The Traders Journal

Ten Holiday Vacation Lessons from This Trader's Experience

Gatis Roze

Gatis Roze

Author, Tensile Trading: The 10 Essential Stages of Stock Market Mastery

At this time of year, it’s one distraction wave after another.  Admit it.  Your investing efforts take a back seat to shopping, socializing, decorating, drinking and feasting. Just pick your poison.  In addition, many of you head off to warmer climates, as you should.  As an investor or trader, how do you approach these seasonal holidays and travel challenges?  The markets don’t close when you go to the Caribbean.  They do not  tolerate inattention or loss of focus, not even accidental lapses.

Now, I’m not advocating that you monitor your stock quotes while on a deep sea fishing trip, but I won’t lobby for complete electronic separation either.  When I go on vacation, the world around me changes physically enough that my mental side slips into a slower gear as well.  I’m not describing a mental Sahara Desert, just a place where I allow myself the supreme pleasure of idle focus and where I deem it okay to be mildly bored.  I will acknowledge that, for myself, trading is a non-sequitur of sorts.  It’s both a career and a passionate hobby.  I enjoy the songs of the market, even on holiday.  If you don’t,  you won’t hear its music.  Having said that, I still have vacation rules.

  1. On vacation, I live in the moment.  I  focus and enjoy the here and now.  Gone are the rigid routines of my office.
  2. I do bring my laptop and make certain that I have reliable high speed internet before I leave.  However, I am connected to the markets a maximum of only one hour per day.
  3. I buy new sunglasses and go for a different look each vacation.  They are not unlike your beliefs which act as a filter for your reality.
  4. I don’t leave my investing methodology at home.  I bring with me the trading plans for each of my positions.
  5. Emails to me receive “on vacation” replies.  Remember, happiness is not based on externals.  It is an internal state.  It’s all about achieving an acceptance of yourself.
  6. Vacations breed positivism!  Your moods create your reality.  I have learned to control and tap down my enthusiasm.  The sun and sand can cause me to get a bit too optimistic and thereby oversize a position.
  7. My cell phone is used for listening to music and long phone calls with friends.  I don’t use it to check my quotes and alerts.
  8. I remind myself to trade my charts.  On vacation, I tend to read more and therefore need to remind myself not to get seduced by the news and spellbinding media that easily cloud one’s judgement.  Stick to playing the reality presented by the price action.
  9. Vacations may cause complacency which will kill one’s consistency.  My consistency is a result of my belief that the market is always right.  I respect its opinion.  Disrespect the market and it will humble you.  Even on vacations, I am determined to cut my losses quickly if need be, so that I can get back to my complacency on the beach.
  10. As my Apple Watch reminds me on a recurring basis — take deep breaths, stand up, walk around, and keep the juices jangling.  Be grateful.  Every day is a gift.  Enjoy its delicious pleasure.

Trade well; trade with discipline!
- Gatis Roze

Gatis Roze
About the author: , MBA, CMT, is a veteran full-time stock market investor who has traded his own account since 1989 unburdened by the distraction of clients. He holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, is a past president of the Technical Securities Analysts Association (TSAA), and is a Chartered Market Technician (CMT). After several successful entrepreneurial business ventures, Gatis retired in his early 40s to focus on investing in the financial markets. With consistent success as a stock market trader, he began teaching investments at the post-college level in 2000 and continues to do so today. Learn More