StockFetcher Forums · General Discussion · It has been estimated that 8 out of 10 individuals who attempt to trade make no money.<< >>Post Follow-up
6,362 posts
msg #66644
Ignore TheRumpledOne
8/25/2008 3:44:07 PM

I found this on the net:

It has been estimated that 8 out of 10 individuals who attempt to trade make no money. A recent survey of daytraders in the US found that 75% had lost everything within two years. This is an astonishing rate of failure in any endevour, what is even more amazing is that this rate of failure has stayed remarkably constant for approximately 150 years. This is as long as records of speculation on futures exchanges have been kept. I would theorize that as long as there has been speculation that the rate of failure has been about the same.

The remarkable thing about this rate of failure among traders is that it has stayed constant. Yet consider the advances that have been made in that time. Traders have access to sophisticated computer systems with complex technical analysis packages, data can be relayed around the world in seconds, every home computer now receives information that was once the preserve of sophisticated dealing rooms. Despite these advances the majority of individuals who actively seek to trade markets fail and fail dismally. Therefore the problem must be so intrinsic to the people involved in trading as to be immune from advances in technology.

To answer the question as to why the majority of traders fail would seem to open up a Pandoraís Box of reasons yet the reasons for failure are often quite simple.
When people begin to trade they follow one of two courses. The first group merely guess about the direction of whatever they are trading or they take tips from a variety of sources. As you can imagine this group do not last very long. The second group is a little more sophisticated, they embark on the quest for the Holy Grail, that one tool or indicator that will allow them never ending success in the market. Unfortunately this magic indicator does not exist and the majority of traders engage in a fruitless search for it. Such traders constantly buy new packages, spend hours scouring the internet for the latest indicator, even believing that if they change the colour of their computer screens that this will enhance their chance of success.

In reality the search for the Holy Grail or system design as it is more formally known should occupy only approximately 10% of a traders time. But for most traders they focus all their energy on system design and in particular they focus upon entry signals. Entry signals are but a small part of your trading system, in fact they are almost irrelevant. A true trading system is composed of a variety of features only one of which is entry signals. Many of you will object to my saying entry signals are irrelevant but consider the following. If you were to trade markets completely randomly that is your chance of success was only 50% and you had a 2 to 1 expectancy. That is for every dollar you lost you made two dollars you can still make a fortune trading. In fact it is reputed that the legendary group of traders known as The Turtles do almost this in fact it is reputed that their trading system is only right 30% of the time yet they are among the most successful traders in the world. If you do not believe me perform this simple exercise start will $10,000 make your first trade a 10% loss and your second trade a 20% gain repeat this exercise over and over and watch how quickly your account grows.

As you can see from this simple exercise it is not where you enter a position that determines your success. It is how much you make on average over your trading career not how many times you are right. Traders are judged on how much they make not how many times they are right, in fact being right is irrelevant to whether you make any money. Yet the majority of traders are obsessed with entry signals, each of them has a desperate need to be right. This is a sign of a traderís ego creeping into their trading and it is an early warning signal of impending doom.

System design is therefore far more than entry signals. Implicit within the mechanics of trading system design is the concept of the expectancy of your system. That is how much you make per trade versus how much you lose per trade. Any slippage you face when you place an order, this includes costs such as brokerage, stamp duty and any difference between your intended exit point and your actual exit. How often you actually get to trade, there is little point in having a system that has a huge expectancy if it only produces one trading signal per year. Finally what are your exit criteria, getting into a position is easy, it is when you get out that determines whether you make any money.

It should be obvious that system design is not a matter of looking for a magic system but rather of developing a comprehensive approach to engaging the market. Yet even with these additional features trading system design is still a minor portion of your trading armoury. The key features that determine your success are money management and psychology almost everything else is irrelevant.
I am firmly convinced that trading is a psychological and not a financial endevour. Traders focus upon system design for a variety of reasons. The first is that it is easy. All technical analysis software consists of almost nothing but entry signals and these are very easy to manipulate in the search for the ideal indicator. To illustrate how absurd this can be consider Fibonacci numbers, many traders default their indicators to reflect these numbers but in essence how is a 13 day moving average superior to a 14 day or a 12 day moving average. In doing this, traders are obsessed with what they perceive to be the secrets of the market, that somehow they must discover these secrets.

