Although it has been some years since I was actively involved in trading, I have just returned to the markets and have begun to trade a small account on my own behalf.
This has given me a slightly skewed perspective of the markets, almost like a new entrant, but one with a lot of experience.
There have been some big changes whilst I have been inactive, not least in the number of online brokerages fighting for every dollar.
But many things stay the same, at the heart of which is one, I guess, unbreakable truth. Trading is basically a very simple business, with any trading – stocks, options, FOREX, whatever – only really incorporating three steps:
1. Find several possible trades evaluate them and decide which to go for,
2. Calculate how much to trade, and decide at what points to enter and exit the market
3. Keeping an eye on, or monitoring, open market positions
Now, these three steps were basically all there was to it a few years ago, and they still And, guess what, people are still getting totally bogged down right here, at this early stage of the trading process, generally, for one of two reasons.
The first possible reason is that they simply are not aware that these are the steps involved in the trading process, or (the second reason) they have no clearly defined rules for action these steps.
Thus, less experienced, more nervous, traders can often take hours to evaluate a small number of potential trades.
Experienced day traders, on the other hand, are fully aware that, with little time available to execute their trading, they must have a process plan and they must stick to it.
A day trader will set out his (or her) plan of action something like this:
1. Recognize the opportunity, enter the market
2. Stay in the trade for as long as possible if it is going for him or
3. Get the heck out of there with minimum losses, as soon as it is clear it is going to go the wrong way
That's essentially what a day trader in any market was doing years ago, and that is what a day trader is still doing today, with little or no change to their working practices thought about by the vastly more advanced technology of today.
Savvy day traders learn very quickly that they must plan ahead of time, so that they are in prime position to take full advantages of the opportunities that occur in real time.
Thus, day trading, which on paper at least is a pretty dangerous and risky manner of working markets is, in fact, one of the most disciplined trading schools!
By the nature of market movements and the way they operate, day traders simply can not afford to run their trading business on a wing and a prayer!
Day trade with discipline and there is good money to be made. Trade without it, it's a one way ticket to the loans queue!