Creating a solid trading plan is crucial for success in online trading. A trading plan is a comprehensive strategy that outlines how you as a trader will approach the market. You can tailor your trading plan to your personal needs and level of experience by including elements that are important to you in it. For instance, criteria for entering and exiting trades, preferred analysis methods, position size, risk management plan guidelines, overall objectives, and more. Keep reading to see a trading plan example and learn how to make a unique plan that works for you. 

What Is a Trading Plan?

A trading plan is a systematic way of logging a trader’s approach to financial markets. It describes the trader’s goals, the method they use, the money management tools they implement, as well as the results they expect. In a way, it is an instruction manual to trading that you create for yourself.

Creating a trading plan is necessary because it helps you stay disciplined, avoid emotional decision-making, and follow consistent rules when making trades. It is a known fact that without a plan, traders are generally more likely to make impulsive decisions that can lead to significant losses. Let’s see what the main components of a good trading plan are and how to put together a plan that works. 

Trading Plan Example: Key Components

As was said before, your trading plan can consist of as many points as you’d like. Whether it’s a trading plan for beginners or seasoned traders, the more information you include in it, the better. The main focus is to make it well-structured and to include risk management plan components into it. Here is a trading plan example with some of the essential ingredients that need to be added:

Trading Goals

First, clearly define what you aim to achieve through trading. These goals should be specific, measurable, and attainable. You can include both short-term and long-term goals in your plan. Ask yourself: what is the desired outcome of today’s trading session? What goals do you expect to reach this month? How about the end of the year? The more specific the goal, the better.

For example, a short-term goal might be to achieve a certain percentage of profit by the end of the day/week. A long-term goal could be to generate a steady income through trading in the next five years.

Market Analysis and Strategy

Determine which markets you will trade in (options, stocks, forex, commodities, etc.) and develop an approach based on technical and fundamental analysis. You can include different strategies for different instruments if you will be trading more than one. You can decide which indicators and graphical tools you will be using, as well as outline the fundamentals you will be taking into account.

This will be the most robust part of your plan because it describes the actual method of trading. Plan and test your strategy on a demo balance before you solidify it in your trading plan. You need to trust the strategy you pick so that you can stick to it during the trading session, without giving into the emotions.

Risk Management

Implement money management practices to protect your capital. Effective risk management is the cornerstone of a successful trading plan. Here is what it can include:

  • Position size: Determine the amount of capital you are willing to risk on each trade. For instance, some traders choose to limit themselves to 1-2% of the trading capital on a single trade.
  • Risk appetite: Are you a cautious trader, or do you like living on the edge? Most importantly, how does it align with your goals? These are important questions to answer. 
  • Stop-Loss/Take-Profit orders: Plan to set stop-loss orders to limit potential losses. For example, if you open a trade with an investment amount of $50, you might set a stop-loss order at -$5 to limit your loss to 10%. A take-profit level will help secure a desired profit amount, which is useful for a hands-off trading approach.
  • Diversification: You can opt to trade different assets to reduce risks from poor-performing trades. Diversifying your portfolio can also help take advantage of a broad selection of assets.

Check out more ideas in our article about the best risk management practices

Entry and Exit Criteria

Establish clear rules for when to enter and exit trades. Your strategy, as well as market conditions, will largely pre-determine these points. Stick to the risk management approach you chose and make sure to exit your trades on time. Having predefined criteria for entries and exits will help you eliminate emotional decision-making and be consistent.

Personalize Your Plan

Now that you know the main components your trading plan should include, it’s time to add some extra points that will help make your plan tailored to you.

  • Trading style preferences: Are you a day trader, swing trader, or long-term investor? Your trading style will influence your approach to the market and the types of strategies you choose.
  • Choose your trading time: Learn about trading sessions, and market volatility, and make a schedule that suits your preferences. 
  • Don’t limit yourself: Remember, you can have more than one trading plan. You can have several trading goals, and you can use different strategies to achieve them. Creating several scenarios can help you control your trading better.

If you are using a trading plan example downloaded online, remember to alter it and customize it according to your needs. It is not advisable to blindly copy a plan that was created by someone else.

How to Make a Trading Plan Work?

It takes a lot of consideration and effort to come up with a good trading plan, but when you finally have it in place, it is still only 50% of the work. The next step is to implement it consistently. Use a trading journal to track your trades and review your progress. This will help you understand what parts of your trading plan are working, and what needs to be adjusted.

Stay on track and don’t try to bend the rules during your trading session. You need to stick to the plan you created for yourself and only edit it during a post-trading review. 


A trading plan is a significant part of success in trading. By defining your goals, creating a clear strategy, deciding on the entries and exits, and implementing effective risk management practices, you can noticeably improve your trading results. Remember that for your plan to work well, you need to be consistent, follow it to a tee, and avoid emotional trading. Regularly review your performance and, if necessary, adjust your strategy to make sure that your plan is aligned with your goals. 

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