Have you ever been on a losing streak and felt like there was no way for you to make money in the markets? I think we all feel that way from time to time. It’s natural. After all, our emotions are never static.
The worst part is that when we’re in that mindset, we can actually create a self-fulfilling cycle. Maybe we’re trying too hard. Maybe we get sucked into a variety of different indicators that we never followed before. Or perhaps we get into one trade hoping that it’ll make up for all the losers we just had.
Nine times out of ten, it never works out though. The end result is that you lose more and more money. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So here are six simple rules for you to follow that will help you manage your emotions better and become a better investor.
Rule #1: Hope to make more money, fear to lose more. In the book Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, this was one of the most important lessons that trader Jesse Livermore learned in his time as a trader.
When he got into a position and it started losing money, he realized that he had to get out of it quickly (cut your losses). So what he’d do was to fear that he’d lose more money and get out of the trade. On the other hand, if the trade was going his way, he would hope to make even more (let your winners ride).
Rule #2: Stick to Your System, NO MATTER WHAT. This is a tricky rule to stick to, even for experienced traders. But the truth is this: If you have a system that you know for a fact works, then don’t stray from it. You will only end up losing money.
Why do investors stray? Sometimes it’s the feeling of invincibility they get after they’ve won a few trades in a row. Other times it’s simply because they are desperate to hit a winning investment. Whatever the reason, when you stray from your system, you stray from what you know works. Ignoring what you know is never a good way to make money.
Rule #3: Don’t become attached to your money. Sounds easy, right? You’d be shocked how hard it is to actually implement. Too many people put money in the stock market that shouldn’t be there. If this is your retirement, or tax money, or money you owe to somebody, DON’T USE IT IN THE STOCK MARKET! Only use money that you can afford to lose.