A riveting discussion is guaranteed at every Wednesday 9:00 AM PST student counsel meeting. This week’s was no different. One of the most interesting topics we covered was the meaning of goals. It was clear that each FX365i student has their own idea in the matter.
I recall a conversation with one of my mentors that transpired as follows:
That conversation led me to think goals beyond what I had previously imagined, to which I arrived at the realization that goals operate both on a fundamental and a technical basis.
Technical goals are simple as they are numerical and absolute. Either you made the 55 pips by closing time on Saturday, or you simply did not. There is no grey area.
But yet there exists another element to this equation. That element is related to your original intention.
When you made the decision to become a trader, your original intention was likely to fall into one of two categories (or a hybrid of them). I explain below.
If you are in this category you became a trader because you understood that it is your opportunity to “buy back your freedom.” Your original intention was to discover a means of supporting yourself (with relatively few hours of work) so that you could spend your time pursuing your other passions.
You understood that if you meet you goals at the end of the week, there is no need to trade any further. In laments terms, “trade for 2 hours… then go surfing” or “trade for 2 hours…then go knit a sweater” or “trade for 2 hours… then go play catch with your children” –you get the point.
“The Trading Passionate”
Perhaps when you became a trader your original intention was to develop a new skill, as was the case for me. Apart from learning the markets and regaining my freedom I looked to trading as a new hobby. I have an interest in it, my interest is fueled by a deep passion and an ever-growing fascination with the financial markets. Essentially the mantra of the trading passionate is a different. It follows this vein of though: “trade for 2 hours…learn the skill”, “trade for 2 hours…get better”, “trade for 2 hours…ask a question”–you get the point. In some respects, the trading passionate are also the perpetual students that want to know everything about the markets.
We have standard goals at our school; it is a weekly 35-pip goal. One of the opinions that I have recently adopted is that all technical goals must be a prime number. On the basis that it must not be divisible by 5, or more specifically, the number of days we actively trade at school each week.
For my peers that don’t have the opportunity to take part in our weekly discussions, the position I expressed during counsel was as follows:
A 35 per week goal is in essence requires a 7-pip trade per day, however, the market isn’t necessarily favorable for 5 days worth of trading. Advanced traders (whether freedom or passion driven) do not necessarily have to trade everyday. However, if for instance your goal was 33 pips a week, your mindset shifts. Now you’ve created a mindset that you can trade 3 days at 11 pips each and either watch the market for two days (trading passionate) or surf for 2 days (freedom-centric).
In further defense of my position…
A prime number is not divisible by anything. There are no daily requirements to be on track, thus no pressure that carries over into the next day. The only requirement you have is that you make it past the finish line on Friday, emerging at the numerical goal that you intended at the start of the week.
Lastly, Todd wrote a lovely article about goals recently (Smart Goals for Currency Traders). It is great reading that is bound to get you thinking about your own goals.
Until then, Trade Free or Trade Passionate!
Please feel welcome to share your thoughts in the matter. Are your goals fundamentally or technically based? I’d be delighted to hear more from you.
“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.” -Richard Branson
As many of you know, there are some groundbreaking changes taking place at the institute this month. Most noteworthy of all is that the institute will now be using Smart Money Profile (SMP) as the school’s primary platform for instruction.
Before I share my list of concepts that Wealth Smart students need to know about the SMP platform, I would like to take a moment to celebrate Wade and Shane Guth for their amazing work developing and fine tuning the revolutionary SMP software. Additionally, due to Shane’s skillful and dedicated teachings, every SMP trader I know absolutely loves the platform. Kudos gentlemen!
I have been an SMP student for three months. With that in mind, here are the things you’ll need to know as a new student making the jump into the SMP program.
When a person first opens the SMP software to trade it for the first time, it may be a little intimidating. The multi-colored candles, lines, dots, boxes and the ever fluctuating rate indicator can easily create a sensory overload for newcomers.
Although the task at hand may appear difficult, once you understand the Market Makers business model, you will understand the genius and simplicity of the SMP software. By helping you discern what the Market Makers are doing, the SMP platform allows you to make predictive and logical assumptions about potential trading opportunities. As you learn to recognize the best trading opportunities, your win rate can soar into the 70 and 80 percent range.
From time to time, cross-traders at the institute (those that trade SMP and WealthSmart) explain that one of the greatest advantages of the SMP software is that the exit points for SMP trades are clear. The SMP platform is a map. As part of that map, the software clearly shows you points where the market may turn or possibly take a large breath. Once price approaches one of these points, it is easy to see your exit and book your profit.
