Behind

Yes, I'm behind on my status updates. Sorry, been busy. My blogging may be sparse for the next few days until Monday or Tuesday next week, so sorry. Gotta attend to some things.

Please be patient.

I haven't been trading a whole lot and will not be around for the weekend due to a conference I plan on attending.

Monopoly

This evening my kids and I played Monopoly for several hours instead of going to a school dance because I wanted it quiet and not overwhelming. I learned a tremendous amount of stuff during our play. My son, Sean, is 5 yrs old. My daughter, Hans, is 8 yrs old. Both are my world, but have different, but complimentary personalities (how many times can you use "but" in a sentence?).

Everyone starts on level ground, hopeful to win.

Monopoly just isn't one of those games you play for an hour or so. I made a beef, veggie, and black bean punjab and semi-healthy brownies for dessert. So we began play on the floor of our living room for 4.5 hrs.

Guess who won? My 5 yr old son!!!

Without going into lengthy details, each of us displayed our personalities in the game:

Hans:
- Sweet, caring, thinking about other people (wanted to give Sean & I money when we didn't have much)
- Over analyzing
- Did not want to risk
- Did not want to spend her money buying up properties, but reluctantly succumbed
- Did not want to buy houses, as it cost money and did not see that she would quickly get a return, but eventually did it not really understanding why
- Just wanted to play the game, but not with heart
- Not committed to the game
- Went bankrupt, gave up
- Did not get upset, but was sad she got knocked out of the game

Doris
- kept buying properties at every opportunity until money ran out
- celebrated every time money came to her
- negotiated
- risked it all
- had to mortgage properties to pay fees
- only had a few bucks, but kept the properties with houses to make back her money
- patient
- strategized to win
- got houses & hotels
- was not as committed as Sean to winning the game

Sean
- saw his goal at the start of the game and went for it
- got a few choice properties
- observed what I was doing and learned
- celebrated with others in their successes as well as his
- committed to the game
- just went for it
- had to mortgage some properties but kept the most important
- kept thinking he was going to get the "pot of money" and he did multiple times
- kept thinking others would land on his properties with his hotels
- negotiated
- risked it all, just really went for it
- no fear
- was upset that he wasn't winning and was even more determined to win
- sucked up his emotions and set his sights to win and began celebrating a lot, recovered quick
- didn't dwell on the past, but focused on the present and what he wanted to do

I hope these 3 different personalities in playing resonate with you in your trading because I've been all 3 people in the course of the past last 49 days of trading. When I traded like Sean played tonight, I did well and was able to accomplish some great things in trading. Usually I'm like Doris, and yes, I get good results, but Sean's way grows an account much quicker.

I've been Hans at times, and those times cause me to either have costing days or give back a good portion of my profits. The choice is ours as traders. Who do we want to be? Typically Doris or Sean, but not Hans.

My daughter is such a sweet girl, but in daytrading, it takes a certain personality to do this and do it well, to not only survive, but to thrive. I'm really glad we stayed home to play.

There was a point in the game I had maybe $6, 1/2 my properties mortgaged and it looked like I was going to be knocked out of the game. But, I had 1 set of properties that had hotels on them and that allowed me to get back into the game with a fiery. My hope is that both Hans & Sean would land on my properties, and they did. The pot was quite large, too.

As I focused on winning and getting my properties back, and rebuilding my account, it began happening. Every time I got money, whether it was $4 or $950, I celebrated each dollar. My son said I was too loud and I was hurting his ears. But, I made a huge comeback from having just 1 set of properties with hotels and $4 to nearly $5K at the end. Sean ended up at $7.5K from mortgaging all but 1 set of property, which was Boardwalk and Park Place with hotels and maybe $50 in cash.

Even when he mortgaged his stuff, he said that he was going to put houses and hotels on his other properties and win the game. He did what he said he was and remained true to it, excited, keeping focused.

Both my children serve a great purpose for me. Outside of trading, I want to have the compassion Hannalee has, but in daytrading, I really want to be focused, excited, set to win, be profitable. It's not my concern whether other people make money or not, or whether what other people's 401K or retirement accounts are, rather that I am focused to make money and lots of it, while keeping it, not giving back to the market.

Yes, I do know I will be giving some back to the market, but it's to keep focused so that I give very little back to the market.

Bottom Line On ES For Wk of 19-Jan-2009

Profitable Trades = 59 (66%)
Costing Trades = 30 (34%)

Total Trading Time = ?? hrs

Total Profits = $14,250
Total Costs = $5,100
Total Commissions = $387.03

Week's Net = $8,762.97 (87.6% ROI on trading capital)

Overall ROI since 10-Nov-2008 start: 1162%
- # Traded Days: 49
- # Profitable Days: 39 (80%)
- # Costing Days: 10 (20%)
- Net: $27,880.77

Trades on ES for Fri, 23-Jan-2009

My goal is $1000 for the day. Today I grossed $7175.

Total Trades = 35 (2.5 hrs plus some premarket stuff overnight; 10:42 am to 1:14 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 20 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 22 (63%)
# Costing Trades = 13 (37%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $12.50 to $1500 (was trading in 1 & 2 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $12.50 to $1225

Total Profits = $10,000
Total Costs = $3,037.50
Commissions = $187.53
Net = $6,774.97 (67.7% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:

1. Verbalized some trades.

2. Turned on classical music.

3. Forgave the one person who offended me.

4. Stopped trading eventually.

5. Got out of costing trades.

6. Took a deep breath.

7. Planned my trade, traded my plan for some trades.

8. Had good body posture in my chair for some of my trades.

9. Did not panic for some of my trades.

Areas of Improvement:

1. Panicked for some of my trades, even though I had my stops in place.

2. Communicated with my former spouse during trading. Honestly, he is irrational and thinks the whole world revolves around him. There is no point talking with him about anything. It's fruitless and only makes it more challenging to live empowered.

3. Distracted by text messages from my former spouse.

4. Though I did keep my cool most of the time, communications with my former spouse never is good.

5. Kept trading even though my goal was met before the market was opened for regular trading. I was up $8700 and ended up with $6775. That was another 1825 more dollars in my pocket had I just done anything but trade.

6. Kept part of my trades in my head.

7. Had hope. That rhymes with dope.

Trades on ES for Thurs,22-Jan-2009

My goal is $600 for the day. Today I grossed $725.

Total Trades = 20 (3 hrs plus some premarket stuff overnight; 9:03 am to 11:56 am EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 2 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 14 (70%)
# Costing Trades = 6 (30%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $37.50 to $212.50 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $25 to $350

Total Profits = $1375
Total Costs = $625
Commissions = $79.80
Net = $670.20 (67% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:

1. Verbalized trades.

2. Knew where I was, location. I knew the pivot points, as well as the moving averages (10, 20, 50, 200 EMA), the fibs. All these helped me take profits and not stay in trades too long.

