In this article we cover the few important rules that should never be broken in trading. If you can apply these rules consistently, and with discipline, you will be well on the way to being a profitable trader.
The rules we cover are:
o Have specific goals and objectives
o Be consistent and disciplined
o Let profits run
o Cut losses short
o Never add to a losing trade
o Don’t take too much risk
o Only trade positive expectancy systems
o Minimize all trading business costs
o Be well educated
o Don’t trade scared money
Each of the rules will now be discussed.
2 The Golden Rules of Trading
The following sections outline a set of rules that can significantly improve your chances of success if they are understood, practiced, and implemented consistently in your trading. These rules have been learned the hard way, by study, research, trial-and-error, and the inevitable mistakes that everyone makes when they start a trading business.
We hope that you can learn from the work we have done, and benefit from our experience. The rules will now be discussed.
2.1 Have specific goals and objectives
Few things are more important to your trading success than having set (i.e. written) goals and objective for what you are aiming to achieve. It is amazing to me how often we hit our targets, meet our objectives, and reach our goals only when we articulate them and write them down.
For any business to be successful it must have measurable objectives that are actually achievable. In trading (obviously) the primary objective is to make money, but it is important to have other objectives that are not purely cash-related. We must always remember that reward and risk go hand-in-hand in trading and that we cannot expect to achieve high returns without planning for high risk (i.e. draw-downs).
Your objectives and goals will be very specific to you, but they must have the following characteristics to be useful:
o Be measurable (in completion and timeframe)
o Be achievable
o Be worthwhile
o Be positive
As an example, here are some of our current objectives (this is only a partial list):
o Develop 2 new positive-expectancy trading systems each year
o Make fewer errors implementing our levitra orosolubile trading systems each year
o Achieve a return to maximum draw-down ratio of 1.5:1
o Take 2 weeks vacation each year
Note that only one of them is about making money, and that has a measurable objective that is relative to draw-down, not absolute (i.e. make 100% per year). If you know what you are trying to achieve, and when you are trying to achieve it, the whole business will be focused on meeting
your objectives and help guide you to only pay attention to things you really want to achieve with your limited time and resources. This will also give you a way to measure the success and progress of your trading. Generally traders with well-defined objectives will be much more successful than those that do not have pre-defined goals.
2.2 Be consistent and disciplined
In order to realize the full potential of your trading systems it is critical that you take every trading entry, adjust every stop, and close out every trade as and when your system says you should do. This takes extreme confidence in your trading systems, good robust reliable technology, and the mental discipline to stick to your trading plan whatever happens (assuming it is complete).
An underlying assumption about being consistent and disciplined is that you have a pre-defined plan for every situation you may face in your trading, so that you know how you are defining what being consistent is. Your plan needs to include at least the following items:
o All your trading rules for entering, adding to, and exiting positions
o What you will do if your trading computer, internet connection, broker, power, telephone
o What you will do if you are unable to trade
o What you will do if you lose X% of your account
o What you will do if all the markets are closed and you can’t exit your positions
Unless you write the answers down to all these issues, you cannot be consistent and disciplined in your approach to trading and if you lose money you will not know whether it is because you didn’t follow your plan, because your plan is incomplete, because your systems do not work, or simply because you are going through a losing period.
2.3 Let profits run
This simple rule is the key to being a successful trader. It is three simple words that are very hard to actually implement. When we get a profitable trade our natural fear of losing the unrealized cash kicks in and we truly want to close it out now and take the money. Most trading consists of long periods of small winners and losers followed by a few huge winners that make the difference between overall profitability and simply breaking even or losing due to trading costs(commissions, spread, and slippage).