When you’re starting out in the markets, sometimes the hardest thing is working out where you fit.
You read about legendary investors like Warren Buffett and wonder if a buy-and-hold strategy is the best way to go.
But then you read about some of the more famous traders who’ve made their fortune in a fraction of the time…
Who can forget when George Soros famously broke the Bank of England, scoring over a billion dollars in just a few days?
Reading a story like that can make you doubt your buy-and-hold strategy.
But one of the reasons most folks get confused is that they don’t know which camp they’re in. They get lost somewhere in the middle between being an investor or a trader.
They buy a stock “for the long-term,” only to panic and dump it the first time the market takes a tumble.
Believe me, we’ve all done it. Even if we don’t like to admit it…
For me, the idea of owning 20, 30, or even 40 stocks for decades just doesn’t appeal to me. What happens if five go up and the rest go down… how do you know which ones to cut?
Or how about when the markets go through major corrections like the dot-com bust or the sub-prime mortgage disaster – or even the bear market tumble we’ve seen this year?
How do you know you’ll still be holding onto all those stocks when you come out the other side?
You simply don’t.
But perhaps the biggest clincher for me is this…
A study from the University of Arizona looked at the performance of more than 61,000 stocks between 1990 and 2018. Their conclusion?
The best-performing 811 firms accounted for the entire amount of wealth created. That’s 1.33% of the total number of stocks.
In other words, you simply can’t know that a basket of stocks you pick – or even just one of your picks – will be in that 1.33%… It doesn’t matter how much time you spend studying them.
That’s why trading has always been one of my main focuses.
I’m not committed to any one sector or stock. I’m not reliant on the market only going up either.
As a trader, I can make money when the market is going in either direction… even sideways.
Trading Is a Business
Unless you have very large sums to invest – or can pick that 1.33% of true winners – then living off stocks is going to be a real challenge for most.
After all, dividends usually only come around twice a year!
Plus, are you really going to feel comfortable having all your money tied up in stocks if the market goes through a long and painful correction like we’ve seen this year?
Trading, on the other hand, is a very different mindset. You’re not there to wait for complex economic theories that may take decades to play out.
Instead, you go to work each day with the sole purpose of making a profit. Your goal is to grow your trading pot little by little.
It might be as little as a $50, $100, or even $200 profit per trade…
The point is, once you can consistently make profits and build up your account, you can always increase your trading size later.
That’s the way I’ve always approached it – along with most traders I know. To be successful at trading, you need to set very specific goals… and realistic ones.
As a floor trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), I set myself a daily target. In turn, that set my weekly goal as well. I knew at the close of every day if I was on target.
Quite simply, I viewed that weekly goal as my paycheck. If I didn’t reach it, it felt like I had worked all week for nothing.
Later, when I set up my hedge fund and was managing close to a billion dollars, I approached trading exactly the same way.
I got each of my clients to write down exactly what return they expected. Then I got to work making sure that would happen.
Every day I’d trade the market, collecting a bunch of tiny profits that added up to big results. Just as I did on the trading floor all those years ago.
See, that’s where most new traders fall short. They want to make a bunch of money by betting big on a single trade. Soon enough, they blow up their account.
However, by sticking to daily profit targets – even small ones – my hedge fund enjoyed a 20-year winning streak. That was enough for Barron’s to rank it in the top 1% of hedge funds.
I don’t write this to brag about my results…
I’m simply telling you this because, from over 30 years in the markets, I’ve learned what’s going to give you the best chance to make it as a trader…
It’s all about making a large number of smaller trades, rather than a small number of larger trades. Only then can you enjoy long-term success as a trader.
Of course, that’s not the only money-making strategy I learned during my 35-year career…
How to Play Volatile Markets
Longtime readers know that options trading has been one of my favorite methods for generating profits over the years.
But my goal now is to open up new opportunities for my subscribers… ways to trade and invest your money that most people have no clue exist.
It’s not shocking to learn that hedge funds and the financial establishment have ways of making money that few regular investors know about.
But I know about them from my 35 years of working on Wall Street… and I want to share them with you.
Those opportunities offer unique ways to build your wealth… hedge your risk… and play these volatile markets without simply betting on stocks going up or down.
In fact, one of those opportunities can generate yields 750% greater than most savings accounts right now… all while limiting your downside.
It’s not options, stocks, bonds, or anything you’ve likely heard about before…
On December 7, at 8 p.m. ET, I’m hosting a 750% Boost event to break down the way it works and how to take advantage.
If you’ve had your money parked in cash, wishing you knew how to generate a return instead of losing to inflation… then you won’t want to miss this event.
Editor, Trading With Larry Benedict