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

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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!

 

 

 

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Mid year check: 32% growth since January, average 5.3% gains per month

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Step by step, let growth be exponential

The only numbers I’m interested in is percentage growth (or loss). So far since January I have made a 32% profit despite a large closure of a draw down that was dragging since last year.

Last year I made $54954 for the whole year, which looks worrying, but in terms of percentage gains, I actually grew 96% from the start of 2016. (Started 2016 with about $57012.69 in profit) That, to me, is a performance that may happen only once in a life time.

So right now, as we close towards half the year, I’ve grown the account further by 32%. If the gods of compounding are smiling on me, I may be able to increase it higher, because I took a big hit this year.

So, it is possible to trade for a living? Yes. It’s like asking, is it possible to invest for a living?  We sure hear plenty of legendary investors who just enjoy passive income and capital appreciation. But what most people don’t realize is that to trade/invest for a living, you need capital. Not everyone has that kind of capital to grow a sizable profit.

But they can focus on the percentage gains. And that’s all that matters.

This is the number that is important, more important than the monthly take. So far, this year, on average I make $6000 a month. Sure, I would give myself a $6000 salary every month, but that won’t make me rich. Because right now, the percentage growth per month is at 5.3%, which to me is average. But I’m quite happy with it, considering I trade very conservatively with only 1-2% of my capital per trade, and that big drawdown that I managed painfully through.

I don’t think I’m beating the stock market right now, I don’t know but I’m not caring about it. I only care about my own percentage growth, and I want to see the percentage growth go steadily higher, hopefully. As much as I aim to have a 10% per month growth, I’m not aggressive, I’m chill, I’m Casual. And why stop at 10%? I’m just focusing, month by month, on how to improve. There is always something to improve, and just this month of June, I’ve discovered so many mistakes.

And you can see the results for yourself. Focusing on the process, then after maybe 6 months or so, take a step back to review your overall performance, you’ll be able to see how the focus on process has reaped rewards, or,  if the process has no improvement, the numbers will tell you.

Focus on the process. Not the goal. Looking at the goal makes you miss a step. You might fall. But focus on the path, and before you know it, you’re way past the goal you set for yourself.

 

Happy trading!

The Smart Casual Trader considers the Dark Side

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There is this bias about doctors going private. And it’s a concern even for the government. The unspoken truth is, beyond the standard “for better quality of life”, “to provide better care”, is about money. Please, correct me if I’m wrong here. It is the “ladder” to climb for doctors. To gain experience and reputation in government hospitals, and then make it on their own. I’m stereotyping. I know. I know of truly sincere, noble doctors who leave the public sector to provide better care for their patients because they now practice on their own terms. And, they have a better quality of life. Sure, the charges are higher because of overheads and costs which come out from their own pockets, but there is no denying the dark side as well: The lure of money.

I’ve seen facebook posts of doctors opening their own clinic, and their friends commenting “huat ah!”

I guess, that’s the reality.

And so it is with what I’m doing with Smart Casual Trading. I’m starting small, trading on my own, and providing services on the side at nominal rates, and more. I’m focusing on my brand, and in time, hopefully, my brand resonates with the average Singaporean who have paid and got burnt by conmen who make more money coaching than doing what they actually coach, and in time, I hope I am able to build a community of followers and believers in what I do.

Then what?

There is the dark side. The dark side is to go “private”. Because I’m been noticing my posts showing my profits and trading performance get the most hits, instead of those “smushy” stuff about empowering yourself to  learn a new skill and to step out of the comfort zone.  People still just want the “Secret Formula”. The “Holy Grail”.

The dark side beckons to me, to leverage on my performance, and on my brand, and go the path of mass marketing, mass coaching, mass lecturing, and of course, mass income that exceeds my trading income.

It is the common sense to do, isn’t it?

I respect the doctors who choose to remain in the public sector, choosing to teach, achieving AP positions, going into research, while their colleagues enter fields that are money cows. I have nothing against either. I just notice this. And I respect both doctors for their own reasons.

What about the Smart Casual Trader?

Only time will tell.

#smartcasualtrading

Contact me if you’re interested to learn more.

 

Be your own Boss with The Smart Casual Trading Method.

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I came across this post about young Singaporeans succeeding in pursuing their interests, often at the cost of giving up a great future such as a lawyer. Here’s the post:

https://vulcanpost.com/611813/young-singaporean-bosses-ventured-out-of-comfort-zones/

As a Smart Casual Trader, I have emphasized many times that we live in a society that frowns on failure, despite evidence that failures are part of the path to success. It is mandatory to fail to succeed. Well, of course, depends on what success really means to you.

