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Trying to Trade
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Trying to Trade

  #1 (permalink)
Elite Member
San Jose, CA
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: ThinkorSwim
Favorite Futures: ES
Posts: 11 since Aug 2018
Thanks: 12 given, 8 received

Trying to Trade

This trading journal is a place I will track my thoughts and progress in my trading education and continue on with my first trades. In the beginning it won't look much like a typical trading journal since it will have musings on lessons and education from books, webinars, and podcasts I read and listen to. Eventually, I plan to try paper trading to test out ideas and then fund an account for trading (6+ months time).

Summary and What to Expect
I have been trading on an off, equities, forex, and equity options (in that order) for many years (~20 yrs!). Right now, I do some equity options trading in a small trading account but have largely gotten away from forex and general equities trading. I have been working on learning more and more technical analysis, reading books, following webinars (including FIO's webinars), and listening to podcasts. I have seen an improvement in my options trading, so that's a good sign. I'm looking to learn, learn, learn, right now, and not make any trades (even in sim/paper trade mode) for a while. I want to document my education so that others can benefit, learn, and contribute. Eventually, I'll make it a true trading journal where I can track my trades.

How to Use the Journal
I hope to have the "Quick Summary" post kept up to date as a "table of contents" for the journal, with important posts highlighted there. I hope to update this 1-3 times per week minimum. I don't plan to be a "day" trader, but taking more 3-20 day swing trades. I see myself as a "hobby" trader* and have no plan or intention to do trading full time.

* I have been informed by my tax professional that the IRS doesn't consider financial trading a hobby, so I'll avoid using that word even though that's how I see myself.

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  #2 (permalink)
Quick Summary
Quick Summary Post

Table of Contents For this Journal
My History and Background
My Reading List

Last edited by fxfool; January 12th, 2019 at 08:06 PM. Reason: Start of TOC, added first few posts
  #3 (permalink)
Elite Member
San Jose, CA
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: ThinkorSwim
Favorite Futures: ES
Posts: 11 since Aug 2018
Thanks: 12 given, 8 received

My background and how I got here...

I have been trading for about 20 years in an on again/off again way. I have been intererested in the economy, markets, and finance for even longer. When I was a kid, I would join my mother on her Friday night "dates" with Lou Rukeyser and watch Nightly Business Report too.

At one point, as a naïve teenager, I decided that I would try stock trading with some money my parents provided me. It can't be that hard, right? Well, I guess it is kinda hard! After trying and failing at trading by being a "follower" (e.g. not having my own ideas but copying others), I decided that I would move on to other things.

Fast forward a few years (c. 2002) and I discovered retail forex trading (with 200:1 leverage!). This was the market for me! Forex was attractive because not only was it a financial market, it was international (another personal interest since I'm bi-lingual and have traveled extensively), but it had leverage which meant you could win quick, right? Cue another set of losses, much like my stock trading. But, at least this time, I found the market very intellectually stimulating. I'm still attracted to the forex market but don't trade it any more, for various reasons.

At the conclusion of college, my first job was at the very forex firm that I had an account with. As part of my training there, I was given a short but detailed course on technical analysis and other tools such as COT. That job didn't last long since it was essentially a sales position which didn't interest me but I got a lot out of it including an interest in sentiment indicators.

Around that same time I started studying options. I watched option price action in relation to the underlying, learning about things like delta and IV on my own. I funded an account and the results were largely the same as my previous attempts. Despite my losses, I still trade this account today and have been improving my performance. It's been my "learning" account.

I'm pround to say I've never "blown up" an account (per se) but I've whittled down plenty. My biggest mistakes in the past were expecting things to happen on a trade-by-trade basis (not series of trades), not having a plan, failing to educate myself properly, and having bad trade psychology.

I have recently decided to put funds towards a new account and to better my odds of successsuccess this time, I have been on a pure learning trajectory first, without putting a penny into a trading account. While I still trade my options account, I'm very set on not funding my futures account until I develop and am comfortable with a new trading style. That's the main focus of this journal--to document that progress.

In my next post, I will detail the books and other resources I have ammased and how I have been working towards getting the most from them.

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  #4 (permalink)
Elite Member
San Jose, CA
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: ThinkorSwim
Favorite Futures: ES
Posts: 11 since Aug 2018
Thanks: 12 given, 8 received

My education as a trader is focused primarily on reading books--lots of them. I have a long book list (below) that I pull from to choose the "next up" item on my to read list. I have read other books not listed below previously, but most recently, I started with "Market Wizards" (1989) and have been reading from there. I will keep this updated with my reading progress.

My Completed Readings starting Summer 2018:
  • "Market Wizards" (1989) Schwager
  • "Options Volatility and Pricing" (2014) Natenberg
  • "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" Lefèvre with annotations by Markman
My Current In-Progress Reading is:
  • "Dairy of a Professional Commodity Trader" (2011) Brandt
My "Up-Next" Readings are (I'll Choose one of the following for my next read):
  • "Technical Analysis of Stock Trends" Edwards and Magee
  • "Come into My Trading Room" Elder
My Comprehensive Reading List:

