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Account blown up
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Account blown up

  #1 (permalink)
Site Administrator
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Account blown up

Guys, I wanted to start a serious discussion about a real and common problem -- traders blowing up accounts.

"Blowing up" means you took the account down to basically zero, where you couldn't place a trade any longer, or something similarly devastating.

As I posted on my first post ever on futures.io (formerly BMT) nearly 6 years ago, I have blown up a couple accounts in my day. None for many years thankfully, but it has happened. I view it as part of the learning experience, and naturally in hindsight it would be very easy to see why I blew up, and that I deserved it.

You can't expect to make poor trades and be consistently profitable.

I am starting a poll as I don't think I've ever asked the question on futures.io (formerly BMT) before. Everyone can vote anonymously on the poll, but if you wish to share your story about blowing your account and what you learned from it, please do so in this thread.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

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  #2 (permalink)
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  #3 (permalink)
Site Administrator
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Have you ever blown up your account?

Total votes: 1540
 


Please vote (it is anonymous). Everyone can vote anonymously on the poll, but if you wish to share your story about blowing your account and what you learned from it, please do so in this thread.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

If you want
to support our community, become an Elite Member.

Reply With Quote
 
  #4 (permalink)
Site Administrator
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Posts: 46,240 since Jun 2009
Thanks: 29,354 given, 83,237 received

I can still clearly recall several times in my trading career where I thought I had "solved it", and literally unlocked the magical gateway (holy grail) to money making.

It was during these times that I would do the most damage to my account, because of over confidence. At least without this over confidence I would trade a more reasonable size.

What I learned during these painful events was that I was wrong. I took responsibility. That is the first step. There is a really fantastic "Trader Intervention" that @FuturesTrader71 did a few years ago (I hope someone can post the link) where a guy basically doesn't own up to the failure being his responsibility, and instead says he is going to borrow money from family members because he knows he "solved it".

So the first step is to not make that mistake. Taking responsibility is key. Accepting that you (temporarily) failed, and that you don't know everything. From there, you can start building a solid foundation. You should be asking questions like what happened and why. This isn't so much about analyzing specific trades, but instead analyzing your overall behavior.

For example, did you bring a new methodology online without fully testing it? This is a difficult lesson to learn, particularly because most people simply don't know how to properly test. So then you would have to acknowledge you didn't test properly (if at all), and go about learning how to do that.

Another very difficult lesson was that you can be "right" about a trade, but still lose money. The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent. This lesson involves learning about risk and proper risk management, so that when you are in a bad trade it doesn't do overwhelming damage to your account.

A key lesson is that you must live to fight another day. The single most important factor in trading is survival. The longer your survive, the more experience you gain, and eventually given enough time that experience will become valuable by providing you an edge over all of those with less of it.

Naturally, learning the right material is very difficult. Especially in a world of trading where rookies are constantly bombarded by vendors trying to sell their wares, with a great deal of them being dishonest, and even the "good ones" being usually flat wrong about anything they teach or sell. Eliminating the crooks gets to be easy with experience, but eliminating the "good" vendors that actually have good intentions is harder. To do that, you must have sufficient experience to know that no matter their good intentions, they simply are wrong.

I've personally always found the best learning tool to be my own process of learning for myself. Not being taught, in other words, but taking it upon myself to learn on my own. I prefer this approach in life, not just in trading. I know that some people say that a mentor is required to be successful, but I would argue that by simply taking the responsibility own yourself and not searching for a mentor, what you can do is empower yourself to learn from those worth learning from, while discarding the others.

Last, you really must maintain a written history. It is very difficult to know where you are or are going, if you have no record of where you have been. I strongly believe one of the best things a trader can do is start keeping a journal. A public journal on futures.io (formerly BMT) is that much better, because of the public accountability. Even if no one replies to your journal thread, it is still enough added incentive for you to perform better knowing that someone can be and probably is reading.

The lesson of the journal is not about recording your trades and screenshots, it's about learning your behavior. You must routinely go back and analyze what you've written, identify mistakes and patterns. Learning about your strengths and weaknesses in an objective way is crucial, so that you can then further develop in those areas. It is critical to be honest in your journal. It is important to talk about why you made a trade or decision, not just list the entry and exit price.

