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Trading Will NOT Solve Any Of Your Problems

Dear readers of this site,

I want to address a few words to you, in all honesty, today. I wanted to do this for a while now, and I wrote a similar post years ago to the people of my first trading group (which I was being a member of, not the host). This site has grown immensely during the last 2 years, due to Rolf’s continuing effort that no doubt involves a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I hopped on a while ago in an effort to take TC even further than one man alone can and must say I am really enjoying the community and what I am doing here. Teaching others and working with people is what gives my life purpose, as opposed to trading, which I love to do as well, but would probably bury me under a pile of depression if all I did was just that.

But with great power comes great responsibility. Our readership has hit well above 100.000 people each month and the more of you reach out to us, the more I see one single reason why people come into this business in the first place: desperation resulting from financial pressure.

I’d say 95% of our readership here is male and between 20 and 40 years old, just like myself. We all have the same problems. We want to enjoy life, we want to escape the cubicle of doom, we want to take care of our families. We want to buy a vacation for our mother, a pickup truck and a shotgun for our dad, present the biggest engagement ring ever to our girlfriend, or we want to blow it all on cocaine and hookers. We want MONEY and we want it NOW, while we are young. And we want TIME.

Let me tell you something. I want all of that, too! I would be a hypocrite to say I don’t. I live in Hong Kong where rent is expensive as fuck. I want a 2000 sqm loft with sea view and a rooftop pool. And while I am coming close to being able to realistically afford just that, I simply don’t want to put that kind of burden on my shoulders as I want ZERO pressure when trading. I would never spend more than 5% of my net worth and/or monthly income on luxury and/or fix costs, which is why I keep living in a small but nice apartment with my girlfriend for now. And that is absolutely ok. Everything will come with time, if I am just patient and keep doing what I do best: making ticks day in, day out, without focusing on the monetary side of things, and keeping my happiness in check.

Sure, I don’t have to go to the office like you guys. I quit the slave machine a while back. When you look at my Instagram you see a world of joy full of food and beach pictures. And while I do enjoy life, never forget that social media is just a SNAPSHOT of a person’s life where they advertise their personal brand. They won’t show you the bloodshot eyes of a 20-hour session behind the monitor. Had I shown you my apartment after the launch of Edgewonk 2.0, you would have called me a dirty madman. My girlfriend more than once per week calls me a nerd because more often than not I don’t have time to do sports, or eat properly, or what not. Often I just get a huge meal from McDonald’s two times per day and sleep 4 hours per night. But I am happy with my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Trading professionally involves a ton of work and dedication. You will want to keep your work-life balance but on the other hand, if you don’t live and breathe the charts, there is no way you will make it. It is a very thin line between love and hate in this game. And the same is true for your loved ones – as much as they try to understand, they will never get it. Being a professional gambler, living through the swings, experiencing the emotions, earning and losing in a day what others make in a month, those are feelings you have to deal with. No one can help you with that.

I’m a nature freak. I love the forests, I love the sea. The sound of the wind swooshing through the leaves of trees on a mild, sunny morning, with no person in sight for miles, that is my thing. That’s what makes my soul come to peace. I love hiking, and being one with mother earth. The smells, the colors, the sounds. Everything is beautiful. I don’t need a 5-star hotel where underpaid maids wipe my ass. That sounds like a nightmare to me, in fact. Anyway, I don’t have near as much time as I’d want for being in the green.

And should I have a family in the future, I won’t have as much time for them as I would like, either. Because trading is not a fucking hobby. Sometime in the future I will quit day trading and focus 100% on swing trading to at least have a bit more time for everyone and everything, but even then, it is still a job that needs a lot of attention both physically and emotionally. It is really a kind of hate and love relationship with trading, but 99% of the time it is love. It only turns to hate when I allow it to consume me and define me as a person. It happened in Poker, it still happens in trading, but luckily I have my loved ones that always get me back on the ground and tell me when I’m going too far. You need these people in your life.

