Matthew Kerkhoff, options expert and editor of Dow Theory Letters, continues his 14-part educational...
Why Simpler Is Better in Trading
10/29/2015 6:00 am EST
Beginning traders should avoid complex indicators and systems and instead focus on getting a proper education and developing a simple, methodical approach to trading the markets.
Trading is a wonderful business. As each year passes, more and more people are discovering this amazing industry. The freedom, flexibility, and potential for income can all be fantastic…if you’re able to last!
Success will not come overnight. It’s the steady, consistent trader that will succeed. There is no easier way to achieve this than to keep your approach very straightforward and simple. Don’t get inundated with useless information that will only serve to distract you! So, take it slow in the beginning, remain focused, and don’t let your expectations exceed your experience level!
There are no shortcuts. Despite hard work and high hopes, it will still take time to learn and develop as a trader. Be realistic and specific with your approach. Put a plan together that covers all the steps to achieving your goals.
Step one should always be education. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in; everyone needs a certain level of education and training before they can even begin their quest. Don’t underestimate how much you don’t know! Despite previous experience in a similar field, or perhaps prior success in a completely different occupation, don’t let these things cloud your vision and fill your head with unrealistic expectations. Begin your journey with an education.
Keep in mind that education is only step one. After taking the courses, you will be taught what patterns to trade, how to scan for those patterns, how to create a trading plan, and much, much more. After completion of the seminar, you will feel ready to conquer the world, but don’t let this newfound knowledge distract you from your goal. There will be so much information that you will be tempted to look for every pattern in every time frame we teach. This is not what you want to do, nor is it conducive to success.
Take a step back and focus. Define your trading universe. Choose one or two patterns that you like, choose a time frame you would like to trade, and then master it! Don’t get distracted. Start off slow, build a strong foundation, and above all, keep it simple.
There is no need for five patterns when one or two will make plenty of money. There is no need for various oscillators, Bollinger bands, Fibonacci, stochastics, and 50 different charts on each monitor when far less will suffice.
Keep your focus specific and keep your charts clean. Less is more! Watching too many stocks or trying to do too many things at once is a surefire way to get distracted and accomplish nothing. Don’t watch 20 stocks when ten will do; don’t take 15 trades a day when five is more than enough; don’t fill your charts with spaghetti when price and volume are king. Take a step back and keep it simple. Slow and steady wins the race!
Take a seminar. Create a specific trading plan. Paper trade until you learn the nuances of your platform. Become consistently profitable on paper for several months before you begin trading “live” with real money.
Once you start using real money, take it very slowly, using small share sizes (100-300). Although the length of this process varies for each individual, the overall theme remains the same: Stay focused, stay consistent, and take it slowly.
You will not become a master trader overnight. I don’t care if you study 24 hours a day, seven days a week, after two or three months, you will still not achieve greatness. If you practiced golf 24/7 for three straight months, would you be as good as Tiger Woods? Highly unlikely! Trading is no different, except that it takes your money when you make a mistake!
The biggest problem I’ve noticed with the novice trader is their expectations exceed their experience level. Despite receiving sound advice from other traders, counselors, moderators, etc, they still don’t listen. Everyone thinks they are different. “I’ll be the one who becomes a master trader in three months; I’ll show those people!”
Sadly though, people with this belief system are often resigned to the ranks of “ex-traders,” or they lose far more money than they should have because of their lack of listening skills and unrealistic desires. Follow the steps I’ve outlined above, and keep your approach very simple.
Simple succeeds, and it shortens your learning curve. The temptation to deviate will be immense, but you will either learn the pain of discipline or you will learn the pain of loss and regret!
So if you have a passion for trading and are eager to succeed, do yourself a favor: Get an education, listen to the advice of those more successful than yourself, make a plan, follow it, be patient, and keep your approach as simple as possible.
When you do all of these things, you will find that less really is more and success will be yours. Good luck and good trading!
By Jared Wesley, instructor, Pristine.com
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