My own history on futures.io (formerly BMT) is something that has lead me to where I am today. I am more profitable today than I have ever been in my entire trading career. Last month I cleared over 60k, and I am on track to beat it this month. This has been steadily increasing for years, and I owe a large part of that success to futures.io (formerly BMT) because I've been able to see all the mistakes that people make and learn from them. They are routinely presented right in front of me, on a silver platter as it were. That information is here. You can find it too. Once these common mistakes are identified, you can start to set yourself up to avoid them.

I hope this has been useful information...

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

If you want
to support our community, become an Elite Member.

Reply With Quote
 
  #5 (permalink)
Site Administrator
Manta, Ecuador
 
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Platform: My own custom solution
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Posts: 46,240 since Jun 2009
Thanks: 29,354 given, 83,237 received

I should also mention -- for all of those on sim -- the real learning does not begin until you trade cash. If you are spending time on sim developing a method, it's almost entirely worthless in my opinion.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

If you want
to support our community, become an Elite Member.

Reply With Quote
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  #6 (permalink)
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The Ultimate Guide To Self-Sabotage (Thanks, James Altucher!)

Blowing accounts is self sabotage. Plain and simple. This article is a great read:



I've given up right before the finish line. It's not as bad as people say really.

It even has a nice ring to it. French. "I'm a self-saboteur". Maybe I'm a spy.

Like, right when you are about to make a lot of money, or finish a book, or get a job, or whatever, you can't take it anymore and you just give up.

It's too much. Take drugs or have a lot of sex instead. Enjoy. Who am I to judge?

For one thing, once you give up you take off all the pressure of being a "winner". Who cares anyway?

I once wrote the software for a company that I was going to split 50-50 with a guy. This was 20 years ago. I wrote the software. Well, I wrote almost all the software. I gave up. Too much work. I wanted to play with girls.

Now it's a thriving business. It's a fun consumer-oriented website. I'm a free member for life. He's made millions. Ok, that happens. I am happy for him.

When it comes to self-sabotage I'm an expert. If anyone needs advice on how to self-sabotage themselves I am here for you. I can even open up a clinic maybe. I'll wear my labcoat.

People will come in and say: I'm about to sell my company, or my book looks like it's going to be a bestseller.

I'll say, Whoah! Hold on there cowboy. Let's take a step back. And then let's take TWO steps back. Just sit back down hombre. Space is for astronauts, you know what I mean?

There are so many great things about self-sabotage, depending on who you are. More cheap and fun relationships? Or maybe just lying in bed and reading more books. I don't know. You and I, we'll figure it out together.

Here's the most common kinds of self-sabotage I've either seen or I've done myself. You are welcome to all of them.

I've even been addicted to self-sabotage. And I've had the best enablers. I'll admit I hope I'm over it now. But once an addict, always an addict. I see them everywhere, every day.

Not a day goes by I don't see it among even my closest friends.

A) CONTROL

Let's say you have a great idea. An idea that will change the world. It's brilliant. You can make a billion. Maybe ten billion.

But not everyone is good at everything. I'm not good at filling out my taxes, for instance. Thank you Richard M. Gabor for helping me with that. I'm not good at driving. Thank you Miss Claudia Azula Altucher for helping me with that.

I'm not the best businessman. But I have many many mentors who help me with that. Thank you.

Always say Thank You is what my mamma taught me.

When you have one piece of a puzzle but someone has another piece of the puzzle, then you have to let them help you.

But they want 95%!?

I called Chet the day after the Netscape IPO in 1995. I said to him, can you believe this BS?

He said, what are you talking about?

Marc Andreesen, who wrote the software, only ended up with like 5% of the company. Jim Clark and James Barksdale got a lot of the rest.

J-j-j-James, hold up there, Chet said. Without those guys this software would never have left the lab. And now he's rich anyway.

Great ideas happen to individuals. But great executions happen in groups.

Another BRILLIANT example is with PayPal.

Peter Thiel (Paypal.com) and Elon Musk (X.com) were going head to head and destroying each other through competition. How did they solve the problem? They merged.

When PayPal finally sold to Ebay for $1.5 billion, Peter Thiel, the FOUNDER of PayPal had just 3% of that. Did he care? Of course not. He took 1% of what he made and invested it in a tiny website called Facebook.

B) LEAKS

I was once at a poker table in Las Vegas during my "year of poker". I played poker for 365 days straight, every day, every night, including the night my first daughter was born. I'm not proud of it but if I worried about every way someone could judge me from 16 years ago I'd be a scared man all the time.

