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I'm in deep S@$% now.

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I'm in deep S@$% now.

  #41 (permalink)
Atlanta, GA USA
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: InvestorR/T, Bookmap
Trading: ES, CL
GoldLinx's Avatar
Posts: 21 since Jul 2018
Thanks: 6 given, 94 received

I have A LOT to say because I have been in literally the EXACT same situation. I had produced about $90,000 in net profits in my first 6 months of trading before quitting my job to become a full-time trader, I spent the following year losing every dollar of that money. Some of my suggestions may be repeated but I did not have the patience to read everyone else's responses and just skimmed them. If you're willing to listen to someone whose been in the same exact shoes and you actually want to come out of it as a career trader, listen:

I'm going to address the job part at the end, let's talk about your trading first.

(1) First, you need to stop your search for indicators. If you are trading 5 minute charts with a stoploss where you expect to lose less than $200 in those products, you are essentially are a very short term day trader bordering a scalper. What you are missing right now is the context of the markets, indicators cannot define context, however a trained eye can have a "pretty" good idea going into a session if this is likely to be a balanced day or a trending day. I'm not saying you will predict what happens before it happens but I am saying you need a unique plan for each and every scenario. There are zero indicators to my knowledge that covers the shifting context of markets. With all the stuff going on as far as Fed, Trump, Iran, etc etc there is no indicator that is going to cover your ass all the time when you are trading news driven products like ES, NQ, and CL.

With that being said, it is likely that whatever indicator you are currently using DOES work, but only during the correct context. So you are going to need to develop a system on defining (in real-time) what type of market we are currently in. The reason why algo traders struggle to do this is because you cannot code context into an algo, so they have to create numerous if/then scenarios for the algo to execute. If you didnt know, some of the best algos are actually trading off news releases or certain key words in trump tweets, etc. I have never met someone long-term profitable trading a yes/no indicator without adding personal discretion.

You mentioned your system averaged $300 a day over the course of 5 months, well what was the market like during those 5 months? What was the volatility? What was the relative volume to other times of the year? Who was participating in those markets? What was the average rotation size for the timeframe you look at? Where were your targets and where were your stops? Maybe that edge is temporarily gone and will return when certain market conditions return. Maybe that edge was temporary and will never be back...

(2) I reluctantly want to tell you to learn about orderflow, the reason why I am reluctant is because you are likely going to struggle to be patient enough to really learn the auction process and how reading the tape, dom, and other various orderflow tools actually work. Orderflow is a way to judge the quality of YOUR PREDEFINED SETUPS THAT HAVE EDGE, orderflow itself is not a tool for entering the market. Because it sounds like you do not yet have setups with proven edge, I really caution you to not think that you can jump in the market because you saw 1000 contracts at X price, or you have noticed an iceburg forming or something because that's a recipe for big losses. Just remember orderflow either confirms your idea or keeps you OUT of the market. It's not a setup.

(3) Third, we know nothing about your trade management. If you are trading 1 lots well this gets pretty difficult, because you either have to win/lose, you're not affording yourself the opportunity for a scale out for risk reduction. Being able to do this will greatly increase your win/scratch %. So if you cannot afford multiple contracts in these products you need to start trading the micros (MES). You are doing yourself a HUGE disservice trying to get after it with 1 lots. I would recommend immediately transitioning to trading 3 lots on the MES as opposed to 1 ES.

(4) Next you need to specialize in a product. You mentioned 4 futures that you trade, my initial guess is that you probably look at the same indicators and tools across all 4. This is extremely erroneous. It is extraordinarily rare that a system would work in CL and then untweaked also be profitable in the ES, its so extremely unlikely. Your first order of business needs to be selecting ONE product and building consistency in your approach there. Then your PROCESS can be applied to other markets as you expand. In ANY of the products you mentioned there is more than enough activity to make any kind of money that you want to make over the long run. You are not improving your expectancy by jumping across markets in fact you are making it much more difficult on yourself because your feedback loop is messed up. If you are trading a particular setup in both CL and NQ, and you lose on it 5 times in a row on NQ, you might have lost confidence to trade that setup in any market but it may actually have edge in CL. It's extraordinarily difficult to interpret your results.

