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Stress-Free Trader (The Lawrence Chan Blog)

Full time index & forex trader, occasional consultant to hedge funds / institutions, my work leads to my not so normal view of the financial markets. My blog mostly talks about trading, market behaviours and other musings.

Originally this blog is supposed to be organized in a separate website like what most authors do but I don’t think I will maintain it properly that way. So here it is as part of this website.

Schedule – Regular blog post every Friday with occasional additional posts when I feel like ranting.

In case you are curious of what I do outside of blogging here:

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Internet Access, Trading and Writing

2016 May 20 Fri 11:50:28 | by Lawrence

little human,big magnifierAnother week of torture by my ISPs yet no solution offered by them. Internet stability is critical to my trading business and I am not able to control this one factor after so many years. I guess moving to another country with better internet infrastructure is the best way. For now, I have to spend a lot of time to shop for a good remote data centre for my site. It is something that I can do to make sure such future incident will not affect my premium members.

It is interesting how one issue can affect my daily routines so much. As oppose to getting my usual morning routines done, I have to scramble for help, call my programmer to check if data servers are affected and try to get back online as quickly as possible. This makes me anxious and not getting rest properly. The lingering feeling of another day of mess the very next day actually gets to me.

Since this problem will continue at least for sometime until I find a solution, I have decided to stop trading over these spring and summer months so that I can revamp everything. I like the idea of me being able to trade anywhere but I depend on my tools heavily too. I guess setting up my trading platforms from a secure data centre outside of Canada will be the best decision over the long run.

I am way ahead of schedule for my trading target of the year so far, I am sure I can spare a few months on designing and implementing a more robust trading environment for myself that will serve me well for years to come. This also means I may have to travel to these locations to ensure I am getting what I expected. It will be interesting to write about my experience in getting my trading platforms setup remotely. Could be a good idea for another article series. 

A week of time wasted obviously also affected my writing schedule. I guess I will have to find time to play catch up. Several new ideas came up while I was stuck at the waiting queue for tech support. Will be interesting to explore how these trading concepts hold up in historical data.

Overall not a productive week but there is still some good news though – the ad network advertisements will be removed this week.

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Canadian Internet Infrastructure

2016 May 13 Fri 9:18:12 | by Lawrence

Comic BombThis week I could not get stable internet connection for 2 days in a row. I am not talking about having only one internet service here. I have backup solution and backup solution behind my backup solution. I pay for them to ensure my trading is not going to be affected by hiccups with an ISP. But Murphy’s Law somehow loves me much and gave me a hard time, again.

On both days, my three internet connection solutions were took out at the same time. I mean, what’s the freaking possibility that both of the biggest internet service providers in Canada and the biggest cell network all having the same issues? I thought the chance should be near impossible but I am proven wrong.

This does not only affect my ability to trade. It also affect my ability posting my charts. Worst yet, on one of those days, my dedicated servers at a data centre was also affected. This makes me thinking. It is really not acceptable because I am going to offer my line up of new real-time analytics soon. I need a way to deal with this.

It turn out that in Ontario Canada the main internet backbone mostly depends on the infrastructure of two companies. If one goes down, the other one will have to route majority of the internet traffic and it looks like neither one of these companies is capable of taking on the full load of all the internet traffics in many parts of Ontario. Hence, if one goes down, the other one will have serious bottleneck issues if not outright breaking down somewhere within their networks.

What this means is that my so called bulletproof backup solutions are pretty useless when there is a problem at the backbone level in my area. I can actually unsubscribe to one of the internet services now since it is pointless after all.

To resolve this issue, I have to look for a remote data centre not located in Ontario so that my servers will not be affected at the same time when I am suffering from internet outage. In long run, another set of backup servers can run in parallel in yet another physical location to avoid downtime, provided the cost can be covered.

Shopping time for a good data centre outside of Canada. Then more hardware and migration work again.


Focus on What Matters Most

2016 May 6 Fri 13:36:50 | by Lawrence

Went through quite a number of deliberations with my site designer, programmers and other concerning parties about the direction of the website. No precise conclusions on what has to be done but reasonable observations about the website are agreed upon. The actions that I choose to take based on the information I gathered will shape the future direction of DaytradingBias.com. This is exciting time for me.

First and foremost, lack of focus of the website seriously reduced its usefulness. Since my goal is to educate more traders to approach trading with the correct mindset and analyze markets with better techniques and tools, I should find a way to clean up the website so that the primary functions of the website are clearly presented to all visitors.

Advertisements from ad networks are proven a problem on loading speed. They do not add up much to contribute to the bottom line. I will have them removed as soon as possible.

Lack of next step for traders who have learned much from the existing content already yet like to dig deep into mastering specific trading methods, is turning off many visitors. This I can resolve by writing on more advanced trading topics. Instead of having many articles written every week, I will focus on producing comprehensive reports with more specifics.

Lots of work yet limited amount of time everyday to get things done. Tough discussion indeed on how much resources we have to put behind each idea. The sense of uncertainty is now driving me on high gears. All I want is that the results will be satisfactory.

