Here is the inconvenient truth about successful trading. It’s work.
Trading is more than just numbers — it is a three dimensional fight that rages primarily inside the traders themselves. Missing any crucial element can ruin a trader quickly. The trader must first develop a robust trading system that fits their own personality and risk tolerance. Then they must trade it with discipline and faith consistently through ups and downs. But that’s not all. Risk exposure must also be managed carefully through position sizing and limiting open positions. The risk management has to be able to carry the trader through the losing streaks and enable survival for the chance to even make it to the winning side.
Here are thirty rules that can help the new trader survive that first year in the trading the markets or take the unprofitable trader much closer to profitability.
Trade with the right mind set.
1. Be flexible and go with the flow of the markets price action, stubbornness, egos, and emotions are the worst indicators for entries and exits.
2. Understand that the trader only chooses their entries, exits, position size, and risk and the market chooses whether they are profitable or not.
3. You must have a trading plan before you start to trade, that has to be your anchor in decision making.
4. You have to let go of wanting to always be right about your trade and exchange it for wanting to make money. The first step of making money is to cut a loser short the moment it is confirmed that you are wrong.
5. Never trade position sizes so big that your emotions take over from your trading plan.
6. “If it feels good, don’t do it.” – Richard Weissman
7. Trade your biggest position sizes during winning streaks and your smallest position sizes during losing streaks. Not too big and trade your smallest when in a losing streak.
8. Do not worry about losing money that can be made back worry about losing your trading discipline.
9. A losing trade costs you money but letting a big losing trade get too far out of hand can cause you to lose your nerve. Cut losses for the sake of your nerves as much as for the sake of capital preservation.
10. A trader can only go on to success after they have faith in themselves as a trader, their trading system as a winner, and know that they will stay disciplined in their trading journey.
Bring your risk of ruin down to almost zero.
1. Never enter a trade before you know where you will exit if proven wrong.
2. First find the right stop loss level that will show you that you’re wrong about a trade then set your positions size based on that price level.
3. Focus like a laser on how much capital can be lost on any trade first before you enter not on how much profit you could make.
4. Structure your trades through position sizing and stop losses so you never lose more than 1% of your trading capital on one losing trade.
5. Never expose your trading account to more than 5% total risk at any one time.
6. Understand the nature of volatility and adjust your position size for the increased risk with volatility spikes.
7. Never, ever, ever, add to a losing trade. Eventually that will destroy your trading account when you eventually fight the wrong trend.
8. All your trades should end in one of four ways: a small win, a big win, a small loss, or break even, but never a big loss. If you can get rid of big losses you have a great chance of eventually trading success.
9. Be incredibly stubborn in your risk management rules don’t give up an inch. Defense wins championships in sports and profits in trading.
10. Most of the time trailing stops are more profitable than profit targets. We need the big wins to pay for the losing trades. Trends tend to go farther than anyone anticipates.
Develop a winning trading system that fits your personality.
YOUR ROBUST METHOD
1. “Trade What’s Happening…Not What You Think Is Gonna Happen.” – Doug Gregory
2. Go long strength; sell weakness short in your time frame.
3. Find your edge over other traders.
4. Your trading system must be built on quantifiable facts not opinions.
5. Trade the chart not the news.
6. A robust trading system must either be designed to have a large winning percentage of trades or big wins and small losses.
7. Only take trades that have a skewed risk reward in your favor.
8. The answer to the question, “What’s the trend?” is the question, “What’s your timeframe?” – Richard Weissman. Trade primarily in the direction that a market is trending in on your time frame until the end when it bends.
9. Only take real entries that have an edge, avoid being caught up in the meaningless noise.
10. Place your stop losses outside the range of noise so you are only stopped out when you are likely wrong.
For more of the world’s best trading rules check out the book “Trading Habits” here.