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Smart Money Management

Smart money management doesn’t just involve risking an appropriate amount on every
trade (covered in the risk management section),
it also involves managing a winning trade from start to finish. This is an important
part of any good trading methodology that is often overlooked by beginning and
expert traders alike.

“What do I do after I enter a trade and it begins to make money?”,
is a question that is frequently asked by my traders

You hear so-called experts
often making general comments such as “Don’t let a winning trade turn into
a loss,” or “You’ll never go broke taking a profit.” These tidbits
belong in the same trash can as “The trend is your friend” and other
similar remarks. This general pieces of advice can do more harm than good because
of their nature – THEY ARE TOO GENERAL!!!

A beginning trader cannot be left
filling in the blanks. Everything must be defined. That is why a complete trading
strategy must include specifically how winning trades will be managed until
the position is closed.

The basic diagram below was provided to illustrate,
in a funny way, what typically happens to traders that don’t have a smart trade
management plan in place. I have included the trader’s thoughts (in
) on the diagram as the trade progresses (in this example, I
assumed that the trader is not completely clueless and at least has a stop loss
in place. In reality, if the trader did not use a stop loss, it could have gotten
a lot nastier and funnier).

Smart Money Management in Day Trading
Click image to enlarge

Even though the example about is very basic, it does illustrate the importance
of protecting existing profits by raising your stops. When the trade became
profitable, instead of having left the stop at 1% below the initial entry point,
the trader should have raised the stop.

The stops on different portions of the entire position could have been set at different logical points; for example, a certain amount above the initial
entry point, below the point corresponding to thought number 4, below the point
corresponding to thought number 5, and so on and so forth. Even though I am
oversimplifying the management of these stop losses, this example demonstrates
the importance of using a logical money management technique to handle winning

Since one of the goals of every day trader should be to protect his trading
capital, protecting profits becomes just as important as limiting losses. If
you think about it, protecting profits is a way to limit losses as well. When
a trader is in a winning trade, the amount of unrealized profit becomes part
of the total equity of his account. Consequently, protecting profits through
smart money management is equivalent to conserving the value of the trading

Smart money management should be a part of every trading strategy and it is
something that I really stress all the time to my traders.

Read about how big your positions should be
based on the size of your trading account.

Read more about the importance of using a well-defined day trading strategy.