Reading habits

The highlight of being self employed and having a large amount of “free” time is the ability to read.

I love reading.

A lot of very successful people recommending reading too, so I’m sticking to it, and would highly recommend you to do so!

But if you don’t currently have a reading habit… Here are a few recommendations I would give myself

Don’t force yourself to read “smart” books

Read to enjoy yourself, don’t force it, you’ll get to a point where picking up a book becomes a habit and you’ll want to learn something new!

Start reading for the fun of it – don’t start reading complicated investment / psychology books if that’s not your cup to tea.

You’ll get to a point where that’s what you want to do,

don’t force it!

However, if you like reading here are a few of my favorite books as a trader

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Mental Game of Poker (1&2) by Jared Tendler

The way to Love by Anthony de Mello

Seeking Wisdom from Munger to Darwin by Peter Bevelin

Inside the House of Money / The Alpha Masters / Market Wizards (great collection about hedge fund managers)

There’s no need to read thousands of books

Instead find books that open your mind and read them, make sure you assimilate, take notes, go back, re-read them etc

Don’t rush the process

Don’t read to show off and be the smart ass that tells everyone he speeds read a book a day but doesn’t apply shit

You don’t even need to read books, there’s loads of great blogs

A few blogs I like to follow:

Macro-ops

Collaborative Fund

Paul Graham is a legend

Farnam Street

Does twitter count? There’s a few amazing accounts there!

P.S. Currently reading: The Invisible Hands top hedge fund traders… Steven Drobny

The four pillars for trading success

The four pillars for trading success

We all wish trading came naturally to us; after all that would’ve meant saving countless hours, (a lot of) money, friendships that were broken after having a shitty day in the market

Oh and these reflect my personal views and experiences, I am sure you could argue for something different

What are those four pillars?

(Wish their was like a way to drop a curtain or something)

  1. Persistence
  2. Risk Management
  3. Psychology
  4. Trading Edge
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Let’s break these four pillars into a section each:

Persistence

Trading is difficult. Like any other skill it will take time to master, the only way to through the deep water is to preserver, if you haven’t given up you haven’t failed.

As long as you get back up after being pushed back down there is still hope.

That being said, having fallen off (many) horses it does take persistence to get back up on the horse, the same goes with trading, there will be losses, there will be mistakes, but there is a need to continually get back up and get ready for another try.

There is also an undeniable need to spend countless hours in front of charts in order to develop and test an edge and persist until we feel comfortable with our own strategy

Trading is all about survival, protecting the assets we have, making them grow, without getting killed. Keep that in mind.

Image result for persistence quote paramahansa yoga

This point is rather straight forward so there’s no real value spending too much time dealing with it, we are left with

  1. Risk Management
  2. Psychology
  3. Trading Edge

Risk Management

Risk management is probably the first subject new trades should look into, we can break it down into two topics: protecting the initial capital and an understanding of probabilities.

Protecting the initial capital

One of the best ways to screw up your psychology and give up is by taking huge losses that will destroy the size of the trading account

In order to protect the initial capital, it is key for traders to understand how to size their positions and (ideally) maintain a constant risk profile.

Why is it so important to avoid large losses?

If a single trade isn’t properly sized, it is possible for a trading account to be blown – by that I do mean, it is possible with one trade to lose all the money (and potentially more) you have in the trading account…

Let’s dive into “smaller losses”:

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A 10% loss requires you to make 11% back in order to get back to the starting point, which when we think about it, isn’t that bad, it could be worse… However, if you take a 50% loss then you will need to double your account in order to bring it back up to the starting size…

Yep…. Here’s the example:

10,000+10,000*(-0.5) = 5,000

5,000*X=10,000

X= 2

(Mainly wanted to show the benefits of getting a university degree, I can do maths now 😊)

The key lesson here is:

 MAKE SURE YOU DON’T SCREW UP THE POSITION SIZE

The likelihood of you preserving and not screwing up your mental game after such a loss is extremely low so… If you want to have a career in trading, make sure you size your positions correctly.

Image result for it's not about being right or wrong soros

Understanding probabilities

Now this one may seem a bit more obvious, but over many discussions I’ve realized it may not be the case

There will be winning trades, but there will also be losing trades, this is a given, anyone that promises you a 100% strike rate is either into high frequency trading (and works at a huge fund) or is trying to get your money, and the likelihood of the second far outweighs the first…

Now it’s let’s dig into why I think it is key to understand your trading edge and your numbers (more on that afterwards)

If you are a trader you may have a 45% strike rate (it is possible to be profitable with a lower strike rate, as it is possible to be a consistently bankrupt trader with a higher strike rate)

As you can see on the following image, you have a 72% likelihood of taking 6 losses in a row over 50 trades taken, yep a 72% likelihood, that’s freaking surprising eh

The likelihood of taking 7 losses in a row is at a “more acceptable” probability of 49% (which is still super high!?)

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Knowing the probability of taking 7 losses in a row is close to 50%, no better than flipping a coin, how much should you risk?

