As traders we all have our own ways of doing things. Trading habits that we’ve developed over the years. Some are good and some are not so good. In this post I’d like to talk about how to improve your trading habits, but let me share my parking experience first.

Earlier today I made a mistake which I have repeated no fewer than  four times already this year, not to mention the dozens of times over the years.

I live in Sydney where the cost of parking is ridiculously expensive, an indicative guide of the cost per hour in a metered parking bay is \$4/per hour, the beaches price at a hefty \$7/per hour. As a self confessed caffeine addict [Hello my name is Michael and I am addicted to coffee] I tend to pop into cafes throughout the day to buy a cuppa.

## Taking a chance

So here is my problem and I suspect there are many amongst you who face the same problem. When I drive up to a cafe to buy a coffee I think to myself I am only going to be 15 minutes or so. What are the chances of me getting a fine? So I take a chance and run in without putting money in the meter. Straight away I can feel the extra adrenaline course through my veins as I roll the dice. For the non-locals, beware Australian parking rangers are everywhere.

Ok so lets take a look at the equation and see whether the approach is reasonable/rational.

Fine = A parking ticket is \$106

Cost = \$1 for 15 minutes

This means I need to get away with the “gamble” 106 times for it to pay for itself let alone make a profit ?.

## Probability of getting a parking fine

I don’t know the exact statistic but I can say quite confidently that the probability of being fined is many times more than 1/106 = 0.9% of the time. So if the expectancy for avoiding putting money in the parking meter is negative why do I do it?

Here are few suggestions:

• I want to outsmart the city council.
• I want to outsmart the parking ranger.
• I want a little thrill of excitement.
• I want to be naughty.
• I am too lazy to put the money in the meter.
• I don’t have any coins for the meter but want my coffee.

I think we can all come up with our own list of reasons why we do such financially silly things, the point I am making is that we all know deep down the behaviour is silly and expensive yet we continue to do it over and over again.