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Good Morning All:

 

"Amateur traders want to be right; professional traders want to make money."

 

Today's topic reflects off the very true and powerful quote above. Many of these Monday Morning 'Eyes' editions are technical ones with charts and lots of markings on the charts. However, many of the best ones are just words. They are comments on 'soft' topics, such as the topic today.

 

The Need to Be Right

 

If you are in the stages of learning to trade, you will become a compilation of all those from whom you learned. You will become your own unique breed of trader. We all come to the table with certain expectations and beliefs. We all come with some emotional baggage. We all learn from reading, studying websites, and other traders. Some informally, some by paying for education in the form of trading rooms, seminars and mentors. Every time you learn something, it adds to your experience as a trader. Eventually you become the sum of all you have learned. Even if you have a mentor you have tried to emulate, you will never be exactly like your mentor. You will be unique.

 

However, while no two traders are identical, most successful traders do share some common characteristics. Most have learned the value of a trading plan. Most have learned the need for stops. Most have learned many other disciplines that have I have addressed in a previous weeks of "Eyes". It takes many a long time to understand the subject of this article. That subject is, the belief traders have that they need to be "right".

 

The topic is a simple one. Yet it eludes many traders. It seems only obvious that if we want to be successful, we need to be right in our underlying assumptions in our trades. If we want to trade stocks, we should focus on being 'right' about the direction stocks are going. Correct? Well, not really.

 

Most traders focus too much on their need to be right. This can be detrimental and needs to be addressed. The truth of it is, we are dealing in the stock market. There is not a system, method or pattern that can produce accurate results all the time. If there were, it would be known to all. All would be using it. Ironically, if this was the case, when all started using the system, it could no longer work. A 'catch 22' of sorts, but just goes to show that it is obvious that there will never be a perfect system or indicator.

 

The best we can do is to study each situation, collect the evidence, and make a high probability decision at the proper moment. What is of primary importance is how the situation is handled when the trader is right, how the situation is handled when the trader is wrong. What is the most common reason traders fail? The answer is not following stops. What is another top reason traders fail? The answer is not letting winners run.

 

Not following a stop is an example of handling the situation improperly when a trader is wrong about the trade. Not letting a trade hit a target is an example of handling the situation improperly when a trader is right about the trade. What good is being 'right' if you are not paid for it? Good traders assume from the beginning that the trade may go bust. They know how much money they have risked. They know when they will get out, and they will analyze other options, such as profiting from the stock, which is now moving 'against the odds'.

 

Good traders also know how go balance being 'right' and being timely. I know of an advisory service that took credit for predicted the fall of the Dow in 2001. The only problem is that they began that prediction when the Dow hit 6000 a long time before that. Quite a hollow victory. Waiting for too much information may make you 'right' more often, but to what avail? It is like the trader that finally decides the NASDAQ is going higher intra-day, because it broke the high of the day. The only problem is that the NASDAQ rallied 30 points to come back to break the high of the day, it is so extended, there is no room left for profit. The trader may be 'right', but his late decision awards him no money.

 

 

 

Closing Comments:

 

Yes, we need to be 'right' a fair amount when we trade. However, if your average winner is three times your average loser, you only need to be right 25% of the time to be breaking even gross. Accept that this is not an exact science, and never will be. We are reading peoples emotions. Accept that you will be wrong a certain amount of the time and accept that graciously. Done properly, this is a very profitable business. Focus on how you handle your winners and losers. Make timely, high probability decisions when you have sufficient evidence, and do so consistently and objectively.

 

Paul Lange

Vice President of Services

Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.

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Guest OILFXPRO

The Need to be right is one of the reasons. Why traders add to a losing position , it is a personality issue that has a reactive patter that is disaster to many accounts.The need to be right is why traders will carry on with losing methods and systems.This article barely touches its full effects on traders.

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Guest OILFXPRO

There are plenty of quality articles and better explanations on google , on the need to be right.

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      One of the most important reasons why traders take big losses is because they often fail to recognize when a trade has gone wrong. You see, stopping out of a trade is probably the biggest fault of traders and investors. Often, this happens to young and inexperienced traders and investors, but I know many veteran traders and investors that struggle with this as well. Early in my own career I struggled with stopping out of a bad trade myself, so I can sympathize with this problem. 

      The problem with taking a loss is really two fold. First, the trader has to admit that he is wrong. As you all know, as human beings we all hate to be wrong. The ego simply gets in the way and we all want to always be right all the time. The first secret in this business is to check the ego at the door. The market does not care about your the color of your skin, religion or anything else. It will move in the direction of the money and that is the bottom line. Once a trader or investor goes into what I call 'hope mode' the trade is over. I'm sure everyone has been in this position at one time or another. Simply put there is no room for ego or hope in the stock market. The market is always right and there is no reason to fight it. 

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      Now when should we stop out? The answer to this question is not that simple, but here is what I personally do. I always place my stop loss below an important breakout or pivot on the chart. You see, prior breakout or pivot levels are usually defended when retested. After all, this is usually an area where institutional traders and investors got involved, that is why there is a pivot low or high on the chart to begin with. If that level is breached on a closing basis then I will move out of the position. So If I took a trade based on a daily chart pattern then I will usually check the daily and weekly chart levels. If there is a major pivot on the weekly chart then I will use a week chart close as my stop out level. While this method may not be perfect, it has saved me from much bigger losses when I have been wrong.



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