Stop Loss Concepts and the Psychology of Investing

Without thinking about your answer, what is the best way to reduce your risk when investing in the stock market? My guess is that you got it right; the best way to reduce your risk is to refrain from investing at all! OK, now that we’ve pointed out the obvious, let’s take a more realistic view. Every investor has had at least one of those “must have”, “can’t miss” stocks. All too often, those investments end up being the big loser in a trader’s otherwise stellar career. Because of that, it is important that the beginner investing in the stock market makes a plan that includes a stop loss strategy.

It is important to understand the psychology of investing and the stop loss concept; while making those impressive deals in the market, emotions are high and a stop loss strategy is the farthest thing from anyone’s mind. But when the losses start coming, so does the feeling of falling down a well, hopelessly tumbling all the way to the bottom. Remember, that 50% loss started off as an innocent 5% loss. That moment of truth in the well has everyone wishing for a net. A strong stock trading system, such as the candlestick analysis stock market investing technique, and a stop loss strategy is just the net you need when falling down the well of a bad investment.

For this exercise, let’s work with one of several simple stop loss strategies. The technique we will discuss is called the “trailing stop loss” strategy. Simply put, calculate the cost of your investment, set a percentage that you consider a reasonable amount for the stock to turn around, and calculate a trailing stop loss based on that. For example, you bought 100 shares of Stock A at $10 per share and the fee for the transaction was 3%, with a total for the transaction being $1,030. Through candlestick analysis, you determine that 10% is a realistic turning point for this stock; therefore, your trailing stop loss would be $9.27 per share. (Notice that the cost of investing is included in this calculation. Always consider the cost of doing business in any business decision.)  If your stock dips below that, you sell and cut your losses. By setting your limit before the transaction, you avoid allowing your greed and fear to control your decision of when to sell. This little stop loss strategy is a simple hedge against big losses, and the best part is that you can protect your gains the same way. As your investment increases from profits, simple recalculate your stop loss.

It seems more difficult than it really is. As with all good stock market strategies, emotions should always be left out of investment decisions. Being able to see the need for stop loss strategies is a good indication that an investor realizes that not all investments will be profitable. It is crucial to use stop loss strategies & techniques developed by others who have experienced the same downfalls, add them to your stock technical analysis, and bring it all together with a strong system. This will improve the success of any investor and “fallen down the well”.

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