3. Using trailing stops & most of my cost stops appropriately, minus a couple trades.

4. Kept positions small typically, which was 1 contract because I didn't get much sleep last night (my own fault).

5. Got out of costing trades.

6. Had classical music on.

7. Did not dwell on prior trades, whether they were costing or profitable. Just focused on the trade at hand.

8. Waited for retracements to enter trades (at a discount).

9. Celebrated profitable trades with physically hooping and hollering, praising God for receiving money!!! Yay God!!

10. Kept emotions neutral on costing trades, while noting how I can improve or better the next trade or keep costs down without fear.

11. Did not enter trades that did not have good entry.

Areas to Improve On:

1. I read something during my trading from another trader. That influenced or biased my trading, which ended up in a costing trade for me. DON'T read about other people's opinions. Every time it seems I do this, it ends up in costing trades.

2. Did not stop trading once my goal was reached, which caused me to have 2 costs I would not have.

3. Typically I set my cost stops according to the trend and just outside the trend, but sometimes this is really costly when I get hit. This is what happened to me once with a $350 cost, which is 7 pts. Not sure if there was a better way to do this, that if I moved this in, this causes me to take MORE costs, and maybe in the end, 1 bigger cost as opposed to a whole bunch of little ones that could add up to more would be worse. Not sure. Still working on this.

4. Stayed up way too late. My own fault because I had the opportunity to get over 8 hrs of sleep and ended up with around 4 hrs of sleep, I'm guessing. Not even sure if now it was that.

5. Got distracted by my gardener attempting to explain some stuff to me. Should've just stopped trading. My stops were in place, though.

Trades on ES for Wed, 21-Jan-2009

My goal is $500 for the day. Today I grossed $200.

Total Trades = 12 (some pre-market from the night before, plus 2 hrs; from 10:48 pm to 2:25 am EST; 10:33 am to 12:34 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 1 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 8 (67%)
# Costing Trades = 4 (33%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $12.50 to $252.50 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $87.50 to $312.50

Total Profits = $975.00
Total Costs = $775.00
Commissions = $39.90
Net = $160.10 (32% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:

1. Verbalized trades.

2. Focused for the first 10 trades. The last 2 were trades I was not supposed to put on because I had met my $500 goal, which included my commissions.

3. Verbalized my trades in a normal voice.

4. Celebrated physically every profit, and remained neutral in my feelings with my costing trades.

5. Waited for most of the trades.

6. Knew where I was and got out at the right times.

7. Took profits.

8. Made no excuses. My son was distracting this morning and I did not allow it to upset me, rather I prayed over him and blessed him. I did not let anger rise today, rather I chose to control things before they occurred. It was great.

9. Turned on my classical music and got centered before I traded.

10. Was able to tune out other things to just focus on trading.

11. Kept to trading only 1 contract at a time.

Areas to Improve:

1. Know when to set trailing stops. It's not always best.

2. Trailing stops need to vary with how the market is moving. Faster moving markets require bigger trailing stops.

3. In order to keep more profits and minimize on costs, when it's gone in my favor enough to cover the trailing stop, even if I were to get stopped out, I'd still be positive, it would be a good idea to do the trailing stop in most cases.

4. When my RSI trend or price trend is broken, GET OUT (or get in if entering).

5. Take profits. 3 out of the 4 costs I took were profits, but I was waiting for it to hit my limits, which it didn't and then things turned against me.

6. Be responsive, less reactive, because reactive means chasing trades. Let the trades come to you.

7. If I'm going to continue trading even after my goal is met, I need to remain focused and not be sloppy in my trading, which I was for the last 2 trades.

Trades on ES for Tues, 20-Jan-2009

My goal is $1000 for the day. Today I grossed $1375.

Total Trades = 14 (some premarket starting from the night before, 9:40 am 9:48 am EST; 10:17 am to 12:31 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 3 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 12 (86%)
# Costing Trades = 2 (14%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $50 to $362.50 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $25 to $100

Total Profits = $1500
Total Costs = $125
Commissions = $47.88
Net = $1,327.12 (88.5% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:

1. Verbalized trades in a regular tone of voice, step-by-step as to why I was getting into a trade and where I expected to get out.

2. Got out of costing trades when they broke my trends.

3. Though I was angry at my kids again for not respecting my trading time after being told a few times, I shared my feelings & thoughts with my children in correction to them in a way that honored all of us. I forgave them and let go of my anger.

4. Spent time in prayer before I started my day, as well as time in studying the Bible to hear from God.

5. Waited for trades to come to me. Did not chase trades.

6. Celebrated my profits outloud and a little physical demonstration.

7. I kept laying down my anger, frustration, blame at the foot of the Cross to give it all to God instead of hanging onto it, thus, it dissipated.

8. Spent time praising God, even when I didn't feel like it.

9. Did some writing in positive form and reading, saying outloud various Scripture confessions.

10. Allowed my dominant energy to be on prosperity, abundance, peace, joy, favor, and not on what I wanted to do with the anger.

11. Stopped trading when my goal was reached.

12. Did not play woulda, coulda, shoulda in my mind but was very grateful for the profits I got and achieving my goals.

13. Turned on classical music to create a peaceful, creative positive environment in my home.

14. Moved the coffee table out of sight from my trading so my living room looks way less cluttered (that's where I have my trading desk).

15. Was patient with most of my trades, which allowed me to take profits.

16. Knew where I was locationwise and understood whether it was a pullback or a reversal.

17. Planned my trade, traded my plan.

18. Released negative feelings as they continued to attempt to pop up in my trading, being aware and taking action.

19. Visualized my trades, at least some of them.

20. Set my stops (profits & costs, or trailing stops).

21. Timeframes used were appropriate. Started with 15 min., moved to 3 min., then 1 min., back to 3 min.

22. Saw the big picture and did not panic. Waited patiently, but had cost stop set just in case.

Improvement Areas:

1. Be firmer with the kids taking harsher action for their disobedience, however, before I start trading, explain to the kids in a calm manner that I need their help to make money and that would be for them to be calm and get ready for school without fussing or distraction.

2. Did not have the dogs in the house, as they are a distraction running all over chasing each other around.

3. More visualization of the trades is needed.

4. Was impatient with a few trades and took profits too soon.

5. Trailing stops when things are moving fast need to be at least 2 points. In slower moving times, they can be 0.75-1.25 points.

