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Former investment bank FX trader: Risk management part II
Firstly, thanks for the overwhelming comments and feedback. Genuinely really appreciated. I am pleased 500+ of you find it useful. If you didn't read the first post you can do so here: risk management part I. You'll need to do so in order to make sense of the topic. As ever please comment/reply below with questions or feedback and I'll do my best to get back to you. Part II
Letting stops breathe
When to change a stop
Entering and exiting winning positions
Letting stops breathe
We talked earlier about giving a position enough room to breathe so it is not stopped out in day-to-day noise. Let’s consider the chart below and imagine you had a trailing stop. It would be super painful to miss out on the wider move just because you left a stop that was too tight. Imagine being long and stopped out on a meaningless retracement ... ouch! One simple technique is simply to look at your chosen chart - let’s say daily bars. And then look at previous trends and use the measuring tool. Those generally look something like this and then you just click and drag to measure. For example if we wanted to bet on a downtrend on the chart above we might look at the biggest retracement on the previous uptrend. That max drawdown was about 100 pips or just under 1%. So you’d want your stop to be able to withstand at least that. If market conditions have changed - for example if CVIX has risen - and daily ranges are now higher you should incorporate that. If you know a big event is coming up you might think about that, too. The human brain is a remarkable tool and the power of the eye-ball method is not to be dismissed. This is how most discretionary traders do it. There are also more analytical approaches. Some look at the Average True Range (ATR). This attempts to capture the volatility of a pair, typically averaged over a number of sessions. It looks at three separate measures and takes the largest reading. Think of this as a moving average of how much a pair moves. For example, below shows the daily move in EURUSD was around 60 pips before spiking to 140 pips in March. Conditions were clearly far more volatile in March. Accordingly, you would need to leave your stop further away in March and take a correspondingly smaller position size. ATR is available on pretty much all charting systems Professional traders tend to use standard deviation as a measure of volatility instead of ATR. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Averages are useful but can be misleading when regimes switch (see above chart). Once you have chosen a measure of volatility, stop distance can then be back-tested and optimised. For example does 2x ATR work best or 5x ATR for a given style and time horizon? Discretionary traders may still eye-ball the ATR or standard deviation to get a feeling for how it has changed over time and what ‘normal’ feels like for a chosen study period - daily, weekly, monthly etc.
Reasons to change a stop
As a general rule you should be disciplined and not change your stops. Remember - losers average losers. This is really hard at first and we’re going to look at that in more detail later. There are some good reasons to modify stops but they are rare. One reason is if another risk management process demands you stop trading and close positions. We’ll look at this later. In that case just close out your positions at market and take the loss/gains as they are. Another is event risk. If you have some big upcoming data like Non Farm Payrolls that you know can move the market +/- 150 pips and you have no edge going into the release then many traders will take off or scale down their positions. They’ll go back into the positions when the data is out and the market has quietened down after fifteen minutes or so. This is a matter of some debate - many traders consider it a coin toss and argue you win some and lose some and it all averages out. Trailing stops can also be used to ‘lock in’ profits. We looked at those before. As the trade moves in your favour (say up if you are long) the stop loss ratchets with it. This means you may well end up ‘stopping out’ at a profit - as per the below example. The mighty trailing stop loss order It is perfectly reasonable to have your stop loss move in the direction of PNL. This is not exposing you to more risk than you originally were comfortable with. It is taking less and less risk as the trade moves in your favour. Trend-followers in particular love trailing stops. One final question traders ask is what they should do if they get stopped out but still like the trade. Should they try the same trade again a day later for the same reasons? Nope. Look for a different trade rather than getting emotionally wed to the original idea. Let’s say a particular stock looked cheap based on valuation metrics yesterday, you bought, it went down and you got stopped out. Well, it is going to look even better on those same metrics today. Maybe the market just doesn’t respect value at the moment and is driven by momentum. Wait it out. Otherwise, why even have a stop in the first place?
Entering and exiting winning positions
Take profits are the opposite of stop losses. They are also resting orders, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. Imagine I’m long EURUSD at 1.1250. If it hits a previous high of 1.1400 (150 pips higher) I will leave a sell order to take profit and close the position. The rookie mistake on take profits is to take profit too early. One should start from the assumption that you will win on no more than half of your trades. Therefore you will need to ensure that you win more on the ones that work than you lose on those that don’t. Sad to say but incredibly common: retail traders often take profits way too early This is going to be the exact opposite of what your emotions want you to do. We are going to look at that in the Psychology of Trading chapter. Remember: let winners run. Just like stops you need to know in advance the level where you will close out at a profit. Then let the trade happen. Don’t override yourself and let emotions force you to take a small profit. A classic mistake to avoid. The trader puts on a trade and it almost stops out before rebounding. As soon as it is slightly in the money they spook and cut out, instead of letting it run to their original take profit. Do not do this.
Entering positions with limit orders
That covers exiting a position but how about getting into one? Take profits can also be left speculatively to enter a position. Sometimes referred to as “bids” (buy orders) or “offers” (sell orders). Imagine the price is 1.1250 and the recent low is 1.1205. You might wish to leave a bid around 1.2010 to enter a long position, if the market reaches that price. This way you don’t need to sit at the computer and wait. Again, typically traders will use tech analysis to identify attractive levels. Again - other traders will cluster with your orders. Just like the stop loss we need to bake that in. So this time if we know everyone is going to buy around the recent low of 1.1205 we might leave the take profit bit a little bit above there at 1.1210 to ensure it gets done. Sure it costs 5 more pips but how mad would you be if the low was 1.1207 and then it rallied a hundred points and you didn’t have the trade on?! There are two more methods that traders often use for entering a position. Scaling in is one such technique. Let’s imagine that you think we are in a long-term bulltrend for AUDUSD but experiencing a brief retracement. You want to take a total position of 500,000 AUD and don’t have a strong view on the current price action. You might therefore leave a series of five bids of 100,000. As the price moves lower each one gets hit. The nice thing about scaling in is it reduces pressure on you to pick the perfect level. Of course the risk is that not all your orders get hit before the price moves higher and you have to trade at-market. Pyramiding is the second technique. Pyramiding is for take profits what a trailing stop loss is to regular stops. It is especially common for momentum traders. Pyramiding into a position means buying more as it goes in your favour Again let’s imagine we’re bullish AUDUSD and want to take a position of 500,000 AUD. Here we add 100,000 when our first signal is reached. Then we add subsequent clips of 100,000 when the trade moves in our favour. We are waiting for confirmation that the move is correct. Obviously this is quite nice as we humans love trading when it goes in our direction. However, the drawback is obvious: we haven’t had the full amount of risk on from the start of the trend. You can see the attractions and drawbacks of both approaches. It is best to experiment and choose techniques that work for your own personal psychology as these will be the easiest for you to stick with and build a disciplined process around.
Risk:reward and win ratios
Be extremely skeptical of people who claim to win on 80% of trades. Most traders will win on roughly 50% of trades and lose on 50% of trades. This is why risk management is so important! Once you start keeping a trading journal you’ll be able to see how the win/loss ratio looks for you. Until then, assume you’re typical and that every other trade will lose money. If that is the case then you need to be sure you make more on the wins than you lose on the losses. You can see the effect of this below. A combination of win % and risk:reward ratio determine if you are profitable A typical rule of thumb is that a ratio of 1:3 works well for most traders. That is, if you are prepared to risk 100 pips on your stop you should be setting a take profit at a level that would return you 300 pips. One needn’t be religious about these numbers - 11 pips and 28 pips would be perfectly fine - but they are a guideline. Again - you should still use technical analysis to find meaningful chart levels for both the stop and take profit. Don’t just blindly take your stop distance and do 3x the pips on the other side as your take profit. Use the ratio to set approximate targets and then look for a relevant resistance or support level in that kind of region.
Not all returns are equal. Suppose you are examining the track record of two traders. Now, both have produced a return of 14% over the year. Not bad! The first trader, however, made hundreds of small bets throughout the year and his cumulative PNL looked like the left image below. The second trader made just one bet — he sold CADJPY at the start of the year — and his PNL looked like the right image below with lots of large drawdowns and volatility. Would you rather have the first trading record or the second? If you were investing money and betting on who would do well next year which would you choose? Of course all sensible people would choose the first trader. Yet if you look only at returns one cannot distinguish between the two. Both are up 14% at that point in time. This is where the Sharpe ratio helps . A high Sharpe ratio indicates that a portfolio has better risk-adjusted performance. One cannot sensibly compare returns without considering the risk taken to earn that return. If I can earn 80% of the return of another investor at only 50% of the risk then a rational investor should simply leverage me at 2x and enjoy 160% of the return at the same level of risk. This is very important in the context of Execution Advisor algorithms (EAs) that are popular in the retail community. You must evaluate historic performance by its risk-adjusted return — not just the nominal return. Incidentally look at the Sharpe ratio of ones that have been live for a year or more ... Otherwise an EA developer could produce two EAs: the first simply buys at 1000:1 leverage on January 1st ; and the second sells in the same manner. At the end of the year, one of them will be discarded and the other will look incredible. Its risk-adjusted return, however, would be abysmal and the odds of repeated success are similarly poor.
The Sharpe ratio works like this:
It takes the average returns of your strategy;
It deducts from these the risk-free rate of return i.e. the rate anyone could have got by investing in US government bonds with very little risk;
It then divides this total return by its own volatility - the more smooth the return the higher and better the Sharpe, the more volatile the lower and worse the Sharpe.
For example, say the return last year was 15% with a volatility of 10% and US bonds are trading at 2%. That gives (15-2)/10 or a Sharpe ratio of 1.3. As a rule of thumb a Sharpe ratio of above 0.5 would be considered decent for a discretionary retail trader. Above 1 is excellent. You don’t really need to know how to calculate Sharpe ratios. Good trading software will do this for you. It will either be available in the system by default or you can add a plug-in.
