Retrospective means to take a look back at events that already have taken place.
Once you’ve finished trading, it might be tempting to call up yo homies to hit up happy hour, kick back shots of Patrón, and splurge on bottles of Dom Pérignon, but it’s crucial that you review how your trade went, win or lose.
You want to look back over the whole process to understand what you did right and wrong. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
How well did your trade work out?
- Was the position size sufficient to match the risk and reward scenarios, or was it too large? Too small?
- Could you have entered at a better level?
- What tools might you have used to improve your entry timing?
- Were you patient enough or did you rush in thinking you’d never have a chance again?
- Was your take profit realistic or a pie in the sky?
- Did the market pay any respect to your choice of take-profit levels, such as stopping short of it, or did prices blow right through it?
- Did the market pay any respect to your choice of stop-loss levels, such as stopping short of it, or did prices blow right through it?
- What news or event catalysts caused the market to move the way it did?
Use the answers to refine your position size, entry level, and order placement going forward.
How well did you manage the trade after it was open?
- Were you able to effectively monitor the market while your trade was active? If so, how? If not, why not? The answers to these questions will reveal a lot about how much time and dedication you’re able to devote to your trading.
- Did you modify your trade plan along the way?
- Did you adjust your stop loss order to protect profits?
- Did you take partial profit at all?
- Did you close out your trade based on your trading plan, or did the market surprise you somehow?
Based on your answers, you’ll learn what role your emotions may have played and how disciplined a trader you are.
While you may want to vent your thoughts, emotions, and feeling to yo homies, it’s better to write them down here. You are probably boring them to death anyway. They don’t want to hear your whining.
What can you improve and what specific steps will you take for improvement?
This is your opportunity for trader self-improvement.
Do not just write vague confessions like “I need to hold my winners longer” or “I need to cut my losses quicker” or “I need to be more disciplined”. These are totally useless by themselves.
Identify SPECIFIC steps that you will take to improve. How will hold your winners longer? Will you work on choosing better profit target? Will you learn how to not freak out at the first sign of your unrealized profits falling?
There are no right or wrong answers in this review process; just be as honest with yourself as you can be. And be specific. Otherwise, you won’t improve as a forex trader.
Did you execute your trade according to your trading plan?
DO NOT TAKE THIS QUESTION LIGHTLY.
If you are not routinely executing trades according to your plan, then you either have a serious problem with self‐discipline or there is a problem with your Trading Plan. Either way, you have a BIG problem that needs to be fixed yesterday!