(5) Speaking of interpreting your results, how are you journaling? And do you have the ability right now to determine whether a losing trade was a mistake or a typical loss of your system? You could have a losing trade for the following reasons:
-Entry Error
-Management Error
-Incorrect Stoploss Placement (perhaps too tight)
-Incorrect Target Selection (is the target some arbitrary number or have you identified a level that you expect price to get to based on the context of that particular market)
-A scheduled loser of your system

Let's say you have a system that wins 56.5% of the time, and you get 2.5R on your winners risking $200(R) per trade:

Over 100 trades your expectancy is: 56.5 x 2.5R($500) - 43.5 x 1R (200) = This system "should" make $19,550 over 100 trades

However lets pretend you are executing PERFECTLY and making no errors, there is still a probabilistic chance that your system has 4, 5, even 6 sequential losers in a row. So, do you have the psychology skills in place that you could drawdown $1000 or even $1200 dollars in just a few days and STILL execute the system perfectly and believe in it?

The answer to that is likely no, and that is probably what is resulting in you looking for new indicators. (And I am speaking from experience here)


Now lets get to the job thing.

If you want to trade for a living, you need to get into prop. If you have 3 months left to live off of, you're done. Your trading account will not be able to sustain that.

Just to be frank, I have never met a person in my life who makes 50k a year trading 1 lots. Lets just imagine you are a gifted superstar trader you do a complete transformation and you pull in 4k a month in profits trading the size you do right now. Generously, that's 3k after taxes, do you live frugally enough that you can live from 3k AND still add to your trading account to grow it? Because if the answer is no, then that means even if you do survive another 6 or even 9 months you are bound to blow up the very first time you have a negative month after that. You CANNOT be paycheck to paycheck in a trading account (again, speaking from experience). Not to mention the unbelievable weight that has on your psychology, how are you going to perfectly execute your system and then remain calm when it has 6 losers in a row?

Get a part-time job at a minimum. Free-lance your skills from your old career, uber, do phone sales in your free time, start a youtube channel, just get something or several somethings rolling on the side because you need to cover your expenses outside of trading. You can either have 2 jobs, or stick with 1 job your losing money on and then be forced to go to a job you don't like. Either way is difficult, but you know which choice you like better.

Brush up that old resume and start talking to prop firms, and if you don't currently have the credentials to get hired, you know what they're going to want to see? A consistent and methodical trader who is tracking his progress and getting better with each trading session. Buy (literally) yourself some time with a part time job while you try to get your foot in the door at a firm over the next year and hopeful you progress enough as a trader that you become highly marketable.


To wrap this up I am going to summarize my list of executable actions:

1. Move to the micros
2. Select which 1 micro product you will specialize in
3. Backtest a strategy and find an edge (this is easier than you think, and there's many places you can research how to find your own edge, I think there's even a webinar on this website called "vetting your own edge" or something like that)
4. Implement a new rule where you are only allowed ONE change to your charts per 2 week period (even a damn color change, ONE change per 2 weeks)
5. Test your strategy in REAL-TIME, but WITHOUT trading it. WATCH your strategy play out or not play out over the course of 2 weeks. Watch every day, DO NOT take the trade. Watching it will help you with timing, what to look for when its working and not working, and getting used to seeing it fail. While you are in the trade your personal emotions run to high to objectively look at all of these variables because you cant help but want a win. So look at it where you do not care if it wins or not.
6. SIM trade that strategy for 2 weeks
7. Go back to live trading (there is only so much SIM can do, your first order of business is finding an edge, that is what SIM is for, however when you go to live you will find out if YOU can execute that edge or not)
8. Journal the details of each and every trade, tracked my setup, day type, context, volume, and anything else you think could be useful. Invest in a software like tradervue or journalytix, I think the basic version of tradervue is free.
9. Start analyzing whether you have made a mistake or this is a standard loss expected by your system
10. Look at every mistake as an opportunity to learn, so that when you mess up (because all of us at every stage still make mistakes) you will be able to use a mistake today an experience that makes you money in the future.
11. Also create some sort of routine for analyzing the news, I'm not saying to trade the news, but I am saying if the fed is cutting rates you sure as shit don't want to be short for a swing trade. The other day ES popped nearly 10pts just from news that the US was sending a negotiation team to China. If your indicator was telling you to fade that move, that would be a trade you would want to skip.
12. Create a "learning" syllabus, PLAN your education, the times of searching "CL setups" in YouTube is over. Remember step 4, where you cant change your charts? You need to select a tool that you are ALREADY using to get MORE skilled at each week. So if I have volume profile on my chart, I am going to plan out a week of learning where I will listen to other people talk about their use cases, I will plan out times where I just sit there and look at volume profile on my charts over the last month, time where I look at previous trades I made and go back and see if there was information volume profile gave that I did not see at the time. If your "studying" consists of finding "new" information, that is not study, study time is for SKILL improvement. Most traders have everything they need to be profitable already on their charts.
13. Create a technical goal and a discipline goal for each week (I do this every week without fail), Technical Goal could be: "I want to get better at recognizing weakness in pullbacks". Discipline Goal could be "I want to stop moving my stoploss after I have initially placed it in my trade". And you give yourself a score on how well you executed these goals every single day this week.
12. Demonstrate consistency for 3 months and start applying to firms, if you do not get hired at that point 6 months or 9 months of consistency looks even better. Firms want you to manage how much of their capital you risk. They will help you in getting more profitable, but they need to be able to trust that you are not going to blow up


I know this is very long and will probably require multiple reads, but I have been there my friend and it was not a fun time in my life, in fact it wasn't even that long ago so I recall those feelings vividly. To my benefit, my fiance actually produced enough income to pay our bills. However it still messed with my psychology deeply as I felt emasculated and downright embarrassed being reliant on my lady to produce an income for us both. I forced many trades unnecessarily because I was trading to make money now not trading for the best performance over the course of 1000 trades. The latter is where you have to be at. Best of luck.

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  #42 (permalink)
plano TX
Experience: Beginner
Platform: NinjaTrader, Sierra Chart
Trading: TF
Posts: 2 since Aug 2014
Thanks: 1 given, 1 received

Stop trading CL and GC

From my experience I have seen that I can consistently make profits every day if I trade ONLY ES and NOT trade GC and CL. Though they seem to give good profits, the losses will always be much more than the profits unless you have mastered it OR you are playing long term.
Stop trading CL and GC and focus only on ONE instrument and master it to such an extent that you can predict its path at least 50 percent of time. Then apply money management on top of it.

I trade only ES and use jigsaw tool and market profile to make trade decision, but I do not look at 5 min chart but 4500 tick chart which is a higher timeframe.

I still make mistakes, but the impact is not that brutal if I trade CL or GC. Take one day at a time and only think how to end with positive pnl on that day.

I too te ent quit my job to pursue trading , so I understand your worries.

Hope it helps.

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  #43 (permalink)
New York
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Ninja Trader
Trading: 6e TF CL
Posts: 1 since Dec 2010
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Good Luck

barabas View Post
Hello all,

I didn't want to post this but I guess it is time for me to reach out for help. I am going down hill in my trading and can't stop. Meaning on my way to going broke and getting a job again.... I have enought to live for another few months before the job hunt.