VAR is another useful measure to help with drawdowns. It stands for Value at Risk. Normally people will use 99% VAR (conservative) or 95% VAR (aggressive). Let’s say you’re long EURUSD and using 95% VAR. The system will look at the historic movement of EURUSD. It might spit out a number of -1.2%. A 5% VAR of -1.2% tells you you should expect to lose 1.2% on 5% of days, whilst 95% of days should be better than that This means it is expected that on 5 days out of 100 (hence the 95%) the portfolio will lose 1.2% or more. This can help you manage your capital by taking appropriately sized positions. Typically you would look at VAR across your portfolio of trades rather than trade by trade. Sharpe ratios and VAR don’t give you the whole picture, though. Legendary fund manager, Howard Marks of Oaktree, notes that, while tools like VAR and Sharpe ratios are helpful and absolutely necessary, the best investors will also overlay their own judgment. Investors can calculate risk metrics like VaR and Sharpe ratios (we use them at Oaktree; they’re the best tools we have), but they shouldn’t put too much faith in them. The bottom line for me is that risk management should be the responsibility of every participant in the investment process, applying experience, judgment and knowledge of the underlying investments.Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital What he’s saying is don’t misplace your common sense. Do use these tools as they are helpful. However, you cannot fully rely on them. Both assume a normal distribution of returns. Whereas in real life you get “black swans” - events that should supposedly happen only once every thousand years but which actually seem to happen fairly often. These outlier events are often referred to as “tail risk”. Don’t make the mistake of saying “well, the model said…” - overlay what the model is telling you with your own common sense and good judgment.
Coming up in part III
Available here Squeezes and other risks Market positioning Bet correlation Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits *** Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
So here it is, three more days and October begins, which marks one year of trading for me. I figured I would contribute to the forum and share some of my experience, a little about me, and what I've learned so far. Whoever wants to listen, that's great. This might get long so buckle up.. Three years ago, I was visiting Toronto. I don't get out much, but my roommate at the time travels there occasionally. He asked everyone at our place if we wanted to come along for a weekend. My roommate has an uncle that lives there and we didn't have to worry about a hotel because his uncle owns a small house that's unlived in which we could stay at. I was the only one to go with. Anyways, we walk around the city, seeing the sights and whatnot. My friend says to me "where next?" "I don't know, you're the tour guide" "We can go check out Bay Street" "what's 'Bay Street?'" "It's like the Canadian Wall street! If you haven't seen it you gotta see it!" Walking along Bay, I admire all the nice buildings and architecture, everything seems larger than life to me. I love things like that. The huge granite facades with intricate designs and towering pillars to make you think, How the fuck did they make that? My attention pivots to a man walking on the sidewalk opposite us. His gait stood out among everyone, he walked with such a purpose.. He laughed into the cell phone to his ear. In the elbow-shoving city environment, he moved with a stride that exuded a power which not only commanded respect, but assumed it. I bet HE can get a text back, hell he's probably got girls waiting on him. This dude was dressed to kill, a navy suit that you could just tell from across the street was way out of my budget, it was a nice fucking suit. I want that. His life, across the street, seemed a world a way from my own. I've worn a suit maybe twice in my life. For my first communion, it was too big for me, I was eleven or whatever so who gives a shit, right? I'm positive I looked ridiculous. The other time? I can't remember. I want that. I want the suit. I want the wealth, the independence.I want the respect and power, and I don't give a shit what anyone thinks about it. Cue self doubt. Well, He's probably some rich banker's son. That's a world you're born into. I don't know shit about it. \sigh* keep walking..* A year later, I'm visiting my parents at their house, they live an hour away from my place. My dad is back from Tennessee, his engineering job was laying people off and he got canned... Or he saw the end was near and just left... I don't know, hard to pay attention to the guy honestly because he kind of just drones on and on. ("Wait, so your mom lives in Michigan, but your dad moved to Tennessee... for a job?" Yea man, I don't fucking know, not going to touch on that one.) The whole project was a shit show that was doomed to never get done, the way he tells it. And he's obviously jaded from multiple similar experiences at other life-sucking engineer jobs. My mom is a retired nurse practitioner who no longer works because of her illness. I ask him what he's doing for work now and he tells me he trades stocks from home. I didn't even know you could do that. I didn't know "trading" was a thing. I thought you just invest and hope for the best. "Oh that's cool, how much money do you need to do that?" "Ehh, most say you need at least $25,000 as a minimum" "Oh... guess I can't do that..." Six months later, I get a call and it's my dad. We talk a little about whatever. Off topic, he starts asking if I'm happy doing what I'm doing (I was a painter, commercial and residential) I tell him yes but it's kind of a pain in the ass and I don't see it as a long term thing. Then he gets around to asking if I'd like to come work with him. He basically pitches it to me. I'm not one to be sold on something, I'm always skeptical. So I ask all the questions that any rational person would ask and he just swats them away with reassuring phrases. He was real confident about it. But basically he says for this to work, I have to quit my job and move back home so he can teach me how to trade and be by my side so I don't do anything stupid. "My Name, you can make so much money." I say that I can't raise the $25,000 because I'm not far above just living paycheck to paycheck. "I can help you out with that." Wow, okay, well... let me think about it. My "maybe" very soon turned into a "definitely." So over the next six months, I continue to work my day job painting, and I try to save up what I could for the transition (it wasn't a whole lot, I sucked at saving. I was great at spending though!). My dad gives me a book on day trading (which I will mention later) and I teach myself what I can about the stock market using Investopedia. Also in the meantime, my dad sends me encouraging emails. He tells me to think of an annual income I would like to make as a trader, and used "more than $100,000 but less than a million" as a guideline. He tells me about stocks that he traded that day or just ones that moved and describes the basic price action and the prices to buy and sell at. Basically saying "if you bought X amount of shares here and sold it at X price here, you could make a quick 500 bucks!" I then use a trading sim to trade those symbols and try to emulate what he says. Piece of cake. ;) Wow, that's way more than what I make in a day. He tells me not to tell anyone about my trading because most people just think it's gambling. "Don't tell your Mom either." He says most people who try this fail because they don't know how to stop out and take a loss. He talks about how every day he was in a popular chatroom, some noob would say something like, "Hey guys, I bought at X price (high of day or thereabout), my account is down 80% .. uhh I'm waiting for it to come back to my entry price.. what do I do??" Well shit, I'm not that fucking dumb. If that's all it takes to make it is to buy low, sell high, and always respect a stop then I'll be fantastic. By the end of September, I was very determined. I had been looking forward everyday to quitting my painting job because while it used to be something I loved, it was just sucking the life out of me at this point. Especially working commercial, you just get worked like a dog. I wasn't living up to my potential with that job and I felt awful for it every minute of every day. I knew that I needed a job where I could use my brain instead of slaving my body to fulfill someone else's dream. "Someone's gotta put gas in the boss's boat" That's a line my buddy once said that he probably doesn't know sticks with me to this day. It ain't me. So now it was October 2018, and I'm back living with Mom n' Pops. I was so determined that on my last day of work I gave away all of my painting tools to my buddy like, "here, I don't need this shit." Moving out of my rental was easy because I don't own much, 'can't take it with ya.' Excited for the future I now spend my days bundled up in winter wear in the cold air of our hoarder-like basement with a space heater at my feet. My laptop connected to a TV monitor, I'm looking at stocks next to my dad and his screens in his cluttered corner. Our Trading Dungeon. I don't trade any money, (I wasn't aware of any real-time sim programs) I just watch and learn from my dad. Now you've got to keep in mind, and look at a chart of the S&P, this is right at the beginning of Oct '18, I came in right at the market top. Right at the start of the shit-show. For the next three or four weeks, I watch my dad pretty much scratch on every trade, taking small loss after small loss, and cursing under his breath at the screen. Click. "dammit." Click. "shit." Click. Click. "you fuck." Click. This gets really fucking annoying as time goes on, for weeks, and I get this attitude like ugh, just let me do it. I'll make us some fucking money. So I convince him to let me start trading live. I didn't know anything about brokers so I set up an account using his broker, which was Fidelity. It was a pain and I had to jump through a lot of hoops to be able to day trade with this broker. I actually had to make a joint account with my dad as I couldn't get approved for margin because my credit score is shit (never owned a credit card) and my net worth, not much. Anyways, they straight up discourage day trading and I get all kinds of warning messages with big red letters that made me shit myself like oooaaahhh what the fuck did I do now. Did I forget to close a position?? Did I fat finger an order? Am I now in debt for thousands of dollars to Fidelity?? They're going to come after me like they came after Madoff. Even after you are approved for PDT you still get these warning messages in your account. Some would say if I didn't comply with "whatever rule" they'd even suspend my account for 60 days. It was ridiculous, hard to describe because it doesn't make sense, and it took the support guy on the phone a good 20 minutes to explain it to me. Basically I got the answer "yea it's all good, you did nothing wrong. As long as you have the cash in your account to cover whatever the trade balance was" So I just kept getting these warnings that I had to ignore everyday. I hate Fidelity. My fist day trading, I made a few so-so trades and then I got impatient. I saw YECO breaking out and I chased, soon realized I chased, so I got out. -$500. Shit, I have to make that back, I don't want my dad to see this. Got back in. Shit. -$400. So my first day trading, I lost $900. My dumbass was using market orders so that sure didn't help. I reeled the risk back and traded more proper position size for a while, but the commissions for a round trip are $10, so taking six trades per day, I'm losing $60 at a minimum on top of my losing trades. Quickly I realized I didn't know what the hell I was doing. What about my dad? Does HE know? One day, in the trading dungeon, I was frustrated with the experience I'd been having and just feeling lost overall. I asked him. "So, are you consistently profitable?" "mmm... I do alright." "Yea but like, are you consistently profitable over time?" ......................... "I do alright." Silence. "Do you know any consistently profitable traders?" "Well the one who wrote that book I gave you, Tina Turner.. umm and there's Ross Cameron" ...................... "So you don't know any consistently profitable traders, personally.. People who are not trying to sell you something?" "no." ................... Holy fucking shit, what did this idiot get me into. He can't even say it to my face and admit it. This entire life decision, quitting my job, leaving my rental, moving from my city to back home, giving shit away, it all relied on that. I was supposed to be an apprentice to a consistently profitable day trader who trades for a living. It was so assumed, that I never even thought to ask! Why would you tell your son to quit his job for something that you yourself cannot do? Is this all a scam? Did my dad get sold a DREAM? Did I buy into some kind of ponzi scheme? How many of those winning trades he showed me did he actually take?Are there ANY consistently profitable DAY TRADERS who TRADE FOR A LIVING?Why do 90% fail? Is it because the other 10% are scamming the rest in some way? Completely lost, I just had no clue what was what. If I was going to succeed at this, if it was even possible to succeed at this, it was entirely up to me. I had to figure it out. I still remember the feeling like an overwhelming, crushing weight on me as it all sunk in. This is going to be a big deal.. I'm not the type to give up though. In that moment, I said to myself, I'm going to fucking win at this. I don't know if this is possible, but I'm going to find out. I cannot say with certainty that I will succeed, but no matter what, I will not give up. I'm going to give all of myself to this. I will find the truth. It was a deep moment for me. I don't like getting on my soapbox, but when I said those things, I meant it. I really, really meant it. I still do, and I still will. Now it might seem like I'm being hard on my dad. He has done a lot for me and I am very grateful