One guy at the table, maybe the best player there, said to me, "I have one leak. Women." In other words, he makes his money, and then he spends it all on prostitutes instead of saving up his bankroll and really making a play for the big leagues of poker.

Be honest. What are your leaks?. Maybe you fall for too many people. This is an addiction also. I am too trusting. I often have to rely on others to help me figure out who to trust.

Maybe you drink too much. Or read junk news too much. Maybe you think the finish line was earlier than it really was.

This happens to me a lot. I think, "Ok! I'm married. I don't have to focus on this relationship any more!"

Often it's in those final 10 yards in a 26 mile marathon that the race for gold really begins. But most people don't know that. I learn that over and over because I'm an addict. Every day I have to remind myself.

C) BLAME SOMEONE ELSE (EXCUSES)

This is the worst. It's nice and easy when something goes wrong to blame someone else.
Why would one blame others? It's nice when things are not your fault. That's one reason.

Another reason is jealousy. If the rich are oppressing the poor, then they are easy targets to blame and could explain why one is not rich. "I would never want to do what they have to do!" "MMmph!" (Stamps foot down!)

Or maybe everything would've worked out but you made a poor decision when you hired that guy. That ONE guy that screwed it all up! "He seemed like a good choice. How could I know??"

There's a two-step solution to blame:

a. It's your fault. It's always your fault.

b. Have a Plan B on every decision.

If you follow "a" you'll never waste time being angry with someone else. They have their own issues. Now they need you to be angry at them?

If you follow "b" then whatever bad happens, you have a backup plan. It's not always easy to have a backup plan. That's why very few people win the gold medal.

D) BLAME DOOM & GLOOM

"It was the housing bust!" That cost me my house. Then my family. Then my job. Then I couldn't get a new job. Then I got depressed. Then I had to take medication. Then and then and then! BLAH!

Every day there's bad news. I've worked for enough newspapers to know that the news is bad for a reason. It's not like there's only bad news happening. But they only REPORT bad news.

Picture you're in the jungle. To your left is a donut tree (I love donut trees) and to your right is a lion. Which one makes your brain light up more and pay attention.

The newspaper industry knows that you will pick up a paper that has a lion on it that is about to eat you. If you're American then you certainly aren't hungry so the donut tree can wait.

"It's Obamacare!" "It's the government bailouts!" "It's Greece!"

I like the last one. Everytime Greece is in the news every stock investor I know loses money because "It's Greece!" and then you turn on TV and people even uglier than me are talking about Greece like it's a Hiroshima on the economy.

Then they forget about it for awhile ("it's Ebola!") and then it's back in the news again.

Solution: Macroeconomics is largely a myth. It's just an extra thing to study in college so they can justify charging you $40,000 a semester.

Even politics is a myth, particularly in the West. How much has a President really moved the needle on your life.

If you're in the army (i.e. you work for the President) then they might move the needle. But largely the President, the Congress, some judges, etc maybe move the needle 5-10% on your life only once in awhile.

So ignore it all. People say, "but don't you need to be informed?"

About what? I can't really think of anything I've ever been informed about that has significantly changed my life. I like to focus on the things I love, not the things I'm informed about that disappear tomorrow.

E) ENTITLEMENT

I am happy to say I have never fallen for this. Only because I've seen others fall for it a lot. So when I see it happening in me, I shut up.

"I'm better than this! I deserve to make $X".

And that ruins everything. All visions, all bigger pictures. It ruins it for everyone who backed you and supported you in the past. It ruins it for your boss, who now has to fire you.

Entitlement is the same as the word "ceiling". Once you feel entitled to X, then X is your ceiling.

Nobody is entitled to anything.

A great example is Louis CK. The man is the greatest comedian alive (you have to admit top 10 even if you disagree with me). He was offered to be the head writer for Conan in the early 90s at $500,000 a year but he turned it down.

How come? He wanted to be a comedian. He went on the road. He shot a movie. He kept pitching his own shows. He kept improving his skills. Not over a period of months but over a decades. In the mid 00s he even had a show on HBO, "Lucky Louie" (also starring a recent podcast guest, Jim Norton). It got cancelled.

Then he pitched another show to CBS. They rejected it.

Finally he pitched a show to FX. He didn't give up like, "they NEED to give me a show. I'm the best!"

Now it's one of the best shows ever on television. And he's my hero. If at any point he had given up because of feelings of entitlement he never would have created the work of art he now does and gone on to higher heights as a comedian.