If you risk 5% per trade, you shall be down 30.2% (assuming you adjust your $ risk after each trade) that means you’ll have to make back 43% to get to the level you were before this losing strike… A rather big number if you ask me – however if you only risk 1% then you’re only down 6.8%

Let’s say you’re trading a 100,000$ account, I would highly prefer being down 6,800$ instead of 30,200$… Can you imagine the impact on your psychology? I would be devasted with a 30.2% loss

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Don’t forget, trading is a survival game, and you can only survive if you protect your initial capital and risk the right amount… Don’t show off… Now onto

Psychology

Probably the less fun part of trading for most of us (I’ll admit, I actually love it!) but you’ve probably heard it from many people psychology is key for traders, it may even represent 80% of the work you need to do to become a profitable trader

Now what are common traps we can fall into

  1. Sticking to our bias
  2. Trying to prove we know better
  3. I can’t lose so risking more
  4. I just need to get even
  5. I’m just one trade away from being profitable this month

I always used to get told off for doing more than five bullet points but there’s so many other examples!

So how can we have a profitable psychology?

  1. Focus on the process – they do not care about being right or wrong
  2. Understanding the numbers linked to your trading strategy
  3. Having strong opinions weekly held and being willing to flip sides
Image result for psychology trading quote

The most important part of trading is understanding that the market doesn’t care about you, and you shouldn’t really care about it. Instead focus on the process, be willing to jump ship and understand nothing is guaranteed in the market.

Instead, focus on yourself, spend time off the charts, recharge, meditate, empty your mind, and execute your trading plan

The worst enemy you have is yourself – and sadly you’ll never really get to beat him to the ground, even the famous Greek philosophers sometimes had urges (some were also doing the exact opposite from what they preached…)

Image result for conquer yourself zeno of citium

Truly believe I can’t make a better point than Yvan:

Confidence is not “I will profit on this trade.” Confidence is “I will be fine if I don’t profit from this trade.”

Yvan Byeajee, The essence of trading psychology in one skill

Try calming your mind, ideally empty your mind from all greed hesitation and passion, instead remain neutral and in control. The best way to do that is to meditate, and if you refuse to do that, go for a thirty minutes walk without your phone, just paying attentions to your thoughts, it should help you drop all those negative charges.

Tihbo puts it beautifully

Now I could spend an entire day ranting about the importance of psychology but I believe this is a journey you alone can take since it is deep inside you and no matter how many quotes I put in front of you the decision to let go and become present is yours.

Having a trading edge

Yep, this is the last point… Not necessarily because I believe it’s the less important, but you can make money with so many different markets and in so many different ways, you can skin the cat yourself.

However, it is extremely important to have identified your trading edge and be able to prove it exist in the historical market without having to adjust it, that’s one of the main problems quants are faced with, they adjust their strategy so it provides great returns in the past but does not work when the market conditions change

So what do you have to do?

Back test your strategy over several years and several pairs, forecast possible moves, use your trading plan with a reduced risk for the first few months in order to make sure the edge is there

Understand that even a profitable strategy will have losses

Here’s an example of my go-to set-ups after having backtested it over a few pairs for 2019

I have come to realize, that two of my favorite set-ups are not very profitable for me (the 3rd rejection and the hover) therefore I will have to adapt, another key point is understanding that my strike rate (without including BE) is of 34% however as you can see the returns are profitable, because my average win is a lot bigger than average loss.

Keep on working, keep on testing your strategy and never become over confident, because that will be your end.

The end 😊

Before I ask you to like this post and share, I would like to thank both Tiho Brkan and Yvan Byeajee I most of the data I used came from their tweets!

What do you think are the key pillars for success in the FX market?

Hope you enjoyed this article!


Onwards,

-Max

Building a Trading Plan

Having your own trading plan, is (probably) the most important part to become a successful trader, would that be stocks, FX, commodities or whatever you want to trade.


Why is a trading plan so important?

It gives you the opportunity to write down exactly what you can do and how you should do it.

It’s like a cooking book, the only way to really improve a receipe is to know what ingredients to use, the amounts and how long you should cook it for.

I’m awful at cooking (Really bad, my old roommates refused to eat anything I cooked)

I know how to make salads tho, that’s the only thing I’m decent at!

Why do you think I spend so much time in cheap countries where I can eat out three times a day?? (Maybe it’s because I don’t need to cook)

Anyway, back to the subject at hand…

Becoming a good cook is relatively easy, you just follow instructions, it’s the “chef” that makes up the dish and writes down how to do it properly.

You can work in a great restaurant and make a lot of money if you’re a really good cook, especially if you work well with a famous chef.

Trading, is rather similar to working in a restaurant (not talking about the insane hours, but sometimes…)

The only way to become a chef (a really really good trader) is to become a cook (someone that can implement a trading plan), it will take time, but the more practice you get as a cook the easier it will be for you to become a chef.