And here comes the harshest truth of them all – you are going to hate me for it, but maybe thank me one day when you finally understand what I mean. You are NEVER going to make it as a trader if you are unhappy with your current situation. If you need money, trading is going to make it worse. If you are unhappy, depressed, have no respect for yourself or no self-esteem – trading is going to make it worse. If you cannot follow your dreams, hate your day job – trading is going to make it worse. Trust me on this. Trading will make everything worse if you see it as a solution to any problem. But yes, that is why 99% of the people come into this business – to solve a problem, whatever that might be for them.

I hated my life when I was working in the cubicle. I came home from work and would trade for the next 4 hours. No free time. Almost killed me, I can tell you. And I just didn’t become better, it seemed. Once I came to terms with everything – telling myself that I just stick to the job, make the best of it, and grow my trading account with my salary while taking it SLOW, that is when I started to make money faster than I had imagined actually.

You need to be happy in your current situation. You have to love your life and yourself and the people around you, because trading acts as an amplifier of your psychology. If you are in a bad spot, trading will make it worse thousandfold. Every tiny psychological problem you have will come up and swallow you faster than you can say WTF. Additionally, you give yourself way too much pressure if you see trading as a way out of your misery, and fuck your trading up even more as you will be impatient, ruthless and reckless with your trading account. You will be a gambler, not a trader.

So there you go. Next time you see me at the beach, remember, it’s a Sunday afternoon and those are my 5 free hours of the week. Sure, I am traveling a lot, Sure, I have my freedom and I live my own personal dream. But never forget that both Rolf and I worked our asses off to be where we are and we continue to do so, because the moment you rest on your laurels this business will eat you up. Comments welcome :).

Moritz

PS: Funny enough, as I just saw, one of the people with the most integrity I know in this business, Steve from NoBrainerTrades (now StrategyRoot.com), wrote a similar piece just yesterday. Give it a read.

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51 comments

  1. Great Work Moritz ..
    Thank you for being brutally honest so everyone reading this can keep their own expectation in-checked.

    • Hey San,

      I just think false expectations cost me a lot of money, time, and grey hair, so maybe I can save some… 😉

  2. What a great piece of advice. Congratulations!

  3. Great article and spot on!!!! Thank you 🙂

  4. Great article..Thanks.

  5. I wish u wrote this and i read it 4years ago!
    Bless u, Moritz!

    • Heh, it’s never too late. Maybe I can help a few other lost souls instead. And maybe it helped you a little bit too in the sense of self-reflection ;).

      Bests,
      M

  6. Your article resonated with me on so many levels and confirmed the reality of this profession. I wasn’t happy in my current situation and I expected trading to fill that void and did I get a reality check. Great article and thank you for sharing the truths of what it takes to be a successful trader.

  7. A lot of things from this article are easier to say than done! Congratulations to both you to be on the right side!

  8. One of the best articles i’ve ever read! And i’ve read a lot. I made a small fortune in the dot com boom, and lost it ALL in the dot com bust. I then spent about 5 years as a losing trader, feeding my account from my day job. The next 6-7 years I progressed to a break even trader. Hooray, I didn’t have to feed my account any more! Now, I have progressed to being a profitable trader, over the last 12 months. Still lots of work to do, reducing the size and frequency of drawdowns. I have never given up!

    You and Rolf are obviously many, many years younger than I, but I learn many things from the two of you all the time. That is what this journey has meant, learning some from him, some from her, some more from someone else, and adapting it to my own style. The addition of Twitter to my idea box a year ago has been a major break through event. Wish I had done it sooner, but we can’t live with regrets, just accept it.

    You guys, and half a dozen others on Twitter are making a difference! Thank you!

    • Keith, your words mean a lot coming from someone with as much experience as you in the markets. And yes, it is all about taking what makes sense to you and adding your own stuff, and making your own way in the markets eventually..wish you luck on your journey, it seems you are moving in the right direction!
      M

    • Moritz and Rolf, I m 58 years old and I have the story very much like Keith’s –” The next 6-7 years I progressed to a break even trader. Hooray,” Hooray and Horray! A Great article full of wisdom and good vibes . thank you and very much appreciated to both Rolf and Moritz and my fellow classmate Keith

      • Hey Wil,

        you are welcome! At 58 years I expect you have the much needed patience and composure to make it in this business ;-)).