When I read articles, books, listen to podcasts, or webinars, I have been making a note of each book suggested by the author/presenter. This is my comprehensive list of books I have found. If you have any you think I should add, message me. I'm always looking to add more!
  • "How to Day Trade" Cameron
  • "The New Trading for a Living" and "Come into My Trading Room" Elder
  • "Dual Momentum Investing" Antonacci
  • "Technical Analysis of Stock Trends" Edwards and Magee
  • "Technical analysis of stock market profits" Schabacker
  • "Devil Take the Hindmost" Chancellor
  • "Principals" Dalio
  • "Trend Following" and "Turtle Trader" Covel
  • "Risk of Trading" Toma
  • "High Profit Candlestick Patterns" Bigalow
  • "Profits in the stock market" Gartley
  • "Profits in Volume" Arms
  • "Traders book of volume" Liebovit
  • "Japanese Candlesticks" Nelson
  • "Dow Theory" Rhea
  • "ABC of Stock Speculation" by Nelson
  • "Stock Market Barometer" Hamilton
  • "The Complete Elliott Wave Writings of A. Hamilton Bolton" Bolton
  • "The Art of Contrary Thinking" Neille
  • "How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market" Darvis
  • "Battle for investment survival" Loeb
  • "Tape Reading and Market Tactics" Neill
  • "Against the Gods" by Bernstein
  • "The Daily Trading Coach" Steenbarger
  • "Secrets of a Pivot Boss" Ochoa
  • "Trades About To Happen" Weis
  • "Master the market" Williams
  • "Trade Your Way...", "Super Trader", and "Beyond the Matrix" Van Tharp
  • "Trading with the odds" Kase
  • "Trade chart patterns like the pros" Duddella
  • "Trading in the zone" Douglas
  • "Charting the stock market" Hutson
  • "Pit Bull" Schwartz
  • "Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets" Murphy
  • "Trading Risk" Grant
  • "Technical Analysis Using Multiple Timeframes" Shannon
  • "Stan Weinstein's Secrets For Profiting in Bull and Bear Markets" Weinstein
  • "Options futures and other derivatives" John Hull
  • "Trading Options" Harmon
  • "Education of a Speculator" Niederhoffer
  • "Evidence-Based Technical Analysis" Aronson
  • "Stock market blueprints" Jensen
  • "Superperformance stocks" Love
  • "Trade like a casino" Weissman
  • "DiNapoli Levels" DiNapoli
  • "Higher Probability Commodity Trading" Garner
  • "Mastering the grain markets" Kub
  • "Mathematics of Money Management" Vince
  • "Money Management Strategies" Balsara
  • "Zurich Axioms" Gunther
  • "Long Term secrets to short term trading" Willimas
  • "New Concepts in Technical Trading" Wilder
  • "Thinking in bets" Duke
  • "Blink" Gladwell
  • "Thinking Fast and Slow" Kahneman
  • "Signal and the Noise" Silver
  • "Atomic Habits" Clear

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  #5 (permalink)
Elite Member
San Jose, CA
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: ThinkorSwim
Favorite Futures: ES
Posts: 11 since Aug 2018
Thanks: 12 given, 8 received

Thoughts on Market Wizards (1989)

In my background post, I described my past trading and how I'm looking to start trading (again) and how I'm educating myself first (no funded account, yet). Though, I've read books on trading in the past, the first book of my new trading education regime was "Market Wizards". I read this after listening to a podcast, where the interviewee said they read Market Wizards every year. It was a good start to my new education.

Market Wizards helped me in several ways, most notably it made me realize that the actual trade entry system is really not important (find a method that works for you), but risk and trade management was what was critical. A beginning trader must put preservation of capital at the top of the list. Risk small amounts of account balance every trade and cut losses short. I realized that in my past trading I was risking WAY TOO MUCH (probably ~10%+ of account balance) on each trade, which was probably the biggest factor in prior failures. After reading Market Wizards, I resolved to keep bets to <2% of account balance and even less when starting out. I also liked the trader who commented that they cut back on trade sizes when things are going badly for them, and when things are going well (Schwartz). I also like Seykota's interview for his strong personality and the line about "Everyone gets what they want out of the market." I really congratulate Schwager on his Seykotoyan success in the markets. He has published 4 Market Wizards books spawning an institution in the process, even if his original goal in the book was to make himself a better trader.

Market Wizards is a book about trading psychology and it was a great place to start on my educational journey. I look to re-read it sometime and also read other MW books.

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  #6 (permalink)
Elite Member
San Jose, CA
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: ThinkorSwim
Favorite Futures: ES
Posts: 11 since Aug 2018
Thanks: 12 given, 8 received

My second choice in reading was "Stock Operator" by Lefèvre. I choose the annotated version by Markman. I choose this because so many traders in "Market Wizards" and else where said it was a pivotal book in their education. I felt like it was a really good book to understand how a trader can adapt and change overtime in response to differing conditions and skill sets. Livermore's change from being successful at the bucket shops to failing to succeed in the real market, to finding winning methods in the market, to becoming the eponymous stock operator (and what each of those steps entailed in terms of person skills) show just how adaptable one needs to be trading. I liked Livermore's style of sending orders into the market to see how it reacts (or, watching how the market reacts to large orders sent in). That style can apply to any time in the markets (1920s, 1950s, 1980s, or today). I was also amazed how much leverage they offered to stock traders back in the 20s and before. I wonder how different the stock market would be if Reg T didn't exist.

In short, I feel like "Stock Operator" didn't give me much very actionable information but was good at getting the flavor of how to speculate and understanding that these kinds of pitfalls can come to any one at any time. It just goes to show how little markets change over time.

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