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Steady Trade Podcast Episode 5: Building a Trade Plan (And Sticking To It)

Trading can feel like a jungle sometimes. As a trader, it can frequently feel as if you’re fending for yourself alone in the wilderness, without guidance, training, or a proper map. There are all sorts of pitfalls, dangers, and even lions (OK, maybe not actual lions) that you might encounter, and so part of your job as a trader becomes navigating the uncharted territory, remaining vigilant and above all, remaining safe. But simply surviving isn’t going to make you a millionaire. So the question becomes this: how do you not only survive, but thrive as a day trader?

As Episode 5 reveals, what you really need to take your trading to the next level is a trading plan. In the episode, your co-hosts Tim Bohen and Stephen Johnson will talk about the importance of having a trading plan, starting with what a trading plan actually is and then expanding on how to create an effective plan and (this part’s important) how to actually stick with it for long-term success.

Do you need a plan?

There’s no spoiler here: yes, you need a plan if you want to begin to find reliable success as a trader. Trouble is, few day traders find planning sexy.

In Episode 4, Tim and Stephen discussed plenty of sexy stuff: hot stocks, news, and catalysts. This is the type of stuff that can get traders all hot and bothered. While these factors can certainly help in choosing the best stocks to trade, this type of analysis must be combined with a clear-cut plan to deliver the most reliable results over time.

Planning: the key to long term trading success

As Stephen says, “if you believe it, it’s going to come true”. He trusts his gut and believes you’ll come out with the winning trade. Unfortunately, Stephen isn’t a profitable trader yet.

Tim, the man with the plan (and years of successful trading under his belt), disagrees. As he argues, trading isn’t the book The Secret. Hoping and wishing and faith are not bad things, but he prefers a slightly more analytical approach to deliver results.

In essence, establishing a trading plan is the way in which to harness the sexy parts of trading and create a roadmap for yourself so that you can have a clear cut plan of attack and an exit strategy for your trade. It helps you go from “hold and hope” to reliable action.

If you don’t have a plan, you’re basically gambling. This can help you win here and there, but over time, your losses will exceed your gains, you’ll become frustrated, and move on. Planning is the way that you can create a career as a trader that will span years, not just weeks or months.

How to make a plan.

As the episode progresses, Tim and Stephen get down to brass tacks and talk specifically about the process of making a trading plan.

As Tim reveals, while it may sound like a downer, it’s important to focus on risk first. Trading isn’t a lottery, and you don’t want to gamble, and therefore it’s important to control your risk.  

Tim goes on to guide you through the process of taking your scanning of the stock charts (discussed in Episode 3) to the next level by hatching a plan based on your findings that can help you make educated decisions and controlled risks. You need to ask yourself questions like these: where is my stop loss? When will I exit this trade if this stock doesn’t begin to perform how I want?

By taking this more approach, you can begin to find ways to be reliably and consistently profitable. The fact is, there are many factors that you cannot control in trading, but you can control when to pull out and how to control your losses. Therefore, this should be at the center of your planning process.

From here, Tim and Stephen discuss the best way to build your plan around your risk so that you can proactively go after stocks.

The long term benefits of planning

Throughout the show, you’ll see that an incredible change comes over the newbie trader, Stephen. As resistant as he is to planning from the get go, he realizes as the show goes on that basically, he’s been “running”–trying to catch up to the stocks. Tim offers a way to change your relationship with trading, making yourself a calculated hunter rather than just chasing the most shiny and sexy stocks. Once you’ve finished listening to this episode, you’ll have a much greater understanding of the benefits of planning and have plenty of ideas for how to create your own trading plan.

Win big!

To celebrate the first season of the Steady Trade Podcast, we’re offering some incredible giveaways. Check out the giveaway page here, and stay tuned for future episodes for more information on how to specifically look at, understand, and monitor stock charts.

Please fill out our survey and win prizes!