Test your trading strategies in a stock market simulator without risking a penny
Use paperMoney to try virtual trading with options, futures, or forex, or to explore chart indicators and studies
The trading simulator offers the thinkorswim® experience without putting real money at risk
Does practice make perfect? Well, in the world of trading, we don’t aim to be perfect, but we do want to be profitable. And one way to pursue that goal is to practice, practice, practice on the paperMoney stock market simulator on the thinkorswim trading platform.
paperMoney offers a virtual trading experience that lets you test your trading strategies just as you would in a real, live situation but without risking a penny on an actual stock exchange. A stock trading simulator is a great way for anyone to hone their trading skills, especially if you:
- Want to try trading stocks but don’t yet have enough funds Have the capital to trade but aren’t sure where to beginAre an experienced, veteran trader but want to use virtual trading to test new strategies
First, Install thinkorswim
- Log on to your account at tdameritrade.com.Go to the Trade tab. At the far right, select Start swimming today. Select the green Download thinkorswim button and install the platform. When launching thinkorswim, slide the toggle switch under your username and password to paperMoney before logging in (see figure 1).You now have virtual trading access to most of the same suite of tools, charts, and indicators offered on the state-of-the-art thinkorswim live platform.
FIGURE 1: PAPERMONEY LOGIN. On the thinkorswim platform, make sure to toggle over to paperMoney to access the stock market simulator. Image source: the thinkorswim platform from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
Be the Kid in the Candy Store
Now that you’re using paperMoney, there’s no better way to explore the power of the thinkorswim platform—with no risk—than by digging in and trying some things that you normally wouldn’t.
Of course, you can trade stocks in the trading simulator. But you can also do in-depth research on those biotech or fintech stocks you keep hearing about. Or maybe step outside your comfort zone and trade some new products or different asset classes.
Are you a stock trader who’s considering adding options to your strategy? paperMoney allows you to test the waters of basic options strategies. Or maybe you’re interested in futures and forex markets, which advanced retail traders and institutional investors use to speculate and hedge risk. You might realize you enjoy having access to these products. Or you might realize why such derivative products aren’t for everyone. (Note that not all investors will qualify for options, futures, or forex trading.)
paperMoney also offers you a great chance to try out different chart indicators and studies to see how they work in conjunction with your trading.
How to Make the Most of Virtual Trading
Next it’s time to develop your trading mettle by focusing on the assets and strategies you’re most comfortable with. Here are five helpful tips to get the most out of the paperMoney stock market simulator:
1. Optimize your layout. The paperMoney platform can be configured and customized. For example, the left column provides “gadgets” for watch lists, live news, Level II quotes, Trader TV, and much more. There’s even a scratch pad to write down trade notes. In the main screen, you can set up multiple charts in a flexible grid system. Take a little time to create the layout that works best for you.
2. Use the power of data. Your own trading data and history can be a powerful learning tool, and with paperMoney, it’s all automatically at your fingertips. paperMoney records all your trades (including paper commissions) and provides a profit and loss (P&L) analysis. Reviewing this data regularly is a good way to spot holes in your trading strategies and fix them.
FIGURE 2: HIT THE RESET BUTTON. Made a mistake, or tried something that didn’t quite work out? Ready to reset. Image source: the thinkorswim platform from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
3. Trade “as if.” When no money is at risk, you can’t get hurt—but you should trade as if you can. If you trade outsize positions and take wild risks, it won’t help you when it’s time to switch to live trading. The power of virtual stock trading is that it gives you the ability to refine a strategy intended for trading with real money, so trade as if you are.
4. Use your “do overs.” You’re going to make mistakes; that’s the nature of learning and the reason you’re practicing. But if you think you’ve gone too far, don’t be afraid to start over from scratch. You can do this by going to the Monitor tab on the upper left corner of the main screen, scrolling down to the Position Statement line, and looking to the far right side. There you’ll see a button titled Adjust Account. When selected, you’ll see an Account Adjustments box. Just select Reset All Balances and Positions and hit Apply, and you’ll get a clean slate (see figure 2).
5. Go on about your business. Most of us don’t have the luxury of sitting at a trading desk all day long. Life intrudes, and we often have to be elsewhere during the trading day. But just like the live thinkorswim platform, the paperMoney stock market simulator goes with you wherever you go via the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app. Use it to practice managing trades on the go just as you would with live trading.
Want to practice trading in realistic market conditions without risking any real money? Watch this stock trading simulator tutorial to learn how to use thinkorswim paperMoney and place simulated stock trades.
thinkorswim paperMoney: Stock Trading Simulator Tool