By Jared Coffin via Iris.xyz

I’ll never forget the first trade I made in my personal brokerage account. I was sitting in my apartment in Los Angeles, California, at 6:30 am when the opening bell rang in New York City. I had a plan in place and my order queued up ready to go. About 5 minutes later, I hit the green button on my trading platform to purchase my shares of stock. Then the whirlwind of emotions struck. Two minutes later I had lost $100. Four minutes later I had lost $175. Then thirty minutes later I was up $4. I hit the sell button and sold my shares for the smallest gain. After taxes I would have made enough to buy a can of soda, if I hadn’t been living in a city as expensive as Los Angeles.

My plan going in was to buy these shares of stock as an investment, not to day trade. However, in the process of experiencing everything from excitement to fear, I folded and didn’t stick to my plan because my emotions got the better of me. From that day on I implemented a strict routine of planning, following that plan and keeping my emotions in check.

We were struck with waves of volatility in 2018, so it’s only natural for investors to be on edge and looking for answers as to what will transpire in 2019. The honest answer is: I don’t know. And neither does anybody else. Unfortunately, no one can control what direction the stock market will go, but we can control our investment plan and stick to those predetermined rules.

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