When I first started trading back in 2001, I used yahoo finance and my broker’s platform to trade. That’s it. The result? I lost $8k! Not fun.
When I became a professional trader, I got to sit next to professionals and I learned from them and from other traders what works and what doesn’t when it comes to trading tools and resources for traders.
Over the last 18 years, I have been following, watching or using some of the products that I’ll be listing here. These are products that can be incredibly helpful to your personal development whether you are a beginner or pro.
- Best Trading Platforms
- Best Trading Brokers
- Best Trading Websites
- Best Trading Tools
- Best Trading Hardware
- Best Trading Books
- Best Trading Movies
Here we go:
How to choose a trading platform? There are literally hundreds of choices out there and it depends on what markets you trade and what strategies.
Lightspeed – A bit of an overkill if you just trade a few times a month, but if you trade multiple times a day, this could be a good choice because it has a lot of pro features like locates for shorting stocks, full order book and configurable shortcut keys for fast order entry.
ThinkorSwim – Free, multi-device trading platform and comes with a paper trading account to test your strategies and to learn how to use it.
Ninja Trader – Free platform (if you trade through them) and endless possibilities, most notably algo trading, powerful community add ons, futures simulator and advanced charting tools. It’s also one of the better-looking ones out there in terms of layout and usability.
For fx trading and cfds
Meta Trader 4/5 – Free and works with all markets especially FX. Thousands of chart add ons, studies, robots that you can use (free and paid) and trade manually or algorithmically. It’s by far the most widely used fx platform out there.
How to pick one? It also depends on what type of trader you are, but all of them must have fast support and great reputation after all your money is on the line.
Interactive brokers – Designed for professional traders serious about their craft, it offers only per-share pricing ($.005 per share with a $1 minimum per trade) and charges up to $20 per month between two minimum activity fees. Traders who can meet its $100,000 minimum deposit for margin trading have several benefits.
Fidelity – Fidelity Investments charges $4.95 per trade and it’s recommended for those who trade a few times a month.
For best technology and algo programmers
Tradestation – For active traders and day traders, it comes packed full of tools and functionality. Trades are just $5 and users can even code their own apps using the broker’s proprietary EasyLanguage programming language.
Although not necessary depending on your trading style, it’s always nice to count on a few websites every day to know what’s going on and to connect with other traders. Here are a few that I use almost on a daily basis.
Yahoo Finance – I like to open yahoo finance in the morning just to check the main headline. It’s never neutral news. It’s going to be either good or bad and since millions of people read it every day, it can be used as a barometer of how the markets are going to open. You can also view how futures are doing pre-market.
There are other news websites that are worth mentioning like Market Watch and Bloomberg. Don’t get sucked in. You don’t need to spend too much time reading the news to make money. Just read enough to figure out what the sentiment is going to be for the market for the day or for the stocks you want to trade.
Elite Trader – I found my mentor on this website back in 2006. It has gotten better over the years and the owner is very rigid with spam practices and what kind of content can be posted. It’s been around for many years. Whether you trade in a group or alone, it’s a place to find like-minded individuals to discuss ideas.
Futures.io – Good for futures traders. The owners are involved and filter out spam, so your time is not wasted.
Trademetria – An online trading journal is my favorite tool because it lets me understand what is going on with my trading and it tells me statistically what works. Trademetria comes with live quotes for portfolio tracking, several reports and metrics to challenge even quant funds. It’s free for up to 30 trade imports and works with equities, options, futures, forex, cfds, and cryptos.
Trading View – For free and quick charting, this is really useful, user-friendly and powerful. Works with lots of markets and asset classes. It does not work for options.
Finviz – Financial news and the best stock screener out there. It helps you find new stocks to trade on a daily basis. You can find movers here, then dig deeper into charts.
Yahoo Earnings Calendar – Besides earnings calendar, it provides the dates of companies going IPO, and the option to listen to live conference calls.
Daniels Trading – Has a real pnl calculator to help you understand how futures contracts are calculated.
