Have you ever wished you had a time machine so you could go back in time and avoid all the costly mistakes you made early-on in your trading career? Unfortunately, there is no time machine, but for all you beginning traders out there, you have the enormous advantage of being able to learn from those traders who are more experienced than you. If you apply a little commonsense and humility, you can learn a lot from mentors like myself who have been trading for decades.

I’m not saying you will be able to avoid losing trades by reading this article, but I am saying you will be able to avoid making most of the stupid mistakes that traders typically make when starting out or because they are misinformed. Avoiding such mistakes can save you A LOT of money, time and mental anguish.

Here are the biggest things I wish I knew about trading back when I first started:

Pick one trading strategy, master it, stick with it

Many beginners come into the market and start trading live without even being sure what their entry and exit criteria are, they are literally just pushing buttons and hoping for the best, just like at a casino.

The first thing is to make sure you have an actual trading strategy and learn it. Don’t just learn it, master it. You need to become a master of one trading strategy and stick with it, otherwise you’ll never stand a chance in the markets.

Preserve capital in the early days

Traders tend to blow through their risk capital quickly in the early days, not really even thinking twice about the need for capital preservation. The ironic thing is, you will learn many lessons in the early days of trading but if you blow through all your money you will have little to no capital left by the time you actually know what you’re doing.

You need to survive long enough to get to the point where you can thrive. You don’t want to be so burnt out and blown out that you give up before you reach expert status. Trading isn’t only for the super-intelligent or super well-funded as many think. But you do have to persevere and overcome difficulty, especially in the early days. You need to learn to manage your capital and risk and make it last. Don’t go “all in” and get trigger happy or you will soon find yourself joining the ranks of losing traders. You don’t want to be a broke, expert trader.

Don’t focus on one asset class

Don’t just trade Forex, don’t just trade stocks, don’t just trade commodities, etc. I look at the major markets across different asset classes, because that is how you have the best overall opportunity to profit. I look at the major FX pairs, major indices and major commodities as well as researching potentially lucrative investments in companies. I keep my options open and don’t limit myself when it comes to the types of markets I trade or the investments I make.

However, that does not mean I am looking at every market under the sun. I actually don’t look at most markets, rather, I have several in each asset class that are my favorites and for the most part I stick to those. You can learn more about this in my article on the most profitable markets I trade.