Friday 20th of November

Let’s get started straight away, no croissants or anything like that to talk about this morning 🙂

Ohhh actually, received a cool email yesterday. Here’s a quick blurb about it:

Do not forget about the 4% Battery Life Rule.

My laptop is at 4% right now and my charger isn’t here which means I must race to the finish line and get this email done…

… before the battery dies.

Yet if I had a full battery life, I wouldn’t be in such a rush.

But today I don’t have the luxury.

So I just sit down and type.

Not relying on inspiration or creativity or nothing.

Just pure focus, devoted to the task at hand with one goal: to get it done.

But if you look within, you will quickly discover the BIG secret to life…

What’s the BIG secret – you ask?

Time isn’t real. It’s an illusion.
(Max here, watch Interstellar guys!)

If you operate on 100% battery life every day, it will take you a lifetime to succeed.

But if you work every day as if you only have 4% battery life remaining, then you’ll get more done in less time and succeed WAY quicker.

It’s all in the mind.

And working with urgency is how you manipulate time.

4% battery life – treat every goal on your list as if this was true and watch how quickly you achieve it.

I really enjoyed that email from Tej Dosa here’s his twitter if you like his content

Daily Watch List

GBP/AUD

I’ll be eyeing up Pound Aussie for a potential short set-up. I doubt it will happen today. That being said, better to be on the ball than late.

I’m mentioning this pair even tho it doesn’t have a weekly or monthly stack since I find the set-up interesting. I won’t be executing it, there’s better set-ups across the GBP pairs.

GBP/CAD

Hell yeah, Pound Cad is still on my watch – sorry but now my watch will be exactly the same as yesterday! GBP/CAD is close to an area of supply. Liking how the 4hour price action is shaping up as well.

All in all, if there’s a script entry it will be a good Set-up. There’s several ways of drawing the higher timeframe stack too.

GBP/USD

No big surprises here, I did just say that my watch hasn’t changed from yesterday.

Btw, don’t forget to move today folks! Gotta exercise and get some fresh air!

If we get a short from the supply area, that will be an A+ set-up. I just love the weekly.

NZD/JPY

I did mention Kiwi Yen yesterday right? I had incorrectly drawn the supply area in the past, however after correcting it, I noticed the following – it’s still fresh. Sure, it’s a long time ago, but I’d argue it’s still valid.

USD/JPY

Last but not least, let’s mention US Yen, let’s see what happens, I definitely like the set-up, I’m only slightly hesitant due to the fact that the trend line break wasn’t that impulsive, a news announcement, I believe it was the vaccine, make it break above. There wasn’t any real follow up.

The area of demand remains valid, the monthly stack is also there, all in all, I think it’s a valid set-up.

I hope you guys enjoyed this one!

Daily book

I actually didn’t read much yesterday, well I did but… SuperStock is now showing charts he used and his research before buying stocks and how he exits positions or areas he finds value. Makes sense to me.

So it made me reflect a lot in terms of what I could use within my own trading. I’m not sure as of yet.

One thing for sure is the following: Your exits are more important than your entries. I focus a lot on my entries, for my exits I usually use the 1:3 risk reward ratio, but there could be something more there.

Will need to dig into it.

Daily tweet

Remember, you can always find a way to move forward and remain positive, no matter how dark the hole you’ve diged yourself is.

My Advanced Self Review

In this post I’ll try to answer a few questions: Why do I do my ASR (advance self review) weekly? What do I look for? How do I come up with ideas to check?

First of all, let’s remember, I don’t know what’s going to happen after I take a trade. All I know is that I can always improve.

I don’t know where the price will go after my entries

There’s an edge to our entry, we know that the probability of it going in our favor is X%

There’s one common thing that unites every successful trader I know. We all admit we do not know where the market is going to go after we take a position.

To take an example:

If I take a 4 hour script entry that fits my rules. I can tell you that in 50% of the time it will be a 3% win. The probability of it turning into a break even trade is of 8%. The probability of a loss 42%.

But that’s all I know. Well…

I can also tell you that in 22% of the time, the next two candles will go against my position. in 42% of the time the next two candles will chop around, one will be bullish and the other one bearish. In 36% of the time the two candles will go in my favor.

I can keep going more and more in detail, about every single entry type I have. The average return you can expect from those

However, I still can’t tell you where the price is going.

It’s just a question of probability and risk management.

However, I believe I can still improve my trading. Add new rules or filters. Discover new ways of taking a position. Rules I can remove etc.

That’s where the ASR comes into play.

ASR stands for “Advance Self Review”

You want to learn from what you experience in the market.

Let’s dig into how I do my Advanced Self Review

The first thing I do is go back through the week and look for all positions I could’ve taken, I look for trades I may have missed, trades I took and how the market moved.