Oh man, long post again. What the heck? Can't I just make a list like everyone else does and keep these down to 300 words or less? I forget who said it: "I'm writing a long letter to you because I didn't have the time to write a short letter".

So ok, I will just list the other ways people self-sabotage.

F) COMPLAINING

G) GOSSIPING

H) FEAR OF CONFRONTATION

I) THE WORD "CAN'T"

Ok, I need to comment on this one. If someone says to you, go be the best pianist in the world, you might say, "i can't do that". That's fine. That's a normal "Can't". I'm not a big believe in "Can't Porn" - this idea that you should NEVER say "Can't".

But so many people take something simple: like "self-publish a book ever month or so and make an extra $1000 a month" and say "I can't".

Why can't you? Did you try the 20 times that are necessary to get good at something? Did you study all the books on self-publishing and the techniques of the people who did? Do you have to be 8 feet tall to self-publish?

Can you stop watching TV for one hour a day so you can do your full time job and write your book on the side and at least try?

It's your heart's desire but you're so afraid of failure that you don't even want to make the attempt so you can continue to live with the illusion, "I could do it ...if only I can't do it."

??

Roosevelt could've said, "I can't. I have polio." Hawking could've said, "I can't. I can't even move!" Thomas Edison said, "I can't. It didn't work the first 999 times. It will never work."

"Can't" is the jealous lover of "Persistence".

J) NOT MY THING

We get labels early on. I'm a mathematician not a businessman. I'm a dancer not an actress. I'm a programmer, not a salesman. I'm a pretty girl, not a physicist.

Richard Branson could've said, "I'm a music guy not an airline guy." Elon Musk could've said, "I help people on Ebay buy baseball cards, I can't blast a rocketship into space."

Steve Jobs could've said, "I'm a computer guy not a music/phone/movie guy." JK Rowling could've said, "I have to take care of my kid. Not write a fantasy novel with unknown prospects."

Maybe these are just anecdotes. Benjamin Franklin could've said, "I run a printing press. I don't know anything about lightening."

Albert Einstein could've said, "I'm a clerk in an office. I don't know anything about the time-space continuum".

---

I feel like there are some that I'm missing.

Please add to the list. We all see self-sabotage every day. I know it.

OH! Here's one.

K) NEVER THE RIGHT CONDITIONS

Like the guy who has to be in Paris to write. Or the woman who has to be Silicon Valley to start a tech company. Or you have to be in Hollywood to be an actress.

Or you're "stuck" and don't know how to get out. That's a post in itself.

What are others?

I see self-sabotage every day. People who don't know how to sell an idea, or express a vision, or who want to fail because that gives them something to blame.

So they give up.

What am I missing?

I will tell you this, though. If you run those last ten yards.... If you just make the attempt. If you just cross the finish line...

There's the other side of the finish line. And you realize you never have to stop running. Nobody is ever going to stop you now. (oh, they will try. But they will fail).

You can run out of the stadium. Past the people. Past the houses. Past the forest. You run and now you jump and now you're in the air.

You're flying.


- James Altucher

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  #7 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Sarasota FL
 
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I can recall two times I blew out an account -- actually, more like one and a half.

The first time was in the great bull market that began in 1982 (yes, not a typo.)

I was making my very first trades ever. I went long MacDonalds call options. The Dow dipped below 800. (Yes, 800.) But I was bullish. The options tanked the next day and I bought more, for I think 3/16ths (they did prices in quarters, eighths and sixteenths then.) That was the very last day that the Dow was ever that low. The next day was the first day the Dow ever had a 20 point move in its history (up, it was.)

I sold a couple of days later. I was a genius. Within a couple of months I quit my job. I got my parents into the market. I spent money. I would soon be rich.

"Never confuse genius with a bull market."

I was not a genius. I blew that account, or almost, and went back to work.

Many years passed. In and out of the market in a not truly serious way. Made a little bit. Took a longer-term view. Basically did OK with it.

Then I seriously hurt my options account in the flash crash, although didn't blow it. I began to wonder if I knew how to do this, anyway.

I got into futures partly due to wanting to avoid the risks of options (don't laugh -- if you've never held an option position where you were right about the movement of the underlying stock, but the option went down -- or went to zero -- due to premium decay, you have just not lived.)