Ask for help building your first trading plan

You become a good cook by learning from others how to cook, would it be your parents, siblings, a cooking book, youtube videos, an online course, a bootcamp etc etc

It’s the same with trading.

Learn from someone else

Find yourself a mentor, whoever that is (not me) and ask them if they can explain to you their trading style and share trades they took.

Once you know how they look at the market, the trades they took you can break it down.

Bring a bottle of coke to a lab and they can reverse engineer it.

You could know the exact ingredients Coca Cola use for their famous drink.

Do the same with a trading plan.

Create your first trading plan based on someone else, even better, if you can copy it. My mentor shared his to all his students, that’s what I used at first.

I knew:

  • The entry types
  • What he wants to see in order to take a position
  • How he manages trades
  • How he records them
  • His risk profile

That’s all I needed, I more or less copy pasted it at first.


Once you have a trading plan, backtest it

Now it’s time for you to work, you can’t let someone else do all the work for you…

You know what set-ups your mentor looks for so go and backtest.

Try them out, figure out their results and ask yourself

  • Do they have a good strike rate?
  • What is their average return?
  • Do I like trading them?

Based on those questions and the answers you have for them you can quite easily make your mind up, should you keep those set-ups in your trading plan? It’s up to you.

Those are my results with a backtesting exercise I did earlier this year.

I was able to figure out which trade set-ups I prefer and how I wanted to manage them.

It also gave me a lot more confidence in my trading, I saw what was possible, and it became way easier for me to execute on my trading plan.

Once you’ve backtested your plan you can then decide what to edit, what to change, what to ignore, what you want to focus on etc…


Make it your own.

Make sure it becomes your own, don’t copy the exact same trades if they don’t fit you, adjust the trading plan to your own personality – and backtest it once again – it’s all about refinement,

To go back to the cooking comparison, a chef will try out so many variations of the same dish just to make sure he has the perfect mix of flavors, smells and texture.

It’s the same with trading, just keep trying it out.

Tweak it until it becomes your own, your precious, your trading plan.

Now, you can easily argue that you don’t need to write it down, it’s in your mind, or you can easily draw it.

But…

The best way to learn is to teach someone else.

But you don’t need to teach someone else, you just need to be able to explain it on a word document.

Take screenshots of your favorite set-ups

Write down what you want to see before being able to take a position

Explain how you are going to manage your position once in the trade

What are your rules in term of taking a second trade once you got tagged out of a position, are you allowed to re-enter? Once? Twice? Three times?… Create rules and put it in your trading plan.

If you want a video about creating a trading plan, check-out this interview on Chat with Traders, I’ll admit, I have only watched it once, but Chat with Traders is hands down one of the best podcasts out there for anyone interested in trading.

Now I feel like I’m probably rambling… but…

GET YOURSELF A TRADING PLAN.

Honestly, I truly believe it’s the best way to improve your results if you’re in the FX market.

Copy someone else trading plan, (or spend countless hours trying to build one)

Backtest it (it’s worth doing the work!)

Refine it

Make it more personal, something that fits your personality

Backtest it again, keep updating it

Write down your rules

Stick to it.


The only way you can improve your trading is to have a process, otherwise you may just be lucky or unlucky but you wouldn’t know because your trading is not consistent.

Being consistent with your process, will turn you into a consistently profitable trader.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did it would mean the world to me if you could share it! Or let me know in the comments what you would do!

Scared of Change?

Change is needed!

Over the last week or so I’ve received a lot of questions asking me about why I left Falcon to work on my own and really focus on my own process…

The truth is, I needed to start accepting change, I had spent too much time focused only on one strategy, and was starting to become blind to outside possibilities, something I never want to be.

Having an open mind is the best way to grow, meet new people and build great businesses (or fine tune a trading strategy with all your knowledge)

Now I was kinda scared of going out by my own

It’s new, I haven’t been “alone” in more than two years now…

Plus I just moved to a new country (Ukraine) where I don’t know anyone…

All of this brought me back to one of my favorite quotes from Marcus Aurelius


Frightened of change? But what can exist without it?

What’s closer to nature’s heart?

Can you take a hot bath and leave the firewood as it was? Eat food without transforming it? Can any vital process take place without something being changed? Can’t you see?

It’s just the same with you—and just as vital to nature.

Marcus Aurelius – Meditations

If you haven’t read Meditations I can’t recommend it enough, I would probably name it as one of the most influential books I’ve ever read – and I read a fair bit.

Now I agree, if you have a winning process in the FX market, why would you want to change it?

Who said I was creating an entirely new process?


What have I changed

The only change I’ve experienced since leaving falcon are the following

  1. I am able to spend a lot more time backtesting instead of watching content
  2. I am now responsible to build my weekly watch list without relying on anyone else
  3. I am more open minded to potential additions to my trading plan

Not much right?

