Inevitable Trading Losses – The Elephant In The Room

Last updated: 20231230

I came by a book published around 80 years ago by R.W. Schabacker. It is amazing that even without the HFT systems, chart patterns and business channels devoted to trading and investing that the core concepts remain. Loses are inevitable.
It is how we deal with them that is key.

No trader can ever expect to be correct in every one of his market transactions. No individual, however well he may be grounded, no matter how much experience he has had in practical market operation, can expect to be infallible.There will always be mistakes, some unwise judgments, some erroneous moves, some losses. The extent to which such losses materialize, to which they are allowed to become serious, will almost invariably determine whether the individual is to be successful in his long range investing activities or whether such accumulated losses are finally to wreck him on the shoals of mental despair and financial tragedy.

It is easy enough to manage those commitments which progress smoothly and successfully to one’s anticipated goal. The true test of market success comes when the future movement is not in line with anticipated developments, when the trader is just plain wrong in his calculations, and when his investments begins to show a loss instead of a gain. If such situations are not properly handled, if one or two losing positions are allowed to get out of control, then they can wipe out a score of successful profits and leave the individual with a huge loss on balance.

It is just as important, nay, even more important, to know when to desert a bad bargain, take one’s loss and count it a day, as it is to know when to close out a successful transaction which has brought a profit.

The staggering catastrophes which ruin investors, mentally, morally, and financially, are not contingent upon the difference between a 5 per cent loss limit and a 20 percent loss limit. They result from not having established any limit at all on the possible loss.

Any experienced market operator can tell you that his greatest losses have been taken in those, probably rare, instances when he substituted stubbornness for loss limitation, when he bought more of a stock that was going down, instead of selling some of it to lighten his risk, when he allowed pride of personal opinion to replace conservative faith in the cold judgment of the market place.

We trade to make a profit.

— Written by Schabacker 80 years ago in Stock Market Profits.

Thank you and good trading.
Davin & Stuart


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