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The Biggest Reason Why You Aren’t A Successful Trader

In my last blog post, I talked about what is the most important skill that a trader needs to have in order to be successful. Well in this post, I’m gonna talk about the biggest reason why traders fail. Before I tell you what is that reason, let me share with you my story and how I’ve become a trader for the last 17 years. Many of you may know my story so I will get straight to the point. I started trading in 1999 and I made money right away. In fact, it was during the dot com economy and you couldn’t lose any money buying any technology or dot com stock. So I didn’t slowly ease my money into the stock market, I plunged right in and I made a lot of money in a very short period. I quit my job and became a full-time day trader. However, the crash came in 2000 and I lost more than half my capital. I was devastated but I refused to give up. Perhaps it had to do with ego but I was determined to make back the money I lost. I didn’t. I ended up losing more money and was very inconsistent in my trading results. I was in a financial mess as my trading capital kept getting smaller and I had no income coming in as well. This lasted for 3 YEARS. In fact, I remember one week in particular, I contemplated giving up and told myself, “Mike, you tried hard enough and you’re just not a good trader. Just go back to the corporate world and get yourself a full-time job. Trading is not for you.”. I thought about how much work and trading courses that I took and it was a shame that I put all this effort in and give up. But the biggest question I asked myself is if I really enjoyed trading and it took me only a day to realize that I LOVED TRADING. It would always be a passion of mine irregardless of whether I made money or not. That day, I told myself. “Don’t give up on trading. Focus on what you love to do and keep improving on it. The results will come if you get good at what you enjoy doing.” After reading my story, I’m sure you now know what is the biggest reason why you aren’t a successful trader yet. If you have given up on trading, you will never be a SUCCESSFUL TRADER.

Many traders try to justify many reasons why they give up on trading. The THREE most common ones are:

  • You lose all your capital in your trading account. If this is the case, go back to trading a demo account and build back your funds through your income sources.
  • You are afraid of trading and losing more money. This is normal especially if you are on a losing streak. Take a break from trading and focus on minimizing your losses when a trade doesn’t go your way.
  • You lose interest in trading and thought it was a get rich quick way. I hope this isn’t the main reason why you got yourself into trading. Trading could be a potentially lucrative career for you over the long term. Ask yourself “Do you give up on your career if you face some obstacles along the day?”

My simple quote to end this article, “Trading is a journey. It’s not about how fast it takes for you to achieve success. It’s all about reaching your final destination no matter how long it takes.”

The Most Important Skill in Trading

I’ve trained many traders over the years and have seen successes and failures of my students. What differentiates the two? Is it because of their knowledge level, trading experiences, capital, intellectual abilities or just plain luck? It’s very simple and it all comes back to a skill that applies to success in life. It’s your MINDSET. Many of you have heard me speak about mastering your mindset and that trading is a mental game. Well it is the TRUTH. You see, the profession that we are in is totally reliant on when you push the buttons on your computer to BUY or SELL a trading instrument like stocks. If you BUY at a good price and it goes up then you make money. If you BUY at a bad price and it goes down right away then you lose money. It’s really a simple profession that we are in. The key is obviously timing. You can say that it depends on your knowledge and experience in determining what to buy or sell OR other concepts such as money management, chart reading and a whole slew of other factors. But let’s say that you have a solid foundation of knowledge and 3+ years of experience in trading the financial markets AND you’re still not a successful trader. Then what’s the skill that you lack?

