Solidify Your Trading Plan and Tracking Documents

Solidify Your Trading Plan and Tracking Documents

All of the things we’ve covered so far in this lesson help you add important components to your trading plan.  If you’d like some help getting started with your plan, refer back to lesson 4 to the trade plan located at the bottom of the document.

We encourage you to go through the effort of creating your trading plan.  Remember, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.  Trading successfully with real money will be emotional.  It will require you to make decisions even when you feel paralyzed by indecision.  It’s easy to start tweaking or even to stop using the proven system you spent good money to buy.  If used properly a trade plan will act as a “home base” to keep you centered and on target despite the chaos you might feel inside as you watch your positions move up and down in value.

After you’ve created your trade plan (remember, this is a living document which you should review frequently and adapt as necessary to the markets and your situation), conscientiously review your trading plan and all of your trading rules before making your first real money trade.  We encourage you to know these rules well enough to follow them exactly for the next 30 trades.

The next task is to have a trusted and market experienced individual, carefully review this final draft.  Ask them for honest feedback about the document. This person should be able to read your fully drafted, actionable rules and ensure they are consistent with the probability profile you’ve selected.  The rules should include statements that allow you to do the following:

    1. Establish the timing and order type used to get into each trade.
    2. Establish the exit rules for getting out of the trade with a loss.
    3. Establish the exit rules for getting out of the trade with a profit.
    4. Establish the risk management rules for determining what percentage of your account balance you will risk on each trade.
    5. Establish the size of each trade (the precise number of shares or contracts) in such a way that you clearly know how much risk that size represents.


The final item to check before you begin trading with real money is that you have a tracking spreadsheet or other mechanism to record your trading data on, independent of your broker’s statements.  We’ve included one to help you get started with this lesson.  It’s okay to adapt this basic spreadsheet any way you want to track anything you think will help you approach the markets consistently and unemotionally.