Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by HappyGoLucky, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. Here’s my (sob) story. I’ll try to keep it short (but not so sweet). Where do I begin?

    Many years ago, I hooked myself on trading through (groan) Ken Roberts. I shelled out the $195 for his course, opened an account, made some, lost some, etc. After a while I realized I would need more than KR to make consistent money in this game. This was before online electronic trading became the norm.

    [As an aside, I remember one day making an amazing discovery. Looking at charts, I realized that, almost without exception, the S&P 500 Index futures would open at or very close to their close. (This was before the days of ES.) Now I knew it often moved around overnight, which meant (to me) that it must always revert to its closing price just before the open of regular market hours. Brilliant. Just flip a coin, go long or short, set a profit target of, say, 4 points ($2,000). If you get hit, great. If the market goes against you in the Globex overnight, just wait until the open and exit a breakeven. I discussed my ‘discovery’ with my broker, and he thought it sounded very good. I tried it one night, and (after numerous late night calls to my broker), made my 4 points! The next day, my broker called me up and told me he discussed my ‘strategy’ with a colleague, and he thought that the opening price you see on the charts is the open of the Globex session (which it was)! Dumb money.]

    At any rate, my trading, such as it is, went through numerous iterations, from buying systems that spit out signals through SuperCharts (overleveraged and blew myself out), to moving average crossovers, to taking systems I read about in Stocks and Commodities and trying to trade them, and everything in between. This was a hobby for me. I was gainfully employed, and supporting my family, but I dreamed of one day trading my way to riches.

    At some point I took a break from trading (I missed the 1998-2000 bubble) but eventually decided to try my hand at the online, self-serve version. I started off by trying to catch the bottoms of the falling markets of 2001 etc. and lost a bunch. I got killed in the Treasury Bond slaughter of 2002 or 2003. It took me a long time, and lots of money, to decide I preferred sticking with the trend. During this time, I also took some training, from two gents whom I met here on ET – Scott Iverson who sells his interpretation of Don Hall’s Pyrapoint (and claims its profitable for him), and Bill Schamp who does the trend-is-your-friend HH’s and LL’s of Logic trading. I believe they’re both still around. Perhaps they both make tons of money trading their methods. Perhaps they both made tons of money selling their methods. Thus far, I have not. (I do not deny that the fault may lie in me and my lack of discipline to follow through with their methods 100 %. That’s certainly what they’d say.)

    Without going into all the gory details, I lost plenty of money over the years. Generally, it would go like this. 1) Refund account after previous blowout. 2) Trade cautiously – we’re making a new start after all. 3) Make some money. 4) Continue to trade cautiously. 5) Make some more money (though usually there were a few ‘tightrope’ trades somewhere along the line that almost took me back to breakeven or worse). 6) At some point, get into a trade with no stop, have it go against you, add to position, blowout substantial % of your account or all of it. 7) Return to step 1 with new good feelings. I’d have to review my old records, which I have no desire to do, but I doubt that I ever went for a six month period without blowing out an account. I also can’t think of a single instance where I lost money off the bat; I always started off making money (this is probably what made me keep trying). Sometimes I was lucky enough to take some money out beforehand; often I wasn’t. To my good fortune, much of what I lost was money I had taken from the market, but when all’s said and done, I was and am still a huge net loser.

    At some point, due to a change in location, I found myself without a job, some savings (not that much), and a family to support. I was not fired from my previous job, but we made the decision to move, and that involved me leaving my job (which I probably would have left anyway as I no longer felt capable of doing it). My wife and I made the decision that, after so many years of trading part-time, and without a viable source of income, the time had come for me to trade full time. At the time I had about $40k in my account (most of it, again, was the market’s money, at least at that stage). Before we even moved, though, I made some idiotic trade and basically blew out my account, which made me reconsider moving. But by then the wheels were already in motion, and we followed through with the move. Last summer I began trading (futures) with the grand total of $8,000 in my account. (Can’t say I’m not an optimist.) I actually managed to run that up to about $40k, taking out my original $8k along the way, and then, over the course of a week or 2, I blew it out. Since then, the pattern has repeated itself more or less along the same lines. I’ve bored you more than enough with extra details, so let me cut to the chase.

