What’s Your Trading Story?

What’s your traing story? Everybody has one. I’d like us to get to know each other on the blog. Post a new comment below on how trading has changed your life or what your journey has been like, I look forward to reading about your trading journey!

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About Tim Racette

Tim is a full-time trader in the futures and stock markets and founder of EminiMind.com. He is also a Chicago-land native, competitive mountain biker, adventurer, and ASU Sun Devil.

19 Responses to “What’s Your Trading Story?”

  1. In 2005 I was attending college at Arizona State University studying architecture and business when I saw a blurb on TV about trading. I really didn’t know much about trading or how the stock market worked, but had started doing some investing in high school and loved my economics classes so I began to do some research on the subject of trading and whether or not it was possible to trade for a living. After spending some time visiting the trading floor in Chicago and talking with some of the best screen traders in the industry (all who made their living trading) I made the decision that I would become a professional trader.

    Since that time I’ve evolved from trading stocks, to options, arriving where I am today, primarily trading the E-mini S&P and Euro Futures. I use a methodology that has been around since before there were computers and charting packages and high frequency trading. That being said it has only become more effective since the advancement of this technology. In 2009 I presented and spoke at the Las Vegas Trader’s Expo, and have done interviews with the Money Show as well as TraderInterviews.com. I’ve had the privileged to travel all across the United States, through Europe, and to Central America.

    This blog is a collection of expertise I’ve put together from my own experiences as well as some of the industry’s other top traders. I hope you pull useful infomration that you can plug into your own trading. Thanks for reading, please share some of your story below, I look forward to getting to know you.

  2. I have a similar background, as a teenager I was a baseball card collector turned dealer. I was just at the right place and time when an industry was booming and found my hobby profitable. But this was my introduction to business, investing, and more importantly, speculating. It set the foundation for risk taking and entrepreneurship that would follow.

    I had a good eight year run with a small business in my 20’s and eventually had profits that I felt should be invested for my future. That is how I got involved with investing. Selling covered calls quickly followed, then a few years later it morphed in to actual options trading strategies, and now financial futures as well.

    I’ve been trading on my own for a living the last few years but don’t consider myself a professional yet, I’m still honing my craft and keeping position size small until I’m comfortable taking a legitimate shot at this as a career.

    • That’s great Jason, trading consistently and managing my setups the same way each and every time are the two things matter the most. As I trade larger setups with more contracts this has become even more apparent. I keep a lot of notes and stats on things like the max profit I had during a trade and the time’s I place my trades. After a few years it becomes really clear what times are best to trade. It’s in this way I discovered that I never had a winning trade from 10:30-11:00 CST so I now I just use that time to go on lunch. Thanks for your post and let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to share.

  3. I stepped onto a trading floor in 2008 and knew this is what i wanted to do with my life.

    Let me say that most of the three year period was by far the most painful and frustrating time of my life. In fact i believe that 90% or more of people walking around could not deal with it for so many many reasons.

    My trading story is simple. Pain and frustration every single day of my life.

    It took my three years to figure this out. (and let me say i was in the glory lane making nice money doing this same thing, and had to learn the same thing over again)

    Trading is about LOSING not WINNING. The only question you need to be asking is how you are going to take that price delta

    (i dont care if it is +1, if its +1 and you have a choice between +1 or let it go against you. choose +1 everytime!!!)

    —-

    I am not sure in Emini i think that would be .25 (or whatever the minimum incretment handle is)

    so what im saying is you cant let a trade go against you, ever.

    keep it simple

    gap up
    gap down
    at support
    at resistence
    in the middle

    where do we open?

    what are we going to do today? (what are the odds)

    what really happened?

    did you figure it out, in other words were you prepared for the move? or was it a complete surprise?

    even if it was a surprise…. or exactly as planned….. or somewhere in between…. the million dollar question……

    did you lose any money?

