Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Life of a Trader


Below are two articles I would like to share with you. It was a real fit to my situation years back and as well as now. I am still learning even after more that five years as a semi trader. This articles will be best to refresh your mind for those who are currently with stock market or new to stock market or to become a trader or planning to start trading for a living. Hope you enjoy reading and always have fun in the stock market. :-)

Article 1

Trading for a living is something great that many new traders have as their objective (myself included once upon a time), but only a very small fraction ever accomplish. This is partly a reflection of difficulty, of course, as just being a long-term profitable trader is a challenge. It is also partly a reflection of financial needs and changing personal situations.

I do firmly believe that to have a realistic chance to successfully trade for a living over the long-term you need to be very well capitalized. You don’t want to have to make 20% per month (for example) just to cover your living expenses, never mind to grow your account over time.

Trading for a living is a lot like starting a business. It requires a high degree of knowledge and experience in the chosen field, sufficient capital to be able to produce reasonable income and some cushion against difficult times, and a bit of luck and perserverance as well. There are a lot of reasons why new businesses fail at a very high rate, just as there are a lot of reasons why new traders fail at a very high rate. And even beyond that, those that succeed don’t guarantee massive financial benefit.

In the end each trader has to make their own decision, but for the vast majority of folks the answer is likely going to be not. In my case the answer is definitely negative. For me trading and investing is about growing wealth. While I may reach a point some day where my market activities produce sufficient income to suit my needs, I do not have any plans to shift to specifically focusing on trading as my profession. - John Forman

Article 2

People typically underestimate the amount of work that is necessary to learn how to trade stocks for a living. They seem to think stock trading can be learned in a few simple lessons. After all, isn’t it only a matter of learning how to "buy low" and "sell high," or invest in "story" stocks? The attitudes expressed and the questions asked by would-be trainees seem to suggest that people are looking for an ad that reads, "Learn how to use Bollinger bands, candlestick analysis, fibonacci retracements and the MACD by glancing over our 8-page easy to read pamphlet.."

We are not talking about being an investor or trader who wishes to enhance his or her income or develop a retirement nest egg.  Neither are we talking about a person who usually makes more than he loses in the stock market.  We are talking about generating a large and fairly dependable cash flow from which the investor can withdraw money on a regular basis to meet all daily living expenses, and which is the only source of money to meet those expenses.  To achieve this in the stock market, a person must be more consistently profitable, disciplined, and sophisticated as a trader than the average trader.  Some people, "naturals," can achieve this level of expertise much more quickly than the average successful trader.  However, the vast majority of people in the market are not "naturals."

Often, they believe that with a few simple lessons and after a few months, they will achieve a consistently high level of trading profitability in the stock market. The reality is that if they are lucky, they will lose money at first. Losing teaches some of the most important lessons a trader can learn. Making winning trades early can teach a trader some of the worst lessons, lessons that will have to be unlearned later. Most people will lose money at first. It may take a few years before the beginning trader can be relatively consistent at making more than he loses. Learning how to trade consistently well takes time.  In fact, most of the best traders never stop developing their skills.

The market has many very bright traders. They are people with whom you will have to compete. These are the "sheep-shearers." There are many more people in the market who lack knowledge and discipline. They are the "sheep." You can belong to either group. It is really up to you, and whether or not you can learn to control your emotions and inner conflicts before you run out of money.

There is enough happening in the market and enough variation in trading skill, that anybody who can strictly adhere to a good discipline can make money. It takes four years to get a BA, and three more years to get a law degree. Many professions require at least 3 or 4 years of work beyond the basic college degree to even qualify for a job, let alone become proficient in the chosen profession. Trading proficiency also takes time and work to develop. Some apparently believe that making money in the market is just a matter of finding a few good stocks. "Buy low, sell high…it’s easy money!" Buying low and selling high is certainly a fine goal. The key is to find an effective way of doing it in real time (as opposed to picking out highs and lows on a chart by hindsight). Bear in mind that the stock market is the ultimate competitive marketplace. Think about it. When an individual buys a stock, he is betting that he is making a smarter move than the person or institution selling it. For every buyer, there is somebody or, in some cases, something (a computer using sophisticated algorithms or artificial intelligence), on the other side of the trade.

