How Long Does It Take to Learn How to Trade Properly?

It could be one day, one year, or a lifetime. For me it was a seven-year trial-and-error process to understand my feelings about the market. In the meantime, the market changed and evolved into something else entirely from when I started.At the same time, key fundamentals stayed the same. So as long as I did not get excited about the price fluctuations or the shift in supply and demand or the growth of spot forex for the average trader and stuck with fundamentals, I knew that I would be okay.There are hedgers and speculators. The markets are primarily an insurance vehicle. Risk management deals with one thing and one thing only-loss.How we apply these skills in order to learn good habits is immensely vital.So how long does it take to learn how to trade properly?It’s been said that it takes 30 times of performing a new action before it becomes a habit. This is key. So while it may take you longer or not as long, depending on your schedule, I have broken down a set of actions you can take over the course of 12 weeks, three times a week, to help you apply what you have learned. That totals to 36 reminders that you can trade the markets in a different, more lucrative way.For the first month you will tackle the “structure” of your trading. You will define the markets and your trading on your own terms.For the second month it is all about “trial and error”-watching and studying, with an idea to finding out what works and doesn’t work for you.Finally, in the third month, you will “perfect your trading” to fit your lifestyle. You will know how to trade the markets on your own terms, not on an artificial set of parameters that come from a market guru or from perceived belief that money can only be made a particular way.Each item should not take you more than 30 to 60 minutes to complete, but will make a world of difference in your overall success.Month 1: StructureThe latticework that we use to frame the structure of our success becomes all important in how we interact with the markets. While we would love to believe in our own self-importance, no matter how much capital we have, it is dwarfed by the trillions of dollars floating around the futures and forex markets.The first month is dedicated to helping you carve your niche in the marketplace and to really understand how your goals fit in with the overall scheme of things.Week 1: Develop your trading plan.Day 1: Complete the 30-question trading questionnaire.Day 2: Assess what markets you want to trade.Day 3: Run your seven-point checklist to determine which markets match your volatility levels.Week 2: Research the markets you wish to trade.Day 1: Discover what makes your markets tick, importers, and exporters.Day 2: Read the financial statistics that influence buying and selling decisions.Day 3: Learn to read the raw data and distinguish news from hype.Week 3: Research the brokerages you could work with.Day 1: Look at various brokerage firms and discover if they have the tools you need.Day 2: Compare and contrast the features and benefits.Day 3: Plug those numbers that you discover into your trading plan to help you with calculating profits and losses.Week 4: Set up your demo account.Day 1: Set up your demo account (paper traders subscribe to a financial publication).Day 2: Modify your demo account to match your expected commissions and account size.Day 3: Execute test trades to make sure they will allow you to put on options, futures, and spot simultaneously.Month 2: Trial and ErrorMistakes must be made in order to learn. In the second month, you have gone beyond your prep work and now you are playing with a little fire. You have to test and play around with your charting service. We use Genesis Navigator in our trading and back-testing. While I can’t go into a Genesis Navigator tutorial here, it is important that you know your software inside and out before you trade with real money.That way, you will be able to manipulate the indicators and back-test your own theories and ideas about what the market is doing.Week 5: Subscribe to your charting service.Day 1: Get familiar with the technical analysis tools.Day 2: Understand the ticker symbol parameters.Day 3: Program your preferred markets.Week 6: Narrow down your macro technical indicators.Day 1: Pick the technical tools that answer the three main questions.Day 2: Back-test the tools in the demo or charting software account.Day 3: Create your set of primary and redundant tools that you feel comfortable with.Week 7: Fine-tune your entry and exit.Day 1: Study and learn the top 10 candlestick markets by heart.Day 2: Overlay your macro technical indicators with your micro technical indicators and match up profits and losses.Day 3. Pick at least 10 entry and exit points based on your overlay in order to calculate your potential profits and losses.Week 8: Begin your trading journal.Day 1: Create or acquire a set of trade worksheets.Day 2: Figure out how to type directly onto your charts and print out.Day 3: Purchase a trading journal book.Month 3: Perfecting Your TradingIn the final month, you are refining the tools that you played around with in month 2. By refining your tools, you have now begun to tailor your trading for your lifestyle and goals. Although you are far from being an expert trader, you have now elevated your trading to the professional level. You can now execute your first real trade with all of tools at your disposal: money management, technical analysis, and risk management.The power of your trading no longer comes from having an opinion about the markets, but in being able to prepare for potential failure if your opinion doesn’t pan out. This is a huge step up for the 95% of traders who thought that picking the right market, long or short, somehow guaranteed success.Week 9: Choose your core risk management techniques.Day 1: Go back to your 10 entry and exit, macro and micro technical analysis charts, and play around with various risk management techniques scenarios.Day 2: Narrow down your selection to two to three risk management techniques that match your risk-reward profile.Day 3: Run several real-time scenarios of what your potential risk management techniques would look like. Use the trade worksheet.Week 10: Use the Commitments of Traders report.Day 1: Download or review the Commitment of Traders (COT) report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for the past monthDay 2: Learn how to read the long form and short forms of the COT report.Day 3: Match the COT activity with price fluctuations based on hedgers and speculators.Week 11: Execute your first trade.Day 1: Set up your trading account.Day 2: Design your trade using your trade worksheet and trading plan.Day 3: Execute your first real trade with risk management and based on your trading plan. Document your activity in the journal.Week 12: Evaluate your progress.Day 1: Depending on whether you are a day, swing, or position trader, evaluate the trade or your knowledge and document in your trading journal.Day 2: Monitor your trading accordingly.Day 3: Begin again at week 11, day 2, and find your next trade.

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