  4. Good points Steve, I am a big proponent of the Gap Fill trade each morning if the setup is there. Very high probability. I also agree with needing to cut your losses small. I trade on the screen, but I’ve been down to the pits a number of times and hung out with guys in the S&P pit, Euro pit, and some of the squawk box guys, it’s a fun time down there. I know more and more pit traders are now doing more big/mini arb. using putting on a position in the big S&P and taking git off in the mini for the exact reason you pointed out, the big is $0.10 increments and the e-mini is in $0.25. Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. I started the hard way lol. No idea what i was doing and it cost me big time. I put my first trade on in august of 2008 with no experience. Then the markets fell apart and i had no idea what the heck was going on. I traded with way way to much money and didnt have any rules or experience. (bad combo) I made a lot of money at first like around 40% in a few weeks then BAM i was hit hard on 11/21 and 11/22 of 2008 i lost 75% of my account in 2 days lol. Lets just say it hurt. So ever since then i have been determined to get it back. I found a mentor who i no longer have access to. I learned alot from him in the 1.5 years i was with him. It turned my trading around and got me pointed in the right direction. Im still struggling to be consistent but at least i have learned some money management stuff and i control my losses so i can stay around long enough to make it. I recently had a really good winning streak and now im in a small draw down for the past few weeks. I think alot has to do with working full time and having the stress of work hanging over my head as i continue to learn how to trade.

    • Learning how to lose enabled me to win. Making small tweaks along the way is where it’s at, but also keeping your trading account small enough where the money doesn’t really matter. That being said, I like the saying “treat your trading account like your kids” you wouldn’t throw your kids out in front of a bus, so trade in that same way.

      Some things I’ve tweaked along my own trading career are…
      – Scaling out versus all in all out. This can improve your win % and limit your losses even more.
      – Taking smaller profits on the bulk of the position and leave a small position to run. Since I take about 5-10 trades a day on the ES and 6E having small winner after small winner (6-12) ticks/pips on the bulk of the position really builds that emotional capital. There is something to be said for going all in all out for large targets, but that style of trading just doesn’t work for me.

      Keep watching the markets and making live trades. Starting and ending the week with smaller size can help mentally as well. If you get into a slump cutting your position down to 2 contracts is also something that can be very effective, a few winners even with few contracts can really bring up your confidence again. Keep me posted, thanks!

  6. My story might sound as a joke to any professional trader, but I really feel like sharing it on this site since I like the philosophy you have put behind eminimind.com

    I’m 33 and have spend most hours of the day in front of the computer since I was 16. This took me to my professional career of Art Director working in several advertisement agencies through my twenties and ending up doing freelance jobs from my home office. It keeps the bills payed, and I have my own house but that’s about it.

    This job allows me to stay at home and have a huge amount of spare time. This time I used to invest it playing complex MMO games online, like the well known World of Warcraft. Yes, it might seem foolish to compare the stock market to an MMO game. But keep in mind that aside the entertainment aspect, running a 25 man “online activity” involves complex strategy, technical analysis, planning, risk calculation, harsh stress situations involving real emotions, self confidence, awareness and self control.

    And I am damn good at it, positioning my team in the world top 200.

    But I kept on thinking that my skills, and time invested, could earn me something more than entertainment. So I decided to start learning everything I could about the stock market, I have always liked it since I was young but never really took an interest, until I recently discovered: online paper trading.

    In a weird way it was giving me the same “urge” and curiosity that drove me to be outstanding in my Art Direction job or my online gaming guild management. So I definitely had to follow this feeling.

    I just loved it!

    In my first month I devoured an insane amount of information, read a lot of blogs and fed of sites like investopedia.com and similar. Processing everything from historical lecture (Reminiscences of A Stock Operator…) to all sorts of methods of technical analysis (MACD, RSI, Stochastics…) price movement and interpretation, $tick, market internals, volume, volatility, etc… I just seemed to absorb it like a sponge.

