How To Really Start Trading Stocks And Options On Your Mobile Phone

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As investors, we are seldom ready to trust mobile trading applications until something forces the change. This was just the case for me.

Just this past winter I was traveling a lot for the holidays and just couldn't access my desktop trading platform as much as I wanted. Thus, I had to rely on the mobile application.

The markets were fairly calm but with all of the end of the year "stuff" that tends to happen quickly I didn't want to be away from covering trades if I need to. Hence the real problem. . .I had never been comfortable making a trade on my mobile phone.

If you've also been in this situation, or just can't access the markets from work, then mobile trading has got to become part of your system. The technology is growing so fast that it truly is becoming and advantage for those who know how to use it properly.

So, today I'm going to help you set up and start really mobile trading!

Desktop Vs. Mobile Trading?

I still prefer desktop to mobile though I am much more comfortable with the direction I'm headed having fully integrated my mobile phone. The biggest advantage of mobile trading being that I'm not tied to the desk during the trading hours.

Sure I miss the ease of analyzing stocks including the technicals that mobile trading hasn't quite mastered, but the charting and data feeds are amazing. Given the choice I would still prefer my Mac and mouse, yet I don't always have that choice.

The awesome reality is that we shouldn't choose one over the other today. Brokers have been rolling out such advanced technology on mobile devices and tablets that we all should be asking ourselves how we can effectively use both to make/save more money. Not shying away from mobile because we don't understand how it works.

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Spend Time To Learn The Platform

Like almost anything on earth you're interested in mastering, you have to spend time to learn the platform. I use thinkorswim so I spent a ton of time navigating around their mobile trading system (both on my iPhone and iPad). I downloaded both a while ago, and they sat mostly unused until I made a point to try it out.

iphone trading application

Kick the tires, break the software in, watch video tutorials from the brokers - whatever you have to do to understand the platform. You'll never learn to trust it to make trades until you are confident in what it has to offer.

Make Small, Real Money Trades

As I mentioned before my biggest "fear" with mobile trading was that I couldn't do enough analysis to make a smart trade on a mobile device. I had this preconceived notion that I needed to be in front of a huge platform to make smarter decisions with my money. Boy was I wrong!

Trading platforms are simple tools and nothing more. . .

They offer all kinds of bells and whistles. However, at the end of the day it is your strategy and psychology when entering the orders that make all the difference. So, if my strategy hadn't changed, then placing an order on a desktop or mobile device is just a means of getting involved in the market.

iphone trading application TD

Since I needed to overcome my fear, I decided to place a lot of very small trades with real money.

Smaller trades allowed me not to risk a lot on each trade while investing real money meant I would be 100% engaged in how things turned out. Had I done this on in a paper account I doubt I would have developed the confidence needed actually to invest real money? I would have been back to square one all again.

Desktop & Mobile At The Same Time

The last step I took to mobile trading integration was to analyze trades on my desktop then physically place the orders (open, close, adjust, etc.) on my iPhone while sitting at my desk. On my Mac, I would analyze an options trade then when I was ready to place the order I would pull out my iPhone and route it that way. It probably sounds stupidly simple I know, but you wouldn't believe how hard it was to do both.

However hard it was; I developed the skills to move quickly through the mobile application yet had the confidence of knowing I was analyzing the trade correctly.

ipad trading application

Eventually, it started to be much easier to analyze the charts and prices on my iPad, and I found myself using that much more than ever before. Again I already knew what types of trades fit my strategies, I just had an easier way of searching for them now.

Are You Mobile Trading Yet?

If you've already made the leap and started trading mobile, what kinds of problems have you faced? Add your comments below and share with others who haven't started - offer your advice.

For those of you who are just getting into mobile trading, try to do what I did above (analyze on the desktop and make the trade on your phone) and report back here to let me know if this really worked for you too!

About The Author

Kirk Du Plessis

Kirk founded Option Alpha in early 2007 and currently serves as the Head Trader. Formerly an Investment Banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Group for Deutsche Bank in New York and REIT Analyst for BB&T Capital Markets in Washington D.C., he's a Full-time Options Trader and Real Estate Investor. He's been interviewed on dozens of investing websites/podcasts and he's been seen in Barron’s Magazine, SmartMoney, and various other financial publications. Kirk currently lives in Pennsylvania (USA) with his beautiful wife and two daughters.