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For that unfamiliar, paper trading refers to practising trading in a simulated environment using fake money rather than real cash. It’s an essential step for beginner traders as it provides a safe space to learn the ins and outs of trading without worrying about losing hard-earned capital.

Seasoned traders also use paper trading accounts to test out new strategies before implementing them with real money. It’s a wise approach as the markets constantly evolve, and strategy adjustments are often required.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of paper trading so you can decide if it is right for you.


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Benefits of Paper Trading

Let’s look first at some of the usefulness paper trading offers to beginners and experienced traders alike:

1. No Risk to Capital

The biggest advantage of paper trading is the ability to practice in markets with zero financial risk. Beginners can learn the ropes, and experienced traders can test new strategies without worrying about losing real money. 

You can practice with different position sizes and take on more risk than you would be comfortable with in live trading. You can try out riskier day trading methods stress-free to see if they work for you. And if you make mistakes along the way, it will not cost you anything except lessons learned.

2. Learn How Markets Behave

Watching real market movements unfold over time will give you a better sense of how prices fluctuate, and trends develop across different assets. 

You will also start to familiarize yourself with trading hours, volatility, and liquidity conditions in various markets.

Observing live markets lets you see firsthand how news and economic events impact prices. You will learn how world markets are interconnected and be better prepared when real money is on the line. 

Take a look at this article: Trends in Trading Explained

3. Practice Executing Trades


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Entering and exiting trades at the right time is essential to trading performance. Paper trading simulates the hands-on experience of opening and closing positions so you can become quick and comfortable with real order types and execution methods.

You can learn how to place different buy and sell orders, including market, limit, and stop orders. You’ll become skilled at using order entry interfaces and shortcuts. Develop solid trade execution skills before hitting the live markets.

4. Test Strategies in Real Market Conditions

Paper trading provides a risk-free way to try out strategies in a live environment and see how they stack up.

You can practice day trading methods like scalping during busy market hours. You can also try swing or position trading and test your exit rules. 

See how strategies you developed or learned about performing during breaking news or sudden volatility. Get a feel for executing your plan in the heat of the moment!

Give this article a read: 5 Common Trading Mistakes to Avoid

5. Practice Money Management

Money management includes principles like setting aside trading capital, using proper position sizing, limiting risk per trade, and taking reasonable profits. Paper trading allows you to practice various methods, so they become second nature by the time you go live.

You can experiment to find the money management rules that fit your style without losing cash. Sticking to solid money management is vital for long-term trading success. Use paper trading to ingrain good habits before spending real dollars.

6. Gain Confidence and Experience

There is no better way to gain experience and build confidence than putting in time trading - even if no real money is at stake. Paper trading provides an excellent stepping stone between education and live trading.

Building skills across charting, strategy, execution, and psychology takes time and practice. As the number of trades under your belt grows, you gain valuable experience reacting to all market conditions. 


Drawbacks of Paper Trading

Now that we have covered the many pros of paper trading let’s examine a few potential downsides to be aware of:

1. Slippage and Commissions Not Factored


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The fill prices on paper trades tend to be idealized and may not match what occurs in live trading. You do not account for potential slippage on order execution or commissions you must pay your broker.

So, paper profits and losses can be unrealistic compared to actual trading. This is important to keep in mind when analyzing the potential performance of strategies you practice. 

2. Less Motivation and Effort

Let’s face it, paper trading has lower stakes and may not motivate you to put in full effort compared to real money trading. You could take shortcuts or deviate from rules without much consequence. Without money at risk, it may be tempting not to take practice trading seriously.

Don’t let yourself develop bad habits when paper trading. Put in full focus and effort so maximum skill development transfers to live trading. Treat practice trading like the real thing as much as possible.

Learn more by checking out this useful article: Trading vs Investing - 7 Main Differences

3. Challenging to Simulate Real-World Issues

Unexpected events happen during real-world trading that are impossible to simulate in practice trading. Technology glitches, lost internet connections, or account funding problems can derail a trader’s progress.

Don’t expect practice trading to be the same as when you go live. Once you start trading with real capital, be prepared to encounter occasional real-world disruptions, delays, and frustrations.

4. Can Build Overconfidence

There is some truth to the idea that ignorance can breed overconfidence. Doing well in paper trading could provide a false sense of readiness for profitable live trading. You may think making pretend money translates to real profits.

Remember that consistently profitable trading requires significant skill development, discipline, and experience. Manage expectations, and don’t let paper trading success go to your head or rush you into live trading before you are truly ready.

You might also like to read: What is Algo Trading?



Paper trading provides an invaluable opportunity for traders of all skill levels to develop their abilities without risking hard-earned capital. While paper trading has limitations, the benefits far outweigh any potential downsides. 

Practising in a simulated environment allows you to gain experience analyzing charts, executing trades, testing strategies, and employing sound money management principles. 

With the confidence and skills gained from deliberate practice, you will be far better prepared when transitioning to live trading. 

Whether you are just starting or a seasoned pro looking to expand your skillset, dedicating time to sharpening your craft via paper trading is one of the wisest investments you can make in your trading career. 

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“When considering “CFDs” for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.”

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