You're probably right but you can't really expect me to become a professional in just a few weeks.
This WILL take time. So be patient. I'm learning, one day at a time, one transaction at a time, and, yes, one article to study at a time.
I've learned a fair amount that I didn't know when I started out. It's reasonable to expect that I will continue to learn
and make adjustments to my strategies and rules as I go. The simple fact that I'm trying to improve those strategies and rules tends to indicate that I am increasingly focused on the process.
If the process is right, the results will follow...and be favorable.
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We do not expect you to be a professional so soon. The problem is that you are setting goals that you are not professional enough to have control over. When you are new to trading, your goals should be related to things that you can control. For example, you have a theory about the market or about how you view the market and you test it with your trades. Earning an arbitrary amount of 2% is not a tangible way to improve your trading. What can you learn from making 1.99% that you couldn't learn from making 2%? What will you learn by not reaching your goals? Goals should be tied to a process, not a cash/percentage value. Once you have tested your theories and find some that you truly believe in on a long term basis (ie: even when you don't make money doing it) then you should shift your focus onto cash/percentage values. Even then, 2% is a deceptively hard thing to do. You do not seem to grasp that yet.
Yes, results follow good processes. However, the process takes months for stock savantes and years/a lifetime for the average person.
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We commonly hear that traders should develop and stick to "a process". But what is a trading process? I would argue that, across trading styles and time horizons, there are four components essential to any complete trading process:
1) Preparing - What you do to identify and exploit opportunity in markets, including observation, research, idea testing, trade structuring, portfolio construction, and trade planning.
2) Performing - What you do to initiate and manage positions in the market, including sizing, risk management, entry and exit execution, and adjusting to the ongoing stream of news, data releases, and market movements.
3) Reviewing - What you do to examine individual trades and overall trading to learn from successes and mistakes and to reexamine ideas about markets.
4) Revamping - What you do to translate your reviews into concrete goals and actions that make you more prepared and aid your future performance.
Together, these process elements embody a kind of deliberate practice that yields ever-expanding expertise.
As the Buffett quote above implies, when a trader develops intrinsic gratification from processes of discovery and mastery, it is much easier to weather the ups and downs of short-term performance.
The most common shortcoming I see among traders is not that they let their emotions run away from them and lose their discipline. Rather, they truncate the third and fourth elements above and spend almost all their time preparing and performing. As a result, they rarely conduct the thorough reviews that lead to ongoing learning--and they even more rarely translate any cursory reviews into systematic efforts at self-improvement.
Preparing and performing require immersion in markets. Reviewing and revamping require a step away from markets to reflect upon preparation and performance. Joined together, the process elements yield a sense of growth, development, and ongoing adaptation to changing markets.
When success is measured in terms of mastery, one can profit handsomely even during periods of trading loss. That is an important trading edge.
After my current transactions have closed, I'm moving my accounts to Tradeking or some other low cost, quality brokerage, as the cost of my trades with Vanguard are now 20 dollars per trade! 40 dollars per round trip!
That's the highest I've ever heard of for any online brokerage.
I may keep my IRA account with Vanguard for easy access to their very good selection of high yield funds, but the active trading account will be transferring as soon as I sell out (unfortunately I'll be bit by that whopping 20 dollar fee when I sell out) and the funds settle.
I'm thinking Tradeking or IB. Got any other recommendations? I want low trading costs for stocks, and a variety
of order types, such as trailing stops and stop loss limits. I have seen that IB has a truly impressive list of order types and at the moment, I'm inclined to give IB a shot even though I have set up an (unfunded) account with TradeKing.
As for today's trades, all my funds were settled if not still tied up in a stock.
I left them alone as I simply could not get any feel for which direction ANYTHING was headed today.
Sometimes it's better to stay on the sidelines than to just guess randomly.
I want to spend some time this evening reviewing the day's gainers and loser and check them for recent news and
developments so that I can understand WHY they moved the way they did.
Maybe I'll start to develop a sense for what causes price movement. Why does one stock sit there and do nothing at all today, hardly any shares moving, while another stock with a similar company in the same industry can be going wild at the same time?
That's a rhetorical question. No need for YOU to answer it. But it would be in my best interests to seek out the answers to that sort of question on my own.
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