Control

Longevity.

We look for it in the markets too. 

It’s natural.

Our first instinct is to survive. 

Our second instinct is to survive well. 

In the markets, both these instincts are addressed by our definition and understanding of control. 

Are we control-freaks? 

There’s no harm in admitting it, it’ll save us from losses. 

Well, if we are, we’re better off seeking another career where control-freaking is an asset.

In the markets, it’s not.

Yeah, surprise surprise, Mrs. Market is gonna keep hitting our stops again and again and again, till we get tired of second-guessing her and just sheer quit.

Or, if we’re adamant too, she’ll just drive us bankrupt. 

Are we giving her complete leeway?

Well, then she’ll drive us bankrupt anyways, with no stops in place.

Mrs. Market works against us when we exhibit extreme behaviour wrt control.

Let’s fine-tune control.

We’ll find the median for stop-size.

Something that’s workable.

We then move with her.

If she moves in our direction of the trade, we keep raising our stop with her, from a distance, quietly.

Control, mild, unadvertised.

She’ll stop us out eventually, perhaps after some profit.

Good. 

As in, workable. 

When she goes berserk in our direction of the trade, we’ll ignore her and just let her do her thing.

Minimum control.

No definition of targets.

Stop is far away. It’s deep in profits, and being raised quietly. She’ll need to stop us out with a big swing against us. Yeah, deep in profit, we’ve kept a large leeway between stop and CMP.

We’re not micromanaging her.

Motive?

We wish to allow her to go even more berserk in our direction of the trade.

We’re daring her too, as in “come and get our stop, if you have the guts to fall this far”.

Control.

Very subtle.

We’re controlling our environment, while simultaneously ignoring her.

Very workable. 

We’ll live long in the markets. 

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Scaling Up

When you find a system… 

… that works… 

… what’s the next step? 

Plunge? 

Wait. 

Look left and right. 

Meaning? 

Look at your basics. 

Are they in place? 

Meaning? 

No worries about food on the table? 

No worries about kids’ education funds?

Basic family luxuries in place? 

No? 

Get these together and going. 

Yes. 

Ok. 

Go for it. 

Scale up. 

Your decision to scale up should at no time endanger your basics. 

You’re scaling up from  your extras.

You’re scaling up with stops in place. 

If your stops are hit, you’ll change your system till it works again. 

You will not borrow from your basics. 

You will wait for your extras to accumulate, and divert these into scaling up. 

Having gotten all that out of the way, let’s cast a glance at the concrete process. 

1x is working, or so you say. 

In fact, you’re sure 1x is working. 

Ok. 

Now do 2x.

Working? 

5x.

Can you take it? 

Do you sleep well at night? 

Fine. 

10x.

Working? 

Family life intact? 

Basics intact?

Fine. You take it from here. 

Where do you plateau? 

Right before a level where something might get disturbed. 

It’s really that simple. 

Happy scaling up! 

🙂 

MP vs MoS : the lowdown on Trade-Entry

Margin of Safety (MoS)… 

… hmmm… 

… wasn’t that in investing? 

Well – surprise – it’s in trading too. 

You can enter a trade with MoS. 

How? 

Ok.

ID the trend. 

Wait for a minor reversal.

Let the reversal continue towards a pivot, or a support or a what have you. 

During this reversal, whenever you feel that you have considerable MoS, well – enter. 

Why shouldn’t you wait for the pivot to get touched? 

Things happen real fast at a pivot. Upon a pivot-touch, you can lose your comfort-zone even within minutes. 

Two vital things can happen at a pivot. 

Either there’s a quick bounce-back, or the pivot gets broken. 

Bounce-back means your trade is now in the money, and that you can go about managing your trade as per your trade-management rules. Wonderful. 

Pivot-break is not a worry for you. 

Why? 

Because you’ve placed your stop slightly below pivot, after the noise. 

Upon pivot-break, you get stopped out. You take the small hit and move on to your next trade. 

Eventually, things heat up. 

There is movement. 

Tops get taken out. 

Fast money can be made. 

How do you enter here? (Needless to say, for shorts, everything is to be understood reversed). 

Momentum play (MP)… 

… is the weapon of choice. 

You set up a trigger entry after a top or a resistance or a what have you, and wait for price to pierce, and for your entry to get triggered. Then you place your stop, below top or resistance or what have you. 

MP vs MoS is a matter of style. 

If you’re not comfortable changing your trading style to adapt to times, that’s fine too. Stick to one style.

If you’re conservative, stick to MoS. 

In a frenzy, however, MoS might almost never happen. 

In a frenzy, entry will be triggered exclusively through MP.

Take your pick. Adapt. Do both. Or don’t. Do one.

You call the shots. 

This is about you.

The Pinch of Minuscule Loss

Did I drop the 200 bucks this morning?

Hmmmm…

…naehhh.

I don’t drop cash.

It was probably nicked from my rucksack.

You know what, this incident is pinching me.

I’m trying to brush it off.

Was I careless?

Yes.

Why?

God knows.

Over-confidence?

Maybe.

Do you see?

Even minuscule loss has it’s thought-process-baggage.

Minuscule loss pinches too.

Where does that leave us?

We’re market-people.

We’re faced with minuscule losses everyday.

Hopefully miniscule.

Meaning, hopefully everyone has by now graduated to putting stops.

Don’t underestimate the business of stops.

The human mind gets used to stops very slowly indeed.

Society teaches us to win at all costs. It doesn’t teach us to take a small loss and get out.

Trading works differently, however.

You can’t will a losing trade to win.

Society teaches us to book a winner and post it on social media immediately.

Again, trading is so different.

A small winner needs to be left alone, so that it can grow into a multibagger.