My backstory. I have traded the markets for years. Good years and some bad years. In the last 3 years during my working hours I was able to make some good money. Then I had a system making me $300 a day avg for 5 months. So I decided to quit my job, taking a pay cut, to follow my dream as a trader. For the past 3 months I have been living from just the markets. Yes I had some good trades but the bad ones were there too. I was trading just futures and lost $8,000 in two weeks. (One contract each usually ES,CL,NQ,ZB) I had taken a break for two weeks came back and still fell like I can't master it. I am thankful that I bought some options and trade those daily to make some income.

I think my biggest problem is to find an indicator or system to follow my rules. I have one indicator I always use on a 5 min chart and it has made me some good money but then there is that one trade that takes out my stop loss right away and shoot me back down. my profit target is trailing stop, go for $100 profit then move stop to break even and move stop ever $100 profit. Now I love crude..... 10 cent move is nothing in crude so I usually put my initail stop loss at $200. This worked out great at times. Walked away with $200, $300, and max $1,000 trades. But then loss, loss, and loss.

I meditate ever day and try to learn more about the markets every day.

It might just be so stressed out from trying to learning every indicator out there that has me lost but then again the two week break would of help me with that... nope.

Over the years of trading I have foung out there is no holy grain indicator or system. There will be losing trades and just avoid the big ones. Don't over trade.

Taking al that in account with my years of learning and try and error. I can not crack the code.

I am asking for some help with anything.

I have faith in myself that this will work out and I will not stop till I make it. Will to try anuthing now.

Took $400 profiit in gold today then gave it away in crude's rally down.

I would like to give you some good advice, as of right now that means today stop trading live. Do not risk one more dollar of your hard earned money to the market. Here is what you should do next go to this website and sign up for a two week free trial and not the paid option. Prove that you can trade here profitably in sim before you even think of trading with real money again. If you can get approved for a funded account than use their service and not your own money for trading again period. That means as of today do not trade your money in these markets again. These markets are rigged and manipulated and the real money makers are the brokers, they never lose money. I can tell you for sure if you keep doing what you’re doing it will not be a good outcome. Think of it like this if you take a free trial and it does not workout than sign up under a different email address and try it one more time. If you end up doing well than go in and get funded under the Novice Account this way your max contract size is only 3 contracts.

Yes you will be doing a profit split of 80% 20% but this way if it turns out that you can trade profitable than you will not be risking your money. As of today that means right now you need to stop losing money. It is much more safer to put 100 dollars at risk if you decide to test out the funded account to see if you can get approved. When trading your real live funded account I can tell you if you continue trading poorly you will lose a lot more than what it will cost for the novice account. Do not get sucked in to trading your real live funded account again stop trading your money and you will see that it’s a much wiser decision to get funded through OneUp Trader than using your money. If you do become successful than you can always put some of your profit in to your personal account in the future for trading. Give yourself one more month if this does not work out its time to move on. You probably here it all the time don’t give up if you remain positive you will become successful at trading. Well by stopping trading and moving on to something else doesn’t mean you are a quitter or a failure. It will make you a better wiser man and in the end you will see you made the right choice. One more thing to keep in mind if you don’t take this advice and you keep failing at trading these markets will suck the life right out of you and you will see that time spent at trying to make this work was all a waste of time. You can recover from losing money but you will never be able to replace time and this is the most precious resource we have.

I am going to recommend two services that you can get free trials, the first is OneUp Trader for the trading account and Viper Trading Systems. These guys are an educational trading room try something completely different than what you’re doing now to see if you can make it work also these guys at Viper have a discount with OneUP for a 25% off if you decide to go live to get approved for a funded account. I am only recommending Viper because of the free trial and the discount they have with OneUP. These guys may just show you a completely different style of trading that may help your trading in the long run. Just like all these trading gurus they say there trading a real live account and they will show you some of there profitable trades during the live trading room. The idea is to try a different system to see if you can fix your problem, just give it a try. Follow there trading calls pick just one instrument stay focus and see if you can get back on track again to take it to the next level. Don’t hesitate to ask for a second free trial with them if you need to and be sure to ask a lot of questions, what you will get is five days Monday thru Friday plus they also do three live training webinars during the week. Remember the world class traders are of the top 90 percent of traders that’s is where you would have to be to become a successful trader.

