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


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!





Smart Casual Trading™ approach to Technical Analysis (TA): Divergence


Image credit: Babypips.com

There are probably as many strategies to trade forex as there are the stars you can count in the sky. Simply because there is none that works, alone, without having the right perspectives, expectations, and risk, emotional, money management finesse, which can only come from practice, failures, and self reflection. To find out more about my thoughts about Indicators and Trading Strategies, check out my Udemy course, and use this coupon to get a great discount as a celebration of the first Udemy course I’ve launched to help aspiring traders learnt the Smart Casual Trading Method™.

In this brief post, I want to share my favourite “strategy”. It isn’t exactly an indicator. There are many divergence indicators, the most popular being the MACD. Rather, “divergence” is an occurrence when price action is divergent, as the name implies, from an oscillator. And yes, there are many oscillators around as well. But the MACD is probaby the “de facto” indicator that aims to identify divergence specifically.

The picture above shows a great illustration of a divergence signal. When prices are appearing to be in a downtrend, for example, lower prices between two candles, but when compared with an oscillator showing an opposite picture coinciding with the two candles: higher highs instead of being in line with the trend. That’s divergence between price action and an oscillator.

I like to use divergence because in my opinion, and preference, it is a clear signal. That does not mean the price WILL reverse or retrace, but it is a CLEAR signal. One that you can recognize at a simple glance. And the degree of divergence is also very clear, and it makes decision making rather easy.

The oscillator illustrated above is the Stochastics. And honestly, I don’t even know how it is calculated. I don’t know what is the best setting. And I don’t search for the perfect settings. But I use MACD and Stochastics with my own personal settings that I am comfortable with, but always bearing in mind, that indicators don’t predict anything, simply because indicators are based on past prices, and at most, at present price action, but never indicate future prices, because in order to calculate the indicator, you need a price. And the future price is not known. That’s the reality and the fact that many traders don’t quite seem to understand. And hence, they keep searching for the poorly named “indicator”, which indicates nothing except what has happened in the past.

But there are problems with using divergences, as with any strategy. Very simple questions need to be asked:

  1. When do I place an entry?
  2. When do I exit a trade?
  3. Where do I place a stop loss?
  4. Is the divergence a strong one?
  5. Is the trend a strong trend?

Yes, there are many questions to be asked, but with the Smart Casual Trading Method™, the focus is to simply trading as much as possible.

To learn more, check out the link about what I describe to be Smart casual trading, and feel free to contact me.

Happy trading!

How to trade the news: understand what is news.

Sumiko Tan is an executive editor of Singapore’s mainstream newspaper the Straits Times. Picture credit: Straits Times July 8th

What is news? These days since Trump has been elected POTUS, there’s been lots of scrutiny on news. “Alternative facts” is endorsed by the White House. “Fake news” is a growing concern even Facebook and Google are thinking of ways of how to sieve out fake news because of the potential damage it causes in light of the explosion of social media.

Thene there’s nonsense news. Like the above. Which is basically a subtle advert to buy a book.

Trading websites like DailyFX, Bloomberg, are becoming more tabloidish than reliable news. And this is no surprise. Because news is a great business. Great business moguls like Rupert Murdoch make billions on selling sensational news.

Selling news is lucrative. Particularly for trading news. If you read through Bloomberg and DailyFX carefully, each article is skilfully engineered to hang a carrot to encourage speculation, feed greed and fear, and the most important point is thid:  news don’t make you money. The market does. A more controversial statement would be that “the market makes the news”. But perhaps we can talk about that over wine for a light hearted debate.

News is important. It gives traders informatiom. But we need to be aware of the many hands news has passed through, editors like Sumiko Tan, who considers it top news that she has a book of her life journey. Add on ingredients to excite and entice, And you’ve got the news you get.
Nobody bothers to read through the boring articles on economic news, or the facts. They want the analysts’ take on it. Shortcuts.  They want trade calls, recommendations. But they forget the fine print. And the fact these writers are paid to write articles. And exciting, ambiguous articles attract attention and stir emotions. And then come the subscriptions for “privileged access”.