The second reason why traders concentrate upon entry signals I alluded to before, it is the need to be right. In simple terms each of us has an ego, therefore we have an emotional stake in all the decisions we make. It is difficult for us to be faced with a situation where we are wrong just as many times as we are right and this is what happens when we accept that the most common entry signals such as moving averages are right approximately less than 50% of the time. Therefore we attempt to redress this balance by looking for a system that is right all the time. Thus traders attempt to protect the fragility of their ego from the realities of trading.

The third reason traders spend so many fruitless hours on entry signals is that trying to get a perfect entry gives the illusion of control. Traders believe that somehow their entry signals give them control over the market. This has often been referred to as the lotto bias and the example often cited is that people pick numbers in a lottery based upon a variety of superstitions rather than having them picked at random by a computer when the lottery ticket is purchased. Once again such people have a need to feel that they are in control even when it is clear they are not, the chances of winning a lottery remain the same irrespective of the method used to pick the numbers. The same is true in trading your chance of success or failure is unaltered by the fact as to whether you pick the numbers for your moving averages based upon Fibonacci numbers or whether you pick them randomly.

I donít want to give the appearance that developing a trading system is irrelevant, traders do need a form of entry signal. We need to have some idea of what the prevailing trend is and what conditions to expect in the market upon entry. But to concentrate on entry signals alone is to ignore the complexity of systems and the vital importance of money management and trader psychology. Once traders begin to understand the importance of these two key elements they are on the path to being long term successful traders. Ignore these features and concentrate only on the search for the Holy Grail and you are certain to join the 8 out of 10 traders who make no money.


22 posts
msg #66789
Ignore MoneyFetcher
8/29/2008 8:54:36 AM

Thank you for sharing that. It is so true. I have been making some really sweet picks over the past week, but making money off of them is different from picking winning stocks. I know this...and I have to be clear with myself what my target entry/exit is before making my entry. So often, I get discouraged when I see a 20% increase intraday. That same stock goes on to get up to 40% by midday, and perhaps closes at 12% over by the EOD.

So if I get in right at 20%, and fail to sell at 40%, by the EOD, I am down money as the stock finishes at only 12% up for the day (but my entry was too late, and my exit was too) I could get it all back and show a profit the next day...but let's deal with this one day at a time. Making good picks is only half the battle (maybe less). Making a good play is something completely different.

742 posts
msg #66801
Ignore miketranz
8/29/2008 2:22:38 PM

Rump,great article,but the truth of the matter is,show me where the 20% gainers are.The 10% losses I have no trouble finding,lol..........

6,362 posts
msg #66803
Ignore TheRumpledOne
8/29/2008 4:13:25 PM


I don't know if you trade intraday or swing trade.

In either case, you must learn to take money off the table.

I left over $1,500 in profits on the table this week with my "early" exits.

But I am up nicely and not down.

Forget how much you could have made...

Instead focus on a strategy that allows you to take profits at certain points.

For example, let's say you are up $1.00 in a trade. You could exit 1/2 your position when price retraces X and 1/2 your position when price retraces Y. Say X is 20 cents and Y is 50 cents.

Here's what could happen with this strategy:

1) You exit part at X and price goes up to make higher high... you still have 1/2 your position working

2) You exit at X and Y and price rockets up and you have nothing working

3) You exit at X and Y and price drops like a rock and your profit is in cash.

Of course, you can make X and Y whatever you want and you can always look to reenter.

6,362 posts
msg #66804
Ignore TheRumpledOne
8/29/2008 4:14:43 PM



/* Long Profit Percent Statistics Display */

set{xRange, high - low}
set{AvgRng, cma(xRange,5) }
set{HiOp, high - open}
set{Long_Profit, HiOp/open }

set{B10A, count(Long_Profit > .20 , 100)}

set{A10A, count(Long_Profit > .20 , 1)}
set{chg, sum( A10A - A10A 1 day ago ,5)}

and add column B10A {GT20%}
and add column AvgRng

add column chg{(wk)}
add column chg 1 week ago{(-1wk)}
add column chg 2 weeks ago{(-2wk)}
add column chg 3 weeks ago{(-3wk)}
add column chg 4 weeks ago{(-4wk)}
add column chg 5 weeks ago{(-5wk)}
add column chg 6 weeks ago{(-6wk)}
add column chg 7 weeks ago{(-7wk)}
add column chg 8 weeks ago{(-8wk)}
and add column separator
add column industry
add column sector
and add column separator


B10A above 1
close above 1
average volume(90) above 500000

sort column 5 descending

There you go.

StockFetcher Forums · General Discussion · It has been estimated that 8 out of 10 individuals who attempt to trade make no money.<< >>Post Follow-up

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