Learning the trade: Education in Investing

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If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, as they say. Trading isn’t challenging in principle, the process of buying or selling financial instruments is accelerating in its speed and blossoming in its simplicity. However, the world of trading is intimidating, even purely from a linguistic perspective. The terminology, the trends, and sheer changeability of markets are demonstrations of that fact.

There’s a reason fund managers hire offices of people to manage their portfolios. The difficulty is furthered by the reality that everyone enters trading for unique, specific goals and ambitions for their capital. In simpler terms, there’s no guidebook to get exactly where you want in investment in the same way we can’t predict the weather in two years. Here, we’re going to break down some of the best steps you can take to manage your portfolio in a smart and considered way, and keep yourself focused on your personal expectations, whether they’re long or short-term, for your money. 

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Be Selective

You can watch a thousand tutorials and a thousand more blogs that are going to claim they’ve ‘worked out’ a way to beat the market or some sort of strategy to achieve goals well beyond your expectations. It’s really key to try and try to trust your own instincts, as a general rule.

In times of downward trend, you can watch the panic set in amongst a crowd mentality of traders watching numbers fall. When seeking out guidance, look for educational tools hosted on platforms themselves or social media, like those featured in Trade360 for example. Written expressly to educate you on the principles of the trade, rather than feed pipe dreams or the ‘secret sauce’ behind trading success. It’s more of a mindset before you start trading - find knowledge sources that serve you, not the other way around. 

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You’ve got a friend in me

As with any pursuits where the risk of any sort is involved, the reality is that written guidance and jargon-busting only go so far. It's part of the reason trading can be an intimidating prospect. You can speak the language, understand the strategy and be clear on your risk appetite but that first step is always a daunting one for the newcomer. Therefore, finding someone with direct experience who can, quite literally, help you in those moments when an online guide can’t, to provide some form of mentoring and assurance is invaluable.

This one is harder to come across, largely because not everyone will know someone working in Canary Wharf or a seasoned Dow Jones worker. However, there are countless online forums you’ll find with those willing to help provide personalised advice. Back in the day, a wealth manager might take the whole process of your hands. Today, you can get involved in your own investment, but that doesn’t mean you have to learn to drive with no instructor by your side. 

Finally, never make a decision that you don’t fully grasp the consequences of. Certainly, that doesn’t mean the risk isn’t the only factor in your decision, but the world of trading is huge and complex. It’s the work of supercomputers to quantify a lot of it. That’s why it's key that you research individual assets, tactics, and moves you make as they arise.

It’s easy to coast along on the knowledge you’ve built up already, but imagine your portfolio a little like a work-in-progress, a house under construction. Just as you want to avoid dogmatically following other blueprints for a trade, if you’re going to build an extension on your house, there’s nothing wrong with a little DIY - as long as you know what you’re doing.