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, December 30, 2016

No trading since the last post

Late nights do not make for good early it looks as though the trading range has compressed rather dramatically these last couple of days. Glad I've been sleeping in!

Back at it Tuesday though....

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

+6RR Today

I wasn't going to trade this week at all but my wife insisted. She said, its a work day, what else are you going to do all week.....and in the face of that logic, I agreed....but only on one condition....she didn't get upset if I had a losing week.....she agreed and here we are.

Very narrow range this morning. It was only 35 ticks when I got to the charts....but the conditions were good for a nice long....the 30M had broken long overnight and had retested the break out level about 30 minutes before I got to the charts so longs were the only trades allowed. Plus we were trading above last weeks VWAP, so everything looked good for a nice long trade.

I found the hidden support on the 15M chart, entered on the lower time frame, no heat at all, I bought the low tick of the pull back and off it went. I think my stop was 5 ticks on this one. Almost nothing.

I exited at 5RR as price stalled near my target. I knew it might not make it there due to overhead resistance on the 30M but as I write this, price has just reached that original target. I probably should have held it through the pull back but I was hungry and needed a shower since I overslept this morning. Regardless, I am happy with the results. Only 33 ticks to be fair but on a narrow day with only 5 ticks of risk, I will take a 6RR every day of the week.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Reflections 2016

Failure is an option. It is one among many options. In reflecting on this year, many things fall into the category of failure or at least not working out the way I would have envisioned. This post is going to detail a few of those things as well as offer a few thoughts on the upcoming year.

This year has been a year of frustration in terms of my trading. It has been a year of loss as only one year ago this month, I lost my mom and only two months ago my father who was one of my best friends passed as well. In addition to this, a number of personal aspirations which I've not previously mentioned here in the blog have not worked out well at all.

This year marks several years of loss. My business, my health, my parents, the fair weather friends that took off when the money dried up, trading, etc. It's been a tough few years and I'm mentally and emotionally tired.

A lot of these things began re-inserting themselves into my mind this last week and really began to assert themselves this weekend. I assume its the melancholy of the holidays without my parents. Nevertheless, the losses are real and the feelings are real.

With my fathers passing, both my wife and I have been chatting about seasons coming to an end and new seasons opening up. These last few years have been a season of loss, pain, frustration, humiliation and discouragement and yet even on the day we held my father's memorial, I felt a sense of relief or to put it another way, like his passing was the last of the past and the future began to open up. I have no way to really explain the sensation other than to say it was palatable.

As I set up my daughters new laptop today, I started thinking about all this loss and what it means for the future and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all loss is in the past. And then I stumbled on this  and realized that I am stronger than I have thought I am. I think I have the internal strength to not only survive the losses but to thrive in spite of them.

This started me thinking about the future and what I wanted for myself and my family. I came up with a few things.

  • Financial freedom. I am done being dependent on others including my wife's income but more specifically needing an employer to "approve" of me in order to earn a living. This isn't necessarily bad, most people need a job. But I no longer want that feeling of not being in control of my own destiny. I will be taking a job with a major bank in March to be their mortgage banking rep. This is something I can do in my sleep and will pay the bills for the foreseeable future or at least until I am consistent enough in trading to not worry about the income side of things. 
  • Geographical Freedom. This relates to the previous point. I intend to create enough financial freedom to allow my my family and I to reside or travel wherever, whenever we please. 
  • New traditions. As long as my parents were alive, my extended family participated in the traditions that revolved around my parents. This year, my extended family all elected to spend Christmas more or less isolated from everyone including each other. In some respects, I understand and respect that given we just spent the last few months joined at the hip in the hospital. However, I realize my parents traditions were not our traditions and I need to create our own for my family. I'll be working on this with my wife throughout the year. 
  • Activities away from trading. This has been a hard one but I think I have arrived at a reasonable conclusion. In 2017, once my degree is finished, I will attend the training to become a CASA. In Arizona, we have people that act as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. This person is the eyes and ears of the court on behalf of children in the foster care system. This is a volunteer child advocacy position. I also have an idea about working with a human trafficking organization but that one will have to wait for just a bit. 
  • Physical fitness. For me, this just means eating better although I've already begun this a few months ago. I've lost about 12 pounds just in adjusting the volume of food I eat. I'll add to this, some strength training as well as some yoga. I need this to strengthen my back but good physical fitness is important to trading as well. 
  • Reduce or eliminate negativity in my life. This includes politics, toxic people, non-essential possessions and any other thing that creates unwanted stress or negativity. 
  • Replace negativity and toxicity with good things. This includes great people, motivational and uplifting songs, books, videos, spirituality, etc. 
How does all this relate to trading? Well, trading is foundational to much of it. For financial independence as well as geographical freedom, I need to be a consistent profitable trader. And to be that, I need to finally learn how to work within my mental shortcomings to maximize my trading results. I think I have made some good progress on this in the last couple of weeks. 

So in terms of my trading, I continue to try to simplify things. It has come down to this:
  • Use a higher time frame, 30M up to 1 day to determine trend.
  • Find the most likely support or resistance to locate trades within that trend using either prior breakout levels or pull back levels. 
  • Use a 5M or 1M chart to minimize risk and confirm trend resumption on the entry
  • Hold for likely structural or fib based exits. 
  • Add to each viable trade as many times as possible inside the entry and exit locations minimizing risk on each add as though it were the first entry. 
  • Walk away when the trade is over. No need to over do it. 
That's it. Be mentally tough before, during and after the trade. Keep the future and what trading means to the future in mind as the inevitable emotions come crowding in during the trade. And lastly as Casey Neistat says, "Just do good work."

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Tuesday I didn't trade due to technical difficulties and yesterday I fought the tape all morning and ended up -.2RR.

This morning, I could not build a case for longs and in hindsight, I'm still having trouble figuring out how I could have built the case in the hour or so before the open. My lower time frame charts were all long just before the open but that didn't fit with the short premise I had built. First two trades were stop outs for -.125% each. I reversed my last short into a long just after the open and held for enough to recoupe the losses plus a bit. Finally price reached the weekly VWAP which happened to be yesterday's VWAP as well as the 50% pull back on yesterday's candle. Price stalled there and I got in very near the top. No heat, and produced a net of 3RR for today.

