A common problem that many futures traders run into is that they start trading, make some decent profits, then all of the sudden they encounter what seems to be an endless stream of losses. Eventually they end up losing their profits and eating away at their trading capital as they struggle to try and figure out what they are doing wrong. To be successful at trading futures, you must know what the common pitfalls are and what you can do to profit in the different futures markets. Here are the most common mistakes of futures traders and what you need to do to be a good futures trader.
Common Futures Trading Mistakes
All successful futures traders have a system in place that will help them make better trades and effectively keep losses to a minimum. These strategies have been developed over time by the traders themselves or in combination with other trading systems. You can improve your odds of success by avoiding the common mistakes that many make when their new strategy is starting to work for them. These include:
Not Sticking With Your System
Just when a trading strategy is starting to show promise, many traders will deviate or abandon the system that they are using. This change means that you will not be able to unemotionally evaluate the market, leading to incorrect analyses and ultimately, losses. Instead, when you start to see signs of a change in trend taking place, you should be prepared to adapt your strategy to the changing conditions. This gives you the flexibility to make consistent profits in any type of market.
Not Protecting Yourself
Futures trading (like all trading) does involve a certain degree of risk, so it is important to protect yourself. There are a few ways to do this, such as using a sell or buy stops to limit your losses to a comfortable level, or by using heading strategies like buying puts. This will keep your losses to a minimum while maximizing your profits. (To learn more, read The Stop-Loss Order – Make Sure You Use It.)
Not Staying Focused
To trade successfully, your undivided attention is required to be able to read and evaluate the markets effectively. Sometimes distractions are unavoidable, but you always want to have as few distractions as possible when you are trading. This will help you to focus properly, thus increasing your odds of more profitable trades.
Not Being Open to New Ideas
The markets are always changing. No matter how great you think you are as a trader, there’s always a new idea that can help you improve your trading results. Too often, traders get caught up in thinking that they already know enough and they aren’t willing to learn anything new. As the market conditions change, this type of trader is left behind with nothing to show but losses. However, if you remain open to new ideas, you will be able to change with the markets – and profit consistently, no matter what they do.