You're Only as Good as Your Worst Day

09/17/2013 6:00 am EST

Focus: MARKETS

Paul Lange

Vice President of Pristine Services, Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.

Being able to squeeze small profits out of the tough days and not give up the profits of the good days is the key to success as a trader, says Paul Lange of Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”

—Chinese Proverb

Newer traders often feel that they have reached a certain level of success when they start to have some profitable days. Unfortunately, this is often very misleading. Naturally, there has been some level of accomplishment made to have profitable days. The truth of it is that almost anyone trading will have some good days. They may often have some VERY good days. So why is this a bad thing?

Well, it is not a “bad” thing. However, it is also not a measurement of success. Aggressive traders may have a scorecard filled with many very good days, and many bad days. Traders who fail at trading usually do not do so because they could not make money on SOME days. They fail because the bad days are worse that the good days.

For most traders, it is not uncommon to make most of their weekly profit in only one to two really good days. Two days will likely be small profits for breakeven days, and one day may be a loss. This is a typical week for a day trader. Having one or two really good days is not that tough. What is hard is not giving it back on the other three days.

No matter what you trade or how you trade it, every day does not present the same odds. If you trade gaps, some days have many quality gaps, some days may not have any. If you trade the market itself, some days have very little movement, some days have fluid movement, and some days are reversal days. If you catch a nice reversal day and play it right for big profits, you may expect the same thing the next day and give up money on lots of small losses and commissions when a narrow day forms.

Closing Comments
The fact of the matter is that good traders are measured in how they do on their bad days. Being able to squeeze small profits out of the tough days and not give up the profits of the good days is what is key. Look at your records. Do you have nice profitable days and give back the money over the next two days? If this sounds like something you do, get some help to combat that demon. We hope this has shed some light on your trading.

By Paul Lange, Vice President of Services, Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.

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