for that. We're sarcastic as hell to each other, I love the bastard. Hell, I wouldn't have the opportunity to trade at all if not for him. But maybe you can also understand how overwhelmed I felt at that time. Not on purpose, of course he means well. But I am not a trusting person at all and I was willing to put trust into him after all the convincing and was very disappointed when I witnessed the reality of the situation. I would have structured this transition to trading differently, you don't just quit your job and start trading. Nobody was there to tell me that! I was told quite the opposite. I'm glad it happened anyway, so fuck it. I heard Kevin O'Leary once say, "If I knew in the beginning how difficult starting a business was, I don't know that I ever would've started." This applies very much to my experience. So what did I do? Well like everyone I read and read and Googled and Youtube'd my ass off. I sure as hell didn't pay for a course because I didn't have the money and I'm like 99% sure I would be disappointed by whatever they were teaching as pretty much everything can be found online or in books for cheap or free. Also I discovered Thinkorswim and I used that to sim trade in real-time for three months. This is way the hell different than going on a sim at 5x speed and just clicking a few buy and sell buttons. Lol, useless. When you sim trade in real-time you're forced to have a routine, and you're forced to experience missing trades with no chance to rewind or skip the boring parts. That's a step up because you're "in it". I also traded real money too, made some, lost more than I made. went back to sim. Traded live again, made some but lost more, fell back to PDT. Dad fronted me more cash. This has happened a few times. He's dug me out of some holes because he believes in me. I'm fortunate. Oh yeah, about that book my dad gave me. It's called A Beginner's Guide to Day Trading Online by Toni Turner. This book... is shit. This was supposed to be my framework for how to trade and I swear it's like literally nothing in this book fucking works lol. I could tell this pretty early on, intuitively, just by looking at charts. It's basically a buy-the-breakout type strategy, if you want to call it a strategy. No real methodology to anything just vague crap and showing you cherry-picked charts with entries that are way too late. With experience in the markets you will eventually come to find that MOST BREAKOUTS FAIL. It talks about support/resistance lines and describes them as, "picture throwing a ball down at the floor, it bounces up and then it bounces down off the ceiling, then back up." So many asinine assumptions. These ideas are a text book way of how to trade like dumb money. Don't get me wrong, these trades can work but you need to be able to identify the setups which are more probable and identify reasons not to take others. So I basically had to un-learn all that shit. Present day, I have a routine in place. I'm out of the dungeon and trade by myself in my room. I trade with a discount broker that is catered to day traders and doesn't rape me on commissions. My mornings have a framework for analyzing the news and economic events of the particular day, I journal so that I can recognize what I'm doing right and where I need to improve. I record my screens for later review to improve my tape reading skills. I am actually tracking my trades now and doing backtesting in equities as well as forex. I'm not a fast reader but I do read a lot, as much as I can. So far I have read about 17-18 books on trading and psychology. I've definitely got a lot more skilled at trading. As of yet I am not net profitable. Writing that sounds like selling myself short though, honestly. Because a lot of my trades are very good and are executed well. I have talent. However, lesser quality trades and trades which are inappropriately sized/ attempted too many times bring down that P/L. I'm not the type of trader to ignore a stop, I'm more the trader that just widdles their account down with small losses. I trade live because at this point, sim has lost its value, live trading is the ultimate teacher. So I do trade live but I just don't go big like I did before, I keep it small. I could show you trades that I did great on and make people think I'm killing it but I really just don't need the validation. I don't care, I'm real about it. I just want to get better. I don't need people to think I'm a genius, I'm just trying to make some money. Psychologically, to be honest with you, I currently feel beaten down and exhausted. I put a lot of energy into this, and sometimes I work myself physically sick, it's happened multiple times. About once a week, usually Saturday, I get a headache that lasts all day. My body's stress rebound mechanism you might call it. Getting over one of those sick periods now, which is why I barely even traded this week. I know I missed a lot of volatility this week and some A+ setups but I really just don't give a shit lol. I just currently don't have the mental capital, I think anyone who's been day trading every day for a year or more can understand what I mean by that. I'm still being productive though. Again, I'm not here to present an image of some badass trader, just keeping it real. To give something 100% day after day while receiving so much resistance, it takes a toll on you. So a break is necessary to avoid making bad trading decisions. That being said, I'm progressing more and more and eliminating those lesser quality trades and identifying my bad habits. I take steps to control those habits and strengthen my good habits such as having a solid routine, doing review and market research, taking profits at the right times, etc. So maybe I can give some advice to some that are new to day trading, those who are feeling lost, or just in general thinking "...What the fuck..." I thought that every night for the first 6 months lol. First of all, manage expectations. If you read my story of how I came to be a trader, you can see I had a false impression of trading in many aspects. Give yourself a realistic time horizon to how progress should be made. Do not set a monetary goal for yourself, or any time-based goal that is measured in your P/L. If you tell yourself, "I want to make X per day, X per week, or X per year" you're setting yourself up to feel like shit every single day when it's clear as the blue sky that you won't reach that goal anytime soon. As a matter of fact, it will appear you are moving further AWAY from that goal if you just focus on your P/L, which brings me to my next point. You will lose money. In the beginning, most likely, you will lose money. I did it, you'll do it, the greatest Paul Tudor Jones did it. Trading is a skill that needs to be developed, and it is a process. Just look at it as paying your tuition to the market. Sim is fine but don't assume you have acquired this skill until you are adept at trading real money. So when you do make that leap, just trade small. Just survive. Trade small. get the experience. Protect your capital. To reach break even on your bottom line is a huge accomplishment. In many ways, experience and screen time are the secret sauce. Have a routine. This is very important. I actually will probably make a more in-depth post in the future about this if people want it. When I first started, I was overwhelmed with the feeling "What the fuck am I supposed to DO?" I felt lost. There's no boss to tell you how to be productive or how to find the right stocks, which is mostly a blessing, but a curse for new traders. All that shit you see, don't believe all that bullshit. You know what I'm talking about. The bragposting, the clickbait Youtube videos, the ads preying on you. "I made X amount of money in a day and I'm fucking 19 lolz look at my Lamborghini" It's all a gimmick to sell you the dream. It's designed to poke right at your insecurities, that's marketing at it's finest. As for the bragposting on forums honestly, who cares. And I'm not pointing fingers on this forum, just any trading forum in general. They are never adding anything of value to the community in their posts. They never say this is how I did it. No, they just want you to think they're a genius. I can show you my $900 day trading the shit out of TSLA, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Gamblers never show you when they lose, you might never hear from those guys again because behind the scenes, they over-leveraged themselves and blew up. Some may actually be consistently profitable and the trades are 100% legit. That's fantastic. But again, I don't care, and you shouldn't either. You shouldn't compare yourself to others. "Everyone's a genius in a bull market" Here's the thing.. Markets change. Edges disappear. Trading strategies were made by traders who traded during times when everything they did worked. Buy all the breakouts? Sure! It's the fucking tech bubble! Everything works! I'm sure all those typical setups used to work fantastically at some point in time. But the more people realize them, the less effective they are. SOMEONE has to be losing money on the opposite side of a winning trade, and who's willing to do that when the trade is so obvious? That being said, some things are obvious AND still work. Technical analysis works... sometimes. The caveat to that is, filters. You need to, in some way, filter out certain setups from others. For example, you could say, "I won't take a wedge pattern setup on an intraday chart unless it is in a higher time frame uptrend, without nearby resistance, and trading above average volume with news on that day." Have a plan. If you can't describe your plan, you don't have one. Think in probabilities. You should think entirely in "if, then" scenarios. If X has happens, then Y will probably happen. "If BABA breaks this premarket support level on the open I will look for a pop up to short into." Backtest. Most traders lose mainly because they think they have an edge but they don't. You read these books and all this stuff online telling you "this is a high probability setup" but do you know that for a fact? There's different ways to backtest, but I think the best way for a beginner is manual backtesting with a chart and an excel sheet. This builds up that screen time and pattern recognition faster. This video shows how to do that. Once I saw someone do it, it didn't seem so boring and awful as I thought it was. Intelligence is not enough. You're smarter than most people, that's great, but that alone is not enough to make you money in trading necessarily. Brilliant people try and fail at this all the time, lawyers, doctors, surgeons, engineers.. Why do they fail if they're so smart? It's all a fucking scam. No, a number of reasons, but the biggest is discipline and emotional intelligence. Journal every day.K no thanks, bro. That's fucking gay. That's how I felt when I heard this advice but really that is pride and laziness talking. This is the process you need to do to learn what works for you and what doesn't. Review the trades you took, what your plan was, what actually happened, how you executed. Identify what you did well and what you can work on. This is how you develop discipline and emotional intelligence, by monitoring yourself. How you feel physically and mentally, and how these states affect your decision-making. Always be learning. Read as much as you can. Good quality books. Here's the best I've read so far; Market Wizards -Jack Schwager One Good Trade -Mike Bellafiore The Daily Trading Coach -Bret Steenbarger Psycho-cybernetics -Maxwell Maltz Why You Win or Lose -Fred Kelly The Art and Science of Technical Analysis -Adam Grimes Dark Pools -Scott Patterson Be nimble. Everyday I do my research on the symbols I'm trading and the fundamental news that's driving them. I might be trading a large cap that's gapping up with a beat on EPS and revenue and positive guidance. But if I see that stock pop up and fail miserably on the open amidst huge selling pressure, and I look and see the broader market tanking, guess what, I'm getting short, and that's just day trading. The movement of the market, on an intraday timeframe, doesn't have to make logical sense. Adapt. In March I used to be able to buy a breakout on a symbol and swing it for the majority of the day. In the summer I was basically scalping on the open and being done for the day. Volatility changes, and so do my profit targets. Be accountable. Be humble. Be honest. I take 100% responsibility for every dime I've lost or made in the market. It's not the market makers fault, it wasn't the HFTs, I pressed the button. I know my bad habits and I know my good habits.. my strengths/ my weaknesses. Protect yourself from toxicity. Stay away from traders and people on forums who just have that negative mindset. That "can't be done" mentality. Day trading is a scam!! It can certainly be done. Prove it, you bastard. I'm posting to this particular forum because I don't see much of that here and apparently the mods to a good job of not tolerating it. As the mod wrote in the rules, they're most likely raging from a loss. Also, the Stocktwits mentality of "AAPL is going to TANK on the open! $180, here we come. $$$" , or the grandiose stories, "I just knew AMZN was going to go up on earnings. I could feel it. I went ALL IN. Options money, baby! ka-ching!$" Lol, that is so toxic to a new trader. Get away from that. How will you be able to remain nimble when this is your thought process? Be good to yourself. Stop beating yourself up. You're an entrepreneur. You're boldly going where no man has gone before. You've got balls. Acknowledge your mistakes, don't identify with them. You are not your mistakes and you are not your bad habits. These are only things that you do, and you can take action necessary to do them less. It doesn't matter what people think. Maybe they think you're a fool, a gambler. You don't need their approval. You don't need to talk to your co-workers and friends about it to satisfy some subconscious plea for guidance; is this a good idea? You don't need anyone's permission to become the person you want to be. They don't believe in you? Fuck 'em. I believe in you.