The most important factor in good trading is discipline. Rather than intelligence, it is emotion that gets in the way of success. We all have emotions. A trader of average intelligence who uses a strict discipline and always keeps his emotions in check will easily outperform an undisciplined genius. The greatest enemy you will have in your effort to be a good trader is yourself.

For example, it is natural for untrained investors to gravitate toward "story" stocks because the "story" tends to provide an aura of rationality and competence to a decision based on inadequate information and hope. The "story" helps such investors believe that their actions are intelligent and wise.  We all want to feel we are competent in handling our own money. The excitement and "adrenaline rush" that often accompanies this kind of investing is a great motivator that tends to keep the investor’s hopes up and his attempts at "making it big" an on-going endeavor. The problem is that the aura of excitement regarding the prospects of the company clouds judgment and destroys discipline. Clear sell signals are ignored because the individual "believes" in the company and its future.

The "surface" of the investment world looks deceptively simple. What could be simpler than buying a good stock? There are thousands of "good" companies in which one could invest. However, there is a good time and a bad time to own even the best company. A stock is not necessarily good to own because it is the stock of a good company. "When" the stock is purchased and at "what price" are critical issues. Traders have an assortment of analytical tools available that most people have never even heard about, let alone understand.

The point here is not to frighten you away from the market, but to give you a reality check. Do not simply throw your money at the market. Study the investment landscape by reading a few books first. When you think you are ready to invest real money, use a very small portion of what you have and diversify that amount by putting no more than a tenth into each position. Do this for awhile and learn your hard lessons by putting only a small amount of money at risk. Otherwise, you are likely to lose most of your money quickly. If you want a quick and easy way to make money, forget about the market. If you are willing to lose money and suffer some ego-punishment while learning how to trade, you might have what it takes to gain professional-level proficiency as a trader.

You must learn to disect your trades.  After you close a position, you must spend time studying your buy and sell points and your timing.  You must look for your mistakes and things you overlooked, and then actually apply what you learn from your mistakes.  You will learn from your experience faster if you keep a diary of your trades. This process takes time and diligence, but it can really help a person learn from his or her mistakes.  Even if you do these things, there is no guarantee that you will actually become wealthy through your trading.  Think of it as training for a new job.

These comments might be a little discouraging to some readers, but keep in mind the context of these comments.  We are talking about generating a large and fairly dependable cash flow from which the investor can withdraw money on a regular basis to meet all daily living expenses, and which is the only source of money to meet those expenses.  Our concern is that there are too many people who think that making a living off their trading would be a snap.   They take far too much risk before they really know what they are doing.  They barely get started, get pounded by the market a few times, and then quit.  Or, if they don't quit, they lose all of their money.  Of course it is possible to make a living by trading stocks, but don't expect to be one of those who do if you are just a dabbler.  It takes work and persistence.  It also requires that you respect the risks of the market and the ability of those with whom you will compete.  Before entering a trade, you must learn to always ask yourself the following question.  "What could go wrong?"  You must also prepare a plan of action in case it happens, because it often will.  When it does, you will not have time to think about it.  You will have to act quickly. - Dr. Winton Felt


11 comments:

lester tarry said...

Your comment is not discouraging any people who have a basic knowledge of stock market because of in stock market we have to take something and give something this is definition of stock market in short.

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Anonymous said...

Easier way to buy a stock is you must follow the trend. If the trend is up buy. If opposite don't.

One more thing buy company that makes profit and have good fundamental. Don't buy speculative stock. Happy trading!

Himanshu Shrivastava said...

Hi,
I am big fan of your blog.I am regularly following your blog and find great ideas. You are always right.
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Great articles. Traders tend to forget the fundamentals of equities that's why they tend to lose much of their investments.

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