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Biggest noob on FIO

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  #1 (permalink)
 adn7 
Toronto, Canada
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: MultiCharts .NET
Trading: Emini S&P 500
 
Posts: 7 since Jan 2020
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Hi everyone,

I guess I'm going to start this of with a simple introduction to who I am and how I got here. I come from a sales background as i used to be a sales manager at a health club. I made a decent living there, but the long hours at the gym just took its tole on me and I started looking for alternative ways of making a living while still being in control of my time. That is when i came across day trading and got sucked in the glorious lifestyle that YouTube "Trading Guru's" showed off. Of course i knew that most of the stuff that they are showing was just a marketing tactic to sell their course and to get views up for their channel. However, i knew that there were a lot of people out there that were actually making a good living from trading, so that is what I aspired to be.

Fast forward after months of research and playing with the market I came across several strategies (some self developed and some other peoples) that I have been testing out on the Emini S&P. I started of paper trading for about 6 months then was profitable on SIM, so i transitioned to real money. I started of with a small account ($2500) and after almost a year of trading with real money and losing some and winning some my account reached $700 (obviously had a lot more losers )

The Strategy I use relies on support/resistance retests mostly. So just to quickly summarize, when the move breaks a S/R level and it comes back to test the S/R level, that is when I long or short depending on the direction of the market and some other indicators that i like to use. I use a tick chart. I have back tested this strategy and it usually has a 60-70% win rate. So as far as the strategy goes on paper it seems like I should be profitable... but i wasn't... and that is why I am now here starting a trading journal to hopefully get some tips and advice from you guys and to hold myself accountable. Ever since last month or so when the market has been super volatile, I switched over to Micro Emini S&P, and I gotta say that I love this market. (can't believe that I didn't start of with this in the beginning... much better for beginner traders).

It is obvious that the trading system might not be the main issue to my downfall as a trader and its more my psychological and money management skills that is working against me. It seems that I am making all the psychological errors of a novice trader by taking profits way to early (even before my profit target hits, in fear of not locking in profits and the trade reversing and going against me... which it has many times) and letting my losers run until it hits my stop loss. That also translates to poor money management as my losers are always greater then my winners. I've had a whole week of winning trades (all small due to my fears and leaving trades to early) and the whole weeks work gets erased by 1 or 2 bad trades. Another issue that I've had is that I scale in to my losing trades in hopes to get a better average price and that has caused me to have some major losses (greater than what I usually am willing to risk per trade)

So those are what I have noticed is the issue with my trading journey so far, and I am hoping that there are people here who have had the exact same issues as me when they started and can share with me tips and tricks that helped them over come their obstacles to becoming a profitable trader.

I will try my best to post as much as I can with my journal to give as much insight to what is going on in my head when I do make certain trades, and I do hope that you guys can share your expertise and knowledge with me. I also want to thank BigMike and all the other users and moderators for creating this trading community. I have looked a long time to be part of some type of chat room to bounce ideas of with other traders until i came across FIO. It is a great place for everyone (beginner or expert) to come and try to get better and better every day.

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  #2 (permalink)
 adn7 
Toronto, Canada
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: MultiCharts .NET
Trading: Emini S&P 500
 
Posts: 7 since Jan 2020
Thanks: 6 given, 21 received

Today I took 1 long trade at 10 AM for 10 points (40 ticks) on the MES (Green arrow on the screenshot). The issue that I have always had with SIM trading is that it doesn't give me the emotional feel that I get while trading live account. I didn't feel nervous making the trade, I didn't second guess myself, I didn't feel anxious to get out of the trade early and lock in profit... which are things that I need to work on, so I'm not sure if trading SIM is the best thing to do in my case to practice on my weakness. When I trade SIM I trade like a true professional because I have no emotions attached to it and I see the market and trends as it is, but when I go live its like i lose all directions and movements of the market. However, I will continue trading on SIM for now and try my best to make it like the real thing in my mind.


ss

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  #3 (permalink)
 cory 
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adn7 View Post
.. The issue that I have always had with SIM trading is that it doesn't give me the emotional feel that I get while trading live account.... When I trade SIM I trade like a true professional because I have no emotions attached to it and I see the market and trends as it is, but when I go live its like i lose all directions and movements of the market. ...

this tell me you didn't treat sim trading like live trading. Was the sim account balance is set the same as live, the hours, the fee, the number of trades?. If so, go for double your sim account 3 times just to be sure, before you going live.

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  #4 (permalink)
 adn7 
Toronto, Canada
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: MultiCharts .NET
Trading: Emini S&P 500
 
Posts: 7 since Jan 2020
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cory View Post
this tell me you didn't treat sim trading like live trading. Was the sim account balance is set the same as live, the hours, the number of trades?. If so, go for double your sim account 3 times just to be sure, before you going live.

Thank you Cory for your input. You are right, I have not been able to mentally treat SIM trading like live trading, no matter how hard I try.. the emotional attachment is not there for me. But I will take your advice and see how I can set the SIM account balance same as my live account and see if it helps. Thank again!

