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!