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3 Crucial Lessons From Jesse Livermore – The Greatest Stock Trader of All Time

Jesse Livermore is known to be the most prolific stock trader. Several books have been written about him and his trading track record is legendary. His profits were so great that he was reported to have owned mansions in various places around the world, each fully staffed, complete with limousines and steel-hulled yacht for his holidays.

Some of you might have read that Livermore was worth $100 million after shorting the 1929 great market crash.

Above: Some of the books about Jesse Livermore, available in major bookstores.

What Guidelines Did Jesse Livermore Follow As A Trader?

Among the many quips he had about trading and investing, I’ve picked out some of the key ones that could make or break your trading account.

While many complain about the difficulties in trading forex, stocks, or commodities, there is a good minority that makes consistent profits in the markets.

What sets Jesse Livermore apart from his peers?

 

  1. Buy rising stocks and sell falling stocks.

The above seems obvious, but many people fail to adhere to this rule. Many people like to ‘pick tops’ and ‘pick bottoms’. Now, professional traders do occasionally try to pick tops and bottoms, but they do so with very strict risk management, and always have a contingency plan for when the trade doesn’t work out.

Beginners often makes the mistake of trying to trade against the trend. While this can be profitable for some, talk to anyone in the trading industry and they will tell you that trend-following is the major money-making strategy that every trader uses. It’s simple, easy to add positions on, and it’s stress free. The problems come when beginners make a buck from trading with the trend, and start to explore ‘new ways’ to trade and invest.

 

2. Keep trades that show a profit, end trades that show a loss.

Jesse Livermore is famous for his humongous profits, but behind every profitable trader is the admirable ability to deal with a string of losses. It’s one thing to know that you need to cut losses, but it’s another to actually cut your losses when you are wrong. George Soros famously quips that it is not how many times you win or lose, it’s how much you make when you win, and how much you lose when you are wrong.

Cutting losses is a psychologically hard thing to do in modern society. We’re ingrained to be always correct, and never admit that you messed up, because it reflects badly on you as a person. However, with investing, no one is marking you for the number of losses; the profit that you make is the final report card that matters, and that’s where we want to be focusing on.

 

3. Never average losses by buying more when your stock has fallen.

Too many people refuse to be wrong on their investments or trades.

I have heard of people say this statement: “Even if the stock drops a lot, I’ll just keep it because I’m buying for ownership and dividend cashflow, not just for capital gains.” Sure, but what happens if the stock you hold drops by 70%? 80%? You’ll buy more?

Buying more when the stock has fallen is a sure-way to get your trading account to zero. It’s taking more risk when the odds are against you.

 

Think About This: Which of These 3 Guidelines Have Brought You Losses in the Past?

Many traders soon realize early in their career, that their trading accounts could have been profitable if not for silly mistakes. Avoiding these silly mistakes requires experience, maturity, the correct knowledge, and of course, proper mentoring.

I was lucky to be mentored by veteran traders early on in my trading career. Their advice, based upon thousands of hours of market experience, contributed greatly to who I am today, and I never fail to mention, during trading seminars or public events, that by tapping on their experience, I was able to quickly attain a level of success that kept me profitable.

If you’re currently struggling as a trader, ask yourself this question: “Which mistakes have I been making?”

Acknowledging trading mistakes is a continuous process of learning and growing.

Why Are More & More Singaporeans Switching from Stocks to Forex?

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LOW VOLUME MAKES IT CHALLENGING

The volume of stocks traded on the SGX has been falling over the years.

The SGX has been plagued by weak volumes; well-known brands like Tiger Airways, OSIM, and Eu Yan Sang have left the exchange. In one article I read, a stock broker told The Straits Times that “stockbroking is looking like a sunset profession now”.

As for the number of IPOs?

