Friday, August 5, 2011

Update: Online Trading Journal

Over a week ago, I wrote a post about using Tradervue as my new (and free!) online trading journal.  I've imported all my trades since I started trading 4 months ago and have been updating them with tags and journal notes.  Since I believe keeping a journal is so important, I've taken this week off from trading to update my well over 600 trade entries (it would be hundred more if some trades weren't logically grouped together by the program).  I'm not done with the updating, but I'm starting to really get the hang of using the journal.  And yes, I'm really liking Tradervue more and more.

  • About a day after I asked, Greg (the owner/developer of the website) added the import for TradeStation.  Great turnaround!
  • He also pointed out that yes, I can easily embed and display linked charts in the journal (nice!)
  • Other key reporting metrics were added (such as win/loss %)
  • Many other exciting features are on his enhancements list


Since I have updated several hundred entries now, one of the most exciting features of this journal is the ability to filter reports based on tags.  As I'm updating each record, I'm entering tags for the following metrics with and included some examples of tags:
  • Timeframe:
        5min, 15min
  • Setup type:
        pb2rz, qh, btfe, rogue
            (pullback to retracement zone, quick hit, beyond the FE, no strategy)
  • Target eventually hit?
        hit-fe, hit-fe20, hit-runner
            (eventually hit the FE, eventually hit the FE2.0, trended all day)
  • Exit execution:
        goodexit, badexit
            (I exited at good levels, I exited poorly and left money or lost money)
  • Grade of setup:
        A, B, C, D, F
  • Market conditions:
        choppy, lowvol
            (choppy-wicky conditions, low volume)


So why is it important to be able to filter reports based on tags?  So that you can ask useful questions and requests that will help you monitor and improve your performance, such as:
  • How well has the "quick hit" setup performed this month vs. the prior month?
  • How much would I have made if I only traded A or B grade setups?
  • When the markets are choppy, how well (or poorly) do I perform?
  • When I went "rogue" or into "revenge" mode, how much did that really cost me?
  • Show me all examples of the pb2rz setups that have the A grade
  • Show me the trades where I left money on the table
  • And so on...
NOTE: Tradervue currently filters only by one tag at a time, but there might be some enhancements in the future (hopefully AND/OR type queries).  In the meantime, I can still run multiple reports to answer most of my more sophisticated queries.
I've also learned that based on looking at each journal entry with only the tags (without a chart), I can envision what that particular setup looked like, and more importantly, how I executed.  So when you add the ability to drill down/query by specific tags, that's very powerful.


Yes, Tradervue is free (and I hope it always stays that way, or at least very reasonably priced).  But highly effective use of the journal, both initially and ongoing, comes at a cost, especially if you never kept a detailed trading journal. 

It takes a significant amount of time to go through each one of your historical trades to analyze it and tag/update each entry.  I've gotten it down to about 1-2 minutes per entry.  Multiply that by hundreds, and you'll see it's a big grind.

Garbage in results in garbage out, so don't waste your time if you're not serious.  And your ability to be consistent with the grade or tag entries might be subjective and could vary slightly from day to day (e.g. is that a B or C grade entry?), but having decent metrics data is better than no data.  Remember, you can always update the tags later.

But the result of all this work is that I'm building a custom analytical database of trades that's a reflection of me.  I can ask it questions, and it will give me answers.  There's nothing else in the world like it.


I'm over halfway through updating my trades, and I've gotten to the point where I'm understanding what type of trades I prefer, what setups I do well in, and what make me go tilt/revenge/rogue.  There are some setups that I thought I did well with, but perhaps I need to reconsider.  And others that I didn't think much of, but I seem to execute well.

This is all based on quantitative data, actual historical results, solid facts

And on an ongoing basis, I'll be able to track my performance, determine whether the markets that are changing since a setup isn't working (or more likely, me), evaluate how well new strategies are working (or not), and find ways to adjust and improve like I've never been able to before.

Imagine any pro athlete that doesn't have a stats sheet to track and review their performance, they would be at a severe disadvantage.  The same is true for a trader.  As a trader, I need to utilize every tool possible to ensure that I'm headed on the right track, and to make sure I stay on the right track. 

OK, back to the grind of updating my trading journal.  Looking forward to it since I know I'll continue to learn much more...


joshua said...

tradervue is a very nice tool. thanks for sharing. one question, when i look at the charts that show entry/exit, the chart doesn't go until end of day. the chart stops at my exit. i would like to see where the stock went after i got out. are you able to see it like that, or are you seeing the charts how i see them.

Grove Under said...

Good point about the charts cutting off the rest of the day after your last trade on Tradervue. I also run into that, unless the trade took place for most of the day and you got out near the close.

Not sure, but one of the issues might be the ability to scale/zoom those small charts, while still keeping them legible.

You might want to send Greg an email, via the website. He's quite receptive and maybe he'll add a new feature to give people the option to select the chart view. I'll also raise that to him.

I know he has a lot of things on his plate, but the more people that contact him regarding an issue or enhancement, the higher on the priority list it goes.

I'm down to my final month of updates (still grinding away), and it's shocking (although not totally surprising) what the numbers look like. Most of it is just what you would imagine (e.g. don't take bad quality trades, no revenge trades, etc.).

Greg Reinacker said...

FYI, this behavior has been changed...see