At this point I don’t look at my trading journal, I look at the chart as if I was backtesting. I keep track of every single set-up that happened and their results.

I look for reasons why the market made a high there, is there something that could explain it? Is there a way for me to forecast it in the future? Does it bring up similar thoughts I’ve already had while doing my advanced self review?

Listing all the potential trades

Once I have tracked every single trade set-up that fits my rules I look at my execution.

How many trades did I execute that I was supposed to execute? How would I grade myself?

In my 4 hour trading, what I share here, I executed on 4 trades, two on NZD/USD and two on GBP/NZD.

After reviewing the week I can say with confidence that those 4 entries were all valid.

  • Well there was CAD/JPY, it was a pretty trade set-up – however it didn’t fit all my rules, so I did good to stay out. It wasn’t a script entry, that’s the rule it broken, it didn’t close low enough
  • There was also GBP/CHF, that one was pretty too, however, it didn’t fit my rules, it wasn’t a script entry. So I stayed out. Why wasn’t it a script entry? Because there was one bearish candle before the candle I’d have entered.
  • NZD/JPY was another one. Once again it wasn’t a script entry, the price action had been going sideways for 20 hours. It was nearly a script entry. Just the question of the close 3 candles ago. The fact it was so flat cancelled the script signal.
  • USOIL is another one. Well, I didn’t like the entry candle anyway so I’m happy I didn’t execute and it wasn’t a script entry either
  • CAD/CHF wasn’t a script entry (I’d have been interested the 10th of Nov. at 11am French time) because it didn’t close low enough. However it was also outside of the area of supply so all in all I’m not sad I didn’t take it.
  • EUR/CHF provided a script entry. However for me the price action was too slanted and it had spent too much time within the area of supply – so didn’t take it
  • EUR/GBP didn’t provide a script entry either. A question of the close a few candles ago. So good I didn’t execute

EUR/NZD provided a script entry, however it was below the weekly stack so I didn’t take it. That’s interesting data point, those are rare, so I’m highlighting it for future references. I want to collect more data on those trades. It fits my plan everywhere except for that.

USD/JPY also provided an entry. After a clear double / triple top – I’d have been happy to take it, however to have a weekly stack I’d have needed to use two weekly candles rather than just one. Which is my rule. However, I’ve seen those trade set-ups play out quite a few times. So I’m highlighting this trade to compare it to previous trades that did the exact same. I want to see if the average return is positive

How well did I execute my trading plan? Is there anything I should look into?

Okay now that I’ve mentioned every trade that I could see that worked with my daily zones was there any trades that I should’ve executed?

The answer is no, I executed the 4 trades that presented themselves to me and that fit every single criteria of my trading plan.

However, there were two trades that I didn’t execute because I wasn’t the biggest fan of their weekly stacks.

(Yes that’s my sclaping set-up)

Now I know I want to go back and check previous occasions where the weekly stack required two candles instead of one AND if it’s okay to take trade entries that are just outside the weekly zone?

Time to look back in my data set

Not going to share the results about that analysis to keep my trading plan more or less “private”even tho I’m sure you can reverse engineer it if you spend enough time here.

Sorry 🙂

Now once that is done I try to understand why the market offered so many potential entries? The reason – price had finally been pushed to areas of supply / demand since institutions removed their hedges to cover their asses during the US election.

That was my ASR for the 4 hour strategy. I’ve been using it a lot longer than my script so it’s normal I take less lessons out from it than my script trading.

A shorter version of my ASR for my scalping

Let’s quickly look into my scalping, I promise it’ll be quicker since I won’t go into as much detail. I want to mention it because I discovered something important while doing it.

The fact that last week was the worse week in terms of result of my scalping strategy over the last few months definitely made it interesting.

While doing my ASR, I noticed there had been 21 valid set-ups.

I took 15 of those set-ups.

However that’s because one day there were 8 trades, where I limited myself to 5, I wasn’t feeling too good after 5 trades that resulted in 1 BE and 4 losses. So that’s 3 trades I had identified and could’ve executed. I took Friday off too, there was only one trade that showed up, a BE. So that makes up 4 trades.

So I’d have executed 19 out of 21 valid set-ups.

That’s already pretty good, I’m quite happy about that. Sure I missed two trades.

Focus on your execution of your trading plan, not your results.

Executing a profitable trading plan will pay out in the long run. That’s all you need to do to become a profitable trader.

For a third week of living trading this plan I’m quite happy with that. In university you get an A for an 85% – I’d have scored a 90% here.

Is there any lesson here?

From there I need to understand why this week was so poor compared to previous weeks.

In my previous trading I was able to identify that the market could either be trending or correcting. I figured my scalping – which mainly focuses on short moves works better in a correcting market.

