I’m off to a conference this week for the International Federation of Technical Analysts (IFTA). Why am I going? What do I hope to get out it? When you go to investment gatherings, what are your expectations? I’ve garnered essential benefits from a wide variety of seminars and conferences, and those benefits serve as an informal “goals list” for this week’s IFTA event.
- I’m less interested in the speakers’ prognostications and future outlooks, and more interested in their systematic methods of analysis. If they offer up one without the other, I am not shy in challenging them for specifics.
- I have a rule that I don’t read investment books unless they come recommended to me by at least two people I respect. There are just too many bad and misleading how-to books out there. I’m a little like that with new resources as well, such as advanced tools or websites. These conferences are a wonderful venue for learning about such items.
- In listening to other experienced investors talk about their tools and systems, one can’t help but review one’s own methodology. This enforced reflection is facilitated by metaphorically kicking the tires of other investors’ approaches. Most of the time, it reinforces my own methodology and builds self-confidence in my own system, and confidence does matter.
- A corollary to objective #1 above is to remind attendees that the guy sitting next to you may have valuable knowledge and experience to share with you as well. I’ve found that these peer-to-peer, belly-to-belly networking opportunities can yield both friendships as well as keen insights. In other words, don’t miss the lunch and dinner events. It’s half the fun, and you never know who you’ll get seated next to!
- Call it the enthusiasm kick-start. I find I’m simply recharged as a trader when I get home. Let’s face it, these things are usually at pretty nice locations, and taking a break from normal office routines is always good for whatever ails you, even if you think nothing is ailing you.
- Sometimes, I’ll take with me a specific element of my methodology or an indicator that I’d like some help demystifying an area of confusion. I recall just such a case some 20 years ago pertaining to stochastics. Lo and behold, I had dinner with George Lane, the creator of the stochastics oscillator. His advice was spot on, and I’ve been reaping the benefits for the past two decades. But I did pay for dinner!
- With any speaker, I first try to ascertain his or her motive for being there as a presenter. This offers both a credibility check as well as helps me to focus on specific content rather than being mesmerized by the sizzle or the sales pitch. Keep an open mind, but in the end remember there is seldom a free lunch.
- Finally, don’t get swept up into a totally new investment methodology or excited by a new system far outside of your comfort zone. Most investment conferences and seminars can offer something appropriate for every level of investor. You may have to actively dig for it, but that one trading gem which catapults you onto the next higher rung is there somewhere. Be patient. Be focused. But for gosh sake, be there.
Trade well; trade with discipline!
-- Gatis Roze