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End of Canadian Tax Season and Trading Income

2016 Apr 29 Fri 14:27:52 | by Lawrence

imageThis year Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has set the deadline for tax return filing on May 2nd instead of the normal deadline on April 30th. The extension is given because April 30th is a Saturday this year. Many Canadians are now making their final effort to complete their tax returns this weekend to avoid penalties. I wonder how many people has to pull all-nighters to get their tax returns filed on time?

One thing interesting with trading income is that it was not that well understood by the accounting professionals nor many of the officers working at CRA.

For years, I have seen accountants claiming that I need to pay capital gain tax on my trading profit as oppose to paying income tax. Even more interesting, some claims that I need to pay sales tax on every trade I made. I am not joking here – not that many accountants have the proper knowledge about tax treatments for trading professionals.

Here is the scariest claim of all though – some CRA officials think that every trade should be slapped with a sales tax on the face value of the transaction. So, as oppose to putting a tax on the total net gain, which is very wrong already as this means different treatment for profitable trades and losing trades, the tax is to be applied to the face value of a contract. So if you are trading forex and that a trade on a 2 million dollar face value would be subjected to tax on the full 2 million dollars.

I am not sure if anyone would be profitable trading with that kind of tax burdens. Luckily we have not seen CRA attempts to interpret the laws this way. Otherwise all traders can start looking for a new career.

Over the week, I have been working hard to streamline many business processes. The goal is to free up more time so that I can get more things done. This is made possible partly because of technological change, like easier ways to setup auto payments for more types of recur billings. It is also because of companies have recognized the value of helping their clients to self-manage their business activities actually improves productivities for both their clients and these companies.

Fewer chores to take care of means better emotional balance in trading and better mood in doing research and writing. Although it takes time and effort to make it happen, reducing unnecessary repeating tasks is well worth the time and effort.

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Habitual Coffee Drinking

2016 Apr 22 Fri 13:00:55 | by Lawrence

imageI used to drink a lot of coffee. Back in the days when I was trading pretty much 7/24 on all the major markets, drinking coffee was a necessity. There was no energy drink back then in case you are thinking about alternatives. Although I was a heavy coffee drinker during the college days, it was nowhere near what I drank back then. I am not talking about 6 to 8 cups a day. I am talking about pouring down 6 to 8 mugs a day. That’s the equivalent of drinking 12 to16 cups of coffee every day for years.

Can too much coffee be a bad thing?

Coffee lovers argue that it is perfectly fine to drink a lot of coffee. Personally, I think the opinion is quite bias. Seriously, anything we eat or drink too much are bad for us. How can coffee be an exception.

After years of heavy coffee drinking , the first sign of trouble was that I had hand tremors even when I was not drinking coffee. This was very annoying as it reduced my dexterity in a number of sport / martial art activities. It took me at least a year in cutting down my coffee in-take before the hand tremor was under control.

Another reason why I prefer reducing coffee intake is that coffee actually makes me a bit more excited than normal. This actually affects my ability to hang onto trading positions that require patience. Many good trading setups can take a long time to unfold and being jittery is the last thing I want when I am managing this type of trade.

Nowadays, I still like drinking coffee in the morning but I would stop once I feel I am alert enough for my daily task. From my experience, as I get to exercise more, the need for coffee is reduced significantly. In fact, I find midday exercise wakes me up more than having another mug of coffee in early afternoon. Having a good night of rest often allows me not taking any coffee at all until late morning.

Rigorous exercise helps. So do enough rest. Isn’t this the perfect formula for better trading performance as well?

I guess my dependency on coffee is more psychological than a real addiction now. I can skip coffee during weekend with no withdrawal symptoms like mild headache. Maybe one day I can enjoy coffee as an occasional treat instead of using it as my caffeine medication.

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2016 Apr 15
Best Portable Exercise Equipment

After the prolonged trip away from home, I have determined to find ways to do exercise pretty much everywhere. Here is a list of the equipment I will take with me on the road from now on. They are easy to carry and give one a pretty good all round wo …

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2016 Apr 8
The Growing Concerns About Predictability of the Financial Markets

It is nice to be back to the modern world where internet is actually functional. One actually has to experience the inconvenience to appreciate how great the internet is nowadays. Learned quite a few tricks to deal with bad internet connections and I …

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2016 Mar 18
Keeping Fit on the Road

Learned several things this week. First, internet is not that good in some part of this world. Being consistently cut off from the net while trading is a very frustrating thing. Internet access sucks big time with quite a few major hotel chains. Thi …


2016 Mar 11
Hardware Mode Over and Impact of Extreme Intraday Volatility

Two long weeks into setting up new hardware for the website and up coming real-time services, we have finally getting the hardware part of the equation done. Fine-tuning how to best utilize new hardware is always a tedious task. We can only guess wha …

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2016 Mar 4
Canada Emptied Its Gold Vault

This week the funniest news around the world is that Canada has finally sold off almost all its gold reserve. I use the word funniest because phrase like “most important” is not applicable to a country that is not so important in the world. Cana …

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