Ignoring the downside of a trade. Most traders, when entering a trade, look only at the money they think they will make by taking the trade. They rarely consider that the trade may go against them and that they could lose. The reality is that whenever someone buys a futures contract, someone else is selling that same futures contract. The buyer is convinced that the market will go up. The seller is convinced that the market has finished going up. If you look at your trades that way, you will become a more conservative and realistic trader.
Taking too much risk. With all the warnings about risk contained in the forms with which you open your account, and with all the required warnings in books, magazines, and many other forms of literature you receive as a trader, why is it so hard to believe that trading carries with it a tremendous amount of risk? It’s as though you know on an intellectual basis that trading futures is risky, but you don’t really take it to heart and live it until you find yourself caught up in the sheer terror of a major losing trade. Greed drives traders to accept too much risk. They get into too many trades. They put their stop too far away. They trade with too little capital. We’re not advising you to avoid trading futures. What we’re saying is that you should embark on a sound, disciplined trading plan based on knowledge of the futures markets in which you trade, coupled with good common sense.
You are watching a stock that has all the signals you look for in an opportunity. The proper point to enter comes, but you wait. You second guess the opportunity and don’t buy the stock. Or, you bid for the stock at a price that is not likely to get filled if the opportunity does pan out the way you anticipate it will. As a result, you get left behind while the market pushes the stock higher. A short while after the initial entry signal, when the stock has made a decent gain, you decide to finally enter the trade. After all, the market has proven your analysis correct, so you must be smart, and right! Not long after you enter, the stock turns south and you end up with a losing trade. If only you had bought when you first thought about it.
This is really just a confidence issue. You are either not confident in your ability to analyze stocks, or you are not confident in the methodology that you are using to pick trades. Therefore, you have to research your method so that you have the confidence that it works. Then, you have to start small, making trades that have a potential loss that you are comfortable with. As you gain confidence in your method and your ability, increase the trade size. With your new found confidence, stand in a crowded room and scream, “I am great!” Well, maybe don’t carry it that far.