Why I Suck At Trading

by Mike Holman

I’ve come to the realization that I would not make a very good stock trader. The evidence leading to this conclusion became glaringly apparent when I made my first ever stock purchases over the last couple of months. Both trades were Bank of Montreal purchased for my leveraged stock plan.

After doing a bit of research on the mechanics of buying stocks along with practicing on the trading simulator at Questrade, I was able to get comfortable with getting the real time quotes and placing an order with a limit. The limit probably wasn’t necessary since I was buying board lots of a heavily traded company, but better safe than sorry.

The other part of being on the “buy side” was waiting for a dip. I had read in many books and blogs that the best way to accumulate dividend stocks was to “buy on dips”. It seemed pretty obvious that all one had to do was wait until said dip appeared and then let the trading begin! The only problem was an an extreme lack of patience on my part. Once I got it into my head that I was going to be buying some stocks then I kept a close eye on the price in order to identify a dip at which point I would pull the trigger. However due to the feverish excitement I was in, I ended up spending way too much time at work checking the price of the stock. I’m sure my co-workers were suspicious since I was spending a lot more time glued to my computer than I normally do. After a while I decided that dip or no dip it was probably better to pay a couple of bucks too much for the stock rather than lose my job because I was checking real time quotes all day long. The other problem I had was a constant irrational fear that the price would skyrocket and if I didn’t buy right away I would never get it for that price again.

I ended up buying the first 100 shares of BMO at $71 which was after the shares had been hanging around $68 for a while because of the trading scandal. The reason I couldn’t buy when the stock was lower was because I didn’t have the account set up yet and it took a while for that to happen. For the next trade I told myself that I would wait patiently until the stock hit the very bottom (wherever that is). But history repeated itself and I ended up buying 200 shares at $68.60 which felt a lot better than $71 but of course, better deals could have been had with a little patience.

Since my plan is to hold these shares for a long time, the initial purchase price isn’t all that important but the competitive spirit in me demands that I get the best price possible. I didn’t accomplish that goal with my purchases this time but I’m hoping that next time I’ll be able to stay cool long enough to get a good deal. If not, the dividend cheques will help make up for it.

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