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An important step in becoming a sucessful trader is a good money management strategy, this is crucial for trading more profitably. When you start trading, you can't simply start buying and selling securities using random position sizing or without having a precise risk/reward in mind. Money management will help you have control over the risk you are willing to take and will improve your capital lifetime.
The size of your position determines the number of contracts of a security you will purchase. There are various ways to size your positions, the best way being by taking into account your risk aversion. If you don't want to lose "x" percent of your capital you will then need to size your position accordingly.
You can determine the size of an investment based on the percentage of capital you are willing to risk, or base the size depending on if the market is volatile or not, using a lower position when the market is volatile to reduce risk.
You can also determine your position size by the TradingLab signals (Strong buy, Buy, Sell, Strong Sell). Putting higher %'s on strong signals compared to regular ones.
Don't use aggressive position sizing strategies such as martingales, which might make you lose all your initially invested capital in a short amount of time.
I'd recommend watching this video for money management advice:
The Kelly formula is used to determine the percentage of capital you can use for your position size based on past performances and is calculated as follows:
is the percentage of capital you can invest in a position,
the probability of a win, and
the ratio of win/losses. In order to get the probability of a win take a look at your past trades, and divide the number of winning trades by the total number of trades, this will give you
. To calculate
, divide the average gains by the average losses.
Note that this value can be negative, which implies that the average gains are lower than the average losses.
Stop losses help you protect yourself against variations opposite from the one you had anticipated, trading without a stop loss exposes yourself to potentially volatile variations that will significantly affect your capital.
In general stop losses are set at a specific price level, once the price reaches this level, your current position will be closed. Some platforms also allow you to set the distance between the price and your stop loss based on a value in pips, dollars, or percentages.
A stop loss will be filled once it triggers, but this does not necessarily mean it will be filled at the price it was set! As such you might have additional losses you were not expecting.
I actually made a video on how to place the perfect stop loss. I would highly recommend watching this, as it could help you from getting stopped out.
Taking profit is just as important as stop losses. You should be taking profit at key resistances levels on the chart. Whether that is a resistance on a higher time frame, fair value gaps, baseline changing color, or the indicator giving you a take profit signal.