Trade Navigator

I've changed trading platforms for futures from Think or Swim to Trade Navigator. Originally I felt what came with TOS was decent enough and I really didn't want to pay the $119/month streaming realtime futures feed plus streaming delayed for options and stocks. I already had eSignal that gave me real time for stocks and TOS was giving me realtime for options with my account, why pay for it?

Well, with some of the intraday timeframes I use, TOS was unwilling to provide a good feed for their data and not going to fix it. TOS offers both Prophet and their own TOS charts. I used the Prophet charts because they look much nicer and is more how I trade. Don't like the look of the TOS charts and if I'm going to trade, how a chart looks DOES matter to me as a technical trader. If I'm constantly annoyed at the appearance, that doesn't make my trading better.

A few of my friends already switched from their Extreme Charts offered by Better Trades over to Trade Navigator Gold and they are also trading futures. The Sierra Charts that Infinity (one of my futures brokers) offers is really not intuitive for me to use and as a person that is very visual, though the price of $25-30/month for the datafeed sounds good, why pay it if I'm going to hate it? The 30 day free test drive proved to be unsatisfactory to me.

Originally I started out using Trade Navigator, then Better Trades (the company I got a lot of my trading education from and spent a boatload of money with) switched to their version of this charting software and it was designed specifically for BT's called Extreme Charts. In reality, there is not any difference than I can see. Sort of like TN is Genesis' normal version and EC is the same as TN Gold but with fewer features but a higher price tag.

Not saying anything bad about BT, BTW. Anyway, with the help of one of my friends and knowing the price he and a few people paid for their software switch over upgrade, whatever you want to call it, I used this to leverage also. Instead of paying the $795 that Genesis has on their price schedule on their site, one of the sales people said since I was a BT's customer, he'd give me a $200 discount. I was not happy with that as my friends got $295 just a few months back, which was 1/2 of what this particular salesperson was selling it to me for.

Decided to wait an extra day and call back to talk to a DIFFERENT person. I told her my friends got the $295 price. She said at first the best she could do was $395, but in the end, she gave me the $295 AND gave me the first month's datafeed as a free trial period. Before that, I told her I wanted streaming stocks also to see if this will work over what I have with eSignal.

Though I have used eSignal for many years and love the charts, their help desk is not very helpful. What I wanted to do was put exponential moving averages on my volume indicator and couldn't figure out how to do this despite going over some of their tutorials, knowledge base, technical support (BTW, some of these people were a bit rude and unprofessional -- hanging up on a person is not very nice). I figure for something like that, I shouldn't have to scour the eSignal site and spend days attempting to teach myself programming in a language foreign to me to do when TN could do it with a few clicks.

My subscription on eSignal runs out either in October or November and probably if TN works out well, the price tag of the $1600-1700/annually or whatever it is is now far too steep. I can't believe in the first 6 years I used the tool, I was paying $300-400/month for the datafeed because I had everything (AdvancedGET, etc) but used nothing of the advanced features.

The subscription to get futures, stocks & options streaming will cost me just under $1300/yr if I pay in full. Genesis will give me a 15% discount on the datafeed minus the exchange fee. Basically I get more for less money. So, instead of having TN, eSignal, TOS, and Infinity opened, I can basically if all I'm trading is futures, just have TN opened. If I want to trade options, then I'll have TN and TOS opened. This will tax my memory less on my computer.

I do have to look at all these costs and if I can simplify, the better it is for me. Life and trading does not need to be complicated, though, often it can be.

So, the moral here is, you CAN negotiate your fees whether they be commissions, charting tools, whatever. You do NOT have to pay full price for things all the time. Now, if you have people you know who have gotten good prices on them, that's even better as you can use them for leverage. Actually, that's how I got all the better prices I got. Sometimes you can also bluff things and see if you can get what you want. It's all a part of negotiations.

Also, the bottom line is you do not want to fork over all your profits to pay for commissions, charting software, books, workshops, coaching, etc. If so, then you're in the wrong business, right?

We'll see how TN is for me, but so far, I really like it. I can trade futures right off my chart, which I also use the trading ladder. There are some things I do not like, but not sure if any charting tool can 100% satisfy me, so I look for what can satisfy me the most at the best price -- optimization.
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