I’m Live!

2017 has gotten off to a bang and I’m excited to be all set up with a live trade account, ready for the years trading. The aim of the game now is to keep that excitement in check and try and keep my head above water and survive my foray into live trading.

A while back I decided to take the advice given to me about Sim trading. I’ve spent an awful lot of time messing around with sim accounts over the years and while they have their benefits I felt that for me their rightful place was now in the bin with last year’s fitness plan. A big part of moving forward is the jump to live trading and I always felt I hadn’t quite accrued enough experience to make that jump, it came as a bit of an epiphany  however to realise that someone with my psychological makeup was never going to feel truly ready and that endlessly trying to accumulate knowledge without experience is a fools game.

The big issue however was that I don’t have access to the capital that would be required to make a serious go of trading for a living, so how do I overcome that issue? Well first off I’m not looking to trade for a living, that comes way later in the journey I think and I have a job I love already so that’s where I make my living. Right now I’m looking to gain experience and hopefully survive doing it. To that end I decided that I’d open a small live account, get focussed by putting actual money in the market and adopting a conservative approach to trying to preserve that money. Last year I decided 2017 would be the year I went live in the futures market.

After searching around the brokerages (of which there are many) I settled on Ninja Trader Brokerage through Dorman Trading. I’ve opted to take their Direct Licence which means the platform is free but the commissions are higher. That’s fine with me as I’ll be limiting my trading to 1-2 trades at day initially while I get on my feet. I went for Ninja as their margins, account minimums and commissions all work for allowing me to take trades in the US Treasuries market at an affordable rate. I also had a good experience with their support team and had gotten used to Ninja to run Jigsaw. I’m sure I’ll migrate to Rapid Trader Pro as a standalone platform at some point but for now I’m content with Ninja Trader 7.

It’ll come as no surprise that my set up on Jigsaw in the picture above mirrors that of John Grady’s of No BS Day Trading. This is of course because I’m a student of his and am a proponent of his method. The timing is deliberate, both to fall into the motivational period that is always a new yearly beginning, but also as I’m due to take John’s trading webinar at the beginning of February.

So I thought I’d list the figures I’m dealing with so that anyone looking to get set up in a similar way to me in the future might find it helpful and because I’m trying to add a bit of disclosure to the whole retain trading thing. I’ve set the account up with £1000, yup thats a diddy amount I know, but it’s all I have available right now and it gets me in the game. That translates after foreign transaction fees to about $1160 in the Dorman account ready to trade. There are no inactivity fees with Ninja provided you don’t log in and the month of opening the account there is grace too so if I don’t trade this month due to not getting a read, I won’t be charged. Standing fee’s are $14 for CME Exchange fees as I only want the ZN, ZF, ZB and ES and I have a fee of $50 per month to pay for the Jigsaw Live Trade Licence. Other than that, that’s it. My round turn commission on the ZN works out to $3.62. I did work out how many ticks I’d need to cover fees but decided not to focus on this as it will skew how I look at my time in front of the screen, I wan’t to be learning rather than focusing on the cost of doing business, for the time being at least.

So that’s about it, 11th Jan 2017 here marks the start of my live trading in the US Treasuries market. I’m very excited to be writing this as it’s been coming for a long time, I’ve worked hard to learn what I can out of the market and I’ll be making the most of the No BS webinar coming up. I’ll be recording my progress and documenting it here as I planned so that hopefully can be useful to others. The mic on my ThinkPad is pretty rubbish so I’ve ordered a USB one off Amazon which hopefully will help to bring some video content to the blog too.

I’m not trading today as I’ve got too many things to get on with and it’s already getting on for mid morning in the Treasuries market, there is also an auction later today so I’ll start fresh another day. Out of interest you will see from the image above my Jigsaw platform is in Sim mode, I’m planning on spending the first day or two so just watching the market to try and get a read and solidify some of the principles I’ve been reading in John’s prep material. I’m going to keep the platform in Sim mode for now while I get re-acquainted with both Ninja and Jigsaw, I’ve been burned before when setting up accounts and software by having fat fingers and clicking things I didn’t mean to. I have a feeling I’ll be hitting the “flatten everything”  button with suitable paranoid for a while before I close down the software too!

The plan going forward it to watch and proceed with caution, limit to 1-2 trades a day on the ZN and only when I’ve identified locations of likely yield. I’ll aim to consider risk to reward first and trade with the overall goal of keeping the account intact to gain experience the following day. I’m trading a one lot of course and should I lose 30% ($230) of the account I’ll cease trading to re-evaluate. If I’m down that much it means I’ve lost 15 odd ticks and need to look at what it is I’m doing wrong, that’s a piece of advice I certainly won’t be ignoring.

That’s it for now, thanks for reading, wish me luck and stay tuned for how I get on, I’ll also be putting up some more book reviews soon the next of which will be “An end to the bull” by Gary Norden.

All the best for 2017!

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4 thoughts on “I’m Live!

  1. mnb says:

    Hi Jaimie,

    I’ve been following your blog for the past few days and it’s interesting reading about your excitement and at the same time your frustrations at the joy of learning to trade.

