Our Trade Journal is a custom-made resource for planning, recording, and analyzing trades. It allows you to learn from your wins as well as losses, so you don’t repeat the same mistakes but move up in your trading. You can use Trade Journal for stocks, futures, and options.
Inexperienced traders take a quick look at a chart, say "it kinda looks good" and decide how many shares to buy based on "gut feel" - but that’s not how successful trading works. Our Trade Journal helps you structure your decision-making process by requiring written answers to several key questions:
- What is your strategy? Are you buying a pullback to value? Betting against an extreme? Trading a divergence? Every trade deserves a name. No name - no trade.
- At what price will you enter? What is your target? Where will you put your initial stop? A trade without these three numbers is a gamble.
- How much money will you risk on this trade (what is your "businessman’s risk")?
- Trade Journal divides your money risk by the distance from your entry to your stop and the result is the maximum number of shares you may buy or sell short in this trade.
Trade Journal invites you to record your entry for a review of your decision-making quality.
- Enter the price at which you placed your order, the price at which it was filled, and the number of shares bought or shorted. Trade Journal will calculate your slippage, pull in the day’s high and low prices (US stocks only), and rate the quality of your entry.
- If you run a trading campaign, you may record multiple entries on the same page.
- Trade Journal can record up to five charts documenting your entry or entries (we recommend using SnagIt software for capturing and annotating charts).
Trade Journal invites you to record your exits to enable a review of your trade quality.
- Enter the price at which you placed your order, the price at which it was filled, and the number of shares. Trade Journal will calculate your slippage, pull in the day’s high and low, and rate the quality of your exit.
- Record your exit tactic (hit target, hit stop, etc).
- If you run a trading campaign, you may record multiple exits on the same page.
- Trade Journal will calculate your profit or loss for the trade (excluding commissions and fees).
- You may record up to five charts documenting your exit or exits.
As you accumulate records, Trade Journal offers an array of tools for analyzing your performance over a range of trades. You can analyze your account(s) as a whole or in a more granular fashion: for specific systems, tactics, directions, etc. Trade Journals for each trade include fields that allow you to return to a trade record several weeks or months later, generate new charts, re-analyze your trade with the benefit of hindsight, and write down lessons learned.
Every member of SpikeTrade can try Trade Journal for free on up to 24 trades total; beyond that there is a very small increase in membership fee (see All-Inclusive membership).
Getting Started with the Trade Journal
Creating Your Accounts
The first step is to set up your trading accounts in the Trade Journal. To do this, click the "Account(s)" link on the left side of the Trade Journal page (in the "My Journal" section). Specify the beginning account value and (optionally) the maximum dollar risk per trade. If you want to add or withdraw money from the account later, that can be done from this screen as well.
Creating a New Journal Entry
To begin planning a new trade, click the "Dashboard" link on the left (in the "My Journal" section), then click the "New Journal Entry" link. This will launch a form where you can specify the ticker you want to trade, whether long or short, as well as the account you'd like to use. On this form, you can also plan your entry, target, stop, and calculate your risk. You can add comments explaining your reasoning. Click the "Save Trade" button at the bottom whenever you add a new journal entry or make changes to an existing one.
Analyzing Your Trade
Click the "Trade Analysis" link on the left (in the "My Journal" section) to generate detailed reports of the performance of your trades. Use the filters at the top of the page to display performance for a specific account, trade position, ticker, trading strategy, and more.
Tagging Your Trades
You can organize your trades by applying tags to them. Tags can be used to label a trade with the trading strategy used, the trade source used, the exit tactic used, etc. These tags can be set up using the "Strategies", "Trade Sources", "Exit Tactics", and the more generic "Trade Tags" menu items on the left (in the "My Journal" section).
By default, all Trade Journals are password-protected; only you can see your Journals. However, Members have an option to make a Journal for any specific trade public. These shared Journals can be accessed by clicking the "Shared Journals" link in the menu on the left. A dropdown 'Dates' menu at the top of the page allows you to look for shared Trade Journals from previous weeks. Click on any journal in the list to view the details of that trade.
If a shared Trade Journal looks interesting to you and you'd like to monitor the progress of the trade, find the journal entry on the Shared Journals page, check the Watch List checkbox next to that journal, then click the "Save Watch List" button. Your watch list of saved journals can be accessed from the "My Journal Watch List" menu item on the left.
Getting More Help
One last reminder: this page provides a high-level overview of the Trade Journal functionality, but you can access more detailed help in the Trade Journal user manual and video tutorials, accessible in the menu on the left side of the Trade Journal tab.