Additionally, as you gain experience with the software, you will learn to finesse your entries so that you have less and less risk in your trades. Of course every trade is unique, so there is no rule that says, for example, “Keep every stop loss set at 6 pips.” However, within a relatively short amount of time, you will likely be able to keep your risk at a minimum as you enter into high probability trades. The ability to combine high probability entries with clear profit targets and low risk exits is a magical combination that can lead to long term trading success.
When you first get involved in the SMP program, you will find there is quite a bit of subjectivity to everything happening in the SMP arena. Some students may see the market preparing to go long, and others see it preparing to head in the opposite direction. No matter what you see on a particular day we encourage you to share it!
There are no guarantees in trading, but if we are able to gather our information together, we all benefit from the opportunity to make good, well-informed trading decisions.
For anyone who may be worried about making the transition from WealthSmart to SMP, fear not! You have already furnished great skills as a Wealth Smart student. Although the change may be uncomfortable at first, you will be surprised at how well you will adapt and become proficient with this truly phenomenal software.
First and foremost, the following vision for the FX365 Institute and its students is wholly my personal view as a student and instructor.
Why the change from two trading products to one? In my opinion, the answer is simple—to more quickly than ever before bring all of our students to higher levels of success as professional Forex currency traders.
Technically, the school’s reinvigorated mission statement is to get our students into real money accounts sooner, and, up the lot ladder faster. Ideally, by the end of year one, we’d like to see our students earning at least $1,000 a month in their Forex trading accounts and be on their way to $100 PIPs and beyond in year two.
So, what can our students expect as they are taught the Market Maker course employing the SMP trading software?
Certainly, we WealthSmart traders will, no doubt at first, go through a period of adjustment and uncomfortableness. It’s sort of like putting on a new high collar dress shirt and shiny new shoes. Initially, the collar might cause a little neck irritation and the shoes might feel a bit stiff to the feet; but, in time, these sartorial changes can ‘make you look like a million dollars.’ With the changeover to SMP, I believe it will not ‘make you look like a million dollars’ … but … perhaps … ‘make you a million dollars.’
What else? Certainly SMP offers more trading choices. As a major advocate of WealthSmart’s moment in momentum trading, I want to assure everyone that you can do precision moment in momentum trading with SMP, and, if you choose, you can extend your trades because SMP helps you see the Market Maker’s price targets and you may decide to go along for the ride. Taking SMP trading one step further, you can even decide to go beyond intra-day trading and do inter-day swing trading if that suits you. More choices, that’s a good thing.
Finally, as I see it, two really big game changers. First, with the SMP software, we now have a map with which to see each Market Maker business cycle play out. Many retail traders, by placing entry orders, provide the Market Makers with a map of where their entries, stops and profit-limits are located. We now get to turn the table on the Market Makers and to some degree get to see their entries, stops and profit-limits. This is a game changer.
The second game changer, as I see it, gives us the ability to speed up our learning curve. How? WealthSmart did not allow hindsight or historical studies of the charts because its indicators are signals that change size, color, shape and location. SMP does allow hindsight, that is, historical studies of the charts because it uses locations to provide information on Market Maker actions. Locations on a map don’t change.
I say … WOW! If we choose, we can do some homework called ‘back testing (looking left).’ We can invoke ‘hindsight is 20/20’ and look back at prior Market Maker business cycles of accumulation, manipulation and profit release using SMP’s location tools (boxes, dots, average price, best price, liquidity lines, grid lines). We can learn to read Market Maker maps that will help us find the gold.
So, let’s see … more choices in our trading, a map to help us navigate the Market Maker landscape, and the ability to personally speed up our learning process. The ‘long and short of it’ is clear—the school’s getting better at what we teach so that our students get better at trading. This is a win-win outcome.
Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of WealthSmart instructor Ira Barnes’ two part series on how to identify a high quality Forex education. Click here to read the first segment which discusses the map and action steps required to embark on a successful Forex trading journey.
Okay, ingredient three—technical skill and tool knowledge. Let’s start by remembering, and admitting, that most of us have not been students in a long time. And, additionally, as adult students, we must confront the reality that we’re real people with real lives meaning that there are a lot of people and circumstances making demands on our time. Bottom line, we have no time or money to waste, period. Therefore, our education better be to the point, efficient, and on target without any side trips or dead ends.
So, what’s needed, day by day, to keep us on point, focused, in the zone? JIT (just in time) training. This means that you only want to be taught what you need to know to be a successful, winning and high income professional Forex currency trader—no filler, no fluff. Show me how to use a car’s steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, side and rear view mirrors and let me drive. I don’t need to lift the hood and rebuild the engine and transmission just to go over to a friend’s house.
