My last Project Marathon article was in August. Around that time, I had started arriving at the office early so I could day-trade part of the morning session. I had adjusted my trading plans so I could still make my 131 R-multiple trading goal for this year. Surprisingly to me, my intraday was going well and I liked it—I expected neither of these results.
Also at the end of August, our landlord got very serious about having us move out. He had just hired a top gun sales agent who wanted to sell an unoccupied house rather than deal with the logistical and marketing headaches of tenants. We knew moving out had been coming for some time but, suddenly, it became quite urgent. We had to buy a house and or rent again; either way, we had to move and move fast. Feeling the stress build inside, I knew it would be best to stop trading and come back to the 131R task after we settled into a new dwelling.
Not Stressed, Just Stressing
Many weeks before the actual move, the process of searching for and negotiating a home purchase got fairly stressful for several reasons. First, our landlord gave us four weeks to be out of the house. That magnified the amount of stress for moving over a “normal” six or eight week schedule. Second, there was really only one house on the market that fit our search criteria. With about four weeks left, there was time enough to negotiate and close on only that one. If that failed, we were going to have to find a rental house, fast. The rental situation itself was a third source of stress.
Just after school started again in late summer, rental listings started evaporating within hours of going public. Rental homes are in high demand and the rental rates are going up a good bit around here. It reminds me of what shopping for a house was like in 2006/2007 when homes would have a contract on them within a day of listing. The resale market has cooled off since then, but the rental market around here has gotten quite hot. That has some economic big picture implications, but closer to home it meant there was no quick or easy “Plan B” rental option if the house purchase fell through.
This additional stress only solidified my decision to stop trading until we were done with the move.
Avoiding a TUI
One interesting experience in early September taught me a very valuable lesson about trading and stress. During one of the more dramatic weeks of the purchase process, I happened to glance over at a live S&P price chart to see a huge move on the chart. Wistfully, I regretted missing earning a piece of that because I wasn’t trading. Then I looked at the price levels on the right-hand side of the screen. That «huge» move was on a day only that had a six point range. That startled me. I thought I wasn’t trading because stress adversely affects the decision process. What I learned then was that stress can also adversely affect my perception.
When I related that experience to Libby Adams, she laughed and made several interesting comments. First she said that by not trading, I had avoided a TUI (i.e., “Trading under the Influence”—of stress, that is). Stress is a very big deal for traders; that’s why Van dedicated an entire volume in the Peak Performance Home Study Course on how to manage stress with respect to trading.
In our conversation, Libby added that traders often underestimate the simple value of not losing money by sitting on the sidelines sometimes. As an individual trader, not having to trade on any given day is one of my edges.
Anyway, to finish the moving part of the story, we made an offer on that lone house we were interested in, negotiated back and forth quite a bit with a good amount of drama thrown in and closed on it exactly three weeks after we signed the sales contract. Everything happened just as it needed to and I’m so happy and grateful to live where we do now.
Project Marathon Scorecard
With only 5 trades taken in about the last 10 weeks, the number since the last article hasn’t moved much. I still need 104R to make 131R. I’m very encouraged that the last 5 intraday trade sample had an average of 1R per trade. Now, if I could just do that several times a day…
I remain fully committed to making 131R this year. With Thanksgiving, the Super Trader Summit, and Christmas all coming up, I have only 18 days of trading left this year, I will have to average +6R per trading day. Is that possible? In truth, I don’t already know what’s possible, so why not still go for it?
As my life was settling back down over the last few weeks I kept an open mind about how to achieve those kinds of numbers. Wondering what’s possible helped me hear Ken Long say how he was improving his skills by trading his favorite short term patterns on one minute bar charts. If I could keep up my 1R per trade average and do that 6 times a day on minute bar charts, it’s possible I could still hit my target.
Curious about trading one minute bar charts, I watched them last week and made a few paper trades. That was reassuring too as I made one 7R trade and several other profitable trades. Still, I was very concerned that live order fills might have price fill differ from the prices I was seeing on the chart. To test that, I made a series of trades with real money in very liquid stocks and ETFs. At my small size at least, I was pleased to see zero slippage. That was very encouraging.
So my plan now is to make lots of trades based off of the one minute charts in the remaining 18 trading days. That’s nowhere near what I had planned earlier in the year. It’s perfect instead.
Take care and trade well.
About the Author: R.J. Hixson is a devoted husband and active father. At the Van Tharp Institute, he researches and develops new products and services that will help traders trade better.