Check it out and good luck with your trading.


Last edited by max13; July 25th, 2019 at 12:50 AM.
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  #44 (permalink)
Boca Raton
Experience: Advanced
Platform: Optimus Flow
Broker: Optimus Futures, LLC
Trading: Futures
mattz's Avatar
Posts: 2,452 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 2,380 given, 3,649 received

Traders perceive that if they are profitable, the next natural thing is to quit their job and move to a full-time position. But, that is precisely where the "tilt" happens, and they are in danger of becoming gamblers as opposed to traders. Gamblers are those who use their impulses and intuition more than logic, and that is a very subtle mental change where it is tough to distinguish between our conscious and unconscious decisions.

Sudden changes lead to anger, desperation, urgency, low confidence, and fear. Do you think indicators (delayed quasi graphs/signals of price) will solve the above? Time frames change? No. You did well before because you were not under the same pressure. Go back to that and start over and develop a process that will get to the point you wish to be at.

Think inchworm. Move slowly! Make transitions gradually while analyzing yourself through these changes and documenting it in a journal. If you make mistakes in the (slow) process, you should potentially be able to fix them. You will be able to realize where the real skill is in trading: handling the ups and downs of trading, and not micro analyze each trade as a winner/loser. You will treat trading, and it's mathematical variance better.

I will publish tomorrow on the Optimus Blog the process of learning and will post it here.

I hope this helps.

Matt Z
Optimus Futures

There is a substantial risk of loss in futures trading. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

PM with any questions about optimusfutures (800) 771-6748 (561) 367 8686. THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS IN FUTURES TRADING.
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  #45 (permalink)
Posts: 12 since Mar 2010
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Excellent advice in all the posts. Take a few pieces of advice and stick with it. It took me a while too but eventually you will get it. I would throw away any indicators. Anyone can enter at any time and any place on the chart. You ONLY make money when you exit the trade and how skillfully you do it. SO focus on exits and forget about being precise on entries.

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  #46 (permalink)
Montréal Québec
Posts: 6 since Mar 2019
Thanks: 21 given, 5 received

Everything as been said, except...

Everything as been said, except that: Get a punching bag! Or do intense physical activities after a bad day, that's work to keep your head clear with that anger.

Thanks for your thread, it was really interesting to read. A lot of honest answers.

I have lost several thousands myself. But never left working. You need a big pair of balls to do that. I took a pause with futures for about 3-4 years. Now I am back with a structured approached, but way far being profitable enough to replace my earning from my full time job.

Courage my friend, martin

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  #47 (permalink)
Experience: Beginner
Platform: ThinkorSwim
Trading: Crude CL, Gold GC
Posts: 22 since Jun 2017
Thanks: 6 given, 13 received

Hi guys, kinda late to the party

My advice are simple


1. Plan a max loss amount a day and stick to it, than come back tomorrow.

2. Plan a max profit if you have limited time trading.

3. Personally I don't use indicator hence I am unable to advice you on indicator

4. Do replay on those days you actually make money and recapture the perspective on what you feel and analyzr when you made money

5. Pick only 1 product to trade or maximum 2, but personally I'll stick to one that is more index based instead of commodity.

6. Last but not least, treat the outcome of each trade as random even the best set up can still lose and employ the same caution you practice as though it is the last trade you will ever make.

That's my take, hahaha but I guess these grounds already covered by tons of other seniors

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  #48 (permalink)
Posts: 2 since Aug 2018
Thanks: 0 given, 1 received

Just my 2c.

The comments from others about your "edge" likely being related to a specific set of market conditions or context, is highly likely... and those conditions/contexts have simply changed without you realising it, and that's destroyed your edge.

