High Heeled Traders

My daughter likes those soft toys. She’s received a lot over the years but always find something else she would like to have and want me to buy.  From when she was 4years old, I’ve noticed that she’s ready to comprehend about the world, so I started reasoning with her whenever she wanted me to buy her something.  Few weeks ago, a small plush puppy toy worth $5 caught her fancy and asked me to buy it, I just bought her something the weekend before so I didn’t want to buy it and decided it’s time for another lesson “we have to make money grow before spending it otherwise it’s gone for good”.

We went home with her crying crying crying.  She went to her bedroom and was quiet for a while.  Then she called me and presented me with some of her old toys, with price tags no less than $10 each  and want me to buy them.  So amused that she was even probably thinking if she only sell 1 toy, she still has enough to buy the thing she liked with money left over. The girl is a fast learner. 🙂

I think “gifting” season is perfect timing to impart those life lessons.

It does not have to be put to use “now”, but the money could first be saved for future use.   Here are some “money growing” ideas:

  • Volunteering – there is always community fund raising going on.  Get involved or even observer at first.  It would help to explain how they go about organizing events and the activities to raise funds.  The school my daughter goes to have a “watermelon  stand” every year at their “Art and Craft Show”.  You could explain that the whole watermelon costs $5 and then when it is cut into 20 pieces (small wedges) sold at 50cents would total $10.
  • Informal selling – this could be in school or friends.  Products could be anything beautiful or interesting.  For girls, accessories are a good choice (because we girls need variety right!).  For boys, stickers, cards (I heard baseball cards are “it”)  or cars (they always want one don’t they!).   Getting unique items from your travels is a good idea. (Check out the stunning accessories below –  they are traditional Indonesian design made of brass).  When I travel, I always look for classic or exquisite accessories to buy.  Like in the Philippines, Greenhills Mall is famous for the Muslim merchants selling freshwater and South Sea pearls.  Pearls are easy to match with outfits so it could sell well even with a 200% profit (since the price is cheap overseas) and still below the prices at the shops.

So if you are thinking of a lasting gift, give Cash and plant seeds on how to make it grow.

(Saves you from the shopping queues too!)

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Learn from a Learner

December 21, 2010

The following is an exchange I had with a friend who volunteered to be my “guinea pig” and learn about trading.  Dewi  (not her real name), means  “goddess” in Indonesian… I think with her attitude towards learning, she would “trade Up”  to this level in the future!  : )

— On Sat, 18/12/10,

Hi There,

Have you prepare for your kids’ presents? Should be, otherwise they’ll get disappointed.

I’ve read your article, The Right Foundation is actually what I’m looking for and follow by First Things First, the calculation bit. It’s a bit confusing but at least I’ve got an idea what you’re trying to say for the very first thing about trading.

I think now my part is to “learn” as you said, especially my math, they’re lousy … a lot to learn actually. Things that you mention (as basic skills for trading) were thought during my school days but I left it out from my memory once I got my first job.

I should re-read your article again … for better understanding what should I do next while accumulate first capital for trading.

Anyway, keep it coming, have a nice holiday

Cheers,
Dewi

_______________

Hi! Dewi,

I haven’t completed shopping, Santa might be late hehehe

Thank you for letting me know what you think about the articles. I’m glad it’s slowly making sense.  The calculation bit — yes that’s essentially what trading is.  Let me know what is confusing maybe I need to write it clearer.

Let me know what other questions you have.  My sister told me to write about what is involved — like if you have a restaurant you need staff, good location etc.  Trading involves less — yesterday I posted “Trading : Make money off people who make money from you”
— like banks charge us so many fees right, might as well own some bank stocks!

And  Yes, just keep learning – much better to ‘NOT’ have the money actually,  otherwise You might do what I did and jump in because it is “easy” to do – the banks will let you open an account and trade – they don’t care.  I know a lot of people (including me ) lost money because they thought they know what they were doing. It is painful.  You are lucky because you will be earning that money first and know how hard it is to earn that  so you will be more protective (or take less risk).  You are already learning to trade right in that process.

I was working out how much time it will take to learn maybe 6 months to a year — it depends on the person.  Like what I said in the articles “self-control” is the important thing to learn. And that I can not teach you hehehe — well actually, I went to a seminar about what keeps you from getting successful so I can share what I learned there. Later.

