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Forex Articles » Trading for Beginners » Don’t Overtrade!

Don’t Overtrade!

If you are experiencing a run of wins, don’t get getting carried away in the flush of success. You don’t want to give it all back.

Over Trading is the greatest single cause for losses in the markets. Whether you are winning now or losing now, ninety-five or more percent of all traders trade too often.

Even a daytrader trading a five minute chart has no need to trade every day nor to trade all day long. You should be filtering your trades so that you take only the best of the best.

Overtrading was a problem that took me a long time to overcome because I did not know what I was looking for. Overtrading is a very serious problem, and veteran traders learn to avoid it. In fact, one way to know if a trader is a mature professional is to know if that trader conquered the problem of overtrading.

The biggest problem with overtrading is that you don’t even know you’re doing it. You can overtrade by trading too many contracts (too much size), trading too often, attempting too many positions or sitting and staring at the screen all day.

One trader I met, who was following a system in twenty markets, received entry signals in fourteen of the twenty. The entry prices were such that probably only two or three of them had any chance of being filled. Yet this trader boldly called in to enter all fourteen orders. After the first six, his broker refused to take any more orders. Had they all been filled, the trader would have been several thousand dollars over margin.

Good traders immediately cut back on size when they are losing or have an equity draw-down.

The total commitment you make on any entry should be relative to a reasonable expectation of the profit potential for that trade. Each trade is different and must be weighed on its merits.

How do you know how many contracts to trade? Certainly you are in a pickle if you always have to trade in single lots. That is not to say that there are never times when a single lot is the right thing to do. It’s okay when you’re scalping , or trading options . However, wherever possible try to trade a least two contracts. You need one to cover costs, and the other to give you a profit.

If it’s late in the day and you are a daytrader who normally does a five lot, perhaps you should use a smaller size due to the fact that the trade hasn’t as much time to develop as one made earlier in the day.

by Joe Ross
June 2004