About Rick

From Bytes to Ticks

I started my career in 1978 as a Computer Technician and Programmer. During the 1980's, I was drawn to the markets and investing, specifically the Futures market.

My early exposure to Futures and Commodities came from books that I would find at various Public Libraries. Most were about Fundamental Analysis or simple Technical Analysis. What really interested me were the few publications I came across that attempted to convince the reader that predicting market moves was possible.

One of my earliest memories is that of an obscure trading book I came across at the Azusa Public Library around 1987 that taught a method of looking at multiple contract months of a commodity in order to predict future direction.

I can still see the memory in my mind of sitting under a shade tree in the park next to the Library, absorbed by all the details of that book. Using my skills in computers and programming, I put the information to the test by writing a program to run all the data examples found in the book as well as data from other sources. What I discovered was a big disappointment. Without putting the data to the test, it looked really great and I could see how many could be fooled by the Author's hype. Fortunately for me, I had the knowledge and resources to run the information through its paces using custom software. Although disappointed to learn that the information was worthless, no monies was lost in the process by foolishly trading the information.

In 1988 I received an offer in the mail to learn how to trade Futures and Commodities from a course being sold by a trading "cowboy" in Oregon. I purchased this course, studied it, opened an account, and for the first time started to trade with real money. Unfortunately, this course turned out to be all hype, the recommended broker turned out to be way overpriced ($100 per round-turn trade commission), and the risk on each trade larger than what any beginning trader, let alone any trader for that matter, should have to take for a single contract.

It was at this point that I realized that, if I was to become a successful trader, my risk exposure would have to be greatly reduced. In order to lower risk exposure, the stop-loss order would have to be placed as close to my entry price as possible. The problem is that there has to be a logical reason for placing a stop-loss at a certain price level. Just placing a stop close to entry for the sake of a small risk exposure could result in a lot of trades getting stopped out before the market had a chance to make a favorable move. It became clear to me that in order to minimize my risk exposure, I would have to figure out how to time my trades as close to a new bottom or top, since the stop-loss would best be placed below a new bottom or above a new top.

It was in 1991 that I came across the idea of using Fibonacci as the basis for analysis. Using Fibonacci mathematics on numerous charts, I started to apply it strongly in the Pork Belly market. It was so effective that I managed to forecast every significant turn in the Pork Bellies market for several weeks. My account exploded in quick profits. It was magical to me and I felt that I could go on indefinitely picking every bottom and top. But then it all came to an abrupt end, when I decided to put on multiple contracts (shorts) in April Live Cattle, only to see it keep rising higher and higher. My account was wiped out!

Why did this happen? As it turned out, I was convinced by the use of Fibonacci that the Live Cattle market was going to make a top at a particular time. When the top did not happen on the exact day I had expected, I figured it would be a day late. When two days had passed and prices were still moving higher, I was now holding a big loss. I did not want to exit with a big loss, so I held on, thinking it had to top because it was now way overdue. This experience had taught me that there is no Holy Grail in trading, that you should never insist that the market do what you think it "should" do, and that you should exit your trade as soon as you realize you are wrong.

This experience only served to make me even more determined to discover the secrets to market timing with precision. Having to scrap up cash to start again, I had to figure out how to time the markets with greater precision and only risking a little on every trade with a logically placed stop-loss.

Using skills as a programmer and my growing experience in trading, I tested various theories that eventually led to remarkable discoveries about market price action. "It soon became clear to me that most of the material on trading out there was useless because they did not take into account the underlying reasons for market behavior." It also became clear to me that it was in fact possible to predict future market tops and bottoms with a high degree of accuracy, as I had made some fascinating discoveries from my research and testing.

By 1996, I had developed several market timing and market forecasting trading tools that helped make market predictions with above average accuracy. One powerful discovery opened up another discovery, and yet another discovery. The ability to forecast market turns was increasing daily to the point that many took note of my amazing accuracy from the public forecasts I was making on trading forums.

"It was during 1996 that I first came upon the Internet scene. There I found a trading forum (and eventually several) where I shared my market predictions. Within a very short period of time, a group formed for traders interested in my market calls and methods.."

It was also in 1996 that I became a full-time Market Analyst and started FuturesSoft Publishing while still employed as a technician/programmer for a major Los Angeles company. Before the year ended, I resigned to run my Trading Software and Market Forecasting company full-time.

FutureSoft Publishing really took off the first year, initially due to the success of my Trading Calculators program, but soon overtaken by my discovery of I call FDates (Future Turn Dates). From 1997 onward, FDates had become the core indicator that FuturesSoft Publishing, and later ProfitMax Trading Inc. based its market predictions (and success) upon. But I was not one to rest on one great discovery.

Research and development continued in the field of market forecasting. My focus turned toward the works of previous masters in the field of market forecasting led to more and more personal discoveries.

"much Has been learned and discovered that allows us to take advantage of our market turn dates, allowing us to filter out those that we can likely trade for excellent profits"

"The works of W. D. Gann, J. M. Hurst, George Bayer and many others who have shared their knowledge about market cycles became extremely useful in providing new direction in market forecasting for me. While my market forecasting work has been mainly mathematical up until around 2000, my research led me to discover that the underlying influence to market behavior are a number of 'cycles' from natural origins. A connection was also made between the 'cyclic patterns' and pure mathematics. This eventually led to even greater discoveries that our members now benefit from."

By 2001, the original mathematical forecasting program FDates was improved upon. A new proprietary predictive algorithm based on Dynamic Cycle Extraction was added. Members of the FDate Membership receive the results from these proprietary forecasting programs via a weekly report and eventually given an opportunity to acquire these programs as well for personal use.

While the FDate Membership is all about members receiving valuable market timing information to use towards making their own trading decisions and not about specific trade recommendations, in 2008 the decision was made to post actual personal trades for one year.

"Trading is hard enough when no one is looking over your shoulders. Imagine the pressure to trade in real-time before many other traders looking over your shoulders. Trust me, this kind of pressure does not improve trading results but will likely hamper it. Yet, during 2008 I posted my actual real-money trades right when I made them so that everyone on the forum could see what I was doing. By the end of the year, all the members could see the total profits vs. losses and note it was a profitable year in spite of that extra pressure. The point was that FDates are extremely valuable for use in market timing trades. However, since every trader makes their own trading decisions, my results or that of other traders is actually quite meaningless. This is a big reason why my personal trading is my own business and should not be used to encourage or deter others from learning and using FDates. So when people ask from time to time about my account statements, they do not understand that we do not give specific trade recommendations and that my own trading is not relevant. Some understand, some don't. Can't help that." **

The membership is setup to provide all members with a weekly report of future daily and weekly turn dates, just as it has since 1996. In addition, additional powerful technical tools are available that used along with FDates gives traders an INCREDIBLE EDGE!

"You'd be amazed at what we have accomplished with FDates and these supporting tools."

You can contact the office anytime via email at


"Successful market timing is important to successful trading. Let me help you trade with greater precision.""

Rick Ratchford

** The purpose of posting real trades was not intended as trading advice to members. In addition, the final result of this demonstration is not to make any claims of profitability nor to suggest that anyone using our services or information will be profitable. Trading futures and forex is very risky and you can lose a great deal of money. Past performance is not indicative of future results, and the results of any demonstration of trading or forecasting should not be construed as a testament that those following these forecasts or methods will have similar results. Each trader is responsible for his or her own trading results and should always take time to carefully consider each and every trade before committing funds. ProfitMax Trading Inc., its employees and agents are not responsible for the trading results of its customers. Please take a moment and click on the disclaimer link found at the bottom of this page.


Thank you Rick for the best technical analysis I have ever known.

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