Spread betting - one year in


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I’ve been dabbling with spread betting for a year now. I say “dabbling” because it was always going to be mainly a learning exercise, although obviously I didn’t just want to just throw away my £1,000 stake money even though it wasn’t “scared money”. This was not a full-time undertaking and I only made 28 trades in 12 months, had 12 winners and 16 losers and have ended up with £985 (as of today) at the end of it. I chose to risk real money, albeit not much, as a beginner because previous attempts to paper trade never seemed to have the same psychological impact to me.

So I haven’t made any money, but (I think) I’ve learnt some things in the process:

1. Money management is more than half the battle and getting that right means that some of my dreadful picks have had a limited downside.

2. Some of the old adages are true. Cut losses short is one and don’t be greedy is another.

3. I've had a tendency to hold on to trades for quite a while and I’m not sure spread betting is the correct platform for that because of the rollover fees. I may as well have just bought the shares through a broker, although obviously I wouldn’t have the leverage the spread-betting platform gives me.

4. I have experimented too widely. I’ve dabbled in binaries, stocks (mainly) and commodities. I would have been better off really getting to know fewer instruments to begin with.

5. Likewise with technical indicators. I’ve tried to factor in too many of them, read a plethora of articles about them and ended up very confused. In the end, I’ve found it difficult to find a "one size fits all” with technical indicators, which worries me because I’m trying, by degrees, to develop a system of some sort. In the end I’ve been trading very unscientifically, just looking at an instrument, trying to figure out the major and minor trends, trying to figure out where support and resistance are, trading with the trend and setting stops accordingly. I’d like to claim it’s a form of Zen trading where I’m "at one with the instrument” but it’s a bit of shambles to be honest. I can’t help but feel I’ve been lucky to only be down £15.

6. Given point 5, above, I’m definitely not in a position to scale this up to, say, £10,000, which was my aim once I knew what I was doing. I think it would be wise to stick with things the way they are for another year.

7. It is very hard to do this over the long term and make consistent profits. I would imagine (but don’t know) that only a ludicrously small percentage of people who spread bet are successful and I tip my extremely fashionable fedora hat to those that are.

So my question for the experienced spread-betters here is simple: am I learning the correct things? Are there any glaring errors in what I think I’ve learnt?

Which is actually two questions but I really just wanted to check that I’m on the right track. I do quite enjoy doing this. Not as much as I enjoy watching sport or drinking real ale or lots of other things but I like the challenge. I have no desire to make a living at this but I would like to get into a position where I can make a profit.

High hopes eh? Feel free to shoot me down!
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