I didn't blow that first futures account, but it came close (that's the half account.) Somehow, it came to me that I didn't know how to do this at all, really. It's got nothing to do with what you trade, or the "method" you trade with (or try to trade with, or think you trade with.) I say "think you trade with," because odds are you (and I) are really just trading exactly like every other naive noob who thinks he knows more than the market, when, of course, he is the market, along with all the others trading the same way, and he doesn't understand why he's always leaning one way then price suddenly goes the other. (Hint: when everyone is long it doesn't go up; when everyone is short, it doesn't go down.)

I am an indicator junkie and I love them. I still try out new ones, and I write my own versions and really enjoy it. I also like to read about all the neat charting and trading methods that people write about here. In fact, it takes far too much of my time and I am cutting back.

All that stuff is swell, but you know what? It makes absolutely no difference in whether you can trade worth a damn or not.

The most it can do is help to see what is already there. I try to use it that way. All the rest of my interest in them is just hobby, not trading.

In my opinion, the same can be said about every single thing that anyone has ever read or written about the market, and every method, every technique, every squiggly line and every line on a chart. Now, I do use squiggly lines and lines on charts, but I know where they come from: they come from my (very limited) understanding of the market, and they either help me visualize and clarify my current understanding, or they are useless. (No flashing "signals" .)

I have absolutely followed traders who showed their charts and who traded well, and I couldn't, using the same thing. Why? Because it wasn't the same thing for them as for me. Different set of eyes, different mind, different meanings, different actions because of them. I see this phenomenon every day on the spoos thread, following what Mike and the others are showing and doing. Works for them because it's their's. Won't work for me because it's not mine. I can learn from them, and I do try to, but I can't truly follow them.

So this long ramble is the little bit that I think I can add to this topic. Absolutely, facing serious failure in trading has helped me focus on where the failure came from, and that was the same place that, hopefully, the success will (eventually) come from. It's got something to do with me, I think.

I still can't trade these futures worth a damn. But they are what I'm interested in now. I trade the TsT Combine, which is better than sim because it is not risk-free and pressure-free, and a whole lot cheaper than live. It's something of a compromise, but I am making use of it to work on my weaknesses. I do a journal here, to my frequent embarrassment.

I hope someone will understand what I have tried to say here and will stop looking for success where it isn't to be found (other people's opinions/methods/whatever), and will work on themselves as they face the market, all alone, which is what we always do.

Bob.

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  #8 (permalink)
Elite Member
Tallinn, Estonia
 
Futures Experience: Beginner
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Favorite Futures: USOil / West Texas Oil
 
lemons's Avatar
 
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SIM is not worthless.

If you can't make it in SIM or TST Combine SIM then you can't make it with money 100 %.
If you can make it in SIM or TST Combine then there is small possibility that you can make it with money too.

4 years ago I found TST and futures. First 1-3 combines where goods. One ended ca. + 2500 $.
I though that lets open account with Deep Discount Trading
Wired money and started to trade ES. Tick value is big, big money will come. Result Blowing up.
Wired second time and traded NQ. Tick value less but big money will come . Result Blowing up.
Wired 3rd and final time and made wiser decision traded M6E . Tick value small but Blowing up
because big money will come if I trade 5-10 contacts at time.

Total loss around 8000 USD

And then decided to switch SIM only. Why I am still in SIM?
I have played around too long, tried different instruments, indicators, didnt stick with plan,
lot of bottom fishing and top picking.

But I am finally making progress. This year I have take it more seriously.
First TST Continues Combine passed with 28 days with 3000 sim $
Now I am 16th day into second TST Continues Combine and I am up 2585 sim $

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Site Administrator
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lemons View Post
If you can't make it in SIM or TST Combine SIM then you can't make it with money 100 %.

Definitely wrong.

There is probably a 0% chance I could pass a TST combine. But I 100% make money, for real.

Combines can be useful, but they don't make you profitable, nor do they serve as "black/white" lines for who can be profitable and who can't.

And after running the forum for nearly 6 years, I don't know many people that aren't profitable on SIM. So I think that argument is basically pointless.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
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Market Wizard
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Like any business


I treat trading like a normal business.
The learning curve is steap when starting. Many parts may have a good end but some
real drawdowns (so many possibilities to have failed projects) can get you out of business.
Only the one who is stable and couraged enough get on the feet again and will find the
road to success.
Trading is very similar - money management is the central point here in this business!

GFIs1

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