Failing your exams on purpose doesn’t make you a success because it’s just you being lazy and not giving a care about exams. But go ahead and fail your exams, or quit school, if you have a strong motivation, plan, and the fire to pursue your dreams, and be prepared to fail, again and again.

But in the list of successful stories, something’s missing. How about those who didn’t make it? Is it a case of survivorship bias?

Nonetheless, if you read the article, the common theme is the same: embrace failure. Build resilience. Learn from mistakes. Pick yourself up after every fall.

While the article doesn’t cover those who didn’t succeed in the end, I believe those who are not featured, but went through the same trials, have what it takes to succeed, in whatever they choose.

My story is not exactly the same. I don’t have a passion for forex. I simply got sick of being in a dead end job holding up the ladder for others to cilmb upwards with no promise that I can climb the ladder myself anytime soon.

But the process towards success is still the same. I gave up a comfy, well paying job, to pursue a venture where 90% of people fail. Because there really wasn’t anything else I could do. Or, was interested in doing.

Perhaps I’m just a case study of survivorship bias.

Well, I do consider myself my own boss anyway. I have my own method of trading. I make my own decisions, and I think most importantly, I make my own money. I don’t earn a fixed salary, but there is great pride in knowing the money I make, is through my own work, at my own time, instead of being bench marked and set by another department. There’s power in being your own boss. Even if the pay may be less, you know you worked for it, and you earned it.

As mentioned in the article, there is still bias against “pursuing your dreams”. Even a certain minister was against the idea of stepping out of your comfort zone, and instead encouraged graduates to find jobs and learn to love their jobs and stop complaining. To love the woman you marry, instead of marrying the woman you love.

These youngsters prove that it is possible. I have shown it is possible. And the common theme is a simple one:

Embrace failure as steps towards success. Build resilience. Learn from mistakes.

To those stuck in a moment you can’t get out off, be encouraged, be empowered, stop making excuses, make the first step, and stop blaming external factors. Make the choice. We only have one life, and sometimes, only one opportunity.

Is there a case for the Stay At Home Dad (SAHD)? *Father’s Day Special Report*

 

*Warning. Potential offensive material. It’s a tongue in cheek article. No haters please*

Ok. I’ll be honest here. No body really cares about father’s day. It’s an after thought. Compared to the “Special Mother’s Day Exclusive Menu” or “Get an Anova to make this Mother’s Day Extra Special” stuff that are aimed to drain your wallets putting you on a guilt trip, they attempt to throw you into another guilt trip called “Father’s Day” and let’s just admit it: You didn’t spend as much money on that family meal. RIGHT?

Well maybe there’s a reason for that. Traditionally fathers have been the one with one job. Or maybe two. First, to work. Second, to call the plumber when the toilet’s stuck. Or to fix the lightbulb.

Father’s don’t carry a fetus around for 9 months, and they make these fake bullet proof vests to let new fathers to be try on to let them “experience” what it’s like to be a mother. *Guilt trip*

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There’s only one reason the inventor of this contraption did it: To put dads on a guilt trip.

Father’s don’t breast feed. They don’t pat their infants to sleep. (Coz mummy wants to) Fathers drive. Fathers bring in the dough while mommy enjoys special attention during confinement and paid maternal leave (sorry non Singaporeans, we get that here).

Yes, they are trying to level the playing field by extending paternal leave to encourage the father’s role in parenting but it’s well. Again, a little like lip service. (But credit to the government for rolling in out anyway). I mean, the idea of a “parenting” father can actually make the news when SAHMs get nothing, really…


Anyone wants to be a SAHD? Hmm? Anyone?

Well I had the privilege of being a SAHD with my wife a SAHM during my sabbatical for 6 months from lecturing part time. Alright we were both just unemployed. So unemployed I qualified for Workfare.

I quite liked it! I mean, in the mornings I’d bring the kid out for daddy babysitting time when everyone’s at work and we’d have ice cream and bonding time.. it was fun.

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I think he’s surrendering and asking for help from too much daddy time

I’d also do laundry, cook, try out recipes, work on my trading for a living (so okay..I’m not a TRUE SAHD then, since I was actually still “working” by trading forex) but the Smart Casual Trader can afford lots of time to do other stuff like changing lightbulbs and repairing leaking air-conditioners and reading lifehacks to get rid of stubborn stains using sodium bicarbonate.

But again, similar to the case for the SAHM, being a SAHD probably isn’t the best idea as there are no benefits for you. As in, you know, those bribes of cash to make babies types of benefits…

After 6 months I returned to part time work, and still could trade, and life was..well, back to normal. More or less. Just that on those days I had to work, I didn’t have the energy to play piggy back with my boy, and on the days I didn’t have work, sure we could do fun stuff, but I still had to clear grading for my classes.