    I’ve been an ET lurker/contributor (though not under this name obviously) since 2001. I’ve gained a ton from these boards, and am now soliciting your advice / help. Wages in our current place of residence are such that I am at a loss as to how to support my family with a ‘real job.’ I will have to take one short-term, as my confidence right now is shot, and I am in no position to put our money at risk. That will keep food on the table, but, barring some miracle, will not support us long term. Wages here are simply very low, even if I were to by some miracle land some great position. Were it not for this, I think I would have long declared defeat in trading, which I may still have to do. But that’s what keep me going. Personality wise, I feel I have the right temperament to trade: I am not overly scared of risk, have no problem pulling the trigger, am emotionally stable, and I have no problem letting my good trades ride (perhaps I sometimes let them ride too long). I simply feel I don’t have, even after all these years, a viable strategy, other than my ability to ‘read the tape,’ for whatever its worth.

    Here are my thoughts:

    I need a mentor. I believe much of my failure, and present lack of confidence, is due to never truly having had a ‘real edge.’ There are many people on these boards who say there are no edges, or that the real edge is between your ears. They obviously don’t have one. Neither do I. I am not convinced that in the futures markets real edges exist. In equities, I’m pretty sure they do. This is not to say that it’s impossible to make money trading futures; I know some people do. It’s just much harder. It seems to me that the percentage of consistently profitable futures traders is far smaller than equities.

    Even with a job, I can continue to follow the markets; the time zone I live in allows for this.

    I’m looking for someone with a true edge, who is consistently profitable, to teach me how to trade equities. I know this is a long-shot, bordering on absurd. At this stage, I’m offering nothing in return, other than the gratitude in my heart, and that of my family. (Which is not to say that I’m unwilling to commit to some profit-sharing once I become profitable.) I’m hoping there’s some great trader out there who feels that this form of honourable ‘charity,’ such as it is, would be a way of giving back some of what he’s received.

    I’m a pretty bright guy, and I think I could be enjoyable to teach. I’m willing to work hard. I would fly out to you; or perhaps we could do it through some sort of private online chat. My goal would be to achieve consistent profitability on a simulator, practicing my edge until I’m ready to go live. I would then take some of our savings, and probably trade remote through a prop-firm that offers a minimum of 10-1 leverage.

    That’s my request, for what it’s worth.

    I’m not going to bore you with any more of this tedious monologue. Please, all you cynics, refrain from posting to my thread. I’m quite aware of the likelihood of someone who has a true edge wanting to share it, all the more with a complete stranger. Have a heart, and don’t beat this dead horse.

    If you are one of the rare individuals who has a true, consistent edge, and feel motivated to help this sorry-soul out, I’m a lucky guy. I hope you’ll have the patience to deal with me.
  2. You gotta try harder. The Prof has a 99.99999% accurate method. He never loses, much like Mr. Market! :p

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    Good luck to all. :cool:
  3. I am in the same boat as you are. I haven't made any money or nor have I found an edge.

    At least I think you're in a better spot than I am in because at least you understand your own shortcomings and is reaching out for help.
  4. I'm not sure that a true 'edge' exists in futures trading. Maybe we've both been barking up the wrong tree.

    You're right about understanding my shortcomings though. There's far more I could say, but I'll spare you.

  5. The ONLY edge you can have in Futures trading is being able to get out when the market proves you wrong.

    Your personality isn't suited for a trader. You MUST BE scared of risk.. you must run away from it. I think thats what leads you to be loose with your stops. Sometimes, by QUITTING you WIN. I think it is OK to QUIT trying to be a trader. I mean, you can work as a chicken farmer and can do better than 96% of all traders that trade. Trading Chickens, the risk reward are more in your favor you know.. Your goal as a trader must be to exploit favorable risk/reward opportunities. Which just isn't in trading futures.
  6. "Bill Schamp who does the trend-is-your-friend HH’s and LL’s of Logic trading."

    another victim of the good professors gibberish.
  7. Ripley,

    I hear what you're saying, and can't deny it. I think a successful trader must walk the tightrope between taking risks, and having a healthy, yet not obsessive fear of them. That's what I meant to say. Having said that, I will admit that you perceptively hit the nail on the proverbial head. Getting cavalier with my trading has haunted me in the past.

  9. segv


    You have little chance of succeeding at this venture, so why even try when you are under pressure to make a living? Why not start a small business in your profession with your trading capital? Invest in something that you already make money doing, something that has a reasonable chance to make you a living wage. Come back to the markets later when you have risk capital and can afford to take risks. In the meantime, pick up some new skills in mathematics, computer science, or psychology that could help you if and when you decide to approach the markets again.

  10. segv


    You could not be more wrong. Excess returns are not possible without risk, and successful traders have an appetite for it.

    #10     Aug 10, 2006