If you're a trader or investor with less than 10 years of experience, 2022 may have come as a surprise. It marked the end of a prolonged period of low inflation and interest rates, along with supportive central bank policies, which favored those who held onto risk assets. It's time to prepare for a change in strategy and mindset for 2023.
However, as central banks reversed their monetary policies by quickly raising interest rates to combat high inflation, holding onto these risk assets like tech stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities resulted in significant losses.
While there were a few exceptions, the market was largely affected and even bonds, despite growing concerns about a global recession, were impacted due to the overarching theme of rising interest rates.
It's important to keep in mind for 2023 that this type of scenario doesn't occur frequently, but 2022 serves as a reminder to stay attuned to larger market themes, exercise caution when attempting to predict market tops or bottoms, and be mindful of your recent experiences, as history doesn't always repeat itself. In other words, buying low may not always be the best strategy.
If you were among those who anticipated the tightening of monetary policies or saw the impact of the Ukraine War on inflation rates and food supplies, or recognized the potential monetary policy differences between strong and weak economies in 2022, then congratulations and we hope you were able to profit from these predictions!
However, if you didn't take action, it's important to ask yourself why. Were you not paying attention? Was your strategy not in line with the market environment? Or was the uncertainty surrounding potential shifts in the financial markets too high for you to act or change your biases?
Answering these questions is crucial in overcoming psychological hurdles that can hinder your decision making. Common obstacles like FOMO (fear of missing out) or holding onto a loss can freeze your ability to act, as seen when the USD/JPY rallied by 30% or when cryptocurrencies saw a 60% collapse in 2022.
The key to reducing the negative psychological effects of trading is to do your research, prepare plans for different scenarios, and limit your risk.
And if you haven't done these things yet, it's okay to wait and trade another day. There will always be new opportunities waiting for you in 2023 once you've done the necessary preparation.
You need to stay alert to market drivers, analyze market movements, prepare for various scenarios, and endure the psychological challenges that come with changes in the market and shifts in your P/L.
For many, this can be both mentally and physically draining, not to mention the added stress from other life demands such as family responsibilities and other pursuits. A tired mind and body will negatively impact your ability to focus and make sound decisions when managing risk. That's when it's necessary to reduce risk or close positions and take a break from the markets.
As renowned trading psychologist Dr. Brett Steenbrager says, "By acknowledging burnout as a potential hazard, traders can take a proactive approach by keeping expectations realistic and taking ample time away from work to engage in activities they enjoy and have control over."
To avoid feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, try to incorporate regular, comprehensive breaks (such as once a quarter or during market slowdowns) into your trading process.
While it may be challenging for hardcore traders who can't stop thinking about trades even on the weekends, taking time off can lead to better performance, much like how athletes recover from fatigue and injury after a week or two of rest.
That concludes our list for this year!
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