Keep Calm and Don't Move Your Stops.....

A little risk management saves a lot of fan cleaning!

The Purpose of Life is Joy!!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Back to Trading

It took me a bit longer to get back to trading for real. I just didn’t feel like hitting it hard in January. A bunch of stuff happened late December at work that really got me into a negative mind set and trading in that frame of mind only leads to losses. I did trade a few days in January but my heart wasn’t in it and I felt like I needed a longer break so I just let it be until today.

I also made some slight adjustments to targets and stops. Stops are wider now and targets are based on time frame. I trade two charts, the 5M and the 1M depending on how the chart looks in relation to the other. Smaller targets on the 1M and larger targets on the 5M.

My aim is to make money and stop. I don’t care about win rate, I don’t care about huge winners,I don’t care about looking smart or clever, I don’t care about nailing the bottom or the top, I don’t care about if I am technically correct or if my levels are the best or not. All I care about is being in line with market movement and taking some home for me every day.

To that end, my only consideration is this; am I in line with the market momentum and if so, where can  I get in to minimize my risk and give myself the best opportunity to capture some sort of reasonable profit before the next level of support or resistance stops the movement in my direction.

That’s it. I have no other criteria beyond looking for specific bar formations to help me acknowledge I am on the right side of the market momentum.

Platitudes, cliches and the well worn trading euphimisms all have their place but I'm pretty tired of them. As it turns out the only thing that matters is risk and not being greedy. Control both and you have a pretty decent shot at being profitable.

One of the days that I did trade in January, I let a huge winner turn into a loser because I was greedy and wanted it to go even further but it turned back on me and took out my stop. That was the day I quit trading and really looked inside at what my motivations were, and once identified, what I needed to do to in order to satisfy those motivations.

Turns out my motivation was all wrong. I said I just wanted to make money but what I really wanted was to be a rock star trader. Once I figured out that what I said and what I meant were two differen things, thats when I got serious about what I really wanted. And that prompted me to where I am today in my emotions and thinking.

Today, I dont give a crap about all that other stuff, I just want to make some money every day or at least most days and just let the rest go. I can do that by just being patient and letting the market handle it.

Today, I was in and out, made my money for the day and now I am done. I think I will post a bit more often but not every day. I like writing and I like writing about trading so might as well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Reflections 2018

This year's reflection will be a bit different from prior years. I won't be doing a deep dive into the top ten things that most reflects the accomplishments of the last year.

Instead, even in the middle of a higher level of success in all areas, in the last four months of the year I discovered something about myself.

Through meditation and being aware coupled with a specific series of events, I discovered a hidden arrogant streak in myself I long suspected was there but presented in a very ugly way for me this last year.

I won't go into details but just when you think you have something figured out and start bragging about it, the universe conspires to take you down a few notches.

Whilst 2018 has been a wonderful year in all areas and much progress has been made, there are two areas that will be a focus for me in the coming year.



This one is difficult. If you recognize the need for a bit more humility in your life, how do you express it when you achieve it or worse, how do you pursue humility without looking like a complete ass? The very act of trying is the exact wrong thing to do. It is or it isn't. And right now it isn't. Maybe my awareness is enough? I don't know. Just going with it for now.

I am doing my annual review and my 2019 planning. Something I have been doing now for about two weeks. My normal advance planning has always revolved around achievements, goals, material acquisitions, etc. Last year, the advance planning began to shift toward more esoteric things and this year is no different.

I've discovered I just want to be a better person and that other stuff will naturally fall into place when its the appropriate time. So more journaling, more meditation, better health, less worry, more faith, etc. These are the kinds of things on my advance plan.

If you want to get a copy of my advance planner and comprehensive journal tool, just click here

Its designed to record plans and goals, new habits, quarterly action steps, ideas for the following year, etc. It can be printed double sided and folded small enough to fit in your pocket and read every day. Ideally you print on 11x17 paper for maximum readability but I have printed on 8x11 and while small can still be read. Someone with better editing skills than me could turn this into a full bleed document and it would be beautiful. If you want some help with it, just email me and we can chat. The form is editable so  you can change the categories to suit your needs. There area couple of religious overtones but those come from my journey and while yours might not include this component, the concept are valid and will serve you I think.

