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Changing to Intermediate trading intoduces many new terms for items
Refined Metal—–>Ref——> 1.00
Reclaimed Metal——> Rec—–>0.33
Weapon——->Wep——> 0.05 (If clean)
Craft Hat—–> a Craftable Hat Worth 1 Refined and 1 Reclaimed—–> 1.33
(Based on Current Market Prices, Will Change)
Trading Depth Interview #1: Walter Lesicar, the Trade-To-Win Trader
Bookmap launches “The Depth of Trading” – a series of inspiring interviews with successful traders. Their background and strategies vary, but you will find them useful for sure.
Walter Lesicar opens this rubric. He is trading futures for more than fifteen years and has quite an interesting life philosophy. Enjoy reading.
Hi Walter. Thank you for your time and thoughts. Why did you agree to this interview in the first place?
Thank you, my pleasure. I think it was curiosity.
How about your blog? Why do you share successful strategies?
I started my blog because I wanted to structure my collected trading knowledge. It wasn’t clear at the beginning how should I do that, but when I saw this great blog software which is easy to use and produce static websites I was on the hook.
It was my intention to share my ideas around trading to document my trading actions and eventually give other people some additional inspiration in this business.
What was your very first motivation to start trading? Have you ever thought as a kid you would become a trader?
I have never thought to be a trader, certainly not as a kid. It was an event that hit me very hard personally. I had left a significant investment in a bank for administration. Around 2001 there was almost nothing left of this investment. When I talked to those fund managers about the development of this investment, they were ignorant and just made it worse. This was the birthday of my quest into trading.
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So nobody’s born a trader. Rather, trading could be compared with a marathon. But is there a personality type which is more likely to succeed. What do you think?
As you said, nobody is born a trader, as well as nobody, is born a violin master. You become the master when you urge to achieve something, but to achieve your goal you must practice, practice, practice. There is no easy shortcut. Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers: The Story of Success” describes that the essential ingredient to becoming successful is not talent but practice.
Is there a personality type? I believe that you must be stubborn regarding your goals. I love this saying from Winston Churchill: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Trading is going from failure to failure because there is no university where you can study “Trading” in a regulated and comprehensible manner. There are so many “robber barons” in this business, and each of them is promising you wealth, meaning their own wealth.
Coming back to the personality: one must have the absolute willpower to become a master in what he is doing, a strong will to achieve this goal, complete faith in oneself, long breath to overcome all hurdles, and mental flexibility to evolve with time and technology. In my opinion, it is the worst case scenario for a trader following an ideology. Stay independent!
What are the characteristics that make a trader a “great trader”?
As I said, willpower is the driving engine for everything we do. Characteristics should be a willpower, desire, commitment, flexibility, ability to lose, serenity, distance, ego control, bias flexibility and ability to not care too much about yourself.
Imagine that you could go back in time and give yourself advice before starting to trade. What would it be?
Don’t trade! There are easier and funnier ways to make money for living.
Do you trade full-time?
Yes, I am a discretionary trader, and I am trading full-time. With one restriction: when I reach my goals according to my trading plan for the day, I quit and enjoy my day. I am trading for profit, not for the sake of trading.
Tell us about your trading plan.
My experience showed that trading is a game of losing, so to enhance my chances I must have a strategy and a plan that fit my life and my personality. It describes what, when, how and how much of my risk capital to trade and, more importantly, when to quit. My strategy is based on Order Flow and Order Book reading, and that increases my probability to win greater 50%.
What is your attitude towards risk management? How much do you risk per one trade?
I am risk-averse. I don’t like losses. But losses are an inevitable part of my job. So this leads to some protections I have learned from other traders and developed for myself.
A trade starts with minimum contracts to see whether the market goes in my direction or not. If the market goes in my course, I am looking to add additional deals to my position. This allows me to get the most out of the move.
My motto is: “If a trend becomes obvious, you are too late.” My stops in ES are 1,5 – 2 pts. When a trend starts, I am tightening and trailing my stops. Either the move runs in my favour or not. I do not and never wait until my stop is hit only because I have set a stop if the price goes against me.
I am aware that there are a lot of stop recommendations from “Don’t use stops!” until “Tight stops destroy your profit!” Anyway, I have developed own way to manage my risk.
Do you believe that trading long positions are easier than trading short ones as some traders claim? For how long do you hold a trade?
Short positions are more exciting to me because when I am “on the train”, I profit faster from the short trade. As long as a position goes in my direction, I am okay with both directions.
Since I am a day trader, I close all positions when I reach my daily goals.
Have you ever panicked? How did you feel? What lessons did you learn when reflected upon the situation after that?
