When you first started trading in stocks, you may have been under the impression that you need to know almost everything about investing. Although it’s a noble idea, it’s also an unrealistic one. The more you study stock trading, the bigger the world of stock trading appears to grow.
Yes, you do need to know a few fundamental things. You need to know the different stock exchanges and how they differ. You need to be cognizant of the opening and closing times of your chosen security market. You need to have a calendar of stock market holidays 2018. You need to be able to clearly understand the difference between Common stock, Preferred stock, and Share classes. It is also helpful to master major stock terms, learn how to choose the right stocks, understand when it’s the best time to buy, and knowing how to find the most reliable brokerage.
However, instead of trying to be a stock market polymath, it’s a better idea to develop a trading or investing philosophy that focuses on a few critical ideas.
Here are four critical ideas to consider:
1. Avoid treating your trading as a hobby.
In order to become a successful trader, then you have to treat your trading with the same diligence with which a business owner runs a company. When you treat trading like a business, you will schedule office hours for yourself, keep track of wins, losses, taxes, and expense. In short, you will continually strive to envision what you can do to grow the business.
2. Always work from a trading plan.
A trading plan isn’t something that you can research somewhere. It is your own set of rules on how you will trade stocks. In order for your trading plan to be effective, it must be based on something you have studied or based on your experience. In other words, it can’t be arbitrary. It is also helpful to write these rules out, even if you have them fairly well-memorized. By writing your rules down, you can create a checklist on what to do, as well as add or delete various rules. Your rules will include things like when you will enter and exit a trade, how you will manage your money, and so on. Moreover, it’s important not to trade outside your trading plan. Since your trading plan is an evolving blueprint of what works and what needs to be revised, by trading outside the plan, you are disrupting your methodological approach, breaking the feedback loop, and disrupting your sense of continuity. Training is not easy; in order to do well, you have to be committed to making constant and never-ending improvements to how you trade.
3. Avoid draining your account funds.
It took you some time to start your trading account because you had to save for a long time to fund it. Unfortunately, regardless of how much you have in your trading account, it’s easy to lose it. It may, for instance, have taken you five years to start with $100,000, but if you’re not careful, all that money could be gone in less than 6 months. You must treat your trading capital with respect. For instance, don’t sink most of your money into what looks like a winning trade, hoping to double your trading capital. Instead of taking risks, trade small amounts at a time. If you do want to ride a winner, only use money that you have already earned. Treat your account fund with the same deference you would treat a savings account.
4. Become a perpetual student.
Despite how much you learn and how much you know, stay a diligent student, humble enough to know that there is always room for improvement. Apart from reading about the markets on a regular basis and learning from other teachers, also learn from yourself– specifically, learn from your winners and losers, developing an intuition for how to spot a good trade.
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In conclusion, don’t try to learn everything about the stock market. Learn the fundamentals and few practical things, then focus on developing criteria for taking your trading seriously, creating a trading plan, protecting account capital, and staying a perpetual student of the markets.