Learning Curve for Stock Trading

How long does it take to become good at stock trading?  No trader’s journey to learning and succeeding in the markets is the same, but here are some basic guidelines and time frames to becoming a competent stock trader:

The First Year

Your beginning months should be spent researching and developing your stock trading plan.  No one should ever begin trading in the stock market without a plan of action.  Will you be a day trader? Long term investor?  What rules and guidelines will you establish and follow for making trades?  Without this information, you’ll rarely succeed and never be able to duplicate success you do obtain through luck.

Attend seminars and workshops designed for stock trading.  Don’t fall for the ones that claim to share “secrets of stock trading” as there are no secrets!  Look for seminars and workshops which teach you to read charts, discuss the psychology of trading, creating trading plans and guidelines, or basic money management courses for investors.

Purchase and begin using charting software.  Observe the changes in the market, and look for patterns and trends.  Don’t make any decisions now; this is just an observation stage.

Read books about stock trading.  Don’t read them the way you would a novel – really analyze what the author is saying, see if you can put the information into real-life context, and watch how the information is reflected in the market.

At the end of the first year of learning and studying stock trading, you should have a stock trading technique chosen and a plan for your own trading in place.  You may have decided stock trading is not for you in which case you’ve just saved yourself a whole lot of money!

Year Two

Now that you’ve put in the research and planning time, your second year should begin your initial attempts at making trades.  Open an account with an amount of money you can afford to lose, and consider it your educational expense into the world of stock trading.

Before making any purchases, test out your planned strategy through “back testing”.  Look at various stocks and see how you would have done if you had purchased a certain number of stocks during a particular time period. Would you have made a profit or lost money?  Once you see how it works, decide on your first purchases.

Continue observing trading charts, attending seminars and workshops and studying books.  Continue making trades and monitoring your progress.  Adjust your stock trading plan according to the results you’re obtaining.  You’re looking to create a plan that profits more than it loses, so that you can put the strategy you’ve chosen into place and stick with it.

Year Three and Four

By now, you should have a plan you’re comfortable with.  You should be making small gains in the market.  Keep to the plan and maintain discipline – each time you make a trade that is outside your stock trading plan, you risk losing more than you can gain.

Becoming competent in stock trading is a lot like obtaining a college degree – it takes you three to four years of studying and applying what you’ve learned to become successful.

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