Some Goals of Day Trading
You will know when you are ready to make your first trade when you can approach day trading as a business that you find very enjoyable, exciting, and profitable. Of these three, day trading should be enjoyable, first and foremost. When you identify the goal of day trading as enjoyable in your mind you will be moving away from constantly looking for the profit rush, a feeling of euphoria that comes about when a profit is made in the markets. This profit euphoria can be quite addicting, and can lead a day trader to take on greater and greater risks or position sizes in search of greater and greater gains.
Even hardened traders will have a bad day. They handle it by knowing they are armed with their best judgment, but sometimes the market goes against them. When this happens, they go back and evaluate the risk level of every position they are in. Keep this in mind when you get the urge to increase the risk in your account.
This mentality can be destructive to your profit and loss statement. There is only so much profit that you can squeeze out of an account of only so big a size. In order to pass this natural profit amount per day or week from the dollar amount size of your account, it is necessary to take bigger risks through larger margins, concentrated positions, etc. This is not good business and not a way to turn your day trading into a career. You should learn to start small, manage risks, limit margin, and know your profit and loss points all with the thought of learning to day trade. With careers, there is no “one big trade.” That is stuff of Hollywood and fantasy. In order to make a living at day trading you must make small, measured profits day in and day out.
With the effect of making more winning trades than losing trades at the end of the period, your account will show an overall profit. This should be your second goal. The last goal should be excitement. You will learn that this excitement comes naturally whenever you are dealing with money and the markets. It can be thrilling to day trade. Mastering a sector, knowing a product, following it in the news, and then making money by day trading the product you know so much about can be very fun and satisfying. This should be considered a measure of how well you are taking to your new business of day trading.
If at any time you do not feel the same excitement making regular, risk-managed, relatively safe trades, and you feel the need to thrill seek by changing margin ratios, taking bigger bites of a position than you are used to, or getting into exotic products, beware. When this happens, you are taking your successes and profits for granted; this attitude can be very destructive to your account. If this happens to you, take a few weeks off. Withdraw some of the money in your account and buy something fun, or take the family on a vacation. In this way you will get some use out of the money you would probably lose if you started to take increased risks before you were ready.