Will catch you later… Merry Christmas and enjoy your break!
cheers!
Charmel

_______________________________

Hi! Dewi

My teacher saw the newest article I posted (Make Money …)  and he liked it even inviting me to write for them,,,, my articles are sensible after all HAHAHA

cheers!
Charmel

—————————————

Hi Charmel,

See, I told you that your idea is very good. If I were your teacher I would do the same thing, make you as resources for others  haha!

Now I’m re-reading your article & browsing through internet to get information so I can collect it as my “resources”. Your article looked simple & easy to read but well I can say that it has deep meaning if reader care enough to probe. That’s what I’m doing now, probe until Ican’t think of anything to probe.

It’s easy to talk isn’t it hehehehe …

Will keep you updated!

Cheers,
Dewi

__________________________________

On Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Hi! Dewi,
I am going to send you some resources I have (I will send them later).  I am happy to know you are browsing for more info.  It will help you to know more, although a word of caution I found a lot are focused on the wrong things like “entry” or how to “be right”,   I also went through learning all these “indicators” you would hear about, eventually I found what worked and will share that with you.  But anyway, go ahead and see what there is out there. hehehe
I really appreciate your feedback, much so that I would like to get your permission – taking off your name of course for privacy- to post it in the blog.  Some other people might read it and be inspired to just keep learning.   (Or if you want or we can just use your “screen name” hehe)
cheers!
Charmel
____________________-
BWAHAHAHA …. are you sure? I don’t mind though if you’d like to do it, but yes please use other name as substitude as I’m not ready to become a celebrity yet.
I’ll keep your advice in mind as I read through Dr. Van Tharp website (roughly) I think I know what you aiming people in the world of trading. I kind of agree with him tho, altough yes I still need to learn a lot to prove him right – or at least to make sure his method is applicable for me.
Keep you posted!
Cheers,

Dewi

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The Right Foundation

December 7, 2010

Now you must have seen those celebrities in magazines with full make-up looking  perfect and sometimes with a “natural look” revealing they, like us, have skin imperfections and are mere mortals….only with the better foundation.  I remember my excursion to get a good one – I swanned into the counter of one cosmetic company and met 30 different kinds — at least!  Liquid, pressed powder, moisturising, de-aging, oil control, covers uneven skin tone, long-wearing, natural skin-perfecting,  mineral enriched, matte or  luminous finish,  full or sheer coverage  and etcetera.  The beauty consultant probably saw how overwhelmed I was, so she just told me to give one a try.  With just a few trials we found the one I am happy with, e.g. liquid formula to even skin tone for normal skin  type with luminous finish in honey – now that’s genie in a bottle! 🙂

It reminded me that to get it right in Trading, one has to get the right foundation. (Literally and figuratively).   You need to bring together what you want and what you have to set a good basis for doing your Trading business.

Know What you HAVE

Consider what you HAVE that affect your trading:

1.     Psychology

2.     Risk Tolerance

3.     Resources

  • Time
  • Money
  • Skills

4.     Market Beliefs

PSYCHOLOGY

Personal Beliefs — Imagine the result if you go on Trading or any pursuit and believe that YOU CAN WIN! You would be so full of energy and enthusiasm that you do any work to be done the best you can! You would get roadblocks but it doesn’t stop you because you know it is still in your path to success, you only need to learn to get around it! If however, you think you are “not good enough”   (“I don’t have the right education”, “I am not good in math”), then this will limit you and you have to change that. You have to believe what will be supportive of what you want to achieve.  Believe  that there are always opportunities in Trading.  Believe in abundance.  This is deep, spiritual  stuff right here!

RISK TOLERANCE

I mention “trading” to friends and they say  “It’s risky”.    If you think of it though, everything has risk.  You could be enjoying an ice cream cone with the risk of drips on your nice clean shirt.  You would still eat ice cream right? Just need to be careful.