However having taken the step of change I’ve unlocked something powerful inside of myself that will enable me to fuel my progress to the next level, would it be to prove to myself I can do it by myself or others or whatever I do not mind, all I care about is my results

When I think about it, I like to change countries in order to continuously amaze myself and discover new things, new cultures, new people etc, and I truly believe those changes do improve who I am as a human

So why not do the same thing with my trading?

Socrates is kinda smart?

The aim isn’t to look back on the past and fight that, instead it is to adapt and focus on the future, aim to build something new.

Change is the one that links everything in life (aside from death) so don’t hide from it

Let’s talk about life as a person

New born – Kid – Adolescent – Young Adult – Engaged – Married – Father – Grand Father – Death etc

Living with parents – Living with friends – Living by yourself – Moving in with GF/BF – New house – Bigger house – Bigger house etc etc

Everything changes, don’t fight it, just move forward, there’s no point looking backwards and asking yourself what if 🙂


Accept Change, Be Happy, Move on

Okay finding something to say for this section is going to be hard, I think I’ve made my point, change is natural, the only thing you can do is accept it, be thankful for the new opportunities and challenges you’re going to be faced with and move on…

But yep, just gotta stay unemployabled 🙂

Over did the unemployable part that day 🙂

I hope everyone had an amazing week & week-end! Hope you took some value from this post!


Onwards,

-Max

Cost of living as a digital nomad

One of the most frequent questions I get is “how do I afford to travel so much” so let’s dig into my expenses!

Cost of living as a digital nomad in Asia

When I was staying in Indonesia, I spent three months living in Lombok and stayed at a hostel for the entire duration because I loved it there…

The hostel I stayed at was:

Bamba – the best hostel in Kuta, Lombok!

So many amazing beaches close by

You can stay an entire month there for around 400$

The breakfast there is included and it’s amazing – there’s a cool swimming pool but more importantly, I love the team that works there, I made so many friends, and would even consider the staff family 🙂

That being said, if you are on a really strict budget, you can find cheaper, especially if you are willing to negotiate once you are there and go to smaller less well known hostels

Food wise, you can eat for 2$ per meal, but if you’re going to want to have something else than local dishes then it can go up, maybe even as high as 5 to 10$ but you don’t need to treat yourself as a king all the time so let’s say a 12$ average per day (that’s a lot) including coffee and beers?

So let’s say 350$ – which can easily be more or less depending on your lifestyle once again

A scooter rental was 5$ per day if I remember correctly so 150$ per month

Fuel + parking (when needed) could add up to maybe 30$ per month

That’s all you really need

400+350+150+30 = 930

With less than 1,000$

you can (easily) live in Lombok, Indonesia

But… That’s not including day trips if you want to rent a boat, if you want to go surfing, if you want to go trekking and need a guide, etc etc, so in the end it will cost you more – maybe even up to 500$ if you really want to go for it 🙂

So 1.5k and you’re set

From that you’ll need to add plane tickets tho

You also need to keep money on the side to pay your taxes, don’t make them wait, it’s not worth playing with them, especially if you run an online business!

So the truth is,

you’ll probably need to make more than 2k per month


Cost of Living in London

Now, I’m currently in London, so let’s compare 🙂

First off, let me start with:

DON’T STAY IN A HOSTEL IN LONDON

They’re fine if you are staying a few days, but more than that you’ll definitely want to use Airbnb – you want to remain productive while in London, and hostels here aren’t that great because there’s no privacy and not much space to do any work

yep that’s my affiliate link, but let’s be serious, if you don’t have an airbnb account are you coming from Mars?

In my case, the Airbnb is costing me about 1.2k per month, sure I could’ve found something cheaper, but I believe it’s better to stay in a decent place where I can work & cook (without burning the apartment down) than be too cheap

I’ve got a cool view from my Airbnb tho!

I really don’t want to look into how much I’ve spent on coffee, so let’s say that food + coffee + a few drinks ended up around 500$ for the month (wouldn’t be too surprised if it was more)

Probably spent 150$ on “public” transport

So with 1.8k I’ve got my basic living expenses

Then obviously if you want to eat in restaurants, go out and party, visit the UK (the train is bloody expensive), go to museums and all that it’s going to end up being more expensive

So you could live in London on 2k per month if you want a basic lifestyle

If you want something more fun, expect that number to rise very quickly, especially if you want to live in the center of London (I’m in Zone 2 to reduce the cost of rent, no need to commute into the city every day so might as well save money!)

You’ll also need to take into account taxes once again…

So the truth is,

you’ll probably need to make more than 3k per month


The digital nomad lifestlye

So to answer, how much does the digital nomad lifestyle cost:

IT DEPENDS ON YOU.

It depends on where you go

It depends on your standards

It depends if you are going to travel around

It depends on what food you’re eating

If you want to party

If you have loads of taxes to pay

Or you can start hitch hiking around the world and be a true nomad, even better, get yourself a camel, an Indiana Jones hat and hit the road

If you are willing to sleep outside in the nature it will be cheaper, same for a hut, if you want to stay in five star hotels tho… It’ll be different!


