So … how’s the new journey going Don? Well, as was the case with Dr. Brett back in time, I’ve had my public blogging journey interrupted for the moment due to a private equity transaction I’m currently helping facilitate that requires momentary silence. I do hope to restart the narration sometime during Q1, yet for the moment, hush is the operative word. In the meantime, stay well, warm, and I look forward to sharing the next leg of my journey – as well as possibly more fully explain the current incredible project – “soon”.
And we’re off. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve begun a new journey of seeing if I could grow a modest $225k portfolio (# corrected from earlier post) that I’ve set aside to $1.0m over two years on an extremely part-time basis. As I mentioned last week, this is in part to answer a friend’s question, as well as to better relate to so many traders who – like I do currently – have other commitments, priorities, and/or revenue streams.
As I suspected might happen, the week reinforced so many of my longstanding views including:
– Carefully managed holding times due to inability to monitor the market. – Necessity to pass on a number opportunities where “one must be present to win”. – Needing to be skilled, confident, and mentally sharp to take advantage when able. – Manage frustrations caused by opportunity loss.
All of the above were in play this week – including #4 in spades – yet I suppose I can’t be too displeased with the start. Here are some key stats generated by Tradervue on the week, as well as my own equity tracking chart. Click on any to enlarge. Note that most of the revenue was generated by non-leveraged ETFs with essentially zero commissions aside from the nominal SEC fee on the selling side.
Of course there are a ton other stats that I’ll likely dissect from time to time, yet we’ll close leg one as is. Someday, this will again revert to full-time – perhaps re-engaging with the network we built – and I can’t wait to some day disclose my other current project and the love/joy I have for the team and mission.
I was chatting with someone the other day who asked me if it was “possible” (his words) for a skilled trader to grow $225k into $1.0m over a 24-month period on a part-time basis trading with no overnight holds and overall “minimal risk” (again, his words … yet perhaps not the best) by trading primarily index ETFs, futures, and only occasionally options. The “part-time” component was key, which would mean lots of opportunity loss in terms of lack of a full-time market presence given other priorities, and would thus largely rely on ETH and RTH book-end trading.
My response? After some thought, I said something to the effect of “Let me give it a whirl and I’ll let you know.” So here we go … again … yet not really.
What I mean is I know we did something similar a while back, yet that was with a larger starting portfolio and full-time presence where we took $700k and grew it publicly to $2.3m. Yet as I’ve pointed out recently, I’m largely committed to another endeavor that is consuming the vast majority of my time and takes my highest priority. I’m also “enjoying life” during much of my off-time, which presents a further challenge. Yet that’s what makes this challenge so intriguing … limited hours & limited opportunity … two constraints I currently have that are common to so many part-time traders.
So here we go. I allocated $225k this week solely for this purpose, and all trading data will be loaded into Tradervue for statistical analysis and eventual audit. I’ll look to post statistical updates here from time to time as time and interest permit – I’m thinking a minimum of a weekly statistical summary out of TV – as well as what I’m thinking, including likely being pissed at missing opportunities (as I said the other day, one can do anything … just not everything). The ultimate goal will be to have some fun while providing a response to my friend’s question … at least from one person’s perspective and experience.
Here are some responses to the flood of emails that have landed over the past few days since the launch of what we’ll call Blog “v2”.
Original Blog – I’m in the process of “replanting” the initial 2008-15 blog which chronicled several years of trading diaries and formed the central foundation for Chronicles, and will eventually post a link to it on our new home.
Move to Maine – Yes, I’m loving it. I’m also typing this during the Season 7 launch of Maine Cabin Masters on DIY Network which has become my fav home improvement show. And yes, this new site’s cover pic (click to enlarge) was the view from our deck just a month ago.
Simplicity – We’ve downsized, sold real estate holdings into the Covid house price surge (forever a trader), and I’ve remained largely off the investor/trading public circuit following our incredibly fun two-year MDTN run. Suffice it to say we’re in the “less is more” phase of our lives, and I’m loving the ability to pick and choose what to do, when, and for whom. I’ve declined a number of public investor forum and interview requests, and will likely continue to do so for a while and “simply” limit public focus to “looking over my shoulder” diary entries, which – after all – is where it all began. There’s such a fine line where “fun” becomes “obligation” … lessons learned.
Time Frames – For those asking for my grid of optimal trading periods, here’s a link to the matrix, keeping in mind we’re in the EST portion of the year where there’s only an hour break between the U.S. ETH session re-start and Nikkei open.
TraderVue – Someone asked whether I still user Tradervue’s analysis tools, and the answer is yes. One of my favorite tools of theirs is the running intraday P&L, which provides me the best visual of the day’s profit management. For example, the chart to the left (click to enlarge) was mine from today.
“Free” ETF Trading – Following up on last week’s comments re: ETFs, the ability to trade with essentially zero transaction costs (aside from the SEC fee on the sale side) remains a boon for traders. For example, today’s trade for me consisted of 54,808 shares traded for a whopping transaction cost of $81.44. And yes, I still own a CME IOM seat. ‘Nuff said.
