Archive for November, 2011

Facing Reality, and My Dilemma

November 16, 2011

Anyone familiar with my roughly 6 year long part-time trading history knows I’m a net loser. Never had a profitable year ever. Not one. I’ve ground down three small accounts now, trade by trade, loss by loss (with the occasional win, though). I’ve done the spectacular blowout before, losing 30%+ of the account at once, done the revenge trade campaign, but this time, I’ve just been wrong in my timing and direction more than I have been right. No big blowout trades, just consistently losing 1R at a time. I’ve matured to be in control of myself, I just can’t bring home the results.

So as I near the close of another losing year of trading, I see that yet again it is time to stop trading. The discretionary setups I have been playing just are not working, as evidenced by my win/loss rate and my PnL. While this is a psychological blow to me, it’s not a big monetary blow. Nothing in my life changes because of the lost money. I make plenty of money as an engineer to cover our family’s lifestyle and save for retirement. Basically, the middle class dream. But there is nowhere else to go. No more upside, and very little personal freedom. That’s what trading represents to me: being in control of my own life. So far, I have not succeeded. While I have a lot of success in many areas, especially the ones that count (health, family, career), this one is where my heart is set. Either I need to give it up or try a different approach. Since I don’t have the approach right now, I’m stopping until I do.

So this is not an emotional breakdown, I didn’t go tilt, no real damage done. But I am sad that I still can’t win at trading. I will likely study some more, watch the markets, maybe make another try next year.

Now, the dilemma: what do I do with my programming/blogging? I feel like I have no business writing about trading, making indicators and software for other traders if I can’t even do it myself. It just doesn’t feel right. If I’m trying myself, and having success, then I feel like sharing and working is honestly good. What I worry about is this: if I’m not a good trader, then people come looking to me for something that will help them find success. I’m no snake oil salesman. I don’t want to prey on people and their desperation to find something that works. I won’t do it. So that leaves me with the question: is it ethical to do the programming work when I can’t make money myself using the same tools? Say the answer is yes. Then is it enough business to replace my income and do it full time? So far, the answer is far from yes. So where should I invest my skills to have the greatest chance at my end goal: financial freedom, while I am still “young”? Again, I don’t know.

So that’s where I’m at. I believe it is possible to make money at trading, but it is far harder than even I thought. If I can’t do it, how can I help anyone else do it? And if I don’t trade or help others to, then what should I do to meet my goals? Welcome to the inside of my head.


November 7, 2011

I have woefully neglected the blog and some people’s requests for work. I have a pretty good excuse, I think: my wife and I are adopting a toddler boy, and I have been doing a lot of “daddy duty” since he is quite a handful (or two!) I now have even less time on the weekends and evenings than I did before. It can be frustrating for me, but it for an important cause, and the sacrifices are worth it. 🙂

On the ToS side, my concerns from the prior “Crossroads” post have been largely corrected by the Think or Swim folks. So I’m sticking around with ToS. I have some hints of some great features to come, and I need to implement the recent thinkscript changes from the last release. I also need to update the CAT tool. I really wish I could do this full time, but I have bills to pay, and so I must do SCIENCE at the day job to pay for all these kids.

Thanks for your patience!