6. Work to get focused quicker, no matter what is happening.

Trades on ES for Mon, 19-Jan-2009

My goal is $300 for the day. Today I grossed -$137.50

Total Trades = 8 (2 hrs from 9:30 am to 11:26 am EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 1 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 3 (38%)
# Costing Trades = 5 (63%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $25 to $150 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $37.50

Total Profits = $400
Total Costs = $537.50
Commissions = $31.92
Net = -$169.42 (-33.9% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:

1. Had a trading plan.

2. Verbalized some of trades.

3. Once I gave back all my profits, stopped trading. Live to trade another day.

Areas to Improve:

1. Was very distracted with my children being home from school due to MLK holiday.

2. Got angry at my kids and was reactive rather than responsive.

3. Chasing trades.

4. Did not follow my trading plan once I began having costing trades.

5. Took more costs than I intended.

6. Physically sitting incorrectly (usually sit on one leg crossed. This cuts off circulation and doesn't allow my energy to flow properly).

7. Forgot to turn on classical music.

Stops

How do I determine where to place my stops?

There are 2 kinds of stops I use: 1) profit stop; 2) cost stop.

With either or both the profit or cost stop, these can also be trailing stops. It just depends upon what is happening and whether I can sit here for the whole time trading or not or just let my positions run with the stops in place.

I don't have a set 10% rule or anything like that. Since I tend to be more of a trend trader (and this is defined a bit differently than how other trend traders are), when the trend is broken, that's when I usually will get out.

Other times, I may just get out because I want to just close the position because I have other things going on and do not want to leave my position unattended. That will be a limit stop or maybe I will "flatten" my position and get out at market.

Often I will have limit stops for profits right near a pivot. If it looks strong, I'll have it on the other side of the pivot. If it looks weak, I'll pull in the stop to be closer. One can always doing a trailing stop, but sometimes I just want to be out where I want to be out.

If it's a cost stop, and it's near a pivot, I'll put it just slightly out of reach, so if it crosses the pivot, then I'll be out. Often this can be quite a costly trade, and these I tend to babysit. Usually I do not get taken out for these, but when I do, it does hurt, but I'm well aware when I set the boundaries on these trades that I can be taken out for a cost.

These pivots could be the moving averages, RSI, price action by itself. Rarely will I use MACD as a pivot. The ES really likes to pivot off the 200 EMA and 50 EMA. Often it will use the 10 or the 20 EMA as either support or resistance (depending upon which direction the price action is going).

There is an art to setting appropriate stops. Some people do a blanket 10% of their capital on that trade for a stop. That's fine, too. But, say if you had 1 contract of the ES and it's $500 for me, that would be $50. That is essentially 1 point. The ES often moves more than 1 point in either directions and you will find yourself getting stopped out a lot. That would be quite nerve racking for me and discouraging.

I attempted to employ a scalping method to take X number ticks for profits and then Y number of ticks for costs. I found I was getting taken out far more for costs than I was ever getting in profits. The net result was net costs. Not a good trading strategy for me, but it seems to work for a number of people.

Perhaps I like a more discretionary system of trading that may seem vague, but in reality, it isn't. It's just not quite as cut and dry as some other methods. It's okay. There is room for all different ways to make money.

This entry probably is more confusing than not about stops, but every single one of my stops are subjective. Sometimes I will have a stop that is much closer, because I don't want to bite the bullet with a 10 point stop.

What I will also do is switch between various timeframes to see what is happening on one chart as opposed to another. Let's say RSI is topped out at 90 on the 1 min. chart, but it's at 63 on the 3 min. chart, I will most likely get out if there is enough money on the table and wait for another re-entry as the 1 min. does a pullback. RSI cannot go to above 100 and rarely ever does. In fact, I've never seen it go to 100.

Even if one chart says there is room for it to continue bullish, you have to look at other timeframes to see if they are all agreeing. Another chart may say it's way overbought, so you have to take that into consideration at either the entry or exit.
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Trading Strategy

A reader had commented he wasn't really learning anything from my blog. That's fair as typically I only post my day's summary or the week's summary. Earlier in my blog, there are splashes of my trading, various things I'm doing, but nothing in a real step-by-step approach to what I'm doing. Do I do that on purpose?

I made an 8 min. video, which is my first one which is a quick and dirty version of what I do minus all the rationale and details. Obviously many things are missing and it assumes you know a bunch of stuff already. I noticed I reversed some of the things like calling support resistance and resistance support, so you'll have to forgive me. If not, oh well.

There is a written trading plan that took me months to develop and it's still a living document as things change and I find out different things, I will add to or modify my plan. One of the things I changed on there was that I am to trade every trading day, and gives me the option to trade on a holiday or not, or the day after a major holiday (i.e., Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's). Other than that, I'm to trade daily no matter what.

I did put in there if I haven't had sleep in 3 nights, there is the option to not trade also. That's about my limit in being able to think is not sleeping for 3 nights in a row. Of course, that doesn't happen too often. I've found even missing one night, I can still reasonably trade, rather I have to set my expectations and goal low and use a longer timeframe.

My blog really isn't a step-by-step tutorial of how to trade, or is it news driven. It's just me sharing a bit about what trading is like for me, as I rebuild my trading accounts. I focus mainly on the psychology of trading, which many people don't really care about until they've been bitten a number of times like losing their whole trading account at least once.

It's really more my journey in how I manage life with trading and to tailor my trading to meet my life. Maybe for the single guy who has no responsibilities my blog isn't all that useful, but it is if you can glean from my successes and failures and learn from them.

My trading strategy works for me. When I follow it to the T, it gives me >80% profitable trades and keeps my costing trades low relatively. It's when I do not follow my strategy or plan is when I end up with bigger costs and fewer profitable trades, or profitable trades that are less profitable.

It would stand to reason that if you have all these things written out, why would a person not follow the plan? It really boils down to one's belief system and there are still some things in my belief system that cause me to do things that sabotage my trading. I'm working on those things very aggressively.

My trading strategy also fits my personality, knowledge, and works for me for this season that I am in. It may not in a year or 2 or even 6 months, as I learn and want to change. I may find I want to reduce the number of indicators or increase them. Not really sure. But, what I have right now I've had for the past 6-8 months.

I am thinking of taking off Bollinger Bands, just to have less clutter on my chart, as I don't really use BB.

Some people may think my stuff is too cluttered and that doesn't work for them. They may like Elliot Waves, or Stochastics or something else. You must do what works for you and what you are able to trade successfully. Forcing my system on yourself is integrating my personality into yours and it may not mesh.