Trading After Dark – All of the “original” TAD videos have been preserved and are accessible via the menu of our new home. I know others have since coined the name, yet that’s no biggie at this end as we’re all family. We’ll do another few in the near future.
TOS Script Typo – Thanks to one of our readers who pointed out a typo in last week’s script posting. The typo has been corrected in the initial post.
I guess that’s it for now. Thanks to the warm eMail welcome, and it’s nice to get back into some kind of cadence as I look to make some productive use of some late-day time. Comments always welcome via our new email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I slowly come back “onto the grid”, here are some thoughts from the last two years … interspersed between life and trading (and aren’t they forever entangled?)
1. Commission-free ETFs have been a huge boon for traders and killer for FCMs. Love ’em, still trade ’em. 2. Writing a diary – whether life or trading – is therapeutic. Blog away, even if in private. And yes, I’ve missed not having the time to do it. 3. Trading support levels are great … just be darn sure you get confirmation of the turn. Just look at last night’s Covid v3 futures debacle which wiped out more than a few traders. 4. Debating on social media is futile. 5. Continual evolution in trading and life is a necessity. 6. That razor-thin line between confidence and being a jerk will forever exist … and we all cross it from time to time. 7. Naps will never be overrated. It’s amazing how a 10 minute power nap can gain you 1-2 hours at the end of the day. 8. Maine – much like other places on this wonderful planet – has more beauty than there will ever be time to fully explore. 9. I am vaccinated. It was a personal risk/benefit choice after considering all scenarios with no hidden agenda. I respect everyone’s personal decision, yet don’t regret it despite being down for 26 hours after the second dose. As a part of my annual physical, I’m having my antibodies checked to decide the timing of the booster. 10. Live life such that you have as few regrets as possible when it’s over. I say “few” because wouldn’t we all love to scream a few things at our younger selves? 11. I still – and will forever – have tinnitus. It has zero effect on my quality or quantity of life, yet will forever be there. 12. A few years ago, I was 57 yet felt 75. Now – working as much if not more than before – I’m 60 and feel 40. 13. Having a purpose in life is like having a rudder on a boat. When I’ve gone astray, it’s usually been because I’ve lost my sense of purpose. 14. A 20 foot pontoon boat 20 feet from the house is a priceless and immediate relaxation getaway. 15. Seeing SUVs drive on a Maine lake in January still boggles my mind. 16. On the trading front, I’m still looking for that next challenge. Even after a record-setting performance, creating simulations, authoring a book, and creating a world-class trading network, my drive remains strong. 17. My best trading performance has always paralleled a race or competition, even against myself as was the case during the documented race of the 2000s. Ideas/thoughts always welcome. Perhaps we have a real race among 5 takers … I’d welcome the “iron sharpens iron” and “best beats better” aspects, and we’d shake hands when it’s all done ala NHL Stanley Cup fashion. 18. If I haven’t mentioned it, we had to put “Grace” down two years ago after 17 years (12 with me). Her replacement was a 2017 Nissan Rogue … which I still haven’t named. 19. Negative momentum is as strong as positive momo. Getting an external shove or theoretical slap in the face can help. 20. It’s been 20 years since Chelsea – now married and helping lead a company in the medical industry – was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. She still has “Wags” that was so kindly sent to her by Larry Connors immediately upon her diagnosis.
Enjoy the weekend, and let’s have some fun in the coming years! Ideas always welcome to email@example.com.
Here are the four scripts that go along with the TOS dashboard in last week’s post. For MDTN members, these essentially reflect the visual “BBs” (NOT Bollinger Bands … rather think small bullets), and Clifford/Cherry/Stevia indicators which I’ve found to be fantastic visual momentum overlays. Once set, you can remove any MACD or momentum indicators as these take their place. I’ll expand on their use in future posts, yet it should be relatively intuitive, and here’s the resulting visual, using today’s MATD opening as a backdrop.
Name: DM Down-Above Once loaded, on Data tab, uncheck Show Data Plot, and on “X” tab, set as Boolean, Down Arrow @ High, Line, 2 Width, and orange color.
It’s been said many times that – with some exceptions – one can do anything … but not everything. Finite amount of waking hours in the day, days in the year, and years in a lifetime contribute to such a truth.
This truism has been especially evident, and frankly gnawing at me for much of the last two years, as it was 24 months ago to the day when I was handed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which – as was the case with Dr. Brett Steenbarger a few years ago – would mean I’d have to step back from something that I loved so dearly, which in my case was working alongside a global network of trading offices that we’d built from scratch just 18 month earlier. For at the time, I was offered the opportunity to begin a new journey to build the financial arm of one of the fastest growing companies in the world.
I’ve been intentionally private about this effort for a number of reasons similar to those Dr. Brett referenced during his trading “sabbatical”, and will likely continue to do so going forward due to non-disclosure requirements. What I can share is that it’s been a labor of passion that has this now-60 year old feeling like he’s 40 again for enough reasons to fill another book, yet which include hiring, mentoring, and molding a tremendously dedicated financial team, along with serving individuals who I firmly believe (and yes, I’m biased) are some of business’ greatest minds. Perhaps some day we’ll be able to delve more into this.
