Fancy schmanzy or just plain Vanilla?

There’s expenditure and there’s expenditure.

Meaning?

Let’s say you start some work. It can be market-related, for all I care. What do you do first?

Prep.

How do you prep?

Studying up. As long as I can manage.

And then?

Courses, workshops, the deal.

Local?

Naehhh. I try to keep it national though.

International?

Haven’t required it till now for market work.

Ok. What happens next?

I hit the market concerned. Low-key at first. 

Why?

That’s when you make the most mistakes. That’s why. 

I see. Motive?

I want to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them.

Rather than from an instructor?

Of course. This is the market, remember. This is about you. Not about the instructor. This is about knowing your own shortcomings related to a particular market, and about adjusting and fine-tuning yourself to the market to trade it optimally. This is about fitting the market concerned in a tailor-made fashion into your own life without disrupting your own life. 

Wow! Well, then, congratulations. You’re a prime candidate for doing it the plain vanilla way. 

Is there any other way to do it?

Oh, there’s the fancy schmanzy one. 

Kindly describe it. 

Well, it mostly entails unnecessary expenditure along with necessary expenditure. There’s more unnecessary expenditure though. 

I see. 

One is normally too lazy to study up. Or, one doesn’t have the get-go in oneself to approach the subject on one’s own. 

Sure, can happen. 

One flips from instructor to instructor in search of the holy grail. Expensive software, international trips, five-star hotels, the whole shebang. In the end one has spent a bomb. To end up trading the instructor’s perspective. Finally realising that the markets are about oneself, and unless one is trading one’s own perspective, one is sure to lose. Or not realising this (!) and continuing to flip instructors and instructions. Finally burning out and giving up on the markets. 

Sad though. All necessary software is available free of cost on the internet. One can do inexpensive internet courses to widen one’s horizon. These can involve one-on-one instruction too. Video-conferencing. File sharing. Threads. Assessments. The works. Live-market training. You name it. All travelling and extra expenses cut out. Few hundred dollars for the whole course. 

I already acknowledged your plain vanilla acumen. I’m just trying to tell you that most others prefer the fancy schmanzy way. 

I prefer to stay in the market and not burn out. I’m in the market to make a steady income. 

Well, that you will, my dear friend. The plain vanilla way doesn’t promise any hype, but it does promise income. 

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What’s bothering you today?

Get it out of the way.

Why?

Bother takes a toll. 

Focus goes away. 

You don’t wish to see your trade. 

That’s a pathetic condition to be in…

…as a trader. 

When you’re in a trade…

…you need to monitor the trade. 

How will you monitor a trade…

…if you don’t feel like looking at your screen?

What’s causing your indifference?

Bio-chemistry. 

Resulting from?

The spot of bother.

That’s why, get it out of the way.

Trade gone wrong?

Kill it.

Spouse problem?

Address it.

Child matter.

Deal with it.

Bring your environment to an immediate logical conclusion…

…if you can.

Why?

You’ll trade like a king…

…or a queen…

… whatever title you prefer. 

You’ll see clearly. 

You’ll want to open your terminal. 

Your ideology will be aligned with your trade. 

You’ll be making money. 

That’s why. 

Frozen

Frozen? 

It’s ok. 

Breathe. 

You need to acknowledge that you’re frozen. 

Without that, the next step won’t come. 

It’s normal to freeze sometimes. Just acknowledge it. Then learn. 

For example, I acknowledge that I’m currently frozen wrt to the USDINR short trade. Missed entry. Next opportunity to enter never developed for me, and the underlying is currently in free fall. Don’t have the guts to short it at this level. Yeah, I’m frozen all right.

However, the fact that I’m acknowledging it opens up the learning window. 

Why did I miss entry?

I know why I froze. Fear. What I need to understand is why I allowed a situation to develop that would lead to fear. 

Ok. 

Was running super busy. 

Neglected the underlying. 

Kept postponing entry… 

… till free-fall started. 

It’s good to be busy. 

Hmmm, so this can happen again. 

How do I stop this from happening again? 

If I ID a setup, I need to take it. 

No second-guessing. 

What about strategy? 

Meaning, am I going with a short strategy for USDINR? Or am I keeping the window open for a long strategy?

See, that’s it.

Keeping short and long windows open makes me second-guess all the time. 

So can I go in one-direction wrt USDINR all the time? 

What speaks for it? 

Underlying is falling from a height. Good. 

Short only means no second-guessing. You just go short, period. 

Stoploss will save ruin. 

Not nipping profits in the bud will amass fortunes. 

Can the underlying keep falling over the next few years? 