[LONG] My Story of Disillusionment with and Disappointment in the World and Myself
Intro. This might be a long one. I hope someone reads the thing, I put like 3 hours into writing it. A brief story of my life and how it all led up to this moment, where I am disillusioned with my self-image, my life choices, and certain aspects of the world, and have no idea what to do next. Warning: this whole thing might be a little depressing to read. Childhood. I am a 20yo Russian male. During my childhood, I was made to believe that I am capable of doing something great and doing better than anyone. At the same time I developed a very non-conformist life stance and very often rejected things and ideas simply because they were too popular for my taste, and I couldn't feel special whilst enjoying them. Of course, in turn, society rejected me, as it does with anyone who doesn't play by the rules. Oh well. My only redeeming quality was that I considered myself pretty smart. Which is even easier to assume, when at the same time you think that you're different from everyone else. Now, I know that to some extent, I was indeed smarter than most people in certain areas. Unlike most people I knew back then, often with bare minimum efforts I was able to maintain near perfect grades at school. I was also enjoying learning new things and reading more than an average person. So, let's just say, I had a basis to assume I was a smart dude. I wasn't happy and content with my life, though. I never had real friends, because I only hung out with people when they were my classmates/roommates/co-workers, and after we parted ways, I rarely if ever contacted them afterwards. I always enjoyed doing things you usually do in solitude more, because when I was alone, I wouldn't be afraid that someone could hurt me for being different. Because of that, I was never in a romantic relationship. High School. Still, life was going okay. By the end of school, I kind of accepted my social deficiency and I wanted to focus on improving the world and become a successful person - for myself. I was facing a dilemma, though. Despite the fact that I was doing great in school, the idea of having to invest four years of my time into studying something really specific, and then having to work another 20-30 years on the same job was terrifying, because I had no idea what I liked to do! Nothing seemed interesting to me, I didn't have a passion for doing anything... Thanks to my video game addiction, which made me lazy as fuck, probably. I also needed to meet my criteria for success with my future job, which included being financially successful. I grew up in top 1% income family, so... I always felt the pressure to outperform or at least match my parents' income. Enter trading. My dad discovered investing several years ago (we don't live in US, so most of the people aren't as financially savvy, so he never thought about investing before then). I was always curious about financial independence and markets, but now I was seeing it all done in front of me, I realized that it might be a good opportunity to make a lot of money and become successful without being socially adept, which is something absolutely required in business or politics. So, I asked my father to open a brokerage account for me in the US, and started swing trading (trading in weekly/monthly time frames). I could only trade slow and small because of the trade restrictions put on accounts <$25k and <21yo in the US. Still, it was going well, but in hindsight I was just lucky to be there during a great bull market. Even before I thought trading and more importantly investing were the ways smart people make money. I thought simply because I was conventionally smart, I had a talent or an innate ability to pick innovative stocks and do venture investing when I grow some capital. I truly believed in that long before I was introduced to financial markets, I believed that my surface level understanding of multiple areas of cutting edge and emerging technology would give me an edge compared to all the other investors. US Community College and Return Back. In the end, I've decided I want to go to a US community college and study finance and become a trader and later an investor, but I didn't want to work for a fund or something like that (lazy ass). I wanted to use my knowledge and skill and my own money to grow my net worth and make a living. I didn't really like the process of trading, I just needed the money to live by while I was trying to figure out what else to do with my life. Because I thought I were smart, I thought this would come easily to me. Boy was I wrong. From the nicest of conditions in my hometown, I was suddenly moved into a foreign setting, on the other side of the planet away form my family and mates, with a video game addiction and laziness that ruined my daily routine and studying as well. The fact that I didn't like my major was not helping. My grades fell from A- in the first quarter to C+ in the last. I gained +30% from my normal weight. I was stressed out, not going outside and sitting at my computer desk for days at a time, skipping all the classes I could if they were not absolutely essential for my grades, living on prepared foods. I never got out of my shell and barely talked to anyone in English, all of my friends were Russian speaking. I wasted an opportunity to improve my speaking, although aside from that my English skills satisfy me. By the end of community college, last summer, I was left with B grades that wouldn't let me transfer anywhere decent, and the extreme stress that I put myself through started taking a toll on my mental health. I was planning to take a break and go back to Russia for several months, and transfer back to a US uni this winter. Needless to say, you can't run from yourself. It didn't really become much better after a few months in Russia. I didn't want to study finance anymore, because it was boring and I was exhausted. I still had the video game addiction, still was lazy and gained some more extra pounds of weight. I was not sleeping at all, extremely sleep deprived for months. Because of this and lack of mental stimulation I started to become dumber. And all that was happening where I didn't really have to do anything: not study or work, just sit around the house and do whatever I wanted. Turns out, these conditions didn't help me to get out of the incoming depression. Finally, around November, when I already sent out all of my transfer applications and already got some positive answers from several universities, I knew I didn't have much time left at home, and I had to leave soon. But I really, really didn't want to go back. It was scarier than the first time. I was afraid of new changes, I just wanted for the time to stop and letting me relax, heal... I was having suicidal thoughts and talked about it with my family and my therapist. They were all supportive and helped me as much as they could. But I was the only person who could really help myself. If I wanted to breathe freely, I had to admit defeat and not go back to the US to continue my education. It was extremely hard at first, but then I just let go. I decided to find a temporary job as an English tutor and give myself time to think. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of money in my trading account. I still thought that I was pretty smart, despite failing college, so I figured, why not try move it to Russian brokers who don't have trading restrictions, and do it full time? Which is exactly what I did. And I started to study trading all by myself at a fast pace. I was now trading full time and it was going sideways: +10% in December, -20% in January. Then, something incredible happened. I was already in a shitty place in life, but I still had some hope for my future. Things were about to get much worse. I'm in the late January, and I discovered for myself that the whole financial industry of the world was a fraud. Brief Explanation of My Discoveries. In the image of the financial industry, there are several levels of perceived credibility. In the bottom tier, there is pure gambling. In my country, there were periods when binary options trading and unreliable Forex brokers were popular among common folk, but these were obvious and unsophisticated fraudsters who were one step away from being prosecuted. There are also cryptocurrencies that don't hold any value and are also used only for speculation/redistribution of wealth. There is also a wonderful gambling subreddit wallstreetbets where most users don't even try to hide the fact that what they are doing is pure gambling. I love it. But the thing is, this is trading/investing for the people who have no idea what it is, and most people discredit it as a fraud, which it, indeed, is. These examples are 99% marketing/public image and 1% finance. But these offer x10-1000 returns in the shortest time span. Typical get-rich-quick schemes, but they attract attention. Then, there is trading tier. You can have multiple sub levels here, in the bottom of this tier we would probably have complex technical analysis (indicators) and daily trading/scalping. I was doing this in the DecembeJanuary. At the top would be people who do fundamental analysis (study financial reports) and position trade (monthly time frames). Now, there is constant debate in the trading community whether technical analysis or fundamental analysis is better. I have a solid answer to the question. They work in the same way. Or rather, they don't work at all. You'd ask: "Why you didn't discover this earlier? You were in this financial thing for several years now!" Well, you see, unlike on the previous level, here millions of people say that they actually believe trading works and there is a way to use the available tools to have great returns. Some of these people actually know that trading doesn't work, but they benefit from other traders believing in it, because they can sell them courses or take brokerage fees from them. Still, when there are millions around you telling you that it works, even a non-conformist like me would budge. Not that many people actually participate in the markets, so I thought that by being in this minority made me smart and protected from fraudsters. Lol. All it took for me to discover the truth is to accidentally discover that some technical indicators give random results, do a few google searches, reach some scientific studies which are freely available and prove that technical and fundamental analysis don't work. It was always in front of me, but the fucking trading community plugged my ears and closed my eyes shut so I wasn't able to see it. Trading usually promises 3-15% gain a month. A huge shock, but surely there was still a way for me to work this out? Active investing it is! The next level, active investing, is different from trading. You aim for 15-50% yearly returns, but you don't have to do as much work. You hold on to stocks of your choice for years at a time, once in a while you study the markets, re balance your portfolio, etc. Or you invest your money in a fund, that will select the stocks of their choice and manage their and your portfolio for you. For a small fee of course. All of these actions are aimed at trying to outperform the gain the market made as a whole, and so called index funds, which invest in basically everything and follow the market returns - about 7-10% a year. And if I ever had any doubts in trading, I firmly believed that active investing works since I was a little kid (yes I knew about it back then). And this is where the real fraud comes in. The whole Wall Street and every broker, every stock exchange in the world are a part of a big fraud. Only about 10-20% of professional fund managers outperform the market in any 15 year period. If you take 30 years, this dwindles to almost nothing, which means that no one can predict the markets. These people have no idea what they are doing. Jim Cramer is pure show-business and has no idea what's going on. Warren Buffet gained his fortune with pure luck, and for every Buffet there are some people who made only a million bucks and countless folks who lost everything. Wall Street. They have trillions of dollars and use all that money and power and marketing to convince you that there is a way to predict where the stocks are going without being a legal insider or somehow abusing the law. They will make you think you can somehow learn from them where to invest your money on your own or they will make you believe that you should just give it to them and they will manage it for you, because they know how everything works and they can predict the future using past