Anyway, I thought when I started, you have to take high-risk trades to get high-rewards.  I have good news though — Low-Risk   trades is what makes successful traders.  This is what you can do to be careful:

a.     Measure Risk –  when considering a trade, measure if  the Risk is worth taking.  I follow the professional traders’ rule of thumb  that you only enter a trade with the potential to give you 3 times what you risked.  (I will tell you later how ).  So say you are risking $100, then the reward potential should be $300.  You need to be careful not to just enter a trade  — if the reward potential is not there, it is not worth the risk.   Step away.

b.    Know  WHAT is the risk of the investment so you can decide if  it’s alright with you. For example :

  • small companies (either small-caps or penny stocks) — usually get listed in the stock market to get funding for growth.  They are cheap so you can get in with only a small investment (say at 50cents your $500 can get you 1000 shares)  and could skyrocket in value compared to your investment e.g. could reach $1 in a year so 100% gain.   However,  there could be no earnings, and/or  lots of debt.   Also due to small number of shares, could be hard to get in and out so less opportunity to trade.  Worst that could happen is you lose your entire investment.  REWARD :  Growth
  • big companies  (called big caps or blue-chips) — could provide  income by paying regular dividends, would have cash/assets that exceed debt (at worst their assets can pay their debts and whatever is left is distributed to shareholders), usually also grows by buying smaller companies or start other ventures, have large number of shares which make it easy for traders to go in and out of trades (liquidity) ensuring you have plenty of opportunities.    REWARD: Growth, Opportunity and Income

I consider the bigger companies LOW-RISK so they are the ones I trade, in addition to growth, income and opportunity I can apply strategy for protection, further lowering my risk  and increasing returns/income (I am talking about  Options on Stocks – fun stuff for later!).  Big companies could fail too for various reasons usually relating to management – e.g. ENRON, Nortel, OneTel etc.  so you still need to be careful and monitor regularly.  From learning about the markets you could also formulate other  “low-risk ideas”.

RESOURCES

Think of your available time, money, skills that you can use to do your trading business.

1.     Time

a.     First, you would need to spend  time to LEARN to trade – this would including getting market knowledge,  creating a system to guide your  decision-making, how to place your trade (online or broker) and ensuring you trade effectively with a psychological and business plan.  I will share them here so don’t worry 🙂

b.    Second, you need to know the timeframe you would be comfortable to trade.  Starting out, I recommend to adopt a “short term” timeframe for trades (few days to a month or so) .  Day trading requires a lot of skill and knowledge that one can only learn over time, while if you go “Long-term trader” right away  you’d tend to be slack and lose focus to do the “trading tasks” and possibly lose interest and lose money that way.

c.     At actual  trading, the time requirement is minimal.   I do short-term trading and I would normally prepare to enter a trade at a “quiet time”– this would vary from person to person but for me this would be weekend or early in the morning (when I wake up to give the baby some milk) I spend between 10 to 30minutes reading on news and doing my analysis, when a trade is already in place and I only need to monitor it, I check  the broker’s website, takes 1-3 minutes each time while I could be at the shops or with the kids at the park or at home or workplace.    I adjust my activity  according to the market, if it’s too volatile I monitor more closely.   If I am not comfortable I don’t  open a trade.

2.      Money – This is a big topic so for now let’s just focus on what you need to think of when you start to trade.

a.       Allocate.  You need to keep the money for trading / investing separate from any savings or any living expenses or commitment for that matter.   To trade profitably, avoid any pressure on your capital or “unrealized profit”.  Some people recommend investing 10% of your income etc.  I leave it to your judgement to assess your overall life situation.   But listen up! Starting out, honestly, I recommend allocating an amount that you can afford to lose.  Scary but, Trading being a  “fast game” you might not have the  self-control for most part of it and lose your capital.     I know  because I did it and got totally wiped out.  (Nope I didn’t cry over that.  OK maybe just a little bit… )

b.    How much?  Here in Australia I look around banks advertising  “Term Deposit”  offering 6% per year for a minimum deposit  of  $5,000 for 12months.   So if you are chasing  a Return of more than 6% you should have more than $5,000 right?  Starting out I recommend going from this amount although I will discuss  other considerations later.

So say in summary, minimum trading capital is $ 5000 that you can afford to lose.   For readers in other countries,  I will look up (your) markets and post a recommendation.