It's a bitter pill to swallow, but it's absolutely true and happens to every trader. Countless books will tell you that the expert traders adjust their trading methods / edges to the current market conditions/context, they know how to recognize it, and change their methodology in an instant.

I thought I had an edge for trading the open on an index, it worked almost flawlessly for several months, day after day of profits, I felt like a superstar, but then market conditions changed, a massive swing happened, and my prior method for managing trades didn't work for such a significant swing, and I blew up my profits. Undeterred, I continued with my so called "edge", only to find it wasn't valid anymore.

The market conditions had changed, and I wasn't experienced enough to recognize that's what happened. In hindsight, I found that my process worked in a ranging market, and not a trending market, but it's only upon reflection and learning from my mistakes that I was able to work out where I'd gone wrong.

To fail, is to learn!!!

When it comes to trading full time..

When I initially traded full-time, it put me at risk of over-trading due to boredom and a desire to be in a trade. After all, I was at my desk, dedicating myself to trading full time, so I thought to myself, "I should be trading, this is what I'm here for, let's find a trade".

But that desire to trade, made me look for setups in other instruments, many of which I didn't have a genuine understanding of their "rhythm", never mind an understanding of the underlying influences/fundamentals, or market contexts.

This over-trading led to losses, which then induced "tilt", which led to trade after trade that simply didn't make sense and I simply couldn't control myself from revenge trading, attempting to make up the losses, massive losses, a horrific situation.

I felt intense shame and embarrassment, and when I reflected on those periods of tilt, I simply couldn't understand why I was unable to think rationally. The brutal truth is that "tilt" is when your emotions trigger the fight or flight process in our brain, which completely removes rational thought, and that's intensely dangerous in trading.

Check out discussions about tilt in a Poker context, it's extremely relevant, such as tilt on cardschat[dot]com

When I have something else to do, such as working-full time in another industry, I found myself more capable of monitoring the market, dedicated to the instrument I know best, keeping in touch with news and events without a burning desire to place a trade. Now that there was a lack of boredom, with other distractions to keep me occupied outside of trading, I found I was able to attain a feel for market conditions and be more capable of being strict with my trades, patiently waiting for particular setups to transpire.

You may find that you're more successful as a part-time trader, perhaps to the point that having a "normal" full time job isn't actually about earning money, it's just a means to an end to avoid boredom and makes you a better trader. It's OK to earn $100k/year from trading and keep a $35k/year full time job, if that shitty job makes you a highly profitable trader.

Many book and traders talk about having other things to do to avoid the boredom, like a hobby, but that's easier said then done in my experience, especially if all your friends/family/spouse are working normal jobs and aren't available to "hang out" on a shitty trading day where it makes more sense not to trade at all.

The other insidious emotion is over confidence which can come from a string of wins, the over confident then leads emotional trades, which leads to losses, which leads to tilt!

Overcoming the emotional hurdle is the biggest struggle in trading, and I suspect the added stresses of committing yourself to earning money full-time out of trading is just adding to that emotional weight, which isn't helpful, it's just a road to failure.

Been there... done that... still not quite on top of it though!

Try reading about "tilt" in poker, and also search for books like "The Psychology of Trading".

Last edited by Mcleod; July 24th, 2019 at 10:42 PM.
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  #49 (permalink)
the coin hunter
Experience: Intermediate
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Trading: NQ
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barabas View Post
.. I am thankful that I bought some options and trade those daily to make some income.

stick with what works...for you.

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  #50 (permalink)
Posts: 5 since Sep 2017
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Brother, switch to paper trading for a while, and by a while I mean until you consistently start gaining reasonable profits.
And by this enough so that you are actually ahead by a good amount. Do this for several weeks or even months (paper trade) until you are comfortable. All the systems won't work because you are now trading under duress - take a break, just a few days, then paper and try various methods/ways.
Some will say paper is a waste of time but its not. Practice on paper, then before adding in money make sure your emotions are under control and then you should be good.

Good Luck Man

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