Trading journals are critical in a trader’s investment journey. It allows traders to organize their thoughts, document progress, establish sustainable trading strategies, and increase chances long-term. This article explains what to look for in a reliable trading journal, why you should use one, how to use one, and the best options on the market.
What Is a Trading Journal, and Why Should You Use One?
A trading journal allows traders to organize their thoughts, document their trades, and outline daily strategies. Brokerage statements provide helpful information, but the data is high-level.
A trading journal goes deeper by explaining the market conditions, mistakes learned, and other hidden details. A trading journal is also a platform to lay out sustainable investment strategies for the future.
Most traders should update a trading journal regularly. However, day traders do not always have the time and flexibility to record their thoughts constantly. Today’s best trading journals offer you an easy solution with no handwriting. Instead, they deliver a detailed, historical record of the market conditions you dealt with on any given day.
So, how do you keep a trading journal without handwriting? Instead of jotting down your notes, you can take screenshots of your daily trading charts, including notes to capture what happened and why.
5 Best Trade Journals
When we compiled the list of top trading journals, we evaluated the options based on price, automation, risk management tools, progress tracking, and ease of use.
Edgewonk is one of the best trading journals on the market. It tracks assets like stocks, futures, forex, CFDs, commodities, and cryptocurrency. The service is compatible with 16 trading platforms and brokers and accommodates data imports from Microsoft Excel.
Edgewonk is one of the few services to support cryptocurrency. Users can upload trading chart screenshots and make trade notes for easy review. In addition, Edgewonk’s backtesting tool enables you to analyze how a new trading strategy would have fared in certain market conditions based on historical data.
Edgewonk also has interactive trade analytics, a color-coded data table that comes with your main journal view. You can assess specific time frames, trade types, and other categorical data.
Lastly, the emotional analytics feature also distinguishes Edgewonk from the rest. The trading journal underscores trades that were heavily impacted by emotions. It knows when the user deviates from a standard trading strategy, allowing you to learn from your mistakes.
TradeBench is a user-friendly trading journal that presents data in color-coded graphs and charts. The user interface is easy to navigate, and the service also accepts data imports from any trading platform or broker. Users also enjoy a breadth of tools for trade analysis and risk assessment.
The most significant factor that sets TradeBench apart is the price. The trading journal is free, and the service does not try to upsell you. TradeBench earns a lot of its revenue from digital advertising.
Trademetria will push traders to their full potential. The service pairs with over 140 platforms and brokers while offering a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet upload option. The service analyzes all critical metrics in an easy-to-understand format. Several tools also assess your current strategy and integrate continuous improvement.
The risk management capabilities of Trademetria are another differentiating factor. As you utilize the platform, you will understand the future risk and rewards throughout the trading process.
Trademetria also makes this list of top trading journals because of how it expands your mind. You can challenge yourself by consuming the performance trends offered by the app. Then, you can build challenges and exercises involving these trends, guiding you toward improvement.
TraderSync supports over 240 platforms and brokers, making it a perfect transition for several traders. This intuitive service includes the set of tools you would anticipate. TraderSync automatically imports or tracks your trades while straightforwardly showcasing the data.
TraderSync’s intraday trading data enables you to monitor your performance in real-time. There is also stop-loss tracking to help traders minimize risk and manage trades at once. The mobile app is also easy to use and includes all the regular features of the computer version.
The key differentiator with TraderSync is its ability to notify you of mistakes. When you trade, you will make mistakes. These failures shape you into the trader you are capable of becoming, making TraderSync a valuable tool.
TraderSync’s mistake tracker will highlight when you deviate from your trading plan. It will then communicate how you can eliminate these missteps in the future.
Microsoft Excel is the ideal platform for someone who needs customization. You can purchase it for $69.99 annually or bundle it with the Microsoft Office Suite for $159.99. Excel and Google Spreadsheets are two of the most popular spreadsheet solutions.
Microsoft Excel requires some effort upfront, but it is worth it in the long run. However, getting your trading journal up and running will be the most work you do with Excel. This is because Microsoft Excel enables the trader to monitor specific metrics and other trading calculations.
Best Trading Journals Summary
As you can see, there are several quality trading journals to help you organize your thoughts, establish sustainable trading techniques, and build long-term wealth. Define your goals, prioritize your investment journey, and then align your objectives with one of the top options on the list.
Guide on How To Choose the Best Trading Journal for You
So, what are the key factors to watch for when choosing a trading journal? When it comes to ranking the best trading journals, it all comes down to six things: report customization, risk management tools, progress tracking, ease of use, automation, and price.
Everyone has a different investment journey, meaning you will learn at your own pace. This concept applies to analyzing reports. Finding a solid trading journal with plenty of report customization options will be critical for your development.
Risk Management Tools
Success in the trading game depends on your ability to identify, manage, and mitigate risk. Trading journals with risk management tools will allow you to navigate the market tactfully. Not only do the best trading journals allow you to assess risk and rewards from historical trades, but they also enable you to attack risk in real-time.
The goal of a trading journal is to learn, track performance, and continuously improve. The top trading journals on the market have easy, effective ways to track your development. Many of the trading journals we listed have options to set milestones and challenges for yourself.
Ease of Use
Any time you sign up for a new trading journal or service, there will be a learning curve. The best trading journals will be intuitive and easy to navigate. When you analyze data or performance, there should also be straightforward graphs to digest. Color-coded graphs and charts are an excellent feature that many of the options on our list have.
Trading journals can be a hassle when you do it 100% manually. The best options on the market will offer some form of automated journaling. Quality trading journals will allow you to connect your current trading platform or brokerage to automate the transition in real-time.
Lastly, pricing and billing methods are two things to watch. Most solutions come with a monthly, annual, or one-time fee. Depending on your budget needs, pursue an option that provides you with worthwhile value.
Still have questions? Here are some of the most common questions and answers regarding trading journals.
Are trading journals worth the time and effort?
Whether you are a forex trader, stock trader, or market participant, trading journals will return the benefits in correlation to how much effort you give.
If you hold up your end of the deal, journals can provide lifelong skills, lessons, behaviors, and processes to build meaningful wealth. Journals organize your thoughts and data, making it easier to reference later on.
How do you build a trading journal?
There are several ways to create, format, and maintain your trading journal. The electronic journaling method is where you prepare folders on your computer. Then, you can take screenshots of your daily charts and include notes about the market conditions. You can also utilize a note-taking phone application to insert these screenshots and notes.
Spreadsheet software and Google Docs are other useful solutions for building a trading journal. A spreadsheet or Google Sheet is the way to go if you want to integrate formulas and automated calculations. You can also invest in one of the many trading journal services we highlighted today.
What type of information should you put in a trading journal?
The minimum information you should put in a trading journal is your daily profit or loss. You should also focus on data that would not get included in a standard brokerage statement, such as market conditions.
You could also document mistakes or lessons learned. Explain why a trade worked or did not work. Finally, build reliable strategies, tactics, and methodologies you can use in the future.