Do I have to publish my trading performance?

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This is a controversial topic among traders.Most often, people are in favour of traders showing their trading performance.It is taken as proof of seriousness and it gives credibility. In many people’s minds, if you don't publish your trading performance, it's either because you're bad at it or because you don't trade. Either way, you look like a charlatan. Yet it's far from being that simple.

trading performance

Additional trading pressure

Publishing your trading performance can become a formidable trap. It means that you are obliged to perform well in your trading. If you don’t or don’t any longer, you will be subject to a lot of criticism. You lose any credibility that people give you. This puts additional pressure on your trading.

In the days/weeks/months following the publication of your poor trading performance, you will be trying your hardest not to lose. There is an obligation to be successful and so regain the credibility and the admiration that your past performances generated. This pressure is very bad for your trading. It can change the way you trade, divert you from your trading strategy, make you take more risks to make up for your latest losses and above all, ruin your life.

Don't underestimate the impact of pressure on your daily life. You will then live to trade. On days when trading performance is good, you will be in a good mood, but you'll still be under a lot of stress when you think you're going to have to do the same thing again the next day. If your performance is poor, you'll be depressed for the rest of the day and tackle the next day with even more pressure. It's a vicious circle.

My first trading performances

This pressure is even greater when you manage other traders’ money. Let me tell you a story that scarred my early days.I was still in school (after my baccalaureate) and I was dealing in warrants (how stupid you can be when you're young!!). I made a series of 10 winning trades and I had made €2,000 (for me it was like winning the lottery at the time). I felt untouchable.

I started talking to my friends about my trading performance. One of my childhood friends (Antoine Cesari, the one who wrote the asset management articles on Centralcharts) impressed by my results, entrusted me with €1,000. The first day, I made him €200 (without changing anything about my trading) but I wanted to impress him even more. Having a trading performance of +20% was no longer enough for me.

The next day, I took a call on the CAC40 with a very close knock out barrier, the risk was maximum. I bet all my capital plus Antoine's, something I never did. Usually I risked 10% of my capital per trade (which was already huge).

The CAC was positive at the end of the day (irony of the story) but in the meantime for a few points, my barrier was hit. So my call was no longer worth anything. So I had lost my €2,000 earnings and more importantly Antoine’s €1,200.

It's one of the times in my life when I was most ashamed of myself. He had been calling me all day to find out what the daily trading results were and I was not picking up. I was too ashamed. I finally told him what had happened that night. He is still my friend today, but this story remains etched in our memories forever.

Morale of the story: Talking about my trading performance led me to lose everything.

The need to constantly justify yourself if you publish your trading performance

Publishing trading performance does you no favours in my opinion. If you publish your performance, you also have to publish all your trades as a sign of good faith. You need to prove that your trading performance is genuine.

At the slightest loss, you have to constantly justify yourself. They will doubt you. Why did you go short at such and such a time even though the market was bullish? People like to look for the fly in the ointment. It's a very French fault, we like to criticize after the fact. I see it regularly on my Twitter account.I often get messages telling me that I was wrong about this or that trade but very rarely telling me that I was right. Whatever answer you give, it's not enough.

The worst thing is that these people who constantly criticize are, in almost all cases, poor traders, or they may not even trade at all. They do not publish their own trading performance. They don’t apply the same criteria to themselves as they require of others.That's the irony of the debate about publishing trading performance.The majority is in favour, but hardly anyone publishes them.

If the trading performance you publish is good, people tend to be suspicious. They think it's too good to be true. So you either look like a liar or pretentious.

If the trading performance you publish is bad, then the critics come out. Most people don't understand the principle of cycles. In trading (as in life), there are ups and downs.People expect you to be at the top of your game at all times.

Is showing trading performance proof of credibility?

It’s very easy to show good trading performance. There are a number of ways:

- Use a demo account: It's much easier to make money if your money is not at risk. On a demo account, emotions don't come into play.This makes it easier to earn.A lot of traders with good trading performance are actually on a demo account.

- Trade with a small amount: Numerous traders have great trading performances but with a small trading account. It's like trading on a demo account, emotions count for very little. So if they lose their money, it's no big deal. On the other hand, for all their followers who invest much more, the impact of a capital loss is quite different.

- Turn a statistic to your advantage: You can make statistics say anything, depending on how you portray them. Whatever your trading performance, there is always a good statistic to show. For example, I could just show the winning trades for a particular product (and not on the whole account). I could also select a specific time period to show a period of gains, although the rest of the time I was making a loss (this technique is widely used by robot traders).

I'm not saying that all traders who publish their trading performance use these techniques.There are some traders who really make a living from trading even if there are very few in France.I am thinking, for example, of Traderfutur Yannis.

The race for the best trading performance

From the moment you publish your trading performance, you start competing with the other traders who do so.You see this very clearly on social trading platforms such as the broker eToro. Only the most successful traders are followed.Maximizing performance necessarily implies taking more risk.Many traders tend to forget this. One doesn't happen without the other. To publish better trading performance, traders are therefore more likely to use leverage or move towards cryptocurrencies (very volatile). This allows them to attract large numbers of followers until the day when taking too much risk leads to a big capital loss.

In many cases, the best traders are not the ones with the highest trading performance. A good trader has good risk management, which limits his trading performance to a certain level. A good trader is a person who makes recurring profits with a controlled level of risk. Depending on each individual, tolerated risk levels may be higher or lower.But in any case, the risk level should not vary significantly over time.

Are you in favour of publishing trading performance?

As you will have understood, I am against it for many reasons. I am regularly asked for my trading performance but I will never disclose it. From the moment I do it once, I will have to do it regularly. Otherwise, it implies that I have suffered a big loss.I don't want to have any pressure in my trading. I've already said it many times on the site, I don't live off trading, I just have a trading account along with my main activity.I am above all an entrepreneur, I create websites related to trading. I trade because I like it, but I know from experience that I can't generate enough income to live on. I know it requires a very large amount of capital and I don't want to/cannot bear this pressure.

And you, are you for or against publishing your trading performance?

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