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Choosing your trading style

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One of the reasons trading is so popular, is it can be carried out in a variety of different ways to suit your personal preferences. As well as choosing to trade the markets that interest you, you can also pick a trading style that makes the best use of your skills and fits your personality and lifestyle.

When we talk about different trading styles, we're basically referring to how often you place a trade, and how long you keep those trades running. So your style of trading will be strongly affected by how much time you can commit and your attitude to risk.

For example, if you think you can spend several hours a day sitting in front of a computer studying charts and market trends, then you may find you're suited to making a large number of short-term trades. But if you're a very busy person and can only afford to spend around 30 minutes per day researching the markets, then you'll probably be more comfortable placing just a few longer-term trades.

Your personality will also have a big influence over your trading style. If you enjoy trading for the excitement and the buzz, you'll be more likely to enjoy short-term trading. If you're calm and patient, you may prefer to sit back and monitor your trades over the long term.

With that in mind, there are four main trading styles to choose from:

The four main styles

  • Position trading or investing

    Position trading or investing

    Timeframe: Long term

    Holding period: Weeks / months / years

    Trading activity: Low

  • Swing trading

    Swing trading

    Timeframe: Medium term

    Holding period: Days to weeks

    Trading activity: Medium

  • Day trading

    Day trading

    Timeframe: Short term

    Holding period: Intraday

    Trading activity: High

  • Scalping

    Scalping

    Timeframe: Very short term

    Holding period: Seconds to minutes

    Trading activity: Very high

We'll take a look at each in more detail over the next two lessons.

Lesson summary

  • A trading style describes how often you place a trade, and how long you keep those trades running
  • Your style is usually determined by your personality, attitude to risk and the amount of time you can commit to trading

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