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Tip of the Week: Manage Your Expectations

Posted by TopstepTrader on March 24, 2019

Expectations are everything. Trading is so difficult because there is so much opportunity. But if you expect to take advantage of it all the time, that could be setting yourself up for a fall. In this week's Tip of the Week, TopstepTrader's founder Michael Patak talks about managing expectations. 

This is coming from a guy who got started trading as many of us do — thinking he was going to make $1 million+ in year one. That didn't happen, and instead, Michael's trading floundered while he lost $90,000 over three trading accounts. Fortunately, that served as a wake-up call that led him to focus on more realistic expectations. 

Here's Michael's take on managing expectations.

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Topics: Trading Lessons, Futures, Michael Patak, Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Set a Personal Loss Limit

Posted by TopstepTrader on March 18, 2019

In this week's Tip of the Week, TopstepTrader's founder Michael Patak points out something that we all must accept: setting a personal loss limit. Whether that's a daily loss limit, weekly loss limit, or overall loss limit, as traders, we don't have unlimited funds and need to realize when things are not going our way. A loss limit is the way to do that.

Instead of viewing a loss limit as something that constrains performance, we have to realize that it actually enables good performance. Losses happen in trading, but you can't let a loss get out of hand and endanger your future in this business. 

Here's Michael's take on why every trader should have a personal loss limit.

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Topics: Trading Lessons, Futures, Michael Patak, Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Have a Trading Plan

Posted by TopstepTrader on March 10, 2019

In this week's Tip of the Week, where TopstepTrader's founder and CVO Michael Patak shares one of the most important lessons to any trader. Make. A. Trading. Plan.

Trading plans are critical to any trader's success. They require that you put in thought ahead of actually opening up your trading business (aka live trading). In Michael's first trading plan, he wrote down what products he was trading, his daily loss limit, his target profit and what he was going to do with the money he made. That last point may be unique to Michael, but he believes that you should always connect your work trading to real life. That will stop you from risking too much in any one day or letting profits slip into losses. 

Here's Michael's take on why every trader should have a plan.

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Topics: Trading Lessons, Futures, Michael Patak, Tip of the Week

Huge Week Ahead for Forex Traders

Posted by TopstepTrader on March 03, 2019

We have a HUGE WEEK for markets ahead. Take a look at the economic events that are poised to move forex markets in the next five days:

  • Monday, 10:30 PM ET: Reserve Bank of Australia
  • Wednesday, 10:00 AM ET: Bank of Canada
  • Thursday, 7:45 AM ET: European Central Bank
  • Friday, 8:30 AM ET: U.S. February Non-Farm Payroll Report

Here’s a look at how all these events may shake out in the market.

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Topics: Trading Lessons, Forex, Currency Pages, economic data, European Central Bank

Tip of the Week: Always Trade for Tomorrow

Posted by TopstepTrader on March 03, 2019

This week, we're launching a new video series: Tip of the Week, where TopstepTrader's founder and CVO Michael Patak shares lessons he's learned in more than a decade of trading — and more than 7 years of funding proprietary futures traders. 

 This week, Michael talks about how he found and learned to embrace his trading mantra: Always Trade for Tomorrow. Even though it sounds so simple, it cost Michael $90,000 in blown-up trading accounts to learn this lesson. That's because ego, excitement and passion all cloud a trader's judgment as they are in the midst of a losing battle.

Here's Michael's take on the first Lesson of the Week: Always Trade for Tomorrow.

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Topics: Trading Lessons, Futures, Michael Patak, Tip of the Week

Why are the Best Trading Opportunities Scary?

Posted by Mark Meadows, TopstepTrader on February 14, 2019

Twice this week, I’ve been noticeably “scared” to enter a trade.

The first time was Monday, when I noticed an opportunity while watching the Market Forecast with TopstepTrader’s Senior Performance Coach John Hoagland. As he does every day at 8:15 AM CT live on TopstepTrader's Facebook page, John brought up the Crude Oil chart. It showed Crude was selling off hard to $51.26, slightly below a double swing low at $51.33 from January 17 and January 28. It was a clear opportunity.

But I missed it.

As the chart above shows, the price even came back to test that level two hours later. You’d think that this would be a great opportunity, but instead it just confirmed my thoughts that the market was “heavy.” The market looked heavy. It looked like the support was going to give.

It didn’t, and with the benefit of hindsight, we see that prices rallied that day $1.50 and have been rallying ever since. Opportunity missed again.

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Trading Lessons, Forex, Futures, Emotions

Equity Bull vs Bear Debate: The Weekly Review

Posted by TopstepTrader on February 08, 2019

There were some big moves in equity markets this week. The run higher that started right before the New Year finally hit a snag. And now the chart looks like it might be creating a lower high — at least that's what our Market Analyst Mark Meadows has to say. That's not good for equity bulls. 

But not so fast, says Senior Performance Coach John Hoagland. He thinks that there are some areas of repair lower in the charts, but that the path of least resistance is higher. Here's the debate. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Trading Lessons, Futures, Weekly Review

The Weekly Review: Powell Forces Bears into Hibernation

Posted by TopstepTrader on February 01, 2019

The Federal Reserve meeting proved to be the event of the week. By not only reiterating their cautious approach, but also walking back quantitative tightening, the Fed put a bid under markets. Whether this is enough juice to get equity markets moving to new all-time highs is an issue for debate. 

In this week's Weekly Review, Mark takes issue with the idea that the Fed has to support equity markets, while Dan continues to drink the Kool-Aid and call for more accommodation. Check out their reactions to how futures markets moved this week. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Trading Lessons, Futures, Weekly Review

This is the Equity Curve of a Trader with $27,000 in Profits Over 46 Trading Days

Posted by TopstepTrader on January 28, 2019

2019 has seen a couple new funded traders get off to red-hot starts. We talked a couple weeks ago about how Gabriel F. in Spain added $26,000 in profits in 33 trading days

But it's not just Gabriel that has been able to add big profits to his trading account recently. Bill M. in Illinois gained nearly $27,000 in profits in his Funded Account® over 46 trading days. And their two trading styles could not be less alike, proving that you can make money in a multitude of different ways. 

Whereas Gabriel sticks with Crude Oil and equity futures, Bill trades anything and everything. He's held positions in currencies (Australian Dollar, British Pound), metals (Copper, Gold), energies (Crude Oil, Natural Gas), agriculture products (Live Cattle), financials (Ultra Bond) and equities (Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500, Nikkei). 

Also different: their reward-to-risk ratios. Gabriel had a perfect 2:1 reward-to-risk ratio; Bill's average winning trade is actually less than his average losing trade (+$471.82 vs -$571.65). To stay profitable, Bill has nearly 70% winning trades and 57% winning days. And, critically, he never loses too much on any one day — his largest winning day is $4,776 vs. a largest losing day of $1,550. 

Here's a closer look at Bill's equity curve, which is a beautiful lower left to upper right pattern. 

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Topics: TopstepTrader Funded Traders, Success Stories, Trading Basics, Trading Lessons, Futures, Risk Management

The Weekly Preview: Fed and Jobs Take Center Stage

Posted by TopstepTrader on January 28, 2019

This is going to be an action-packed week in futures and forex markets thanks to some major macroeconomic events: Wednesday's Federal Reserve announcement and Friday's Non-Farms Payrolls and Unemployment Reports. 

Mark, who believes that the bottom in equity futures and the risk-off trade is not yet in, debates with Dan, who believes it is, about how these events might drive the next big move in markets. Here's how they're approaching the week. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Trading Lessons, Futures

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