    It soon became clear to me that most methods and courses are very expensive, and that a lot of good strategies seem to be shared in trading rooms “for members only”. On the flip side I found scams, elitism and “make easy money” scenarios that I was smart enough to avoid. But all this was no hold up, I still think one can learn on his own if the curiosity is big enough. And the internet is just full of information, all I had to do was search and read, and eventually I stumbled upon sites like this one that shares the trading mindset and knowledge freely. (thank you so much Tim, you would’nt believe all I have learned here)

    It has been 2 months now since my adventure has started. I have set up my Thinkorswim platform that allows me to papertrade and have figured out that the most suited way to start for my profile is the E-mini S&P 500 Future.

    I study every day at least 4 hours and practice live paper trading during market hours. My plan is to keep on doing so until I develop a personal method that works for me. My goal is to daytrade with 1 initial contract and achieve a positive balance of +150$ daily. Until now all is working out pretty well and I’m very pleased with my achievements.

    My long time goals are not to become a millionaire but have a nice extra income investing my time and skills in something that generates benefits rather than pure entertainment. So i’m in no hurry at all and maybe it takes me a couple of years of papertrading before I actually open an account and do the real thing.

    Once I am confident enough I will fund an account with some extra cash I have and will start of small. Probably following my actual simulation: 1 /ES contract.

    I’ll keep you updated. Thanks for this great site Tim!

    • That’s fantastic Gautheir; you said some pretty crucial things here that I don’t think you even realized.

      1. You’re developing what you trade and how you trade to your personality. This is talked about a lot, but many people don’t really tailor their trading to their life, they just do what “everybody else” does, and like “everybody else,” they lose money.

      2. Having that stream of income on the side of trading while starting out is pretty important. The stress of having to make money from trading is the death of most people I know who get started and in turn don’t even make it off the ground. Trade to trade well not to make money.

      3. Papertrading is good to learn the platform, but there are a lot of differences with live trading so I would make your first live trade ASAP, that is a big step and will really open you up to how the market impacts your emotions. TOS is not the platform of choice for Futures, I use Infinity Futures, and there is also CQG, Cunningham and TT, all direct access. Thinkorswim (currently) has a lot of lag and slippage for futures trading because their order’s wait on their servers not the exchange. I use TOS for charts though.

      4. Perfect practice makes perfect. Trading your methodology the same way each and every time will make you a great trader.

      5. Keep in mind it is typically easier to trade the ES with 2cts and scale out of 1 and go all in all out with 1ct.

      6. Rather than a monetary goal I would think about using a points goal, because if you make say 1PT in a day with 1 contract you can simply increase your contract size down the road and your income increases.

      7. The best thing you said is that you want to start an account with “extra cash.” This will allow you to detach yourself from the money and let your methodology work for you.
      There’s nothing stopping you from getting there, great job so far.

    • Nahhh…your story does not sound like a joke. WHO CARES what anybody else thinks….that is not what this game is about.

      The only facet that I would caution you on, based on my OWN experience, is to be very, very careful when you make the transition from paper to live. You can seemingly trade the same exact way as you did when on paper, BUT I guarantee it WILL be different. Real money has a way of clouding judgment when it is on the line.

      Like it has been said before: “Do you really think that playing a simulated jet fighter game will prepare you in any way, shape or form to one day take the helm of a real jet and then go play cat and mouse with a guy like Chuck Yeager? These guys are trained to kill you and now it is FOR REAL”.

      That comment is not meant to discourage you at all. What it is meant to do is to hopefully show you another FACT of attempting to trade the e-mini futures. Ya, that is how it is. Hand to hand combat. Nothing you can ever do will ever prepare you fully for live trading. Sure, simulations may be good for learning a new platform entry screen or test driving it to see if you like it. Just DO NOT BET ON YOU ‘doing what you did’ on the simulator.

      Keith
      thedailyeminitrader.com

  7. Not sure if my story is worth it. But I think I always had an idea in mind that I want to be financially free by 40. I do some IT consulting freelancing so I spend lot of time on computer.

