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How to Trade Successfully
Well, again it's that time of year once again. The time that most people reflect on their trading success and failures and try to plan ahead for next year to make their futures trading productive and prosperous. It has been a very interesting currency trading year to say the least.
The commodity futures trading markets were moving in big swings like the-us dollar, foreign currencies, FX forex, interest rate markets including t-bonds and U.S. treasury bills, copper, gold, coffee, energy, oil markets, lumber and cotton. Some were trending more than anyone thought including most all foreign currencies plus U.S. dollar, treasury bonds, FX forex futures markets, euro trading, gasoline and stock index markets, including the S&P and NASDAQ stock indices markets.
As I look back at my past trading year and examine my style of commodities and currency trading (intra-day trading the S&P 500) I am even more excited and committed to this type of trading. Why? Well here are some points that I will review which have found to be beneficial to myself and hopefully to other traders. As a futures trader, these are issues I have thought-out during the year, but it is a good time to reflect, review and plan my next year of trading.
Many people are still searching for a trading method and have been for years. This is one of the most frustrating modes to be in, because how can you plan for a prosperous year if you still don't know exactly how you are going to trade or approach the markets.
You simply cannot have any confidence if you do not have a method or way of identifying trades along with money management guidelines. You're lost in the woods, so to speak. I was there for many years. What did I do? This may help a lot of you.
Ended up tossing out 98% of all the crap I learned about oscillators, divergence's, Elliott Wave, cycles, MACD, RSI, timing, seasonals, elliott wave, w d gann methods, gann angles, trend lines, pitchforks, volume, candlestick indicators, fractals, time cycles, stochastics, overbought/oversold (this is a good one - the stock indexes, currencies and cotton for example everyone said were overbought and topping in February and March). Look what they really did!
Needless to say, I don't pay attention to this anymore either, etc., etc. The list goes on to infinity almost. I went back to the basics. I went back to a few simple chart patterns, (a simple moving average and trendline now and then for a visual aid).
I came up with a low-risk money management plan and put it together with trading with the trend and wah-lah, presto, an effective and time tested trading plan. The plan is simple and has worked since trading began and will last me a lifetime. What a relief not to have to spend countless hours every night trying to find a new and better way to trade. I am sick and tired of that after more than 7-years as a trader.
When my trading day is done my technical analysis for the next trade day is automatically done in less than 5-minutes on my own software program I had developed and I'm off to enjoy my evening. No more, honey, I need to analyze the charts till midnight again and all weekend. Now I can concentrate on improving my psychological or mental skills during the trading day.
This will be an ongoing lifelong challenge. Nobody ever stops learning and trying to be a little better. Is my method perfect? No! (None are) am I perfect? Surely not. But it is the simplest and most accurate way of trading that I have come up with, and I've looked at lots (tons) of ways of trading. My method or approach works just as well on daily, or weekly charts. I choose not to trade that way.
I really enjoy and believe in the day trading concept. There are so many advantages. No overnight risk exposure to huge price gaps, not getting sick to your stomach over the weekend if it rains in Iowa and your long soybeans or some government official makes the wrong comment over the weekend on "Meet the Press" and your life flashes before your eyes, because your long currencies and they're going to tank on the opening Monday morning. I've been through it and so have many of you. No thank you anymore. Every day is a new day. You start fresh with a clean slate.
You slept at night. You enjoyed your weekend with your family. If you made a mistake yesterday, you can try to do better today. I realize that some traders cannot trade during the day because of other commitments. That's OK, you will just have to deal with the overnight risk. So trade small size and use stops. Perhaps use the Mid-Am or a smaller equivalent to the market you're trading if available. If you can have some access to intra day charts, you can use this to establish a longer term or intermediate term position with very low risk.
For example, when a daily trader sees a trade setup, they can go to the intra day chart and wait for the same setup intra day. Establish the position with a fraction of the risk, turn the monitor off, walk away, and then monitor it from a daily perspective. You just need to be aware of gaps (there's that nasty word again) of which you have no control. So day trading even has a place for the position trader.
I also believe at becoming an expert at one market and its behavior and then putting all your skills and energy to work in a concern(traded) manner. Get good at that market and trade the heck out of it. Increase your size over time and you'll make more money with less effort. There are lots of professionals that do this. Look at some floor traders or locals that stay in the pit for many years trading one market exclusively.
You say you can't do it. I have two words for you. Tom Baldwin made all his money watching, waiting and learning the intricacies of the bonds until he could trade them in his sleep (which I'm sure he did, I do it all the time, most traders do!) and then traded the hell out of them. Point Made!
One thing that I have learned this year, is that I am trying to cut back on the number of trades I take and be more selective and not trade in congestion as much as I did before. I miss some good trades out of congestion, but I save myself a lot of mental energy, buy myself some more free time during the day, and get better more profitable trades.
My attitude is changing now to one or two good trades, and that is all I need to make my week (a triple or a home run, so to speak). There are plenty of them during any given weeks time. There are also a lot of singles and doubles to add to that and a few strike cuts or losers to absorb. This is part of the learning process and part of getting older. So I pass these observations on to you, in order that you may profit from my experience. Don't try to reinvent the wheel.
Trading can also be fun. Once you have a method and good money management in place, it allows you to concentrate on trading and not on searching and researching. That gets old and frustrating. Make it your goal to find a simple method for next year. One that you can hang your hat on and that will last you a lifetime. Trading is simple. Remember that it's the Execution or implementation of your trading plan that is the bigger challenge.
Most people make finding the method the big challenge. That is because there is so much junk thrown at traders. They feel like a child in a candy store and have to try every doodad in the place. When they are done, they are sick and never want to see another candy store (trading gizmo) again. They could have had the plain piece of milk chocolate at the front of the store (simple method price patterns) which would have done everything they desired and fulfilled all their needs.
I think CTCN has evolved into a very good sounding board for ideas and interaction. I'm glad to see a lot more discussion on the psychological aspects of trading. I feel that this is where the most improvement for traders will come.
I wish to all a great new year. I hope some will be able to end their journey in search of the Holy Grail or technical indicator to possibly turn their life around. Search for simplicity. Use the K.I.S.S. Theory (keep it simple stupid).
You may be surprised what has been right under your nose all the time, right there in front of you on the futures market price bar-chart. Pay attention to what they say and they will tell you everything. You need to listen and get to know them. Develop a sound trading plan based on time-tested trading principles and good money-management. (Authors Name Not Disclosed. Enhancements by Website Editor).