Three Ways to Know You Shouldn’t Trade

  The question of whether someone really should not be a trader is one that’s not often brought up in discussions between market participants. It’s almost as if the baseline assumption is that the sole criteria is that you want to trade. While I’m a believer in the view that just about anyone can learn, there are limits to that. Ignoring the obviously physical and mental disabilities, here are the ones I think are most important.

Lack of Impulse Control
If you cannot keep yourself from acting on impulse – meaning making snap decisions without a plan – then you’re likely not going to do well in trading. Successful trading means applying a consistent edge. That, in turn, requires a plan that is being followed, not making random trades when the mood hits.

There is probably some confusion here when the subject of gut instinct comes into play. Here’s the deal, though. If you’ve only just started trading, you have no gut instict. That comes from long experience. If you’re a rookie making gut trades, for your own good you should stop now. Any success you’ve had to this point is almost certainly a function of luck, not skill.

A Troubled Emotional State
We all go through periods when we’re in a mixed up emotional state. It could be relationship issues, family difficulties, the death of a loved one, stress at work, or any number of other things that put you off your game. These are not good times to trade. Granted, trading can be an escape from the emotional strains in some cases, but that’s only if the trader can consistently execute their normal work and strategy without it being impacted by what’s going on in the rest of their life.

Trading has a way of really exposing emotional problems, even among the most stable of individuals. If you’ve already got some mental strains going on, trading is likely to either make it worse, or to see you feed on that emtion in destructive ways – like trading angry. It is best to stay clear of the markets when these sorts of things happen if there’s any chance of spill-over or distraction.

Looking for a Quick Buck
Trading is not a get rich quick program. Any systems or broker ads that lead you believe otherwise are being deceptive. As any trader who’s been around more than a year will tell you, trading is a marathon, not a sprint. If you come into the market looking to make a fast killing you are almost certainly going to blow your trading account up because you’ll end up taking much too much risk. Basically, you’ll be a gambler rather than a trader. (more…)

Common Trading Mistakes

In trading, as in life in general, we all know that experience is the best teacher. However, failures in stock market trading bear more weight since you stand to lose thousands of dollars (or more) with each mistake that you make. So as to help you recognize red flags and prevent you from losing money further, here is a list of some common mistakes you might want to avoid.

# 1: Lack of proper knowledge
Many people who come into stock trading with the notion that they can simply learn the ropes along the way may be fatally mistaken. This is because this kind of activity requires some degree of stock market know-how, as well as experience. First, you have to learn how to trade stocks, because this is the only that you can be familiar with terms, such as “stocks,” “shares,” “dividends,” “trends,” and so on. Without proper education, you might make decisions that could prove to be costly in the future. If you want to engage in trading, the first rule is for you to learn about the basics-read a book, enroll in a course, attend lectures by experts-anything that can help you understand what this is all about.

# 2: Acting on Impulse
In learning stock trading, you will realize that many emotions may come into play as you go through each and every transaction-impatience, greed, fear, and over confidence are some of these emotions. One of the most common mistakes people commit while trading is making decisions based on impulse. While it is true that you can feel a wide range of emotions as you evaluate the data in front of you, do remember that a cool, logical reasoning must prevail. Do whatever you can to always make decisions on a clear head.

# 3: Not having enough practice
As you engage in trading, the saying that “practice makes perfect” could not be truer. Again, if you want to learn how to trade stocks and are serious about engaging in trading, then you should also enhance your skills apart from just learning the basics. However, you could not afford the trial and error method using real money, because this is impractical and a waste of time. Fortunately, there are now some sophisticated tools that can help you practice through simulated trading and practice accounts. For a fee, companies can help you set up a practice account, through which you can execute “simulated trading.” What this does is it helps you learn how to trade stocks by honing your skills without the risk of losing actual money.

# 4: Having unrealistic expectations
Finally, another common mistake in trading is having unrealistic expectations. Sure, we may have all heard of those who got rich quick because of the stock market, but you cannot expect to earn millions without being able to make sound decisions based on fact. In the process of learning stock trading, you must be able to set a clear set of objectives, and not unrealistic expectations that could lead you to make rash (and costly) decisions.

In the future, try to avoid committing similar mistakes so that you can truly benefit from the time and effort you are trading in the stock market.

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