First I discussed it with a trader, a good one, that trades a very similar strategy.

We agreed that we want to avoid trading the market in such condition. Or at least, trade differently.

That made us realize that it was the market type that “caught us”.

If you’re dressed for a summer day in winter you’re going to suffer if you live in Canada. You have to adapt to the conditions. You can’t tweak the external conditions to fit you.

You have to adapt to the condition of the market

Anyway. I then looked and did some research on my side of things into market regimes.

I came across this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMqXstX4ALs

I thought it was rather interesting.

So I kept digging into it.

Here’s my scalping returns:

I then added his market regime indicator to my chart, I edited it slightly and changed the time frame.

I then went through every single trade taken in my data set for the last three weeks and figured out what market regime they’d be in:

I don’t know about you but I find that quite interesting, the average return of my strategy in “Neutral” market is over three times higher than in other market conditions.

I kept digging into this. However it’s important to mention two things.

1- To make a change in your trading plan I recommend having a lot of data. Ideally I’d have 100 neutra trades, 100 quiet trades, 100 volatile trades. That would be better,

2- Make sure you are not curve fitting your data. I could correlate my trading returns with the amount of rain a specific region gets if I look deeply enough. You need to be careful with this.

Anyway.

I kept digging and searched for a way to improve the results while having a higher amount of data, so I split those three categories into two.

And the results looked even better.

I hope that helps.

I’m not saying you have to look into the market condition, it could be interesting for you, sure, but that’s not the point of this post.

You have to reflect on why your trading plan stopped you form executing winning trades and what you could add to your trading plan that would enable you to remain “safe” from conditions that do not fit your trading style.

Once you have collected enough data you’ll be able to tweak your trading plan to increase even more your profitability.

On that note, have a fantastic week!

Tuesday 29th of September

Only one more day before the end of the quarter, let’s keep putting the work in to improve our competence as forex traders! It’s all about building the right foundation of competency and then executing on opportunities while exercising self control.

Just plugging for the last time the fact that I recently wrote a blog post: “If you want to succeed, go all in”

I’d love it if you told me what you thought about the topic!

But now onto the important stuff 🙂

Daily Watchlist


I’ll start off by mentioning that out of the watch from yesterday two pairs reached their respective zones and presented clean entries (GBP/AUD ad CHF/JPY) however, to make my entries as mechanical as possible I use a script to validate (or not) entries, and neither were valid according to my script. Hence I did not take either.

AUD/USD

Aussie / USD is still on watch from last week, we’ll see what happens with it, I do want to see it reach the weekly stack before taking a trade.

As you can see on this screenshot, the zone I’m interested in begins at 0.6995 when we adjust it to the weekly stack.

Now I’m going to add a few words as to how I want the price to reach the zone. I’ve come to notice after my extensive back testing and data analysis that the way the price reaches a zone (and how long it stays within) impacts the probability of the trade being a winner.

Hence I now prefer if it gives us an impulsive move lower, less than 24hours of deceleration before an entry. I am no longer a fan of slanted entries, hence I’m looking for the price to strongly move lower before giving us a potential entry, that would be the ideal scenario in my book. (I also like and accept double bottoms/highs)

https://www.tradingview.com/x/kVe736fO/

AUD/USD

CHF/JPY

Will quickly mention CHF/JPY since I did mention it earlier, it provided an entry to my old trading plan – but not to my new one, hence I didn’t take an entry.

If the price heads back inside the zone with quite a lot of strength I’ll consider taking an entry. Here the problem was on two sides, it did not give me a script entry and the price to the zone was slanted, not impulsive

https://www.tradingview.com/x/NoRy58EE/

CHF/JPY


EUR/AUD

Euro Aussie remains on my watchlist for today, however we are still quite far from the zone, but EUR/AUD can move quite strongly in a day so I’m keeping it close to me.

What we are seeing is that the price currently moved higher in an impulsive way, it is now correcting back towards the 4h 50EMA, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if the price action went back up soon.

https://www.tradingview.com/x/Tt1Yrkl6/

EUR/AUD

GBP/AUD – GBP/JPY – GBP/USD

I’m keeping these last three pairs on my watchlist because I think they are quite interesting, GBP/AUD reached the zone and is now moving lower from its supply zone

GBP/JPY and GBP/USD are two pairs I want to see moving lower to reach their demand zones for a potential long. All in all, time will tell, I highly doubt anything will happen today tho.

Book wise…

I’m nearly done with my review of Meditations – by Marcus Aurelius, I’ll probably finish it today and get started on the Lives of Stoics this evening or tomorrow! Looking forward to it.

