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Trading Lesson of 2015: Be Willing to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Trading Lesson of 2015: Be Willing to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

2015-12-17 22:00:00
Christopher Vecchio, CFA, Senior Strategist

My top trading lesson of 2015 isn’t so much a confession of a trade gone wrong but rather a reflection on my trading process. In an effort to become more of a rules-based trader, I boxed myself into a few particular strategies – mainly of the medium- and long-term breakout and momentum variety. While this was done for good reason – my trading results historically have proven better for those types of environments than say, range trading or short-term scalping variety – my focus on staying within the parameters of my strategies effectively boxed me out of several of my preferred FX currencies (ones that are reliably highly liquid) for part of the year: mainly AUD/USD, GBP/USD, and USD/JPY.

There are two takeaways in my opinion. While it’s good to have a comfort zone – I prefer operating on H4 and D1 timeframes looking for breakout or momentum opportunities – it may be prudent to step outside of that comfort zone if opportunities present themselves elsewhere. This could mean I should have looked at lower timeframes – H1 or H2 – or that I should have expanded my palate to other instruments. The latter choice is the more conservative choice: I have strategies that I’m comfortable with, and I just need to apply them to other instruments.

For me, this issue manifested itself where I was mainly trading EUR-crosses and USD-pairs, so short-term periods of countertrend price action – like from March through October in EUR/USD – proved frustrating as I sat idly on the sidelines for the most of it. Yet had I been willing to shorter-term in these markets, I could have brought my breakout and/or momentum strategies to lower timeframes, with lower leverage (insofar as I would have been trading against the predominant longer-term trend); or I could have looked into trending currencies like the AUD-, CAD-, and NZD-crosses. That’s not to say I didn’t take advantage of their moves; it would have been prudent to look beyond AUD/USD, USD/CAD, and NZD/USD.

Moving forward, this means that my attention will have to grow in scope. However, what I’ll do to assist me is script a quick program to scan technical indicators for me to highlight which FX spot instruments out there meet my desired criteria. Being mindful of my risk management while stepping outside my comfort zone – EUR-crosses and USD-pairs – should lead to more opportunities to trade and thus more opportunities to improve as a trader.

See the next Top Trading Lesson of 2015: Beware of Stretched Market Expectations/Positions

--- Written by Christopher Vecchio, Currency Strategist

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