Investing.com – Financial platform offering real-time quotes, streaming charts, news, & technical analysis.
Trade Ideas – Real-time scanner based on limitless criteria. Very useful to find stocks to trade any time of the day.
Even though trading can be a capital intensive business, the equipment necessary to start is not, but that doesn’t mean you can start with a $500 laptop. It’s crucial to start with a nice setup because when money is on the line, you don’t want to lose it because of faulty or bad hardware.
Before you consider what’s best, you need to ask yourself what type of trader you are. For investors, a laptop is enough. For a traveler, a laptop with full HD resolution might be enough, for day trading professionals, you need a few more items.
Reliable internet – Because you don’t want to be stuck with a position you want to get out.
At least 2 full HD monitors – Unless you are a long term investor, Don’t force your vision. It’s a lot to look at and switching between charts and order entry windows all day is time-consuming and distracting. With 2 full hd monitors, you should be able to fit everything you need to avoid flipping through multiple trading programs and websites.
A computer with an ssd hard drive and an I5 or above Intel processor. Your computer will be processing a lot of data and sending orders. You need to have something that’s reliable and fast.
Energy backup – Nice to have in case of energy outages.
Here is a company that I haven’t used myself, but it’s well recommended for trading computers.
Books are essential to learning new ways to trade/invest, but also to motivate you regardless of your income or level.
For everyone that enjoys the markets:
Reminiscences of a stock operator by Jesse Livermore. A legendary trader that went from $5 to $75 million back in the ’20s while going broke 4 times. It will give you a good idea of what can be involved to become wildly successful in the markets.
First published in 1923, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is the most widely read, highly recommended investment book ever. Generations of readers have found that it has more to teach them about markets and people than years of experience. This is a timeless tale that will enrich your life—and your portfolio.
Stock Market Wizards by Jack D. Schwager. This book is another classic because the author narrates his own story of failure and successes, but also stories of other traders and investors that overcame losses and hit big numbers.
This book will feature interviews with a variety of traders who achieved phenomenal financial success during the glory days of the Internet boom. In contrast with the first two Market Wizard books. which included traders from a broad financial spectrum.
For long term investors
One up on wall street by Peter Linch. Many examples of how he picks stocks, what he takes into consideration, and he gets into details of his fundamental analysis approach explaining each concept in a way anybody can understand.
More than one million copies have been sold of this seminal book on investing in which legendary mutual-fund manager Peter Lynch explains the advantages that average investors have over professionals and how they can use these advantages to achieve financial success.
Trading in the zone by Mark Douglas. Many say trading is mostly a mental game and I agree. Mark knows how to develop the mind component like no other.
Douglas uncovers the underlying reasons for lack of consistency and helps traders overcome the ingrained mental habits that cost them money. He takes on the myths of the market and exposes them one by one teaching traders to look beyond random outcomes, to understand the true realities of risk, and to be comfortable with the “probabilities” of market movement that governs all market speculation.
For most of us, the reasons we become traders are way different than what Hollywood sees us. That’s why trading has a bad reputation out there. Most classic trading movies involve illegal activities and lots of money. Because everyone needs to be entertained once in a while, the movies below can’t be missed.
It’s an entertaining explanation of what happened during the 2008 financial crisis. Most importantly, how many can be made and lost regardless of the situation.
In 2006-7 a group of investors bets against the US mortgage market. In their research, they discover how flawed and corrupt the market is.
A classic trading movie that shows how far ambition can drive a man to success or prison and how crooked peers can have an influence in the process.
A young and impatient stockbroker is willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information taken through a ruthless and greedy corporate raider who takes the youth under his wing.
Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.
A college dropout, attempting to live up to his father’s high standards, gets a job as a broker for a suburban investment firm which puts him on the fast track to success. But the job might not be as legitimate as it first appeared to be.
It’s important to know what’s out there regardless of your skill level. There is always something new to inspire or to help you succeed.