After the initial long which I didn't believe in, I figured it might reach the area where I eventually shorted, but there didn't seem to be any real reason for it and I could really figure out a way to get in without something like a 1% risk position and since I'm not doing that at the moment, I sat idly by as price ground up and eventually reached the level where I guessed it might go....but by then, I'd built a new short premise off that level which worked.

I'm about .25% away from being break even on the year. I'm not happy about that for sure, break even is better than losing but I'm also not really happy about not being up 50-100%. Going into next year, my goals are to just grind it out like I have been the last couple of weeks. However, I do plan to begin scaling into trades a bit more and let at least some of that position run on days where it looks like I might be able to get a runner. I want to see if I can get a 5-10RR day once in a while to help make up for the losing days that are sure to come.

Monday, December 19, 2016


The pic tells the story....but essentially I wanted to try to end the year on at least a break even note. Almost there...might trade tomorrow as well. I'm about 2RR away from it at this point.....I'm not going to push it though, I've seen what happens when I and others push to make a certain goal by a certain deadline. That usually ends in draw down. So more caution is in order....nothing fancy, just wait for the right areas and only trade if the conditions warrant it.

I finished my mortgage license continuing education yesterday, took the test and passed with flying colors. Now its time to renew the license. Will do that sometime this week once the CE company notifies the state of AZ. Now I have one last class to finish for my degree but it doesn't start until Jan 17th so I have nearly a month off from the books.

Doctors appointment in an hour and I need some food.


Friday, December 16, 2016

-..25RR......+2.88RR for the week

I was short bias going into the morning.....even though everything was screaming long. I had 4 trades, 3 short and one long.

Two of  the short trades stopped out for -.125RR and one at -.25RR and the winner was a 3RR trade. If I had held the third short at -.125RR and kept the long winner, would have been a slightly positive day.

That said, I'm happy with the net result for the week. Nearly 3RR after a month of doing nothing but losing every day. I'm not back to even for the year but close. I might extend my trading into next week and see if I can get the account to even on the year and prepare for next year. I'll chat with my wife about this and see what she says. She's super supportive of my trading and I try to include her in some of the strategic decisions.

I think I got the areas correct for the short but targets were misplaced. I was looking for these trades to pull back to VWAP. Was greedy with those. Almost all the shorts went my way at least ten ticks but when you are on the wrong side of the market, it doesn't matter. You are going to get stopped out.

You can see on the 30M chart why I was thinking short. It was a valid premise I think, just premature. Once price was NOT rejected firmly at that first resistance level, I should have really switched long for good but I didn't.

Most things went right this week. Some didn't. The most important thing though was my mind was right. I got my emotions mostly in line with my ambition and was able to wait for appropriate levels to trade and more importantly, wait for my 3RR targets to be met. There were several missed opportunities to be sure. But for now, I am working on making sure I do the right things over and over again. It's more important to have process and rules based wins than to win big dollars at this point. Keeping the losers tiny and letting the winners actually work out made a huge difference this week. I did add to one trade successfully and added to a couple others unsuccessfully. Those were small losers or scratches.

The one thing that did go wrong this week was I did choke off a couple of trades that were eventual 3RR winners at BE. Its a curse but it seems to crop up when I am most unsure of the trade premise. Going forward, I can reduce this by being better prepared, have solid trade premise ideas and commit to those fully.

Good week.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

+.83%....3.13% for the week

I was long biased during the pre-market hours. Took a long at VWAP/50% area for a quick .125% loss. Once it broke down, I was still long biased but quickly losing it. There was a support level that I took for a small scalp, basically enough to recover the earlier loser plus a few ticks.

Then I started looking for a decent pull back to get short off of and it never really came. So I eventually took a very shallow pull back with the same .125% stop on a VERY small time frame so I could dial in the risk as close as possible. No heat at all and it went to my 3RR target very quickly.

In hindsight, I should have just reversed my early long trade but I didn't have a plan for that and I didn't and don't chase.

I eventually took a long that scratched as I didn't really believe in it and finally took a small long back to VWAP for 1.25RR

Net today of .83%.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

+.55%....+2.30% for the week

Looks like price is still trying to close the huge gap from Sunday night. I woke up an hour early for some reason today, and was able to find a pull back short to the 50% level + VWAP. Didn't get filled at that exact level but pretty close.

Trade 1: Price went my way about 10-11 ticks and I added another lot to the trade and moved the stop to match the original risk. This stopped out after going about 5 ticks my direction and after I moved the stop to within a couple of tick of the blended entry. Price was stalling near the lows and I figured it was over so no sense in risking the entire thing. -.08% loss.

However, I should have left the stops alone, after taking my stop, price moved up a few more ticks and then reversed back down for at least enough to have gotten out BE. Which is producing the temptation to chase it. I'm going to resist the chasing temptation if it kills me.

Trade 2: Got another chance at the same price as the original trade. Took it with the same original risk. It basically tested what look like a double top. At least for now it is. Wait and see. Added to the trade once it got going. Potential 4RR trade if it goes to the 100% extension. Closed it out as it started stalling around the 52.00-51.95 area. 3RR. It hasn't made it to the 100% extension yet and it might not. Regardless, its going to do it without me.

Ok, not the best execution today but good enough to make .55%. I'm happy with that. Time to hit the books. Its only 6:20AM AZ time. Cash market isn't even open yet and the daily range is only 62 ticks. Making money in a narrow range. I like that even better.

Here is the 15M chart with my entry area highlighted in the pink circle. Two entries in there.

By the way, if you want to hear great trading stories and advice, go check out Trader Dante on you tube. Freaking funny and smart. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Missed the obvious trade at the top. The double top, yesterday's VWAP.....sheesh. It was a "money in the corner" trade. Got there just a bit to late. Tried to fill one but it just wouldn't go back there...almost but not quite. Watched a 4X trade happen without me. 

