How to start a new year as a trader

The New Year offers a blank slate. Even highly successful people see it as an opportunity to take stock of where they are and how they can improve. In the past years, Mark Zuckerberg’s goals have been to exercise more, read more, and learn a new language. 

Although, some people take it to extremes. Richard Branson made a resolution on January 1, 2018, to be fit enough to be “ready for a trip into space.” And he actually did it – on July 11, 2021, he traveled on his own ship into outer space. 

If you’re determined to fulfill your resolution, too, these five steps will help you start a trading career. 

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Step 1. Decide what assets you want to trade

What will be your first trading asset of choice? Stocks, commodities, foreign exchange, cryptocurrencies, or something else? That will affect all your future actions, especially the type of analysis you’ll do before opening positions. 

Perhaps this year’s performance will give you insight into which assets may do well in the upcoming year. But remember that future results don’t necessarily replicate the past.

Step 2. Set your budget

Your pre-New Year finances are probably at their lowest compared to the rest of the year. You have to account for holiday shopping, work parties, trips back home, vacations, and other celebratory expenses. 

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Assuming you still have enough for trading capital, set aside a reasonable amount. You shouldn’t expect to multiply it, at least not right away. They say, “invest what you can afford to lose”, and for better or worse, the same rule applies to trading. 

Step 3. Learn basic analysis

January is considered the perfect time to start a new hobby. Well, it’s also the perfect time to pick up a new skill – like technical analysis. Learn to draw trendlines, apply indicators, identify trading signals, and read price patterns. 

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Additionally, learn how fundamentals affect asset prices; for example, how companies’ revenue, valuation, and industry trends are reflected in stock prices. 

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Step 4. Open a trading account

Pick a trading platform depending on the trading asset you’ve chosen at step one. If it’s stock, you need a stock broker; if it’s cryptocurrencies, you need a crypto exchange, and so on. 

There will be multiple platform options for each category. Take your time to compare the tools, features, and interfaces that best complement your know-how and style. As a beginner, you’ll benefit a lot from in-platform educational resources, so keep your eyes out for those materials, too.

Step 5. Plan and open your first trade

Start the trading platform, open the chart, add your indicators and wait for the signal. Alternatively, you can enter a trade right away if you’re basing the decision on fundamental analysis. In any case, open a market (at the best available price) or pending order (at a different price from the current market) whenever you’re ready. 

When to close the trade is up to you. Perhaps, you’ll even want to hold it until next year.

Kick off the New Year right

Most people make New Year’s resolutions, but few keep them. Strive to be in the minority of people who actually take a step toward positive change. Besides, it should be easier now that you have a step-by-step guide to see your goals through. 

Keep in mind that starting a trading career is the easy part; direct your efforts to maintain it and make progress.

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