2018 March Performance: Best so far

Capture

Ain’t too shabby. But don’t get cocky.

Slowly but surely, the power of compounding is working its magic. I am happy, and surprised, with this month’s performance. Close to 20%* increase in NAV in a month is not something I see very often, but happy to share that it is possible.

What does the future hold? I don’t know. And this is what aspiring traders must always, always be wary of. Just because your have 20% growth this month, it doesn’t mean it will repeat the next.

Disclaimers apply.

*Note that I have an unrealized loss of $11k that I might just writeoff, but still I’ll be happy taking the overall increase in NAV if I do.

Happy Trading.

#smartcasualtrading

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2017 Annual Performance released

`account tatement

You win some, you lose less.

Here it it. My 2017 annual account from OANDA.

I’m lazy to calculate the % gains. I only care about the net realized profit.

So yup. Let’s hope 2018 will compound the gains using increasing position sizes.

#smartcasualtradding

 

When Success is Failure: Loss of Momentum

momentum

Using momentum as a trading strategy but prices have to move

I haven’t blogged is such a long time until recently I’ve been getting pings of readers liking my old posts, which got me thinking what happened to my momentum in blogging and setting up Smart Casual Trading™ in the first place.

Linking it to trading, using oscillators or momentum indicators is one of the many ways of trading. The thing is, you need prices to move. You need force. And this force is provided by liquidity, traders entering and exiting the market at various prices, herd mentality, trading psychology, greed, fear, all these leading to rational and irrational actions that result in action: Buy or sell.

These actions create the force to push prices up, down, sideways, and with the movement of prices, comes momentum, which I’ve mentioned many times, is simply an indicator, which is always, always dependent on price movements.

In simple terms, if there is no price movement, no force, no action, there will be no momentum.

In 2017, I made enough profits to match my previous full time salary. To me, that is success, and achievement, a goal that I aimed for.

The flip side to that, is on reflection, this success came about from simply doing the same things over and over again, recognizing what works, reflecting on what doesn’t, and realizing mistakes, and taking action on those mistakes.

The nagging thought at the back of my mind, is whether this loss of momentum, of a force to try new strategies, test the unknown, venture and expand into what I wanted to be a successful project in Smart Casual Trading™, will result in my failure.

Failure to grow.

Sure, profits are still being made, the account is growing. But what about Smart Casual Trading™? I reflect now that, because I have succeeded in making consistent, sustainable profits that can cover the costs of living and more, I have lost the momentum in pursuing my other passion: Coaching and education.

Momentum needs a force. A call to action. And, action itself.

I am apparently considered an “established” and “expert” trader. I don’t proclaim to be one myself, I consider myself just a regular guy who had the tenacity, to the point of desperation, to make forex trading work for myself. I had the call to action. I took the action. And I had the momentum, and here I am now, an independent retail forex trader making a full time living from trading the forex market.

What happened to the momentum to push Smart Casual Trading™?

I guess, I have to say at this point..

Stay tuned.

Thank you to those who have chosen to follow my blog. You are the calls to action for me.

 

My personal problems with Trend Trading, the supposed Holy Grail

market-trending

I think it is safe for me to say every aspiring trader starts off with trend trading strategies. It’s easy to understand, easy to interpret, and easy to execute. I personally started as a trend trader. With the typical rules starting with:

  1. How to define the trend
  2. Where to place the stop-loss
  3. Let the trade go or take profit at a high Reward: Risk ratio (such as 2-3x your risk)

Then it gets more complicated.

  1. Which timeframe?
  2. Which indicator?
  3. What settings for the indicator?
  4. What is this thing called “drawdown”?

Initially, I think most traders go through the beginner’s luck stage where their first few trend trades work out well.

Then they find they keep getting stopped out, and then give up, and go looking for other magic, holy grails.

The Turtle Traders have finally come out with their full story for a while now, in case you didn’t know. And the Turtle Traders have always been regarded as the de-facto proof that trend trading is the holy grail. The problem is not with the system. The problem lies within ourselves.

And that is why I cannot trade trends. Well, at least unless I can change who I am, and my own personality, my own biases, my own perspective of the market.

Asking me to be a trend trader is like asking an introvert to become an extrovert.

I have had success with trend trading and deep in my heart I always know it is the best, proven, method to trade profitably. So why did I give it up?

I gave up trend trading for a divergence approach for the same reason why you would switch your favourite restaurant to another which is more suitable for you. Perhaps it is nearer your workplace, or home. Perhaps you feel more comfortable there. Even though the quality of food may not be the same, you made the switch, because overall, you have found your new “favourite” and you’re comfortable and happy patronizing the new restaurant. Despite knowing it’s not as good, not as good value for money.

