If you haven’t heard of Jesse Livermore I highly recommend a trip on Wikipedia. For those that know Livermore – it’s always nice to remember the nuggets he left us with:
The unsuccessful investor is best friends with hope, and hope skips along life’s path hand in hand with greed when it comes to the stock market. Once a stock trade is entered, hope springs to life. It is human nature to be positive, to hope for the best. Hope is an important survival technique. But hope, like its stock market cousin’s ignorance, greed, and fear, distorts reason. See the stock market only deals in facts, in reality, in reason, and the stock market is never wrong. Traders are wrong. Like the spinning of a roulette wheel, the little black ball tells the final outcome, not greed, fear or hope. The result is objective and final, with no appeal.
I believe that uncontrolled basic emotions are the true and deadly enemy of the speculator; that hope, fear, and greed are always present, sitting on the edge of the psyche, waiting on the sidelines, waiting to jump into the action, plow into the game.
Fear keeps you from making as much money as you ought to.
On herd behavior:
I believe that the public wants to be led, to be instructed, to be told what to do. They want reassurance. They will always move en masse, a mob, a herd, a group, because people want the safety of human company. They are afraid to stand alone because they want to be safely included within the herd, not to be the lone calf standing on the desolate, dangerous, wolf-patrolled prairie of
First, do not be invested in the market all the time. There are many times when I have been completely in cash, especially when I was unsure of the direction of the market and waiting for a confirmation of the next move….Second, it is the change in the major trend that hurts most speculators.
All through time, people have basically acted the same way in the market as a result of greed, fear, ignorance, and hope. This is why the numerical formations and patterns recur on a constant basis.
I believe that having the discipline to follow your rules is essential. Without specific, clear, and tested rules, speculators do not have any real chance of success. Why? Because speculators without a plan are like a general without a strategy, and therefore without an actionable battle plan.
Speculators without a single clear plan can only act and react, act and react, to the slings and arrows of stock market misfortune, until they are defeated.
On being a contrarian:
Remember, it [the market] is designed to fool most of the people most of the time.
On being right:
There is only one side of the market and it is not the bull side or the bear side, but the right side.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.