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 matthew28 
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Agree that it is best to use the same sim account size and contract numbers, daily drawdown limits etc.
A potential problem with using multiples of sim size and lot sizes, to create an emotional connection, could be that when you later go live you compare the much smaller amount you are making live with the multiples of the profit you were 'making' in sim and then over trade or trade differently to how you were practicing to try and make up the difference.

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  #6 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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adn7 View Post
The issue that I have always had with SIM trading is that it doesn't give me the emotional feel that I get while trading live account. I didn't feel nervous making the trade, I didn't second guess myself, I didn't feel anxious to get out of the trade early and lock in profit... which are things that I need to work on, so I'm not sure if trading SIM is the best thing to do in my case to practice on my weakness.

Sim can be useful to people who have issues to work out regarding method or trading rules, or who want to try different things to see what works best, or to practice technique until they know what they are supposed to do in different situations. It looks like you are doing OK with all this in sim and don't need this type of practice.

The thing that sim cannot give you is real monetary risk. I think the diagnosis was correct, that you are not treating sim with the same seriousness as you do live, and I also think that some traders do treat it with the same seriousness, and this makes it more useful to them.

But your issue certainly seems to be not wanting to take a loss with real money. (Most of us have this. ) That means that sim is not the place to work on your issue, because it doesn't exist in sim. Possibly you can work very hard to take sim more seriously, and possibly it will carry over into live (real) trading, but you will still not be confronting and dealing with your issue directly if there is no money involved.

Sorry to bear the bad news.

I see that you are trading MES, which is a good choice for live trading at this point too. I would trade no more than one contract (unless you have a multi-contract strategy that needs more, and then trade the least you can), have definite and clear loss limit rules (how much you will take as a loss on one trade, how much for the day, etc.), know where to put your stops and never widen them to avoid loss (they are there to take a loss!), know when you will take your profits, and so on and so on, just like in sim.... but with actual money, not sim money. You want to trade something real, and you also want the amount to be small enough that you don't really have to care, from a practical standpoint, whether you lose or gain.

It will make you feel different from sim, which is what you want. Then learn how to stick to your guns when nervous or scared. Not easy, but it's your current challenge.

Again, keep the monetary risk small by utilizing the MES or another of the micro contracts and keeping the number of contracts low (preferably one).

I wish you luck and so does everyone else here. But unless you can see a definite benefit to staying with sim, consider leaving it behind.

Bob.

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  #7 (permalink)
 adn7 
Toronto, Canada
 
Experience: Beginner
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Trading: Emini S&P 500
 
Posts: 7 since Jan 2020
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bobwest View Post
The thing that sim cannot give you is real monetary risk. I think the diagnosis was correct, that you are not treating sim with the same seriousness as you do live, and I also think that some traders do treat it with the same seriousness, and this makes it more useful to them.

But your issue certainly seems to be not wanting to take a loss with real money. (Most of us have this. ) That means that sim is not the place to work on your issue, because it doesn't exist in sim. Possibly you can work very hard to take sim more seriously, and possibly it will carry over into live (real) trading, but you will still not be confronting and dealing with your issue directly if there is no money involved.

Sorry to bear the bad news.

I see that you are trading MES, which is a good choice for live trading at this point too. I would trade no more than one contract (unless you have a multi-contract strategy that needs more, and then trade the least you can), have definite and clear loss limit rules (how much you will take as a loss on one trade, how much for the day, etc.), know where to put your stops and never widen them to avoid loss (they are there to take a loss!), know when you will take your profits, and so on and so on, just like in sim.... but with actual money, not sim money. You want to trade something real, and you also want the amount to be small enough that you don't really have to care, from a practical standpoint, whether you lose or gain.

It will make you feel different from sim, which is what you want. Then learn how to stick to your guns when nervous or scared. Not easy, but it's your current challenge.

Again, keep the monetary risk small by utilizing the MES or another of the micro contracts and keeping the number of contracts low (preferably one).

I wish you luck and so does everyone else here. But unless you can see a definite benefit to staying with sim, consider leaving it behind.

Bob.

I've had this debate in my head many times in regards to using SIM vs. live account. And thank you for confirming I'm not crazy for not wanting to use SIM to practice my emotional weakness in the market. I agree that some people can really use the SIM to their benefit in both the practice of their strategy and to practice their emotions, but in my case it just doesn't seem to be the case.

No matter how hard I try I can not make the emotional attachment on the SIM the same as the real thing (just my luck lol...) but just last night I took Cory's advice and I changed my SIM's account balance to what is in my live account in hopes that it will give me some type of help to make it as real as possible. I sat on my hands mostly today as I did not find very good spots to trade, so I'm not sure if this is the result of this new method or not... but I will continue using SIM for the next week as well. If it is a good practice of my emotions then I will continue for longer, if not then I will have to switch to live trades again and get the juices flowing...

This proves again why trading is such a hard profession! Aside from the thousands of traders that are a lot more experienced than you and the crazy algo's that are running the market which we are trading in.. we are our worst enemy and it is very hard to rewire our brain to think and feel differently. Just gives me a lot more respect and appreciation for anyone that has made a profitable career out of this!

