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I love headlines that start with “If”. I like to attribute it to the idea that “If” usually becomes “When” and then it’s GAME ON.

So what does all this “If, When” blah blah have to do with trading the markets? Well, it’s simple. The statement completed reads like this: “If you’re smart you will pick a market that matches your personality”. And when I say MATCHES I mean MATCHES.

Let’s talk about personalities for a second. If you are the type person who lacks discipline, lacks control, well, you probably should stop reading now and go buy a CD with your money rather than risk it in the market. Trading is like a challenge to most people. They think because they are successful as a doctor, lawyer, engineer, school teacher, truck driver… that they will certainly be able to make money in the market. But nothing is further from the truth. The market waits for no one, and trading as a profession can not be mastered by getting a degree in finance or reading some books by some “experts”. The only place I know of where you can be properly schooled in trading for a living is one place and one place only: The School of Hard Knocks. Because until you put your own money on the line and have to manage your way out of a bad trade, you really won’t know how good you will be, or if you can handle the stress of the loss.

Through your due diligence you will learn a lot about yourself as a person. Trading is not a group effort, it’s a lonely man versus world place where you go to take money out of the market and fund your life. So back to the point, and I’m going to get there pdq. Trading the market takes a certain personality, and to take it a step further once you determine you have the discipline to be a trader, to plan the trade and trade the plan, well, then you have to find the RIGHT market for you. Literally one that fits your personality.

For example, I am a day trader. I was raised on the futures market. Fast in and out. No overnight positions. I am one of those people who is a self-proclaimed multi-tasker, possibly OCD, and definitely a control freak. So for me, holding a trade for several days simply does not work. Holding a trade for several months would be awful for me. I would study for reasons to get out; I know because I have tried this. It’s not for me. So I stick to the markets I know, the markets I have a set strategy for that works over and over again, in a bull or bear market, intraday. A pure daytrader in every aspect of the word.

So when you decide to take your shot at this great game called “the market” – be sure to recognize that you need to look inside, and look at the different types of markets you have access to, and MATCH one to your personality. It will be one of the best things you ever did for your career as a trader or investor.

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