Trade 1: 1.5RR Got long at the 50% pull back + VWAP. Exited as it begin to stall.

Missed a 3RR trade off the VWAP as it tested it for the second time but I was less sure this time around and slowly shifting my bias short. As price tested the break down area near the high, I shifted completely to short. 

Trade 2: Entered short and was rewarded with an exit back at VWAP for 3RR. It's still going as I write this but the VWAP exit was the planned exit as I was sure it would make it there but past that, I didn't really have a good plan for anything more and I'm pleased with the trade planning and execution overall so good day today. 

Just a side note. I'm watching this 15M chart but using a much smaller time frame for entries to help keep the risk small. That one is pretty messy so I'm only posting these 15M charts so show th elevels and my thinking. 

Done for the day. Time to hit the books. 

Total for the day +.75% 

Monday, December 12, 2016

+.50%. &.....+.50%......1.0% for the week

Lets think about this for a minute. I'm down around 5% over the last month. That's more than I want to see gone in a single month. But the truth is, its worse than it should have been had I reduced size quicker and better than what it probably would have been had I not simply stopped trading when I reached -1.0% for the day.

I've reduced size to a single lot going forward with a max risk per trade of .25%. However, today's actual risk was .125%. I held for 3X on this and ended the day with .50% return on capital. There was a few more ticks to be had on that trade but the planned exit worked well for me.

Honestly, the reduced size and the tiny risk made holding the trade much easier. Granted it wasn't a 100 tick win but I don't care. If I replicate this day over and over again, soon I will have regained all of the draw down and back toward building the account. That's all I care about at this point. Just slow steady returns over time and increase size when I'm comfortable with the increased risk.

A half percent per day is 10% per month. Assuming only ten months of the year traded that is 100% return over the year. Not bad for barely risking anything. I need to keep this in mind every day. Tiny risk, hold for at least a 3X multiple of risk and be satisfied with the baby steps. Occasionally conditions will present themselves where a 100 tick win is probable. I'll try to take those but honestly, I'll probably miss those. I'm not geared to look for those very often. They happen every week but my brain isn't wired like that for now.

I think I'm just going to be happy banging out .5 and 1.0% days for a while.

EDIT: 12:00 NOON. AZ TIME. There was a 100 tick move that began around 8AM my time. I'd left the office by then. Had I been here, I doubt I would have seen this developing and even if I had, I'm not sure I would have or could have taken it due to risk....might have had to look at a very small time frame to make this happen. Any way, here it is.

EDIT: 3:30 AZ TIME. After my last post, I started noticing the order flow was still quite active so I decided to see if there was any more left in the tank. I've also noticed near the close of the day, price tends to put in some large bars one way or the other. So I took a small risk, less than .125% was stopped out to the tick. I waited for another pull back, got in near the top of the pull back and rode it for enough to cover the stop out plus 3X on the current risk. Net for the day. 1.0% 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

-1.0%....-2.0% for the week

Yesterday, I was short early on a breakout pull back that stopped out immediately. Then long after a pull back. Actually bought the low tick of the pull back which was nice....but it stopped at BE after a long hold. Then got long again with another BE.....and finally a long with a small stop out.....First trade was full size, remainder were one lot trades.

Next week is my last trading week of the year. I plan to reduce size to a single lot on all trades. This will result in about a .25% risk per trade. I'll only risk .5% per day so essentially one or two trades a day.

I have finals next week and I have to renew my mortgage license before the 19th which is about 8 hours of continuing ed before I can renew.

Once next week is over, I'll be off for the remainder of the year. January 1st I start studying for the CLEP test I need to finish my degree. One last thing and something I've chased for 30 years will finally be done. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it but I'll have the piece of paper I've wished I had all these years.

Going into January, I'll be staying with the .25% risk per trade and I'll leave it at that until I am winning again. Further, I will only be trading from 6AM to about 7:30AM....this is basically to begin ramping up for what my schedule will be when I start work at the bank in a couple of months. When I get to that point, I want to be dialed into the new routine. So this means whatever I get in that period of time is what I get for the day.

From this point forward, my trading will be about building the account vs earning a living from it. Earning a living from trading has been almost impossible. Stability is more important. If the account gets large enough so that I can make monthly or annual withdrawals without endangering my ability to trade large enough size to cover the monthly nut, then I will consider quitting the day job.

And so a new season begins.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

-1.0%.....-1.0% for the week

So today was a fail in the sense that I made the same mistake twice. I was long with a ten tick stop but needed 11-12 ticks. I thought I had moved it the needed couple of ticks but when I turned loose of the mouse, I guess I moved my hand or something. Anyway, I had a ten tick stop, which got hit almost immediately. Thing was though, it was to the very tick. Exactly ten ticks. The premise of the trade was still valid so I took it again. With the same ten tick stop thinking now way it revisits that level again.....sure enough, another exactly ten tick stop out....on the very next bar.

First trade was with full size resulting in a .50% loss, second time was with a single lot bringing me to about .70% loss. After a bit, a double top formed and I got short after it stalled and that did a one tick wonder and reversed for another quick hit. Total now is about -.85% plus commissions and I'm getting close to -1.0%. Finally decided it would go back to the weekly VWAP at 50.89 and got long on the break of the double top but that is not in my trade plan and the risk was very high in terms of ticks so I just closed it out at +1 or 2 ticks. Net after commissions was about -.95% so I've rounded to -1.0% to keep it even.

Pass or fail. Direction, pass. Entry locations, pass. Planned exit locations, Still unknown but I think a pass. Stop Execution, FAIL.

I've made some charting changes after watching the last few days. I've reduced my input to three charts. A daily with trend indicator, a 30 minute with the same trend indicator plus weekly VWAP denoting value areas and a 5 minute with the same trend indicator. The idea is to simply trade in the higher time frame trend direction.

