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Can't Stop Trading? You Might Be Addicted

May 20, 2008
For many, trading is a passion. Successful traders love their job and feel a thrill when they complete a winning trade. But, just as gamblers can become addicted to the slot machines or poker tables, so can traders become addicted to trading. It's a fine line - Kimberly Young, a Pittsburgh psychologist and founder of the Center for Online Addiction, says compulsive online traders are overwhelmingly young and male, are big risk-takers, and trade heavily on margin (using money borrowed from their brokerage).

Of course, many traders fit that profile and aren't considered trading addicts. Trading is a legitimate business that can generate a healthy living. It becomes a problem when a trader can't stop trading when they are on a long losing streak.

How can you tell if you, or someone you know, are addicted to trading? The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey put together the questionnaire below. The organization estimates that approximately 5% of traders exhibit addictive traits.

If you answer "yes" to a majority of the questions, you may be prone to trading addiction.

1. Do you trade options, futures, or commodities for your own accounts?
2. Do you purchase securities on margin?
3. Do you get involved in short term trading (day trading) for yourself or for clients?
4. Do you have unusual work habits and hours?
5. Are you reluctant to take regular vacations?
6. Do you settle your account on a timely and proper basis?
7. Do your clients have a large number of regulation "T" violations?
8. Do you have an inordinate amount of personal or family related trades?
9. Do you borrow from the firm or fellow employees?
10. Is your portfolio heavily weighted in speculative investments?

If you are trading for love, you might find that you have a few obstacles that those who trade for money don't. Sometimes the thrill of the job might take you off track and you will have to be disciplined enough to come back to your original plan. When you trade for love, you are more likely to bring your emotions and your ego into your trades, which often lead to financial mayhem.

Trading for love means trading with passion. If you are trading for the love of the gig it would probably be useful to you to set some financial goals and rewards along the way to help keep you centered and focused. It is not always easy to remember where you were going when you are celebrating a good trade that you risked on or when you are mourning a poor result from a poor decision. Adding the concrete into your day can help you keep your emotional waves in check.

Certainly, trading is fun and we all need a bit of that! But if you have a problem restricting your trading, even after you have lost considerable amounts of money or when you need to borrow money for your next trade, you may consider seeking help.

In the mean time, Good Luck on your journey to success.
About the Author
If you would like to immensely improve your trading and investing results, check out www.secrets2trading.com
AND for a Limited Time, you will also receive a FREE copy of a limited number of the amazing book "Trading In The Zone" which is jam-packed with daily trading ideas and psychological preparations to instantly improve your trading and investing performance.
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