Most traders simply want to trade. They fear missing out on the next big move and they forget that the market is still going to be there tomorrow and the next day and 10, 20, 50 years into the future. Everything in the market repeats and that means there will be another opportunity right around the corner, so stop worrying.

Today is not the last day you will have to trade and yet many people trade and think like it is! Over-trading is the number one reason that most traders don’t succeed; it’s a ‘cancer’ to your trading account and to your dreams.

What would be considering “over-trading”?

If you find you are almost always in a trade, you’re over-trading. If you find that you are preoccupied with the markets and your trades, you’re over-trading or you’re about to over-trade. If you are in more than one trade at a time you’re probably over-trading unless you have carefully divided up your overall 1R risk amongst all the trades.

There are many other examples of over-trading, but the basic fact of the matter is that you know if you’re trading too much because you won’t be able to sleep at night and you will be hemorrhaging money.

I personally only trade 1 to 6 times per month approximately, and I very carefully select my trades and filter out the signals I don’t like.

Here’s what over-trading does to your trading results and account…

Too many Trades dilutes your edge

The more trades you take, the more diluted your trading edge becomes. A trading edge increases your chances of success, but the simple fact is, there are only going to be so many high-probability trade signals each week, month, year etc. no matter what your edge is.

So, once you start breaking away from your trading edge and start taking lower-quality trades that don’t meet your criteria, you start lowering your chances of success. You are basically diluting your trading edge down to where eventually it will be no better than random or worse.

  • Market Noise vs Quality Trades – There is market noise, and then there are actual high-probability price events, you must know the difference. I wrote an article that touches on this titled how to trade sideways markets and I suggest you check it out to learn more and see some chart examples. The point here is that when you don’t know the difference between market noise and actual price action signals worth risking money on, you will naturally end up taking trades that are just noise and not actual signals, further diluting any edge you may have. The verdict is clear: Before you start risking your hard-earned money in the markets, make damn sure you know EXACTLY what your trading edge looks like and how to trade it so that you don’t ACCIDENTALLY end up over-trading!

The spread and commissions eat into your profits

How do you think casinos make sooooo much money? Frequency. The high-frequency of games played means that their edge is going to play out to their advantage over and over again. The house always wins. In trading, the broker is the house, and they always win because not only are there a lot of people trading but probably 90% of them are trading WAY TOO MUCH. Hence, your only REAL “edge” as a retail trader or investor is to simply TRADE LESS!

Consider this: Every 100 trades you give back at least 100 to 150 pips equivalent in spread or commissions, so the more you trade the more you cost yourself simply due to the “churn” of your account.

You want to avoid trading like you’re the casino player and premeditate, filter, and carefully select your trades. In a nutshell, to maintain your edge you want to avoid giving the market or broker the spread constantly.