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The Secret Sauce: What it Takes to be a Winning Trader

We all have aspirations of buying into the next Apple or Amazon for a few dollars or even pennies a share.  The problem is the waiting, we all want that return tomorrow.  Take a look at the charts for Amazon and Apple below; a $10,000 investment 15-20 years ago would make you a millionaire now.

I want you to understand something right now, no one knows what a stock will do tomorrow.  Apple is an industry leader with revolutionary products.  One of Apple’s most successful products was the iPod.  It’s mostly obsolete now but they were all the rage in the early 2000’s.  Do you remember the Zune?  That was Microsoft’s competing product, it was a total flop.  Had the Zune become the dominant product, Apple might never have achieved all the success that the iPhone and iPad have brought it.

AAPL was able to build off its success and start the smartphone as we know it today.  Without that initial success of the iPod, we might only remember that AAPL built the first personal computer  then competed with HP and Dell in the personal computer market.  Instead, we have a revolutionary company that leads the tech sector in innovation.

One more thing to note on these charts, look at the dips that occur as the stock price rises.  Some of the dips are 10-15%.  Not everyone has the nerve to ride this roller coaster for this long.

Investing vs Trading

The INVESTMENTS in Amazon and Apple could have brought you fortune if you were able to accurately predict the future 15-20 years ago and had the discipline to hold the stock even during down times.  Trading is very different than investing.  While both are essential parts of the market, but they have very different requirements.  Investing requires patience and diversification.  Trading requires you to be able to gauge reactions in the short term.  The topic of trading v. investing is more complex and I have addressed it further here.

Ok enough is enough, I promised you the secret to profitable trading.  I can bore you all day with definitions and charts.  What does it take?

The Winning Trader

Nothing worth having in life comes easy or fast.  So if you are expecting to stand on your left foot and jump three times and trading success will arrive please stop reading and find another scheme.  The secret to being a winning trader is experience.  Not a special formula or chart overlay.  No amount of artificial intelligence or reading will make you a winning trader.  If you want to learn to trade and get good at it, you must start trading!  That’s it!  Simple right?

Simple, yes, but long, tedious and excruciating.  You will lose money at some point, guaranteed; maybe not your first trade and maybe not in your first week.  The key is to manage your money and manage your risk.  Managing those two items takes, you guessed it, experience!  Before starting this journey I read Toni Turner’s A Beginner’s Guide to Day Trading (follow the link to get a copy for yourself).  She spent the first 4 chapters talking about the mental game of trading.  It wasn’t until chapter 5 that she discussed actual trades and actual stocks.

Trading is a very emotional game and if you have read enough of my earlier posts, I have plenty of tales to tell about losing money when I let emotion get in the way.  You must condition yourself to detach from the trades.  Forget that the money you are trading with is real and your own.  You must concentrate on making good trades and then you will become a profitable and winning trader.  The discipline is only achieved with experience.

Your Next Step

Start trading!  Open a FREE account with Robinhood and start trading for free!  The money is real but they don’t charge any commissions.  I have a full review of the platform here.  Follow this link and when you sign up and make your first deposit you will receive a free share of stock!  What better to start off you trading endeavor than with a guaranteed profitable move?

Thanks for reading and happy trading!  Follow this blog for lots more insights and lessons.  Follow me on Twitter for live trades.

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