When we enter into the world of trading, we have to first swear to ourselves that we will start to program our minds from day one.

Otherwise, we’re dead-meat.

We need to teach our minds to let winners win some more.

And, we need to programme our minds to cut many, many small losers while they are still small, simultaneously and slowly getting immune to the pinch of minuscule losses by taking these in stride, one, after another after another…

…, till, the rest, as they say, is recorded as successful trading by History.

What’s it Gonna Take Today, Pal?

Indicators.

Fibonacci.

Moving averages.

Price action.

Isn’t everyone following all this?

Do the markets behave accordingly?

No. Not really. Sometimes, sure. Generally, no. Just my opinion.

So?

Where does that leave you?

How do you plan your trade entry?

There’s not much planning to it really.

Oh yeah?

Pray on what basis is one to enter then?

Study.

Then overall feel.

What?

Yes.

Gumption?

So?

With no study, direction’s a 50:50.

With study leading to overall feel translating into gumption, this ratio could well become 55:45.

You don’t need more.

Blackjack odds for the card-counter are perhaps 53:47 at peak.

Ok, so you’ve got your 55:45, what then?

Trade management.

You make your money managing your trade.

Formula?

Simple one.

You cut the wrong call. Nip it in the bud.

Let the right call continue being even more right.

Learn, perhaps the hard way, to let the winner continue winning.

Trade might reverse.

That’s the risk you have to take, to win more.

There are no free lunches in life.

How I Wish to Trade

Tension?

No.

Hassle-free?

Yes.

Profit?

Yes.

Fun?

Too. 

I want it to make me want to come back. 

In the background?

Yes.

Part of my normal life?

No. 

Disturbing me in the night?

No?

Terminal on – ideally once a day. Max twice. That’s it. 

Protection?

Yes. Stops for forex. Hedges for options. No naked options. 

Exits?

Make me exit. Yeah, Mrs. Market needs to make me exit. I don’t wish to exit on my own. She needs to throw me out of a trade. 

Fear?

None.

Why?

Bread and butter secured through other-than-trading instruments.

Trading with surplus.

Surplus can potentially become zero. Will I still take the next trade?

Yes. After scanning strategy for errors.

Loss?

Will take small ones, again and again and again. That’s the only way to find the large profit moves. 

Once profit sets in, what then?

Nothing then. 

Normal. 

Behaving as if nothing has happened. 

Giving the trade room. 

It needs to make even more profit. 

It is a potential multi-x trade. Why should I nip it in the bud? As I said, make me exit. Throw me out. 

Family life?

Balanced.

Remnant anger from trading?

None. 

When yes, stop trading. Trading should never be allowed to disturb family life. 

Evolutionary?

Forever. Learning, learning, learning. 

Bias? 

None. 

News?

No. 

Tips?

None. 

Peers?

Maybe to start a strategy with. After strategy is made to fit – no peers any more. 

Discussion?

None. Hopefully. 

Don’t like to discuss trades after terminal shuts. 

Losses piling up?

Review strategy. Discard, renew, implement, trade again. 

Profits piling up?

Great. Do nothing. 

Are you getting the gist?

Similarly, you need to figure out how you might want to trade.

Many things I might be doing will not suit you automatically. 

You need to make things fit. 

If something doesn’t fit, discard it. 

Look for something new that might fit. 

Make a trading strategy that’s lucrative and gels with you and your lifestyle and environment. 

Such a strategy will blossom. For you. 

Stop-Loss vs Hedge – what’s what and how?

Insurance.

Makes you sleep easy.

Simultaneously, you are able to take a calculated risk.

Risk?

Why should you take a risk?

No risk no gain.

It’s as simple as that.

You have to put something on the line to possibly gain something.

That’s what market activity is all about.

You’re doing this all the time.

Day in, day out.

You’ve become used to a steady and dynamic LINE. Your line doesn’t harm you anymore. It doesn’t disrupt your life.

Well done.

How did you achieve this?

By using stops and hedges.

What’s the difference?

The difference is technical, and then practical.

For some mindsets and positions, a stop is more suited.

When you don’t mind exposing your market-play, and want to close your terminal and do other stuff, use a stop.

You get up from your desk, engage in other activity, and have forgotten about your position, because now you don’t need to tend to its needs for 24 hours, for example.

Great.

Your position will either play out, or it won’t.

If it doesn’t, your stop will automatically throw you out of your position.

The level of the stop is digestible.

Next morning, you simply move on to a new trade.

Let’s say you don’t want to to expose your market play, or, in some cases, when you don’t need to expose your market play – how do you then insure yourself?

Hedge.

A hedge maintains general market neutrality.

It leaves windows open for what-if scenarios.

For example, the trade could make money, and then the hedge could make money.

Or, vice-versa. As in lose-lose. Sure, there are win-loss and loss-win scenarios too.

The starting point is somewhat neutral, and then there are permutations and combinations.

Some people prefer this kind of play.

They like the possibility of maximizing profit from the total position at a calculated higher risk.

Also fine.

Generally, the idea is for your main position to make money and your hedge to lose money.

It might or might not play out like that.

Some like this uncertainty and know how to benefit from it.

A stop is sure-shot and straight-forward. It is low-risk as long as it is digestible.

Hedges open you to the risks of a meta-game. Play becomes more interesting, consuming, and possibly, more profitable, for experienced hedgers.

In my opinion, a hedge is slightly higher in risk than a stop.

However, both entities lower overall risk.

Currency pair forex trades are typically taken with a stop. However, they can be hedged too.

Market-neutral option-trades are typically taken using hedges.

Step into a trade with either or, for peace of mind and career longevity.

Cheers.

🙂