How to deal with Losses in trading

By | May 4, 2013

Losses is one thing which most of traders fear but its an part and parcel of traders life.The more you fear from them, more will they come to you. So as a trader you should understand how to deal with trading losses.

First of all, understand that losses are a necessary part of any risk taking activity.  The goal should always be to blunt the impact of  losses as opposed to eliminating the losses altogether.  There is a distinct difference between minimizing the impact of losses versus minimizing the number of losses.  If the money you are risking stands between you and hunger, think twice before placing it on the line.  Risk capital must be true risk capital.

Second, losses are better teachers than wins.  As noted above, wins often lead to complacency.  Losses usually compel you to figure out “why.”  If small and incidental to your overall strategy, they confirm that your plan is  working.  If relatively outsized and/or unexpected, losses make you examine the precedent trades and determine if your strategy should be adjusted.  This is how advancement happens.  Thomas Edison needed nearly 10,000 tries to find filament for an incandescent bulb that would last for more than a few hours.  Of the thousands of attempts that did not produce the bulb, Edison did not see them as failures, but rather as things that didn’t work which was useful knowledge in and of itself.  By knowing what didn’t work, Edison was able to find his way to what did.  Containing and then examining your losses will help you do the same with your trading strategy.

Third, recognize that losses that are kept small relative to your portfolio are a big part of the fuel that propels your account higher.  They say that you are taking prudent steps to grow your account… that you are “in the game.”  The alternative, especially if you accept that losses are a necessary part of trading, is no risk taking or the taking of outsize risk (refusing to cut losers).  Neither of these provide a path to account growth.  If you can find/develop a trading method that allows for (in fact, embraces), many small losses while still delivering profits overall, you will have gone a long way toward eliminating the trepidation that most new traders feel about entering the fray.  You will also be able to stop worrying about having the “right” picks.

One thought on “How to deal with Losses in trading

  1. paresh

    Hello Sir,

    you are absolutely correct, very very useful article for traders.


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