By the way. DailyFx was and still is  associated with FXCM. Which was recently involved in a major scandal. It was sold to IG after the major disaster.
So why trade news?

Your choice. But be aware. The news doesn’t really have your interests at heart. Well? At least not anymore. News have more interest in what’s in your pockets.

Disclaimer. I’m not associated with any news maker or brokerages. I don’t want to be anyway. 

There’s a Smart Casual Trader™ in all of us: Lessons from Monsters University

I love Pixar movies. Partly because not many people know that Steve Jobs had a large role to play in changing the animated movies industry not just by helping fund the small company, but through his legendary “reality distortion field”, managed to put Pixar on the map through tough negotiations with Walt Disney. Many of Walt Disney’s animated movie successes would not be possible without Pixar.

I digress.

Pixar movies move both kids and adults. And the script, storyline and characters, are mostly the brainchild of one man: John Lasseter.

I digress again.

Monsters University has a deep meaningful story. A story of Mike, the least scariest monster, gunning his way to pursue his dream to work in Monsters Inc. as a scarer. Despite the odds against him, he uses his strengths, his determination, and resilience, to build a team to top the university’s scaring program.

On the other side, we have Sully, the “sure-win”, overconfident, privileged monster who believed he didn’t need to try hard at all to be the best.

To cut the story short, things didn’t go well for both of them, but they had to team up in order to stay in the program, and group up with other non-scaring monsters in order to win a scaring competition to stay in the program.

To inspire the motley group that they have what it takes to be scarers, Mike brought them secretly into Monsters Inc to see real scarers at work. And the lesson then, was to realize that each monster had their own unique characteristics, using their strengths to their advantage to scare: Each monster had their own edge, there was no one “type” of monster like Sully, who was big, strong, and had a unbeatable roar. In other words, to succeed in scaring, it had little to do with who you are, what you look like, but rather, how you used your special talents, your edge, to be successful. Some of the scarers looked silly, even, but they still worked as top scarers, by leveraging on their edge.

The tagline for Monsters University is : “There’s a monster in all of us.”

And that is so true, for trading, or whatever you want to pursue. Don’t be intimidated by the men and women with the credentials in black suits, equipped with the top equipment, working in the top banks or funds. There is no one archetype of a successful trader. And I believe I’m a living example of such.

Find your edge. And the edge comes from being Smart, Casual.

Forget putting on your black suit and tie and put on your most comfortable T-shirt and shorts.

This is the Smart Casual Trading™ philosophy to be a successful trader, no matter what strategy you use.

Happy trading!


Trade like the Pros? Are you sure you want to do that? A lesson from Din Tai Fung vs Ju Hao


So yesterday me and my family tried out a new eatery called Ju Hao, which is a subbrand from MOF which has mostly japanese themed restaurants. From the first look you know, it’s trying to copy world famous, bar-none, Din Tai Fung. The menus have almost the exact dishes, the dishes look exactly the same, the variety is only an inch different.

But the price is much more competitive. 6 dumplings for $6. Nuff said. The only bummer was that they don’t give free water.

Now I was thinking, what on earth was MOF thinking. They are known more for their japanese fare,  except for LENAS, and are, I think fairly successful. Why on earth, do you want to challenge the pros? It sounds like business suicide.

But week after week, I find that there are Qs to eat at Ju Hao. People like that place! Could it be that they just want to “compare” and see? Or do they really like to eat there? Don’t they feel eating at a copy cat (some may even feel it’s bad business etiquette to be so blatant about it) is surely going to disappoint?

I must admit the food is not close to compete with Din Tai Fung, the big boys, but hey, they have this underdog vibe, that seem to say “hey, we know what we’re doing, we’re not trying to be like them. We are trying to be like ourselves.”

