My ‘horror story’ happened about a year ago. Back then I was a day trading machine, it was how I made my living at the time. I ran 4 monitors on two systems in my office, and another set up on the kitchen counter just for when I was getting coffee. 16 pairs on multiple time frames, and swinging for the fences with every trade, 20 pips a day is all I needed and usually got. That is, until that one day.
In hindsight I now realize I was biting off way more than I could chew. Trying to trade too many pairs, on too many time frames was a recipe for disaster. I really thought I had my bases covered, I followed my rules, kept great records, used money management, and usually used ‘good till end of day entries’ just to be safe. But the problem had always been there, a lack of discipline; being too aggressive and too greedy with a dash of over confidence and a hint of lazy.
I don’t remember the exact pattern I set the limit order for, something on the 5 min chart, but it was my full contract size, 3 standard lots, 2 for targets and the third as a runner to trail stop. ‘Set it and forget it,’ I did this often, if it triggered great, otherwise I would cancel it later, and hurry off to the next chart. Thing is, this time I forgot to cancel it, and it was not a ‘good till end of day’ order. There it sat, a buy order with NO protective stop, hiding amongst a sea of charts. A full contract, I had forgotten about it and I had gone to bed.
Didn’t make it up for the start of the London session, slept in, I was tired. Then the phone rang, a bit early for a call, a friend of mine on the other end, “did you see what happened?”, “no, what?”, “turn on the TV..”
It was March 11th, and Japan was just hit by an earthquake and a tsunami. I watched in disbelief for a couple of minutes, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks….Holy $#*t…my Dollar/Yen trade…
All things considered it could have been worse, down 125 pips when I finally got out, you do the math. Yes, it was a brutal hit to a rather feeble account size, and Yes, it hurt. But in the days that followed, and as I watched the news coverage, I came to the realization that I was actually pretty fortunate, my loss was only money. I am still here, my family is still here, my home is still here. I couldn’t say the same for the soles I watched on the tv screen.
I do things a lot different these days, I learned my lesson from that, and have since rebuilt my account, something Japan has only just begun. I learned another thing, that trading isn’t everything for me, it’s not my life, it is only a means to live. Never forget how fortunate you really are. Take care traders.