Many new traders are looking for a trustworthy resource that will hand them a strategy with a high percentage win rate, a stellar track record and a very short learning curve. This is reminiscent of the many attractive young women in New York City today who according to their online dating ads all seek the same guy: tall, handsome, full head of hair, sensitive, great listener, great sense of humor, romantic, assertive, loyal, spontaneous, great dresser, and oh yeah makes a ton of money. Did I mention tall? As practical people, we know that this guy does not exist and if he does, he’s taken, and if hes not taken then most likely he is not interested in women (As Seinfeld would say “Not like there’s anything wrong with that”.) New traders seek the “perfect” strategy when in reality it is the imperfect process of accumulating an enormous amount of seemingly minor details that help grow the valuable skills of a trader. Instant gratification is your worst enemy.
In the beginning of your learning curve, it is more important to invest more time in learning than in trading. And as any educator or pro trader will tell you, the best teacher in the business is the market. So the question is: how do you learn the great lessons from the market when you have not yet learned to speak its language? It’s like having absolutely no knowledge of the Greek alphabet and then entering the Greek National Spelling Bee (if there is such a thing). You have to invest the time necessary to absorb the basic principles of market psychology and the nuances of price action before you can appreciate and utilize the lessons the market has to offer.
The next question is: must a new trader pay thousands for training to develop this ability? Not necessarily. The internet offers a limitless supply of free resources and low cost resources. You just have to know where to look and commit the time to study. The key word here is “study” because you should not be initiating trades on this information. Remember as a new trader you want to absorb information as a way to build your knowledge base, not to develop a trading strategy. New traders think the knowledge you gain now is to be used now. This is not the case. The knowledge you gain now has a place in the future.
Want to know another excellent educational resource? The Market Technicians Association recommended reading list (here) offers a great start to building a sound foundation. You just better like to read and have the time to invest.
If you don’t want to spend 6 – 9 months building your basic ability to speak the market’s language, then the next best alternative is to pay for that convenience in the form of training. Even if you pay for conventional information that doesn’t give you a well defined strategy, you are still gaining knowledge. Think of it like going to college. You take many classes that provide a collective foundation of knowledge that will get you started in your chosen career path. One or two classes will not prepare you.
Isn’t there an easier way than this? The short answer is there is no substitute for experience. I spent years upon years working with conventional information that is available to everyone. In other words, I did not want to pay for training. I spent a lot of time learning things that had no immediate use. Then little by little I was able to link pieces of seemingly random information to start forming a perspective. Then I was able to look at this perspective in light of a broader set of information and come to a sound conclusion very quickly. This is a very important part of developing as a trader and most people don’t have the patience. Why? It is not enough to gain an advantage in the market.
Now imagine, you have this analytical ability and then learn an unconventional strategy like the one we offer at SMB. What happens is you now have the ability to assimilate new information into your framework very quickly. Out of nowhere you are able to implement a strategy relatively quickly and that is because you have accumulated a strong working knowledge of all the minor details that people can’t be bothered with. The unique strategy gives you the advantage and your experience gives you the confidence and flexibility to operate quickly. That is where the reward is.
The traders that reach this stage in their learning curve are able to spot emerging opportunities that the newer traders cannot see. On top of that, they know how to weigh them in terms of potential and risk and can adjust their actions appropriately. Meanwhile the newer trader is too busy reading the expert analysis provided to them for free by their broker.
The lesson to learn here is this: if you want to get somewhere in this business accept the fact that there is no “easy” button. The faster route to quality experience will require investment of time and money. If you don’t want to pay, then be prepared to spend a lot more time, and money in terms of losses to the market. One way or the other you will learn or you will give up, it all depends on your mentality.
Marc Principato, CMT
*No Relevant Positions