3.  Skills – you would find that the following are helpful in trading

  • computer skills
  • research skills (finding information and making it easy to refer to)
  • math skills

If you do not have the above skills (or any you need for that matter), learn them.  I didn’t think I’d be proud to admit one day but I was made to take “Remedial Math”  after a college admissions test that I passed showed that I have too many mistakes in the math section (hehehe ).   I had to sit an extra class at lunchtime to learn arithmetic and percentages.  In Trading these are  basic math skills needed,  then some statistics to help you advance.  I used to have a blank look at the mention of “Standard Deviation” but a very good teacher (Ken Long from a Van Tharp Institute workshop I attended) showed us what it is used for and then it became really interesting. So just think as you get more knowledgeable you will appreciate what this seemingly complicated math is all about.

TOP TIP : You can practice basic math skills a lot during shopping  when reading  signs  like “Buy 1 Take 1” and “30-50% off”  🙂

MARKET BELIEFS

OK so markets do go up and down, sometimes slow, sometimes  too fast it’s crazy  — I don’t pretend to know all of the reasons  (it’s not that important – tell you in another post) but I can tell you this: there are ways to profit in Up or Down markets or even sideways market.  Dr. Van Tharp is fond of saying “you don’t trade the markets, you trade your beliefs about the market”. So improve your market knowledge from where you can form beliefs that you can use in your trading.   It helps to  observe  a “real” market (not the supermarket)  – just look at the chaos!  Different people are there together  with different purpose bringing different things (resources).  Like in the financial markets – there are the individual “mom and pop” investors, day traders, long-term investors, fund managers, the governments also get involved, some may buy and hold, others are hedgers (want to protect values of their assets), speculators (hold positions according to their expectations of rising or falling values).    Markets also have a rhythm, there is a lot of activity say at the start, closing, or at  the end of the week. One of my beliefs (from what I’ve observed on one stock I trade) is that its price tend to go down by Friday afternoon.   Funny it is like one of my favourite thing to do at the markets which is go to the flowers section near closing time because they tend to sell at big discount, sometimes give it for free.  🙂

Know What you WANT

1.   Have an Objective.  When I started out, I just thought I “want to make money”.  To help define that, think :

a.     What is it for? A holiday or buy a car? Monthly income?

b.    How much?

c.     When do you need it?

As regards to your capital :

d.    Do you want to make as much money as you can?

e.     Do you want to ensure you only lose a certain percentage of your accumulated capital (capital and profits)?

f.     Do you want to preserve a certain percentage of your original capital?

As regards to your business:

g.    Do you want to manage your own money and few other family/friends? Or just yours

h.     Do you want to be a professional money manager?

i.      Do you want to be a mechanical trader or fully automate trading systems?

j.      Do you want to just protect the value of your business / other assets

Dr. Tharp’s book “Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom” has an excellent section about writing your Objectives to START your Trading. After all, if you don’t know where you want to go,  how can you get there?

2.    TIME. Do you want to trade actively or prefer a slower pace?  There are some markets that lend to “fast” trading, like the Foreign Exchange market (or FOREX). If you don’t care for fast-paced trading then stock market might be better suited, and that also varies according to stock  etc.

3.     MARKET.  Do you want to trade a particular market because of your interests? (e.g. From your travel or other business)  Back when I was starting, I didn’t know that you could trade Country-specific funds, I thought at that time if you have any such interest you can only trade Foreign Exchange (or Forex for short), now there are even Country Exchange Traded Funds ( ETFs).  If you migrated to another country like I did  you must be  aware of  US Dollar against your currency, that could be a good fit for you.    If you prefer to trade something familiar you can start by trading “household name” companies like your bank, the retail companies you shop in,  what you pay bills on e.g. electricity / phone, the makers of the goods you use e.g.  software or PC or even everyday items like milk or food items.

LAST BIT – PROMISE!

If you are still reading this,   I’m happy for you and let me just wrap it up here.  Most women I know don’t want anything  “risky”.   So here’s my  hard-earned wisdom on getting “the right foundation”  for low-risk trades.

1.  There is a lot of  money to be made in Trading, but like anything in life, you have to earn that by developing your skills and taking responsibility.

2.  Give yourself time to learn.  At the start you will make mistakes, keep learning and improving.

3. Aim to preserve 80% of your capital.  Also around halfway of hitting this mark (or after 5 trades whichever is safer for you) it’s a good  time to check how you are doing (performance) and make adjustments to how you trade.

