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Tools for the Independent Trader + Digital Nomad

tools for traders

Traders tend to be independent, entrepreneurial people in my experience. If you’re like me, you might find these services to fit your needs:

Track Finances

Personal Capital – track your net worth, learn to manage your personal balance sheet and cash flow. I like it better than Intuit’s Mint.com.

Financial Freedom Calculator – find out how soon you can safely retire based on your current expenses and savings rate.

Intuit TurboTax – makes it easy to import trades from multiple brokers. Saves me a TON of time.

Increase Income / Invest

Tradervue.com – simply the best trade journal application, period. I’ve tried them all as far as I know. This one works with basically every brokerage’s data, and has all the features you need to analyze your trading systems and tweak them to perfection.

Goldmoney.com – fully allocated, segregated gold ownership and storage. Store your gold in a Brinks or Loomis vault in Switzerland or elsewhere. Spend your gold with a prepaid debit Mastercard. Store gold, silver, platinum, and palladium in private vaults all over the world at low yearly fees. Great apps and website. I believe it’s important to have at least a small percentage of your net worth tucked away in gold for a rainy day, and these guys are my choice for doing that.

Mene.com – investment grade 24k (.999 fine) gold and platinum jewelry and gifts. Full price transparency, which I love. Owned and co-founded by the folks at Goldmoney. I believe it’s important to have at least a small percentage of your net worth tucked away in gold for a rainy day, and these 2 companies are my choice for doing that. Also check out MonetaryMetals true gold leases which allow you to store your gold for free in their New York vault, and then you can invest the gold into leases or bonds which pay you interest on your gold, in actual gold grams.

Worthy – 5% bonds backed by small business inventory.

FinBox.com – great platform for doing custom calculations on historical fundamental data. Has a spreadsheet plugin for Excel and Google Sheets allowing lots of customization options.

FinViz.com – nice screeners and other tools for building custom lists of stocks based on whatever fundamental criteria you like.

TradingView – secondary online charting platform. I use this for quick checks throughout the day of how the indices are performing, breadth, etc. I also have a version of my Relative Volume indicator for TradingView so I can analyze a chart quickly in my web browser.

Voyager App – buy and sell cryptos using advanced limit and market orders, and earn 5.5% on your bitcoin balances in the meantime. Also provides direct wallet transfers to external wallets.

Reduce Expenses

MintMobile – This is a no nonsense mobile phone company owned by Ryan Reynolds that gives you a bulk discount for pre-paying longer terms. Unlimited talk & text and 3GB 4G LTE data for $15/mo. for US customers. Bring your own phone or buy one of theirs. That’s how I think … buying in bulk to save … and I hate bait and switch scams, so I love this company’s up front prepaid pricing and simple interface. My wife and I both prepay our full year of service each year for $180, or $15/month, but you can try their promo for 1-3 months and see if you like it first. I’ve never hit the limit on data because I’m at my desk on WiFi so much, but they have bigger plans for people who need more data. Also works internationally outside the US.

International Wire Transfers with Wise.com – wire transfer money around the world in multiple currencies with super low fees. Store money in an international account, access with a debit card anywhere.

Lolli Bitcoin Cash Back – get cash back in the form of Bitcoin for doing your normal everyday shopping, similar to Rakuten/Ebates.

FoldApp Bitcoin Rewards Prepaid Debit Card – get rewarded in Bitcoin for all your purchases.

BlockFi 3.5% Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card – earn Bitcoin on all your purchases without tapping into your actual bitcoin savings. Also earn interest on your rewards. No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees.

Hold Down the Fort

Tresorit.com – End-to-end encrypted, zero-knowledge cloud storage provider based in Switzerland. Premium prices but sometimes you get what you pay for. And I like sticking with Swiss companies generally.

ProtonMail.com – End-to-end encrypted, zero-knowledge email provider based in Switzerland. I use this for my personal and business email. I used this to partially escape the Google / Gmail data machine awhile back.

ProtonVPN.com – Secure tunnel for your internet connection from the Swiss company ProtonMail. I use this for my computers and smart phones. Helps keep you secure on public wifi and elsewhere. Comes with malware and ad-blocking capabilities so that content never reaches your device.