data. They won't. They don't. They can't. There are studies and statistics to prove it countless times over the span of a 100 years. But they will still charge you exchange fees, brokerage fees and management fees anyway. And they also manipulate certain studies, lobby where and when they need it, and spread misinformation on an unprecedented scale, creating a positive image of themselves. And everyone falls for that. Billions of people around the globe still think it's all legit. Passive index investing is the last level. You just put your money in the market and wait. Markets will go up at a predetermined rate. If there's a crisis, in 10 years no one will even remember. Markets always go up in the end. But passive index investing can only give you only 7% inflation-adjusted returns a year. Not enough to stop working or even retire early, unless you have a high-paying job in a first-world country. I don't. Despite all that, to put it simply, this is the only type of investing that works and doesn't involve any kind of fraud or gambling. It's the type of investing that will give you the most money. If you want to know why it is like that and how to do it, just go to financialindependence. They know this stuff better than any other sub. Better than investing, trading or any other sub where non-passive-index investing is still discussed as viable strategy. Back to me. My whole being was fucked over, my hopes and dreams and understanding of success and how this world works were shattered. I realized, I had no future in financial industry, because only middlemen make money in there, and I quit college needed to get there. Frankly, I wouldn't want to work there even if I had the opportunity. The pay is good, but the job is boring and I wouldn't want to be a part of this giant scheme anyway. But even if I wanted to go back, I also couldn't. Russia is in a worsening crisis and my parents could no longer afford a US university and now with coronavirus it's even worse. Good thing I quit before it all happened. I learned a valuable lesson and didn't lose that much money for it (only about 10% of my savings). God knows where it would lead me if I continued to be delusional. But now that my last temporary plans for the future were scrapped, I had no idea what to do next. The future. With the reality hitting me, I would lie if I say it didn't all come full circle and connect to my past. I realized that I was stupid and not intelligent, because I was living in a made-up world for years now. But even if I were intelligent, pure wit would not give me the success and fortune that I was craving, because trading and active investing were a no-go for me, and business/politics require a very different, extroverted mindset, different education and interest from my own. My only redeeming quality in a hopeless introvert world, my perceived intelligence was taken away from me and rendered useless at the same time. Besides, failing at that one thing made me insecure about everything and now I think of myself as an average individual. So, if 8 out of 10 businesses fail, I shouldn't start one because I will probably fail. And if most politicians don't get anywhere, why should I bother? If average salary in my country is X, I shouldn't hope for more. I stopped believing in my ability to achieve something. First, I failed at education and now I failed... Professionally? I don't know how to describe it, but my life recently was just an emotional roller coaster. I just feel like a very old person and all I want calmness and stability in my life. I was very lazy before just because, but now I feel like I also don't want to do anything because I feel I would just fail. It feels better now I don't have to worry about trading anymore and I got rid of that load... But I am still miserable and perhaps worse than ever, maybe I just don't understand and feel it because I've become slow and numb. The only positive thing that happened to me recently, is that I finally started losing weight and about 1/4 of the way back to my normal weight. As for my future, am looking at several possibilities here. So far the parents are allowing my miserable life to continue and they let me live with them and buy me food. I don't need anything else right now. But it can't go on like this forever. The thought of having a mundane low-paying job in this shithole of a country depresses me. I will probably temporarily do English tutoring if there's demand for such work. My old school friends want me to help them in their business and my dad wants me to help him in his, I and probably should, but I feel useless, pathetic and incapable of doing anything of value. And business just seems boring, difficult and too stressful for me right now. Just not my cup of tea. I am also looking at creative work. I love video games, music, films and other forms of art. I love the games most though, so I am looking into game dev. I don't really like programming, I have learned some during school years, but the pay would probably be higher for a programmer than an creator of any kind of art. However, I think I would enjoy art creation much more, but I don't have any experience in drawing and only some limited experience in music production. And I am not one of these kids who always had a scrapbook with them at school. Having to make another life choice paralyzes me. I am leaning towards art. I don't feel confident in my ability to learn this skill from scratch, but I think it's my best shot at finding a job that would make me happy. So perhaps, when this whole pandemic is over, I'll go to Europe and get my degree, get a job there and stay. American Dream is dead to me, and Europe is cheaper, closer, safe and comfortable. Just the thing for a person who feels like they are thrice their real age. Outro. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. Special thanks if you read the whole thing, it means a whole lot to me, an internet stranger. But even if no one reads it, feels good to get this off my chest. I actually cried during writing some parts. Holy shit, this might be the longest and smartest looking thing my dumbed down head could manage to generate since college. I hope that you're having a great day. Stay healthy and be careful during this fucking pandemic. All the best.
Analysis paralysis according to Wikipedia is the state of over analyzing (or overthinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. Have you ever being in of those scenarios where you see what you believe initially to be a perfectly good trade setup, however as you continue to analyse and study the situation you begin to feel less and less confident about the trade and you are not sure why this happened. I know most traders would have encountered this scenario at some point in their trading journey because I myself have also experienced it. This is a common scenario for traders and it occurs mostly when the trader has too much congestion in their thinking. With this highly congested thinking which happens as a result of too many detailed options, it leads to the outcome of a choice not being made. Analysis paralysis can happen in trading when the trader is afraid of making any decision that could to lead to a bad trade. Most traders often over analyse themselves right out of a quality trade setup, and it can be very much problematic, in the sense that it can have severe negative consequences on the traders performance and the traders psychology. Over analysis can also cause a trader to jump out of a perfectly good trade they have already executed. The purpose of this article is to figure out the ways analysis paralysis negatively impacts trading and its solutions. Too many external influences Have you ever been in a scenario when you woke up in the morning, get yourself ready, turn on your laptop, pull up your trading platform, go through it and spot a very good setup, a setup that defines your edge then you decide to pull up cnbc, Bloomberg etc or you decide to ask your friend. After all you have read and hearing your friends opinion about that setup you realize your mindset has been turned against the setup you were so confident about before you decided to listen to other opinions, then you shut your laptop only for you to turn it back on later to see that the setup is playing out exactly as you initially anticipated it to. Solution: Making a decision to ignore external influences The key to ignoring external influences such as the ones discussed above is to be a lone soldier in this psychological battlefield called the forex market. This is something every trader must do because their survival and tendency to arrive at a consistent and successful trading journey depends on it. For this lone ranger status to be attained the trader needs to simply gain the understanding and knowledge that these external influences are only there to hurt them. Once the trader fully believes and accepts this, such trader will no longer care about them and instead focus more on mastering their trading method. Thinking yourself out of a good trade Most traders including me have been a victim of this scenario when you find a perfectly good setup that meets your edge in the market and instead of pulling the trigger and executing the trade you are just sited in front of your chart paralyzed as a result of over analyzing, and over thinking, looking around at different variables until you convince yourself the trade setup would not work. Solution: Don’t think so hard about it This aspect is a little bit complicated because there a lot of reasons traders think themselves out of perfectly good trading setups but the main two are fear and uncertainty. For a trader to become consistent and successful such trader needs to stop being afraid of losing money and the best way to overcome this fear is to accept it. Having it in mind that even the best traders in the world do have losing trades. having this in mind will help you eliminate the fear of losses. Also have it in mind that every trade is just another execution of your trading edge, don’t think too hard when you see a signal that meets your edge instead just pull the trigger by executing the trade and walking away. Having a clustered chart Analysis paralysis would definitely creep in when it discovers a trader has a clustered chart, when I say a clustered chart I mean when a traders chart is crowded with different indicators like moving averages, stochastic, Bollinger bands etc I am not saying indicators are not good because I myself use a few of them but what I’m saying is that some traders chart can look messy because they have many different indicators on their chart and with trying to analyse all the numerous indicators all at the same would lead to analysis paralysis. Solution: Decluster your chart This one is very much straight forward, all the trader needs to do is to decluster their chart by removing all the conflicting indicators from their chart and adopt a straight forward, less conflicting trading method like price action trading. Not having an edge Analysis paralysis can also creep in when a trader doesn’t have an edge in the market. When a trader doesn’t know what to look out for before pulling the trigger, such trader can be presented with a perfectly good setup and still won’t do anything. Solution: Get an edge All a trader in this situation needs to do is to research a trading method that suites his/her own personality, master it, and use it as their own edge in the market Too little confidence in your ability as a trader Any trader who isn’t confident in their ability to trade would definitely attract analysis paralysis because such trader would always second guess themselves. As a trader you need to be decisive to make money. Solution: Get proper training and quality screen time The best solutions to low self confidence when it comes to forex trading are education and quality screen time. So any trader that finds themselves in this situation should get proper education on forex trading and after obtaining education and mastering a trading strategy the trader should simply get quality screen time by practicing their trading system on a demo account or on a live account with small funds, this would do a good job by boosting their confidence as traders. In conclusion, even the best traders in the world at some point in their lives went through analysis paralysis scenarios. Scenarios where they have over thought and over analysed themselves out of quality setups but at the end of the day they still turned out good. So if you are having this issue carefully read the solutions and set out on your journey of departing from the island of analysis paralysis.