And I think that’s a great business approach. Leverage on the edge, which in this case is to use wise business tactics to copy without overspending, but giving sufficient satisfaction at a price that is value for money.

A poor man’s Din Tai Fung, perhaps, designed to cater to the everyday person, instead of the big boy’s clearly “atas” look and feel. Ju Hao has a homely vibe.

So it’s same same but different. But when I come to think about it, it’s exactly like Smart Casual Trading.

It’s daring, no doubt, to bet on this venture, but it’s smartly engineered, from the food, layout, staffing, and interior design, to be more welcoming than premium Din Tai Fung. I’m sure Din Tai Fung still remains much more popular and profitable, but Ju Hao has an edge in being more Casual, which has always been the underlying theme for MOF food branches. Casual, value for money, and reasonable food.

It may not be as successfull as Din Tai Fung but clearly it’s not trying to beat it nor copy it: It’s actually being smart about it, to sort of, leverage on Din Tai Fung’s popularity, to cleverly design it’s own version, that is same same, but different.

I respect MOF for doing it. Din Tai Fung won’t be happy, for sure, specially if more stores of Ju Hao pop up in the heartlands to cater to the average people as the brand is not positioned to be premier.

So the same with trading. Many people believe if you want to succeed like the big boys, you have to train yourself to be like them. What do you think are your chances, as an average person whose training has nothing to do with economics, trading, markets, of beating them at their own game? No. Play to your advantage. Play your own game.

Every game has its ways of winning. Some strategy, some way of optimizing your advantages. Focus on your own game. That will be your edge. If you feel that being the first to know about news is critical, think about how the pros are also thinking the same thing, and the edge they have against you. If you think that being the first to know the results is critical, think about the trained analysts grouped up looking at the same screen, with their plans all  penned out and calculated in their head. Do you have such an edge against them?

Being an underdog trader is absolutely the smart thing to do. You just need to find your edge against the pros, just like how Ju Hao seems to have nailed it.

Contact me if you wish to learn more about how I trade Smart, Casual, and like an underdog.



What does trading success mean to you?



Credit to @Sarcasm on Facebook

When I shared this to my personal Facebook timeline, a friend of mine asked an excellent question, that led to a great discussion about how we all need to see success in a different light.


Success is most easily, but lazily, measured in some form of KPI: Grades, salary, rank, job position. So when my friend asked the first question, it was a very good observation that indeed we have inherent biases that success has only one face.

The lady stepping out of the expensive looking car is clearly being represented to be the successful person. But how about the other characters in, and out, of the picture?

In trading, I learnt that in fund managment terms, the KPI for success is apparently known as the “alpha“. If you’re a fund manager, with a high alpha, you’d be considered to be more successful than other fund managers, simply put. Similar to being graded and streamed into different classes of different competencies, those with higher grades are deemed to be more successful.

Yet we know that the relationship between these traditional KPIs and success is not that clear in the end.

A SAHM trading a tiny capital of $100 returning 1% a month, consistently, is, to me, more successful than a top grade fund manager taking 20% service charges managing a $1 billion fund which is unable to match the market benchmark.

We all have been accustomed to typical images of success. But these days, we are seeing things change. Hopefully, this mindset that success is not simply exceeding a pre-existing set of KPIs, but a personal, meaningful outcome from hard work, resilience, or taking the leap of faith to grab an opportunity to pursue dreams, can spread further, making society more inclusive rather than exclusive.

Trading Smart, is not about knowledge, but wisdom that you cannot beat top fund managers who have many more years of experience and knowledge. But if you trade Casual, you leverage on your edge against them: You set your own benchmark of success, and are not tied to traditional KPIs like they are. This is the Smart Casual Trading philosophy.

One of my favourite Ted talks about success taught me that success is not about hitting the goal. But rather, it’s the process, the journey, that matters. And everyone has their own journey, their own path towards their personal success.