The Ins and Outs of Day Trading

By: Markus Heitkoetter
Day trading is one of the most popular forms of trading because the only components you need are a computer and an Internet connection. You can trade from almost any location you wish: your home, your office, the park, wherever suits you best. Because of this flexibility, day trading has the potential to be a very lucrative career for committed traders, but it’s definitely not something you should jump into without a little planning and forethought. To succeed at day trading, you must be willing to work hard, stay focused, and learn as many new strategies and techniques as possible, just like the pros.

What Exactly IS Day Trading?
Day trading is the practice of buying and selling financial instruments throughout the day. As the day progresses, prices will rise and fall in value, creating both the opportunity for gain and the possibility of loss. When traded strategically, the trends and fluctuations in the markets allow for quick profits to be made in brief periods of time. Keep in mind, however, that day trading is specifically designed to result in smaller earnings on a regular basis; it is NOT designed to result in huge fortunes through a single trade.

Day trading can be very profitable, but it is not a get-rich-quick scheme (though many seminars convincingly sell it as such).

Nor is day trading a sure road to immeasurable wealth and success (as some hyped-up websites would have you believe). Quite simply, day trading is just like any other business venture: in order to be successful at it, you need to have a PLAN. It would be very risky to dive in head-first without looking. However, with the right tools – and with the knowledge of how to use these tools efficiently and effectively – the risks of day trading can be greatly reduced.

How to Succeed With Day Trading
Traders who enjoy the most success in day trading, regardless of whether they’re in it for a living or for some extra income on the side, generally have solid trading strategies and the discipline to stick to their trading plan. Keep in mind that day trading is a very competitive field, and, in order to succeed, you need to maintain focus on a set of simple strategies which you can implement immediately, without hesitation. Remember, a proven, strategic trading plan can give you an edge over the rest of the market.

Now, devising a trading strategy is all well and good, but you may be wondering how to determine whether or not YOUR strategy is a SUCCESSFUL strategy. There are a few ways to determine this. Most traders rely on back-testing. Back-testing allows you to take a closer look at a certain strategy and see how it would have performed in the past, thereby allowing you to predict with more accuracy how it will perform in the future.

(NOTE: Although back-testing is an effective technique, be aware that past performance is not always indicative of future results).

Unfortunately, even with a tested, proven trading strategy, you are not guaranteed trading success. It takes something else. It takes discipline. A profitable strategy is useless without discipline. Successful day traders must have the discipline to follow their system rigorously, because they know that only trades which are indicated by that system have the highest probability of resulting in a profit.

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