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  #8 (permalink)
 adn7 
Toronto, Canada
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: MultiCharts .NET
Trading: Emini S&P 500
 
Posts: 7 since Jan 2020
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Just going to do a quick update... I've been doing some renovations for my house so havent really been to active.
Monday I had a fantastic day went 4/4 trades, all perfect set ups. The first trade I locked in profits early before my target was hit... trades 2-4 trade after i placed a trade i left the room until i heard either "target hit" or "stop hit" on my speakers. It helped with the temptation to keep looking at my P/L and getting tempted to lock in profits early.

Tuesday I was too busy with the renovations so I didn't trade at all, but I would come and check on the market periodically just to see what it's up to.

And today I had a very active day. took 6 trades. 4/6 were winners... However... the two losers were big so I only had a little profit to show for it. I have to get a better handle on this money management situation asap. Any suggestions?

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 bobwest 
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adn7 View Post
However... the two losers were big so I only had a little profit to show for it. I have to get a better handle on this money management situation asap. Any suggestions?

Sure. Set a stop that is something you can live with, and then live with it (never move it away from bring hit -- its job is to be hit and take you out if need be.)

Without more detail about the trades, it's impossible to say much more. But if you have big losers, almost always a simple closer stop would have cut the loss.

Of course, the other side of stops is all the many times when they get hit and then price turns around immediately and goes your way, without you. Part of the game, I'm afraid. But they will prevent the big losing trades from eating you up.

Bob.

-------------

Edit: I probably should have asked something like, "What's your stop strategy?" So rather than assume you didn't have one, I'll ask it now: "What's your stop strategy?" Also, a chart would help if you'd like any real comment on a trade or a strategy.

Hope the renovations went well.

---------------

Second Edit: I use stops and recommend them, but that doesn't mean that eveyrone should. I just think that if I didn't, I would get killed if/when price went against me. Your mileage, and your strategy, may vary. I'm still interested in the question, though.

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 glennts 
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Rande Howell has a YouTube channel with great content on trading psychology. He offers workshops so his videos are soft pitches for those workshops but they can stand alone based on the information/insight they can provide. His most recent video addresses many of the issues you mentioned in your introductory post so viewing it might give you something to think about.


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 TraderDoc007 
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A few thoughts related to some of the issues you have identified and a few pointers.

I totally agree with Bob - leave the sim behind and trade real money. Although sims have been the cornerstone of the futures trading industry for years in order for new traders to practice on, I believe they might be doing a lot more harm for new traders than the good they are supposed to do. They lull you into a totally unrealistic sense of well being so when real money is on the line, all your well prepared and thought out plan gets influenced by emotion and you start reacting and second guessing yourself due to fear.

Micro contracts have changed the game for new traders. Use them instead of the sim. The markets are psychological warfare and you have to be in the trenches with your opponents, not hiding in the sim where no-one even knows you're there except yourself. In a conventional war, recruits don't practice with BB guns and then get into battle for the first time and realize that they are now strapping a huge Howitzer on their back which they aren't used to, and don't know what the effect of using it will be. Get used to having some money at risk, but not an amount that affects you in any way at all. You need to use the micros's as if you are trading the full contracts. Don't concentrate too much on your winning trades, be very mindful of those that you are losing. You seem to indicate that your losses are much larger than they should be - you need to identify exactly why that is (is it your methodology/system at fault or is it you) and get that dealt with. To me, that should be your primary focus at this time, as it seems to be something that is becoming a chronic issue. Nip it in the bud now and do whatever you have to, in order to rectify it. If you need help with that, post a chart with whatever your setup for a trade/trades is/are and there are a lot of people on here who could assist you.

Something that I think also might help you or any other traders is to have your trading plan in writing next to you all the time. Never deviate from your trading plan during market trading hours, only change it if you feel it needs changing for whatever reason, after the market is closed. So based on your trading plan of trade setup, entry, risk stop and profit target, place the trade, the stop and the profit target and try leaving the computer for the first 5 or 10 minutes of the trade so that you don't get emotionally attached and involved in this trade. It can do wonders for your psychological training, as when you return to the computer, you are not looking at the trade through an adrenalin(epinephrine) haze, which always messes up the most well planned and intentioned trade. You can clearly see what has actually happened in the market since placing the trade - you might be out with profit or stopped out, or you might be on the way to profit. Wherever the trade is, you will see it through a totally different lens than if you had been sitting watching the ticks going up and down, see your profit increase and then go into a drawdown and now all the negative emotions and fear appear and you'll start thinking maybe I should get out, was my analysis correct etc etc etc.

Successful trading comes down to your mind - train it properly from the start to accept what goes against everything we as humans are taught to believe in throughout our lives. Don't make the mistakes a lot of experienced traders were forced to make years ago because the tools and assistance was not available then like it is today. I do have to concur with comments I've read on here many times - having FIO is something very special for newer traders as there is so much sound and sage advice which can shorten your learning curve dramatically and hopefully allow you to eventually be able to reach whatever goal you have set yourself in this very difficult endeavour.

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