Oh yes, I did! It was at the beginning of trading when I didn’t have a clue about position sizing, stop management, etc. It was more gambling than trading. When I realized that trade went against me, I added more to the losing position, and it went worse and worse.
Fear and sweat controlled me! The incapability to act paralyzed me. I lost a lot and thought that this money would be better invested in my kids instead of this sick idea. And you know what, that experience is in my bones until today.
This was the time when I promised myself to stop gambling and start to understand what the market is, how to analyze it and what trading principles must be learned to become a trader. It took years to come back.
Can you name your biggest mistake? What are the most common mistakes traders do?
My biggest mistake was to follow people blindly for some time, but they were as blind as me. It looked like trading an ideology — a faith rather than the market. If one has little knowledge and is undereducated in trading, he is more willing to follow other people and hope they will be honestly interested in him.
Most common traders’ mistake is relying on other traders, automatic strategies and trading systems. It is simply because they want to get rich in a short time, or they are financially under pressure.
A good example today is the cryptocurrency market. Look around and see people blindly following market crier who proclaims that only their cryptocurrency is the true one with 40% return on investment per month!
Develop your own system! Learn and practice in a simulation account! Although there are enough good and honest traders, who will support you, learn to walk by yourself.
In case of trading, the following saying is so true: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Would you recommend trading to your family members and friends?
If you have had asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have answered: “No.” At that time, I had no direction to follow, though my knowledge about charting, technical analysis, and indicators was sufficient. I was like a leaf in the wind: I followed certain people and especially their trading ideology that didn’t quite work for me. I expected to “trade-for-living.”
It changed when I came in contact with professional traders on a trading floor in the UK nearly ten years ago. Then I realized that they are working with an “Order Book.” At the same time, Peter Davies launched his Jigsaw Trader which was affordable to me, and so I dived into the world of order flow and order book reading. It was a hard time learning to read an order book, but over time it became more evident. Some years later the first version of Bookmap was launched. From then on, the idea of real trading became more and more solid and clear.
Today I would definitely say “YES.” With today’s technology, I can recommend and teach them how the order flow works and how to trade.
What traders do you admire?
Myself (laughing). Because I stayed stubborn and wanted to learn how to trade.
What indicators did you find the most useful?
Interesting question. I know them all — or nearly all. When I began trading, I started with a harmonic pattern, 1:1nes, Gartleys, Butterflies, Fibonacci’s, Elliott Waves, Gann, every kind of indicators you can imagine on different trading platforms. I believed that a candle or whatever chart is the truth. Nothing is further away than that!
For example, a candle chart is an object of no significance for me today. Thinking positive, a chart with indicators gives me at best a 50:50 probability chance to win. To be successful in trading you need at least a 51:49 probability chance to win.
Understanding order flow and order book raised my chance, I guess, to at least 60% or more. That’s just because I see in real-time what is happening on the Bid and Offer side, where is absorption, where is a continuation when the market orders come in. Simply going with the flow when it’s time. Real-time.
Whatever chart and indicator you use, none of them can show you what’s happening “inside.” Charts are using aggregated data and plot them as they just happened. By that I mean, I know what happened, but I don’t know what is momentarily happening. No indicator gives me a view inside. For example, an RSI can be overbought or oversold for a long time. How can I profit from that? Of course, when I add more indicators I know.
However, I am used to candle charts since the beginning, and I use them today as my overview on a weekly, daily and minute base. My indicators are only so-called non-lagging indicators like VWAP, Pivots, Open Range, ATR as my stop trailing system.
What tools do you use for trading?
I am using Bookmap as my guide throughout the day. This visualization technology based on the order flow has eased my life to a great extent. Mostly I trade only highly liquid instruments like ES and ZB. I see and understand who is in the game, who controls the game, who is cancelling and deleting orders and how market orders are behaving. It is also possible to have a micro and macro look of the market within the subscribed instrument.
Visualization in trading became a relief for me because watching the order book all day was too demanding for me.
As I mentioned, I am using a candle chart as an overview chart too, and I am using the plotted levels like Open, Y-Low, Y-High, Pre-Low, Pre-High, Y- Close, PP, ATR, POC, VWAP as information which is plotted at a glance on the chart.
How does your workday as a trader look like?
First, I try to avoid sitting all day in front of my screens. When I reach my target, I am out. I start my day by setting up my trading PC, charts, answering emails. Then I am out for gym exercising, cycling, jogging, etc. There is enough other administration work left. Having a balanced day is essential for traders because it is easy to become overtraded and then failures are programmed for sure.
What are your plans for the future?
Enjoying my life with my family. Playing a well-known violin concertos on my violin. Trading until the “last click” and showing interested people how trading really works.
