Trading in the stock market is like being in a Monopoly game. If there are ten people playing, one person is likely to take everyone else’s money.

Trading functions much the same way, with 10% of traders becoming profitable, while the other 90% lose or break even. After studying successful traders from the books by Michael Covel and Jack Schwager for many years, and achieving my own financial freedom from trading the stock market, I have compiled a list of what separates them and their followers from the 90% that come up short.

Psychology

  • New Traders are greedy and have unrealistic expectations. Rich Traders are realistic about their returns.
  • New Traders make the wrong decisions due to stress. Rich Traders can manage stress.
  • New Traders are impatient and look for constant action. Rich Traders are patient.
  • New Traders trade because they are influenced by emotion. Good Traders use a trading plan.
  • New Traders think they can stop learning. Rich Traders never stop learning about the market.

Risk

  • New Traders act like gamblers. Rich Traders operate like a businessperson.
  • New Traders bet the farm. Rich Traders carefully control trading size.
  • For New Traders outsized profits are the #1 priority. Rich Traders know that managing risk is the #1 Priority.
  • New Traders try to prove they are right. Rich Traders admit when they are wrong.
  • New Traders give back profits by not having an exit strategy. Rich Traders lock in profits while they are there.

Methodology

  • New Traders give up. Rich Traders persevere until they are successful.
  • New Traders hop from system to system when they lose. Rich Traders stick with a winning system even when it is losing.
  • New Traders place trades based on opinions. Rich Traders place trades based on probabilities.
  • New Traders try to predict. Rich Traders follow what the market is telling them.
  • New Traders trade against the trend. Rich Traders follow the market trends.
  • New Traders follow their emotions to their disadvantage. Rich Traders follow systems that give them an advantage.
  • New Traders do not know when to cut losses or lock in gains. Rich Traders have an exit plan.
  • New Traders cut profits short and let losses run. Rich Traders let profits run and cut losses short.

These 18 principles and many more are covered in the new second edition of my trading classic: New Trader, Rich Trader.