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CFDs come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should understand how CFDs work and consider if you can take the risk of losing your money.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

CFD Trading

Psychotrading explained: inside a trader's mind

Psychotrading image representation with traders sitting down while a psychologist explains how the brain works in trading

Have you ever wished you could peer inside the mind of one of the greatest traders in the world and find out exactly what makes them tick? If so, you're not alone.

After all, trading is all about understanding the market, making informed decisions, and beating the odds. But what role do our emotions play in all this? This is where the concept of psychotrading comes in.

What is psychotrading?

Psychotrading is the study of psychological factors that influence trading decisions and outcomes. It involves understanding how emotions and mental states impact trading.

For example, let's say a trader experiences fear and panic during a market downturn. This may lead them to make impulsive decisions or sell off their investments at a loss.

In psychotrading, understanding these emotions and their impact allows traders to develop strategies to manage their emotions and make more rational trading choices.

4 main emotions highlighted by psychotrading

  1. Fear: Fear is a powerful emotion that often arises when traders face potential losses or uncertainty in the market. It could lead to panicked selling or avoiding opportunities, causing traders to miss out on potential gains. Imagine a trader who has invested a significant amount in a stock, and suddenly there is negative news about the company. Fear grips the trader as they worry about potential financial losses. In response, they may hastily sell off their shares, driven by fear of further decline in the stock's value.
  2. Avarice (Greed): Avarice refers to an excessive desire for wealth or profit. In trading, greed can cloud judgement and lead to taking unnecessary risks or chasing unrealistic gains. It can result in impulsive decision-making and ignoring warning signs. For example, consider a trader who experiences a series of successful trades and starts to feel invincible. They become overly focused on making quick profits and begin taking excessive risks. This avarice-driven behaviour could lead them to invest in speculative or volatile assets without proper analysis or risk management.
  3. Hope: Hope is an optimistic emotion that drives traders to believe in positive outcomes. While hope can be beneficial, it can also lead to holding onto losing positions for too long, hoping for a reversal. This can result in significant losses if not managed effectively. Let's say a trader buys shares of a company based on positive rumours and hopes for a substantial increase in the stock price. Despite weak fundamentals, they cling to hope that the rumours will come true and the stock will soar. This hope could prevent them from cutting their losses or adjusting their strategy based on realistic evaluation.
  4. Euphoria: Euphoria is an intense feeling of excitement and extreme positivity. In trading, euphoria can occur after experiencing a string of successful trades or a sudden windfall. It can lead to overconfidence and taking undue risks, potentially resulting in substantial losses. Imagine a trader who experiences a sudden surge in profits from a successful trade. The euphoria of this financial gain can create an overconfident mindset. They may start disregarding caution, deviating from their trading plan, and making impulsive decisions driven by the thrill of success rather than careful analysis.

How do these emotions impact our trades?

Overall, these emotions can disrupt rational decision-making, increase the likelihood of impulsive actions, and hinder adherence to well-defined trading strategies.

Managing these emotions effectively is crucial for maintaining discipline, making informed decisions, and mitigating unnecessary risks in trading.

Examples in history (famous traders affected by their emotions)

  • Jesse Livermore: Jesse Livermore was a legendary trader who made and lost several fortunes in the stock market during the early 20th century. Despite his incredible success, he was known for being influenced by emotions such as fear and greed. He famously suffered significant losses due to impulsive trading decisions driven by these emotions.
  • Nick Leeson: Nick Leeson became infamous for his involvement in the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995. His unauthorised trading activities resulted in massive losses that bankrupted the bank. Leeson's emotional trading decisions, fueled by the desire for larger profits, contributed to the downfall of one of Britain's oldest financial institutions.
  • John Meriwether: John Meriwether was a renowned bond trader and founder of Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM). LTCM experienced a catastrophic failure in 1998 due to aggressive investment strategies and excessive risk-taking. Emotional biases, including overconfidence and the failure to account for potential market shocks, played a role in the downfall of the fund.
  • Jerome Kerviel: Jerome Kerviel, a former trader at Societe Generale, gained attention in 2008 when his unauthorised trades caused massive losses for the bank. Kerviel's desire to impress and make larger profits drove him to take risky positions, leading to substantial losses. Emotional factors, such as fear and pressure to perform, influenced his trading decisions.

Master your emotions by familiarising yourself with online trading using a demo account first

To truly master your emotions, start by trading on a demo account. A demo trading account allows you to familiarise yourself with online trading, and decide whether you're ready to face the challenges of trading.

Try Skilling’s demo account and practise trading 1200+ instruments including Forex, Crypto, Stocks CFD’s and more without risking real funds.

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Not investment advice. Past performance does not guarantee or predict future performance.