I've found the combination of what I have: moving averages, RSI, Volume, MACD, candlesticks, and the price action work real well. I could really trade with just candlesticks and price action, but I've found adding the other stuff helps give me better confirmation of what I am seeing, which allows me to have a greater percentage of profitable trades.

There are 2 videos I'm uploading and I will add to this blog, but the upload times are 30-45 min. each and then there is a video conversion, which is taking 2 hrs at least per video. These videos are about 8 min. in length. This is one of the reasons why I rarely do videos because it takes such a long time and I have other things to do.

The 2nd video I had been uploading and had another 10 min. left and my Internet Explorer just closed down all the windows. Not sure why. But, I had to restart the upload all over again. Anyway, a pain in the butt.

However, since it was requested and I had the time this evening, I'm obliging.

Life is pretty busy with raising 2 young kids by myself, as well as all the other stuff I have going on. My trading blog hasn't been a huge priority, and for right now, it still isn't. I'm glad to have the readership that I do, but it's just me living life. I don't really want to spend all day sitting in front of the computer.

Anyway, keep the questions and comments coming and I'll address as best as I can. Please give me grace, as I get distracted with so many different things.

Bottom Line On ES For Wk of 12-Jan-2009

Profitable Trades = 41 (71%)
Costing Trades = 17 (29%)

Total Trading Time = ?? hrs

Total Profits = $5,325.00
Total Costs = $1,762.50
Total Commissions = $247.38

Week's Net = $3,315.12 (165.8% ROI on trading capital)

Overall ROI since 10-Nov-2008 start: 797%
- # Traded Days: 44
- # Profitable Days: 35 (80%)
- # Costing Days: 9 (20%)
- Net: $19,117.80

Trades on ES for Fri, 16-Jan-2009

My goal is $1250 for the day. Today I grossed $637.50

Total Trades = 8 (some premarket, intermittently from 10:41 am to 1:12 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 4 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 4 (50%)
# Costing Trades = 4 (50%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $100 to $512.50 (trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $50 to $275

Total Profits = $1237.50
Total Costs = $600.00
Commissions = $31.92
Net = $605.58 (30.3% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:
1. Knew where I was, location, at least for the first 4 trades.

2. Set stops. Two of the profitable trades were limit profit stops and two were trailing stops. The cost stops were limit. Had stops set for the costing trades, too.

3. Set my trades, stops and walked away so I would not mismanage the trades.

4. Was clearminded, focused when I set the original 4 trades that were profitable.

5. Saw where my indicators were, in overbought.

6. Eventually stopped trading when I had given back almost half my profits.

Areas of Improvement:

1. Did not verbalize any of my trades.

2. Traded when I was very foggy, unclear minded. That was my last 4 trades which were costs. Gave back about half my profits.

3. Did not focus for the last 4 trades and when I have 2 costing trades in a row, there is a need to stop to see what I'm doing, but I kept trading.

4. Did not set a maximum cost that I was willing to accept.

5. Needed to just sit to focus for 5-10 min. before trading.

6. Didn't turn on my classical music to help settle my mind.

7. Did not wildly, excitedly, happily celebrate that I just about met my goal when I came back to the computer. All I needed to do was to cover the commissions.

8. Did not take profits sooner.

9. Lost track of where I was, which led to my costs.

Trades on ES for Thurs,15-Jan-2009

My goal is $800 for the day. Today I grossed $1150

Total Trades = 13 (some premarket, intermittent from 9:48 am to 2:17 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 3 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 10 (77%)
# Costing Trades = 3 (23%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $75 to $325 (was trading in 1 contract positions most of the time minus 2 trades where I entered in 2 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $12.50 to $175

Total Profits = $1462.50
Total Costs = $312.50
Commissions = $67.83
Net = $1,082.17 (72.1% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:
1. Verbalized some of trades, but not all of them.

2. Eventually stopped trading, no matter what was happening to the market after I stopped, the 2nd time.

3. Knew where I was and where the pivot points were.

4. Waited patiently until the time was correct, and when I was wrong, got out for a cost or a smaller profit.

5. Set trailing stops, as well as limit cost & profit stops.

6. Did not stay at the computer the whole time.

7. Got enough sleep.

8. Made sure to drink water and ate.

9. Took small breaks to do pushups.

10. Got excited physically and verbally when I made profits and kept costs' emotions neutral, as learning points.

Areas To Improve On:

1. Still thinking too much in my head and need to verbalize EVERY trade.

2. Had a couple impulsive trades, which turned out profitably, but they could've been costs.

3. Did not stop trading once my goal was met.

4. A couple trades at least, had I just let my stops take me out, I would've been more profitable. Let the trade do it's thing.

5. Make sure to always know the big picture and intermiate stopping points.

6. Keep calm, cool, with laser focus.

7. Keep dogs outside.

Trades on ES for Wed, 14-Jan-2009

My goal is $300 for the day. Today I grossed $437.50

Total Trades = 6 (some premarket, some during the market; did not stay at the computer but set stops)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 1 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 5 (83%)
# Costing Trades = 1 (17%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $25 to $150 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $37.50

Total Profits = $475
Total Costs = $37.50
Commissions = $23.94
Net = $413.56 (82.7% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:
1. Verbalized trades (though, whispered).

2. Knew where I was. Saw the big picture.

3. Went with the trend.

4. Set my stops (either limit cost, limit profit or trailing stop).

5. Didn't babysit trades, but had my stops in place. Usually my gut reaction is better than if I overanalyzed my trades getting in or out.

6. Stopped trading when my goal was met.

Notes: My energy levels were really, really low, inspite of getting enough sleep, eating healthy, moderate exercise. I've been doing a lot of psychological energy stuff and I'm not sure if this is playing a part in my energy shifts. Maybe my body is detoxing?

Trades on ES for Tues, 13-Jan-2009

My goal is $300 for the day. Today I grossed $900.50.

Total Trades = 20 (some premarket plus 1.75 hr from 10:17 am to 11:17 am; 2:24 pm to 3:05 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 2 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 16 (80%)
# Costing Trades = 4 (20%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $37.50 to $250 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $37.50 to $200

Total Profits = $1,687.50
Total Costs = $462.50
Commissions = $79.80
Net = $1,145.20 (114.5% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:
1. Verbalized trades (though, whispered).

2. Turned off real time datafeed so I would stop trading.

3. Turned off "Account bar" status so I would trade without looking at the money.

4. Planned my trade, traded my plan.

5. Did my morning devotionals.

6. Centered & focused my mind, calmed it well before trading.

7. Had a peaceful morning with my children before taking them to school. Created an atmosphere of positive energy & hope.