    I came across forex trading on a pop up ad (make $1000 a day) and thought of it as a spam. I had free cash lying around then so I thought investing one thousand dollars in an account. I had NO CLUE on what I was doing but luckily caught NZD move upward. I turned that into $10000 in a month. I withdrew 70% and was able to take my family to FIJI for his 60th birthday (the best decision of my life since he passed away this year).

    Sure enough I lost rest of the money and some more money I invested. I put it to rest for a year and start training- about technical analysis, fundamentals and money management.

    I had some time this year since I have not been able to find work after my father passed away so took this up with small amount of real money.

    I see my charting and analysis has come leaps but I am in no way a professional yet. I am actually looking for a good mentor.

    I am doing lots of things right and few things wrong as well. Since I loose 50% of my profits after making it. I think a big part of it is the emotional training.

    Here is what I am following mostly
    1) Charting on weekly / daily levels. Trading on strong trend lines, supports and resistance.
    2) Taking 70% of profit on 10 to 30 pips and leaving the rest
    3) Making only few trades a day vs trying to make money on every fluctuation
    4) Not risking more than 3% of my account per trade
    5) Sticking to my strategy vs trying fear / greed affect me (still need to achieve this).

    I have been at it for solid 2 years I said I am still learning and hope I can call my self a professional trader one day.

    • That’s great Rav, reaping the rewards in the form of your profits is a very rewarding experience. Have you thought about only taking 30 or 40% profit at 10-30 pips and letting the rest run? Not that there’s one correct way to manage the trade, just an idea. It sounds like your well on your way.

  8. In the 1980’s I was working as a dispatch rider in London. I earned good money, but the risks were high, there is no higher stake than your life! One day I got a job delivering the daily charts to stock broker recovering from a heart attack in hospital. He recognized my Belfast accent, and over the weeks he became chummy with me. One day he said to me “Kurt you should sell your bike and buy shares in UTV”. I laughed and said to him, “have you ever seen it? It’s crap!” It was the last time I saw him, for weeks and months after, I checked the price of UTV, and sure enough it doubled in value. Strange as life is, about 15 years later I ended up working for UTV as a freelance cameraman. The broker in London had sparked an interest within me and I had followed the markets, through boom and bust. A chance encounter with an old friend turned the interest into active desire to get involved, with the internet I realized I could do it for my self. I started trading in 2008, I got in just in time to lose a lot of money. My first losing trade was UTV! Never one to give up easily I put my self to study. Today I am still trading, I consider a good trade one I don’t lose on a brilliant trade is one I profit from. To show myself that I can do it, and to teach my self some discipline, this year I started with £10. My account as of today 13/02/12 stands at £230. I know it’s small fry, but tortoise and hare strategy, it’s getting there.

  9. MY STORY STARTED IN SEPTEMBER 08 AT THE HEIGHT OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS, I ALWAYS HAD A INTEREST IN THE STOCK MARKET BUT WHEN I WAS YOUNG I WAS UNDERFUNDED SO AT THIS TIME I DECIDED SINCE STOCKS WERE CHEAP THERE IS NO BETTER TIME I STARTED WITH $600 ON AIG 4 DAYS LATER I HAD $1900 EVENTUALLY PULLING OUT 2 DAYS LATER AT $1500 I.E 900 PROFIT I WAS HOOKED, I READ OVER 50 BOOKS ON THE MARKET FROM EVERY “MARKET WIZARD” OR LEGEND STUDIED ECONOMICS STATISTICS GAME THEORY AND WATCHED ONLINE COLLEGE FINANCE COURSES AT PRINCETON ON YOUTUBE PLUS COUNTLESS MORE LEARNING ACTIVITIES AND 4 YEARS LATER NOT WITHOUT HEARTACHE AND TOUGH LESSONS I TRADE THE ES AND 6E CONTRACTS IN THE FUTURES MARKET AS WELL AS NAT GAS AND PERSONALLY MY ADVICE IS AS FOLLOWS
    MOST WILL FAIL AT THIS BECAUSE OF SELF CONTROL, IF U HAVE ANALYTICAL SKILLS WITH A MATH MIND YOU CAN GET THE TECHNICAL PART BUT THE EMOTIONAL IS STRONGER THAN ANYTHING YOU EVER EXPERIENCED
    SECOND ITS ALL INTERNAL U HAVE TO DERIVE YOUR OWN CONCEPTS THAT MAKE SENSE TO YOUR THEORY’S ON HOW MONEY CAN BE EXTRACTED AND FINALLY RISK RISK RISK IF YOU CAN’T BE AT PEACE AND CALM THEN EVEN IF YOU MAKE MONEY GREED WILL TEMPT YOU TO BLOW IT GOOD LUCK