Nov 2016: 1

Aug 2016: 2

Jul 2016: 6

Jun 2016: 1

May 2016: 1

Apr 2016: 1

sgxSince the start of 2016, trading volumes have been lacklustre.
Source: ChannelNewsAsia

Not only has volume been lacklustre; the Singapore Straits Times Index has been hovering sideways for most of 2016. Intra-day trading is an impossibility for many because of the huge amount of funds needed to trade stocks in and out.

SAVE MONEY 7 TIMES BY MOVING TO FOREX TRADING

$ – Save Initial ‘Tuition’ Fees

Trade small, make mistakes with small sums of money.

$$ – Save on commissions

Zero commissions, period.

$$$ – Track your stats and make changes

Use myfxbook to track your statistics, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

$$$$ – Charts are free

Pay nothing for charts, forever.

$$$$$ – Trade only when you are not working

24/7 market allows you to choose to trade only when you are free; won’t have to sacrifice your job.

$$$$$$ – Market volatility known ahead of time

Use the forex calendar to know when your forex pair will encounter volatility; no more rude news shocks.

$$$$$$$ – Accumulate expertise cheaply

No need to wait years or pay market strategists to test if your strategy works; try it out on past charts, execute it ‘live’, and see how it goes.

IT’S CRAZY; I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE HATE FOREX

Some people quip that the forex market is more difficult to trade than the stock market. I beg to differ, because it is your circle of competence that determines your success, not the actual characteristics of the market.

You get to start with as little as $500.

In the Forex market, you are entitled to ‘get a feel of the game’ by risking a few dollars per trade. Most brokers allow you to trade 0.01 lots, which is $0.10 per pip on average!

The quickest way to rack up trading experience is to make many trades and check out the statistics behind your trades. After all, it’s a numbers’ game: with a properly developed trading edge, your account should have a positive expectation and profits should be the norm over the long-run.

You trade ‘live’ and get skin in the game.

There’s this huge debate about ‘live’ accounts versus demo accounts. Here’s the solution: start with a ‘live’ account right from the beginning. Get yourself into the reality of trading, risking money on a daily basis. Sooner or later you will get used to the risk that is inherent to the game.

By learning to make many decisions and experiencing all the different conditions of the market, you would become seasoned enough to trade a bigger size, and fine-tune your own trading strategy. I like what Tom Sosnoff said about learning to trade: “Trade small, trade often.”

No commission charges!

Forex has no commission charges. This may come as a shocker to the stock trader, but for forex traders it is a constant reality. This reduces the ‘tuition fees’ you need to pay to the market as a result of making trades.

Many new traders make any of the following mistakes:

  • Trading the wrong lot size (1.00 instead of 0.10, causing too big a trade size)
  • Going short instead of long
  • Entering a trade only to realize the market is closed

Yes! These mistakes may sound silly, but every trader who has had skin in the game would understand what I just said.

24/7 market; choose when you want to trade.

The great thing about Forex is that you can decide when to trade based on your schedule. That helps people who have punishing schedules: trading in the middle of the night, or during lunch, on a daily basis, works out to a trading schedule that accommodates your lifestyle needs.

 

THE SIMPLE 3 STEPS TO MITIGATE FOREX TRADING RISKS

Here are three simple steps to mitigate Forex trading risks:

  • Think in Percentages – takes the emotion out of the dollars
  • Find an Edge – only an edge gives you a profit in the long-run
  • Stick to One Style – don’t try to be everything at the start

asdToo many forex traders try to do everything at once. Focus on first becoming profitable; diversifying across trading styles can come later.

If you want to get started on forex trading, what’s stopping you? I’ve shown you 7 ways it can save you money in your trading career.

If not today, then when?

Cheers!

REFERENCES & RESEARCH SOURCES

straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/sgx-turnover-plunges-27-to-206b-in-august
theindependent.sg/business/the-hollowing-of-the-singapore-stock-exchange-sgx/
channelnewsasia.com/news/business/singapore/sgx-reports-on-year/2406994.html
shareinvestor.com/ipo/index.html