Measuring Twice and Cutting Once: How Trading Plans Help

The business of trading on an open stock market can be a very frightening thing. Mostly because it seems like a big giant casino from the outside. I mean, putting your money on something in the hopes that it will pay off? It suspiciously sounds like what you do at a roulette table. Any beginner may be excused for making that mistake. Another factor that contributes to the trepidation in entering the stock market is the recent meltdown in the global economy. Jumping into it now doesn’t seem to be a good idea, does it? But the truth is the risks of trading can easily be ameliorated by using a trading plan.

What is a trading plan? The name itself is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a stock trader‘s personal plan of how he trades. Sounds easy, but it isn’t. Solid trading plans are backed by research and discipline. The best trading plans focus a trader on a particular field and helps guide his actions to maximize his profit and minimize his loss. Pretty simple sounding but it takes a knowledgeable person to formulate a decent trading plan. Going in unprepared into the stock market can be deadly for your assets and a good trading plan is probably one of the biggest ways to prepare yourself for entering the market.

So, how exactly does a trading plan help you, the beginning trader? The most basic foundation of a good stock plan is what markets you are targeting. I mean, you have to set out what your goals are: low profit that is stable and steady or are you aiming for high profit but in a more volatile sector, with a greater chance for a loss. That’s where you start because different markets mean different strategies and that dictates how you plan goes. Sounds daunting but market data is freely available on the Internet. A few hours and you will notice sectors whose stocks increase meteorically and plummet dramatically. Other sectors will be noticeable in the fact that the stock prices have been inching up by the year with no downward movement. Make a list of these product markets and make a decision on what you’re looking for: the quick buck or the stable nest egg.

Having decided on what you’re financially aiming for, you should then narrow down the market list you’ve made. Try to choose sectors where you knowledgeable or have access to information of, this way it can be easier for you to formulate your plans – knowledge is power in stock trading and knowing when one company’s products are lagging behind in the market is one of those interesting facts that may help you to decided whether to buy or sell in their stock.

Having decided on which stocks you’re interested in, time to flesh out your plan. The basic questions you should be asking yourself are these:

1) How much do I invest in the market and when?
2) How much am I willing to risk?
3) What are the signs that I should stop buying and start selling?
4) How do I get out of the market?

Answering all of these questions is going to take a bit of research and legwork but it will pay in the end. The importance of knowing how much you’re willing to trade is important – this determines how much profit or loss you might make in this venture. Strictly following your trading plan can give you a chance at a lot of profit or a chance at making sure your losses aren’t that bad. Remember this when you’re starting to enter the market with your trading plan.