Welcome to our new blog series, Women in Trading! This series focuses on the experiences of different women in the industry - we talk about how to deal with discrimination, giving advice to other female traders, women-led start-ups and trading courses. Stay tuned for our Q&As!
This week's Q&A is with Mire B. Acosta, a cryptocurrencies trader from Colombia, South America.
Andie Zona is a successful female trader and YouTuber. Read our Q&A with Andie here>>
Women in Trading: Mire B Acosta
Could you tell me a bit about how you began trading - and what interested you about it in the first place?
I had a very difficult job that left me very little free time. I was a government employee and a university professor in the health field, and I never had a problem until my daughter was born. From that moment, everything changed. I was a single mother, and I began to feel depressed because I didn’t have the time to dedicate to her, or to watch her grow up. One day I decided to seek financial freedom - and that’s how I discovered cryptocurrencies.
In your experience, what is it like to be a woman in trading - which is quite a traditionally male-dominated industry?
Women have very special skills for trading. We are cautious, intuitive and dedicated. Five years ago there were very few women in trading, but men welcomed me with great respect and admiration. I had excellent teachers and I managed trading groups of thousands of people - 99% of them men. The only strange thing that happened to me was that even though I had my photo in my profile picture, several members of the group still thought I was a man. I had to repeat several times that I was in fact a woman!
Is there any advice you would give to other women looking to start a career in trading?
That it’s never too late to start. That it’s not easy - it’s a profession that requires dedication and discipline. I believe that the great problem with Latin America’s education system is that we aren’t taught as children to be independent, to invest, to seek financial freedom, but instead taught an employee mentality. I feel so happy when women approach me with their fears or doubts because I’m in a unique position to reassure them - I see myself in them when I first started.
Why do you think there are so few women in the trading industry, and how do you think the industry could be more open and welcoming to female traders?
There’s this idea that trading is something distant, exclusive, expensive and strange that can only be accessed by people on Wall Street who have expensive cars and suits. But there’s nothing further from the truth. In this business you can work with fifty dollars, from your home, taking care of your family. I think there’s a reluctance to let women have access to the freedom that this provides. The path for progress, I believe, is access to financial education at high school level.
Psychology plays an important role in trading. What are the most common things, in your experience, that block a trader’s progress?
The psychological part is perhaps 90% of all this. Not being overconfident, not taking revenge on the market when you fail, not respecting your own rules, or being fearful or insecure after a loss are the most common issues. Trading psychology is so vital to success - it’s a complete module on trading courses and specialists in the subject are becoming increasingly important.
What, in your opinion, are the essential elements of a good trading plan?
The most important thing is risk management. This includes being clear about the amount that you allow yourself to risk of the total capital per operation; the indicators that you are going to use, the confirmation of entry and exit, and where to set your stop loss. All this must come from something that traders call backtesting. Which is like putting everything you know to a test to select what really works for you, while trading in demo mode.
Strategy flipping is pretty common in trading. What’s the one thing traders should ascertain before they decide to change to a new strategy?
It’s quite common to switch because in many ways the market decides your strategies, not you. The market is changing all the time, and what works for fundamental traders might not work for chartist traders, and so on. It’s also very different trading the crypto market compared to SP500 - each market has its peculiarities so you have to be versatile.
You often hear traders saying you need to put the time in to become a consistently profitable trader - but what does this mean to you exactly and where should a trader be putting in the most time?
My process took approximately three years. The first thing is to learn to minimise losses - and then you think about how to make money. I think it’s a good idea to make a log for yourself where you write down each trade, why you decided to open that trade, what criteria you used to close it, whether you won or not, what mistakes you made, how you will avoid this in the future. More than theory, I think you have to invest in knowing yourself as a trader and your reactions to a market that can be ruthless and difficult, but equally profitable and predictable.