12 Months Part 1

by 14:39 0 comments
So another 6 months have passed and i've reached another milestone in my trading. 1 full year in the hot seat. I just read over the previous post that I made at the 6 month mark and a lot of the stuff that I spoke about still rings quite true. As I did the last time I spent a bit of time thinking about what I would speak about in here. I'm not even sure if many people will read but it's nice to get thoughts down on paper, virtual or otherwise! I'd like to expand on some of the points I made in that post as well as talking about a few other things that have come to mind over the past few days.

In the entry below you can see I have detailed my performance for the year as well as linking to a spreadsheet which shows every trade I have taken for the year. There have been ups and downs but generally speaking i'm happy with how the year has gone.

Those of you that have been reading for a while know that I paper traded a strategy from September to December 2010 and then went live with this strategy. This consisted of hourly and twenty minute charts using what I would call "pure" vsa. This was working ok but generally I was only taking 1 trade in a whole week. I needed to up this amount as I was spending a lot of time doing nothing. 

Forums played a huge part in my trading year, which i'll talk about later. It was through Forex Factory that I was in touch with a lot of guys using "triggers" - lines from the high / low / close of a high volume bar. This method fascinated me and I changed to using it around March time. Using this approach I started taking a lot more trades but then went on a pretty long losing streak. The third and final tweak to my strategy came in late November / December this year when I started using Fibonnacis on the high volume bars. This of course plotted the high and low of the bar but also gave us the 50% of the bar, which was proving to be important as well. I also changed the method in which I took a trade. I now open two trades at my entry point with my usual risk halved between them. So in my case - 1.5% risk on each trade. I look to gain 1:1 on the first trade and lock in 1.5%, once this is hit I move the second trade to BE and let it run. At the very least i've locked in 1.5% but this can then run on to become a lot more whilst trailing the stop.

As well as making changes to my strategy I also made changes to my computer set up throughout the year. My main station for the whole year was my 13" Aluminium Macbook with Parallels installed running a copy of Windows. It was through this that I had Tradeguider V3 installed. After a while the screen was just too small so I bought an external 23" monitor and used that. Soon after this I changed to using my 32" tv as the external monitor. This worked great for a while until I installed Mac OSX Lion during the summer and my laptop went to shit. Becoming very slow and over heating on many an occasion. Once I'd got the money together and with the help of a good friend I bought a computer tower which I was going to use for trading and trading only, getting everything off the Macbook. I have this computer hooked up to three screens so I have a lot more on screen now. The only further change I might make is to upgrade the screen in the middle as it's a bit old;

Screen Set up.

Shortly before switching to the new computer I also changed my charting package. TradeGuider served me well through the early parts of my trading career and I learned a lot from their educational videos but the software just isn't up to scratch with regards to functionality and little bugs throughout the software. Not to mention the price of the eSignal feed is ridiculous. After a month or so comparing packages and functionality I decided to change to Sierra Charts. Their feed which I think is FXCM institutional is almost identical to eSignal and is a lot cheaper as well. I've been very happy with the change so far and for the most part, the support staff are very helpful.

As well as all of this, i'm considering changing my broker to being MT4 based. It's a lot easier and quicker to place trades with the software, as well the addition of many EAs and indicators which can make the process easier as well. Only something I'm thinking about for now, especially as i've recently changed to placing two trades at any one time. 

Above I mentioned the role that forums have played in my trading year. I can't stress how much of a role - both negative and positive they have played. From September - December 2010 when I was paper trading I didn't look at any forums and just got on with my own thing. Once I'd reached the end of paper trading I delved into the forums and tried to meet like minded people. Trade2win was my base for a while but there wasn't really an active VSA community over there, so before long I had moved to Forex Factory where I was very active for the first 5 or 6 months of the year. Meeting some good people and learning a lot from them in the process. Of course, there is always the good with the bad, the naysayers and people that seem to be out to either discourage you or put you down. Either your method is wrong, your money management is wrong or your attitude is wrong. It's infuriating how many people in the trading community don't get along. We're all in it for the same reason and hopefully the same outcome. Constructive advice is one thing but traders tearing each other apart because of this, that and the other is just far too commonplace. From time to time I check the views on this blog and where the links are coming from. At one stage I saw a link through from a Trade2win thread, as I hadn't placed the link anywhere myself I thought I'd investigate. I came across a thread downplaying volume in trading as well as one specific user shitting all over me, my method, my blog and how i'd been "sucked in".

Coupled with more and more idiots on the Forex Factory forums this was basically the end of forums for me. I won't name names but along with a few traders from Forex Factory we got together and started a private chat community over at Convore. About 12 - 14 of us all together. All looking to do the same thing away from the forums. Once this program/site started slowing down we moved to a better program called Hipchat. Both Convore and Hipchat were live chat based methods as opposed to forum posting so we could all chat in real time to each other about the trades we were taking and why. At least that was the idea.

Whilst i've a lot of respect for and a lot of time for the people I joined those groups with, I found after a time that they just weren't working for me. The live aspect was too live if that makes any sense? On the spot calls were more often than not getting in the way of my own trading decisions, often influencing me and making me change my mind if I was thinking of the other direction. Being influenced itself wasn't good for me, but a lot of the time I was right in my initial thought process only to find I wasn't in the trade because I let someone else influence me. This was not good for my trading. Something i've been meaning to do is have a look through my previous blogs and written diary to see how often i've said "it would've hit the target." Quite a large amount of times I would think.

After a while of using the live chat and numbers dwindling a decision was made to start up our own private forum. I felt that the forum method of posting was less often and this gave members time to come and go as they please without missing any information as would happen with the live chat. With it being private we could track who was coming in and out and make sure people were interested in VSA and willing to contribute. We've been using the forum since around September and I find it is personally a much better method for posting and discussion. For those of you reading and wanting to get involved in a VSA forum, a link to the forum is here.

This is getting quite long so i'm going to continue with part 2 later on today!





28. Forex. Trading. Music. Beer. Food. Travel.


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