Monday, August 27, 2007

Discipline Equals Profits For Market Timers

The winning market timer is the disciplined market timer. That very simply means he or she chooses a specific, dependable, market timing strategy and follows it.

How Easily Discipline Can Fail

An example of how easily discipline can fail is last month's sell off. A one day Dow decline of over 300 points and lower lows over the next two weeks. The urge to jump into bearish positions was almost overwhelming. Obviously, tens of thousands of traders did just that. Only weeks later the Dow is at new all time highs, the S&P 500 at new rally highs and the Nasdaq is close to breaking out to new highs.

Current volatility is extreme, but experienced market timers know that such times usually occur right before a new (and profitable) trend starts.

The point is... following your emotions will cost you money. Following a timing strategy will make you money, and importantly, will not allow you to take large losses in capital.

What Better Reason?

People differ greatly in terms of their ability to maintain self control and discipline. Those differences are why we write this weekly report; to drive home the fact that without following a timing strategy, most market timers will be doomed to failure.

Some market timers have no trouble whatsoever sticking to a plan. But others, when it is decision time, will usually find a reason "not" to take the trade. After some time passes, and they realize they have missed a profitable trade, they take the trade but enter at a price that is much higher or lower than was available had they followed the plan.

They may or may not make a profit, but the odds have certainly turned against them.

And what happens if the trading plan then calls for a reversal? A reversal that would have been profitable had they taken the initial trade?

You know the answer. What better reason could there be to... again... not take the trade. This is when hope enters the picture, and hope is usually the second to last emotion felt before fear, which is followed quickly by losses.

Develop Trust

Let's consider a few ways that self-control and discipline can be maintained when making trading decisions.

First, you must develop trust in your timing strategy. You should should know exactly what you are going to do when a signal tells you to enter a trade, and what you are going to do when a signal tells you to exit.

One way to develop trust is to study the "Trade History" pages for each strategy. A link to the trade history for each strategy is on every FibTimer report. You will see that there are losing trades, but these are kept very small. You will also see the large winning trades which make the strategies successful over time. By looking at the trading histories, you will develop trust for the strategy you plan on following.

Be prepared, and be willing, to make the trades when the signals are issued!

At Fibtimer, we provide the buy and sell signals. We will make sure you know what to do well before the trade needs to be executed. We will also explain why the trade needs to made, and often the previous several weekly reports will have discussed the probability of an imminent change.

Some traders make the mistake of assuming they can just "wing it" when the buy or sell signal comes. But this approach presents an excellent opportunity for the collapse of discipline. It often leads to "waiting" to see if the trade is successful before taking it. The problems with this logic are obvious, but they are not as obvious when it is time to make the trade and you are looking for a reason to delay making the decision.

Develop Confidence

Perhaps one of the best ways to maintain self-control, is to feel "confident" as you execute the buy and sell signals that we issue. You "know" that over time they will be successful. You "know" that during sideways markets the signals will exercise good money management techniques and keep any losing trades very small.

It's healthy to be skeptical, but if it interferes with your ability to follow the trading plan, skepticism will cost you money. You must execute the buys and sells with unwavering confidence. You can't second-guess. You must follow the trading plan with absolute assurance that over time you will succeed.

How do we post the excellent trading results that have been attained in our various timing strategies? Because the reports follow a disciplined plan. They follow the buy and sell signals without question. No if's, and's or but's. Accordingly, over time, they show the profitable results of sticking to the plan.

Over time, disciplined trading becomes easier. But be careful not to minimize the importance of self-control and discipline. The more disciplined you can be, the more profits you will realize.