8. Reviewed my trades immediately after trading, instead of waiting and forgetting.

9. Set my stops (profits & costs, limits), as well as trailing stops.

10. Did not chase trades.

11. Did not talk with anyone this morning while trading.

Things To Improve On:

1. Can verbalize louder what I'm trading.

2. Stop trading once my goal is met, though, I would not know this unless I looked at my account bar. However, adding up the points I made told me I had far exceeded my goal, even with commissions included.

3. I did not stop trading but waited another 1-2 trades to stop. These could have turned against me, therefore giving back some of my profits.

Notes: I came back to trade again for another 0.75 hr after a very good coaching session on beliefs. I felt very empowered and decided to trade a little more. As of today, 41 days of trading, I have 709% ROI!!! I think that's super exciting, because 41 days trading is essentially 2 months worth of trading. Imagine if every 2 months you had 709% return and I've made a bunch of mistakes, but learning big time.

Trades on ES for Mon, 11-Jan-2009

My goal is $300 for the day. Today I grossed $112.50.

Total Trades = 11 (on & off 1:22 pm to 11:02 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 1 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 6 (55%)
# Costing Trades = 5 (45%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $25 to $162.50 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $25 to $112.50

Total Profits = $462.50
Total Costs = $350.00
Commissions = $43.89
Net = $68.61 (13.7% ROI of capital used)

Notes: Yesterday was a complete blur in my trading. Usually I document these learnings, but I was haphazardly doing things and my trading showed. I do not know or remember what I did correctly or incorrectly specifically. My trading was all over the place.

One of the things I do know that I did was that I turned off my account bar, so I was not aware of how many trades I was doing, where my account was, or how much I was making or not making for each trade. That actually is a plus as I noticed in my trades when I looked in my account were my costing trades were much smaller than usual. That is a GREAT thing. Now I need to make my profitable trades much bigger.

Bottom Line On ES For Wk of 5-Jan-2009

Profitable Trades = 50 (66%)
Costing Trades = 26 (34%)

Total Trading Time = ?? hrs

Total Profits = $6,437.50
Total Costs = $3,587.50
Total Commissions = $454.86

Week's Net = $2,395.14 (95.8% ROI on trading capital)

Overall ROI since 10-Nov-2008 start: 658%
- # Traded Days: 39
- # Profitable Days: 30 (77%)
- # Costing Days: 9 (23%)
- Net: $15,802.68

Trades on ES for Fri, 9-Jan-2009

My goal is $300 for the day. Today I grossed $425.

Total Trades = 11 (on & off 9:35 am to 1:55 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 2 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 3 (100%)
# Costing Trades = 0 (0%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $50 to $137.50 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $50 to $137.50

Total Profits = $737.50
Total Costs = $312.50
Commissions = $43.89
Net = $381.11 (38.1% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:
1. Verbalized some trades (softly, though)

2. Knew where I was. Location. Saw the big and smaller time framed pictures.

3. Waited.

4. Seized the moment.

5. Had profit & cost stops in place.

6. Legged in at retracements.

Areas of Improvement:

1. Distracted with tech support for Genesis regarding how to do several things on my charting and still traded.

2. The costing trades were due to testing out some things on my charting program, otherwise, I would've had all profitable trades. This was the comment I made the other day I had to really figure out how to use trailing stops.

3. Did not verbalize all my trades.

4. Was not at my computer when all my trades executed/

5. Still figuring out what is an appropriate trailing stop. More profits would've been taken, but wasn't getting the trailing stop stuff correct.

6. Wasn't paying attention to economic indicators otherwise I would've been prepared either way. Wasn't exactly and though I got part of the move down in the first 1/2 hr, not anywhere as much as was avaible because I was screwing around with my computer at an important time with tech support.

Trades on ES for Thurs,8-Jan-2009

My goal is $300 for the day. Today I grossed $312.50.

Total Trades = 3 (intermittent times from 6 pm to 12:47 am on 1/7/08 and 12:57 pm to 1:13 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 1 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 3 (100%)
# Costing Trades = 0 (0%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $75 to 125 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = 0

Total Profits = $312.50
Total Costs = $0
Commissions = $11.97
Net = $300.53 (60.1% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:
1. Verbalized trades

2. Patient. Did not panic.

3. Knew where I was, location.

4. Realized it was a rough night sleeping, so made a small goal to keep in a successful realm.

5. Did not trade until I was feeling mentally better.

6. Set appropriate stops (stops & costs).

7. Stopped trading when goal reached, though, I felt compelled to trade longer.

8. Focused, was undistracted.

Areas to Improve:

1. Figure out how to set a trailing stop from trading from my chart. I could be taking so much more profits per trade by knowing how to do this properly. I've asked Genesis, but I still don't get it.

Notes: I had a very rough sleep night filled with nightmares that was really impacting my morning. It took a few hours from when I awoke to be okay to trade. I did a lot of time with God and filling my mind with good stuff to take away the images from the nightmare.

100%

A trader recently advised me to wait until I was 100% before trading. He knows I'm a daytrader and he's been a trader for nearly 2 decades. The truth of the matter is I was doing that in the past, waiting until I was 100% before trading --meaning not sleep deprived, completely focused, etc.

How often did I really trade? Rarely. Maybe in a given month, there might be 1 or max 2 days that that would be the case. One can't really earn a living on that unless you have large capital and make some huge plays. Not counting on that.

So, when I started again in November, after beginning reading Scot Anderson's book on "Think Like A Billionaire", regarding commitment, I committed myself to trading no matter how I felt or what was going on. Most people who have jobs do go to work whether they feel like it or not. That's a fact.

Until I'm the ultra wealthy that has more money than I need, trading only when I felt like it wasn't an option. There is a lot on my plate. If I'm having to be focused for the whole 6.5 hrs of trading, that is a bit much, but many of the times, most of my money that I need can be obtained within an hour.

Even if I'm sick, sleepy, distracted, busy or whatever, normally I can find 1 hr sometime during the 6.5 hrs or even after hours to make the money that is needed. And, I've found this to be the case most of the time.

Yes, being unfocused has cost me. It's making sure for those moments that I am trading, that I can be focused. Also recognizing my own mental, physical and emotional state is helpful to gauge what my goals should be for the day and what type of trading I can do, such as the timeframes to use or NOT to use.

Sometimes the goal is to make 1 trade for a small amount of money, say like $50. It still is me trading for the day, but keeping my risk small and managable for what is going on with me. The point is to develop the discipline to trade daily no matter what, and to be able zero in on being able to be focused, efficient in my trading.