        Bests,
        M

  9. Great read. This is the honest harsh reality of trading and anyone who has stuck it out long enough can surely relate. This profession amplifies not only the things and situations that you don’t love about your life but also shows you every single one of your personal flaws. Fix yourself and your trading will fix itself. And spot on with the financial part too. It’s just too bad that most of us have to go through it ourselves before believing what our mentors told us from the beginning. Thanks for the read :).

    • Hey Lana, thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment. And yes, I think some things simply have to be learned by experiencing them because they are just so hard to believe when we just start out. Thinking of Karate Kid right now… 😉

  10. This is a 24/7 casino.there is absolutely no need to put in 20hr shifts unless you have bought into the Hollywood Wallstreet depiction and think this is what is required to be a master of the universe.put in a regular 8hr shift taking any opportunities that may appear during that time and then TURN THE MACHINES OFF! There’s always tomorrow

    • Hey Amjidali,

      I think 4 hours daytrading with full focus is absolutely enough to make a living and to burn your brain right through :).
      M

  11. Moritz,
    sometimes the written word can be under estimated in its value. Many will not see the value here as they have not had the experience, which unfortunately I think cannot be explained or appreciated in a well worded paragraph. I myself have been trading around 7 years and know exactly how this piece relates to the reality of a traders life. Our mental checklist in relation to our emotional stability is in itself an ongoing task, as even small changes in our perception directly effecting our personal lives will always find its way into our trading. As traders we are constantly thinking or should I say “over thinking” much like over trading and all the other many trading mistakes we will at some time return to haunt us.
    My 2c worth for the experienced only …
    You already know what not to do. Any trading decision you are about to act on, take a second and see if you would advise your best friend to make the same trade with the same stops entry and take profit. Now you are accountable to a close friend, are you still happy with the set up? Obviously a certain risk has been accepted, but the trade also needs to pass the friend test. This has helped me stop over trading over leveraging and many other of the emotional trading mistakes. Just need to make it a habit! and stick with it… GL and GT…

    ps: love HK, fantastic place lived there for 6 years..

    • Hey Ian,

      sorry I overlooked your comment in our backend but just skimmed through all of them and discovered it ;). Yes I love the best friend test, I actually always ask myself would I be ashamed if a professional trader looked over my shoulder and saw me doing what I am doing right now? If I feel the slightest shame, I pass on haha. Cool let me know if you ever come visit, lets go for a beer!! 🙂

      Bests,
      M

  12. Nice article Moritz. I was worried when I read the title as this is my first year trading and am still leanring the ropes.

    Luckily, as I am 47 years old, happily married, and have two young boys who are awesome, left the rat race 15 years ago, live in a beautiful green part of the world and I have a chunk of capital to invest…. I should be Ok!! But seriously, it took a lot of hard work to get where I am, and for young guys starting out in todays world, a reality check like this article could help prevent severe disappointment later. Good job, thanks and hopefully talk to you in the forum this week.

    • Hey John,

      it sounds like you have the perfect premise set up for a successful trading career. Now just keep up the patience, patience, patience, and you will be just fine!!! 🙂 Yes, see you in the Forum! M

  13. Thanks Moritz for writing the truth !! I have also felt the same and can fully empathise with you!!! I follow tradeciety as i find many things of you guys similar with mine including trading.
    GOD BLESS !!

  14. Well you’ve sort of answered alot of questions that i had in my mind. i have a day job and i travel around asia but from the age of 15 i have been fascinated with stock markets and trading. in current scenario i can’t leave my day job bt someday i would definitely want to be a full time trader. And yes HongKong is insanely expensive. we live in the same city :). Have a good long weekend mate. cheers

  15. After listening to all post and noise ,I still want to be trader,because I think this as business rather than money making machine or soul crashing . Any tip what research should I do . What do u think of Technical Analysis

    • Ankit, having a realistic view of trading as a business will just help you in the long run, so that’s great! I trade purely technical. You can check my vids at youtube.com/tradeciety 🙂 Bests, M

  16. I think this is true, most of the time; however, I do have two close friends who trade full-time and have this way for 10+ years now. Both don’t trade Monday’s and only trade the first 4-5 hours max of the RTH session. They both make incredible livings with an equally incredible life-work balance.