    Interestingly, I’m also looking at John’s NOBS trading courses. He seems genuine and it’s a small enough price to pay for decent education. At least if I decide it’s not for me I haven’t spent £’s.

    When you started out with £1K in your account how did you find it trading US treasuries with this amount of money? Depending on your stop loss you could easily hit your max draw down of the day with just 1 or 2 trades (depending on your risk profile). In fact I asked John the same question and actually asked whether the 6E or M6E would be equally beneficial when starting live trading as the tick value is a lot less. He’s just experienced the hurricane over the weekend so he will probably take a while to get back which is fair enough.

    I’ve noticed that your full time job can sometimes get in the way. If you are UK based and at home during the morning is there a reason why you choose the US treasuries and not the Eurex products (Bobl, Eurostoxx 50, Bund) as it’s slightly cheaper both on tick value and commission (I think) and you’ll have better liquidity than the overnight US treasuries.

    Anyway, all the best in your endeavours and hopefully you haven’t given up and if you did at least you gave it a go and didn’t lose a fortune. At the end of the day you have a good job with a stabe income.

    Regards,
    mnb

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jamie says:

      Hi mnb thanks for the comment! In short yes the account size is an issue, as John said it would be. I’ve found that initially it’s not too big a problem as long as you keep your tick loss to a minimum, which actually helps with discipline. Where it becomes a factor is that after I take one trade and its a looser I’m inclined to not trade again for the day, then you end up having a number of losing days because you don’t have the stomach to take other trading decisions and it can make a big psychological dent.

      Also, the account fees get taken out every month start to become noticeable. I’m actually not trading at the minute due to so much going on at work and at home it’s become untenable, which leads me to your second point.

      Theoretically I have have the time to work the US Session from open to close, in reality it doesn’t work out that way. I wanted to trade US Treasuries because I wanted to stick to John’s methods as much as possible and it’s been good to do it so far. Truth be told I’m at a point right now where I am considering trading the Eurostoxx because the timing does work out better, I’ve considered taking John’s course specifically for this but have a feeling that I’m giving up on Treasuries and again just looking for the next thing, which I don’t want to do. How have you found it?

      I’d love to chat further if you like, feel free to drop me a line if so.

      Regards,
      Jamie.

      Like

      • mnb says:

        Hi Jamie,

        I’ve not actually taken any of John’s courses as yet. I sent him an email last week and he got back to me confirming that the Euro and mini products are not good for scalping. As I am in the UK he suggested the Eurostoxx 50 or the Bobl and then the US treasuries during the opening hours if I could manage.

        I will definitely take the first 2x courses and give myself a couple of months to get to grips with the knowledge. Truth be told, I don’t know anything about reading the DOM and who knows, I may never get it but I’m willing to give it a go.

        The hardest part for me will be setting the time aside to learn and later to trade. As a typical example, I decided to wake up this morning, sit down and decide how many hours I would be able to dedicate to learning every day and once I was comfortable, how many hours I would be able to dedicate to trading every day. I’m fortunate as I work from home but the job still takes precedence. What happens next is the phone rings and there happens to be an IT issue which needs resolving…enough said.

        Now if I had set aside 2hrs to study or 3hrs to trade this would totally have thrown me, not only slowing down my learning curve but psychologically I would’ve been frustrated but then I do have a full time job so I have to accept that but can I…only time will tell. Sure, it’s only 11:30 but I probably missed what the market was trying to do from the time it opened so now I’m trying to second guess what will happen and my next meeting is at 2pm…not conducive conditions.

        Perhaps if I ever decide to go live I should trade between 8-10am for the Eurex products, finish work at 4pm and then have a look at the US treasuries during their late morning / early afternoon session but these are all factors that will need to be taken into consideration under realistic real life conditions.

        If only I was introduced to trading straight after college, opened an account with my bursary money and what I earned working on the campus, taken 1yr off and if it didn’t work out, start a full time IT job…if only.

        Like

        • Jamie says:

          If only yeah, I’ve thought that. If only I’d thought of this and started the journey when I was 18. That said life is life and we are were we are. The developments over the last few months for me although not directly trading related in a technical sense have really laid out a path for the future that I think will support success. I’m actually taking a break to concentrate on family, build an account and come back without the worry of what a one lot one tick loss will do to the account, it’s proving a big distraction.

          Also, the points you mention about time in the day are really important. I’d say spend a bit of time to make sure you nail down what you can give to the trading day and how you want to employ that time. I’ve considered the European products before and will probably end up doing John’s European course in due course. I find it hard to get in a groove if I don’t witness the open, psychologically it just throws me off. Similar story if I have rushed the prep. I think if you can get the dynamics of your day such that it doesn’t knock on to your other commitments it’ll alleviate a lot of stress. I’d say definitely get the starter courses, take your time with them then just watch the markets, John is right you do start to see it, I’ve started to, it’s timing and judgement that are the tricky parts I think. I hope you hit it off with the course, techniques and methodology and wish you ever success.

          Like

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