Equipment Failure

2020-08-18 | TG Watkins

Having my blog this week was very timely with ThinkorSwim breaking for not just Monday, but now Tuesday as well. Fingers crossed this doesn’t go for a third or more day. I am thankful that I was in cash for this and the Markets are basically not doing anything (except for TSLA). This made me think about our reliance on technology, and in this case, a single point of failure.

The Moxie Indicator, which is my primary view into the world of charts, allows me to see what is really under the surface that price isn’t telling us. Moxie lets me know when energy is building before a pop or if there is a sinkhole forming under price and the bottom is about to fall out. The issue is that I only have it on ThinkorSwim (TOS) and that means I am flying blind when TOS goes out. For so many years this was not a problem, but as with all things in this world, that changed and TOS has been broken this week.

My problem is not unique, so what can we do as traders to pivot and mitigate these risks?

STOPS: I like to use stops. So if an outage occurs because your computer just caught on fire, the telephone pole outside fell over, a server froze, or a large company had their IT person push the wrong button, I know my worst case scenario loss limit is still out there and active. If all else goes awry, my stop loss will get hit and I will be safely in cash until the technology comes back.

SECOND PLATFORM: Reliance on one critical tool is fine, until it isn’t. And with trading, I may be missing out on making money, but at least I can always go to cash and just step aside until things start working again. It is a pain, but not the end of the world. That said, I have other sources for charts with the time frames I like and the moving averages I use. I can even get the free indicators I use to help me see what the market is saying. At this point, I can see, but I am limited in my abilities because my paid indicators may not be built for my backup charts. This is the biggest item to be addressed.

GET RESOURCEFUL: Many of the platforms we use nowadays have more than one way to access them. Specifically, TOS has a web version, a mobile version, and a paper money version. This is no guarantee, but I have had luck using the paper money version when the live version is down. And oftentimes the mobile version is unaffected so you can go there. Figure out the other options at your disposal before you go and move brokerages or have to build all new charts.

IMPROMPTU DAY OFF: Assuming your money is basically safe because of stops, or you are in cash, or your brokerage software is working fine, then the only problem is that you can’t effectively make decisions to trade. I call that a surprise day off. Yeah you may miss that killer trade, but whatever, it’s out of your control. There will always be another chance so why not take a little RnR, go for a walk, read a book, play with your kids for the day, or go do something you wouldn’t normally do because you would be working. Life doesn’t always have to be serious.