Similarly, I trade divergences and retracements, despite knowing for a fact trend trading reaps (theoretically) much higher rewards per risk over the long term, because I like trading divergences and retracements.

To be honest, while I have tried to compare results between my own trend trading method vs my divergence methods, I just gave up doing it because it was simply awful to test them at the same time. It is probably better if I had a partner to trade one method and I another, and then compare results. Then again, always remember, results tell nothing about the future, but only what happened in the past.

So here’s a short list why I don’t like to trade trends anymore. Please take this as an opinion piece, there will be fans and haters, but here are simply my thoughts on why I don’t like to trade trends:

  1. I don’t like to be stopped out in a whipsaw price movement (which is expected in a trend trading strategy)
  2. I don’t like to let profits run. I like to set profit targets. And trend trading requires you to set high profit targets, or let it run, which can be very infuriating. (Requires the amount of zen as the ocean in my perspective)
  3. Trends are best seen on hindsight, and this is one of my biggest problems with trend trading.  As Elder nicely put it, you can’t trade in the middle of the chart. You are only faced with the “hard right wall” which is where the price is now. And there is no way you can know if the trend will end, whipsaw, fakeout, or be your friend.

And that’s why I don’t like to trade trends. Sure, for every point above, trend traders, breakout trend traders will have their counter points. And that further reinforces my point: The choice lies within yourself.

Happy trading, may you find your edge in your own trading strategy.

 

Tribute to Chester Bennington

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the frontman of Linkin Park, whom many of us in my generation grew up with

I woke up to he news of Mr Chester having passed away due to suicide.

Linkin Park’s music, fronted by Chester with his distinctive style and expressions through his screams and yet fluid vocals, gave solace to many who can relate to the songs the band wrote.

I am one of those who found solace in their music during the worst times of my life. It may sound crazy, but it is known as a fact that when feeling low, listening to music that express your feelings can be therapeutic, instead of you expressing it yourself through self-hurt.

Suicide is not something to be taken lightly and the irrationality of it is well understood by those who are lucky, privileged, perhaps, to have never experienced going through depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses that create thought loops that lead to one conclusion, as one of their song titles aptly put: In the End  (it doesn’t even matter)

I won’t be adding contrived statements on how this is related to trading. I have already discussed about mental issues affecting trading in a previous post.

Dedicated to those who are pushed to the edge. There is always the choice to be made. TO jump, or to step back, and pick yourself up again. Fail, pick yourself up, and carry on away from the edge towards infinite possibilities that you never knew were there.

Dreams are meant for you to happen. Ending it all ends everything, including your chance at making dreams come true.

Trade Smart, Trade Casual, and seek help if you find you’re pushed to the edge.

Going steady vs dating vs hanging out vs friendzones. What’s it got to do with trading?

dating_advice_0.jpg

just get a room and get it done with

Recently I read a post about Singaporean couples dating yet not taking it seriously.

So apparently dating is supposed to lead to marriage, and if you’re not dating, you can’t get married, and if you’re dating, you need to marry. Well, that’s my interpretation.

It’s about expectations. And a good, ethical coach/trainer with integrity will place managing expectations above all else when people engage their services.

Couples can date, sure, it is like a casual relationship that’s fun, and it’s ok to leave it as that. But if the couple is not honest about expectations, that perhaps one of them is expecting marriage while the other isn’t, then there will be unmet expectations and disappointments.

Similarly, aspiring traders who engage a coach or trainer must be honest with the expectations, and the trainer as well, lest there be disappointments and a breakdown of a coaching relationship.

Both parties will have to lay down expectations and discuss what the relationship’ s goals are. Is it about earning a fast buck? Is it about revealing a trading secret? Or is it about a long term commitment to learning, self discovery, walking a path peppered with failures and getting up, a path of dedication to mindful trading and developing right mindset about trading? 

Similar to the article about dating couples not being serious about considering marriage, there are aspiring traders who want the fun from trading, earn a quick buck from playing the market, while the coach expects otherwise. Sure, an unethical coach can play along and fool around as well. And the relationship will simply be going nowhere and end up likely toxic.

Trading for a living is a job. It is not a dating game with mind games and petty quarrels. It is a commitment to make it work, just like making the leap into marriage, making vows and promises, til death to you part.

Well. Hopefully wirh the right partner i.e.coach/trainer, you won’t die.

Happy trading!