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Forex Trading Tips: The 100 Point Man
The 100 Point Man
“You guys suck,” is refrain I hear often.”100 points a month?! I could do that in my sleep. You should be doing 100 points a week at minimum!” Well, I try to point out we the game is a lot more difficult than you think, but the critics do not want to hear it. They proceed to tell me all about their marvelous trading exploits showing me how they just picked a turn to within a pip of the bottom and then went on to bank a thousand points in the trade as they “let the profits run.”
My favorite of these demo billionaires was guy who used to write to me with the sole purpose of telling me how stupid our latest trade idea was and how trading was so easy that he was making thousands of pips week. I finally relented and asked him top show me his “portfolio of trades.” The guy proudly wrote back that he was was long a wide variety of pairs such as EUR/JPY, AUD/JPY, GBP/JPY and NZD/JPY. I did not have the heart to tell him that this was the same trade levered four times the maximum risk he should have been taking. A few months after that conversation the carry trade collapsed and I never heard from him again. Another trading master of the universe relegated to the dustbin of market history.
They say that you should never watch how sausage or politics are made. To that old adage I would also add investment returns. Since most people only look at year end numbers they are convinced that trading returns accrue with the consistency of a weekly paycheck rising in a straight 45 degree angle towards ultimate wealth. Nothing of course is further from the truth. Take a close look at the audited records of any hedge fund and in fact you will see many months of losses punctuated by a few months of gains, that hopefully eke out to a net positive number at the end of the year.
Investment returns are notoriously lumpy not only on a month over month basis but even on year over year basis. Witness the two of the very best hedge funds in business -Citadel and SAC -- posting double digit losses this year. Someone the other day reminded me that despite George Soros vaunted $1 Billion win in the GBP/USD in the early 1990’s, a few years later he managed to lose $600M in the yen trade not once but twice in the same year. Everyone remembers the wins but forgets the losses.
One of the nice side benefits for those of you who trade with us at BK is that you get to see how investment returns are actually made on trade by trade basis in real time. As many of you can attest it is hardly a glamorous affair. The reason why trading can be so trying is that you are always operating in an environment of complete uncertainty. You can fail by making a bad trade selection (something that we all fall victim to far more than any of us care to admit) but you can also fail even when all of your analytics are absolutely correct.
K has a marvelously understated term for it. She call it market activity. Market activity can encompass anything from some large player dumping a yard worth currency during the illiquid early Asian session irrespective of price as he hurries to leave the office for tryst with his mistress, to some political official making an offhand remark (see Timmy Geithner) that gets spattered on the Bloomberg terminal a second later. All of this “market activity” can wreck havoc with your best laid plans stopping you out before your trading thesis has a chance to play out.
That’s why 100 points a month is not bad at all. 100 points a month is 12% per year. Drop $20,000 into your retirement account each year and compound it at 12% and after 20 years you have 1.8M. After 30 years you have 6M. That’s hardly a plan to becoming a baller overnight, but that’s how real money gets made.
Now for this week’s video.