I get a lot of emails and PM's from people seeking advice. Usually they've been losing money and don't really know what to do next. But I received a particular letter recently that made me want to write this post.
What are some of the characteristics of people who are losing money:
- No plan
- No way to measure themselves (they just focus on net profit)
- No consistent method, jumping from one trading room or indicator to the other
- Unrealistic expectations
- Unwilling to do the work required
- Not in a position in their life to make trading a priority
There are many more.
For every good trader out there, there are 100 more who think they can just copy someone else's method and start making money or join some trading room or download some expensive set of indicators, and be profitable.
Most of these guys have completely unrealistic expectations. They expect to take $10,000 and turn it into $100,000 at the end of the year, for example, even though they have no track record of performance or gains.
These people have no plan. They constantly blame their computer, their trading platform, their broker, their wife, their kids for missing trades
or mistakes during a trade. They have no idea what to focus on or where to start.
And worse, most of them are unwilling to do the work. Yes, there are people for which that does not apply who are truly trying their best. But they are few and far between. Most people that are struggling aren't even willing to maintain a journal. Most people aren't willing to set realistic expectations. Most people aren't willing to accept responsibility for their actions.
On top of that, most of these guys aren't in a position in their life to even give trading a chance. Examples would be that they just lost their job. That is the worse time to start trading. Other examples would be that they have a job but no real savings, no money to burn in trading education expenses (and I don't mean from a trading room or buying a product). Worse still, many of these guys have no support from their wife or girlfriend because as you can imagine, they are losing money and also spending a lot of "free time" with trading instead of with their loved ones or kids. This is an impossible situation to put yourself in and expect good results.
So the point of this thread is not to talk about really any of that but instead to talk about when it is time to give up, or simply to move on.
In fact, a lot of times my advice to these guys is to move on. Stop trading. Let's be real, if you are undercapitalized, unwilling to do the real work, and have no support from your family -- you aren't in a position to be a good trader.
But I also have to be honest, some times when I tell someone to stop trading, what I am really wanting them to do is come back and tell me NO, they will not stop, they are going to make it work. I mean if you really want this, then fight for it. But as I've said countless times before -- willpower alone is not enough to make you profitable
We know that most people "give up" once they blow all or a significant portion of their initial deposit at a broker. This usually happens in less than 90 days according to brokers I've talked to. Most of these people aren't a part of any trading forum, and those that are, most of them are not participating, do not have a journal, have not taken time to ask questions or formulate a plan, etc. Again let's be honest: if anyone had taken the time to formulate a plan and prepare, they would not have allowed themselves to blow an account in 90 days.
For the rest, the ones that are members of futures.io (formerly BMT), I find that the overwhelming (close to 100%) of people that are struggling are the ones that have zero posts. I've come to look at this as an important metric. The ones that are uninvolved in the forum, for whatever reason, are going to be at a big disadvantage in my opinion. They lack a support network but also lack the benefit of accountability which is so critically important.
I've also found that these struggling traders are ones that haven't participated in any webinars. So that means they are unwilling to put in the time. They spend all their time, instead, on downloading indicators or searching for a new trading room to call trades.
OK so let me end by putting this out there... when is it the appropriate time to give up? Let's be honest, not everyone is cut out for trading. In fact, if we are honest, very few are. So it's cruel to string some of these guys along, it would be better for them to help them identify early on they don't have what it takes and they should move on.