I hope that answers your questions!

Sorry I couldn’t give a straight answer but it depends entirely on you!

If you liked this post, it would mean the world to me if you could leave a like 🙂

Onwards!

Work as a digital nomad

Digital nomad & work

One of the most frequent questions I get is: “How do I get work done while traveling?”, so will try to answer this one.

I feel like I’ve already used this photo

I DON’T DO ANY WORK…

I spend my days at the beach taking photos duh.

Okay, that’s a lie (I hope you knew that!)

The truth is, it’s not because you’re a digital nomad that you won’t be doing a lot of work – the amount of work you need to do is the exact same as if you were living at home.

But it does depend on your work, as a FX trader, I spend around three hours a day doing work, but that’s a normal amount of work for any trader? (Do you spend more time on the charts?)

All I need is to forecast, review my past trades, do some backtesting and watch some content in order to maintain my skill at the same level.

That being said, there are days where I spend a lot more time, if I am motivated I can very easily get into a backtesting session and spend around eight hours on it, because I love it.

That being said, if you are not self employed and instead get paid on an hourly basis (which is what I do on the side), you will have to spend hours doing work in order to go paid and finish the task you were assigned, and you’d do the exact same workload as if you were home.

But here’s where the “good shit” comes in…

If you’re in a country where your living expenses are half what you used to spend it’s rather easy to reduce your workload (still recommend getting more hours done than the bare minimum) – so instead of working 8 hours you could work 6 hours rather easily?


Where to work?

That’s the interesting/challenging part, I do try to spend more money on airbnbs where I know I shall be able to get work done in the mornings.

One of the challenges of being a nomad is that you never really have an office, especially if you change location rather often and there’s no co-working space close by that offers a “hot desk” membership.

You need decent wifi in order to be able to do your backtesting and watch content, and that’s not a given sadly…

To be entirely fair, “developing” countries (Indonesia, Poland, Colombia, Lebanon,…) please don’t bully me for putting Poland there… the wifi is a hell of a lot better than in developed countries when it comes to working in coffee shops.

So the answer is:

I usually work at home during my “productive” hours – the first three hours – if there’s a desk, one of my requirements for airbnbs (highly recommend it),

I like outdoor standing (home made) desks

Then go out and do work at a coffee shop, however the work done in coffee shops is a lot less productive than at home, but I need the change of scenery – and it’s easier to keep doing work when you’re not the single one, otherwise the urge to go out and explore is super strong

Be a tourist for the afternoon, then get more work done in the evening at home or with a glass of wine!

That being said, if you are spending a month or more in one location, I highly recommend joining a co-working space, you’ll not only get to meet other self employed individuals and make friends but you’ll also get into a habit of working from there, which is great because you have a separation between home and work, something that’s not really possible when working from home.


Growth as a digital nomad

Now, as I just talked about, it’s rather easy to get work done as a digital nomad, you just have to say “fuck you” to your excuses and remember that you are only able to travel because of the work you do, hence, you need to prioritize the work over being a tourist.

That being said,

I don’t think living as a digital nomad is the best way to grow your business, instead, I would even argue it’s a bad idea

If you are aiming to scale your business, launch a new product, create a new offering, or even increase your returns as a forex trader or even learn an entire new trading style you’d be better off staying in one place

I’m not going to write too much about this, because I think Iman Gadhzi did a great job explaining it in this video, highly recommend it, shows the life about being a digital nomad, but after the six minute mark he talks about the downside of Variation and being a digital nomad.

You want to be repetive, you want to do the same shit, you want to have your routine, you don’t want to do new stuff every day, have a schedule, make sure you’re productive.

Anyway, hope you’re well and enjoyed this blog post!


Onwards,

Oh, and, if you’ve enjoyed this blog post, would mean the world to me if you left a like or a comment 😊

The right questions

That’s a bloody heavy title… Definitely not going to be able to address it within one blog post, but…

I just listened to an enjoyable podcast with Warren Berger and Shane Parish on Fs.blog and they talk a fair amount about questions…

Here’s a quote from Warren Berger that explains why I believe asking the right questions is key

Now, yes, that can easily be understood for engineers, for entrepreneurs and scientists, but what about traders?

Questions for traders

What is the market?

It helps to think about the entire market, what is the stock market? why does the stock market (on average) go up? Why do currencies exist? Why are there several currencies? Why is the price of a certain currency worth more than another one? How can I forecast that?

Now this won’t improve your trading 10-fold I’ll give you that, but having a larger understanding makes the next steps a lot easier…

Plus, the more you learn the more intrigued you’ll be trust me, I’ve fallen into a dark rabbit hole more times than I wish to admit

Why FX?

You can easily ask yourself, why do I trade FX? Why do I trade this way? Why do I need a trading plan? (I hope by now you know why you need one!!!! Otherwise this blog has failed you I’m sorry! :S ) What are the positives and downsides of having a trading plan? What will I learn from my trading plan?