Having had the privilege of training a lot of experienced traders, I can say that the one skill that they lack or haven’t fully developed is their ability to detach themselves emotionally from their BAD and GOOD Trades. The concept is no matter what the result of your trade is (PROFIT or LOSS), you shouldn’t let the result determine whether you are HAPPY or NOT. You see, I’ve seen so many traders base their emotional state on how a trade went. I would often see students happy one week and then miserable the week after that. However, how can you not base your emotions on whether you made money or not? Are you supposed to be happy when you lose money in the markets??? Well I’m not saying that but irregardless of the result, your emotional state should stay relatively neutral. If you put on a good trade and made a profit from it, pat yourself on the back and say “Good job! The market agreed with me.”. If you put on a trade that you thought was good but you ended up with a loss on that trade then tell yourself “I took a small loss. The market told me that I was wrong.” There were many instances in my trading career that I was on a roll and making money on a consistent basis. At first, I was a cocky guy and bragged about how much money I made but as my trading matured, I became more modest. I remember one time, I had a friend watch me trade in my hotel room and I made a sizeable profit that day. My friend was jumping up and down for joy for me. I sat in my chair and patted myself on the back. Good Job.

5 Lessons You Can Learn From A Millionaire Trader

I’ve had the pleasure to train and work closely with my business partner, Andy Man for many years now. One thing that still amazes me to this day is the success that Andy has achieved as a trader and in life. From a newbie trader to a millionaire trader within 5 years is a great story to share. As much as I’ve taught and shared with him my trading experiences, I’ve learned a lot from him. Recently, Andy Man sat down with the editor of Addicted2Success and shared his 5 Lessons of Success in Trading and in Life. Click on the link below to read the article. Enjoy!

5 Lessons You Can Learn From A Millionaire Trader


Most of you know by now that I started a new trader development centre along with my partner, Andy Man in Vancouver. Our company was created to help traders build their trading business through education, guidance and access to a vibrant community of professional traders. In the video below, I talk about the vision of Ser Man Traders and how we can help traders succeed. For more info, please visit us at

RECORDED WEBINAR: Millionaire Trader Interviews: MIKE SER

This month’s popular Millionaire Trader series profiles our host, Mike Ser who achieved trading success as well as training others to succeed. Mike shares his story of how he achieved immediate trading success in the late 90’s trading technology stocks and then how he struggled to achieve consistency after his initial success. However, with persistence and a passion for the markets, he achieved his second trading success in 2005/06 trading technology stocks again. Over the past decade, Mike has traded throughout volatile events such as the Dotcom Boom and Bust, 9/11, Financial Crisis, Flash Crash, European Sovereign Debt Crisis and more. He shares with you how he survived during these turbulent periods and thrived. As well, Mike has had great success in training traders and he shares his training methodology with you. Enjoy the webinar where Mike shares his 14 years of trading experiences with you.

RECORDED WEBINAR: Millionaire Trader Series – Frank Guo

We’re going to continue with our ever popular Millionaire Trader series where we interview very successful traders who have made over a million dollars through trading. In this recorded webinar, we’re going to have a conversation with Frank Guo whom I’ve also had the opportunity to work closely with. He has an amazing story to share about how he opened up a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) with just $10k and turned it into over $800k in under 3 years. The best part is all his profits were TAX FREE. As well, you’ll hear his story of him quitting his job to become a full-time trader specializing in the Canadian Markets.

Listen in on this informative and inspiring session where Frank shares his trading story with you and how you could potentially grow your tax free savings account into millions. Enjoy the video!

RECORDED WEBINAR: Millionaire Trader Series – ANDY MAN

This past week, I started hosting a special webinar series called “Millionaire Trader Interviews” where I profile very successful traders who have made it. What does that mean? It means that they have been able to make over $1M in profits and became a Millionaire through trading. I’ve been fortunate to train and meet many successful traders over my many years in the financial markets.

This month, I had a conversation with Andy Man, whom you may have heard of, as he was a student of mine. He has an amazing story to share with you and one that will inspire you to work hard to achieve trading success. Andy was a civil engineer who knew nothing about the financial markets just 5 years ago but in 2011, he became a Millionaire Trader. In the webinar, he shares his remarkable story of how he turned $1,600 into $1.7M during a 5 month period. What’s amazing is he has been consistently profitable as a trader in the Gold and Silver markets.

