In his #1 international bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s second habit is beginning with the end in mind. This is a rule successful people follow in all areas of their lives–personal, family and business.
But it is especially important for traders.
No one wakes up on a Monday morning and decides “Today is a good day to invest all my money” on impulse, without any prior knowledge of the trading niche. They conduct research, create goals and develop a strategy. They begin with the end in mind.
As part of this research, goal-setting and strategizing, successful traders have a journal. In this article, we are going to discuss a few of the best trading journals and their purpose.
We’re going to be brief for the sake of space. For a more detailed look, check out Modest Money’s best trading journals of 2023.
What is a Trading Journal
Put simply, a trading journal is a log that tracks what you traded, why you traded and how much money you made or lost. This practice allows you to analyze your trading methodology and, over time, it reveals your strengths and weaknesses.
Like stock screeners, a trading journal is one of the many tools in a trader’s arsenal. The most successful traders include the following in their trading journals:
- Stop Price
- Target Price
- Risk/Reward Ratio
The Evolution of Trading Journals
Trading journals are one of the most underutilized tools by rookie and veteran traders alike. They are the most effective way to track trades. And trading journals have spanned a few generations.
Before our modern, digital world, traders simply used spreadsheets to track trades. This was a simple, straightforward way to do so. But the world wasn’t as fast then as it is now.
Following spreadsheets, traders were given access to downloadable trading journal software, allowing them to track trades from a single device. This method also doesn’t get the job done anymore.
Call it innovation or modernity but we now have cloud-based journals, allowing traders to track trades from anywhere in the world. Every trader should have one because trading journals enable them to analyze stocks, options, futures and crypto trades.
All of which help traders make better decisions in the future. Now, let’s dive into the best trading journals on the market.
Best Trading Journals for You
When it comes to the availability of trading journals on the market today, the list goes on and on. Like individual traders themselves, a trading journal begins with the end in mind, doing its own research and goal-setting.
Thus, you want to find a journal that aligns with what you’re trying to accomplish.
Topping the list is TraderSync. Known for its outstanding features and simple usability, TraderSync automatically imports data from multiple trading accounts, providing a variety of reports including:
- Setup Reports
- Pricing Reports
- Volume Reports
To date, TraderSync is the only journal that is compatible with iOS and Android devices. Additionally, TraderSync has an application called Playlist that allows you to practice against historical market data.
Subscriptions come in four tiers: Free (unlimited trades), Pro ($29.95/mo), Premium ($49.95/mo) and Elite ($79.95/mo).
Tradermetria follows the advice of “there’s beauty in simplicity.” They only offer the option of manually entering previous trades rather than an automated option that allows you to track trades in real time.
Nevertheless, Tradermetria is a great journal for the leisurely trader.
Tradermetria’s features will help traders improve their strategies, harness their insights and better navigate the markets. Additionally, the more advanced features include a trade simulator and backtesting.
Tradermetria currently supports cryptocurrency, contracts for difference (CFDs), futures, forex, stocks and options. Its offered plans are free, Basic ($29.95/mo) and Pro ($39.95/mo).
Our Pro Tips for Trading Journals
The trading world is a place where the smallest details can make a huge difference. You must stay on top of those. Here are a few tips for keeping your trading journal:
- Don’t be emotional – Vulnerability is making a comeback in terms of being a superpower for relationships. But that is not the case in trading. Don’t let your emotional state control how you trade–this always leads to poor moves.
- Maintain discipline – Keeping a trading journal will expose you to hard truths you probably missed while trading. You will see what you’re doing right and wrong. This is crucial for long-term success. Be sure to be disciplined about logging your trades in your journal.
- Don’t leave anything out – Be sure to write down everything. Even the things you don’t want to be reminded of. This will prevent similar situations in the future.
- Do your own research – Trading requires intentionality. You can’t just let automation do everything for you. Read and learn as much as you can and check out the best stock research sites.
The Bottom Line
Trading is hard. We get it.
This is why keeping a journal is essential. It involves paying attention and making a daily decision to learn from your successes–and mistakes.
A Trading journal is the first step to ensuring that you will become a better trader over time. It’s one of the best financial tools you can invest in.