Taking Lessons in Trading to Learn How to Play the Market

a day in the life of a day trader
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The different ways you can learn about trading reflect the approaches you can take to reaping a profit from the market. The costs and methodology behind these educational resources can vary drastically so it is essential for new traders to carefully consider which plans suit their needs and goals.

For example, a day trader who has a packed schedule and wants to act fast might not feel they can afford to spend time on studying books. A trader who intends to develop an intricate long-term strategy may find that brief classes and one-time seminars are not in-depth enough. Another factor that can come into play is the cost of education. Free curriculum might serve as an introduction to trading but there are also resources that require payments to get access to the most detailed information.

Ways to Learn About Trading

People who seek information about trading tend to seek out books, seminars, online courses, and mentors where available. What these resources offer in terms of content can matter as much to the new trader as how it is delivered. People who are constantly on the go may find that an online course they can complete through their smartphone is ideal rather than attending a sit-down class.

  • Trading Books: Learning trading via books is a common method of instruction. A potential benefit of studying trading this way is that it allows you to take time understanding the approach and philosophy of the author. If a trading strategy is unclear, it is possible to refer back to the text as needed. One obvious drawback is that the book cannot answer follow-up questions the reader may have about the methodology. Furthermore, market conditions can change so dramatically that it is possible that some of the philosophies presented in the book may not always be valid.
  • Trading Seminars: Taking in a seminar can be an expensive way to learn about trading, depending on the entrance fee. Attending an in-person session does offer the novice trader the chance to ask questions to clarify their understanding of the presented strategies. A live seminar can also offer up-to-date ideas on trading that relate to the current market. It is also an opportunity to compare notes with other new traders who are trying to sort out the best approach to trading. Unless the seminar is recorded and made available for replay later, the attendees will have a narrow window of time to absorb the lessons.
  • Online Courses: The convenience that online curriculum offers make this a fast-growing way to learn about trading. Many investment and trading services providers include some basic trading information on their websites while others go the extra step of supplying their customers with a curriculum that is available online. Those courses might be restricted to paying customers of the service. There are also outlets that provide trading curriculum, for free or at varying prices. These courses might be self-guided, which means the student is left to their own devices. This allows them to move at their own pace but it also means they might not be challenged to comprehend the strategies being taught before they use them.
  • Mentoring: Dedicated trading instruction and mentoring can be one of the more expensive ways to learn to trade. The lesson may be one-on-one or with a small group and personalized for the novice traders' needs. Choosing such a mentor can be as tricky as selecting a stock to invest in. The potential mentor's track record and investment results are significant but their ability to convey that strategy is equally important. If you are dealing with an individual mentor who operates alone, it is crucial to determine what about their investment strategy fits with the approach you intend to take.

    Trading Without Training

    There is another option to get into trading that does not require special instruction beyond the basic concepts. Analysis and trading services are designed to offer less experienced traders the benefit of recommendations from a professional trader. Such services can also include money management where the customer allows their money to be traded on their behalf by a trained professional. This type of service may include a daily market analysis that is sent to the customer along with trading suggestions.

    Customers might be able to place transactions they want through the trading service if there is a stock they believe will take off, for example, but they are largely relying on the expertise of others.