Larry’s note: Welcome to Trading with Larry Benedict, the brand new free daily eletter, designed and written to help you make sense of today’s markets. I’m glad you can join us.
My name is Larry Benedict. I’ve been trading the markets for over 30 years. I got my start in 1984, working in the Chicago Board Options Exchange. From there, I moved on to manage my own $800 million hedge fund, where I had 20 profitable years in a row. And, I’ve been featured in the book Market Wizards, alongside investors like Paul Tudor Jones.
But these days, rather than just trading for billionaires, I spend a large part of my time helping regular investors make money from the markets. My goal with these essays is to give you insight on the most interesting areas of the market for traders right now. Let’s get right into it…
I’m sure most of us are familiar with how some of the tech titans started out…
Usually with one genius tinkering away in their garage, school, or lab scraping together whatever cash they could to buy their next batch of computer parts.
From humble beginnings, companies like Apple and Microsoft grew their market value into the trillions.
While they had good timing – after all, they were able to ride the start of an entire new industry – it couldn’t have been the only reason for their success.
Otherwise, hundreds (if not thousands) of other tech start-ups would still be in business today…
Their success wasn’t about funding either… plenty of well-funded companies never make it.
Ultimately, their success came from creating a sustainable process and sticking with it, combined with an unwavering passion to continuously improve.
It’s a similar story with trading…
It’s easy to think that you need a ton of money when you’re starting out… That if only you had a bigger trading account, it would help you make it as a trader.
But let me tell you, there’s nothing further from the truth…
The first thing new traders need to work on is finding a system that works. Look for a process that you can repeat day in and day out.
Start by picking just a couple of stocks (or sectors and indexes) to trade and learning everything you can about them. That way you’re not distracted about all the other markets you might trade.
Next, work out a clearly defined trading strategy… from your entry to your exit. You need to know where you’re going to exit before you place your trade.
But simply, the most important goal is to develop a profitable trading strategy and not focus on the size of your profits.
Because ultimately, the size of those profits will grow as you develop as a trader.
When I first started out, I cleaned out my trading account many times before I figured out how to successfully trade.
I made a lot of common mistakes – like putting on multiple positions and trading way bigger than my account size could justify. I just couldn’t help but chase every move.
Even if I’d started with a lot more money, the result would’ve been the same…
I needed to establish good habits before my account started growing.
I grew my account by trading a fixed amount per trade, and trading one thing over and over until I knew everything about it.
Then, at the end of every day, I would run through every trade and work out how I could do better. Sometimes I thought about them so much that it was hard to switch off at the end of the day!
By shooting for lots of small profits – rather than betting on outsized gains – I was able to develop a trading system that works.
Each of these habits made me into the trader I am today.
Too many traders want to get rich quick. They think that if they can just nail a couple of big trades, then they’ll be on their way.
But, to be successful, you need to do the opposite…
Even if you aim to make $50 or $100 a trade, that’s all that matters at the beginning. If you can do that consistently, your account will grow.
You can start building up to bigger trades once you’ve developed a system that works for you.
After all, trading is a game of percentages…
The money you risk on any one trade, the amount you make or lose – it all comes down to percentages. The only thing that changes is the amount of dollars in your account.
If you focus on these percentages and not the dollars, your trading results (and account) will take care of themselves.
Editor, Trading With Larry Benedict
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