

6 out of the last 11 years, since 2000, are down on the 1st day of October. However, all the down days are relatively small, i.e. Doji & Spinning Top, except for 2009 (-2.6%). As far as 2009 goes, we all know that by the time October came around, the market had already gained 30%-40% since the March low.

And, when it goes up, it really goes up. 3 of the 5 advancing sessions in 2002, 2003, & 2004 in a row are up 4%, 2%, & 1.5%, respectively. In 2002, the market had suffered a double digit loss in September. It looks like the harder the selling in September, particularly the 2nd half of the month, the harder the rebound on the 1st of October.

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IndexTrader - Looks like we were posting at the same time. Just saw your comment above.

Everyone's different. What works for me may not work for others. I personally found it very rewarding taking $100 here and $50 there just to make my quota. And, they do add up very nicely.

Edited by TechMan, 01 October 2011 - 01:41 PM.


#8 TechMan

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 02:06 PM

My edit time just expired. To continue.... Everyone's different. What works for me may not work for others. I personally found it very rewarding taking $100 here and $50 there just to make my quota. And, they do add up very nicely. Of course, every once in a while if you happen to get on a hot streak of hitting home runs, life is just wonderful. I know traders are saying exactly what you had pointed out, "I only need to make $100, $200 per day", but the action is what makes all the difference. I don't hesitate to close my position if the goal had been reached or the stop had been hit. I don't care if it goes up or down after that. I'm moving on to the next trade. At the end of the week, I'd either cash out the surplus or replenish to keep my account balance the same to start the new week.

#9 manuj

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 02:29 PM

What about the legendary traders in books like Market Wizards who make millions from the markets? Are they just flukes in the trading world or the luckiest SOBs on the planet? I know everyone cannot reach that status but even if one can get to 10% of these guys' success - it will mean at least multiple of millions in one's account. Personally, I treat trading as a wealth building exercise where I plough back all profits back into the trading account and count on compounding returns to do the job. With swing trading if you can manage a reasonable 20-25% return in a year - one can turn $20K into $1m within few years. Is that a delusional POV? If so, where does the logic break down? What am I or some other hopeful wannabes missing?

#10 TechMan

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 02:49 PM

Personally, I treat trading as a wealth building exercise...


You're talking about the longer term holding instead of day trading accounts. The strategy for that, of course, is totally different than day trading. Yes, it's a "wealth building" process.

But, even for my SEP IRA and long term portfolios, I don't set my goals like that. I only take one trade at a time. I guess that's why for me "profit protection" is so important. To me, earning $1 is much better than $0 or losing.

It just works out so much better for me to take small increments to get to $1 million as a working class trader than trying to get $1 million all at once.