(A previous blog post about trading plans can be found here!)

Knowing the answers will give you the motivation to build one? You can ask yourself the same questions about anything btw, would that be why you want to trade full-time, why you need a routine, why you should eat healthy etc

How do I trade?

How do I build the right foundations to become a full-time trader? What is the process I should follow to achieve my goals? What set-ups am I allowed to trade? Why can I trade those set-ups and not others? Why is limiting the number of trades I take good?

Those questions will probably make you understand that sticking to your plan has way more benefits than downsides, you will understand that the only reason you trade those set-ups is because you are playing out an edge with a positive expected value and you definitely don’t want to start playing around because that will costly…


So many question marks…

What questions to ask?

Now I’m not going to list hundreds (I easily could) questions instead here are a few questions I like to ask myself

Why did I take this trade? Does this trade fit my trading plan? Did I forecast it?

Why will the price go in that direction? What is the structure telling me?

Should I stay out? Why shouldn’t I pull the trigger on this position

What would my mentor say if I took this trade?

Would my mentor take this trade? Does it fit with his previous “behavior?”

Why would this trade turn out to be a loss?

How will I feel after taking this loss?

Am I still happy taking this trade?

Hope those questions help you.

I truly believe that everyone has the answers to the right questions (yes even you!) you just need to ask yourself the right questions…

If you can’t answer a question, then dig into it? Ask yourself what do you need to know in order to answer it?

Ask yourself questions and the following questions


How do you make money trading while traveling?

I trade currencies

How do you I make money trading?

By betting that a currency is going to be worth more than another one

Why are currencies worth something?

Because it’s a store of value

How do we know what value that is?

Ugh… I’m not digging my own hole, I’d need an entire semester to debate this

How can you analyze that one currency is going to be worth more than another?

Well, there’s fundamentals, news, technical analysis, etc

I use technical analysis…

What is technical analysis?

It’s looking at the historical movement of price and forecasting that it will do something similar in the future

How do you forecast it?….

You get it by now right? I can stop this game?

Please.. Say yes…


Ask yourself the right questions and your trading and life will improve. Sometimes those answers will force you to look up something else to be able to answer it but in the end you’ll be better off

It’s easy to make something sound complicated, the truly hard part is to make something that’s really complicated sound simple

Eheh, didn’t use Einstein for this one!

Once you are able to explain your trading strategy, why you take certain trades and not others you’ll have truly mastered your trading plan, and that’s exactly what successful traders do – it makes executing it a lot easier!

It’s only with the right questions that our lives can improve

Most of the biggest discoveries started with why or how, so get used to those two words and use them!


Anyway, I will definitely fall into a rabbit hole if I keep writing this post, I hope you enjoyed it! If you did, please do leave a like or a comment 🙂

Onwards

Fear

Fear in the FX market

Now, it may sound strange, why would a trader be scared? I mean, it’s not like he’s risking his life (Well, make sure you manage your risk…If you don’t then yep… I guess)

A good FX trader executes his trading plan with no fear.

A losing trader does not execute his trading plan BECAUSE of fear

Have you ever not taken a trade because you were scared? Scared of losing, scared of being wrong, scared of not being good enough, scared of losing money, scared of what other people will think of you etc?

Hell, I have…

The main idea behind this blog post comes form the book “Way of Warrior Trader” in it there’s a great section about fear

According to the author – there are three instinctual fears: fear of loss, fear of pain and the fear of the unkown

I mean, why are we scared of getting killed by an alligator?


1- Afraid of the pain you would experience while getting chewed up by the alligator’s jaws

2- Afraid of losing your identity as you’re being digested in the alligator’s stomach

3- Afraid of not knowing where you’ll end up two days later after passing through the alligator’s guts

Way of the Warrior Trader

Makes sense right?

I mean I wouldn’t want to be killed by an alligator (well, definitely would be interesting)…

So why are we talking about this?

(Nearly) all fears we are faced with are either anticipatory or reflective in nature


Fear of the future

We are scared of the unknown, the unknown we are all faced with is the future.

We don’t know what will happen today, and even less so in the markets since we don’t control them (kinda wish we could manipulate them for my own benefit…)

Not being an author I’ll quote the book again because he puts it better than I could:


To render repeated attention to issues that are currently outside our perimeter of control is a waste of life force and a distraction away from the situations we do have an element of control over in the present moment.

Way of the Warrior Trader

Instead of being worried about what will potentially happen in the future, focus on what you can control – and that is the execution of your trading plan.

So what are a handful of tips to control your fear when it comes to placing a trade?

1- Forecast every single morning, and only take the trades you forecasted

2- Have a trading plan – and know the strike rates and expected return every set-up has

3- Backtest, that’s the only way to do the first two points, so keep backtesting

4- Focus on your breath – try to breathe deeply into your abdomen, it’s linked with the vegus nerve that will make you more calm (and also reduce heart beat I believe)

5- Meditate (eheh you thought I’d have given up on this one by now) it will make focusing on the present moment and push away all thoughts a lot easier


Scared of success?