Thank you, Walter, for this sincere and insightful talk. As for our audience: follow us to receive new stories, more is yet to come.
This is part of the Trading Depth project, a series of inspiring interviews with successful traders. For more interviews with traders follow our Twitter and Facebook .
TD Ameritrade Review
TD Ameritrade delivers the ultimate package for investors, including $0 trades, fantastic trading platforms, excellent market research, industry-leading education for beginners, and reliable customer service. This outstanding all-round experience makes TD Ameritrade our top overall broker in 2020.
Top Takeaways for 2020
After spending five months testing 15 of the best online brokers for our 10th Annual Review, here are our top findings on TD Ameritrade:
- Once again, TD Ameritrade bested its competitors in our rigorous testing and came out on top as our #1 Overall broker. Alongside placing first Overall, TD Ameritrade finished first in four other categories: Platforms and Tools, Customer Service, Education, and Beginners.
- TD Ameritrade’s desktop trading platform, thinkorswim, is our top recommendation for traders in 2020. The mobile app companion to thinkorswim, Mobile Trader, also won our award for the No. 1 Trader App. Needless to say, TD Ameritrade delivers for all trader types, including day traders, options traders, and futures traders.
- Thanks to technology and artificial intelligence (AI), customers can access TD Ameritrade’s quote and basic account functionality everywhere, from Alexa to Facebook, Twitter, Apple Messages, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. TD Ameritrade also runs its own media network, where it broadcasts market commentary, interviews, and educational segments every trading day. Oh, and yes, stock and ETF trades are $0.
|Commissions & Fees||4.5 Stars|
|Offering of Investments||4.5 Stars|
|Platforms & Tools||5 Stars|
|Mobile Trading||5 Stars|
|Customer Service||4.5 Stars|
|Ease of Use||5 Stars|
Commissions & Fees
Thanks to a pricing war in late 2020, on October 3rd, 2020, TD Ameritrade slashed its $6.95 stock trades (including ETFs) rate down to $0, with options trades now costing just $0.65 per contract.
However, despite $0 stock and ETF trades, there is still a $6.95 flat-rate fee for trading penny stocks.
TD Ameritrade pricing summary:
|Stock Trade Fee (per trade)||$0.00|
|ETF Trade Fee||$0.00|
|Options Base Fee||$0.00|
|Options Per Contract Fee||$0.65|
|Mutual Fund Trade Fee||$49.99|
|Broker Assisted Trades Fee||$44.99|
Platforms & Tools
Once again, for the ninth consecutive year, TD Ameritrade is number one for trading platforms and tools, thanks to desktop-based thinkorswim. Whether day trading, options trading, futures trading, or you are just a casual investor, thinkorswim is a winner.
Charting: As far as charting goes, thinkorswim is so advanced it is rivaled only by TradeStation. A few clicks of the mouse will have dozens of charts streaming real-time data. Even the pickiest trader will be satisfied with the 400+ technical studies available for each chart (the highest in the industry). Better yet, each study can be customized using thinkscript, thinkorswim’s proprietary coding language.
Trading tools: TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is home to an impressive array of tools. Highlights include virtual trading with fake money, performing advanced earnings analysis, plotting economic (FRED) data, charting social sentiment, backtesting, and even replaying historical markets tick-by-tick. TD Ameritrade also enables traders to create and conduct real-time stock scans, share charts and workspace layouts, and perform advanced options analysis. The rabbit hole goes as far as any trader’s imagination will take them. It’s a dazzling offering of choices that will set your mind spinning – in a good way.
Earnings Analysis: The thinkorswim Earnings Analysis tool is my favorite for planning ahead for earnings releases and assessing each company’s results afterwards. The tool plots price action and volatility before and after previous releases. It also pulls data from Wall Street analysts and crowd-sourced ratings from Estimize to plot EPS estimate ranges alongside actual results. The whole experience brings clarity with much less noise. It’s awesome.
No web platform: TD Ameritrade used to offer a browser-based trading platform, Trade Architect. Trade Architect was beneficial for casual investors because onboarding required less of a learning curve than thinkorswim. It was shut down in 2020 because it was flash-based and unsupported by modern browsers. As of early 2020, a new platform has not been launched yet to take its place.
Thanks to the TD Ameritrade Network and a unique line-up of tools, TD Ameritrade provides investors a substantial research offering.
TV network: The TD Ameritrade Network, TD Ameritrade’s live streaming financial network, broadcasts live every day from 8:00 ET to 5:00 ET, and includes an excellent mix of market analysis as well as trader education. Schwab is the only other online broker to offer live broadcasting during market hours.
