Spring Resolutions for Traders

  1. Read a book.

Of course, we’re not referring to the latest Grisham or Patterson thriller. We’re talking about something market oriented. This year’s pick is about strategies for trading Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).  ETFs are one of the fastest growing financial vehicles – ETFs are growing quickly as money managers and traders find them to be more convenient. In early 2009 ProShares filed for nearly 100 new leveraged ETFs.

High Probability ETF Trading

Larry Connors, CEO and Co-founder of TradingMarkets.com, and Cesar Alvarez, Director of Research at Connors Research take your ETF trading to the next level in High Probability ETF Trading. This new strategy book, complete with exact trading rules, is backed by over a decade of statistical results.

Available in hardcover, paperback or online (not a download; read online) by either Calling toll free 1-888-484-8220 ext. 1 (international: 001-213-955-5858 ext. 1) or clik here to order online at .

  1. Enjoy a Film Night with movies with a Trading Theme.

What could be better on a winter night than watching a B film about trading and the pursuit of the perfect trading system? Two films come to mind – Pi and Limit Up. Both films deal with the quest for 100% pure-profit trading.

In Pi, the hero Max seeks to uncover number patterns in the stock market. He is pursued by various groups, including a sinister Wall Street firm which believes Max may have unlocked the key to predicting all stock price behavior. Pi was produced for just $60,000 in 1998 but went on to gross over $3 million. This is psychological thriller and is not a film for the kiddies.

Moving on to a PG-13 Comedy/Fantasy is Limit Up. This is the story of a young trader’s assistant who sells her soul to the Devil for the ability to perfectly predict Soybean futures. Her success moves her from runner to floor trader at the Chicago Board of Trade, where she attempts to corner the bean market.

  1. Get a jump on your taxes and make a resolution to lower your tax bill in 2010.

Are you taking advantage of all the deductions you are entitled to as a trader? Do you know when personal expenses can be converted into deductible business expenses?

If you are full-time trader have you and your tax preparer explored the benefits and pros and cons of declaring Trader Status and trading through an entity. If you are not a professional trader, does your accountant understand Section 1256 tax treatment of futures contracts?

  1. Set aside time to play a board game with your family.
    (and at the same time, teach them about trading)

In last year’s Resolutions we highlighted Pit (Parker Brothers). For 2010 it’s Limit Up (The Wilhelm Co.).

Limit Up makes you a part of the commodity world. You can speculate on expected price movements, protect your crops and balance your portfolio. You compete with government policy, weather and the forces of supply and demand.

The game allows you to plan a high or low risk attack (or anything in between). Take long and short positions, spread, but watch out for margin calls!

  1. Learn a new Indicator.

Are you a moving average person? Or may be you’ve always used Bollinger Bands to guide your trading decisions. Why not make the commitment to yourself to learn a new indicator or technical study. A brief list to choose from includes:

  • Relative Strength Indicator (RSI)
  • Williams’ Accumulation/Distribution Index
  • Donchian Channels
  • Chaikin Money Flow Index
  1. Ramp up your trading with a Trading Plan Template.

How well do you understand the difference between a Trading Plan and a Trading System? Are you incorporating both into your trading accordingly? To help jumpstart your 2010 performance, make the Resolution to sit down and compose, in writing, your personal Trading Plan. The elements of your personal plan might include:

  • Motivation and Goals
  • Risk and Money Management
  • Timing
  • Fundamental and Technical Tools
  • Trade Documentation and a Trading Log

Need help in formulating a Plan? Download a free Trading Plan Template at: https://www.zaner.com/3.0/ljstradingplantemplate.asp

  1. Conduct a Personal Assessment.

Were you happy with your trading results in 2009? Do you feel there was room for improvement? Look over this checklist of areas of concern that all traders face. Decide which aspect of your trading needs the most improvement, and then chart out a course for yourself to help make 2010 your most profitable year ever. We remind readers that there is always a substantial risk of loss associated with trading futures and forex and that only risk capital should be used when trading futures and forex.

  • General market knowledge and terminology
  • Choice of trading platform
  • Order entry and exit strategy
  • Money management and risk control
  • Trading psychology and the mental “game” of trading
  • Technical and/or Fundamental analysis tools
  • All of the Above

*Trading Futures, options and forex is speculative in nature and involves substantial risk of loss. Traders can and do lose money.

Larry Schneider is director of business development for the Zaner Group, a Chicago-based independent introducing brokerage firm, and a frequent contributor to the futures pages of TradingMarkets. Zaner provides futures and forex brokerage services to self-directed traders, broker-assisted accounts as well as traditional full-service account management. He will be teaching the online Basics of Futures Trading course for Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies.

Trade ETFs with confidence everyday. Click here to access our powerful custom scans and get a list of today’s highest rated ETFs.