One side is all about mental stuff and the other side is mostly tactical stuff.

Anyway, use it if you like it.

My last trading day was last Thursday. I have been in a slump lately. Mostly due to the lack of patience. Patience wins the day, every day. The drunken monkey that is my frontal cortex seems to have been on a bit of drinking binge of late and getting him to shut up has been more difficult than earlier in the year. As a result, I gave back some of my earlier profits. I am not real happy about that but I think I finally became aware of how drunk he actually was and have taken some steps to quiet him down a bit more.

I won't trade again until the second week of January and then it will be single lots on a single chart. Every time I think I have multiple time frames mastered, I get schooled by the market. If I stick to a single chart, regardless of the time frame, I do much better. I look at Sandy's charts and I love the simplicity of how they look and the obvious turning points they seem to contain but every time I have those open, I just seem to be overwhelmed with it. This means I must stay my single chart course.

Tradeovate has been my platform of choice this year since it can be accessed via browser on any device. I like this functionality but the platform does not have a ton of advanced features. That said, I don't really require many advanced features so it serves me well and I intend to keep using it for the foreseeable future.

Till next year.

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Chart because I am bored

Its getting late, I'm bored and thinking about I decided to post a chart of today's trading. 

I am mostly trading RTY now along with CL once in a while depending on what it looks like during my trading hours. I made the move to RTY after a friend suggested I take a look and I watched it for a couple of weeks. So far its a lot friendlier than CL and the tick value is only $5 which makes it easier to have larger stops if needed. Further, once it open, it moves like crazy which reminds me of how CL used to move. I like that particular characteristic of the instrument!!

Still, a losing day today. However, most of the days have been pretty decent winning days. Usually around 2:1 in terms of RR. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Everything is Spiritual

A few weeks ago, we went to the central California coast where I spent a lot of time as a child. We lived just over the mountains in the San Joaquin Valley, also known as the bread basket of the world. We lived about 90 minutes from the coast and my parents took us often. I have fond memories of those times running the dunes with my cousins and bumping around the little coastal towns that are up and down the coast.

This trip was a re-connection for me. I've only been back once in the last 30 years and that was when my wife and I honeymooned up and down the coast. We stayed in a small town just south of Hearst Castle and put a lot of miles on the little Honda Civic hatchback seeing the coast line. Some of it was lost on my wife as she had severe gall bladder issues the entire trip but it was still memorable. I must have shifted that thing a thousand times driving up and down the PCH between Pismo Beach and Monterrey!

Fast forward 30 years and we have a 16 year old that knows nothing of my history and so we decided to do a road trip to celebrate 30 years of marriage, reconnect with my past and connect her with my past.

The trip was wonderful. We stayed in the same hotel we stayed in 30 years ago. It was just as nice as it was then. Its right on the coast line and I spent 6 hours a day sitting in a wonderful Adirondack chair overlooking the Pacific ocean. Three in the morning and three at night. The sunsets were staggeringly beautiful, the mornings were brisk and overcast. Nothing could have made it better.

In the middle of the week, we jumped across the mountains through Paso Robles CA through wine country and into the San Joaquin Valley to see the little town I grew up in. Even though I had not been back for 37 years, I remembered how to get around just fine. We went to see the house I was born in and oddly enough, its still there and in the same colors I remembered. The house across the street was exactly as it was back then. White picket fences, pomegranate trees growing over the fence and just like then, I stole one to take home! We even ate breakfast in the same diner we used to go to when I was a kid. My daughter said she really enjoyed seeing where I grew up and how glad she was that we did that.

We did the Hearst Castle tour again. Much better this time around as my wife wasn't sick and we marveled at the vision and tenacity of William Randolph Hearst. If you are ever in that area of the California coast, you should spend a few hours there. Its worth it.

Upon our return, I began to reflect on the beauty of the ocean and the sunsets that often times were so beautiful that I would tear up just a bit. The mornings were times of deep reflection and gratitude. I began wondering how to keep those feelings of beauty and sense of awe around me all the time. To be fair, I guess that's why we do vacations, to escape "reality" and the daily grind and reconnect with nature or get some rest. But as I thought about it, I realized the feelings of awe, appreciation and significance were feelings I could experience every day if only I became aware of myself and the incredible things going on around me and to take time every day to dig deep.