Market commentary: TD Ameritrade also provides written daily market commentary and analysis through The Ticker Tape. Content is widespread, covering day-to-day markets as well as general finance, savings, retirement, and trader education. Together with The Ticker Tape, TD Ameritrade publishes thinkMoney, a quarterly print (and digital) magazine, which focuses entirely on education. Bottom line, for stock and options trading, TD Ameritrade is great. For long-term investing and retirement-related content, I prefer Fidelity Viewpoints and Schwab Insights.
Social trading: TD Ameritrade’s website includes a handful of unique tools. For example, the Social Signals tool displays both a real-time streaming feed of algorithmically filtered brand-relevant tweets and a summary chart of the most-tweeted brands. Social sentiment can even be plotted on charts with thinkorswim. Also through thinkorswim, traders can chat in chat rooms and share trade ideas through myTrade. All in all, TD Ameritrade offers the ultimate trader community.
To score Customer Service, StockBrokers.com partners with customer experience research group Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2020 Broker Review, 280 customer service tests were conducted over ten weeks.
- Average Connection Time: st (14 brokers)
With mobile, TD Ameritrade took a different approach by offering not one, but two smartphone apps: TD Ameritrade Mobile and TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader. TD Ameritrade Mobile is designed for casual investors. Meanwhile, TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader is designed for the feature-hungry active trader. Both apps are fantastic.
TD Ameritrade Mobile: TD Ameritrade Mobile welcomes everyday investors with a customizable dashboard. Navigating the app is seamless and includes all the features any investor could want. Watchlists are streaming and fully customizable. Meanwhile, stock quotes include price alerts, news, clean (and fully-featured) charting, and third-party ratings are accompanied by PDF research reports. Placing trades is a breeze; the list goes on and on.
TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader: Looking at mobile apps specifically, Mobile Trader is my top pick for traders in 2020. Upon login, you are taken straight into your watch lists, which sync with thinkorswim. In fact, the app mirrors thinkorswim throughout. Charting includes all 400+ indicators from the desktop platform, and chart preferences sync in the cloud. Orders and alerts management is fluid, and I really love the easy access to Trader TV, which includes not only the TD Ameritrade Network, but CNBC as well.
AI and tech innovation: TD Ameritrade was one of the first brokers to offer an Alexa Skill, and in August 2020, it became the first broker to integrate with Facebook Messenger, embracing the future of artificial intelligence (AI) with its own chatbot. Next, in 2020, Apple Business Chat, which I am using more and more frequently to grab quick stock quotes. Then, in 2020, TD Ameritrade for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both rolled out. All in all, TD Ameritrade is the undisputed leader in mobile and can be found everywhere you are.
Offering of Investments
TD Ameritrade provides everything one might expect of a full-service brokerage, from stock trading to retirement guidance. All account types are supporting. Also offered are both futures and forex trading. If there is one drawback, it is with international trading; TD Ameritrade customers can only trade US and Canadian-listed securities.
Excellent education makes TD Ameritrade an easy winner for beginners. Organized into courses with quizzes, over 200 videos are available, which all include progress tracking. Also provided each month are hundreds of webinars and educational sessions, and the website gamifies learning by awarding points alongside badges to encourage further education.
If that wasn’t enough, TD Ameritrade even publishes its own magazine, called thinkMoney, and blog, The Ticker Tape. Education is also broadcasted through the TD Ameritrade Network. There is no better broker in which to learn the basics of the stock market than TD Ameritrade.
TD Ameritrade provides essential banking services to customers through 284 retail service centers across the United States. Like its closest competitors, TD Ameritrade offers mobile check deposit, online bill pay, and ATM fee reimbursement. TD Ameritrade also offers cash management accounts with FDIC-insurance protection. For investors who maintain high amounts of uninvested cash in their brokerage accounts, however, TD Ameritrade does not share the interest it earns.
TD Ameritrade is a technology-focused company that understands its customers and delivers a high-quality client experience.
Any investor or trader, new or seasoned, will find TD Ameritrade a great fit for their needs. The main gripe with TD Ameritrade used to be cost, but with TD Ameritrade now offering $0 stock trades, TD Ameritrade is undoubtedly on top in 2020.
About TD Ameritrade
Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, TD Ameritrade was founded in 1975 as one of the first online brokerages in the United States (1). As of September 2020, TD Ameritrade is home to over 11 million funded broker accounts and $1 trillion in total client assets (2). Each day the market is open, TD Ameritrade clients place approximately 860,000 trades, on average (3).
2020 Review Methodology
For the StockBrokers.com tenth annual best online brokers review published in January 2020, a total of 3,540 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.
Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
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