When to throw in the towel as a trader?

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by Mr Kamikaze, May 25, 2005.

  1. A question that I am continually being asked these days by both newbies and experienced (but struggling) traders is at what point should they accept defeat. I only recently realized that I DON'T know the answer to this question as I have always made money consistently and so have never been faced with this dilemma personally. It made me realize how few people consider the very real possibility of failure until it is too late. Even then it seems as though people don't seem to want to quit, it seems that only being fired or heavily going into debt ends trading for some guys I know. I just wondered what would be the best advice to give to a trader who has some potential talent but just seems to always fail to achieve or to a guy who has lost his way after prior success.

    Any former traders out there who have quit and could provide their own take on life after trading. It does seem as though the guys I know who have left the industry struggle to adapt to the real job world beyond trading. I think a big problem for those who struggle is the belief that one day it will click, but really IMO if you can't do it after 2-3 years then you never will be able to and yet I know guys who have traded for even longer and still talk about one day making it big even though they have showed no realistic likelihood of doing so.

    Maybe I am overly cynical but I just can't believe that people who continually fail still think that one day it will work out. And so I ask at what point should a struggling trader accept that trading is not their calling? Should it be a self-made decision to quit (which rarely happens) or should it be once a person has totally exhausted all their trading options, e.g. ran out of money or been fired from multiple firms?
  2. ozzy


    Personally I'll never quit. I'll work two day jobs If I have to. Become a gigilo if I have to. Become a male dancer if I have to.

    Whatever it takes I will do it.


  3. One needs to look at why they trade in order to address this question. If the reasons you want to trade no longer exist or can be satisfied, then it is time to try a hand at something else. Trading is a tough business..... many forget that it IS a business. It makes sense to take breaks from trading and to re-evaluate why one started in the first place.

    The fact is, in order to be true to oneself, one has to give it 100% and a clear shot. Coming into trading half-assed and doing a wishy-washy job of learning and overcoming the obstacles and then losing money will only invite one to come back and dump more money on those who do it professionally. Like every job, it has its ups and downs. Honestly, this month has been the toughest for me since I learned trading. I'm still net positive for the month but have not hit the numbers I usually do. I struggled with it early on this month, but I welcome this now. It helps me evaluate what I'm doing and how to fall back on to the basics. I won't go into why I perceive it to be difficult, but, as a trader, one has to go through this to adapt.

    When one give everything he does his true best but still fails, it closes a door on what he is not designed to do and brings him closer to those things that he is meant to be happy doing. This can be seen as failure and one can drawn it with some compulsive behavior (drinking, etc) or one can see it as nature telling him that he will be happier and more successful doing something else.

    I find that taking breaks and putting things on pause for a bit really puts it all in perspective. The most important lesson here is to be true to oneself and to distinguish the loud voice of the ego talking and subtle but powerful voice of one's heart/intuition. If it feels wrong and if it is negatively effecting other aspects of one's life, then trading is the last thing one should continue to do.

    I will know to quit when I see that I don't love what I do and it is effecting my relationship with my wife and kids or friends. Trading supplements and allows for greater things to be fulfilled in life.... many, unfortunately, mistake trading for life itself and miss out on both.

    Best wishes to you, your friend and everyone here. Live in the NOW.
  4. maxpi


    There is a perfect storm going right now of computer power, internet, trading knowledge, economic expansion, etc. Anybody that quits is nuts. Quitting for awhile to get your ducks in a row might help but to quit with finality..... makes no sense.
  5. -many, unfortunately, mistake trading for life itself and miss out on both.-

    BINGO !

  6. da-net


    I HAD securities licenses, a series 7, 63 and 24. I was a broker during the market crash of 87 until 92. I got fired as a broker from one firm for low production (only time in my life that I was fired). I was with what was called a "penny stock firm". I could not tell someone to buy some junk that the firm wanted pushed that day. It just is not my nature. Guess it goes back to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"!

    I did experience several "customers" that refused to pay for their orders and this cost me dearly. I did meet a lot of nice people and have maintained friendships with several including one that I convinced to buy the stock of Chrysler when it was $3.00 and had a 10% yeild (much to the disappointment of the firm).

    This experience as a broker allowed me to better understand myself and return to trading after another career. I trade only for myself. I do get a laugh when some broker calls and tries using the old BS, one would think they could come up with better pitches!

    As to if or when you should tell someone that this is not for them...I remember one of the OLD replies to an objection that went something like this....When Edison was asked by a reporter about his great number of failures to produce a working light...he replied I did not fail I just found 10,000 things that would not work.
  7. What is the purpose of starting this thread if you arent in this type of situation? Just curious.

  8. TsunTzu


    Well thought about and well written. Just wanted to thank you for writing this post. Gave me food for thought and is very much along the lines of the soul searching that this month has made me do. But then that is part of my passion for trading. The constant self evaluation and inner question asking.
    All the best.

  9. Great response, FuturesTrader71

  10. max,

    great post! i agree 100%, we are on the cusp of something big.

    #10     May 26, 2005