4. Only do low-risk trades. If you  lose  sleep over it,  it’s not low-risk enough for you.

5. Aim for a monthly income target,   it is a measure of how good your skills have become (your consistency).

6. First do mechanical trading, even doing calculations by hand, it reinforces your learning.

7. Devote at least 2 hours per week to learn, you sure can do more but contrary to what others might think, Trading is not just theory and numbers.  A lot of it is behaviour, so go, observe and learn from LIFE .   Picture someone who got angry and done something they’d regret because they lost control.    You will understand later how Life relates to Trading. (Hopefully  🙂  )

8.  Trade Short-term timeframe,  does not put much pressure on yourself and the trade could still move in your direction.

9.  Trade what is interesting / easy for you to understand and offer you the most protection.  For most people this is the stockmarket.

10.  Start with minimum of $5,000  — if you don’t have this amount, build it up while you keep learning.

Whew, long article,  give yourself a treat and chew on this one for a while.

I’m  catching up on sleep.

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Here is the FREE preview edition 100 page ebook of “High Heeled Traders” –a fun, educational, and comprehensive guide to investing and trading in shares and options written for women with full, busy lives and with big dreams to live for.

Please wait a few seconds for preview to appear. Click to Expand. Download instructions below.

WANT the whole book now? Get it at Amazon.com here

DOWNLOAD Instructions

When you have the eBook open —
1. Close the window of the reader, (X) on the top right side, it will go back to the preview on my website
2. Click ‘Visit URL” which will take you to the reader platform issuu — then below the eBook are the icons – right next to the FLAG icon is the Download icon
3. Click Download icon – you will be prompted to login, just use your FB – click on FConnect, that will enable you to login to issuu, it will bring you to the eBook again
4. Click on Download icon again, the Download dialog will appear. Click on Download button and proceed to save to your target directory.

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Lessons from a Trader Mom

December 2, 2010

Trading stocks, bonds, currencies are often  thought of as a high risk, high reward, high intensity  game.    I traded like so for years.  Now that I am trading differently, as  a woman, as  Trader Mom, I wonder how I lasted.  I guess if I have not set myself thinking that I am trading to first  learn and gain experience and wanting to build an income stream  (for eventually we all would not be able to work – or get fired!), I would have quit.   I did start on this venture with the belief that  “mistakes and learning from it are part of winning”,  so I  am still trading and had now become profitable today.

Years ago, I had days though of excitement, fear and sometimes not being able to sleep when I have a trade open.  Say I just bought a bank stock and expecting it to go up but it didn’t, I would think  of what to do then. (This is WRONG!  You must know what to do in all scenarios BEFORE opening a trade – you just have  a clearer mind and not clouded with emotion) .  I didn’t know that I really do not know what I should really know  first–  to trade profitably (hehehe) . Until I came across a book that says, you first have to trade considering what you know about yourself.  So knowing one’s self is the cornerstone of great trading!   The book Market Wizards which interviewed the top traders – big money guys – we’re talking billion dollars under management here – say that they simply trade as it fits them.

It took a painful and numbing experience for me to stop and think differently though of what I thought myself to be.   After a death (I had a miscarriage), you can’t help questioning so many things about life.  What did I do wrong?   Why are some given a Life to live and some have to live so short?  What is my purpose?   I did find the answers. I thought the greatest gift that I was given were my children. That God, Life has made me a Mom because it is the best contribution I can do – “to give wings and roots” . I am good at it too, I believe.  However, being a Mom entails teaching “how to make a living” and  “trading for a living” is what I aim to do,  so I thought, that’s  what I would be,  I would be a Trader Mom.

I made BIG changes.  I traded around the time I have available,  which  is very limited with the kids’ activities and house chores, plus I also have a job (that funds my lifestyle).   I only trade short-term opportunities so I don’t have to sit glued to the computer and so I have time for all the other things I need to do.  It also changed how I assess Risk, how I value the cash I have available to fund a trading opportunity.  I reviewed my Risk limits, so that it is small enough that it doesn’t bother me when I lose it but also allow me to profit  at least 3x my money.   For example, I will open a Trade only with a risk of  $200 in an opportunity that looks like I can profit $600 from.  There are such trades, you just have to be patient. I found that I don’t have to take High Risk trades —  Low-Risk trades in fact make the Highest returns.  I also put more value in balance and well-being.  Stress greatly decreases performance and  one has to be in top condition (clear mind, not too excited – so lay off  the sugar!) to make the right decisions and think of options.

