I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the psychology of trading in the last few posts. I assure you that I am not done, but I think it is time to write about something a little more practical. In this, I want to address a question that I regularly hear, in the hope that it gives some guidance to those who wonder.
So here it is: it does not matter what trading platform you use
Many people seem to be on a never-ending quest to find the best possible trading platform, but the truth is that a better platform will not make you a better trader. Giving a learner driver the keys to a Ferrari won’t suddenly make them Kimi Raikkonen.
First things first
You need to look for a broker that you want to work with and a cost structure that you are comfortable with. That is probably the most important part. After that you can focus on the platform. There are a few simple things that it needs to be able to do: put in limit orders and stop loss orders. Now, it may come as a surprise, but almost every trading platform can do this. Even the very basic ones.
If it’s fancy charts you are looking for, then you can find a trading platform that does fancy charts – and there are plenty that stock brokers provide for free. Alternatively, you can surf on over to investing.com and go wild with their charts. They are free and their functionality and capabilities allow for advanced technical analysis. Sure, they don’t come with live data feeds, but if you are trading on daily or hourly time frames that should be fine. You can then place orders on your own trading platform or with your broker.
Do you need charting software?
So many people fall into this trap of buying charting software that is really not needed. Most stock brokers give you software for free when you open accounts with them. Some even give you access to a research portal, on the house. If you insist on wanting to buy software, then buy MetaStock 15 (and talk to me so I can get you discount), because that is probably the only software worth the money.
I fell into this same trap when I first started out. I had no idea where to start and somebody called me up and convinced me to spend a ton of money on a piece of software that, frankly, was useless to me. The weapon does not make the warrior. Use the free tools that are available to you and remember that more flashing colours and numbers does not equal an easier time in markets. Keep it simple.
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