What is “good” trading ? How much profit is enough to say that you are a “good” trader ? How much money is a lot of money and how much money is little money over the markets ? You do not know how many emails I got from the Trader’s magazine readers all focusing on this bloody question. A question that has no answers because there is a missing premise: what do you want from your life.

I will argue by analogy. And I will pose myself a question to you: what is a “good” watch ? A watch that is precious ? An old watch, prey for smart collectors ? An expensive watch ? A watch that can work underwater or on the moon ? A watch with a barometer and an altimeter incorporated ? I can tell you what is a “good” watch for me: my father’s watch.

My father Ercole, born 1921, when he was 18 got an old Longines gold watch as a present by his mother. He went to war with that watch, hiding it under the helmet to protect is as much as possible. The watch and my father they survived for 6 long years to the war fate.

Then my father wore the watch working as a businessman for 40 years: he produced ceramic tiles so that often he had to work with his hands in the water, with chemical products and with industrial stoves. But the watch survived to the hurdles of tile production and to the continuous trips around the globe my father was used to do in order to sell his tiles.

When I went to the army with the first money I got as an officer I bought a military watch for him as a present. He appreciated a lot and he put his old Longines in a box. When he understood that no time was left for him and death was just around the corner he called me and he told me: “This watch was given by my mother, now it is time to switch the watches, you will keep mine as best as you can and me I will wear yours up to the end”.

So for me this watch is the best of the world, I cannot imagine to wear another watch, I want to wear that watch because me too I will leave it to my sons, possibly, at the end of my life. It is not a good watch, it is not a precious watch, it is not so expensive and has no barometer but I do not care. It is my father’s watch. You can change a wife, you cannot change a father. You can change your future, you cannot change your past.

So let’s come back to our issue: what is “good” trading ? Good trading is what allows you to do what makes you happy. If you want to spend the most time with your family and have no worries about the future good trading will be that trading allowing you to make your living and maybe to put some money apart when you will be just an old trader.

If you are a career addict “good trading” is what will put you on the stage under the general attention, with interviews on the newspapers and the picture of you and your wife while attending a party on the gutter press. So you will manage other people’s money and you will be working 22 hours per day.

If you already are a rich man since you inherited a fortune from your grandfather and you have no job to talk about “good” trading is to lose little money every month in order to show to your friends that you are making something: reading financial newspapers, checking different platforms to find the “right” one that fits your style, purchasing books and softwares that will give you a clue, attending seminars that will light your understanding of the financial markets.

So there is no “good” trading if you do not know what you really would like to have back from the markets: bear money, dreams, a socially admissible role or simply excitement ? So there is no reply to the question if you do not understand what is the goal you are aiming. This is the most difficult part in trading. Then everything follows as a consequence. Unfortunately many of us, and perhaps me included, we cannot  or even we do not want to realize which are our targets since if we would do it then dreams would disappear. But what is life without dreams ?

 

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About Author

Emilio Tomasini is Chief Editor of the Italian edition of TRADERS’ MAGAZINE (www.traders-mag.it), the leading monthly publication in Europe for trading and investment, and since 1999 he organizes the TRADERS’ CUP the most important real money European trading competition (www.traders-cup.it). His personal weekly free newsletter L’Indipendente di Borsa (www.indipendentediborsa.it) is one of the most reputable Italian financial media and counts more than 100.000 readers. His website in English is www.emiliotomasini.com

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