  10. I’ve been trading for a year so far, well about to be a year, and ive been doing okay I guess for someone who has so little time. I’ve dedicated 8 hours of my day, everyday to futures trading. I win a lot, but I also lose. I’m young, 20 years old, but I will be a successful trader. I’ll do whatever it takes. Maybe someone here can help me advance? My father also started with me. We’re going through a you time with this I guess you can say, but I’m determined. I would love for someone to help me if you can. Give me advice. I’m very well disciplined. I know a lot also. I don’t know what I’m looking for. I need a break through. Well I hope someone helps.

    • Hi Jessie, that’s great that you have your father to share the journey with. That’s super important. I think my best words of advice are to keep things as simple as possible. 8-hours a day is a lot of time to be able to devote to trading. Study the markets, but more importantly study yourself. How you react to different situations. Learn how to control your emotions and you will become a successful trader. I beleive in commitment, building confidence, developing consistency, and adapting to ever-changing market conditions.

  11. I technically haven’t started my trading career, but I will share where I started and where I plan on heading. I took a personal finance class my sophomore year of college in which we were introduced to the basics of the options and futures markets. I was currently a fisheries and aquatic sciences major with plans on becoming a fisheries biologist. I probably would have stuck with it too if it wasn’t for that class.

    I soaked in everything I could and asked hundreds of questions throughout my time in that class. I became fascinated with derivatives such as futures and options contracts. I learned more about these products and I was amazed that people actually traded these in the short term market place.

    I had no clue where to start as far as trading on my own went. I had not the slightest idea on how traders determined when to buy and when to sell. I knew there had to be more than just speculation to all of it.

    For Christmas I asked for John F. Carter’s book “Mastering the Trade”. I had no intentions of reading it, but I skimmed through the first chapter and I was instantly hooked. The idea of being your own boss and truly being responsible for your own well being at the end of everyday has always been the life I wanted to live. The thrill of being in a trade is where I want to make my living.

    I now have my own 12 page trading plan where I focus on trading E-mini DOW and E-mini S&P500 futures. I am currently trying to incorporate equity options as a part of my plan, but that will come with time. I try to paper trade at least 2 full days a week, but that can be hard while school is in progress. I am happy to say that I am learning a lot, profitable, and constantly making revisions to my plan.

    I hope to someday be a trader with a proprietary trading firm. In order to make this happen, I am learning how to program and plan on pursuing a MSF. I want to start out with a trading firm because I want to learn from others, build a network, and overall succeed with a team of individuals. I couldn’t think of a better job than analyzing the markets on a daily basis and bouncing ideas around with other professionals.

    I will finish by saying thank you all for sharing your stories. It only solidifies the decisions of my career path!

    • Great to hear you getting started at such a young age VK. The best thing I can recommend (based on the path I took) is to always look out for yourself and focus on your net worth.

      Trading is a piece of the pie. Create a longer term plan and get those simple investing strategies working for you at the same time you embark on your trading journey. I promise you’ll thank yourself a few years down the road.

      Tim

  12. Very interesting website i have bookmarked eminimind.com for future reference.

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