Annual Trading Checkup Progress

Discussion in 'Trading' started by trader99, Jun 16, 2003.

  1. trader99


    Here's a little survey in the form of an annual checkup of our trading progress. Just like we go to doctors every year for a checkup to see how our health is doing, I think it's good to do an annaul check up to see how our trading is doing as well.

    A year ago, I couldn't trade out of a paperbag. Despite all of the education (or rather because of it. LOL), I was probably one of the WORST daytraders I know. I was on the verge of blowing out everyday. I couldn't make a penny if my life depended on it. I was either just scratching or losing big. There was NOT any really big net positive day at all. I was basicaly not even gross positive at times! It was just dreadful and seemingly HOPELESS. Everyday was like eternal purgatory.

    Now, I've turned around. In fact, most of it happened just this year. And I'm glad I held on and changed my bad habits. So, the message there is light at the end of the tunnel! But you gotta work hard and know what went wrong and why. I mean I still got a long long long way to go. But I'm already noticing major changes in me. And hope it will continue for the better.

    So, what is your progress 1 year later?
  2. Wow. So, most people are doing OK. I guess this board is pretty good. Given that they say 95% of traders lose, you would think the number of people putting down they blew out their acct should be higher than 0. Maybe they didn't participate in the poll b/c they blew out. haha.

    I'm tryin' to get there... Hopefully I'll make it soon guys. It's encouraging to hear that some people can make OK money. I'll keep trying then. wish me luck!
  3. JT47319


    Not to be negative, but don't mistake bulls for brains.

    You could have made every mistake in this market and still made money if you went long.
  4. Sad part is how many are fighting it, given last three years.
  5. Hmm... It's only been going up since March. But last year was still pretty scary downward trend except for the rebound in July and then Oct. But as traders aren't we supposed to NOT care if it's bull or bear market?

    I think trader99 is trying to say is have you IMPROVED in your trading method or whatever. Are you making $? It doesn't matter if it's bull or bear marekt or if you have brains or not.

    At the end of the day, did you make progress as compared to last year and more importantly did you make more $. I think that's what he's trying to get at right?
  6. JT47319


    Now you're differentiating between improvement in account balance and actual trading acumen, two different although sometimes correlated characteristics.

    One does not need trading acumen in order to succeed in a bull market. Yet one does need the skill to know when to adjust to different market environments.

    So you could have easily doubled your account in this environment, but actually suck as a trader. Or be a really good trader, and suck in this environment. Or be an excellent trader in only one type of environment (ie bear market) and suck in this one (bull market).

    Skill, dumb luck, etc. etc. etc.

    So really, the question is, are you surpassing some benchmark (ie S&P500) while keeping risk in check? or would all the wannabe traders, who while making some cash, been simply better off buying&holding like the rest of the lemmings?
  7. trader99



    You got a really good point there. What I really want to know was did your trading discipline or acumen has improved or not. Not necessarily acct balances per se. I should have reworded the poll.

    Like what I noticed is that I've slowly gotten rid a lot of my bad habits like 1) not cutting losers fast enough 2) avoiding choppy markets 3) holding onto winners 4) beginning to learn about proper position sizing.

    JT, you made a important point that A LOT of people miss. Yes, it's easy to make $ in a bull market or even a mini-bull market. But still if anyone who has doubled their acct since last March by luck or not is still impressive. But if they can keep their gains is another matter! LOL!

    So, here's the evolution I noticed in myself. I'm getting good at good entries and getting decent at exits. When I was a newbie, I was obsessed with good entires. Trying to get in at the PERFECT price down to the last penny in good entries. Now, I know better. Entry plays a small but important part in the grand trading scheme. Like once in a while I get the "perfect entry" like near the top or bottom but I get out too soon. Then I realize EXITS was where the real money is made. And it's pointless to try to time tops and bottoms. You can be the trader with the PERFECT ENTRY and still make NO $ or a really bad trader, because you exit TOO SOON.

    And now, I'm moving onto holding winners longer which is basically about GOOD EXITS! And I've learned to ride the trend until it ends or almost ends and that alone has improved my P&L. Good entries alone CAN NOT make you $!!!

    But then I realize I didn't do enough share size when I rode my winner. I might put on a big position INITIALLY but then I'll be too scared and get out early and save only a few hundred shares/contracts for the entire ride. And that's the last thing I'm trying to work on. If I can get that down, then I could say I MASTERED my trading rules REGARDLESS of what the P&l might say that day. If I just do that consistently then the money will come. No question about it.

    And your point is right. A "dumb money" person who buy and hold probably beat many pros and market timer since the market rallied 22% since the March lows. But they might NOT know the first thing about trading.

    good point!

  8. I'm doing terrible this year, (especially compared to last year.) I've actually stopped trading.

    I was on fire last year (especially the first half). I really thought I knew something. Maybe I was just lucky, more than anything.

    I've been bleeding dollars this year as consistently as I made them last year. Ironically, I would definitely say I've improved in the very necessary, but perhaps 'secondary' aspects of trading (which I was, not to brag or anything, always pretty good at), such as discipline, staying out, staying in, trading with practically no emotional attachement to current positions, no excitation over 'missed' moves, no bruised ego about being 'wrong'; basically, the kind of qualities that we'd all agree are desirable for a trader. Only thing is, my strategies have plum sucked.

    Basically, what I was doing last year didn't necessarily stop working, just stopped working as well. The decrease in intraday volatility, which starting becoming apparent in the second half of last year, has basically rendered my strategy untradeable. Reason? With the smaller intraday moves, you need to up the position size; a 20c win with 500 shares becomes a 10c win with 1000, but commission for the latter is double, for example. Of course, as you do this, commission starts to form a bigger and bigger portion of gross profits. I just couldn't justify the risk I was taking for making barely above breakeven; that's not what I got into trading for. (Also, 'noise' starts interfering too much with 'signal' when you start trading very small amplitudes.)

    So, I've been trying to come up with some new stuff, none of which, as I said, has worked yet. Of course, I certainly intend to keep working at finding something, but I'm going to be throwing any money at these ideas; once you've acquired the correct mental/emotional approach to trading, papertrading your ideas (depending on how 'good fill' dependant they are) becomes a lot more meaningful.

    Maybe a sobering thought for the latest crop of newbs: yes, you certainly do need to work on yourself -- the things I mentioned above: discipline, self-control etc -- but those things are more of a pre-requisite -- ie, it's hard to believe there are any emotional wrecks out there making a killing :) -- you still need what is commonly called an "edge". Better yet, get two or three or four of them. Because if you've only got one (like I did), the moment it stops working you're in trouble; you've only got a hammer, but not everything out there is a nail.

    99 -- glad to hear you're doing well. Keep it up!
  9. Dearest Brother daniel_m,

    Perhaps you should consider futures, as proportionate commissions costs are much lower. Its good for your peace of mind too, cos you will feel you are working for yourself and not working to enrich your broker (who gets a much smaller cut than if you were trading stocks).

    Contact me via my yahoo messenger sometime today (candletrader2003).