I am a painter, one of those wannabe kind working on convenience store to fund art school fee and other bills. Not a grand beginning for the story, I know, but that’s life..
Graduating from school was easy, granted the school standard isn’t that great, climbing up from being nameless artist is not. A slump after slump and I found myself stuck with the same routine of working late night behind counter waiting for the next customer. Filling the downtime with dreams of all kinds of landscape I could have painted during the day. Sadly most of it didn’t came out as good as I imagined in reality, a little bit off color here and there, fuck up with the perspective and other stuff.
So here I am; Staring at another empty canvas a few minutes before going to work, bills loitered on my feet; I don’t even bother to open them. All my attention are focused on the canvas, my supposed masterpiece to pay for all the failed ones.
Money from my parents’ death insurance have all but dried up now, I only had this empty canvas and a few others as the only way to bail out from being homeless. My family home occupied quite a large plot of land, and taxes…
There’s advice from my friend to rent some room to counteract the bills, but the thought of someone else walking inside our house, using my parents bedroom and shits on their toilet is no go for me. My social anxiety really hits at it worst.
Discarding all negative thoughts from my head. I closed my eyes; Clenching it tightly even. Brain worked hard to fill the empty dark space with a majestic landscape. Yet, what I saw is the most lackluster imagination ever.
My workplace, just a normal convenience store with nagging manager behind the counter. His face grimmed as if telling me to swap with him so he can smoke cigarette in the back alley. The only reason I was able to stand his tyranny is because of the higher than average payroll, and as if this jackass knew about it, he would work us twice as hard to take advantage of it.
Sometimes I wonder if that’s the reason why no one applied the job vacancy for another clerk. There’s only three of us working regularly apart from him. Me, James, the day-specialist, and Tom, our one way drive for all customer support. Things are okay between the three of us, our mutual dislike for the manager may be a small grease on our relationship.
James are studying for his night class law school. Already garnering enough money to last until graduation and job hunting. I once asked him why he didn’t just put the pedal on the gas and look for a more comfortable workplace; to which he answer “The moment some miserable sap took that vacancy offer you will not see me near this place again; To be honest, the only reason I’m staying is because of you and Tom. I’m still leaving after graduating though.”
Tom is one of those people seem to be bred for the purpose of customer support. Outgoing, cheerful, not blowing up when the customer asked stupid questions. On his day off he would be climbing mountains or snorkeling some mythical saltwater filled with fishes and coral I have never seen before.
His souvenir for me is always a dozen of landscape photos, which is a gold pile for me. I always found it to be pretty funny, a landscape painter who is afraid of going outside because he can't paint while someone is watching, or worried that someone might be; So he only could sit inside his room, staring at his friend’s photos before magically transferring it into the canvas. Oh, how the wolf would howl at the moon. Desiring it despite incapable of reaching it. There’s often times I began to question my life choices, but I no longer have any money to start learning other trades. So here I am, sitting on plastic chair with eyes closed in front of empty canvas hating my boss and contemplating my life. Nope, this isn’t going to work. Not today at least. I put the canvas cover back, covering my failure of creating some art worthy of a penny once again. Barely stood up before my hand phone vibrate on my desk. A message from James asking me if I’m available to replace him right now, a few hours before schedule. Apparently he just remembered an important assignment due tomorrow, and that Stalin-reborn-and-worse doesn’t allow him to work on it during downtime.
Sure, why not, I’m not doing anything productive anyway. Might as well get some extra cash.
The day was uneventful. Average number of customer, average number of unclear scolding, average number of extra hours to pay for not-so-average bills.
Tom, being an amazing person that he is. Offered a night out at local bar nearby after we closed the store. Being a poor sob that I am, rarely went out to night entertainment and currently near bankruptcy, almost instantly refuse his good intentions. The keyword is ‘almost’ , as he finished his sentence with two first drinks on his tab. Free alcohol during rough times is as good as water for fishes, and I am a big, thirsty fish right now.
The bar itself is nothing stellar, no young underage kids doing drugs or puking in the corner. Although I have to give A+ for their beverages collection.
So here I am, trying not to abuse Tom’s kindness, ordered a simple drink before he does it for me; No mixes, no fancy name, just your normal convenience store middle-class alcohol I recognized on their shelf.
The bartender gives me a stern look, as if asking what I’m doing there.
“Easy there John, he is with me. Be kind to him.” said Tom from behind me.
The so-called John just grunted and went to grab some glasses for both of us while pointing to a table in the middle of the room.
“What’s the deal with him?” I asked Tom after we sit on our destined table.
“I forgot to tell you, John only serve to old-timer and their friends. Visit a few times and perhaps he will acknowledge you as customer; if not?, better don’t try to come here without me. John is a bit eccentric, but nothing could beat his drinks.” Now, that’s one weird business practice. I want to ask more about it, but Tom was already busy answering greetings from fellow customer. So I had to satisfy my curiosity with a good look around the bar. Wondering how good his drinks is to be able to maintain steady flow of customer with low rate of first-timers.
A good bump on the table made me turn my head with the acceleration of Ferrari. John’s face is right in front of me once again with previous stern look, making me wonder if that’s his normal expression. His eyes are locked at me, silently ordered me to stay still on my chair and be nice.
“Thanks John, you are quick as always!” Tom already finished his greetings and nonchalantly tapping John’s shoulder without a care of showdown between us.
“Umm.. I haven’t ordered yet.” My brittle voice slowly raise a question in response of three unknown liquor John brought. Trying my best to avoid the rage of the bartender in front of me.
“Those two are your initiation drink. John will measure your worth and bravery for a fair price of half the usual, which of course, went into my tab. A great deal is it not?” Tom smirked on me, as if he just shared a surefire way to get rich quick on Forex.
I normally would jump at any deal for half the price, being as broke as homeless right now; But still,I am not that desperate enough to just accept suspicious drink for someone who is staring dagger on me, at least if he’s not twice as big as I am and the drink is payed by someone to console me.
The first drink torches my throat, and I can't remember the second one, as well as the rest of the night.
Tom’s laugh and John’s face is all I could remember before everything went fuzzy. although John’s smiling face is somewhat disturbing enough for me to doubt its accuracy. Made me seriously reconsider the value of gap moe.
I woke up the morning after with serious hangover and lack of water in my system; After bumping into all edges on my house furniture, I finally reach the fridge and get a nice cool bottled water to reinvigorate it.
Not too soon after finishing the whole bottle, I heard my phone ringtone from somewhere inside the house. I followed the sound into my bedroom, where the phone just laid itself on the bed.
The screen showed the current call is from Tom, as well as plethora of missed call and message. 13:04 is current time, damn that was one serious hangover.
I raised the phone to my ear and accept the call. Almost missing the ear-hole due to how dizzy I am still.
“Yo Tom, what’s up?”
“Your goddamn ass is up. Where the hell have you been!? “
“Well, maybe I have a hangover? Because last night someone took me to a bar and serve me some weird stuff.”
“Don’t you read my message man!? Barry is dead, they found him laid on top of the counter with store’s money scattered on top of him! The police is looking for you right now because you didn't answer their call!”
“Barry? Barry who?”
“Barry our shitty manager you slowpoke! Our boss is dead and you better call the police station right-”
I couldn’t hear what else Tom had to say, as the phone dropped to the floor as soon as I opened the canvas on the side of my bed.
Someone had moved it here from my study room, and only managed to pull cover over half of it, revealing obvious sign of a painting hidden beneath it.
A monstrous and horrifying painting, the exact same layout as I imagined it before going out to work yesterday, albeit with one addition.
A body, laid atop the counter, with blood dripping from it onto the floor. His eyes look directly to me from inside the painting with the same grim; death grim.
My knees gave out and fell to the floor. My eyes directly in front of a scratch of red paint on bottom corner of the painting. A signature.
The third part of "Sockets" that was deleted by /r/nosleep mods because it was considered "torture porn." I can't say I blame them.