Today the 30 minute chart was in potential reversal mode while the 5 minute chart was in full long mode. My first trade was a short that went around 10 ticks or so but because the 30M was in transition, I elected to move to BE and let it play out. I had a feeling the buying I saw come in was real and would drive price up beyond the 5M break down zone and it did.

After that, longs only until it started looking weak again. This idea was wrong and had I not been stupid with the stop placements earlier, I would have still been in the longs and let the short idea pass me by. I think so anyway.

Regardless, I feel better about the WAY I lost today than I have in the past. Two reasons, I was reading the market much better where last week and the few weeks prior, I've felt sort of blind to what the market wanted to do and secondly, the losses were execution errors and not analysis errors. Both of these are encouraging to me as I've been loosing due to analysis errors a lot lately which has certainly affected my ability to hold a trade long enough to have it play out.

As I'm writing this, the longs seem to be working and there was a chance to get in but at -1.0% for the day, I am done. I will not go on a losing binge and blow out 2-5% in a single day. I would puke my guts out over that I think.

Almost done with school. I have 2 weeks left for the class I am in, then I have to study for a CLEP test and then I am done. Should be finished with the degree sometime in Feburary. Its been 30 years in the making and I am looking forward to it being complete!

Once that is finished, I have to study for my continuing education test to renew my mortgage license. Everything is on hold in that arena until its done. Should be done sometime the week of the 19th I think.

All the christmas shopping is done with the exception of two small gifts for the niece and nephew. I hate christmas shopping and so does my wife so we do it throughout the year when there are sales. Usually we are done by Thanksgiving.

We will probably go to San Diego for the New Year, they are having a large firewords display this year and we all love fireworks. Should be fun!

One last thing, I passed 50,000 page views on my blog yesterday. Not sure who's reading but since I don't promote it or link to it anywhere, I guess thats kinda cool. It means nothing other than a few people like watching me struggle!

Take care. One more trading day in the week.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Another day watching

Spent the morning watching price action. I didn't even open my charts. I watched the delayed feed on tradingview to avoid all temptation.

It was a brilliant day to trade crude oil. A single directional move beginning in the pre-market. There was some back and forth later on but the intent was always short. Price respected the levels quite nicely. It seems to do this when I'm not trading. The market makers must know I am on the sidelines or something.

But honestly, it felt good to just sit and watch. No pressure, no need to make lots of decisions. Just watch and monitor price. I suspect that's how I need to feel with money on the line....easier said than done.

Tomorrow I think I will dip my toe back into the water....see what the market offers tomorrow. I am watching 49.21 as a possible end to the short movement. At least temporarily.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Old News is New News

I've taken three days off so far. Probably going to take another 1-2 days this week. Been looking for answers as to why I am losing.

Turns out its pretty simple.

Fomo, greed, ego.

These manifest themselves almost exclusively in choking off trades that are winners.

The fomo works like this. I am in a winning trade, its gone 15-20 ticks my favor but I have a planned exit at 55 ticks based on structure. I move to BE. Price takes me out and then goes to the original target. This happens a lot. Combine that with the normal distribution of losers and you are no longer a break even trader or a winning trader. You are losing. This is a drain on mental capital as well. Much frustration results from this behavior.

The greed looks like this: I am in a winning trade. Its gone nearly all the way to my planned exit. I get greedy and extend the exit by another 50 ticks, price reverses and takes me out at a break even or some other much smaller gain.

Ego looks like this: I have had  a losing day so far for whatever reason. I rationalize that I am good enough to make it back so I keep trading. This works just enough to re-enforce this bad behavior. Or worse, I increase size to make it back. I don't do this often but once in a while it does happen. It happened last week.

Of these three, the FOMO is by far the largest reason I am not making money like crazy. In my battle to end this behavior, I have over the years vacillated between trading small size and looking for big winners and trading larger size and looking for more smaller winners.

The answer of course is to just put on the trade and walk away. But when I do this, invariably I get stopped out and some other larger move happens just before I get back to the computer.

So when I get back to the charts for real, my plan for the remainder of the year and for next year is simply to avoid moving stops at all. Just let the trades play out. I'll watch videos, read, whatever, but if I am to make a long term career out of this, I need to solve this issue pretty darn quick.

My year will end on December the 16th. I will not be trading past that date and I will resume on January 2nd, 2017.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

-1.0%...-2.67% for the week

Long early well before the open. Out for only 10 tens. It went 130 after I exited.

Short around the open. Scratched a couple, lost a couple. Got long, stopped again only to see profit target zone met a couple of bars later.....short after a long time, stopped to the tick then price went to target, the ORH.

Somethings not working. Just losing right now. Gonna step back for a day or two and see if I can figure it out....

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

-1.0%...-1.67% for the week

 This result is from yesterday and yesterday's post was for monday. Somehow I managed to screw it up. Anyway down almost 2% for the week. Not happy about that at all.

Yesterday after I lost 1%, I took off for phoenix to get some injections in my back. The side effects kept me up all night and so I slept through the trading session today.....which is probably a good thing as the risk was quite high on any setups I might have seen.

Back at it tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

-.67%....-.67% for the week

Busy day yesterday so I didn't get to post but I had lots of issues yesterday with regards to technology early in the morning. I think I let it get under my skin because I displayed poor decision making all morning. I let one trade that was up over 30 ticks come back for a break even only to see it thrash around for a bit and then go straight to my original target a couple bars later. After that it fell apart.

This is what Trader Dante talked about in his video about not moaning and start improving. It pissed me off enough that I made the commitment to not trade unless the situation was near perfect. So I am waiting right now for a that to materialize for today's trade.

After I'm done today, I'm headed for Phoenix to get some needles stuck in my back and then back home. I'll be gone about 8 hours altogether. So no post today either. I'll get that done tomorrow I think.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

.50%....+1.17% for the week

Lots of distractions today. Phone calls, in and out of the house for various things, etc....missed the sell off completely and scalped a bit out near the bottom....since it was basically a counter trend day on the 5M chart, I didn't get any real set ups I liked enough to put on multiple lots so just scalping with singles today on a much lower time frame to take advantage of the swings in the 5M....pretty ugly actually, NOT the way I want or like to trade at all. But it is a green day and that is good. Probably done for the week although Friday might be decent. Not trading at all tomorrow as it is inventory day and I can easily lose 1% or more on those days. I finally made the decision to not trade at all on inventory days.