Why not? Modi’s looking set for 2019. 

Hmmm, so a short only strategy has a lot going for itself. 

There’s more. Future month contracts are quoted at a premium. The premium evaporates over the current month. This move is in your favour if you’re short. 

Ok, enough. 

Yeah, there’s enough on the table to warrant a short only strategy for USDINR. 

SEE? 

Learning process. 

Why did it happen?

Because I acknowledged that I had frozen. 

Now, my strategy is more fine-tuned and I’m probably less prone to second-guessing. 

You need to pull off such stuff when you freeze. 

Use the freeze to evolve. 

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.

Adding No-Action to your Repertoire

Action with positive outcome vs…

… no action vs…

…action with negative outcome…

…hmmmm.

Sometimes we become oblivious to actions with negative outcomes.

Society preaches to be active.

We listen.

We feel that doing something means a step forward.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so.

Many times, and especially in the markets, it actually pays to do nothing.

The most successful investors in the world will tell you, that the biggest money is made while sitting. They’ll also tell you, that almost no one has learnt how to sit.

They’re right.

Meanwhile, I’m telling you, right here and right now, that you can sit comfortably upon your investment without jumping only if you’ve bought with margin of safety. Think about it.

Also, the most successful traders in the world will tell you that the number one action that saves money in the markets is no action. Yeah, when markets move sideways, which is about 60%+ of the time, trades tend to get stopped out both ways, and the trader loses money repeatedly. At such times, it’s better not to trade.

What’s vital here?

Recognition.

Recognize that it’s a time for no action.

Then, do something else.

For this to be practical, make trading and investing your bonus activities.

Meaning, that if your bread and butter depends upon another mainstream activity, you can easily switch off from trading and investing for a while, at will, and without any negative impact upon your basics.

Also, you need to be versatile enough to have fall-back activities lined up, which switch on where trading and / or investing switch off. These need to take over then, and keep the mind occupied.

The danger of not going into no-action mode is the continuous committing of actions with negative outcomes.

That’s precisely where we don’t want to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you invite the f-word?

The next trade… 
… yeah… 
… take it. 
What? 
Can’t? 
Why?  
Afraid of what might happen. 
That’s the whole thing. 
You see a setup – you trade the setup.
When you see a setup, there are no more what-ifs, supposings or anything. Then, it’s just you and the trade. Take the trade. 
No room for f-(ear). It’s the new f-word.  
How do you drive fear out of the equation? 
Risk a miniscule fraction of your networth per trade. 
Don’t make trading your bread and butter. Make it your bonus. 
Don’t allow anyone else’s negativity to creep in. Don’t talk to people. Trade on your own. No room for tips. 
Don’t listen to your broker. Tell him what to do.
Don’t trade under compulsion. 
Enjoy your trading. 
Once in the trade, lose the mini-bias that got you in. Now, just manage the trade. 
Stop hit? You’re out. 
Run? 
Raise stop. 
Running? 
Keep raising stop. 
Losing some of your notional profits? Market throws you out?
Good. That’s a proper exit. 
See, fear wasn’t allowed to the party. 
Look for next setup. 
Position-size your entry. 
Take the next trade. 
And so on and so forth. 
Not upto trading?
Ok. Don’t trade. Till you’re up to it.
 
Demons out of the way? 
 
Up to trading again? 
 
See the next setup?
 
Take it.

Does your Exit hurt you?

Good. 

Good? 

Yeah. Good. 

A proper exit – hurts. 

Huh? 

What about exiting on a high? 

Sure. 

Go ahead. 

Exit on your high.

Who’s stopping you? 

However… 

… who’s to say that the high won’t become higher? 

Exactly. 

No one knows. 

So, while the uncertainty about the high becoming higher is still out there – smarty – why are we going to not let it play out? 

Exactly. 

We are going to let it play out. 

Purpose? 

A new high might be posted. We then make more profit. 

Or, trade starts going against us, and we start to lose some of what we’ve gained. 

Hurt starts. 

When you can’t stand this hurt anymore – exit. 

That’s a proper exit. 

It’s leaving a bad taste in your mouth in the end. That’s when you know it’s a proper exit. 

You’ve stomped out the possibility of a new high. 

You’ve taken what the trade has to give. 

You’ve let the hurt set in. 

You’ve let the trade arrive at its logical conclusion. 

Now, you are exiting. 

Congratulations, you are exiting properly. 

Continue like this and you’ll become a great trader. 

What, have I let the cat out of the bag? 

Don’t worry, one can say it a million times and 99% of all traders will still continue to exit improperly. 

It’s human nature. 

Human nature works against the mindset of a winning trader.