Friday, March 27, 2009

Some Advice for a Beginning Trader

Everyonce in awhile I get asked for advice on how to become a trader. Here are some thoughts I put together on a beginner's approach to trading.

My strong suggestion for a beginning trader would be to try to just learn about the markets. You don't want to be reliant on someone else's experience, trading calls, trading robots, etc.

My second suggestion is spend some time finding out whether you LIKE trading or not. This takes time. Look at different markets, different timeframes, trading styles, indicators, etc. See what appeals to (or sometimes just as useful, what doesn't).

Third, all the people I know who trade successfully LOVE what they do. It takes passion, dedication, and thousands of hours to be successful. That's no lie. But when you first start out how do you know whether you are going to be that passionate about anything? You don't. So don't focus on making money. Focus on having fun. Seriously. Enjoy learning - enjoy watching crazy stuff happen in the market every day. And if you do that long enough you will KNOW if you are going to make this your life's passion - or not. So don't get hung up on making money until you've figured that out.

Best of luck.



Jules said...

I like this post, LT :-)

From time to time, I have people telling me they want to leave their job and trade instead, after hearing a few success stories in seminars, from friends,etc. They ask about trading systems and my average ROIs, and if the profit was better than the income I was getting from my 9-6 job.

Whenever I replied detailing my daily struggles, the average 16 hours I put in a day just staring at different charts and finding out what work for me and what don't - almost 7 days a week - and that I've been doing that for a year, and only 1 month out of that 12-month period generated a profit that was bigger than my paycheque, I didn't hear from them anymore :-)

I think too that trading is something you have to be almost addicted to. You have to want to do it so bad that even if it hurts, you'll push on. There's no manual to trade successfully. Many believe that trading is a profession, and I used to think that too. Now, I think it's really more art than anything else.

You don't know that if by following step 1 - 199 strictly that you'd definitely achieved the expected outcome. A band could produce many songs that can't sell, and one day, a spark of ingenuity and the discovery of a new way to arrange a certain piece that produces a totally different, a much more melodious tune, could lead to the creation of a smashing hit. And the band takes off from there, going on to make consistently beautiful pieces that sell. Until the taste of the masses change, that is. At which point they will have to go back to their drawing board again.

There's just no end to it. Unless you're dead, and your work becomes collectors' item, you'll have to keep learning to keep up, while continuing to do what sells/ works for now. Can you imagine having to do this on a long term basis, not knowing if your next album will sell, if you don't actually love doing it?

I'm rambling again. My apologies...i do that when I don't get enough sleep...

ryan said...

I second Jules post =) and your post as well.

I enjoy trading and I enjoy learning a lot about the markets: what's happening in the real world, how economics works, psychology, etc. It's a challenge to me, and an amazing puzzle at that.

You definitely have to have passion for this "job." If you don't, you will probably never make it.