The key skills of successful traders

Investing can be a good way to build funds for your retirement or to supplement your income. Some of the greatest investors have managed to turn investment into an art form, becoming millionaires in the process. Yet some people fail to make a success of investing and others find their gains balanced out by frustrating losses. What makes the difference between success and failure, and what skills should you be trying to master?

Learning directly from others is a good place to start. For instance, there are many useful resources online that offer share tips and articles that can prove particularly useful, even to experienced traders. However, if you are going to make a success of your trading, then you will also need to develop your skills. Here are the key attributes to work on.

An eye for analysis

If knowledge is power in life, then it is particularly so for trading. The best operators in the investment world can boast an encyclopedic knowledge of the markets that they will be trading in, and this doesn’t come about by accident. To gain this knowledge, you have to be prepared to put in the work, poring over charts and accounts, and above all, you have to develop the analytical skills to be able to spot the key information.

Meticulous approach

If you don’t have a plan, then you won’t get far when it comes to trading. Being able to respond to fast-changing circumstances is of some use, but having a solid plan is far more important. To be a good trader, you need to have a good plan and a determined, meticulous approach in sticking to the plan. The key to the plan is to identify your goals, both in the short term and long term, and to lay out how you intend to reach those goals.

Be decisive

There is no harm in taking advice or in reading the opinions of others, but you won’t get far as a trader if you can’t make your own decisions. Those decisions should always be based on knowledge, analysis and a clear strategy. However, if you follow this trend or that fancy new method, then you will end up learning nothing and probably losing significant amounts of money. Work out your plan, devise your strategy, and when you see an opportunity to trade, make the decision. Even when you get it wrong, if you are backing your own opinion, then you can learn from it.

Stay patient

If you are trying out trading because you want to make a quick fortune, then you should stop right now. Investment is about the long term. In the short term, markets and stocks can fluctuate wildly, and if you lose your patience, then you can end up getting lost completely. Don’t chase your losses, and don’t get carried away with successes. Cultivate patience to succeed.


Trading is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You need to develop the knowledge and the strategies to succeed, and these take time. Above all, you need the skills listed above if you want to join the ranks of the successful investors.