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Entering a trade at the right time.

The importance of getting the timing right.

Importance of right trade entry in swing trading

Knowing the best time to enter a trade is one of the essential prerequisites for successful trading. Most traders develop or adopt a pre-defined entry criterion that makes it easier for them to manage their trades.

As a swing trader, you would want to enter into the trade right at the point where the probabilities are high that the price will move in your desired direction. Those entry points can be at the breakout from a base, a crossover to the moving average, a turn from a pullback, or any other point that suits your trading style.

It’s easy for newer traders to miss the importance of this part of trading, especially when the markets are good and everyone seems to be making money. However, that hurts when market conditions change. Even when the conditions are good, keeping your entries super-tight helps in all aspects of trading like risk management, position sizing etc.

Therefore, it becomes essential to know the importance of this part of trading and why is it not healthy to flout your own entry rules. Here are a few pointers that outline the importance of the same.

You devise and follow a set of objective entry rules

As you fine-tune your entry criterion, you will have a set of entry rules that will make your entry into trades more objective. You won't have to go through the emotional crunch when your trades set up and are ready to enter. You won't need to make those last-minute hasty decisions if the entry criterion is neatly laid out in your plan.

If you don’t have these rules, each trade will feel like a fresh, complicated decision to make and will lead you to make many mistakes that will impact all the aspects of trading like position sizing, stop loss, and exit. Not to mention the lack of any repeatability and consistency....

You enter at the best possible time

Your objective as a swing trader is to get in at the best possible time, which reduces your wait time for profits. If you don’t have these entry rules, you would be in limbo after entering the trade. You would be overstepping the ideal stop loss and getting out of the trade with sub-optimal profits. This will affect your trading results at the account level.

Easy to set logical stop loss

If you set your stop loss based on technical analysis (which you should), it’s even more essential to enter at the right point.

For example, in the chart below, Let’s assume you are entering the stock on a breakout after tight consolidation. The high of the consolidation range at 91 is the logical entry point here, which would have given the best entry in the trade with a stop loss of 4.5%. If you missed this point and entered at 94 out of fear of missing out (FOMO), your stop loss would be a wider 7.5% and if you were too late to the trade at 97, your risk would be over 10%.

Most astute traders would let the trade go if they are not able to enter at the first point, as entering at higher points would upset their risk-reward equation.

Easy to reach your profit objective

As a swing trader, you should always be looking to make the most per unit of risk you take. For example, if you are gunning for a 3:1 reward-to-risk in the above situation, entering at the first point would need the price to move an achievable 13.5% to reach your profit objective. In the second and third situations, you would need a move of 22.5% and 30%, respectively.

As can be observed, the more ill-planned your entry, the more you would need the price to move. Another point to note here is that 10-15% moves are easier to come by, while 20, 30, or 50% moves have longer wait times and much more volatility.

Helps you position size well

Position sizing is another area where your entry will have a significant impact. Swing traders generally go in the trade risking a small percentage of their portfolio.

My trade risk generally ranges from 0.5% to 2%.

If the entry is right and it gives you a small stop-loss, you can go in with a bigger size in your trades (if that’s your preferred tactic) while taking the same risk.

It brings more structure to your trading

As we have discussed, the right entry impacts almost all aspects of your overall trading. You can accomplish a lot in trading if you get this criterion right.

If you make it a point to enter at the best time in all trades you take, you remove a lot of subjectivity in trading. You can easily follow your rules while making your trading a lot more consistent and rewarding. It also takes out a lot of unrehearsed decisions from trading, while making your rules book sacrosanct with an extremely low number of exceptions.

The Final Word

Trading is often much more about discipline than just style or strategy. If you take the resolve to get disciplined in each aspect of trading one by one, there is so much you can achieve and learn in a short time.

While these aspects of trading look too trivial when you are making money out of luck, they come to save you when the luck factor goes away, which happens regularly, without fail, to new traders. There are solid reasons why over 99% of traders fail in trading.

If you want to be in that 1%, start being more disciplined. Cracking your entry rules may be the best place to start improving your trading results. So, get on it now, it’s much easier to get it right and the results proliferate quickly in other aspects of trading.

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1 Comment

I'd agree with the overall premise, whatever your trading style, have a system, test it and measure it. The system should provide feedback via results... My question is this, would one's system work in all macro conditions?

Would market sentiment cause a system to stall or fail? And if it did, should I look for or create a different system?

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