Before you make the same mistake, research your broker one more time. Do their press releases show prosperity or is there a cause for concern that they might not be there tomorrow? How do their trade audits work? Is their customer service going to help you in an emergency (and let me tell you, anything wrong with your trading account and money DOES feel like an emergency)? What kind of fines did they get in 2014 and what were the outcomes? And, maybe the most important change we’ve been seeing lately in the U.S. broker arena, are they a dealing desk or non-dealing desk broker or are they transitioning between the two?

Even if you’ve been with your broker for years, take the time to review them again. Things do change and it’s not worth the missed profit to not take the time to brush up on the facts now.

Question 3: Where is the big money historically?

There’s nothing more exciting to me than to be in this market 20 years after it has been opened to the average investor like you and I. We don’t have to suffer through the brand new, just-taking-off stage. We’ve had more than two decades to see what this market can do and to recognize the patterns that it makes time and time again.

Every 12 months, an annual high and low can be found along with the yearly trend and reversal point. These are far from just numbers. In the spirit of the holidays, they’re your northern star in your 2015 trades. When looking at the larger time frames, say the monthly time frame, you can find these patterns and predict with confidence where the big buy or sell opportunities could be in the coming year. Ask yourself this third question then find where the 1,000+ pip reversal points should appear in 2015 so that you can constantly monitor this throughout the year and act as soon as the consolidation patterns break between the war of the bulls and the bears. Because you took a birds-eye view of the market, you have a competitive edge in the market over other traders and could act more quickly when the market breaks so that you can generate more returns and pips. (I’ve placed an example of how this looks on the charts in Figure 1.)

Question 4: Which three strategies will you use?

That’s right. Believe it or not, I am a living testament that you only need 2 to 3 trading strategies to successfully trade with all year long. I’ve been using the London Daybreak Strategy for years. I don’t change the plan or mess with the steps, I just use it repeatedly, but I only use it when the market’s right. I don’t balance 20 strategies. I’ve learned that in my trades, simplicity leads to pips more frequently.

So why three strategies you ask? Major money-making movements can be broken up into three main moves and you’ll want a strategy for each move. The common misconception is that fewer strategies means you’ll have to sit out of the market more, but in reality, the best plan is to find three strategies -- one per major market movement -- and perfect them so you can act when the market does.

When picking your strategies and answering this fourth question, I suggest finding one strategy for day trading that you’ve practiced and can trust. The next strategy should be for swing and/or position trading and the final one should be for times of consolidation or sideways movement. Are you throwing on the brakes? I can already hear you, “how can you use the same strategy for trading swing movements and position trading?” It’s simple. The only difference for applying one single strategy for both market conditions should be how the strategy is applied on the time frame level. For example, if you use that strategy on a daily or larger time frame, chances are that you’re entering into a position trade. On the other hand, if you apply the same strategy on a 4-hour time frame or an even smaller time frame, you’re entering into swing trading territory. Making this realization saves you time because you then don’t have to learn two strategies for trades that can be done with one, solid and perfected strategy.

Having three trusted strategies for each of these market conditions means that you should be more prepared to quickly review the market and no matter whether the market is making for quick day trading movements or is experiencing consolidation that spans ten or more days, you have something to analyze the conditions against and the strategies to help you take advantage of these moves.

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