Back to Basics: My Top 3 Trading Rules
Successful trading demands self discipline.
Every trader should have a plan in place.
My plan begins with 3 rules that I need to follow at all times.
These rules could save you from losses and give you trading profits faster.
Learning them has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of my career.
But implementing them has made me into the trader I am today.
Below I will break these rules down for you and how you can apply them to your plan today.
Rule #1: Plan Your Trades and Trade Your Plan.
There’s a reason this is rule number 1.
To be a successful trader, You must execute your plan to the letter.
This takes self-discipline but it keeps your emotions from clouding your judgment. Follow your trade plan – a disciplined trader is a successful trader.
Rule #2: When You Put on a Trade, Think About Losing
This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s the best way to view risk management.
Many traders focus on the gain they can make, the great ones think more about how much they could lose.
Know your maximum risk of loss for every position and then put your stops in place at your loss tolerances, whether they’re 10%, 15%, etc. This way, you’ll never lose more than you can afford or expect to.
Many professional traders fail to act on this simple concept, and “manage” their risk after they’ve already bought their positions.
While this is common practice, it’s not the best practice.
By managing your risk before the trade, there’s a smaller chance of a black swan type of event blowing out your position or portfolio.
Rule #3: Take Profits When You Can
As a position moves in your favor, risk actually increases.
Think about it: if you buy a share of stock at $100, your risk is never greater than $100.
If that stock moves to $120, your total risk in the position has now increased by 20%.
This is a perfect reason to take profit targets in pieces as the position moves in your favor.
People tend to think of profits or unrealized gains as “house money”, but that’s a terrible way to manage risk. This is why you need to plan an exit strategy before you put any trades on.
A Complete Trading Plan
The 3 rules above are by no means a complete trading plan.
They are however a great place to start in building a plan of your own. All of these rules should be a part of any traders strategy.
These are lessons I learned by taking huge losses on the trading floor in Chicago. Use these lessons now and you might be able to avoid paying for them with your own capital.
AKA, “The Alpha Shark”