I came across Tim Morge's articles on MoneyShow.com which he talked about how successful traders manage their trades. Though he quoted median line trades in the articles, he did point out some important tips for trade management. I thought it might be helpful for my readers as well. Check it out.
The clearest thoughts you'll have about a potential trade is before you enter it; once you enter the trade, the clarity of your focus declines for many reasons:
- You have been staring at the screen for some time, stalking the trade (and of course, once you enter the trade, you are watching the screen even more intently, so the longer you are in the trade, the more focus you have spent).
- Once you enter the trade, you have a financial interest in the trade; in many traders, that heightens their interest, but at a cost of burning their available focus at a faster rate.
- Once you have a financial interest in the trade, you feel the weight to make money (some call this the fear and greed factor). You feel elated with each tick in your favor and you feel depressed by each tick that goes against you.
- As a trade progresses, you are pulled by the price action to intervene and change your original idea; with each ebb and flow of price, a new way to improve your original trading plan pops into your head.
- If a trade heads towards your stop loss, you become more and more certain you have taken a losing trade and the internal pressure to intervene and cut the loss quicker increases. Even if you have learned to hide your stop loss orders behind market structure, you feel the pressure from these urges to exit these trades earlier, at a smaller loss, even though many of your trades that travel into losing territory often would have survived by a few ticks (because of your use of market structure as protection).
- As prices move in your favor, you feel the urge to lock in profits at the slightest slowing of price in your favor. You need a win and the thought that this trade may back up and turn into a loser weighs on your mind, clouding your judgment.