    So, while I agree it is true that for most they will need to slog it out for 10+ years before being able to scale back and regain some balance. It is also not always true, and as individuals, people can achieve things others deem impossible.

    I say this as a 20 hours day red-eyed junkie myself 😉

    P.S. Look after your body mate, it’s far important than an extra 50-100 pips a week! If you want to be able to go hard in this game into your 30-40-50s then you need to exercise, eat properly and practice disciplines that allow the brain to regenerate and heal. McD is poison, better to eat lawn grass 😉

    • Hey Nic,

      much appreciated comment! I am daytrading only 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, but will probably even cut that down to 3-4 days as well. But to GET there took me a lot of hard work, and then I am involved in other projects as well (including TC) because ONLY trading would certainly not fulfill me :).

      Hah yeah and well..taking care of my body has been and probably will always be my biggest vice. I can keep up a healthy lifestyle for a few weeks and then i get so fucking annoyed by it that i get drunk on 3 bottles of vodka, smoke 5 packs of cigarettes per day, and only eat junkfood, until my body feels like shit, and then i slowly get back into a healthy lifestyle. rinse and repeat. That’s just me ;-)))).

      But yes, 10 years to 15 years is the time I think you really need to invest from your 20s into your 40s and then you can lean back a bit and enjoy your life! Great contribution, thanks mate!

      M

  17. Great read Moritz, thumbs up for being so honest to us and yourself. I can fully relate as I saw trading as a solution for all of my problems. As a trader we have to self reflect and grow as a person. A positive attitude will give you great benefits in life, same goes for trading of course. I am trying to be succesful too. I started trading a couple of years ago, read tons of information, made a lot and lost a lot of money. I made almost every beginner mistake(I have learned the most from big losses). I have improved a great deal but I still feel I need to learn a lot from reading and experience.

    If you truly are passionate about what you are doing you will make it WORK. keep it up!!

    • Hey Orhan,

      everything you said I can underline :). Its funny as every journey is individual but in the end everyone seems to make the same mistakes before seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

      M

  18. You’re lucky you’ve found a partner that will tolerate you only having 5 hours free a week!

    This was well-written and resonates with a lot of us, thanks for that. Personally I’m trying to balance the full time job, a good relationship and trading in the evenings (after Euro close- not a great environment). The self-inflicted pressure to get profitable fast to be able to trade leave the day job and full time is exactly as you describe.

    Congrats on your success and thanks for sharing!

    • Hey Gavin,

      it can be a tough job juggling different commitments. Life is a b..each. Just never forget you need both, a healthy relationship, and a healthy career, and it is indeed possible.

      M

  19. Hi Moritz:

    Brutally honest and awesome writing! I too have had similar experience as too becoming happy and healthy in your ones own life and those that surround us! Also concentrating on the trade and the target rather than constantly looking at the account has put me into a totally different realm – the money will come and patience is the key – I am working on the patience part every day!!!

    Thanks to you and Rolf – Good guys you are and helping others is a reward in itself!

    Keep well – Doug.

    • Hi Doug,

      that’s what I’m talking about!!! 🙂 Great, you are a huge step closer to being profitable if you are not yet.

      Bests,
      M

  20. Hi Moritz,

    Thanks for writing this! Your article resonated with me in so many levels. I hope I can become a successful trader like you one day and have that work-life balance. It’s so awesome that you live in Hong Kong! I studied abroad there in 2011 and have been going back to visit every year since. I’d love to be able to relocate there one day. How were you able to obtain a visa to live in Hong Kong long term as a day trader?

    Thanks for all that you do!

    Joanna

    • Hey Joanna,

      yes HK is hard to beat in terms of..everything. Well, there are a lot of options 😉 Trading desks, getting a job, starting your own business.. there are visa agencies that can help you with that, even though it is not easy it is certainly possible!

