The following article is written by IDTA Member Lorna Zelunzuk for Your Trading Edge magazine.
As I approached retirement I was actively seeking an additional income stream that would give me the freedom to continue travelling the world while maintaining our current standard of living.
I tried various forms of income-generating systems that all seemed to promise the world and yet deliver nothing; Fancy that. My ultimate goal was to find something that I could do for a few hours a day and get on with the job of enjoying my well-earned retirement. I also didn’t want to invest large sums of money into the stock market, mainly due to our FGC 1 experiences and the pending possibility of a GFC 2. The risk involved in such a large outlay is just not something I am comfortable with.
Quite by chance, I was at a workshop where Lachlan Elsworth was presenting. The moment Lachlan started explaining the design of the financial markets and how to take advantage of this design, I was hooked. I had finally found an honest and transparent mentor who was actually prepared to call a spade a spade.
I was immediately attracted to Futures Trading because the Futures Markets are free from all forms of Brokers. There is literally no one to trade the market against you while you are trading. I particularly liked the fact that you could make money even if the market goes down and most importantly there was a mechanical way to limit my losses and manage my risk. I loved the fact that I could simply base my trading on a laptop and an Internet connection and I could work from anywhere in the world. This sounded ideal.
I joined IDTA in October 2015. The first few months were spent getting my head around the basics of trading and doing the IDTA Trading 101 course (I subsequently I did an Intermediate Trading Course as well as an Advanced Trading course).
I had never traded on the Stock Market or in fact been interested in financial markets so this was a steep learning curve for me. But I knew that this was what I was meant to do and, in any case, I love a challenge. So I just did what I had to do in order to move forward.
I remember the first time I logged into the Live Trading Room. I looked at all the candles and thought to myself, “How will I ever learn to read these charts?”. It is actually amazing … the longer you spend in the charts, the clearer it becomes. Quite by chance, I was at a workshop where Lachlan Elsworth was presenting. The moment Lachlan started explaining the design of the financial markets and how to take advantage of this design, I was hooked. When I started trading I chose to trade the FDAX (German Stock Exchange) because of the time slot (with the time difference it meant that one could trade the FDAX late afternoon early evening depending on Daylight Saving). This suited my lifestyle well. The added advantage was the support I could get by accessing the Live Trading Room (LTR).
I had a lot of learning to do!! I soon realised that the FDAX was not a beginner’s market and it’s fair to say, I got burned. It took me quite some time to find the market and the time slot which I felt comfortable trading.
Once I had settled on the market and time slot, I had to decide on a sound algorithm, ie a system to trade. To be a consistently profitable trader you need a system. One you believe in and trust. You need a system that when used properly, trading becomes mechanical. Fortunately, I had a few tried and tested algorithms to choose from. All I needed to do was decide which one suited my style of trading best. I know Lachlan has said this 1000 times but now I was actually listening to my mentor.
I finally settled on the NASDAQ! Trading the NASDAQ gives me lots of flexibility as I can trade in the mornings (Tokyo, Singapore and China Market Opens), early evening during the Euro Cash Market or at night either in the US Pre-Market or the US Open. The NASDAQ also gives me the opportunity of trading with a small starting account.
At this stage, I was still a bit unsure of which algorithm I was going to focus on. I, like most junior traders, took some getting used to the concept of ‘one market, one time slot, and one algorithm’. Once I saw the wisdom in this, I was on my way.
I found the technical aspects of trading fascinating and exciting. I loved the challenge of learning and I love the sound of hearing ‘target filled’.
Having said that, when I started trading I hadn’t realised that the biggest challenge would not be the technical aspect of trading but my mindset.
Trading is 20% technical and 80% mindset.
My trading journey has taught me a lot. Not only have I learned a new and valuable skill, but it has also taught me a lot about myself.
I was always a goal-oriented person and had no problem creating milestones and meeting deadlines. You muster the resources and ‘just do it’. That is fine in the corporate world but it doesn’t work in the trading environment. When trading you have to be patient and as Lachlan always suggests in the Live Trading Room “Wait for the market to come to you!”. I found this philosophy the exact opposite to the corporate world. This clash of beliefs was difficult for me at first and often resulted in me taking trades that I knew weren’t valid ‘because I had to meet my goal’.
I also discovered that the way one behaves in all aspects of one’s life affects the way you trade. If you’re impulsive in real life, that is the way you trade. If you like taking risks, you’ll take risks trading and if you have a fear of losing money, fear of failure or a fear of success, they all raise their ugly heads when trading.
So while I was learning and conquering the trading methodology/algorithm the bigger challenge was getting to understand myself, why I do certain things, how my behaviour affected my trading and what I needed to do to overcome these behaviours.
So part of my trading journey has included a lot of personal development, doing a few courses and a lot of reading and determination to ‘tame the beast’.
In addition to the above, I found that my trading success is directly related to the way I prepare myself before each trading session. Not only do I do my chart analysis, I ‘get into the zone’.
One of the things I did was convert my Trading Plan into a short 4-minute movie. It has motivating music, affirmations and images which relates to my trading plan that I listen to every day. This centres/ grounds me before I start trading.
Trading is definitely a journey, a process. It’s not something which can be achieved in a few short weeks. Learning to trade takes commitment, perseverance, patience and tenacity. Learning to trade is about mastering yourself, as you seek to master the markets, but with this comes a word of warning. As Lachlan says repeatedly, “Not all forms of trading or markets are equal so be very careful where you start!”. From my experience, there could not be a truer statement.
When I look back to where I was 3 years ago, I realise how far I have come and how much I have learned. I am so grateful to Lachlan for his honesty and wisdom, to my IDTA mentors, to my fantastic trading community of like-minded people and to my trading buddy who all give me such fantastic support. Without them, trading would be a very lonely place.
I look to the future with excitement knowing I am on the path to becoming a professional futures trader.
– Lorna Zelunzuk