Good afternoon, readers! My name is Rudolph Baylor. I am composing and submitting this narrative of last night’s events from my, and our, friend Iia’s Reddit account for reasons I will momentarily reveal. For the sake of full disclosure, I must admit I am the man with whom Iia has been working. Now that we are on the same page, I will provide a bit of personal backstory heretofore unknown to you all. As I mentioned above, I am Rudolph Baylor. I’m 52 years old. In what now seems like a past life, I was a day-trader who made quite a bit of money in the forex markets during the early growing-pains of the Euro adoption. I’m by no means a King Midas, but I’ll just say I’ve been quite fortunate. One of the problems with making enough money in a few years to last one’s lifetime is trying to fill the following years with purpose. I ended up doing what many, many people have done when searching for purpose: I trawled the Internet. Most of this trawling was to kill time. I make no effort to hide that fact. As a man uninterested in the hedonia that drives others to seek social and sexual interactions, I sought intellectual stimulation on the World Wide Web. Between 2002 and 2011, I read hundreds of thousands of journals, followed the rise and fall of popular online fora, and became a prolific contributor to Wikipedia. If this sounds like a boring life, you may compliment yourself on having good analytical instincts. The problem was, my options were (and are) limited. Some of you may have gathered, based on Iia’s accounts of our time together, that I have a superhuman ability to ignore pain. Unfortunately, there is nothing superhuman about it. Congenital analgesia carries great risks - not only to my physical well-being, but to my pride; not being able to feel pain means not being able to feel the pressure of my bladder or bowels. I make timed trips to the restroom every day to prevent an accident. Leaving the controlled environment of my home carries more unpredictability than I wish to endure. You can imagine how difficult my school years were; especially when the only physical sensations I seem to be able to feel involves tickling. I’ve digressed. In an effort to make this biographical tirade short, I will endeavor to get, as they say, to the point. The latter portion of my Internet research time became highly specialized as I developed a strong interest in herpetology - specifically gecko lizards. Those wishing for an explanation as to why those animals resonated so deeply within me will come away disappointed. Anyone’s guess is as good as mine. The best I can come up with is that it is simply a manifestation of body dysmorphia resultant from my experiences as a child with my medical condition. My self-diagnosis of body dysmorphia led me to research the condition and seek out biographical accounts of other sufferers. The vast majority of those accounts were from victims of eating disorders, and, more recently, from transgender individuals. Very few people claimed to experience a feeling of belonging to another species. The few I did encounter, mostly on websites such as Tumblr and Reddit, labeled themselves as x-kin, with the x representing the animal with which they identified. Therefore, in the parlance of our times, I guess I am a geckokin. Assuming I’d only be happy once I at least attempted to “become” that which I felt so close to, I placed the Craigslist ad, met Iia, and everything went basically according to the two stories that preceded this one. Now, as for why this is being posted from Iia’s account, the answer is very simple: I followed him home, knocked him out, and have tied him to his kitchen table. Why am I telling you all of this? For those asking that question, good for you! From one inquisitive mind to another, I appreciate your investigative drive. I’m telling you all of this to raise awareness of what happens when someone with a severe mental disturbance has no choice but to act on his urges. If I were to admit my geckokin nature to a professional, all it would lead to would be an attempt to “treat” my condition rather than help me embrace who I really am. I know who I am; or, at least who I will be. It’s unfortunate for Iia that he needs to experience what I’m certain will be a great level of discomfort, but all great leaps forward in societal progress have their casualties. On some level, I’m sure he will understand. It’s fortunate that Iia doesn’t have neighbors nearby. He just won’t stop screaming. How he managed to find an apartment building that’s in such horrendous disrepair astounds me; one would think that being one of the only tenants in a building that has 70-something apartments would be an indication to avoid signing a lease. Still, I won’t pretend to understand the rationale behind his decisions. I’m sure he didn’t understand why I asked him to do what he did to me. Such a busy night ahead of us! The next phase of my transformation is more dangerous than the work Iia did on me and I wouldn’t trust anyone other than myself to do it. Still, I need to practice on at least one other person so I don’t get it wrong and really hurt myself in the process. So far, I’m working to get Iia’s transformation up where mine is. I’d already taken out all but two of his teeth. As he said in his first story, those molars are a bitch. I got the last one in the upper right-hand quadrant with the hammer. I warned him that his sobbing would make him aspirate some of the bone chips. Did he listen? No. In his blubbering, he inhaled a couple shards of tooth and I had to wait a half hour until he stopped coughing them up. The molar on the bottom was a wisdom tooth. Iia has a really big mouth. His wisdoms came in with room to spare. I remembered the success he had with standing on the chair and pulling mine out, so I got up on the table, grabbed the tooth with the pliers, squeezed as hard as I could, and pulled. I must have been squeezing too hard. The pliers crunched through the tooth and gripped the root and when I pulled, only the root came out. It sounded pretty awful, a bit like crumbling a styrofoam coffee cup. Iia screamed and screamed. I used the edge of the pliers to shave down the gum line around the shattered tooth and knocked away the remaining bone. I took advantage of his wide-mouthed howling and hammered two of the same type of metal tooth-pins he’d installed into my mouth yesterday. They broke through the bottom of the bleeding sockets in his gums and secured themselves deep within his jaw. I had to knock him unconscious again to do the rest. Once the new teeth were in and Iia was coming to, staring at me in wide-eyed horror as realized he wasn’t waking up from a run-of-the-mill nightmare, I realized I’d forgotten the chisel to do his nose and ears. The only silverware he had was plastic. No real knives. Who doesn’t have knives? I sighed in annoyance. Then I realized I had the right tools with me all along! I’d been so busy focusing on my next moves that I’d neglected the new teeth given to me just yesterday. I bit Iia’s nose as hard as I could. I felt the cartilage crush as the tiny needles lining my gums broke through. The pins anchoring the teeth to my jaw held, I’m happy to note, and I pulled back sharply. The nose came with me. I was very surprised by how good a job I did when I estimated how far the pins needed to be to ensure proper adhesion. The holes in Iia’s face gurgled with blood as he worked to breathe through them. I knocked him out again, untied him, turned him over on his stomach, and restrained him. Ugly, flatulent sounds filled the room as the blood that had accumulated inside his sinus cavity got pushed out through the nose holes. I bit off his ears. Now Iia and I had achieved the same level of our gecko transformation. I found two straws in his cabinet and inserted them into his nose holes. Air traveled freely through them, so I untied him, removed his clothing, turned him again onto his back, and restrained him. It was time to work on the aforementioned dangerous part of the transformation. Geckos have cloacas. Put as simply as needed, they eliminate all their waste from one hole. I assume that the easiest way to replicate this would be to route one’s urethra through the colon and allow all waste to be expelled through the anus. While this is an entirely makeshift cloaca, I’m not deluded enough to believe there is a better way for me to accomplish such a thing at my nearly nonexistent level of medical knowledge. To my dismay, upon inspecting Iia, I discovered I’d overestimated the size of an adult penis. I’d always known mine was larger than average and I knew that would make it easier to properly route what needed to be routed. Iia’s penis, however, was less than a quarter of the size of my own. It stuck out from his pubis like a pink, fleshy lightswitch. Some of it I attribute to his terror and some to his recent loss of blood, but the unfortunate truth is that Iia’s member is woefully undersized. The look on his face when he regained consciousness and saw me holding and inspecting his penis would have been funny if I wasn’t so concerned about whether or not I could get this to work. I really, really needed a knife. Rummaging through Iia’s drawers, I found a vegetable peeler. The blade turned out to be very sharp. I grazed my forearm with it and happily discovered the edge was keen enough to remove hair. I truly sympathized for Iia at this moment. I didn’t want to strike him in the head again, as I didn’t want to contribute to any lasting brain damage should he live through his whole process. So, I chose to leave him awake as I ran the peeler up and down his penis, removing thin strips of skin. Much like the sound of my voice changed when my own nose was removed, so too had Iia’s. The few actual words he exclaimed sounded filtered through a very bad head cold. His screams, however, were mostly unaffected. These screams continued after I’d finished peeling when he saw that I held the thin cord of his urethra. I felt quite a bit of relief when I found it could stretch further than Iia’s tiny penis had suggested. Iia passed out from exhaustion or shock moments later. Right now, I’m taking the time to finish this account of my evening and research the best way to approach the colon and begin the urethral routing. I will likely update you all with another story tomorrow to let everyone know how the last few bits of the process fared. Aren’t we lucky that these stories are considered fictional? I’ll wait and work here worry-free. Enjoy Friday, everyone!
