Investing or Trading?

Investing first:

Investing is buying into something that appreciates. In stocks and shares, any price increase after about a year is 100% because of the fundamentals: the strength of the books, the management, the continued saleability of the underlying product….to mention a few.

Most of us have investments in pensions or managed funds.

Over a bunch of years the market goes up about 9% on average. However, somewhere between 7 to 15 years the market crashes. Timing is everything.

Moreover, most pension and managed funds don’t beat the market, actually an astonishing 95% of them; on top of that, they charge several percent annually to do so.

If we need our invested funds, 15 years before would be best, move it into something that is not market based, at least not ‘fundamentally’ based.

Now for trading:

Trading is generally over a shorter time frame and is mostly technical based: that is, the reaction of price when price reaches a support or resistance. In its simplest form, it is one person’s opinion (or computers) against another.

And, as a computer does not have an opinion – it is of course emotionless – that presents the biggest obvious challenge to most human traders.

Some 75% of trades are institutional based (the big money). The remainder is made up from other entities such as high frequency trading (HFT) systems, large hedge funds and the like. Smaller (professional) organisations and home traders represent less than 5% of the market.

To be clear, when the (small) professional trader or home trader trades she is up against the institutions – computers mainly – so she better know her unemotional stuff.

That is probably why few home based traders, particularly lower timeframe traders like day traders, make it. Cheery, eh.

The one factor more than any responsible for successful trading is – no it’s not luck – is trade management, boring as that sounds. Good trade management always provides a positive traders equation of: risk, reward and probability.

Without a clear calculation of each of these (and probability is often the one that is missed) then we are not trading but doing something else…gambling, maybe.

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