This is an informative and motivating session with a Millionaire Trader! Enjoy the video!

New Years Resolution for 2013

The new years is upon us and if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to put to paper your goals for 2013. Whether it’s a financial goal that you want to achieve this year or a personal goal, it’s so important to know what direction you are heading towards so you can put a plan together to reach your goals. I ask so many traders what their goals are for the year and they say they want to make a lot of money in the markets. My next question is what is a lot of money. Then they tell me they want to make $X this year. The goals obviously need to be realistic rather than a big dream. Then my next follow up question is how do they plan to make $X. Then they tell me they are going to trade stocks or whatever trading instrument to achieve that. Then my next question is how do they plan to trade to achieve their goals. Then they tell me the details of their trading strategy etc… You get the point that I am trying to get across… Here’s an example:

Say you want to be able to make enough money for a large purchase such as a car, boat or vacation property this year and you need to make X dollars. Determine how much capital you have to trade or invest with and you’ll be able to figure out how much % return you need to generate. Once you determined this X%, ask yourself if this is achievable. If your expected % return is over 1000% return then maybe you need to get a reality check or start with a more realistic % return. Once you’ve determined your desired % return then you need to figure out what trading instrument gives you the best chance to achieve your desired return. It could be stocks, options, forex or futures. Once you’ve decided on your trading instrument then you need to decide on the trading strategy that complements your risk tolerance, personality and lifestyle AND gives you the best chance to achieve your desired % return. For example, if your goal is to make  over 100% return then you might need to utilize a leveraged trading instrument like futures or options OR utilize a much more aggressive trading strategy. It doesn’t make sense for you to adopt a very conservative strategy or buy a stable moving stock if your goal is to make over 100% return. You just won’t be able to achieve your financial goal. So my point is you gotta know what your desired financial goal is and then put together a plan to achieve that. If you find out that you’re not comfortable with the risk you may be taking to achieve that desired goal then you need to rethink that goal or be more realistic in terms of your financial goals. Put together a well thought plan and you’ll be on your way to achieving all your goals this year. Good luck!

Online or Managed Investing?

Last month, I had an opportunity to be interviewed for a story that was published in the December 7th issue of Macleans magazine. The story was about whether people should delegate their investments to a qualified investment professional OR take control of their investments themselves and do it on their own.  If you were to ask me, my opinion would be biased considering that I’ve been managing my own money for the past 14 years. However, for those who aren’t sure at this point, let me outline the benefits of both.

Benefits of finding a qualified and successful investment professional

You can see that I underlined the word “successful”. There are too many investment advisors out there who are advising people what to do with their own money but yet, they are not successful themselves. These people are merely salespeople who are pushing investment products so they can make a commission. However, if you’re able to find someone who’s been very successful and  you agree with his investment philosophy, it could be a very good fit. The reason being that you can leverage his/her experiences, knowledge and expertise which could take you many years to attain. The rationale is why try to be an expert in investing when you can hire an expert to handle that for you.

Benefits of taking charge and investing on your own 

Notice the phrase I used; “Taking Charge”. Let me ask you a question. Who cares the most about your investments? Is it your broker? Your advisor or banker? It’s YOU. By taking charge of your investments, you have complete unbiased control on how you should manage your portfolio. If you’re not sure what investments to make, then you should go about educating yourself and learn as much about the types of investments you want to make. A lot of people fear that they are not experts in investing and believe that an investment advisor or portfolio manager would help them produce exceptional returns. This is not necessarily the case. There was a 2009 study done that showed that over a five year period, 71% of active fund managers DID NOT outperform the S&P 500 benchmark, the general stock market barometer. This means that the majority of fund managers out there produced sub standard returns. So the question you should ask yourself is: why should you consider giving money to these so-called experts when you have the possibility of performing better than them?

If you have the interest, desire and passion about investing, take control of your financial future and continue to develop your investing expertise.

For those interested in reading the Maclean’s article, please click on the link below:

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