Profitable market timers are disciplined.
They control their impulses and feelings, and this allows them to execute a timing
strategy by never failing to make every buy and sell signal the strategy produces.
The disciplined market timer is decisive. Many buy and sell signals are made
during times of market volatility and often contradict the majority opinion.
Going against the prevailing sentiment is tough, but critical to success.
The undisciplined market timer, in contrast, wavers. He or she may stick with
a timing strategy occasionally, while going a different way at other times.
Discipline is indeed a key ingredient to success, but not everyone has a high
level of self discipline. It is worth recognizing where you stand on this trait,
and if you lack discipline and self control, work to build it up.
Well Studied Personality Traits
Discipline and self control are well studied personality traits.
Some people are highly disciplined and very self controlled. They scrupulously
follow rules, and are careful to control their impulses.
You know the type; they pay off their credit cards every month, are never late
for an appointment, and carefully plan every detail of their lives.
Although these characteristics may be ideal for trading, there's a downside:
Such people tend to have trouble taking risks. They prefer
a sure thing, and no "single" buy or sell signal is rarely
a sure thing.
you have trouble sticking to a timing strategy?
Do you hesitate when faced with a buy or sell signal
and look for reasons to justify "not" taking the
Market timers have recognized the even larger risks in a "buy and hold" approach
to investing, and have decided to take a more active approach to growing their
They may not recklessly seek out risk, but they accept some risk as necessary.
How Is Your Discipline And Self Control?
However, market timers may not have the same degree of discipline and control
as the rule followers described above. Perhaps that's why so many articles are
written preaching the virtues of discipline and self control.
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How is your discipline and self control? Do you have
trouble sticking to a timing strategy? Do you hesitate
when faced with a buy or sell signal and look for reasons
to justify "not" taking the trade?
Do you long for more discipline and self control when it comes to your timing?
It's not necessarily the case that a disciplined market timer is disciplined
in all aspects of his or her life, but it helps. The life strategies we use everyday
may bleed over into our investing life.
If you find yourself second guessing timing strategies that you are following,
try to remember that the key to timing success is making "all" of the trades.
It is necessary to recognize that timing success is achieved by taking not just
those trades which you agree with, but also by taking the tough trades. The ones
which may even seem foolish at the time.
There is no way to know "ahead" of time which buy or sell signal will be the
one that is the beginning of the next big trend. The one you do not take, is
usually the one that makes all the profits.
The Hare and the Tortoise
Timing success is similar to the story of "The Hare and the Tortoise." The hare
may be fast, but the tortoise won the race because it never slowed, never stopped,
but just kept moving forward.
The hare was fast, but lacking in discipline. He also bragged
about his success to everyone he saw. But he did not stay
the course, and took a nap (missed trade?) at the wrong
only way you will achieve market timing success
is to stick to the strategy at all times. That
means in good times, as well as hard times."
Discipline is easy when you are profitable. Discipline is not so easy when you
Yet the only way you will achieve market timing success is to stick to the strategy
at all times. That means in good times, as well as hard times.
Successful timing strategies are designed to keep timers in the right positions
(long, short or in cash) the majority of the time, so that they can outperform
buy and hold investors, and also avoid taking large losses during market corrections.
They are not designed for instant profits. Some few day traders may achieve that,
but like the Tortoise, timers are looking to win over time.
Remember... if you find yourself wavering about taking a trade... once you are
behind on a buy or sell signal, it is very hard to get back in.
And lastly, the trade you do not take is inevitably the trade that makes all
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Disclaimer: The financial markets are risky. Investing is
risky. Past performance does not guarantee future performance.
The foregoing has been prepared solely for informational
purposes and is not a solicitation, or an offer to buy or
sell any security. Opinions are based on historical research
and data believed reliable, but there is no guarantee that
future results will be profitable.