What’s The Real Difference Between Investing And Trading?


Investors have a much longer time horizon than traders and are usually more risk-averse. Traders usually have a better understanding of how different assets and markets work. Whether you’re an investor or trader, you should be aware of the rewards as well as the risks involved. Mindset is another major difference between trading and investing. Unlike investors, traders don’t necessarily care about owning a piece of a business.

Investor.com is not endorsed by or affiliated with the SEC or any other financial regulators. Andrea Coombes has 20+ years of experience helping people reach their financial goals. Her personal finance articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, MarketWatch, Forbes, and other publications, and trend trading she’s shared her expertise on CBS, NPR, “Marketplace,” and more. She’s been a financial coach and certified consumer credit counselor, and is working on becoming a Certified Financial Planner. She knows that owning pets isn’t necessarily the best financial decision; her dog and two cats would argue this point.

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  • Regardless of which approach you choose, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the markets you’re investing in or trading in.
  • Trading involves buying and selling assets or financial derivatives such as contracts for difference (CFDs) to speculate on short-term price fluctuations.
  • The biggest investor vs trader difference is that investors tend to have longer time horizons than traders.

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Trading vs Investing – Which is Better?

Investors, on the other hand, focus on long-term gains when they buy and sell investment vehicles. The main difference between trading and investing is that the former provides opportunity to realize profits from volatile trends in the market. In investing, short-term gains and losses are ignored for long-term gains, which are achieved as the company grows. A trader will concentrate on the perceived market value of the stock. He or she would not be interested in the financial health of the underlying company.

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  • We reviewed providers to find the best online platforms for day trading.
  • You should always do your own research before choosing to trade or invest in any financial instrument.
  • Additionally, it is better to have a clear plan with transparent trading goals and profits you want to gain.

Options investors may lose the entire amount of their investment or more in a relatively short period of time. Please review Margin Account Agreement and Disclosure for more information regarding margin trading. Many individual investors invest in the stock market using an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or 401(k) account to save for retirement. With these types of accounts, day trading patterns you might not be actively checking your account every day (perhaps even monthly) or making changes to the securities you own. Instead, you’ll likely contribute to them over a lengthy time frame, investing and potentially generating returns. They’re more about choosing stocks with value that grows over time and that have robust profit potential months or years down the line.

How we make money

If the volatility creates large drops or rallies in certain assets, investors may choose to use the opportunity to buy an asset or sell an existing one. Other investors may ignore volatility and remain focused on their long-term strategy and goals. A trader may place as many trades in a day as an investor does in a year. There is a wide range of how active traders and investors are, with varying investment timeframes.

First, let’s dissect how traders look at time frame, activity, and risk. However, like with gambling, it can also quickly lead to big losses. Investing usually means smaller Trading the ftse 100 short-term wins, but also fewer severe losses. Without selling, you’d have turned that $10,000 into more than $24,883, and kept the entire 20 percent annualized gains.

Analyze Stocks Differently

But they can also be more complex like futures contracts and swaps. Unlike many investors, traders have to be able to keep their emotions at bay. This can be somewhat difficult as big losses can be harder to swallow. Margin trading entails greater risk, including, but not limited to, risk of loss and incurrence of margin interest debt, and is not suitable for all investors.

How to learn about trading and investing?

This figure is adjusted for four stock splits the company has undergone to make shares more affordable for retail investors. Credit Suisse (CS) has seen its share price collapse over the years, as the troubled bank struggled with scandals, losses and liquidity problems. The loss goes as high as 95% from when the share price peaked in 2007. The prospect of making a bucketload of money as a trader is an appealing one, no doubt. But before you start sending your money in that direction, take stock of where you’re at. In the world of investing, everybody is a trader and an investor.

Utilising ETFs

Time and effort
Because of the amount of research and transactions it takes, successful trading can be—and often is—a full-time job. Long-term investing, meanwhile, most often takes a set-it-and-forget-it mentality. By buying a diversified fund or mix of investments, investors may be able to benefit from the historic long-term returns of the stock market with little effort.

Read THIS Before Copying Traders on eToro [Copy Trading Review 2023]

An author, teacher & investing expert with nearly two decades experience as an investment portfolio manager and chief financial officer for a real estate holding company. It may take a very long time, but they can eventually sell their shares for much more than what they paid for them. The goal is to produce long-term returns to build wealth rather than making quick profits. Day trading is an excellent way to make money on the market if you have the initial capital and time per day needed to make the trades you want. However, it also takes a strong desire to make money on trades and a solid risk management strategy. Your total time commitment should be about 15 hours per week on the low end and up to 40 hours per week on the high end (if you’re trading most of the day).

Therefore, traders tend to have higher costs than investors, since they trade more often and are placing multiple transactions throughout the day. In contrast, investors that hold positions in mutual funds or ETFs will usually pay a yearly management fee to the fund, and they tend to also face commission charges to the broker. Traders may be looking to compound their returns more quickly than an investor. The shorter the duration of the trade, the more chance there is to compound since any profits are added to the account balance and can be used on the next trade. This doesn’t always work though, as a poor strategy will produce losses, resulting in a lower account balance, not a higher one.

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