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Maximize Bear Market Learning

The goal of this post is to orient new traders on a great current opportunity to dramatically grow their experience, despite markets being a little tricky currently for some.

I started trading in 2007. So for the past 15 years, I’ve experienced just 3 bear markets (SPX), 2 of which have been in the past 2 years. We had a bear market in 2007, 2020, and 2022. Over that same span, I’ve seen merely 6 corrections: 2010, 2011, 2015, 2015/16, 2018x2.

From 1929 to 2022, we’ve had just 22 bear markets in total. They’re relatively infrequent (average bear market lasts around ~290 days).

We cannot control what styles of markets we experience. However, looking back, I truly wish I made more of the 2007 bear market. I learned a lot and documented a ton but I could’ve done more. I integrate data heavily in my approach and have tested strategies thoroughly but there is no substitute for experiencing the events and trading them.

A few things I do during bear markets others may find useful:

-Ramp up papertrading big time. Backtesting is good for initial proof of concept. Papertrading is the next step I like to take before deploying a strategy or variant live. It allows us to trade the markets as we see it, not in hindsight, and test. Right now is a GREAT time to papertrade heavily with variations on strategy variables, then optimize. This year, I’ve been working on variations of short DTE (<9) volatility plays and gamma scalping. If you have a strategy you like, open up papertrades using every delta variant (believe it or not, most optimized strategies don’t use round number deltas).

-Work on a robust market “smart pack”. Throughout each year, I document phenomena about that year. I have archives going back to 1930 (not all first hand obvi). This gives me a historical reference for what we’re seeing now. Prime example, people are blown away bonds are behaving as they are against equities - yet it’s not the first time. We have reference points for this.

Good luck and enjoy the opportunity!

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