15 Common Sense Rules For Traders

Common sense can be brutally honest sometimes. As traders we get so focused on the little inconsequential detaisl sometimes that we miss the world around us. I have had this discussion with too many people over the last two months that told me they were bearish on the market and were taking a beating on the "high probability" that the market would reverse. Who sets those odds by the way? Are trends more likely to reverse than persist? If so, why the hell are we studying technical analysis?

Take a look over these trading rules I stumbled across last year and see if there are any realities that surface from them. Each time I look these over it reminds me of the realities of what we do here.

1. No matter what you read about trading, until you use an approach and test it with your money on the line you will never learn how to trade. Paper Trading is NOT Trading!

2. If it were really possible to "Buy Low Sell High" or "Cut your Losses and Let your Winners Run", then almost everyone would be making money rather than losing it.

3. Remember that there is ALWAYS someone on the other side of your trade who is using a trading technique exactly the opposite of yours who hopes to make money with his system.

4. If 90% of all traders lose money, they must be following generally accepted trading rules. The 10% who win do not!

5. You trade your beliefs and your beliefs about your system. If you have a problem with yourself, fix yourself first.

6. Impatience, Fear and Greed will make you poor. Any need to trade is rooted in greed and impatience.

7. If you really understand the markets then YOU KNOW that there is the same opportunity on every time frame, in every market, every single day.

8. Waiting for the perfect trade is "chickening out", and caused by your lack of faith in yourself or your system.

9. Any hardwired, automated trading system sold that truly works 70 or 80 or 90 percent of the time in every market would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and would not be for sale at any price.

10. Asking "How small an account do I need to begin trading" is asking to be wiped out.

11. Having a series of winning trades early can be more hazardous to your account than a series of small losses.

12. Learn to trade before you trade. If you win or lose without understanding why, you will never develop a winning strategy.

13. Ninety five percent of everything you hear from everyone about the markets and the markets "reasons" for doing what it did or will do are lies. Neither you nor anyone can predict the future. You can only make educated guesses about potentialities.

14. Asking someone (such as using a service) for advice on where the market is going is a sign you should be on the sidelines until you understand the market better. If the upcoming market direction is not obvious to you, you should not be risking your money. You will lose often enough even when you are right.

15. There is NO GUARANTEED way of making money in the Markets or anywhere else. NONE, NADA, ZIP, ZERO! All you can do is increase your knowledge about yourself and how to estimate the probability of placing a winning trade. Then trade by taking controlled and measured risks.

Boy, number 5 is all about me. The
fix aint so easy though.I am not
giving up. Steve L

P.s thanks for the pattern set ups
and I will attend the next (A.M )patterns class. steve L

Strong! Number 11 really hit home with me.


As a new trader, it's good to be reminded of the psychology of traders. Number 8 is my current challenge.

Jeff, I liked this post as I am constantly refining my rules. My question pertains to rule 12 as I am always trying to figure out what mistakes I've made on good and bad trades. Is there a regular evaluation of your trades after you close a position, if so, what do you look at in hindsight?

Thank You,
Brian B.

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About me

  • I'm Option Addict
  • From Saratoga Springs, Utah, United States
  • I am a professional trader and an instructor for Investools. I've had relations with the markets for 9 years. Born in Concord, CA, but reside in Saratoga Springs, Utah. Father of THREE, Husband of one.
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