Cash Flow Trader Blog: Scott Landers Interview

This special edition of the TSU blog features an interview with pro trader Scott Landers. Scott is an expert on many trading systems and strategies, working with hedge funds and floor traders for over two decades. He has come to TSU to bring his favorite trading tips that combine price, time, and volume. I believe you will find many ideas that you can apply to your trading right away.

How did you get started trading?

When I was in middle school, I used to read the Wall Street Journal every day. I would look at the numbers, and my eyes would kind of glaze over, but when I would get to the charts, I was always fascinated. I’ll never forget looking at the charts and thinking there has to be more to this picture. I did a few trading competitions in school and had some really good success...that’s where it all started for me. I can’t say why but I’ve just always loved it.

I started in 1983. I’ve been through the ‘87 crash, dot com mania, dot-com implosion, the Great Financial Recession of ‘07-’09, and through Covid 19 and the Pandemic Flush. It’s funny. Through all of that, trading has not really changed...  it’s still a price chart.

I’ve looked at more charts than you can count! The reason I help people now is just because they asked me. I started helping people and never looked back. The biggest blessings in my life have happened over the last 20 years, from helping traders. It’s amazing to be a part of someone’s journey.

I’m not done with my journey; I’m still growing, learning, and honing my skills… that’s why I say, “Trading is a Journey, Not a Destination.”

What do you want to achieve personally through trading?

It’s the legacy system for my kids. I don’t want them to have to go the path I’ve gone. I want them to be able to skip a bunch of the steps I’ve had to take. I enjoy being a part of other people’s journeys. I love teaching, analyzing, and the charts. It’s not about the money for me. I want people to have freedom in their lives through this. I tried a lot of things in the past before I found my niche in this industry.

What was the reason you started helping other traders?

At a seminar in Atlanta in the early 2000s, I was listening to someone teach a “revolutionary” new concept. There were about 90 people in the room, and I looked around and saw a lot of puzzled looks on faces. I posed a question to the instructor that produced an “ah-ha” moment for HIM. After that, people were asking for my information for help with what the instructor was teaching.

The only thing we had was Yahoo Chat Messenger. I would get on the mic and answer questions.  More and more people started coming to these chats, which turned me into full-on coaching. The demand was there, so that’s how that happened.  I love helping people. It sharpens my skills as well.

In the early days of my trading, what held me back was me...the space between my ears that I’m supposed to listen to. I was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I love being able to help other traders avoid that path! Another key lesson was not understanding money management. You can win 90% of the time and lose it all because of not using proper position sizing and risk management. Don’t do that.

What would happen if you didn’t have success at this?

No matter what happens to me in the future, the thing trading has taught me is self-reliance, depth and introspect of myself and balance. I feel God has blessed me in many ways. I get to work with people all over the globe, and many have become my closest friends. I would say this to anyone interested… study your failures more than your successes.

Did you have a guide along the way?

John Murphy! I am fortunate to have had a relationship with him that has spanned decades. If you haven’t read his book Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets, do yourself a favor and read it. Learning from him is what turned things around for me.

I learned to understand basic visual analysis of trends. If you can identify a trend on the chart, you can trade that trend. You don’t have to catch the top and bottom of the trends, just catch part of the trend consistently, and you will be just fine!

I was able to put together a system that grew a portfolio 80% off one trade.  That specific trade only lasted about two weeks. That was eye-opening! Once I figured out how to put systems together, it just pushed everything forward.

What was the strategy you created to really move you forward?

I developed a concept called the ATR Model. It was understanding that you need a recipe with which to trade. It doesn’t matter what the system is. You have to have a recipe that you can follow consistently.

Once you have a framework, you can plug in endless strategies. The most important, the number 1 thing you better have with your system is the mindset and discipline component. You better obey your trading rules. Have your trading plan figured out, and never violate that.

That’s the biggest game-changer I have seen when I work with others and in my development. When we don’t stick to the plan or think we are more intelligent than everyone in the market, that’s not a good thing. Just stick to the system that has the edge and then trade that system.

The achievement that I’ve had is recognizing that there is no one holy grail. The actual holy grail is something you love that you won’t part with from your personal journey. If you get that, you’ve got something amazing. And for every trader, that is different. I tell traders not to mimic what I do. Be true to yourself.

For me, money is just a means for mobility. If you are focused on the money, you are looking at the wrong thing. If you focus on the process, the money will come, or the outcome will arrive.

How did you transform during your trading journey?

I took control of my own account. I fired my broker and never went back again. I’ve grown, I’ve had to learn to manage my mental state because this game is not what we are wired for. You are going into battle. If you don’t have control of your mindset, the market will chew you up. Find balance and be grateful. Freedom comes through Discipline!