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The Zero Sum Game

If you have read the book Trading for a Living (one of the books we recommend) then you already know about the Zero Sum Game.  But for those of you who have not read that book yet I'm going to talk about it tonight.  Dr.  Elder discusses this in the first chapter of his book.  Why Because it is so important for you to understand this concept.  The Zero Sum Game what is it Most people on Wall Street would like you to believe trading stocks is a Zero Sum Game meaning that the winners will win as much as the losers will lose.  For every trade made there is a winner and a loser and the money simply flows between the two traders to equal Zero sum.  This is false.  What people fail to realize is that the winners receive LESS than losers lose because the industry drains the money in the form of commissions and spreads.  Trading stocks is a LESS than a Zero Sum Game meaning money flows out of the market daily and has to be replaced in order for the financial world to survive.  

Every day millions of dollars are sucked out of the market and into your broker's pockets by commissions.  Millions of trades are made each day in the stock market.  For every stock you buy someone is selling it to you.  The broker not only makes a commission off of you but he also makes a commission from the seller.  So in the same trade he gets two commissions for one transaction.  If you pay an average commission of $10.00 to buy a stock then that is $20.00 to the broker because the seller just paid the same commission.  This is 20 million dollars for every 1 million transactions.  Folks there are more than a million transactions a day in the financial markets.  These are conservative numbers I'm talking about.  I'm sure the average commission is more than $10.00.  An example of this less than Zero Sum Game is as follows: if you and I were to make a trade and I buy $1000 worth of stock from you I would pay $1010 for the stock and you would only receive $990 in return.  $20.00 in commission goes to the brokers.  This happens on every trade everywhere.  The point here is without us little people trading stocks there would be no Wall Street.  They are always looking at inflows of cash into the market.  This number is important to them because this inflow of money provides their next meal; it puts food on their tables and feeds their families.  They need us to survive and they love it when new online trading accounts are opened.  This is fresh money coming into the market replacing the millions of dollars that they just sucked out of the market the day before in commissions.  

The markets live off of losing traders.  Markets will always need a fresh supply of losing traders; these losing traders bring fresh money into the markets which are needed so the trading industry can survive.  The commercials you see on TV every day that want you to open an online brokerage account are not because they want you to get wealthy.  Believe me they could care less about you; what they need is the commission they'll get when you trade whether you win or lose all they really want is your money.  These new trading accounts are most likely a fresh batch of inexperienced dumboberries being fed to the wolves many of these new accounts will be sucked dry with commissions and losing trades.  They will fail and move on without ever learning the game and be replaced by a new batch of dumboberies right behind them.  This is how the financial markets have survived since their inception.  Markets are set up for you to lose.  Being an average trader is not good enough to overcome the commissions that you lose on every trade.  You must be better than average; you must be very good to beat the market.  There are a very limited number of good traders compared to the masses.  Our goal here at TWPD is to help you become one of those limited very good traders.

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