Day trading is something that countless people dream of mastering in order to live a more comfortable life and hopefully make more money. And for some, that is the reality. However, for most, day trading never becomes more than a dream.
You see, learning how to day trade is not an easy feat, and unfortunately, many get stuck in a routine where they’re constantly ignoring some of the most fundamental day trading rules.
In an attempt to help you boost your day trading potential, we’ve listed some of the most common day trading mistakes that you have to avoid.
Not setting a plan or a budget
Day trading is complicated and time-consuming. It’s also highly stressful and it requires you to make many quick and crucial decisions on a daily basis.
In order to make these decisions easier, it’s important to always have a plan, and we suggest you start with the basics. What instruments are you trading and on which market? For how long are you going to day trade? What’s the limit when you cut losses or pocket profits? Which strategies will you implement? Etc.
Without a plan, day trading quickly becomes very chaotic, and you need to spend the time to prepare yourself. Naturally, this also includes setting a budget and sticking to it. And we don’t just mean an overall budget because you need to determine how much you can spend per day, week, month, as well as how much you’re willing to invest in each position.
Chasing trends and losses
Continuing on the point above, you should never, or at least very rarely, improvise when day trading. The goal is to analyze the market while looking for opportunities to trade on and then using a strategy to determine when, why, and for how long you’re opening a position.
As soon as you start chasing trends, volatility, and especially losses, you’ll lose your plan and the risks will increase dramatically. Chasing losses is considered to be one of the biggest mistakes anyone can do when investing or trading because it typically results in increased losses.
One thing that all experienced day traders have in common is the ability to stay calm and not be affected by trends and other unreliable price movements. In fact, it’s typically better to avoid a potential profit if it’s not based on proper analytic work then to risk losing your investment.
Not using Stop-loss
Stop-loss is a function that few hobby traders use but all professionals swear by. By activating a stop-loss for each position you open, you will avoid a lot of unnecessary losses. And if you think about it, this strategy goes hand in hand with the planning we mentioned before. If you have a plan before you start trading, you will already know where to put the stop-loss, correct?
Luckily, all the leading online brokers and trading platforms on the market today offer some form of stop-loss. It’s your job to learn how they work and then implement them to benefit yourself.
Not cutting losses and trying to “Average Down”
When investing in a stock with long-term goals, there might be times when the stock falls, but since you have long-term goals, you usually hold on to the investment until the market turns. This is often called average down and is not a big deal when investing but a real danger when day trading.
Firstly, as mentioned, you always need to use stop-loss which cuts your losses for you automatically. At the same time, you need to be aware that a market can turn at any time, and since you only hold your positions open for a few minutes or hours at a time, it’s almost always better to cut losses and move on.
Leaving open positions unattended
Lastly, day trading is a serious commitment, and when you are trading, you can’t be doing other things. As we all know, a volatile market can be very unpredictable, and you need to constantly keep track of your open positions.
This means that you should never, under any circumstances, leave your computer or trading rig with positions still open. Instead, plan your breaks and time around your sell times.
By doing so, you will avoid losing money or missing possibilities to create a profit.