Though I have loved exercise all my adult life and have been obsessed with it most of that time, I realized nothing stopped me from getting my workouts in. One should not be obsessed with anything, as that means as a Christian, that is something that is idolatrous (meaning, we put it above God). However, to be dedicated and committed, being steadfast and disciplined, are different things, as long as it doesn't consume all or most of your thoughts.

Trading is a passion of mine, but I'm learning to have more balance here. Yes, there are many people who read dozens of articles a day, lots of blogs & journals, scan all these things, do deep analysis of the markets, and on and on. Frankly, I have spent those countless hours doing those things, too. But, where I am right now to make what I need, is that necessary? No.

The thing for me is still to juggle my time with my kids, my resources, have good health/fitness, and be mentally/emotionally/spiritually sound to trade. Take the money I need, leave and go have a life. It works.

I'm not there yet, as one can see from my daily entries that focus on some days is a challenge. It's room to grow and work on developing razor sharp focus amidst crises. I'm thankful for this opportunity to do so. Everything counts.

So, if you're going to daytrade when you don't have it all together, then know when you're less together and make adjustments in your trading and goals to accommodate you not being up to par. If you have tons of money and really don't need to trade, then don't. But, if you're in my boat, keep risk very small, and keep at it. Know your limitations and keep rooting out those negative things that can kill your trading.

As you can see from my returns, inspite of maybe 80-90% of my days having other things going on and not being 100%, I'm still doing better than the majority of fund managers and people. I can't remember exactly what my goal was for the end of 2008, but it was somewhere in the several thousand % range. I ended the year at 656% ROI. That's about 1/6th or so of what I would've liked. So, I didn't quite gauge right, but one can't balk at 656% ROI either.

I'd like to see these accounts before this year is up over $1M. That's a tall order. Will I get there? I have no idea, but I'm sure as heck going to every day trade and add a bit more to the pot to get it there. Let's see how I do. I only have to make what I've made in the past 37 days traded another 67 more times.

As I become a better trader, I can put on bigger positions, but for now, I can still I have some things to work on in terms of keeping my costing trades down. They are still too large, and though I know how to make money, having too high of costing trades or overtrading is still something I need to minimize on in order to reach this goal.

Trades on ES for Wed, 7-Jan-2009

My goal is $500 for the day. Today I grossed $775.

Total Trades = 11 (7.2 hrs intermittent from 5:33 pm to 7:55 pm and 9:09 pm to 10:50 pm EST on 6-Jan-2009; 9:01 am to 9:20 am EST; 10:31 am to 10:47 am EST; 12:01 pm to 2:35 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 5 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 8 (73%)
# Costing Trades = 3 (27%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $50 to $312.50 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $12.50 to 150.00

Total Profits = $1037.50
Total Costs = $262.50
Commissions = $43.89
Net = $731.11 (29.2% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:
1. Verbalized trades

2. Patient. Did not panick.

3. Set my stops (costs and profits) in place appropriately.

4. Knew where I was - location; S/R, pivots, and moving averages.

5. Waited for a good entry.

6. Planned my trade. Traded my plan.

7. Focused.

8. Got enough sleep last night.

9. Peaceful time getting the kids ready for school.

10. Small position size. Only 1 contract at a time, legging into and out of trades.

Improvement Areas:

1. Could stand to be even more focused as I was multi-tasking.

2. Did not attend to my trades 100% of the time, but I did have my stops in place.

3. Traded beyond the $500 goal.

4. Need to verbalize trades more in detail and perhaps louder.

Trades on ES for Tues, 6-Jan-2009

My goal is $300 for the day. Today I grossed $337.50.

Total Trades = 17 (2.75 hrs from 12:36 pm to 3:21 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 2 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 10 (59%)
# Costing Trades = 7 (41%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $50 to $225 (was trading in 1 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $25 to 237.50

Total Profits = $1025.00
Total Costs = $678.50
Commissions = $43.89
Net = $269.67 (27% ROI of capital used)

Notes: I don't really remember what I did here, except that I was really distracted and didn't get much sleep the night before. Trading this day was so challenging and I'm not quite sure why. It seemed like a huge battle.

I made my goal far less and decided to just trade with 1 contract sizes and didn't really do legging in but maybe once or twice. It made trading a lot longer.

Eeek!

Just for the heck of it, I decided to see how much profit, costs, commissions and net I did in 35 days of trading. It's pretty gross and sickening.

Profits: $105,122.50
Costs: $80,325.00 (76.4% of profits)
Commissions: 10,677.24 (10.2% of profits)

Net: $14,120.26 (13.4% of my profits)

At least it's still in the positive and though my equity curve is trending in the right direction, for all the money I made, man, to give back THAT much is really sickening.

If I average making $3K profits a day to really only take home $400, that's still pretty bad.

If I take out the 5 outlier days that are not typical for me: 13-Nov, 2-Dec, 12-Dec, 15-Dec, 2-Jan, the results are this:

Profits: 26,312.50
Costs: $11,877.50 (45% profits)
Commissions: $1,472.31 (6% profits)

Net: $12,952.69 (49% profits)

Though these are still not great #s, they are far better than the actual. So, this means man I better look at how to even better manage risk. I need to really review & analyze those outlier days because they can wipe out an account.

I do not want to overtrade, as that raises my commissions. Also, want to keep costs down, but usually my stops are out of the way, which usually means bigger costs. I gotta get this under control. I'd rather see a 20% or less of my profits going to costs, not including commissions. Overall, I'd like to see 70% or more of my net be my profits on average. Not sure if that's too high to strive for or not.

But, as I can see, it's a ways from where I am right now.

Long Wicks

This is just my observation and I've probably read it somewhere on something more than once.

Long wicks are testing to see if they can get buyers (or sellers), simply put. Today I saw multiple times where there were long wicks to one side and verbalized what was happening. However, somewhere some fear gripped me as I had positions on the table and allowed myself to get caught up in the emotion.

What was happening was they were what seemed like an indecisive point, but in the grander scheme of things, it looked like the direction was still long at the time. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to get shaken out of my position and reversed it. As soon as I did that, I recognized that I was wrong and this cost me to take 2 hits that cost me.

My original thoughts were correct. I had a resistance line drawn and after it shook out the sellers, it went to tag that resistance line and came back down from there. That was actually my original play and yet, somewhere because money was on the line, I allowed it to influence my judgement. Not a good thing.

Of course, if the candle you're looking at and the wick hasn't formed, but you know where the pivots are, which often are the moving averages or other pivot areas where there is greater congestion (what this means is if this is an area the price action has stopped at numerous times either as a support or resistance, the likelihood of this occuring again is higher), you can look at volume to see what may be happening.

If they can't bring buyers in, then the price will drop. Vice versa. The points of compression or what appears to be indecision really isn't because they are more tests.