Gotta go wash the car. It rained yesterday and its a mess.....


Monday, November 21, 2016

+.67% today....+.67% for the week

Initial trade was .25%, was a loser. Followed that with a .92% winner with .50% risk. Net of  .67% winner for the day.

Longs only today based on the trend. Kept risk inside 1.0% which is where I want to be on each trade. Less if possible but in truth, when the risk in ticks is small, then I need to size up to keep the risk more or less around .5%.

The first trade was not the best looking one for sure and the reason I went with only .25% of risk. The second trade looked better but I was unsure so I went in with .25% and added as it went my way. Took the trade off at 2X and 3X the initial risk.

Lastly, I removed the trail stop from my ATM strategy. Now it only moves the stop up if and when it gets within 5 ticks of my initial target. I have a few of these strats with different targets and I changed them all to essentially leave the stop alone unless it's close to the planned exit. Then I want to lock most of it in while giving it a few ticks of room to make the full target.

The plan is to make 1% per day by whatever means necessary so fell short a bit today but in terms of executing the money management strategy, I give it an A and will build on it from there.

I did leave another 1% on the table, I went to make some breakfast and when I got back, the continuation had happened a bit faster than I thought it might and I missed it. That happens sometimes.

Getting ready to head out and run some errands today and I have to begin preparing for my fathers memorial service in two weeks. I have quite a lot to do in regards to prepping for that.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Simplify again

It's a beautiful day in Southern AZ....Cloudy, rainy and about 65 degrees....sitting here drinking coffee, watching The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime and feeling pretty decent about things.

Over the last few days and weeks, I've been working on reducing complexity again. Every few months I drift into more and more complexity. This is never a good thing. It leads to over thinking and second guessing and consequently, poor decision making and even poorer trade management. I know when I am drifting because I spend time reading blogs and looking at other trade ideas. This always results in draw-down. Although I ended the week last week up 3%, it could have and should have been more.

I've set a goal to be 100% dependent on my trading for financial stability within three months. This doesn't discount my re-entry into the mortgage business, it just complements it. The truth is this, I never want to be dependent on someone else signing my paycheck if I can help it. I'm not quite there yet and as this year has gone by, I've really come to realize two things. I am tired of dependency and I am tired of complexity. I like simple. Not necessarily in concept but in execution.

Another thing I've adopted is rethinking my size on every trade. As the risk decreases in terms of ticks, I will increase in terms of size. This will keep my risk constant across a larger number of trades and increase the profit potential of many trades. Another thing I've noticed, when the risk is more than 15 ticks, the likelihood of a successful trade goes down.....of course this doesn't hold true 100% of the time but the probability decreases. Once its around 20-25 ticks, the trade simply shouldn't be taken regardless of what the potential reward looks like. Last week I had a couple of trades with around 8 ticks of risk, those were the best ones.....So I'm looking for smaller risk trades going forward, mostly so I can get in with some decent size.

Anyway, back to enjoying the day.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Little by little things are getting better. While my dad's passing has been difficult at best, our collective faith has made this time bearable. We believe in the afterlife and that one day, we will see him again. This alone tempers our grief.

I've been doing a lot of reading this last year about near death experiences. People that have been clinically dead and came back. The stories are fascinating and there is a lot of consistency across many of the accounts. My mom had one and recounted it to my father just before she passed for real and as my dad passed, I saw a transformation on his face as his last few moments on this earth slipped away. He went from the normal death mask to a slight ironic smile in those last few moments.....I can only imagine what he saw as he transitioned from this life to that one.

Trading has become something I love to do and look forward to each morning. At the same time, I am looking forward to a new chapter beginning next week as I take on a new and familiar role as a mortgage banker. I don't know how long this new role will last although I think about 5 years until my daughter is out of high school. At that time, I suspect we will relocate to San Diego and enter another new chapter of our lives.

Today was a near perfect trade, I entered on the third pull back short and took 20 ticks to the LOD. I'm struggling with VP and MP still. Not putting those charts up because frankly I am still having trouble figuring out the nuances of where the entries and exits should be. In the meantime, I'm just scalping. I know how to scalp for ten and twenty ticks at a time so until I really get a handle on VP and MP, I'm just gonna scalp. In the long run, getting better entry and exit prices with VP and MP will make more money with less risk, but currently, I'm just not getting it. I know it will come. It's just screen time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Today is two weeks since my dad passed. Its been a whirlwind of of dealing with the fall out of death. Legal stuff, financial stuff. Selling stuff, etc.....all of it a pain, all of it necessary. And nearly all of it completed. There area  couple things left to do, one of which won't be done until after Christmas but that is a pleasant one, shopping for the grandkids in dad's name. He would have wanted that so very much.

In the meantime, I've slowly begun trading again. I lost around 2-3% during the 45 days my dad was in the hospital and over the last couple of days, I've gained all that back plus a little bit. Something shifted for me this last couple of weeks. I've been able to sit waiting for my levels and sit waiting for my targets in a way I've never been able to before. Not sure what changed but it did and I'm having much better results.

Lastly, about 3 weeks before dad passed, a large national mortgage company came looking for me to take a position with them here in my home town. They haven't had anyone here for three years and after listening to them for two weeks, I became convinced to at least give it a shot. Dad passed not to long after I accepted the offer and yesterday I started the onboarding process. Yes, I swore I'd never go back to the mortgage business, but this company does it right, has a built in market for me to tap, has lots of marketing dollars to spend, built in referral network and so at least at this point, looks like a gold mine. Besides, I'm been thinking I need to fill my down time. Help take my mind off my dad's passing. I feel best when I'm occupied and get into trouble when I'm not!

I'll have about three hours every morning to trade during the daylight savings time and 2 hours when we revert. That's generally enough time to get in a good trade. I'll just build my trading account balance and live on my mortgage earnings. My wife and I discussed it and for some reason we both feel good about this decision.

