Fear: The Enemy of Market Timing Success
"Fear" - is defined in the dictionary as:
"...an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or
awareness of danger...implies anxiety and usually the loss of courage."
The fact is, all traders, investors, and yes market timers, feel fear at times,
at some level. What is important is how we address it. Knowing the definition,
and reasons for fear, can actually help market timers to overcome it.
In the book "Trading in the Zone" by Mark Douglas, he describes how most traders
(market timers) "...believe that they know what is going to happen next."
This can cause market timers to put too much importance on the "current" trade,
and to lose focus on their performance over time. Market timing is based on "probabilities" that
make us successful over time. But too much focus on a single trade causes the
fear levels to rise. As this occurs, market timers become hesitant and cautious,
trying to avoid mistakes. The risks of choking under pressure (not making a
All market timers, at times, feel fear. But successful market timers manage
their fear, while losing market timers are controlled by it.
When faced with a particularly stressful decision, it is a perfectly normal
human response to revert to the "fight or flight" response. Either we do battle,
or flee. When a market timer feels such an emotional response, his or her decisions
are very likely to be adversely affected.
Fear of Loss
The fear of loss can keep a market timer from executing a trade. Or it can
keep him from exiting a trade when the trading plan calls for it. Either can
be costly. No one likes to have losses, but even the very best timers do. The
key is to realize that you are worrying about the results of "that" trade,
and not concentrating on executing the plan, which over time will make you
Trading plans, such as the ones we use here at FibTimer, take time. No single
trade makes or breaks the plan. Once you understand and accept that, it is
much easier to make the trades without the "fight or flight" response hampering
your ability to act.
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Fear of Missing Out on Profits
This fear is usually felt during runaway rallies. All your friends are talking
about the incredible profits they are making every day. If you really look at
this in the right perspective, it is a very dangerous kind of fear. It eventually
causes you to buy in, and of course, when you and thousands of others who feel
the same way react at the same time, the market is finally at its top.
Having a trading plan, and sticking to the trading plan, eliminates this fear.
You "know" your plan works, so you are not susceptible to the "greed" factor
that comes so easily in market rallies.
Fear of Losing Profits
This fear arises when you have a profit, and start worrying about losing it.
If you take your profits, you will feel like a winner! But you know this story.
The market will likely continue in the same direction, leaving you with an entirely
new set of fears.
Fears cloud decisions. And decisions clouded by fear, that feel right at the
time they are made, are more often than not... wrong.
Again, back to the trading plan. You know what to expect, because you have a
plan that "will" succeed over time. It "will" bring in those profits. So a commitment
to the "plan" relieves you of the fears of missing out on that quick profit,
and the decision that invariably turns bad.
Fear of Being Wrong
The desire to be "right" is in direct opposition to the ability to be successful.
The desire to be "right" is in direct opposition to the ability to make money.
A market timer's desire to be right, to be able to tell his friends how successful
he or she is, can become so powerful, that a he or she winds up second guessing,
the "plan." Taking winners too quickly, or holding onto losers in the hopes that
they will come back, or at least break even.
To sum it all up, "successful" market timers actually make their profits off
the "fears" of the majority of investors, traders, and even other market timers.
They do this by "sticking to a plan" and not allowing emotions (fears) to rule
their decision making ability.
FibTimer provides the plan. Based "not" on emotions, but on a sound "trading
plan." Fear can be conquered when you have a plan. As time passes, confidence
builds, and the plan will become easier and easier to follow. Stick with the
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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.