To that end, I started getting up just a bit earlier to meditate a bit longer than normal. I've been meditating now every day for the last 18 months and my life has changed dramatically for the better since I began this practice but I wanted to see if a bit longer each day would change things. The getting up earlier lasted only about a week before I couldn't do it any longer and nothing remarkable happened.

Then I decided to see if once a week 60 minute session would do anything and today is the second of those sessions. The first one produced a feeling of rightness and harmony but not much beyond that. Today's session was unremarkable as well. I could not quiet the monkey mind for more than a few seconds at a time and even then the monkey was screaming at me for attention. I even used a HemiSync meditation track that helps with focusing the mind. It just wasn't happening for me in a meaningful way, or at least that's what I thought.

Once the session was over, I had things to do and my wife ruined my morning by washing down the porch while I was finishing my coffee and before I ready to get into the day. But as the day went on, little things started happening that showed the universe and I were in sync. Christmas trees are never on sale before Christmas and we bought a new one today with 50% off! The car repair that was supposed to take a few days took a couple of hours and didn't cost anything and then something peculiar happened when I got home from all this around 9:30AM.

I have never been a huge U2 fan but today an interview with Bono and Eugene Peterson popped up in my Youtube feed. I decided to watch it and it was moving for me in many ways. Then I decided to listen to a song that was referenced in the interview and it brought me to tears both in its message and its incredible passion. Once that song was over, a Queen video popped up, Live Aid at Wembly stadium. Lots of close ups of Freddie Mercury. His passion for the music and energy made me start looking for other people whose dedication to their craft and passion for their art elevated them to superstar status. Every time I would see something new in a performance I had seen previously. Some new twist of genius and I began to appreciate the art all over again.

I spent some time just thinking about passion, beauty and genius. These three things are closely linked together. They produce and inspire each other. And once again, I realized that everything is spiritual.

The work we do, the art we produce, the people we love, the animals that we care for, the causes we care deeply about. Its all spiritual....or to be more specific, its all energy and we are all connected to it.

This entire day has been spent in wonderful connection to the divine in a way I have never before experienced. As I write, I am listening to the best of U2 on Youtube, it's 90 minutes of genius and I had no idea. The soaring vocals, the driving music influenced by the band's Irish folk song heritage gathers one up in its arms and carries you to a new place if only you surrender to it.

I think this something one can maintain if desired. It just takes listening to the universe. That means quieting the storm that rages around us long enough to hear the still small voice whispering all is love and you are invited to participate to the fullest measure if your heart hungers for it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


After nearly 5 years without an extended vacation due to illness and then financial issues, my family finally got the opportunity to get away for a full week. Extended is not a month for us, its a week as we have only been able to swing 2-4 weekends for the last few years. But this time we scored a win and took a family vacation to Maui Hawaii.

My daughter wanted a trip for her 16th birthday instead of gifts and requested Maui, so the stars aligned and we did it. I have to say it was one of the nicest vacations I’ve ever had. I literally laid on the beach for nearly 6 hours a day. Three in the morning and three in the evening. Shear bliss!!

I also traded while I was away. 4:30AM Hawaii Time, sounds silly but it was no problem getting up. The mornings were quiet and beautiful and I loved it. I traded on an iPad using tradeovate and I had 4 winning days and one losing day. I think I netted around 72-75 ticks after commissions. I have to say, simplifying to the degree that I can trade on an IPad has been liberating. I am not tied to multiple screens and massive processing power. It’s been nearly a week since I got back and my laptop is still in the closet gathering dust. I’m still trading on the iPad and I’m writing this post on it as well with the Bluetooth keyboard I bought along with the new IPad.

My mortgage business continues to win big for me and while at some point I’d like to retire from that, for now it is just what the doctor ordered and allows me to trade free from the need to win every day. That too is liberating. I’m winning way more than I am losing which is all I’ve ever wanted from my trading.

Here is a pic of my view most days in Maui. Almost nothing better in life than time by the beach. For some reason, this is my happy place. I feel at total peace and completely satisfied with myself, with life and with circumstances in general when I am in this place. It’s where I get my mind right. I am blessed!