Successful market timers, meaning profitable market timers, have several “common” beliefs that help them achieve consistent profits.

On the flip side of this, those who are unsuccessful also have a set of common beliefs.

It is a good idea to know which beliefs will help you to succeed, and which ones you may have, that need to be changed.

Beliefs of Successful Market Timers

1. I will not jump into a trade before or after a signal just so that I can be participating.

2. I recognize that discipline is not a concept, it is an absolute necessity. The markets have a way of removing money from undisciplined market timers.

3. I realize that what happens today, this week, or even this month, is not what is important. What “is” important is my success over time.

4. I realize that losses are part of trading. No strategy is without losses.

5. I accept that sometimes my investments will under perform the market, knowing that over time, they will outperform the market.

6. I know that following a timing strategy through good times and bad are what will make me successful.

7. I can follow a strategy for the long haul and stick with it, even when at times it is discouraging.

8. I accept that following a timing strategy will require me to make frequent trades that may seem like mistakes. A string of successive small losses will not make me quit.

9. I can ignore the mass media, which raise emotions and thus increase the risk of not executing a trade. It is often the trade that is hardest to take, that winds up being the most profitable.

10. The markets provide a constant stream of opportunities. If I miss an opportunity, another one will follow.

11. Keeping losses small and letting profits ride is not just a Wall Street saying.

Beliefs of Unsuccessful Market Timers

1. I must be trading all the time to be successful. I am uncomfortable when in cash.

2. If my strategy is not doing what I think it should, I will make a change immediately.

3. If I lose on this trade, I feel like a loser.

4. If the market is rallying, I must get in even though my strategy gave no signal for it.

5. I am unlucky.

6. I get very upset when I miss a rally, or if I am in a bullish position when the market is declining.

7. I dread adverse news events and constantly worry that something will happen to make the markets go against me.

8. I can’t afford to lose anything on this buy or sell signal.

9. I can’t go broke taking small quick profits.
10. When this losing trade gets back to even, I’ll dump it.

The Mark of the Unsuccessful Timer

Unsuccessful market timers tend to see the stock market as a place that will give them future riches and solve all their problems.

Unsuccessful market timers have difficulty coping with the reality of being wrong. When events don’t live up to their hopes, they seek to ignore them.

If their timing strategy gives a sell signal and they have losses in that position, they have a difficult time executing the sell signal and they will hold the position so that they can exit when it gets back to break even.

When things get really bad, they often exit with huge losses and blame the strategy, the timing service, the markets. Everyone but themselves.

Many market timers give up because they are usually too quick in judging consecutive small loses as a system that is not working.

Giving up is the most common way a market timer can lose. You will win only if you execute the timing strategy. Every trade.

Paper trading cannot simulate the psychological aspects of trading with real dollars. Once a market timer has experienced what it is like to keep trading through a draw down and how good it feels to follow the strategy through the good, the bad and the ugly days, he or she will not be as easily swayed again by adverse markets.