So is there a case to go full time living off trading and be a SAHD? Well, it is possible. With the Smart Casual Trading Method I think I’ve proved it’s possible, although you may argue 6 months is a pretty short time to make that kind of conclusion. But I think the Smart thing to do, if you are in a situation where you need side income and hate your job or are being lowly paid or in whatever situation that requires more extra income, I don’t see why not trading forex for a little boost, or even a substantial boost, would be a bad thing, whether by your own volition to be a part-time worker to spend more time with family, or if life happened and you need the extra income. Take it as learning a skill that may come in handy some day.

(And I happened to find out if you take my course-in-the-making on Udemy, you can claim from Skillsfuture! Hooray! And stay tuned!)

Here’s to all dads. Happy belated Father’s day, because….well. You lose to Mother’s Day. Just admit it.

Dammit.

 

What’s wrong with trading forex casually? You missed out the “Smart Casual” part.

So I was just browsing the internet and if you google “smart casual trading” I’m very happy to see I get the first few top hits! Well. This could also mean nobody know wtf it is and I’m the only one in the whole Google universe who “owns” this silly idea of smart casual trading. But looking further down you do see some articles from other sources talking about trading for a side income.

Then this article came up highlighting the word “casual” since I searched for the word

and I quote:

Be a part-time day trader, but don’t be a casual one. Trade on a desktop or laptop during an allotted time each day, not on your smartphone in a bathroom stall at work.

If you’re casual and unstructured about your trading those who are serious, and refine their technique every day, will take your money.

Part-time trading is still serious business. Do it right, treat it like a (part-time) job or business, or don’t do it at all.

I totally agree on this guy’s definition on being casual. For him, being casual is more about being careless, or “heck care” about it, but my approach is not that, but to be “Smart Casual” . I’m trying to convey the approach that you don’t need to be in tight suits to trade well, as an analogy that you can trade a high risk market in a smart casual approach, much like going to work on Smart Casual Fridays. You still work. You still need to be serious about it, but you don’t have to be scared or uncomfortable while working. You feel more confident, more relaxed, and that, to me, is what “casual” means. And having this approach, to me, has been the core of my own personal success.


So coming back to the important question: Trade forex part time, or full time? Well the article I quoted above put up a very good case for trading “on the side”. And that is exactly what I also recommend. Unfortunately, not everyone has the fortune to love their job, or even have a job, or are still studying.  Or have a salary that’s sufficient to sustain their needs.

And sometimes, having a full time job just squeezes you so dry, you have no time to learn about anything else, unless you put in the effort, and determination, or depend on whatever is your motivation, to learn how to trade the Smart Casual Method or whatever trading style that fits you your personality. I think Minions would make terrible traders though. 😀

To tell you the truth it was very hard for me to learn on my own holding a full time job as I developed the Smart Casual Trading method, but I had the determination because I was simply plateauing in my job and losing interest in it, with no motivation to do better at it. I sneaked in time to learn on my own, tested the strategies, traded for real, and finally made the leap of faith to convert part time, to focus on trading full time, even when I hadn’t proved over a longer period of time that I was able to make enough money trading to match my salary. Crazy right?

So now, I’m earning a full income from trading forex using  the Smart Casual Method, while lecturing on the side. Yes, it is not as stable as a full time salary. Some months I beat my old salary by thousands. Sometimes less. But that’s not the point! The dollar earned: work done/time spent ratio is very high! And the improvement in the quality of life is immeasurable!

I cannot emphasize this enough: If you are in the dead-end end with your life squeezed out by the end of the day until you’re so tired, yet have to cook, do the dishes, entertain the kids, sure, you’re secure for quite a good period of time. But the life that is sucked out of you, don’t you want something more than just security and money and CPF? How about empowering yourself instead of helping your boss climb his ladder as you watch his backside before it’s your turn to take his place? If it will ever happen?

It’s a leap of faith. And for me, it was like standing on the edge like this monkey that forced me forward. I could either be sniped down or slip off, but when you’re on this kind of edge, your senses are sharpened, and you have no choice but keep moving, to keep focusing on the process, to take each step carefully, until you reach your goals and dreams.

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Credit to Mr Dil Preet, for commenting that the monkey reminded him of me. In terms of taking on the big boys and daring to do what most people wouldn’t . Thanks dude!

I’m still that monkey. And I’m enjoying the scenery from up there.

Trade Smart, And Trade Casual.

Visit my Facebook Page, “like”, and “share” if you like what you see there! (Especially the Minion video..hehehe)

Happy Trading!

What does trading success mean to you?

 

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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.

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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.