Can an egg timer improve your trading?

True Story

When I first started my career in this great business in the early seventies, I worked under a guy named Gary who acted as a mentor to me.

Now Gary was definitely over the top personality wise and his trading style was something else altogether.

Let me share with you one of Gary's trading quirks. Gary was a short term trader and good at it. He was talented technically when it came to charting as he kept all his charts by hand on special graph paper. Remember this was back in the seventies before we had all these wonderful computer charting programs .

Well here I am next to Gary watching him trading in and out, in and out, of all these different markets throughout the trading day. Gary was a super busy, and successful trader and I was happy to watch over his shoulder and learn how the markets really work.

The one thing I haven't told you about Gary, was that he had a big egg timer on his trading desk. Every time he made a trade he would flip the egg timer over and the sand would start running.

Now you have to remember, I was green to trading back then and had never seen someone of Gary's caliber and trading style. I just thought that having an egg timer on your desk was a normal part of trading.

Have you figured out yet why Gary was using a egg timer?

Was it because ...

(A) He liked playing with egg timers
(B) He liked to time his poached eggs
(C) He used it for money management

If you chose (C) you are correct. Gary did use an egg timer for money management. It's not as crazy as you might think and it suited Gary's style of trading perfectly.

You see Gary was using a TIME STOP.

How it worked is like this, Gary would see something on his intra-day charts that was a buy, and then buy it immediately. If it did not go up by the time the sand had finished running through his egg timer he would exit the market win lose or draw. It was just that simple.

I never had the type of trading personality to trade like Gary, but I have to admit the egg timer worked.

Have a great weekend and trading week.

Adam Hewison

P.S. If you missed any of the "Traders Whiteboard" series watch them here.

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5 thoughts on “Can an egg timer improve your trading?

  1. From a post regarding the growing theft of gas from parked cars across America which I just posted this on a local blog. Its a bit unrelated, but a bit related to what you talk about here:

    Yep. Its midnight, American premarket trading on NASDAQ doesn't start for 7 more hours. But Oil is near record on international trades. Metals (gold, silver, copper, uranium, etc) are shooting up. US Dollar value (vs Euro and others) is diving.

    Anybody who tries to predict exact timing and effects often ends up looking pretty silly, however folks who simply point out overall general graph trends are just parroting reality. We've been trained to the 24 hour news cycle by TV, and the 5 minute news cycle by the internet. So when the general trend shows oil getting more expensive, mortgages getting sleazier, metals getting pricier and etc . . . but then suddenly we get a few days of the trends reversing. We think collectively "ah - see, now its all going back to 'normal'!" But if one simply looks at a 30 day, 90 day . . . 10 year graph of the same data, things look VERY different.

    We reap what we sow. High School economics classes teach, at least they used to, that if you spend more than you make - eventually it catches up to you. America is now collectively learning that lesson . . . well, we probably won't learn it. We'll instead blame it on immigrants, gays, godless heathens, etc (when in fact all of those category's combined are vastly the minority of American population).

    We might though, by using a gun to the worlds head (thousands of active nuclear weapons) manage to eke out a few more years of surviving as beggars at the worlds teat. Or, it could play out hard in the next few weeks or months. Nobody knows. But regardless of exact timing, the current path is clearly unsustainable. Its been a fun and wild party that we've thrown these last few decades in the USA! I hope you all had as much fun as I did! Lets now have the courage and ethics to now settle down and just join the world community as equals, rather than throw a whiny temper tantrum because we won't be able to just take all we want anymore! It takes far more courage to accept others as equals than it does to demand being their rulers.

    Good luck to all of us!

  2. excellant!
    it should not be tried near the all time high of the stock, other times the prospects are bright.

  3. so tell us how you use the egg timer....


    Thank you for your feedback.

    How do you use in egg timer? if you're cooking an egg I could probably tell you, but for trading, it was just a way that Gary used to trade. if the train did not work in a certain amount of time it is probably not going to work. As I mentioned Gary was a very short term trader and he really liked the action plus he was good at what he did. This approach is not suitable for everyone, it was not suitable for my own personality and my own trading. So like everything else, you need to work on things that work with your own personality, this is especially true in trading.

    Thanks again for your feedback.

  4. All he accomplished was to make his broker rich.


    Gary was the broker and a heck of a trader. He had a real feel for the markets.

    Thanks for your feedback.


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