Why Traders Set Unrealistic Expectations... and How to Improve

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 16, 2018

"Trading is the hardest way to make easy money." — Michael Patak

Have you set a goal to make $1,000 trading? Because of leverage in futures, many traders have made four-figures in a single trading day. But averaging four figures — the equivalent of $250,000 annual salary — is another story. 

When TopstepTrader's Founder and CVO Michael Patak started trading, his goal was to make $1 million a year. That year, he lost $30,000. It was only after he reset his expectations, found out how much he had to make to sustain a living as a trader ($100 per day), and focused on small gains that he became successful.

As he says in this episode of Trader Behavior, "I decided that if I can't make $65,000 trading, then I have no business doing this every day." 

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Topics: Trader Behavior, Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Forex, Futures

The Making of a Risk-Minded Trader

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 15, 2018

Being hyper focused on risk is not something that comes easy to a trader — even an experienced one. It's a skill that every trader, if they hope to be successful over the long term, has to develop. That's why this conversation with trader and risk manager Mick Ieronimo is so interesting. 

Mick got his start trading as a clerk in the grains pits on the floor before trading with a proprietary trading group and then handling execution for "Market Wizard" Linda Bradford Raschke's hedge fund.  

In this interview, Mick gives insight into how he first became interested in trading, what it was like working for Raschke and how he developed into a risk-minded trader. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Limit Up!, Forex, Futures, Mick Ieronimo

How can the Trading Combine Help You Become Consistently Profitable

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 04, 2018

Why is the Trading Combine® important? And how can it help your trading?

You may know that the Trading Combine started when Michael Patak lost $90,000 in three separate trading accounts. It was only after he put rules around his trading and learned to execute a strategy in a simulated trading environment that he became successful. 

Those rules became the basics of the Trading Combine. In this week's Coach's Playbook, the coaches talk about why the Trading Combine is important to develop consistently profitable traders and how it can help your trading

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Trading Combine, Coach's Playbook, Forex, Futures

The Secret to Trading Success

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 01, 2018

Do you want to know the secret to being a successful trader? Learn how to lose.

Humans, even the ones who take on risky ventures like trading, don’t like to lose. We're wired against it, and we avoid it whenever they can. Unfortunately, that tendency causes most traders to stay in bad trades in hopes of still coming out on top. The opposite is true, too. Everybody wants to take the win when they can, so a lot of traders get out when they should let their profits run.

A big part of successful trading, then, is to override human nature. Doing that takes a lot of practice — and a lot of losing. For the people who prefer not to lose $10k+ just learning to trade, the answer is simulated trading.

Let’s take a look at how a good sim trading program helps you develop as a trader.

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Topics: TopstepTrader Funded Traders, Trading Basics, Forex, Futures

This is the Best Time to Trade Forex

Posted by TopstepFX on April 26, 2018

With the prevalence of OTC forex markets, traders can trade forex nearly 24 hours a day, five days a week. But just because the market is open doesn’t necessarily mean it presents you with the best trade opportunities. In forex, the best time to trade is when the market is moving. Here are those times and what to look for when trading them.  

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Topics: Trading Lessons, Forex

3 Tips from a Resilient Trader: Interview with a Funded Trader

Posted by TopstepFX on April 23, 2018

If there's one thing that more than 13 years of trading teaches you, it's that trading is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It's a lot of hard work, setbacks and persistence. These are traits that Jacqui W. in Maryland, TopstepFX's latest funded trader, possesses.

Jacqui passed Step 1 of the Trading Combine® in just five days. From there, he says that he became overconfident and eager to to earn a Funded Account™ to start trading live capital. As a result, it took him a little more than two months to pass Step 2. 

We caught up with Jacqui last week to learn more about his trading strategy and what advice he would give other traders in the Trading Combine. 

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Topics: Trading Lessons, Forex, TopstepFX Funded Traders

This is the Best Way to Place a Stop

Posted by TopstepTrader on April 20, 2018

If you are trading without a stop, you are playing with fire. Not because the market can move 100 ticks in a second — though it could. But because then, you haven't clearly defined your risk. And without doing that, you are likely to let your market bias keep you in a trade longer than you should be... increasing losses.

That is the kiss of death. 

Just because you should have a stop doesn't mean that all stops are created equal. There are three main ways to set a stop: (1) financial based on the amount of money that  you are willing to lose; (2) static — your stops are the same for every trade; and (3) technical — you use market information to tell you when your thesis is proven wrong. Here are the pros and cons to each. 

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Topics: Trader Behavior, Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Forex, Futures

What It's Like to Lose $16K in 2 Minutes Trading Forex

Posted by Mark Meadows, TopstepFX on April 17, 2018

At 7:05 PM ET on October 6, 2016, I had $6,350 in my retail forex trading account. I was long 210,000 of GBP/USD — max leverage  anticipating that the Pound was nearing a post-Brexit recovery four months after the initial event shook the system.

Two minutes later, I lost $16,000 — the $6,350 PLUS an extra $9,579.91 before my broker was able to liquidate the position. All of this was because of the British Pound Flash Crash caused by (what I would later learn) one fat finger trade and algorithms halfway across the world.

Here's what I learned about what it's like to get caught in a flash crash.

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Topics: Trading Lessons, Forex

These are the Two Things You Should Pay Attention To While Trading: Volume & Price

Posted by TopstepTrader on April 12, 2018

Developing a trading strategy is about finding that right mix of factors. You want to pay attention to the things that might indicate prices are about to change, while ignoring all the noise that comes from having so much information at your fingertips. 

Anna Coulling, a trader that has been trading for more than 20 years, boils down her strategy to two things: volume and price. 

In this interview, Anna gives insight into how she analyzes volume and price and why those are the main factors that she uses to trade forex and futures. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Limit Up!, Forex, Futures, Anna Coulling

This is When You Should Pay Yourself

Posted by TopstepTrader on April 12, 2018

The retail day trader typically starts with a smaller balance and grand ambitions of turning trading into a longer-term profession. Since that plan may be to turn a $5,000 or $10,000 account into something that is 5 or 10X as large, it can be natural to view a withdrawal as a step in the wrong direction. Every penny you take out of an account is one that can't grow tenfold. 

But that's the wrong way to look at it. In fact, taking a withdrawal is a critical step towards becoming a professional trader.

In this week's Coach's Playbook, the coaches talk about when traders should take a withdrawal and why. Enjoy.

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Coach's Playbook, Forex, Futures

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