For the first time at this year’s FxCuffs conference, one of the creators of the Tradeciety portal will have their speech. Rolf Schlotmann, because I’m talking about him, in his own trading he focuses on higher time intervals, namely 4-hour and daily. Over the years of activity in the markets, he developed his own approach, combining trading with traveling. More about this in the following interview.
I know that you started your adventure with trading in a rather unusual way, because you were 15 years old, when you started to follow the price quotes on teletext. Do you remember your first transaction? Do you remember what it was and what did you feel then?
Yes, I think I do. Because I did not know much I went for the companies I knew from my daily life being a 15 year old teenager. So in my first portfolio, I had things like McDonalds, Coca Cola and Nike.
Where did you start learning how to trade? How has your trading style evolved over the years?
I got introduced to Forex trading during my university studies and afterward I immediately got hooked and started consuming everything I could. I am mainly self-taught and I learned through trial and error. I am not sure if this is the smartest way and I think I wasted a lot of time but it also helped me find my own way and I develop my own unique way of trading without being molded by the common rules, ideologies or approaches.
You have traveled a lot in recent years. How did this affect your trading results? Maybe there were places where trading was more effective?
Traveling really helped me to become very focused and efficient with my time. I established routines and automated processes for everything I do now.
I liked trading from Asia because I always feel like I am ahead of everyone else – when I start my day in Asia, Europe is still asleep and most of the US is just going to bed. But I am a swing trader, mostly on the 4H and Daily timeframes where the trading time does not matter as much.
What was the most difficult moment you had to face during your trading career?
The most difficult moment was when I decided to burn my bridges, quit my job and move to Asia to pursue my trading fully.
I was only 25, just completed my university and had a great job offer but decided to take a huge risk and do it my way. And when you then hit a brick wall and your trading isn’t always going as planned, then you easily start doubting yourself and your decision. It was really tough in the beginning and I had many sleepless nights.
But it helped me grow as a person a lot and I learned many things about myself. oOer the past years, I have developed a lot as a human being.
In trading, it is not always everything goes our way and there are more difficult times as discussed in the previous question. How do you deal with it?
I try to get perspective and understand that trading is not everything. I have other hobbies and I like to do sports which helps me to blow off steam when needed.
Especially young traders believe that trading is their only way out and that they have to make it now. I always avoided such a mindset and I know that I have time. I am here for the long term and I also do not allow my trading results to influence how I see myself. You cannot allow your ego get involved and you have to understand that your trading results do not define if you are a good or a bad person.
There are many elements that affect effective trading. What skill / characteristic should the trader master first, who wants to succeed?
There are a few things. Honesty with yourself and self-awareness are important because you have to look objectively at how you are approaching trading and if you are serious enough. Do you really deserve to make money as a trader or you are not serious enough, looking for shortcuts and just trying to find a way to get rich quick? For most people, trading is just an expensive hobby and not really something that can be a career because they lack seriousness. You have to make sure that you really take it seriously, have a system you follow, a routine and do not fool around.
Then, journaling and trade review are also essential. Ask yourself: do you remember your past 5 or 10 trades? Most traders will probably answer no and that is normal. But then you must understand that you need a way of keeping track of your trades so that you can review them and learn from mistakes. Many traders will always repeat the same mistakes over and over again because they have no way of learning from mistakes.
What is your daily / weekly trading routine?
I am a swing trader on the higher time frames so I do not need to spend a lot of time in front of my charts. I spend a lot of time planning my trades though. So my average day looks like this:
- 7 am – Wake up / Breakfast, read, meditate
- 8 am – Market scan / Managing trades / Setting new alerts / Planning trades / Journaling trades
- 10 am – Physical activity (run, crossfit, yoga)
- 11 am – Study time / read
- Noon – Lunch break
- 1 pm – Quick market scan
- 2 pm – Study / read
- 3 pm – Work on other things
- 5 pm – Pleasure / read / study
- 8 pm – Market scan
- 9 pm – Pleasure
- 11 pm – Bed time
I do work 6 days a week and Saturday is my biggest day where I journal my trades, review my past trading week and also write a new watchlist for the next week.
Suppose you meet a person who is determined and intends to start his adventure with trading. What would you advise this person to start with?
A person who is interested in trading needs to understand that trading will take up a lot of time and it will probably take a few years until he sees some success. In the end trading is not something where you get rich easily but it’s just like any other job where you put in time and effort. At the same time, it is a lot like being self-employed and there is no guaranteed paycheck waiting for you, no matter how good you are.
Once a person understand this, I would recommend that he /she starts by following and observing price. In the beginning, you do not need to get too fancy and just looking at how the markets move with general wave theory and structures (like described in my article) is already a great foundation and you can then build on top of that once you have a feeling for the market rhythm.
Recently, 2017 has passed. Can you share with us the conclusions regarding your trading and the markets in general that you managed to get out of this year?
I ended 2017 profitably which is great and especially the second half was stressful when I relocated back to Germany after 6 years in Asia.
I also transitioned more towards the higher time frames on the 4H and Daily whereas I traded a fair amount of 1H before. But the higher time frames are great for setup quality and for work-life balance.
And I also started adding new setups to my routine and testing new ideas which is always fun and keeps you engaged. I trade very specific types of setups which allows you to always explore new ideas because you are very focused and not all over the place, trying to catch trades without real consistency.
But the most fun is seeing some of our students reach profitability and being able to change lifes is a huge motivator for me. Trading can be very lonely sometimes so it’s great to interact with like-minded people.
Finally, the question about your favorite book. Is there a specific quote/paragraph, not necessarily related to trading, which had a special impact on you?
When it comes to trading, my favorite book is by Marty Schwartz and it’s called “Pitbull Champion trader” and I learned a lot from it, mainly about how to approach trading from a professional perspective and how to be more serious about it and treat it like a business. Marty Schwartz talks a lot about his day, his routine, his daily tools and other things many amateurs believe they do not need (or are too lazy to use) and it fascinated me that such a successful trader still uses such tools even after decades of trading.
Non-trading related my absolute favorite book is “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho and this book was the reason why I left my home country and started traveling for years. It is a fascinating story about a boy who leaves his parents to follow his heart and then overcomes a lot of setbacks and struggles to pursue his dream.
“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”
“In fact , the life is generous with who lives his personal legend.”
Meet Rolf live during FxCuffs 2018. Registration and more information on the event’s website: Expo FxCuffs 2018