There are many trading systems and strategies out there. There are many free ones printed in trading articles, journals, books and on trading-related websites. You can buy them as software or you can subscribe to them periodically.
Novice traders say they do not have the time, the aptitude, the talent nor the brains to work out how to trade properly. They would rather purchase a program or subscribe to a trading system for hundreds — or in some cases — thousands of dollars. They say they do not have to do anything except be told what to buy, when to buy and how much of it you need to buy. Some ask me if this strategy or approach is advisable for trading the financial markets. To answer this question, I am then forced to consider the advantages and disadvantages of using such an approach to trading.
There are reasons why a trader would use a system or strategy that someone else developed and tested:
1. It is easy. A novice trader does not need to study how the market works and how he interacts with that market. He does not need to educate himself: he does not need to bother with books and seminars. He does not need to test the system, since the seller has already done that for him and reported promising hypothetical or actual results.
2. A novice trader hopes to get a trading system at a 'bargain' price: sometimes even for free.
Hazards of trading a system or strategy developed and tested by someone else are the following:
1. Faulty Systems
There are many faulty systems out there. They may be faulty because their assumptions and their mechanisms may no longer be true, accurate or valid. As a novice trader, how can you distinguish between the good systems and the bad systems if you don't know how trading systems are built?
2. Discipline and confidence
All systems have drawdown periods. Some good systems may not make money for six months or an entire year. Even if it was a good system, can you continue to follow it even if it gives you a loss after a loss after a loss? How can you follow it if you do not have confidence in it? How can you be confident if you do not know the ins and outs of the system and if you have not tested it yourself?
I do not believe that people would blindly follow a system even if they were told that it would bring them riches. I can give someone a trading system, I can supply him with exceptional hypothetical or actual results and still, he would not be able to follow it.
I remember giving my dad a fully-mechanical trading system I developed. I told him a few simple rules and I told him not to question them. All he had to do was to follow them. We both traded it for two months, I grew my small account by roughly 50% (it happened to be a good two months), but he was losing. He wondered why. I asked to see his trading records. When I looked at his trading records, I found that he kept disobeying the rules. When I asked him why he disobeyed them, he wanted to improve the results after it had a couple of losing trades. He was trying to improve the results. According to him, the system asked him to do what he thought was not right during certain market conditions, so he did not follow it. I found simple errors too, including opening trades at market price instead of waiting for buy and sell stop orders at support and resistance levels to get triggered. I also asked that he executes trades at the close, but oftentimes he traded two hours before or after the close at his discretion. There were many more rules he breached. He is a smart man: a former civil engineer and now a manager for a big organisation. Why could he not follow instructions? It is simple. He did not know the reasons behind the rules I had set and so he did not appreciate them. His money was on the line and after a series of losses, he lost faith in the system easier than I did because he did not develop and test it himself.
To overcome the hazards above, I see no way except for a trader to learn how to develop his own trading methodology. This is the only way a trader can know if a particular system or strategy is good or not.
Once a trader learns how to develop systems and strategies, he can then be better equipped to test them as well. By this point he might even find that he is better off using the system he created, because it becomes increasingly difficult to find another system more suited to his profit objectives while operating within his risk tolerance levels. It is likely that once he develops this level of competence, he will simply acquire other systems only to dissect them, grab the parts he likes and add them to his own system. To me, the irony is that for a trader to know which system to purchase, he must first learn how to create a system. And after knowing how to create a system, he will no longer have the need to buy one.
In conclusion then, I would have to say that if you are not inclined to learn how to develop your own trading methodology, then perhaps you should consider giving your money for someone else to invest. Give it to someone who is trading a system that he developed and tested himself because he is more likely to have the confidence and courage to follow his own set of rules.
About The Author:
Marquez Comelab is the author of the book: The Part-Time Currency Trader. It is a guide for men and women interested in trading currencies in the forex market. Discusses analysis, tools, indicators, trading systems, strategies, discipline and psychology. See: http://marquezcomelab.com. His other articles are also published at http://thefreedomtochoose.com along with other helpful articles.