- Thoughts on Market Reactions to Election
- Trading The Bigger Than Expected Move
- Simplifying Your Options Execution
- John’s Post Election Trade
CEO & Founder of Simpler Trading
Rapid Fire ?
Q. What Trader has influenced your career the most and why?
A. I can’t say it is just one trader in terms of technique. That said, Mark Douglas has had the most impact on my trading. I first read his books The Disciplined Trader and Trading in the Zone after I blew up for the 3rd time in the 1990s. His books taught me how your brain should look like while in a trade, and how the market preys on any stored trauma we have from childhood and uses that against it. I eventually started working with him as a coach. We’d work through issues while I was in trades. I was talking to him up to a few weeks before he passed suddenly. That was a shock. I reread his books or listen to them on audible at least once a year, and every time there are new aha moments.
Q. What was one of the hardest things for you to overcome in Trading?
A. Upper limit problems and knowing when enough is enough. By upper limit problems, I mean mentally dealing with money limits. Over my trading career I’ve hit ceilings where my account would get to a certain level, then I’d start giving money back. Psychologically I think it was based on my self image and what I thought I was worth at the time. As a work around, when I identified a level, I would trade up to that point, wire money out back down to my starting balance, and start again. My “job” was simply going from 50K to 75K, that was it. That was my niche. Trade up to that point, wire money out and start again. Over the years this ceiling was raised as I became more accepting of these upper levels. Then I’d go in search of the next one. It’s like a double top. You get to an account balance, pullback, get back to it gain, and pullback again. That’s usually a sign you have reach your current upper limits as defined by your self image. Enough is enough is greed related. You push it too far and the universe just takes it right back. To this day I make it a habit of wiring money out each week. Psychologically it keeps me on the right path. I find when I’m consistently donating a portion of my trading gains, I don’t have that issue. When I forget, I do. Sort of like tithing.
Q. How has your trading process evolved over the years?
A. I’ve tweaked my trading to fit my lifestyle. I don’t want to stay up all night staring at charts and I don’t want to be hanging on every tick. I like to put on trades that don’t need a lot of babysitting. If I’m trading bigger and more directionally, I’m looking at quick hits that last a few days vs. holding on for weeks and months. I do that maybe twice a month. Make the money and go back to cash and back to easier, lower maintenance premium collection type trades.
Q. What is one attribute that you believe every trader should have?
A. Patience. The long term trend of impatience is account destruction. Also recognizing fear of the unknown. When we fear the unknown, we freeze. Instead, just switch the fear to a focus on risk. The risk of the unknown. That is easy. How much am I willing to risk to find out of this works? That is way easier for the mind to handle.
Q. If you had to pick a profession other than trading, what would it be?
A. Professional baseball player. I loved it as a kid and through high school but never took it further than that.
Q. Favorite Book about Trading?
A. How I Made $2 Million In The Stock Market by Nicolas Darvas had the most memorable impact on me. It really hit home the idea of how ridiculous it is to stare at 5 minute charts all day. Have your system, step back, and let it play out. Get out of your own way.
Q. What’s the best advice you received about Trading?
A. Think of your positions as employees. If they aren’t doing their job, fire them fast and often.
Q. If you can give a piece of advice to the younger you about trading, what would it be?
A. Think in terms of compound interest vs. home runs. Those base hits add up fast. The market will be there tomorrow. Focus on developing your skills as a trader on each trade vs. trying to make money on each trade.
Q. If you had to elevator pitch me your edge trading, what would you say?
A. My edge is being able to identify situations where the odds of a greater than expected move taking place have increased exponentially. (Expected move being defined as what the greeks have already priced into the options market).
Q. Favorite thing to do when not Trading?
A. Hiking, reading, traveling, spending time with wife, kids and interesting friends.