Hi again /Forex, this is Part 5 of my 6 part series on creating your own trading system. The other posts are up here on reddit too if you want to catch up. Let me know what you think. Please note all the advice below is directed at very specific issues that you may run into when using your system and then adjusting it based on your results. Your job is to be creative with your solutions to your weaknesses and always demand more from yourself. Be awesome and stand apart from your peers. Demand success. Have you heard of the word "pivot" when referring to tech startups? If not, it simply means that a certain business idea is having a hard time gaining traction and the company has therefore decided to "pivot" away, meaning they're starting again from scratch with a new product or simply reinventing the old product in a new way. Often in trading you’ll find the new guys are constantly "pivoting" to the point where they're dizzy and confused. Pivots are well and good when justified but how can we as traders justify the need to pivot? When should we simply persevere with what we've been doing? Great questions, thanks for asking them you handsome devil! The answer is: When in doubt, persevere (and tweak). Easy! Alright article over. Seriously though, if you haven't read my previous articles I'd recommend you do so now before we get too deep into this topic. As a quick recap, so far on your developmental journey you should have: *Developed a foundation trading system based on your beliefs and experiences. *Created basic guidelines as to how you're going to trade in different market conditions. *Made a commitment to track your trades like the trading machine you are. And you're doing all those things wonderfully aren't you?? Great! Now, let's say we've been tracking our trades for a few weeks now and we've had strings of winners, losers and in-betweeners and we're now ready to step back and see how we're going. We're seeing some patterns and some inconsistencies and it's time to do something about it. If you've read the last article, you'll know what we're looking for when observing our trades. To summarise, we're especially interested in. *Win percentages. *Average reward : risk outcome of your trades. *The market conditions that each trade was taken in. *How well you followed your rules in each trade. These are the cornerstones of your consistent success and we'll be judging (and tweaking) our systems based on these outcomes. Now, let's look at each point and some I’ll make some suggestions for altering your foundation trading system in order to overcome their weaknesses. Win Percentages Higher win percentages (above 50%) are a huge psychological boon to most developing traders but their importance must always be balanced against the context of reward : risk, which we'll discuss next. Look at the current win percentage of your foundation trading system, what are your thoughts? How has it impacted you emotionally? If you're breaking even with a low win percentage, it means you're getting great reward : risk opportunities which is FANTASTIC. The problem with this is a psychological one as lower win percentages can mean longer losing streaks and therefore larger account draw-down. You need to make a call as to whether you're ok with this for the long term or if you want to adjust your system to increase your win percentages and perhaps give up some profit potential as a result. Unfortunately it's incredibly difficult to have both a high win percentage and a high reward to risk system and you need to make the call with which you’d prefer to focus on. Just be realistic and focus on incremental improvements. In the scenario that you're making decent profits when you're right but you're also right a little bit less than you're comfortable with, you need to go back and look at your trading log and screenshots, looking for the following things: *How would a larger stop loss have affected the outcomes of your trades? Would the extra "breathing room" have impacted your trading positively or not? *What were the market conditions like in both your winners and losers? Do you notice that losses coincide with sideways markets? If so, how would you filter those trades in the future? Are you constantly trading counter trend, trying to catch little bounces opposite current market sentiment? *Could you have managed your profit taking in a more efficient manner? What if you'd moved stops after price moved x amount of pips away? These are all great questions to be asking yourself after a nice big batch of trading. When you have the answers to the questions, you need to be creative in how you'll incorporate those improvements into your plan. Once you've added some new filters or adjusted some old ones, it's time to re-test and see how your changes impact your profitability! Always moving forwards and getting better. Change your mindset to one of learning and control, rather than helplessness and indecision and you’ll be years ahead of your fellow traders. Average Reward : Risk This number goes hand in hand with your win percentage. Like I said above, you probably can't have both numbers as high as you'd like. This is an unfortunate reality that can take a long time to completely sink in. Alright, we discussed the questions we might ask if we have a system that has a low win % but a high reward : risk ratio, but what if our reward: risk is in need of help in order to improve our edge? What might we be looking for to improve our system? The most common causes of a shitty reward: risk ratio are often: *Your stop loss is only a "OH SHIT" protector. This can be absolutely fine with the right system in place but make sure your system is up to the challenge. *Trading counter trend or in slow sideways markets. In these scenarios you've got to give yourself some big wiggle room to catch the retracement or bounce and even then, the nature of a retracement means you're simply not catching big moves. *You get scared or anxious once in profit. This is an absolute deal breaker. If you can't let your winners run with some strict rules in place, you need to start developing some skills that will help you do so. These are all fine and fixable so no need to worry. What's important is that you're identifying your weaknesses and improving them. Now, the solution to the above issues seems obvious enough doesn't it? *Consider moving your initial stop loss to a place where your setup and initial setup theory has been proven wrong, rather than only protecting against "holy shit" moments. *Consider trading with current market sentiment rather than against it. I know it's fun to catch tops and bottoms but simply look at a chart and see where the money is being made. Is it by catching huge impulsive moves in strong trends or looking for bounces? Trends tend to be much more lucrative, it's really as simple as that. *Scared or anxious once in profit? You're going to have to practice your way out. If you're trading live, stop. If you can't stop, trade with the smallest lot size your broker will let you use. Make solid rules to lean against in order to create confidence, process and habit in your trading. There will be many other scenarios that might be impacting your reward : risk ratio but what's important is that you identify what they are by leaning on your super high quality journal and screenshots that you're keeping ever so diligently! Market Conditions What was the market sentiment during your winning trades and losing trades? Were you more profitable trading WITH market sentiment or AGAINST it? Don’t overcomplicate this. Don’t overcomplicate your definition of market sentiment either. Price is either going up, sideways or down. It's doing those things either slowly or quickly. Work out which works for your system and focus on those. Remember, all we’re doing in this process is building on your strengths and eliminate your weaknesses, both in your system and in your mind. Following Your Rules What percentage of your trades met your systems requirements with 100% accuracy? If you eliminated the trades that didn't meet your requirements, how much different would the outcome have been over your sample size? As per the last article, remember: When in doubt, create a rule. Not sure what you should be doing? Create a rule. It doesn't matter what it is, you can adjust later if it needs improving. What's important is that you have a place to improve from. So What? I guess the overall message is this: Persevere with your system and make adjustments based on its weaknesses and strengths. Making some big trades but your win percentage is too low? Go back and look for patterns why that's the case. In almost all cases you should be able to see patterns in both your winners and losers when looking at a big enough sample size. During this tweaking process, you need to also qualify the importance and quality of your “concepts” that you’re using in your foundation trading system. If you’re trading based on candlestick price action and a particular part of that concept isn’t working, experiment with it. Adjust that one factor and re-test for another two weeks or 20 trades and see how it works out. What were the strengths of the new system? Where did it seam weaker? In case you haven’t gathered yet, it’s also important that you run these tests in stages. You cannot be changing your system every other day based on your perceived results and expect to get better. It doesn’t work like that. Challenge yourself to take 20, 30, 40 trades before you consider the quality of your system. Don’t adjust ANYTHING even during a 10 trade losing streak. Just keep sticking to your rules and LEARN. What if you’re completely unhappy with your results and your system isn't resonating with you? Maybe it's time for you to pivot. You NEED to feel comfortable with a system and that should be the case since you created your system from scratch starting from Part One. If you've created your system from scratch but HATE using it, it might be time for a change. You're not going to continually and diligently improve something that you hate to use, so it's best you create another foundation trading system on which to build on. What if you LIKE trading with your foundation trading system but you're not sure where to go from here? You can't identify any clear patterns based on win percentage, reward : risk, market sentiment or your rules? Leave a message in the comments and I'm sure some fellow traders might have some suggestions. It's possible you've got a lemon foundation trading system but it's also possible you've got a FANTASTIC foundation on which you'll build consistency and success. Remember, when in doubt, persevere. Your system can always be improved and by doing so you'll create an even better understanding and bond with it. You'll know how it performs in specific market conditions because you've seen it before. You're far beyond most traders at this point and you've been confirmed for being awesome, so well done. In the next article I'll discuss some education suggestions if you're not even at a point where you can create your own foundation trading system and you’re not sure what resonates with you and what doesn't. Please let me know how you've found this series so far, I greatly appreciate any feedback, good or bad. All the best, Ben - TraderGrowth
That is not true. Opinion is very much split within the investment banks and there is no right or wrong answer. I personally don't believe at all that the crisis was caused by 'poor people' - and I don't like that sort of categorization of people in the first place. There are perhaps 15/20 different institutions you could blame for the crisis, there's no way of isolating individuals. I'm not sure what exactly you think GS's hand in the Greece affair was. Of course it's a sad story and I feel remorseful - I recently donated £50,000 at a charity ball to help rebuild one of the islands which has almost been burned to the ground. But ultimately Greece employed GS at the time because they wanted to fudge their finances so as to meet entry requirements for the Euro i.e. the greek government was knowingly employing GS to help perform an extremely risky task - GS didn't force anything upon them. If the experiment explodes 10 years later (as it did), should GS really be the party to blame?
Whatever your breakdown between modules is, you need a 2.1 overall. Even if your average is 60% or 61%, that's enough to get you past the minimum requirements and through to interviews. After that it's up to you - they'll take someone with a good business mind and strong communications skills irrespective of whether they average 60 or 78 or 92. I disagree with him. My job is extremely rewarding and i wouldn't swap it for any other industry at the moment. If you want evidence of people enjoying their jobs look at the number of years they spend at their respective firms. Most of the partners at GS are 'home-grown' and have spent 20/30 years sweating away but don't regret it for a second.
Regulatory capture is a seriously problem not just in banking e.g. also in the energy business. How do you reduce it? It won't happen unless the public demand it, as everyone with power tends to benefit from it and so they won't make meaningful steps to change anything, i.e. its a win win situation for government and business. However it needs more than just 'occupy movements' but rather i am talking the mass voter population.
I work in the energy field in Europe but don't want to get too specific. Day to day we advise natural resource companies on all things financial such as m&a and financing strategy and then execute on their behalf. So I am on the corporate finance side rather than sales and trading. However I work closely with the syndication and sales guys such as if we are executing an IPO or a follow-on share offering.
Bottom 5% is more accurate. 7-8% in a bad year, 3-4% in a good year. It's a fine line between 'cut throat' and having a 'healthy competitive atmosphere'. But we'd be out of business very quickly if we kept firing half of our staff every year...
Read WSO, the forums are full of useful hints and tips especially for non target guys. Depending on what area you are applying for, make sure you know some really good examples and stock pitches as it is amazing how many candidates lack knowledge e.g. if applying for ECM for god sakes know some of the recent IPO's and likewise for equity research have good stock pitches and have conviction when presenting. Best of luck!
Undergrad course choice is not that important for IBD but obviously for more quant roles you need maths skills Again i am sorry but i am not very clued up on GPA Ok i give you money but first you have to register yourself as a charity so that you can gift aid it and get much more!
I'd say during my first 3 years as an analyst the 'balance' was almost non-existent i.e. i was regularly working 100+ hours/week. Since then it's become easier year by year and i think that's true for most. And yes certainly i would encourage my children to pursue it - not that i have any yet.
And by the way all of us are tax payers too. The top 5% contribute approx. 50% of the government's taxation revenue. So if losses are being 'carried by tax-payers' - that doesn't exclude people in the banking industry by any means.
Depends on what entry point - if you do an mba then you apply for associate entry whereas b.comm is an undergrad degree and so you apply for analyst roles. If you do a b.comm at a top university/college and get some internships then you should be well placed. Good luck!
What you choose to study doesn't necessarily determine the industry you'll end up in. We have guys in the office who studied history, languages, even medicine. Just go for what interests you the most and focus on getting high marks.
With regards to backpage.com, the guys on the deal did not do their KYC checks properly. KYC checks are crucial for banks- your reputation and future success is more important than any single customer. Look up riggs bank and the Obiang family and then you'll see!
Yes, apologies. I think some of our deals have been morally reprehensible in the past. The same goes for any major investment bank. But i think we've done a very good job in 'cleaning up our act' over the past few years and the public has played a large part in that. With any luck we will see a much healthier banking industry soon.
There's no typical working day - some days are 18 hours and others are 12. Depends entirely what stage of a deal we are at. Generally I work 5/6 days a week, but keep in email contact with the office 24/7.
Yes, entirely project based. But if we are doing our jobs properly there's not much 'time off' in between.
The industry is always evolving, that's what makes it an exciting industry to be in. I imagine it will take us a good few years to fully regain the trust of certain clients, but ultimately if this whole saga causes us to readdress our methods and practices to improve our service then in the long run it's a positive outcome.
PS. Do you not think people should be fed up with the governments too, as well as the banks?
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