I'll be updating my blog hopefully every day going forward or at least a couple times a week. I think its important to maintain some sort of narrative of the journey. I keep a paper journal as well. I like writing on paper with a pen. I also have a sort of a summary type foldout I keep in the paper journal I picked up from Strategic Coach a few years back. I love that day I'll take a picture and post it here....its pretty cool for future planning and keeping track of progress.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Life is for the living.

My dad passed yesterday. He was one of my two best friends. His departure has left a gaping hole in my life. One I am not sure how to fill or if it will ever be filled. His departure from this life to the next was peaceful surrounded by the ones that he loved the most and who loved him the most. In the end, this is all we really get to ask for, to be surround by loved ones both during our lives and at the end of our lives.

One thing my dad regretted, he regretted not living to fullest. He spent time wondering what other people thought about him. Not taking some risks he knew he should have taken and taking others that he knew was a poor risk. In the end though, he lived a full and impactful life. He died quite poor in this life in terms of material wealth. But the legacy of love and meaning was more significant than I thought as multitudes of people have poured out their love and memories of him and the impact he had on their lives. Most of that meaning was silent and behind the scenes but it was there.

My dad taught me how to be a man. How to treat a lady and how to be a father. Even after we adopted our only kid at age 38, I went to him for fatherly advice. He will be missed.

As my dad got older, one thing he kept repeating to me was this; "live life, forget about what others think. Don't worry, just live, after all, life is for the living". It's this wisdom from my father that I want to hold onto in the coming days, weeks, months and years. That life is for the living. Don't hold back and don' spend a second in regret.

I have lots to be regretful about. Things I could have done differently or said differently. Those things are in the past and cannot be changed. I have carried a lot of regret and a lot of "what ifs' around for a long time. If my pop was here, he'd tell me again, to just let it go and get on with the business of living. And that's what I'm going to do.

A little Aerosmith for your early morning!

Friday, October 14, 2016


Looooong days! The time is starting to run together and things are getting foggy. Can't seem to remember what day it is, what I have to do today, etc.....I hate these periods of life where everything seems to compress together without any defining boundaries to help define memories. The last time I went through this was with my mom's passing last year. This time its my dad. We're all taking turns pulling 24 hour shifts taking care of him. To be honest, its getting easier. His pain levels have dropped way down and he's slowly making some progress in being less dependent on us for every detail of life. BUT, we are nowhere close to being able to rest. In the meantime, I'm just running on sheer willpower.

Today and the next few days will tell the tale of how severe the chemo side effects are going to be. So far, none have manifested but that can change on a dime. Hopefully he has very few side effects but I'm not overly optimistic about that.

I've been trying to trade on the mornings where I've been able to sleep all night. Trading a single lot I've drawn down 1% over the last week or so. Today I made back some of that so far. The trading morning isn't over just yet so I may get another chance. The trading conditions have not been ideal for me so far or I've been out of sync with life and trading....probably both.

I missed a short at 50.92 this morning and got on board at .74....exited at yesterday's high....should have held it, its still going down. When I'm bored, I sometimes read other peoples journals....that is a mistake. Not doing that again. I happened to read the journal of a pretty successful trader this morning. He was long when I was short. My system said stay short...His said long. I second guessed myself.....not smart. The edge is based on repeatable patterns at key areas....I have no idea what his edge is based on or what his expectancy is.....therefore, it is ridiculously stupid to take someone elses idea and interrupt a perfectly good trade based on something you know nothing about. Never again.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Meat Grinder

This week has been the proverbial emotional meat grinder. Saturday, dad did great. By Sunday night he didn't know who any of us were. Three days of near total confusion. We started thinking about Hospice. Then the pain management doc changed his pain meds. 24 hours later, back to normal. In the meantime, we've moved him into an assisted living facility. Hopefully that works out once he's out of the hospital which looks like today or tomorrow if he stays mentally clear.

The PET scan came back with no further spreading of the cancer. That's a good thing. But now his right foot is swollen and no one knows why. Looking that today.

Yesterday dad told me, "why don't we just eliminate the pain meds so I can be in my right mind. That will speed my chemo treatments up won't it?" They won't do chemo until he is clear headed and out of the hospital so his proposal makes perfect sense except he is in intense pain from the tumor surrounding his sciatic nerve. So we agreed on a compromise. He will take the new pain meds for at least 24 hours and see how he does. If that goes well, we will stay on that and pursue all treatment options. Crazy my dad willing to suffer two or more months of pain to make sure the chemo is done.

Anyway, I have taken two trades this week. Both small losers. Its been a month since I last traded and for some reason, I felt calm but my hands were a bit sweaty on the first trade. Today back to normal in terms of my emotions and physical reactions. I'm not sure trading is the best thing for me to be doing right now but my wife seems to think its therapeutic for me and she might be right.

Sunday we are headed for San Diego for a couple of days if dad is doing well. We have a relative there that is having some surgery and requested our help with a few things for a couple of days and they've been such great friends to my family I can't really say no. Plus I love San Diego!!!! Hopefully spend at least one full day at the beach. The one place that seems to have the best therapeutic effect on my soul. I always feel better when I'm near the ocean. I'd love to buy a place on the water there but the seven figure price tag puts that out of the question any time soon!!!

Until next time.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Ups and Downs

Two days ago I was feeling pretty down. Today things are different. Even though we don't have the results back from the PET scan, Dad is feeling pretty good. He fell and hit his head Tuesday morning and he sustained a minor concussion. Turns out it appears that along with a him reading his dosage wrong on a couple of his meds was contributing to his general sense of malaise. Once we got the meds figured out and the concussion wore off, he's doing much better.

He was discharged from the hospital night before last so he could have his PET scan yesterday morning. Apparently if you are scheduled for cancer treatment, you can't be in a hospital. I have no idea if I got that right or not but they discharged him. I spent the night with him at his house and he began showing good signs of regaining his strength. Yesterday he managed to do most things for himself although it was a long and difficult day, he managed to work through it with a good attitude and commitment to doing what he needed to do to get well. Since he can be a bit pessimistic sometimes, this was encouraging.