Once I’ve read that one too I’ll take a break from reading and write down all the notes I have taken, I am now (with a pencil) underlying / checking / boxing content I really enjoy in the book to make a “summary” at the beginning of each book that I really enjoyed, would it be quality of the text or the content

I think it’s Eric Hoffer that said,

Make sure to write down everything interesting you find

Tweet wise…. Here’s my favourite of the day

I was planning on doing a tweet about FOREX, but this is something I entirely identify with. Keep asking questions, keep being interested in new things, keep experimenting, keep having an active life, and remain happy!

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
Image

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”:

Image

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!?)

Image

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

Image

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

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,

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,

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!

Not doing shit is key.

Let me rephrase: Not taking trades is key.

Yep, you read that right, I’m here to say that doing absolutely nothing is (a hell of a lot) better than taking trades every single day.

Okay, this subject is mainly going to be about trading and investing, but it may apply to over industries too…

Do you know why you shouldn’t take too many trades? (Think about it for a few seconds)

Just wanted to give you a few seconds to think – I’m not addicted to pineapple photos!

There are three key reasons you may have thought about:

1- Trades in your trading plan don’t happen every single day so you definitely shouldn’t be taking more trades than what your plan tells you to. (Absolutely agree with this one)

2- Your broker commission, hell, I enjoy trading with FXCM, I don’t have (too many) issues with them, yet I’m still paying 5% of the risk I am willing to take per trade on average… (Fuck… I just realized it, it’s way too much )

3- Focusing on quality trades instead of just average trades.

I’ll mainly focus on this third point (even though the commission one just pissed me off ugh)


The importance of focusing on quality trades & not over-trading.

This may sound pretty obvious, but sadly it’s a lot harder to actually follow this rule. Mark Hutchinson (from Falcon Trading) brought up an interesting concept.

80% of the trades taken should be high probability trades and the other 20% can be valid trades.

You want to wait for those high probability set-ups before putting a trade on, but sometimes you can have a gut-feeling the trade will just go in your favor before you see the perfect set-up and you should still act on it.

I really like that rule, usually my trading follows a very similar breakdown between valid and high probability, and I do believe it’s really beneficial for me.

That being said, I didn’t stick to it last month (July) and I ended up having a negative month… Yep… It happened I have no shame, I committed a few mistakes, anyway, that’s not the subject.

You may know of Michael Marcus (he was one of the traders interviewed in Market Wizards) who, in less than 20 years, managed to turn 30,000$ into $80 million trading commodities.

I really like this book…

One of the quotes of his I really enjoyed is:

“One of the secrets to trading success is cutting down the number of trades you take”

When someone with his track record talks, I tend to listen, and that advice, is (I think) spot on.


Taking too many trades reduces the quality of your portfolio

Now let’s think about an investment portfolio, your returns will be the sum of all the trades and opportunity cost is really important here (in FX too due to leverage requirements) …

If you take trades that have a lower expected value you’ll reduce your overall yearly return and therefore make less money while increasing your risk, is that something you’re into? (I’m definitely not, I want the opposite)

I came across a cool website by Safal Niveshak – which I would highly recommend checking out (especially if you’re into investing)

The last article he posted was: Is your stock portfolio a warehouse or a museum?

In it he argues that we want our stock portfolio to be a museum and not a warehouse, which makes sense, so do go and check-it out

In it he quotes Jason Fried book Rework (a book I really enjoyed) :

“You don’t make a great museum by putting all the art in the world into a single room. That’s a warehouse. What makes a museum great is the stuff that’s not on the walls. Someone says no … There is an editing process. There’s a lot more stuff off the walls than on the walls. The best is a sub-sub-subset of all the possibilities.”

Jason Fried – Reword

Makes sense when explained like that? Right? We want our trade portfolio to be a “sub-sub-subset of all the possibilities” and only the ones where we truly believe to have an edge in.

From there, he picks the explain of Costco v. Walmart

Yep a screenshot, I’m lazy

We want to focus on returns on invested capital, 28% sounds a lot more attractive to me than 12% (which is still good).


Less is better – quality over quantity.

Now in this part of the post I’m really tempted to bring up Bruce Lee quote about not fearing a man that practiced a thousand kicks once, but fearing a man that practiced one kick a thousand times (see what I did here?) but that won’t be my main focus.

Instead I’ll just pick a recent example

One of my friends (Aldo) realized that taking better trades is not only more enjoyable but also doesn’t necessarily reduce your trading returns. Especially while traveling and not being able to spend as much time on trading.

That being said, I’m kinda forced to bring it up, I mean I love the guy…

Bruce Lee has another quote (not about the number of kicks this time)

He probably didn’t say this quote thinking about investing or trading, but it applies to everything in life.


Anyway, I hope this was helpful.

If this was useful and you enjoyed reading it, it would mean the world to me if you’d leave a like or even commented 🙂

Cheers!