Ok, so I have been banging on about how you need a trading plan and how it is the ONE THING that winning traders have in common that losing traders don’t do.
It’s time to level with you about why I’m REALLY pushing this so hard!
Quite a few years back when I was still learning, I came across the concept of a trading plan in a book by Van Tharp. Now I really respect Van and love his work, but at the time my response was “yep, that sounds important…I will get to that eventually, but right now I just need to find a profitable trading approach”. That might even sound familiar to you…
So of course I didn’t take his advice because I was hell-bent on trading and I didn’t have time to write a trading plan!
I was trying quite a few different approaches at the same time and was having very little success. Around that time I had a bit of a challenging time in the markets and at work and my stress got the better of me.
Here is the thing:
When your emotions are high, your intelligence is low. This is why most traders lose money, because they are making decisions in the heat of the moment when they are stressed…this leads to poor decisions and financial losses.
As you now know, EMOTION UP = INTELLIGENCE DOWN…so I got pretty erratic with my trading, missed a bunch of good trades, sized some trades badly and made a number of execution mistakes. Not a great week!
The lucky thing was I realised that my emotions had gotten the better of me and saw that I lost what little consistency I had before. I decided to bite the bullet and actually write down my best approach and ditch all the stuff that just wasn’t working.
As soon as I took that first step towards my own trading plan things started to improve. I could see where I was making mistakes, it was obvious where my gaps were and I had a way of continuously improving – By improving my Trading Plan.
Of course it took ages before my plan was actually any good, but the point is that I started. I clarified what was working for me, went on and systemized my approach and created a complete trading plan to guide my trading.
One of the big risks that traders face is what would happen to their account if something happened to them. There are just so many stories of traders getting distracted or sick suddenly and their account suffering big losses because they weren’t there or weren’t focused. You don’t want that – believe me.
Well I actually got to the other extreme. I wanted to go trekking in Nepal for 3 weeks…but I didn’t want to stop trading because at that time it was going quite well. So what did I do? Well I gave my trading plan to my partner (who is now my wonderful wife and the amazing mother of my 3 kids) clarified a few details with her and then got on a plane!
What I discovered when I got back was that a trading plan is actually really awesome – it was just like I had never left…in fact if I am totally truthful I would say she even did a better job of executing my plan than I did! I had been away for 3 weeks, the account was up, had made no mistakes and she had no previous trading experience!
That is the power of a great trading plan. It is a guide to keep you on the straight and narrow. It keeps you consistent and true to your trading system and helps you deal with things like travel.
So fast forward a few years and thanks to having a good trading plan I have successfully navigated many big and stressful or emotional life events without damage to my account:
- Change of jobs
- Planning and getting married
- Travel overseas for several weeks
- Birth of my first child
- Birth of my second child
- Death of my father
- Emergency travel
- Bull markets
- Bear markets
- GFC – Global Financial Crisis
- Leaving the workforce
- Failed business attempts – not trading related ????
- The list goes on…
This is why you must have your own trading plan…and this is why traders who don’t have one fail, because the emotional impact of life’s big events combined with the pressure that the markets put us under is high. This is all difficult to cope with UNLESS you have a good trading plan OR you are a robot.
So unless you are a robot, then click here to get your free training video series on how to create your own winning trading plan so you can make more money consistently, with less time, effort and stress.
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