Having made these changes and having the attitude to learn  as much about the Markets and continually improve, I had become profitable and even consistent.   I can say I enjoy so much more time now with people I love, with less stress and extra income.

So  anyone else want to be a Trader ?

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In every  Trading workshop I go to, I would count how many women are in the class and we would usually make up 10%.  I wondered  why – like it’s hard?! On the other hand, in my playgroup, and favourite cafe  when they see me checking stock quotes on my phone,  many get interested  seeing how it can let me earn an income while doing what moms do (bring kids to school, play at the park)  and want to learn about Trading.  And why not,   Trading is simply Buying and Selling.  And my belief is that women do this a lot.  In our world, this is called Shopping.    I admit the main activity is the BUYING, intended  for keeps – but we do Sell or otherwise get rid  of something that has  less or no more value.    Anyway, considering  women  shop a lot, I thought we would be natural traders!  We just don’t realize it.

In fact, this could be you:

1.       You search high and low, visiting several shops, or shopping centres even  – looking for an item selling below  value for some reason.  Anyway, considering  the whole scheme of things, you want the item and is selling at a steal.  You’re a Bargain Hunter.  In Trading, this is called Value Trading.

2.       You like to buy what is in fashion.   Buying Blue?  That is soooo last year!  You would only go for what is in the new style.  You’re in with the Trend.  In Trading, this is called Trend Following  or one who follows Seasonal concept  in which weather patterns  (a prevailing trend)  dictate what would have a high demand with prices sure to move up (or down).

3.       You buy what is not in season because you  know it would be back  –In Trading this is called Contrarian or  to a certain extent Band Trading (like rubberband – stretch and go back)

4.       You buy when you see a  “window of opportunity” or loophole, or in shopping terms these opportunities  are called “Sales”– in Trading this is called Arbitrage.

So you see, there are many concepts that work in Trading or Shopping  that women do and do well.  In Trading, there is money for everyone.

The other thing that should help understand  this whole Trading exercise is that, it is like shopping for  Shoes.  Yes, Shoes!

1.       We should know what we are after .  “Oh I really need  strappy sandals  for a wedding”.
Same as in Trading, start by having  an Objective.  Say you want  to “consistently achieve 3% of capital per month (total of 36% per year!) . If you don’t know  what you want, where you want to go, YOU CAN’T GET IT RIGHT!

2.       We buy what is a good fit.  Usually,  you wouldn’t buy  a shoe of a smaller size.  Like so in Trading, if a trade does not  feel  right for you but you went ahead being influenced by someone else, this tends to be a loser.   So  Trade only what fits you, your timeframe, trade only the stock/industry you know.

3.       We buy a lot!  Formal shoes, running shoes, many styles of sandals, boots,  according to color, material etc.     You have to have a range of shoe options.  Point is you have got to budget for all this kinds of “shoe  situations”.    You shouldn’t  spend too much on one shoe.   So this important  lesson in Trading is that you have to keep how much you risk  at an amount that does  not blow out your budget and be able to fund next opportunities.

4.       We buy  and wear shoes according to the conditions.   In winter  we would usually wear closed shoes so we don’t get cold, in the summer,  sandals are popular, to keep cool.  So in Trading, you have to have an idea of what the market is doing.  Are people optimistic and buying things in the hope of rising prices (Bull Market), or are people scared and dumping their assets before the prices go down more (Bear Market)?   Or are people not sure where things are going and there is a tug of war between the people who are optimistic against those who are not (Sideways market).    You need to determine Market condition before  deciding on action or strategy, or choose not to trade when market is too choppy.

5.       We buy it when we look and feel good. Easy when deciding for shoes but was  a surprise for me it also applies to  Trading.   No matter how much the trade looks positive from your analysis,  but when you don’t feel good about it (or afraid) that it won’t turn out right, worrying  could make you cut short  a profitable run, this is the worst you can do in profit-taking!    So before opening a trade, you need to feel good about it.  If not, don’t trade it.

I can probably go on and on and on, but the other important thing is,  as there is always another shoe…. as in trading, there is always another opportunity. Be patient and you  will find.

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