Next week is a week of doctor appointments. He sees the cancer doc for the final diagnosis and what his course of treatment will look like and I think he starts chemo next week as well. Not looking forward to that at all but if he gets better at least for a few more years, then I guess its worth it. At this point, we are concerned more about quality of life vs quantity of years.

Regardless of what happens next week, he's moving into an assisted living facility. That will take a huge load off our shoulders and allow them to do all the mundane daily tasks and allow us to focus on just being with my dad and helping him get better. And if its his time to step off this earth, then the remaining time will be easier and we can just be with him instead of spending most of our time worrying about daily tasks and all the other logistical issues you deal with at this time in a persons life. We did this a year ago with my mom and while it went well, it would have been nice to have someone else manage all the day to day tasks and just let us spend the time with mom.

I may or may not trade next week. It looks to be a pressure cooker of a week between dad's doctors, moving him into the assisted living place, school and all the rest so I may just let it go for now until the pressure is off a bit. My wife is encouraging me to trade to help preserve a sense of normalcy in my daily routine and she might be right. Haven't decided yet. I am a creature of routine and when that routine is broken, I tend to get a bit stressed. Not OCD stressed but just out of sorts. I have a hard time focusing on a string of tasks if the first one is broken or out of order. So we will see.

Interesting times to be sure.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

More updates

It's 5:20 AM as I write this. I've been up since 4:30AM. Checked my phone for any messages from my brothers about my dad. He's getting much worse. I suspect he's not going to live much longer. The mass they found is cancer and they think it may have spread very rapidly to the rest of his body. Doing a PET scan today to see how far its spread. My heart is very heavy today because my dad and I have been close for a very long time.

I ditched the MBS fraud case to help take care of my dad and his medical situation a day or so ago. Time seems to be slowing down in some respects and the days are starting to all run together. It's like I'm living in a fog right now....very unpleasant.

I've been watching charts off and on during these last few weeks. I haven't had time to do any real analysis or over thinking. Just take a look now and then and say, "buy or sell" and then on to other things. I've come back to the chart a couple hours later and sure enough, those calls have been mostly winners. Funny how that works. Just go with it and then let it go and it seems to work out. Proves that all the analysis and overthinking and second guessing is just crap. All you need to do to be successful is just have a decent sense of what you want to see, make the trade and leave. It's not rocket science. It may not be science at all, just the probability that one thing will happen before the other thing....profit before stop....

I'm head to the hospital in a couple of hours to see Dad. I have a bad feeling in my gut that I might not have very many more opportunities to tell him I love him and I'm proud of I'm gonna do that today.....and tomorrow if he's still here and the day after that and the day after that.......

Do what's right today.......let the rest go. In life and in trading......

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Best laid plans

I went live and almost instantly my life went crazy. First of all, my dad is in the hospital again. This is his third week there. Should get out next week. He went in for heart related issues and they found some cancer in his pelvic area. More test on that soon. Along with that, a law firm hired me to do research on a mortgage backed securities fraud case from 2006 they are litigating. Its temporary but the work load is intense. I'm working 10-12 hours a day doing that along with my class schedule. Its killing me already. I'm to old for this crap! But its paying VERY well and I didn't want to turn down the money. Its only for three weeks so I can handle it. I'll make about 4 months of living expenses in these three weeks so its worth it for me.

All that means I haven't traded since the first day I went live. And I won't be until after the litigation project is over on the 27th. I'll probably take a few days to decompress before I hit it again.

So until then, cheers.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Went Live Today

I wasn't planning on trading this week due to finishing up a project for school that was occupying a lot of my time. However, I finished it yesterday so decided to begin my "new" trading career today.

Essentially I am embarking on a dual track, scalping ES for daily income and building wealth through CL trading trying to catch the larger moves on CL. For the moment, the CL trades will be few and far between as I concentrate on replacing the income from the "real job" I recently left behind. This looks like 2-4 points a day on ES using a tired but true scalping system. Don't ask about it, I'm somewhat embarrassed to show you anything about this system because it relies on indicators but it works so I'm going with it for now. There are no attempts to capture the "big moves" in ES just a piece of one of the legs each day. With any luck and some patience, I will be able to capture perhaps two legs a day depending on my schedule. I still have a full school schedule but I've rearranged my daily schedule to allow for some extended trading hours in the morning. We will see how that works next week.

As to my results, I made my first 3 points today in ES. Happy about that and moving into the weekend a winner, always a good thing for sure.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Its been a while since my last post. No trading since then. I've been occupied with my school work, getting my new trading system locked in place and dealing with some of my fathers health issues. This week I have a final due on Friday so will more than likely trade very little until next Monday. That said, I'm ready to get back to trading again!

Oh, and last week I pulled the plug on what hopefully was the last job I'll ever have. I cannot tell you the incredible feeling of walking away from something I hated. It was as if a huge load lifted off my shoulders and I could breathe again! So thankful that is over.

Onward and upward as they say!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

+2%....+4% for the year

Today's post is not really about the trading. I've not had much time for posting the last couple of weeks. I have a "real" job which incidentally I have come to loath with a white hot passion, I am in the final stages of earning my degree which I have no idea what to do with. Plus I am the taxi driver for my kiddo. All this keeps me pretty busy.

But and its a big but......

I am about 2 days from completely burning the real job bridge. I literally hate it. I thought I'd enjoy being back in the mortgage business but truth be told, I hated it from the first day and I've only grown to hate it more each day.

What led me to this decision is this.....the job is sucking the life out of me and I think I'm at a place where I can afford to live on my trading....not because I am a great trader but because I am ready to literally burn the bridge of thinking I am anything other than a trader. I'm ready to own the label. Its been my experience that until you burn the bridge of other options, there is very little success at any of the endeavors you are pursuing. The old Chinese proverb says, "man who chases two rabbits loses both." I'm tired of chasing anything other than excellence in trading.