      Bests,
      M

  21. Hi..How come you are sleeping just 4 hours when u advocate only one trade per week…thanks

  22. Thanks for this article! I’ve been trading for the past few years already and yet, still need to accept that trading is not your way outof the rat race, – an instant money, instead, it is an unconventional venture. Keep writing! 🙂

    • Hey Paula,

      yep the ironic thing is, once you accept that, you will make progress much quicker. People need money that’s why they lose money. Sad but true haha.

      Bests,
      M

  23. Thank you for this article. It has helped me gain a sense of clarity, which in turn will undoubtedly help my trading. 2016 started off with me being a very profitable scalper (by my standards) but due to personal circumstances I found external factors (job and being a carer for my very sick mother) messing up my mojo to the point that I had to step back from trading. The demographic you describe above is me down to a tee. However, the trading buzz has never left me and I am planning to get back into it but with a focus on Swing Trading because family and being happy in my life is more important right now. Hopefully I can be successful in juggling all of this in 2017. I have a trading account of 5000 that I plan grow. Funnily enough, a friend of mine who also trades (and taught me scalping methods) earns more in 3 months then most people will see in a year (he even drives a Koenigsegg) and he enjoys this type of trading, which is the key to his success I believe. I must say I am really enjoying this site Moritz so I would like to say a big thank you to you an Rolf.

    Best wishes,
    Colm

    P.S. I would love to hear your thoughts on Swing trading using price action.

    P.P.S. I have always been a pen and paper type of guy but I am very interested in your EdgeWonk software, particularly the capacity to reverse engineering personal goals to suit my trading plan.

    • Hey Colm,

      thank you for the kind words and it is great you decided to go down this path, you will not regret it. Swingtrading with price action is something I actually do, take a look at my article here: http://www.tradeciety.com/how-to-pick-easy-swing-trades/

      What I do is looking for Price action on daily, weekly and monthly charts, and then scaling in as often as I can on the 4 hour charts by using price action as well. I will elaborate on this more in the future.

      As for Edgewonk, check out edgewonk.com/free-trial and you will quickly know whether it is for you or not :).

      I wish you all the best on your journey and stay in touch!
      M

      • Hi Moritz,

        I really appreciate the advice and recommendations. I have spent most of this week reading through your site and it is a joy to do so (it’s like brain food for a starving mind). I have emailed some friends and co-workers (who always ask me about Forex stuff) on the link to Tradeceity because it is so comprehensive, and easy to understand.

        I also intend on trading on the 4H timeframe so I look forward to reading more of your articles on the topic in the future. Both yours and Rolf’s advice on work/life balance has made me reflect on my own life, trading and happiness. I really want to get back trading again but in a way that gives me freedom. So swing trading using price action on the 4 hour chart timeframe is how I am developing my trading plan. Funny thing is though, I did a few days of scalping recently and came out the other end with a nice profit. On the other hand, swing trading seems to be a whole different ball game then how my mind works. Your articles are really helping me work through this process, particularly since I never relied too heavily on price action in my previous system.

        If I may be so bold as to ask though. Any tips for creating a swing trading plan using price action would be greatly appreciated.

        All the best to you Moritz and happy trading.

        Colm

        • Hey Colm,

          scalping can be a lot of fun and only one hour of trading per day can generate nice profits ;). As for the 4-hour trading plan, I will be writing more articles about my 4 hour strategy in the future! For now, just think about it like this: Draw S/R on daily+ charts, wait for price to come to them, look for price action (pinbars, outsidebars, reversal bars/railroad tracks), get in, SL above/below PA bar, target next S/R, go down to H4, scale in as many times as possible on retracements :).

          Bests,
          M

  24. Hello Moritz,

    Beautifully written article. Even I wish to start trading soon and all the articles here are helping me take my first steps. My current work is nowhere related to markets so I was having hard time focusing on trading. Quick question, did you work as a day trader in you day job in the early days or was it related to the markets in anyway? Did you day job help you in trading career or was it self taught?

    All the best to you!!God Bless.

    Regards,
    Al

    • Hey Al,

      I was a project manager at Audi when I taught myself trading so there’s no connection but before that I was playing Poker professionally for a few years so that helped a lot :). While working a dayjob I simply traded the NY session after work, that went pretty well even though it was exhausting!

      Bests,
      M

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