Long wicks test.

Overtrading

Unfortunately again today I was focusing on the money and made some unrealistic goals. Last Friday when I traded, I traded with more contracts than I did today, but set the same goal of $2K. Sometimes there is this law of diminishing returns.

This really deserves a separate blog entry as overtrading can really cost traders big time. I've read articles, most recently by a guy named Markus H. that talks about overtrading. One of the things about me setting a daily monetary amount to reach is to prevent overtrading. The thing I did not take into account today, not sure why, was the size of my position and the goal.

My goal typically is $300 with 1 contract. So, it would stand to reason if you're dealing with 4 contracts, that would be a $1200 goal. It would stand to reason. I made my goal $2K, which is an extra 67% more than I would need to make, basically nearly doubling the time I was meant to spend. Typically with to make $300 with 1 contract takes usually less than 1/2 hr.

Today I've spent over 4 hrs trading and that's not bad if I'm overall making money, but if I give back the majority of my profits, that is not a way to successfully trade. I made many good trades that were profitable, as well as costing. However, there is still considerable room to improve.

The lesson here is to keep the goals small and managable. My goal since I was using 4 contracts (legging in 2 at a time), the max this goal should have been is $1200. Once that is reached, stop. I didn't, so it ended me giving back a good portion of my profits. not a good thing.

Trades on ES for Mon, 5-Jan-2009

My goal is $2000 for the day. Today I grossed $1000.

Total Trades = 34 (6 hrs from 8:18 pm to 9:15 pm EST, 10:27 am to 3:24 pm EST)
Max Contracts Used at 1 Time = 4 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 21 (62%)
# Costing Trades = 13 (38%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $25 to $300 (was trading in 2 contract positions)
Range of Costing Trades = $75 to $530

Total Profits = $3,325.00
Total Costs = $2,325.00
Commissions = $287.28
Net = $712.72 (35.6% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:
1. Verbalized some trades

2. Used correct timeframe on some trades, which typically was 3 min. Also looked at 1, 5, 15, and 360 min. timeframes to see a bigger picture or for better entries.

3. Knew the location on some trades.

4. Was able to focus on many of the trades.

5. Had cost and profit stops in place most of the time. However, I notice my costs typically are bigger than some of my profits, which isn't good.

Areas to Improvement On:

1. Though I verbalized many of my trades, a few of the positions that I got costs on are somehow even with verbalizing the details, I doubted myself. This cost me, as I closed the position and/or reversed it. My original thoughts were correct and the doubt caused fear.

2. For some reason I had fear, and I'm not sure where that came from.

3. It seemed when the market was clearer in the direction it was in, my trading was not very good, but when things seemed indecisive and choppy, I was better able to take consistent profits. I'm not sure what the deal here and need to figure out why this is so.

4. Need to continually look at volume to see if there is going to be a run in a particular direction so I do not take profits too soon and let them run. Or I could take the 2 contracts and split them into 1 contract each and leg out of the trade.

5. TAKE A BREAK. I did not eat, go to the bathroom or anything while trading.

6. Trade for no more than an hour and then take at least a 15 min. break or so. Focus diminishes.

7. Set goals appropriate for position size. 1 contract = $300.

8. Stop trading once goal (including commissions) is reached. Keeping 21% of my profits is NOT good. Of course, it's better than 0%.

Bottom Line On ES For Wk of 29-Dec-2008


Profitable Trades = 38 (70%)
Costing Trades = 16 (30%)

Total Trading Time = ?? hrs

Total Profits = $15,037.50
Total Costs = $12,775.00
Total Commissions = $1,448.37

Week's Net = $814.13 (4.1% ROI on trading capital)

Overall ROI since 10-Nov-2008 start: 559%
- # Traded Days: 34
- # Profitable Days: 25 (73.5%)
- # Costing Days: 9 (26.5%)
- Net: $13,407.54
Notes: Looks like today was a retracement day. I'll makeup for it next week, and be more focused. I attempted to focus on trading, but my mom's critical personal voice was replaying in my head again and again. I recognize what she has said during her 1.5 wk visit here is untrue and very mean. She thinks she's being helpful. None of her comments were directed at trading, but they did very much impact my trading.
It's like there was a huge war going on between my self-worth as to whether I am valuable or not. If you feel you do not deserve wealth, your trading will reflect that and you will do self-sabotaging things. If you truly believe you deserve wealth, you make decisions that allow you to gain wealth. Today there was a great battle.
There was 2.5 hrs left of trading, but I had an appointment to go to and was not able to finish trading to recoup the rest of the costs. I do think I could've recouped the $2.3K plus add another $2K plus commissions with the last bit of trading left, but wasn't around to do so.
Monday my kids will be back in school and I will have time to trade, to focus. This weekend I'm going to work to get the negative, critical messages of my parents & family out of my head, or at least as much as I can. I am responsible for what I receive or reject from other people. Unfortunately, I took their messages instead of rejecting those lies.

Trades on ES for Fri, 2-Jan-2009

My goal is $2000 for the day. Today I grossed -$1125.

Total Trades = 35 (4 hrs. 14 min. from 9:34 am to 1:48 pm EST)
Contracts Used at 1 Time = 40 ($500 margin/contract)
# Profitable Trades = 22 (63%)
# Costing Trades = 13 (37%)
Range of Profitable Trades = $75 to $1250
Range of Costing Trades = $300 to $2500

Total Profits = $ 10,450.00
Total Costs = $11,575.00
Commissions = $1204.98
Net = -$2,329.98 (-11.6% ROI of capital used)

Things I Did Correctly:
1. Verbalized some trades

2. Used correct timeframe on some trades.

3. Knew the location on some trades.

4. Was able to focus on some of the trades.

5. Had cost and profit stops in place.

Areas to Improvement On:

1. When trading against the trend, take a smaller position.

2. Positions too large, so this took me to costs quicker.

3. Was not completely focused during whole trading time.

4. Set too big of a goal, knowing my kids were home during trading time.

5. Did not stop trading when I reached my cost limit, which led to further costs, which led to me taking on bigger positions which meant greater risks.

6. Overtraded, hence, more trades, which means more commissions.

7. Watched the money instead of making good trades each time.

8. Did not always have a plan before trading.

9. Some poor entries with getting in at the wrong times -- got in for long when it should've been short. Was not watching my indicators properly. Distracted.

10. Used wrong timeframe at the beginning, but later switched to the correct timeframe. 3 min. was too fast for me to start off on.

