How to Trade Stocks: What Do I Need to Know? | Acorns

Investing in the stock market can be rewarding, offering the potential for long-term wealth accumulation. However, it’s essential to approach stock trading cautiously, as it carries its fair share of risks and uncertainties. Novice traders, in particular, often fall prey to common mistakes that can lead to financial setbacks.


This comprehensive guide will explore the prevalent missteps that traders, especially those new to the market, should avoid. By understanding and steering clear of these pitfalls, you can enhance your trading strategy, mitigate unnecessary risks, and increase your likelihood of achieving your financial goals.


From conducting thorough research to managing risk and staying adaptable, it delves into the essential principles that can help you navigate the complex landscape of stock trading with confidence and proficiency.

Ignoring proper research: The importance of due diligence

One of the frequent mistakes novice traders make when they buy stocks is failing to conduct thorough research before making investment decisions. It’s essential to understand the companies or assets you’re considering, including their financial health, market trends, and potential for growth. Relying solely on tips from friends, forums, or social media can lead to hasty and uninformed decisions. Take the time to analyse financial reports, study industry trends, and consider factors that may impact the performance of your chosen investments.


Keeping up-to-date with relevant news and events is crucial. External factors, such as economic shifts, geopolitical events, or changes in industry regulations, can significantly impact stock prices. Staying informed allows you to make more informed decisions and respond appropriately to market developments.

Letting emotions dictate decisions: The danger of impulsive trading

Emotions can be a powerful force in stock trading, often leading to impulsive decisions that may not align with your long-term investment goals. Fear and greed are two common emotions that can influence trading behaviour. Fear of missing out (FOMO) may lead to hasty investment decisions, while the desire for quick profits can result in taking excessive risks.


It’s important to approach trading with a clear and rational mindset. Establishing a well thought out trading plan that outlines your goals, risk tolerance, and exit strategies can help mitigate the influence of emotions. Consider implementing stop-loss orders to automatically limit potential losses and prevent emotional decision-making in the heat of the moment.

Neglecting risk management: The key to preserving capital

Proper risk management is fundamental to successful stock trading. Neglecting this aspect can lead to significant financial losses. Diversification is a crucial strategy for spreading risk across different assets or sectors. This helps protect your capital from adverse events that may affect specific industries or companies.


Setting realistic profit and loss targets is also crucial. Avoid chasing unrealistic gains or holding on to losing positions, hoping for a turnaround. Establishing clear exit points based on your trading plan allows you to lock in profits and limit potential losses.

Overtrading: The pitfall of excessive activity

Overtrading is a common mistake among new traders who may be eager to seize every opportunity. However, excessive trading can lead to higher transaction costs, increased exposure to market volatility, and diminished returns. Recognizing that only some market fluctuations present a viable trading opportunity is essential.


Instead, focus on quality over quantity. Avoid constantly monitoring the market for fear of missing out on potential trades. A disciplined and selective approach can lead to more consistent and sustainable results over the long term.

Neglecting to adapt: The importance of flexibility

The stock market is dynamic and subject to constant change. Adapting to evolving market conditions and trends can be a significant pitfall. It’s crucial to remain flexible in your trading approach and be willing to adjust your strategies based on new information or shifts in market sentiment.


Regularly reviewing and refining your trading plan is essential. This may involve re-evaluating your investment thesis, adjusting risk levels, or exploring new trading techniques. Additionally, staying open to learning from successes and failures can help you grow as a trader and improve your decision-making skills.

Honing your trading skills

Avoiding these common mistakes is crucial to becoming a successful trader. By conducting thorough research, managing risk effectively, and maintaining a disciplined approach, you can confidently navigate the complexities of the stock market. Remember that trading is a skill that requires continuous learning, adaptability, and a patient mindset. With time and experience, you can refine your trading strategies and increase your likelihood of achieving your financial goals.


Mastering the art of stock trading requires a combination of knowledge, discipline, and a willingness to adapt. By avoiding the common mistakes discussed in this guide and implementing sound trading practices, you can position yourself for success in the dynamic world of the stock market. Remember, trading is a journey of continuous learning and refinement, and with dedication, you can unlock the full potential of your investments.