Privacy.com – Secure your online credit card transactions by masking them and gaining full control over spend limits and more.

Abine Blur – I’ve been using this free plugin and service for years. Allows you to use separate disposable emails and randomly generated passwords for each site you hold an account with, so if one site’s database ever gets breached (which is a common occurrence in today’s world), hackers don’t have access to any of your accounts at other websites. Also helps preserve privacy, prevents brute-force attacks on reused passwords, and reduces spam. Premium version even masks your phone number and your credit card numbers in addition to your emails.

A2Hosting – Fast WordPress hosting

NameSilo – No nonsense domain registrar with free WHOIS privacy and several other nice standard features.

BitFi – Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency cold storage, where the signing key is generated spontaneously from your salt and passphrase and not stored on the actual device. If anyone ever steals your device, no cryptocurrency is lost, because you can just replace the device and use the new one to re-calculate your old wallet.

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Trade Expectancy Formula: How to Make Consistent Profits

trade expectancy formula example

The trade expectancy formula is a super important concept for you to grasp before dumping too much money into the trading world. In any kind of trading there are essentially two forces at work: probability, and risk/reward, and people often misuse the terms. I’ve seen people refer to a their strategy as being “high probability” while their actual win rate is really low. So let’s clear this up once and for all:

Probability = how likely it is that your trade will be correct (Example: 50% as in a coin toss)

Risk/Reward = what you risk on the trade divided by what you stand to gain on the trade (Example: risk $1 to make $2 = R/R of 1/2)

Together, these two forces form the “trader’s equation” which is the trade expectancy formula:

(Potential Reward x Win Probability) – (Potential Loss x Loss Probability)

This formula can be used to analyze both individual trades you’re considering taking, and the performance of trading systems in general. The trading system version looks like this:

(Average Win x Win Rate) – (Average Loss x Loss Rate)

In either case, if this number is positive, it’s good. If not, it’s bad.

So in order to take objectively rational trades, you need to make sure every trade you take makes sense in terms of this formula. And you need to occasionally review the ongoing performance of your system by making sure your expectancy remains positive as new trades are added to your trading journal.

In most trading situations you will find the probability of the stock going in your direction hovers around 50%. Author and price action trader Al Brooks says that you should never expect the probability to be any more than 60% or less than 40%, otherwise nobody will be willing to take the other side of the trade. So you should assume the probabilities don’t vary a whole lot in most circumstances.

So what you should actually focus on is looking for asymmetric risk/reward situations. In other words, make sure that you stay out of trades that have a bad risk/reward ratio, and only consider placing trades that have an attractive risk:reward ratio to their potential target.

For instance, if you always look for pullback trades that have at least a 1:2 risk-reward ratio to the prior high, and assume a 50% probability of success, then your trade expectancy formula will look like this:

(2 x 50%) – (1 x 50%)

= 1 – 0.5

= 0.5 expectancy

If you assume a 60% probability, and a 1:2 risk/reward:

(2 x 60%) – (1 x 40%)

= 1.2 – 0.4

= 0.8 expectancy

So higher probability definitely helps. However, if you keep the probability the same as in the first example, and just increase your reward/risk ratio to 3:

(3 x 50%) – (1 x 50%)

= 1.5 – 0.5

= 1.0 expectancy

So risk/reward plays a big role. Also note what the trade expectancy formula looks like for losing system at 40% and 1:1 risk/reward:

(1 x 40%) – (1 x 60%)

= 0.4 – 0.6

= -$0.2 expectancy

The higher the probability of trades you take, the better. But the primary thing you have control over is lowering your risk/reward (or increasing your reward/risk). This can take several forms, but most practically speaking it probably means cutting your losses and letting your winners run!

In dollar terms that you would probably be trading, here’s what it would look like risking $500 on each trade with the aim of making $1000 in profit at a 50% probability of success:

($1000 x 50%) – ($500 x 50%)

= $500 – $250

= $250 expectancy

So in closing, here is a quick reference graph showing which kinds of systems can work and which can’t work based on the trade expectancy formula:

trade expectancy formula
trade expectancy formula – profitable vs. unprofitable trading systems and setups

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Day Trading with Relative Trade Size and Equivolume – Daily Journal