Stock Trading for a Living, Following a Trading System

Published: 03rd August 2010
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It may seem odd, but few people can or want to work at home for five to eight years in order to make one million dollars.

Following a trading system is on one hand about the easiest thing a trader can do and on the other hand it becomes almost an impossible task for most traders. In truth few traders can follow a trading system. I have known hundreds, perhaps a thousand traders, some who were positively brilliant, and I will tell you very few could follow a system.

I am not sure just why this is so. Before I became a trader I was a psychologist and so naturally I have an interest in the psychology of trading. Nevertheless I have yet to develop a clear explanation why intelligent people cannot follow a trading system.

I post my trades and positions several times a day on my web site. Anybody can see I have good days and I have bad days. But overall my returns are excellent and do in fact far exceed the performances of most professional traders.

I have also demonstrated that this methodology has been working for over twenty years and that I have traded it with accounts ranging in size from $6,000 to $6,000,000. Using this methodology any person, in my opinion, with 10 to 20 thousand dollars has the potential to earn hundreds of thousands even millions of dollars if they just follow a good system for several years.

This is what I recommend you must do to become a millionaire:

1) Open up a trading account with a discount broker with ten to twenty thousand dollars.

2) Sit in front of computers for nearly eight hours a day for every day the markets are open. Plan to do this for five to eight years.

3) Get a good short term system that you have tested with piles of data. Do exactly what the computer tells you to do to do. Buy when the computer says buy and sell when the computer says sell.

4) Keep careful trading records and strive to improve your skills with order execution.

5) Pay your taxes on time.

In theory the worst case scenario is that it will take you eight years to become a millionaire. This is not a bad salary for five to eight years of work.

So why can people not do this? Why can people not follow a simple system for several years to make a million dollars?

Well like I said I am a psychologist AND a trader. Also I have come in contact with hundreds of traders. Unfortunately, however, the portrait of the AVERAGE trader I have known is not very flattering.
Based on my contacts and experience this is why you probably will not be able to follow the above five steps to attain one million dollars:

1) Boredom - Becoming a professional trader may prove disappointing. Most people think of trading as very exciting. It is not. The truth is that markets tend to move sideways about 85 % of the time and so that is not very exciting.

Furthermore I make about 60% of my profits with 5% of my trades. What that means is I take a lot of mediocre trades while waiting for the big one. Trading is like fishing and sometimes requires a great deal of patience.

I think that a good trader has a personality a little like the personality of an accountant. But not many people who are attracted to trading have personalities like an accountant. They tend to be thrill seekers and the thrill seekers quickly become disillusioned with my style of trading.

2) Desire for Change - Making a million dollars using MY systems and methods require that you do exactly the same thing day after day for several years. Most people cannot do that. People naturally want to stimulate themselves, perhaps as a reaction to boredom, through change. Oftentimes this may come in the form of switching trading systems.

I have known a lot of people in this business and a few of them have actually treated me with some contempt simply because I continue to trade the same way I did 20 years ago. Even though I have made a ton of money doing this they feel that I suffer from some kind of intellectual impairment because I have not developed something new.
But my experience is that the system switchers lose money faster than anybody else.

3) Negative Life Events - When I suggest to persons that they can make money staying at home and doing something no more difficult than taking trades that their computer tells them to take, their eyes light up and they think that perhaps they have found the key to happiness. But trading can cause emotional problems that can lead to depression, anxiety, divorce and despair.

When I really did quit my day job and started trading full time I initially felt very isolated and I missed seeing my friends at work. Initially I felt profoundly alone and isolated.

Having a busy and somewhat preoccupied Dad at home all the time can also cause stress on families. And even making a lot of money in the markets can put stress on families. If you go from being poor to rich your relationships will most certainly change and the changes are not always for the better.

Good trading demands stability and consistency but walking around with $100,000 in your checking account can undermine that.

4) Negative Psychiatric Programming - Running a web site and selling trading software and advice helps reduce my feeling of isolation that comes from working at home all the time. Although some of my best friends and business contacts started out as my customers, this business has also put me in touch with some of the strangest people on the planet.

Two of the more interesting stories:

Hobo John was literally homeless and called me frequently from phone booths. Fifteen years ago he put together a few thousand dollars, probably selling drugs, and paid me $1150 for my trading package and used the balance to open a trading account. What he got from my trading materials was that if you invested in the stock market you would get rich.

The guy bought one stock index contract and held onto it until all his money was gone. I was almost happy when that happened because he had been calling me every day from a phone booth to report on the progressive decline of his account.

Millionaire Mike had all the family money anybody could want and had never put in an honest day of work in his life. He hardly knew how to turn on a computer and could not follow my system if his life depended on it.

He lost large amounts of money on a daily basis and this did not seem to bother him at all. He talked to me like I was his best friend and, like Hobo John, called me daily to cheerfully report on his losses.
His marriage was in trouble and curiously he would tell me about buying gold and burying it on public land to keep it from his wife. The phone calls ended mercifully with his divorce.

I am absolutely convinced that some confused people get mixed up with trading because they want to punish themselves and want to lose money.
In any case there are many reasons why people cannot sit in front of a computer, at home, for several years in order to make a million dollars. Following A Trading System can be either easy or nearly impossible depending on how you want to see it.

But if you really think you might have the right stuff and can avoid some of the pitfalls I have described here I strongly suggest you give it a try.


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