|Become a Member - Help - Search|
Trading as a Business:
The Path To Successful Trading
By Charlie Wright
In the broad category of trading the markets, there are basically three types of trading: discretionary, technical, and strategy-based. When I sat down to write this book, my intent was to write only about strategy trading. But then I realized that to fully describe strategy trading, it was also necessary to discuss discretionary and technical trading. Its important that you understand the difference between them, which is not always clear. Ive met many people who believe they are strategy traders when theyre actually technical traders, and vice versa.
I have known and taught many traders, and have observed that there are four distinct stages of trader education: discretionary trader, technical trader, strategy trader, and complete strategy trader. All successful traders have gone through them. It is almost impossible to be a successful strategy trader without going through all of these stages. My goal with this book is to help you understand and move through the stages at much less cost in both time and money.
Every trader usually starts out as a discretionary trader. The amount of money lost generally determines how long it takes the individual to start using technical indicators to make trading decisions. Eventually, as even employing technical indicators fails to move the trader into profitability, the trader moves into the third stage and starts to write strategies based on quantifiable data. It is at this stage that the trader ordinarily starts to make money. Finally, the strategies and money management approaches are refined and the individual becomes successful as a strategy trader.
The Discretionary Trader
A discretionary trader uses a combination of intuition, advice and non-quantifiable data to determine when to enter and exit the market.
Discretionary traders are not restricted by a concrete set of rules. If you are a discretionary trader, you can make buy and sell decisions using whatever criteria you deem to be important at the moment. For example, you can use both a combination of hot tips and relevant news stories from The Wall Street Journal, and enter or exit the market based upon this information. If you begin to lose money, you can immediately exit the market and change your trading method. You don't have to use the same techniques day in and day out. It's a very flexible way to trade that you can customize based on what you think the market is going to do at any given moment.
For the discretionary trader, trades are made using gut instinct and intuition. Unless a computer is generating a buy or sell signal and you actually follow the signal, your emotions will affect your trading. I explained in the introduction what problems instinct and intuition could be in trading. Remember fear and greed? In discretionary trading, technical tools such as indicators are sometimes used; however, when they are put to use, they are utilized sporadically as opposed to systematically.
Fascinated by the markets, the discretionary trader is ready to put on a trade at a moments notice. The most uncomfortable part of trading for the discretionary trader is when there is no action. So he will jump on any piece of information, anything that will permit him to take a stab at the market. Above all, he craves the action.