Being scared of succcess, may sound like a strange thing, but it happens to a large amount of forex traders and is one of the main reason why traders blow up their accounts

Ed Seykota is a smart dude.

We all get what we want from the market in the long run

The biggest challenge you will face in the FX market is your mental side. Make sure your mindset is in the right place.

Once again, I swear this is (probably) the last time I quote him for this blog post


Nothing can weaken your resolve to follow through with a plan more than the lack of genuine desire to achieve the end result.

Without such a plan, you can be assured that one or more of the four poisons of doubt, fear, confusion and surprise will eventually infect your mind. Effective planning will always help to minimize (if not eliminate) these poisons.

Way of the Warrior Trader

Accept the loss, understand that you don’t know the future and you’re just playing out an edge, take the position and be happy whatever happens next because you executed your plan.

Executing your plan is the goal, ignore the end result.


Cool video by AK Fallible about fear in the market! Love his channel, definitely would reocmmend

Make sure you’re not afraid to take the trade if it fits your trading plan

Yep, a trading plan, backtesting and forecasting is key, what can I say 🙂

By having a trading plan you outsource the trading (to you) so you get to delegate the responsibility! Definitely checkout the last part of that video tho – one of my fav. scenes in Billions hands down ahah


If you think that it’s the mental side that’s holding you back definitely check out the book, I did enjoy it and hit me up with your questions!

I love digging into peoples brains 🙂


Anyway, have a good one, I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Let me know in the comments if you want me to do more post like this!

Onwards,

A month in Lebanon

AUGUST 2019: BEIRUT (Lebanon)

It was amazing!

Photo by Ramy Kabalan

Okay, I may be biased, I was staying with one of my best friends for the first ten days before moving out to an Airbnb to be a little more productive… But yep, I definitely recommend going to Lebanon!

It’s insane to think about the history of the country, it’s a key location on the Med linking Europe to Africa and Asia so it had a strategic importance for thousands of years! Different cultures, different religions all living in the same country – didn’t see any conflict when I was there, but it is rather clear that they still have a lot of scares

This may sound stupid, but my favorite part of Beirut was going on road trips, the entire country is basically made of mountains (hence loads of valleys) and the view from up there is just fantastic – we went to the top of Mount Lebanon while on our way to the Bekaa Valley (to visit the ruins in Baalbek) – and were above the clouds… Driving all the way up woundy roads was a true pleasure!

The Baalbek ruins

All in all here were my favorite road trips:

1- To the Baalbek ruins in the Bekaa valley (you get to see loads of poppy plantations on the way too :S)

2- Byblos & Batroun (can be done together in one day) – really nice places to just enjoy a beer by the water –> If you go to Batroun we went to Colonel Beer Microbrewery for a beer on the beach while watching the sunset, it was magical

3- Doing a wine tour would be amazing, they have some really good wine growers in the region (especially Chateau Kefraya) but otherwise Jeita Grotto is highly recommended! (I didn’t go, but heard GREAT things!)

The view from Batroun Castle(?)
The view from Batroun Castle(?)

Now don’t get me wrong, as much as I love road trips I really enjoyed staying in Beirut itself!

During my stay downtown I stayed in Gemmayzeh, which is a really nice part of town! It’s close to Armemia, which is the road with all the bars, but it’s still really quiet, so was the perfect mix for me! Hamra (another neighborhood) is really nice, a bit more higher class and less young I believe.

One of my favorite things to do in Beirut was walk on the corniche (the road is called Paris..) next to the lighthouse during sunset, there’s loads of people there just soaking in the last sun rays

Love that place for sunset!

The “Place of Martyrs” is worth going to – you’ll have the view on the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque and from there you can easily walk to Place de L’etoile, the Roman Ruins (not super super impressive) and then heading to the Souk or just get a coffee in the expensive part of town is quite fun, it’s a totally different side than what you’d expect!

Now for the important part…

FOOD

I have to say, I love eating a manou2she for breakfast, would that be with Zatar or whatever – my two favorite places for that was “The Lebanese Bakery” and Fern Ghattas, but that being said, wherever you go I’m sure they’ll be great!

Now a more random list of places I enjoyed the food is T Marbouta in Hamra, it’s nothing special, but great food 🙂

Cafe Em Nazih is a more or less really touristy place – but they have a decent amount of choice and you can play backgammon while having a beer or food 🙂 It’s also next to Coop D’Etat which is a rooftop bar

Two more random (and further out) recommendations are Falafel Abou Andre, it was the first place I ate when I got there, and we got hummus with pine nuts, it was amazing! I got addicted 🙂 La Girouette in Broummana (there’s a few places with a nice view of Beirut) has live music with an amazing musicians every thursday – friday and saturday (call ahead to make sure but that was the schedule when I was there!)

Coin Perdu was a fun place to have dinner too (mainly because it was close to where I lived :P) on the St Nicolas Stairs, Loris is another nice spot!