In Forex trading, just show me how to consistently capture my 35-40 PIPs a week by way of recognizing high probability trade setups and entries. Teach me smart risk management and how to ‘nail the entry’—avoiding jumping trades too early or chasing trades too late. That’s it—KISS (keep it simple students) with JIT teaching in a Forex world awash in JIC (just in case) teaching where you can get lost and never be seen again because of non-essential, even irrelevant material thrown your way. It’s quality, not quantity that counts.
Finally, the fourth and most important ingredient—community … within which you develop your mindset (vs skill-set and tool-set), mental discipline, delayed gratification and trading with indifference winning habits. Importantly, this all comes under the umbrella of emotional intelligence and equates to about 90% of a full and complete Forex education.
In a nutshell, learning to trade, alone, is a colossal and costly mistake. Only hearing your own voice as you go through the first few turbulent months of your trading career can only end one way: disastrously.
You must be a part of a community; you must have other voices (teachers, mentors, fellow students) to remind and reassure you that you’re normal as you experience trading ups and downs, periods of euphoria followed by depression. Yes, you will most likely spend some time ‘all over the map’ as you progress on your trading journey. Again, I repeat, we all need the comfort of community—whether online or on campus.
Well, there you have it, the winning four-part Forex formula. Oh, by the way, before I became a student, then trader and instructor, I spent nearly six months looking everywhere for such a Forex student environment. It turns out that I found only one such place where all four ingredients came together. For emphasis, the four ingredients are 1) the trader’s map (COG); 2) the QuickStart program; 3) JIT training; 4) community. Oh, and the place—the Forex365 Institute.
A winning Forex education means you’re one of the 5% of regular everyday people trading the Forex who consistently make money, grow your account value and regularly see your PIP trading value go up. The remaining 95%, simply put, fail as professional Forex currency traders.
Well, it seems to me, if you’re going to be successful trading the Forex, you’d better start off on the right foot. For starters, being self-taught is probably a mistake; looking for a Forex software product that prints money (get rich quick scheme, anybody?) is a non-starter; and, loading up on seminar books and DVDs may not cover all the bases, either.
The winning Forex education formula has four ingredients—1) a plan (map or blueprint) that takes you from first step novice student to the final destination as a professional Forex currency trader; 2) action steps that you start taking right now, from day one; 3) very precise and focused technical knowledge of charts and indicators giving you the know how to see and act on high probability trade setups and entries; 4) finally, and most importantly, a community of like-minded Forex traders (students, teachers, mentors) where you can develop, grow and master your trading discipline (emotional intelligence).
Let’s talk about each of these four areas of a complete and total Forex education. One at a time:
First, you want to confidently know where you’re going as a new student; you want to clearly see your final destination as a professional Forex currency trader; and, you want to be aware of every step (educational milestone) along the way. Sounds like a plan to me.
Now, let’s make each step, from first to last, visible so that they can be easily followed. Hey, that’s a map. Well, in the entire world of Forex instruction, I know of exactly one and only one such map. It tracks your technical skill and tool (charts/indicators) development day by day, week by week, month by month. It’s a trader’s map known as the trader’s COG (center of gravity).
Furthermore, this unique map not only tracks your skill-set and tool-set learning curve, it MOST IMPORTANTLY tracks your mindset development. You’ll know ahead of time that there will be emotional highs and lows, periods of euphoria and depression that you, the Forex student, will have to navigate through as your journey continues. Finally, and wonderfully, this special map contains many signposts along the way reminding you that ‘you’re normal’, that with persistence and determination you will get through the obstacles, road blocks and cul-de-sacs on your way to becoming a successful and winning professional Forex currency trader.
The second ingredient leading to a winning Forex education is a set of immediate, start now, let’s get going action steps. At the beginning we’re all eager to start trading. Yes, let’s trade … but … wait a minute … remember that 95% fail … remember the importance of getting started on the right foot. *
So, your first action steps are necessarily foundation setting, good habit setting steps, NOT YET TRADING STEPS. You will be guided, step by step, detail by detail, on setting up your practice and then, later, real money accounts, preparing and sizing your charts and indicators so that you can best see the movement of the market. These and other preliminary action steps are 100% essential. The good news is that all these first steps go quickly thanks to a program that takes into account that you’re eager to trade, yet, you must get it right from day one. This program is called QuickStart.
(Editor’s Note: Stay tuned later this week for the 3rd and 4th steps in Ira’s winning Forex formula.)
* Footnote (literally): a lesson from John Wooden, college basketball’s greatest coach, ever. His first practice session on day one of every basketball season was to instruct his student athletes on the correct way to put on their socks to avoid blisters.