I had another email this week (my inbox has been busy recently, probably because I’ve been posting more trades here since I restarted my blog). The gist of it was this: can I create a mailing list, exclusive to customers of my stock trading book, and send my watch list of stocks to all the subscribers before the market opens each day? My answer to this type of question is always no, and I wanted to explain why.
I had an email from someone asking me if I would give them personal one-on-one coaching in the practice of day trading. The short answer is, as it has always been, no. I’d like to share why, because it’s something that comes up every now and then, and it’s something that affects most traders learning their business.
I’m often amused when my non-trading friends tell me that they could never play the markets for a living because they couldn’t cope with the risk. They say things like, “Aren’t you worried you’ll lose it all one day?”, and “What happens if there’s another stock market crash? You could get wiped out!”
These well-meaning but faulty assumptions come about for two reasons. The first is a lack of understanding of exactly what I do as a day trader. The second is a flawed idea of risk.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines discipline as the practise of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour. Trading successfully is all about obeying rules (following a trading plan), and the reason most struggling traders fail to make consistent profits is because they lack the discipline that the occupation requires.
With 2018 drawing rapidly to a close, this is traditionally a time when we look back at what we’ve accomplished in the year. If you’re the forward thinking kind, you probably also look forward to your plans for the coming year.
Day traders who are new to trading stocks often find that watching a number of different symbols at the same time can take some getting used to. This is especially true for those who may already have experience of the futures market where it is not uncommon to spend the entire session watching only one or two charts. Keeping an eye on multiple charts is not impossible though, it just takes practise and a structured method.
I’ve been working with a struggling trader, helping him to discover where his difficulties lie. Sometimes when we are in the thick of things, it can be hard for us to see for ourselves what might be obvious to others. Having someone look in from the outside can be a real benefit. In this particular case, the problem was one that is all too common among many who are relatively new to the business of day trading. The trader was stuck in a variation of the destructive cycle of the grail hunt.
We’ve probably all heard the expression Let the trend be your friend, and sound advice it is too. Jumping into a stock or future while it’s priced low and riding it up an extended trend is a great way to trade. And if it was that easy, then we’d all be doing trend trading and we would all have bigger bank balances than we do now, right? The problem, as any trader knows, is how to know when a trend is starting, and just as importantly, when the trend is about to end.
I’m of the belief that the single biggest barrier to success for most traders is themselves. Psychology is one of the aspects of this job that is discussed the least. Yet when you ask most professional traders, they will agree it is the most important to understand. Master yourself and the rest is easy.
If I’ve noticed one thing all traders have in common, it’s that they love to talk about trading, and I am certainly no exception to the rule. Maybe it’s because trading is, for most of us, quite a lonely activity. Or perhaps it is because the majority of those around us don’t really understand what it is we actually do. Whatever the reason, I’m re-opening this old blog of mine as somewhere to chew the fat and share some insights about trading. Hopefully some of them will prove useful to others — both traders and would-be traders.
Before we get down to trading talk, please allow me to introduce myself properly. My name is Harvey Walsh, and I am, of course, a trader. To be more precise, I am a day trader. I have been earning a full time living from the markets for more years than I care to think about (not because I haven’t enjoyed those years, just because it makes me feel old to think about how many of them there have been). My preferred market is the NASDAQ, and through this column I’ll explain why I think it’s one of the greatest markets to trade. Stocks are by no means all that I trade though. I usually have at least a couple of forex positions open, and over the last couple of years I have been trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether. I even wrote a book about how you can do the same.
That’s not the only book I’ve written, it just happens to be the most recent. On the home page of this website you’ll see all the others I’ve published. There are links to each, with a short intro video and details about what each book covers.
However you stumbled across this site, and whether or not my books are of interest to you, I hope you will find something useful here. By the way, I’m open to feedback and suggestions of topics to write about. I’ve got quite a lot of stuff scheduled already, but feel free to drop me a line any time. I always reply to (courteous, non-abusive) messages, though sometimes it can take me a few days!