What Does “Trailing Max Drawdown” Mean and How to Figure It Out?

07 Feb 2024
max drawdown

Understanding max trailing drawdown, commonly referred to as MTD, is crucial in the world of finance and investment. MTD calculates the maximum loss incurred by an asset or portfolio from its highest value to its lowest. This metric holds immense value as it enables traders to evaluate the possible risks linked to their investments. And then they can decide if they should trade without a stop loss. 

It is crucial to grasp the concept of MTD as it offers traders a comprehensive view of the potential negative impact associated with their investments. Understanding the potential for significant losses, traders can make well-informed choices, establish their risk tolerance, and implement effective risk management techniques to safeguard their portfolios. 

What is Trailing Drawdown?

What is trailing drawdown? Let's begin with the fundamentals. Understanding the concept of Max Trailing Drawdown, also referred to as Max Drawdown, is crucial in investment analysis. This metric calculates the highest decline that an investment or portfolio has encountered, from its highest value to its lowest point, during a specific timeframe. But it calculates the maximum possible losses you could face in your investment.

It is crucial to understand the calculation process for the Max Trailing Drawdown, which utilizes a simple mathematical equation. To calculate MTD, subtract the lowest point in the value of your investment from its peak value within a specified period. The outcome represents the utmost extent of the loss that could have been experienced within that timeframe.

 The calculation of the Max Trailing Drawdown may be done using either historical or real-time data. When evaluating an investment, historical data takes into account its previous performance to calculate MTD, whereas real-time data offers instant insights. Understanding the differences among these data types is essential, as they significantly impact the calculation and utilization of MTD.

Various related terms can enhance comprehension when exploring the concept of Max Trailing Drawdown. These critical metrics encompass the most extreme point an investment reaches, the lowest point it falls to, and the subsequent process of rebounding from a drawdown. These metrics provide a thorough perspective on an investment's performance and potential risks.

What is the Method for Calculating the Level of the Max Trailing Drawdown Limit?

This represents a portion of the original size of the trading account. The Maximum Drawdown Level Limit is set at 5% of the Initial Trading Account Size. The Practical Assessment and the Live Account are identical.

Here is the calculation:

The maximum drawdown limit level is calculated by subtracting 5% of the initial trading account size from the high water mark.

Now, let's examine an illustration involving the $100,000 account.

First week

 Initial account balance: $100,000

The maximum drawdown limit level is calculated by subtracting $5,000 from $100,000, resulting in $95,000.

This represents the highest level of drawdown limit at the start of the week, prior to engaging in any trading activities.

Throughout the trading week, the trader managed to generate a profit of $2000. However, there was a subsequent loss of $500, resulting in an overall balance in the account of $101,500 by the end of the week. The maximum account balance (or the High Water Mark) reached $102,000 

Second week

The peak account balance reached an impressive $102,000.

The maximum drawdown limit stage is calculated by subtracting $5,000 from $102,000, resulting in $97,000.

It is worth mentioning that the Maximum Drawdown Limit Level follows the High Water Mark (in this example, the $100,000 account) by $5,000 till it exceeds the Initial Trading Account Size (also $100,000 in this case). Once it reaches this level, it remains there for the entire duration of the account. If the trader managed to increase their account balance to $300,000, the Maximum Drawdown Limit Level would still be set at $100,000.

Exceeding the Maximum Drawdown Limit Stage in both the Useful Assessment and the Real-Time Account 

If you exceed this limit during the Practical Assessment, your account will be deactivated, and you will be given the chance to reset and begin anew. If you exceed the set limit in your Live Trading Account, the account will be terminated. Resetting the live account for trading is not an option, as it would result in a loss of 5% of the Trading Account. If you want to always be aware of important signals, you can read how to use mt4 alerts.

The Importance of Max Trailing Drawdown

Max Trailing Drawdown (MTD) is a crucial factor in evaluating the level of risk in investment portfolios. Traders can assess their ability to handle potential losses by calculating the highest possible decline they may encounter. Put, MTD assists in determining your level of risk tolerance. Traders can adjust their investment strategies according to their personal preferences regarding potential market declines.

Evaluation of Past Performance

Gaining insight into investments' past performance is essential for making informed decisions. MTD assists traders in assessing the extent to which an investment's value has varied in previous periods. Through an analysis of past MTD data, traders can acquire valuable knowledge regarding an investment's stability and capacity to withstand fluctuations in the market.

Managing Your Investment Portfolio

Efficient portfolio management is a primary goal for traders. MTD is an invaluable tool in accomplishing this objective. Traders have the opportunity to enhance their portfolios by utilizing MTD, which allows them to take into account the highest level of decline linked to each asset. This strategy enables them to generate a varied assortment of investments that effectively manage risk and maximize potential returns, thereby bolstering the overall stability of the portfolio. MTD empowers traders to make well-informed decisions regarding the placement of assets within their portfolios.

Declines are a Common Occurrence

 Losses are a common occurrence in trading, but it's essential to stay mindful of them. Experiencing a decrease in trading activity is a common occurrence that should be noticed. Consider a professional poker player, for instance. Experienced poker players experience periods when they encounter a series of losses, but they still manage to be consistently profitable in the long term due to their effective winning strategy. In addition to this, they are avoiding the possibility of putting their entire bankroll at stake in a single session or tournament. This principle also holds when it comes to engaging in market trading. Even if you consistently generate profits, there will be periods of losses. That's just how the game goes. Ensure that you possess sufficient funds and avoid jeopardizing a significant portion of your bankroll to withstand any potential periods of losses. It's crucial to keep in mind that if your account encounters drawdown losses, it doesn't necessarily indicate a flawed strategy. Trading the markets always entails certain risks. The crucial aspect is comprehending the potential hazards and implementing a carefully devised trading strategy to mitigate them. Assessing your trading strategy and determining your risk tolerance can effectively reduce potential losses in your account balance.

Master Your Feelings During Market Declines 

It's crucial to maintain composure and concentration when facing a decline in trading, ensuring that emotions do not overpower rational decision-making. Feeling overwhelmed is a typical response when our trading accounts don't meet our expectations. However, it's crucial to maintain control over our emotions and make rational decisions. Strong emotions that arise during periods of financial losses can cause us to make impulsive trades, disregarding our carefully thought-out strategies and plans in the pursuit of immediate profits. If this occurs frequently enough, our overall trading performance will endure a substantial decline in the long term. It is crucial to stay calm and focused on our goals when participating in the markets. By implementing effective risk management methods and executing our strategies consistently, we increase our chances of achieving success. It is also essential to maintain discipline and patience throughout the process.


MTD is an essential measure for traders, providing valuable insights. It measures the highest decline an investment or portfolio has encountered from its highest value to its lowest point, offering valuable perspectives on potential hazards. 

We have observed how MTD assists traders in analyzing risk, assessing past performance, and enhancing portfolio optimization. Integrating MTD into your investment strategy enables you to make well-informed choices, safeguard your capital, and pursue your financial objectives with certainty.

As you explore the realm of finance and investment, we recommend delving deeper into Max Trailing Drawdown and its various applications. Gaining a more profound comprehension of this measurement is a valuable advantage on your investment path, enabling you to adjust to fluctuating market circumstances and make well-informed decisions.

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