11. Did not verbalize all trades.

12. Feeling fearful of the money, as well as having performance issues in my head.

13. Upset with personal stuff that had nothing to do with trading, so this was distracting.

14. Did not start off looking at the big picture, but did later in trading, which allowed me to recoup most of what I was down, which was about $8K.

15. Did not eat any breakfast before starting trading.

16. Forgot to spend time with God in prayer & the Bible before trading, though, I was spending time in worship as I traded -- worship songs.

17. In a hurry to make the $2K I set out to, and it backfired. I was playing catchup as I fell behind. Got almost caught up then I would be hit with a big cost that put me back again. It oscillated this way for most of the morning.

18. Moved stops -- costs out, which made my costs bigger, profits in, so took smaller profits.

19. Was impatient. Would've taken much greater profits had I just left the profit stops alone. This led to overtrading.

Quick Year In Review For 2008

DAYTRADING OPTIONS ON STOCKS > $100
Prior to this year, my style of investing was swing trading anywhere from 1 day to several weeks. I'm going to share the highlights/major events of 2008's trading for me.

At the beginning of this year, I began daytrading options on high priced stocks. My first trading coach, RL, recommended my personality is suited to daytrading, though, he himself abhors daytrading. So, that's when I began daytrading stocks like BIDU, CME, GOOG, AAPL and a host of other stocks.

To keep up with lots of stocks was too complicated and for a few weeks or more, I only traded BIDU and was making decent money. The swings on BIDU were great and that allowed me to trade options well. But, sometimes I would get hit big, inspite of stops being in place.

The defining moment was when I was on a field trip and I allowed my broker to manage my position for me, which was one of the biggest costs for me this year. Actually, it was the biggest costs and it took me a number of weeks to psychologically recover from this, where I did not trade with any funds, rather continued to practice.

My divorce proceedings were heating up as the year went on. My former spouse said that he would give me what I want, but the reality of that was he jerked me around and it was emotionally very distressing and financially very costly. My main concern were the children, but finances were also an issue.

These were not things that made trading easy.

As the economy began looking pretty dismal, I was feeling drained from meeting with the lawyer, gathering evidence/paperwork, parenting my children and managing everything.

$200 ACCOUNTS
For about 6 weeks or so in the Spring, I tested using options of high priced stocks and basically doing way out of the money (OTM) stocks to see what I could do in 1-2 months with $200. It was quite impressive and I was able to have a lot of success here.

I did the $200 accounts as most people can relate to having $200. Not everyone has tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to work with. One of my premises was really not so much for adults, rather children to begin building their college, car and other funds.

One of the goals I have in the next year or so is to develop a program to teach about the stock market, trading . . . really making your money work in my children's school. Perhaps this could be a program that I would develop and be able to share online where other parents can use my tools to teach their children on making their money work hard for them.

Most of us do not have oodles of time, especially those who are parents, to work more hours. When you work more hours, you're taking away time from your children, and if you're married, from your marriage. Working smarter and more efficiently is the key, and if you can have your money work hard for you, that's even better.

As the $200 accounts get larger, they can then be daytraded (when they > $25K for equities), or a portion can be converted to a smaller futures account, but the knowledge to trade futures due to risk management could be a bit trickier as one can stand to lose more than what you would use for a trade, whereas for options, the max you can lose in the style of trading I was doing is what you put into the trade, therefore, there would be a cap as to how much one can lose.

FUTURES
The latter part of Spring, I finally succumbed to changing my trading to be the emini's futures -- ES (S&P 500), YM (Dow), and NQ (Nasdaq). In the end, but the Fall, I decided to just trade the ES solely. It took me a few months to develop the strategy that I now employ, as well as come up with a way to use minimal amounts of money to make the money I need.

As the market began in September making huge swings with economic crises looming, there were incredible opportunites in the market. Though probably hundreds of thousands of people lost tons of money in the market and their retirement plans, jobs being lost, for traders that knew how to manage risk and play both the up and down sides well, some probably become millionaires or billionaires during this timeframe.

My divorce became final over the summer and I began psychotherapy (EMDR therapy) to help me deal with the effects of my divorce. Kids are getting counseling, too. Honestly, I thought I would be relieved to be divorce, but the month after the finalization of the divorce, I sank into despair and depression. Neither which are good things for trading.

But, as my therapist, God, and a number of other things I was doing, a month later, I began feeling much better and began back at trading with real funds and continued until I was super sick and kept trading. That cost me some big bucks and was my 2nd biggest costs for the year. Again, I was hit psychologically in my trading. My trading plan and strategies were good, but in my head, I wasn't doing too well, so I went back to practice trading.

Periodically I would get my feet wet with funded trading, but it wasn't consistent as there were certain fears I had, which had nothing to do with the market. I was physically feeling tired from the demands placed upon my life with a huge financial burdens, single parenting, kids with super busy schedules, my health was a huge rollercoaster.

In October I began taking charge of my health and began a program with Isagenix (if you want to know more, ask me) and began feeling mentally and physically way better. After the elections, I said it was time to really get committed in my trading and to learn to trade no matter what. It dawned on me that there would always be life stuff happening and I had to become a master of interferences and learn to trade no matter what the circumstances were -- healthy or sick, upset or happy, sleep or no sleep, super busy or not, etc. You get the point.

I committed to trading NO MATTER WHAT and began documenting this here in this blog, as well as being more rigorous in my private journal. Daily I began setting goals and found most days I met my goals (73%), and began tracking some things that I wasn't doing consistently to measure whether I was improving or not.

One of the big things was to document the things I was doing well or not and to see what kind of patterns there were in my trading, so I could further address and eliminate those habits which were undesirable to trading, to see if I could figure out the root cause and eliminate. Sometimes the root causes of certain behaviors is much more challenging to determine, but with help from my therapist, the Bible, God, prayer, EMDR, EFT, God continues to reveal areas that need to be addressed.

Since 10-Nov-2008, making the commitment to trade every trading day, here are the stats I end with:

Total # Trading Days from 10-Nov-2008: 36
Total # Days Traded: 33 (3 missed days, 2 were right after major holidays, the 3rd was after 3 days of no sleep)

Avg Daily Actual Net To Date: $476.89 (Net Profit = $15,727.52 in 7 weeks)
Avg Daily Goal To Daily: $500.00

Total # Profitable Days: 25 (75%)
Total # Costing Days: 8 (25%)

Days Daily Goal Met: 23 (70%)
Days Daily Goal NOT met: 10 (30%)

# Profitable Trades: 227 (65%)
# Costing Trades: 122 (35%)

Range of Daily Net Profitable Days: $89.09 to $11,807.57
Range of Daily Net Costing Days: $8.79 to $10,131.92

Overall ROI To Date: 656%

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