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Andy Jordan Educator for Futures Trading Strategies on Spreads, Options, Swing/Day Trading, and Editor of Traders Notebook. You can read my bio by following this link.

What's my real reason for trading?

​ "The Rorschach test (also known as the Rorschach inkblot test, the Rorschach technique, or simply the inkblot test) is a test in which a subject's perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex scientifically derived algorithms, or both. Some psychologists use this test to examine a person's personality characteristics and emotional functioning...
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Traders "Pro Active" and "Ray Active" – A Story!

Pro Active and Ray Active are both wannabe traders, but their approach to trading is quite different. Ray is consumed with trading for profits. He imagines himself achieving great wealth, and thinks that when he amasses the riches he is after, he'll finally get the respect and recognition he always wanted from his wife, family and friends. He thinks, "If I can only make it as a trader, I can show ...
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The "Crush Spread"

​ The spread is defined as buying one futures contract, and selling a different, but related futures contract. Specifically, when trading the crush spread, you would buy soybeans and sell its respective products, the soybean meal and soybean oil. This is what is referred to as being crushed. If you buy the soybean meal or the soybean oil and sells soybeans, that is what is referred to as being rev...
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Don't Give In To The Death Wish

The death wish is resignation, fatalism, dejection, despair — in the face of "luck" repeatedly turning against us. The death wish is admitting defeat and shrugging our shoulders and throwing up our hands (generally after a string of losses) and not caring from then on whether we win or lose. The death wish is throwing money into the pot fatalistically, to punish ourselves. It is saying, "I might a...
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What is “walk-forward” testing?

Walk-forward testing is the first real step in testing any system on live data. A trader should be somewhat confident that the system or method can produce results in line with the hypothetical results received from back testing. At this stage of testing, it's important to watch a trading system or method run over live data for a period of weeks or months until a large, statistically valid univers...
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How to Handle Fear

​ The best way to handle fear comes in two steps: 1. A detailed trading plan 2. Risk control Let's look at risk control first. You have no doubt, read it many times: "Trade with money you can afford to lose." Here's another one: "Trade positions that are so small that you may think, "what's the point of even putting on the trade?"" One more: "Do not over-trade!" All of the above carry essentially ...
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It's the Decision of the Market

The market will tell you on any given trade how much money you are going to win (or lose, or break even). It will tell you this quite simply, by how well it is moving or not moving in your direction. If you think, contrary to this, that you have any influence on the outcome of the trade, or that you "deserve" to win more, you will probably overreach yourself. The market will let you know the range...
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Pulling the Trigger

"Sometimes I absolutely dread sitting down to trade. I have had so many bad experiences that I'm not sure I can pull the trigger. Anything I can do about it?"    What happens to us as we trade colors the way we see things in the market and influences the way we approach them. We take a big hit in a particular market and we decide never to trade there again. Or, when we have a great ...
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Pride Goes Before a Fall

Next to lack of discipline, I find that pride has resulted in the destruction of many traders. Pride is a powerful emotion. Pride is what we feel when we've made a great trade or done something that makes us look good in the eyes of others. Trading is a tough business. Few traders succeed at it, so when you are doing well, you feel proud. But watch out! There come a time when pride can overpower y...
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Mounting Losses

There are at least three things you can do to avoid mounting losses: 1. Write off a relatively small loss 2. Admit your mistakes 3. Don't let the desire to protect your reputation interfere making logical trading decisions. The three are common human shortcomings, and you need to be aware of them. None of us are immune and if you are not aware of these weaknesses you will not be able to keep them ...
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Is trading futures gambling?

​ Trading futures is gambling only when you trade them without full knowledge of what you are doing. There is a good measure of self-knowledge required to choose the proper course to follow if you want to become a trader. It has even been postulated that many small traders in the futures markets, without knowing it, secretly want to lose. They jump in with high hopes—but feeling vaguely guilty. Gu...
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Stress or just Excitement?

There is a tendency to become overemotional when trading. Overcoming the propensity to play emotionally requires a conscious commitment to specific trading objectives. This entails choosing a target, developing a strategy, and finding a method for adhering to it. A goal enables you to keep a relatively even keel through good and bad periods, to sustain momentum, and to keep from becoming bored. Of...
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Why do some traders make money with seemingly effortless confidence while others sweat bullets every time they act?

We sometimes delude ourselves into thinking that the most successful traders somehow were somehow born different from the rest of us. We imagine they were born to win no matter what they did. But if that were true, you would also have to believe that those who succeed tend to do so because of their genes, social background, or luck, and not because they pursued success with more diligence, patienc...
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What should I do after closing out a trade?

You must be disciplined in following the plan of your trade religiously. Once you have closed your position, you should record everything about the trade. Write down where you wanted to enter the trade, what you expected out of the trade, and what you actually did get out of the trade. Make sure to include notes that will help you learn from the trade, reasoning what actually took place once you e...
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Keeping a trading journal

I keep one of sorts, it is part of my monthly homework. The journal is very basic and includes what trades I made during the day and my reasons for getting into the trade. My journal has changed a bit over time since my reasons for entering a trade now are pretty consistent. I think there are three reasons for keeping a journal. One reason is to have a manual backup in case there's a system or sof...
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The "Now Trap"

There is a great attraction in all aspects of the modern age to immediacy. Likewise, most of the trouble in trading occurs through this love affair with the "now," with impatience, and with trying to hurry up the trading game. Traders want to make money in the markets now, today, and not tomorrow or next week. We love the Now. We are devoted to it and give it much weight. This problem may be espec...
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I just wiped out for the second time. Am I some kind of trading freak?

Most successful traders failed at some point in their careers and wiped out their account. Many traders lose because they do not understand the nature of the decision-making process, which should be based on rational price action analysis versus emotional, irrational reactions to price action. A reason should be required for each market action taken. When fear exits a trade, it is more difficult t...
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Is Seasonality the same in all Markets?

You can find seasonality in all markets but I personally think there is a big difference in "reliability" or "strength" of seasonality in the markets. I personally think seasonality is strongest in the commodity markets. In all markets where you have a physical product and a production cycle during the year. Because the production cycle is always the same you get typical seasonal behaviors in thes...
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Is learning the trading business like learning any other business?

The importance of how you learn the business of trading cannot be minimized because of the factors that determine your success or failure. Learning the business of trading is basically no different from learning any other business. Winning means learning major guidelines and concepts that you repeat so often in your own behavior that they become good habits. These good habits then become automatic...
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Being in a positive state of mind

Being in a good mood won't necessarily make you a winner, but being in a bad mood will almost assuredly make you a loser. Starting since time began, the number of people who have won large sums of money through trading while feeling depressed, irritable, or angry could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand! In short, try to trade when you are in a good mood. Restrict yourself to times whe...
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Derivative transactions, including futures, are complex and carry a high degree of risk. They are intended for sophisticated investors and are not suitable for everyone. There are numerous other factors related to the markets in general or to the implementation of any specific trading program which cannot be fully accounted for in the preparation of hypothetical performance results, and all of which can adversely affect actual trading results. For more information, see the Risk Disclosure Statement for Futures and Options.