I have about 16 years until I retire. Two things happened this week that helped push me over the edge.....1. One of my favorite authors has a new book all about finding and creating the life you want and 2. This week I listened to a podcast and a Netflix movie both featuring Tony Robbins. I used to think he was over-hyped, but he said a few things that resonated with me. All this started me thinking about what I could see myself doing for the next 16 years.....and it wasn't mortgage banking, something I'm good at but hate. I went through a mental inventory of all the requirements I have for income producing activities (I refuse to call it a job) and of the 8-10 things I came up with that I require, no single "job) filled all of them but trading came closest to all of them in some way. One of the main requirements I had was that I had to love what I do....and I love trading even though I sometimes hate it!!! So I chatted with my wife and we agreed, so its time to rock and roll

I am under capitalized. I know and understand the issues with this. I fully accept these limitations. I will be trading one or two lots most of the time....and I will trade both CL and ES. ES will be just for scalping, purely mechanical. I have a mechanical system for scalping 1-2 points a day on ES that I developed a long time ago, it still works, I just wanted to learn how to hit the big I quit the scalping game. Since ES doesn't move that much right now, scalping is fine on this instrument...I can live on scalping proceeds because my needs are fairly small.......and I will wait for the larger moves on CL to build capital and create wealth longer term.

Here are the charts from yesterday. 45ish ticks per lot on CL and 2 points on ES (not shown)

By the way, the yearly totals don't add up from the last post because I've had some wins since then that I didn't post.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

.00% for the day. -1.77% for the year

My CL trade trailed out with a small winner but not enough to really report here. I did a small ES trade in SIM which produced 3.25 points. Seems small but I know many ES traders would kill for 3.25 points a day. I am thinking of expanding the products traded to ES mostly to just scalp for a couple of points a day for income. I think I can do that while building my ability to read and understand MP and VP for longer term trades.

I only have the ES chart to show today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

-1.05%....-1.77% for the year.

An incredible day for making money. Something is definitely wrong with they way I am seeing things. Seems I am always on the wrong side of the market lately. Fighting the tape. I missed a fantastic short early on by being a bit greedy in terms of where I wanted the entry. I even marked the entry level before the market reached that level but at the last minute, I thought I saw a better location a bit higher up and so I moved my limit order there only to see it collapse to my target area.

I was short just prior to the number, it took me out BE and as you know, collapsed hard to the lows of the day. After that, I lost all perspective and got hit for a 1% loss. This is the worst loss I've had in a long time in terms of absolute dollars.

I think I might be thinking to much AFTER I find my levels. Over thinking leads to over trading and that is what happened today.

Not sure about trading tomorrow, I might need to take a day or so to clear my head. It isn't the loss, it's how it occurred that disturbs me.

Till next time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

-.74%....-.72% for the year

I learned something very valuable today. Essentially I am a totally visual learner. I need an image. I knew this but it wasn't heart knowledge. I can learn and experience verbally and written as well but its not my primary way.

This means I need to visually see the levels on the chart....and those levels MUST come from the 30M or higher....preferably the weekly. A mentor told me this the other day, I did it the first day and forgot to derive my levels from the weekly today and totally paid the price for it both in terms of the loss I suffered but also the missed opportunity that was so blatantly obvious from the higher time frame. This morning I took my levels from the five min chart and it was a total bust. I will not make that mistake every again.

No charts today because I didn't take any pictures this morning.....but tomorrow I will make sure I have those pics taken as the morning progresses.

+.002%....+.002% for the year.

Very small trade yesterday. I was long from the bottom of the break out area, it went 20 ticks my way, then reversed for BE and then I went short. Trailed out with a small gain before I had to call it quits for the day. That trade went to my original target of 40.38 and then some.....more time and its monster trade at least for me. As it was, just a tiny little one.

Friday, July 29, 2016

+.66....This trade brings me flat for the year.

Shorted three different levels today. The first one was an attempt to get on board a continuation trade. Three tick loss. Second one was the current day VAH along with yesterday's VAL. This one stopped at BE. Last one was a re-short of this same level. Stop was placed above yesterday's POC which is where the price eventually stopped and reversed back down to the current day VAL where it found support and I trailed out a few bars later as it found support. I added one lot as it broke through support and re-tested that level.

Price has rebounded as I write this to the previous VAL and is making new highs....looks like the longs from the VAL was the trade of the day and the one I should have been looking for but context was down so went with the shorts.

Risk on the first trade was minimal, second trade was same as the third trade but for some reason I elected to go BE but I immediately re-shorted just a few ticks higher and put the stop in the correct place.

This was the first time in my trading career I've taken the correct risk AND held it through the draw down to allow it to work itself out.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

I'm going to start posting here again.

I've been on a hiatus from posting because I've been learning Market Profile and its companion, Volume Profile.

It's been an arduous journey so far, but I think I am on my way to finally becoming a consistent profitable trader. I still have much to learn. This journal will be a repository for that knowledge.

If, you've read anything I've ever posted before, you know I have been profitable and then not. Its been a very frustrating and seemingly almost impossible task to become and stay profitable.

But today, while I lost 1% in the market, I finally think its possible FOR ME to be the trader I've always dreamed of being.

You will notice all my prior posts are gone. I archived them all. This blog is now about my market and volume profile journey.

I will focus on essentially three things;

1. Entering at the edges as best I can
2. Extreme risk control in terms of size verse required stop
3. Money management in terms of increased INITIAL position size when account size warrants and adding to trades as they progress.

I'll try to get my homework charts up prior to the trading day starting or at least take pictures of them after the homework is finished and then a post trading wrap up picture or video. The videos might come less often due to my schedule but I will when I can.

On a side note, I have switched to Sierra Charts because of how well it creates and handles profile charts. Once I did this, I noticed how incredibly stable the platform is. You might consider moving over to SC. I resisted but in the end, I'm glad I did.

Lastly, I intend to report winners and losers in terms of account size percentages. This is a more accurate manner to report earnings because its consistent across all account sizes.