There’s also loads of good places for food, for falafel sandwiches, grilled haloumi etc etc, I’m sure where ever you go it will be amazing!

Oh and make sure you try out local beers, try loads of different coffee shops and get lost in the city

The only downside Beirut has, is it was too hot in August, I was sweating a bit too much for my liking, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going back one of these days!

Enjoy your trip!

Oh and I actually enjoyed going to museums when I was there! That’s me saying that yep… Rather surprised about that myself! We went to the National Museum of Beirut, which was rather cool! (You get to see the times when Egypt occupied Lebanon)

Forecasting is key

Forecasting, backtesting and having a trading plan are the three pillars of successful in the FX market.

Do you have a forecasting routine? If so, keep it up! (let me know what it is)

If you want to become a full-time FX trader, you will have to develop a trading plan, backtest it, and forecast potential moves.

That’s (more or less) everything you need.


What is forecasting?

Figured I probably should do a quick explanation of what I mean by forecasting…

It’s basically “guessing” where the market will go next and how…

Sounds rather easy right? It doesn’t even take that much time

Forecast for EUR/CAD on the 11th of September

This is my forecast for EUR/CAD, I just drew on trading-view the potential scenarios that could happen, I know there are many other potential ways the market could evolve during the day, but in my view, this is the most likely.

You could use different drawing colors based on “I’m willing to take this scenario” & “Not willing to take this scenario” (that’s actually a good idea, I should do that)


If it’s this easy what’s the benefit

Let me start this section with: I go a lot more in depth with my forecasting process, just scroll down if you already know the benefits

There’s five key benefits for a trader, but I was lazy while building this infographic so here’s 3 key points...

1- It will increase your confidence, you are able to track whenever or not your forecast actually took place, which in turn will increase your confidence in your ability to be a few steps ahead of the market (which is key to be profitable)

2- You’ll be prepared, doing your forecasting is basically drawing out all the possible/probably scenarios – you’ll be able to decide ahead of time what price action you’ll want to see before taking a trade – all you need to do is execute your plan

3- It’s easier to profit, having done your forecast in the morning you are a less likely going to miss a trade during the day since you are able to place your alerts at all the key areas. Plus, it also increases the likelihood of you sticking to your trading plan

And the bonus two…

4- It will decrease your emotional attachment to potential trades, and trades you are currently holding: by drawing out several possibility you know that there is no guarantee that the price will do exactly what you want it to, it doesn’t care, instead it makes you realize, we are only playing an edge

5- It allows you to switch from analyst to a trader.

It’s really important to be an analyst when it’s the weekend and when doing your forecasting, however, when the markets are live, and there’s a potential trade set-up in the making you need to become a trader, not an analyst. Having done the analysis that morning will help you execute.

Here’s a video explaining it if you don’t like reading…


My forecasting process

Now let’s dig into my process, that’s probably why you’re here (sorry for making you wait)

I recently did a tweak so here’s a breakdown of what I used to do and what I do now, not a huge difference, but really happy so far

I used to draw at least three possible scenarios:

  • Two potential entries, so how the price gets there and where I’d be interest
  • One scenario where I wouldn’t be able to take the trade, either the market goes in the opposite direction or just impulses through everything I was eyeing up

That was done first thing in the morning and last thing before going to bed, because that way I would force myself to think about the possible, the probable and admit, the price isn’t necessarily going to go where I want it to

In the morning it was to plan the day ahead, at night it was to have my subconscious think about the market while I was sleeping, and once again, forecast where the price would go over the next seven/eight hours

It was a really cool exercise, but I wasn’t getting the most out of it…

Now I do my forecasting somewhat differently

I use my trading journal to track those morning forecasts (I keep everything in my excel file, from reason to trade, to monthly asr, to journal, to forecasting etc, I like having everything in one place)

Here’s this week example

So to quickly explain, I track the day of the forecast, the pairs I’m interested in, the direction, then three potential scenarios that could play out (out of many), a screenshot of the potential moves + drawings.

Then here’s the addition, I then come back the next morning and figure out which one happened, sometimes it was a fourth option, that happens.

But here, you can see I had forecasted the move 12 times out of 15 – not picture perfect but pretty darn close.

How do you think that makes me feel? How would that make you feel?

More confident in your skill? Yes

Happy because you get to collect more data? Yes

More likely to execute the next time you see a trade set-up? Yes


I highly recommend you to do the same

It takes less than thirty minutes in the morning, yet you have the entire day planned ahead

You know what you want to see before taking a trade – that’s key, it reduces your hesitation to trigger a trade, and avoids you from taking low quality trades

You are also able to be “free” and that’s one of the main reasons people start trading, they want to have free time. If you don’t know what you want to see in order to take a trade you’ll just stay in front of your computer, and basically be a slave to the market.

Don’t be a slave to the FX market: Forecast in the morning

Anyway,

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you did, please leave a like or share it? ❤ Would mean the world to me!

Onwards,