Traders, Don’t Be Like Mr. Geoffrey!

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“Anyone who has been involved in the markets has been humbled and respects the fact that this is not an easy game no matter how successful we have already been or how much experience we have.” – Charles E. Kirk

About four years ago, Mr. Geoffrey (not his real name) came to me and said he wanted to learn Forex trading. I explained to him that training would take some months because there were crucial aspects of this business that people tended to ignore and we would need to work on those areas.

The training began. Initially, Geoffrey showed interest, but as time went on, he lost patience. He told me that since he knew how to buy, sell, close trades and handle basic operations of trading platforms, he didn’t want to waste time with further training. He confessed that he had just purchased some semi-automated trading software which would make him rich very quickly. He showed me the historical results of the strategy as published by the vendors – 4,000% returns in one year!
Traders, Don’t Be Like Mr. Geoffrey!I tried to caution him against greed, but he thought I was a doubting Thomas who wanted to discourage him from speedy attainment of financial freedom. I was too conservative for him. Geoffrey took a high-interest loan of $5,000 and started trading with it, using that semi-automated strategy. He constantly let me know how his trading was. I saw that he was risking 20% per trade and I warned him against that, telling him that 1% risk per trade would be OK instead.

“I want to pay my kids’ school fees,” he retorted.

He was able to pay the school fees that week. He even made an additional $120,000 within the next two months and was therefore lucky enough to pay back the loan with the interest on it. His plan was to raise the remaining balance to $1,000,000 before he withdrew everything. I was jealous of his achievement; I began to feel like a fool with the so-called trading beliefs I held on to.

Without mincing words, Dr Woody Johnson says there are traders who have good market knowledge, a good plan and good money management but fail to keep their commitments and follow-through with the plan. I discovered that Geoffrey didn’t use stops; he preferred to run negative trades until they came back to entry prices. The strategy he was using had stop loss recommendations included in it, but he ignored those recommendations. I warned him against his failure to use stops.

“Come off it, man. Stops are for chickens,” he replied.

I ceased giving him advice.
Traders, Don’t Be Like Mr. Geoffrey!One day, he messaged me on Skype, asking me what went wrong with the British economy since the Cable (a term used for the GBP/USD currency pair rate ) was dropping like a stone. I replied that I knew that kind of drop was normal, so I didn’t bother to wonder what caused it. He said nothing in return.

At times, the markets may show sensitivity to fundamental figures and move accordingly; at times, the markets may ignore the fundamentals. After a few days the Cable was still dropping. He messaged me again on Skype, asking me this question: “Should I close the trade?”

I didn’t know the trade he was talking about, neither did I advise him to open the trade. So, why would I advise him to close the trade? He opened the trade himself and he should be responsible for the outcome of the trade. His position size was suicidal; plus his trade management technique was dangerous. I didn’t respond to his question.

Later I began to empathize with Geoffrey. I was aware that something was wrong with his trading, so I decided to visit him. I found him yelling at his hen.

“You unfortunate hen! You’ve been incubating your eggs for over 40 days without hatching them. Your mates hatch theirs within 21 days, but you are here showcasing your uselessness. If you want to hatch your eggs, hatch them quickly. If you’re not ready to hatch, get out of my sight!”

Geoffrey was extremely bitter as a result of the adverse conditions affecting his trading capital and he was talking it out on the poor hen. He chased the hen away.

As I entered Geoffrey’s trading room, I saw that his account was down by -$100,000. He’d previously raised it to +$180,000. He became overconfident and began to risk 30% per trade (without stop loss). He had a few positions that were in favour of the Cable because his semi-automated strategy generated a ‘buy’ signal. The rally that acted as the cause of the ‘buy’ signal was a mere rally that trapped the bulls before the currency pair assumed a significantly long-term downtrend.
As I was watching the chart, another fundamental figure affecting the GBP was released. The effect aided the continuation of the downtrend. The market, which had dropped by over 800 pips already, dropped by another 150 pips. Geoffrey suffered.

I was unable to say anything – I felt very sorry for him.

Eventually, Geoffrey closed his positions. The new available balance was less than $1,500. At least he was able to avoid a margin call, wasn’t he?

I won’t mention the consequences Geoffrey faced as a result of his foolishness.

Like some long trades at the time, the bullish gains quickly evaporated. However, while Geoffrey was badly affected, certain traders have learned how to survive that kind of price action; they’ve even learned how to make money from that.

This chapter ends with this quote:
“As dedicated as I became, it was not until I was able to both profit and protect my gains that I considered myself a successful trader.” – Chris Ebert


This text was taken from the book: “Unlock Your Potential with the Realities of Trading”




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Azeez Mustapha

Azeez Mustapha is a trading professional, currency analyst, signals strategist, and funds manager with over ten years of experience within the financial field. As a blogger and finance author, he helps investors understand complex financial concepts, improve their investing skills, and learn how to manage their money.