It would be an understatement to say that it’s been a whirlwind 24 months, especially considering a global pandemic, death of my mom, wedding of my older daughter, and relocation from – of all places – our 60-year old family home on Cape Cod that has hosted so many memorable family and team events.
Yet I dearly miss my MDTN team – some of which I traded alongside for two decades – as well as staying loyal to diary places like this to self-check, share insights, or share silly movie or sports trading analogies. And while I still actively manage our private portfolio in much the same way I always have – especially during those high-probability ETH book-end hours, I miss being able to take advantage of those prime midday opportunities, as well as the laser-focus that is absolutely required to “step on the gas” and optimize opportunities. As this goes to press, I’m actively working on resolving that part of the dilemma – stay tuned.
As I said in Chronicles, trading profits – or any kind of money for that matter – does one thing … it buys or consumes time. Nothing more, nothing less. And it remains up to us to choose how to use the other side of that barter equation. In my case, past dedication and funding afforded me the opportunity to shift gears … an opportunity that I fully realize isn’t available to all.
Yes, one can indeed do mostly anything – with the right amount of dedication, ambition, talent, and/or teamwork – just not everything.
And such is one of the most difficult trading decisions one can make.
We’ll get back to more specific trading and financial market thoughts in future posts.
Hi again. Given the deluge of email responses to my earlier post from TOS users, I thought I’d post a pic of my current TOS screen, along with the TOS share link. The setup essentially mirrors much of what I’ve used over the years, with a few tweaks reflecting dashboard components that our network refined over the last few years. I’ll post more thoughts, how I use it, etc. in the near future. In the meantime, one of the more interesting tweaks I’ve made recently – in lieu of three-line break – is the use of wickless Heiken-Ashi candles on the 1-minute chart to denote turn signals at key levels and keep one on the right side of the market with just the right amount of confirmation without paying up too much. The horizontal lines reflect value area boundaries for interim support/resistance and breakout zones, and the arrows reflect momo indicators our network uses. I hope it helps and it was great to hear from so many folks.
11-16 7:15 am Update – For some reason, I was informed the momo arrow indicators are not showing on the share link. I’ll look into that and follow up.
Many moons ago – circa 2007 – I started blogging my trading thoughts, ideas, frustrations, and far more in an intense online trading diary which many of you followed. I did this primarily as a personal motivational and accountability tool, while also trying to bring some transparency to an industry so often clouded with smoke and mirrors. In the months and years to follow, requests to speak, teach, write, facilitate trading venues, and far more became, well, overwhelming to say the least. A book, 15 Jellie programs, 1000s of tweets, dozens of speaking engagements, and co-founding a global trading network will do that to you! While I was pleased with the Chronicles book and subsequent teaching forums which helped fund various charitable causes, and thoroughly enjoyed working alongside fine folks like Robin, Damon, Kim, Linda, Brett, Larry, and Ariel over the past dozen years, balancing everything while maintaining a sense of purpose and pursuing other life pursuits became unmanageable.
Almost two years ago, I made the difficult decision to step away from the public forum – including the global network that we so recently established – to focus on higher life priorities. So much has happened in recent years, including losing the last three of our parents to difficult circumstances, seeing both of our daughters get married, dealing with a global pandemic, and more recently, relocating from our 40 year-old family home on Cape Cod to the foothills of western Maine to work alongside an incredible team of entrepreneurs, former Navy Seals, and just darn incredible people committed to restoring U.S. manufacturing and revitalizing a once-proud local economy. And while I feel I’ve provided at least a small amount of value in leading their financial efforts, they’ve provided me with far more in the context of a re-centering, re-birth, and a team-above-self attitude. In making the move, we downsized into a smaller home, with the upsides including a far simpler life and living only 20 feet from one of Maine’s beautiful lakes.
I continue to love, monitor, and trade the financial markets, am never far from them, and continue to learn from them daily. They will forever remain living entities that teach, confirm, humble, and expose one’s strengths and weaknesses. And while at the age of 60, I’ve had to tweak my approach slightly to reflect evolving levels of mental bandwidth and addressing other commitments, not much has really changed in terms of basic concepts, beliefs, indicators, and approach.
So here we are. Back to where it all began. I’m frankly not anticipating doing much on the teaching or commercial front, aside from working with a few traders. Yet I still love to write, and feel I still have something to give to an industry that has taught and given me so much. So consider this post the start of Blog v2. There’s so much to discuss, including recent lessons, views on current market rhythms, Crypto, and more … yet we’ll leave that for future posts. I also have no clue as to posting frequency … let’s just see where things lead. I’ve inserted a “Trade of the Week” placeholder to provide at least some sort of personal motivation, and perhaps we’ll even add a few new Trading After Dark videos in the coming months. The only thing I know is that everything will be at a pace of my choosing … a lesson learned from the past 15 years.
As always, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @millerdon. And please drop me a line if you ever find yourself in the incredible beauty of this part of northern New England. In the meantime, be well, and aim to love, uplift, and inspire.