Why Is It So Difficult to Move Your Stop-Loss to Breakeven and Beyond

If one’s method is to let their profit run, when should they bring their stop-loss to breakeven, and what should they do afterwards? Why is it so difficult to move your stop-loss to breakeven and then why is it even more difficult to move it in the positive direction afterwards? What are your general rules?

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it’s a toss-up really. The closer you move your stop to price, the more likely it is to be hit. So advancing it decrease the chances of a loss, but increases the chances of zero gain.

But if you leave the stop on the wrong side of your entry, you are always exposed to a loss.

The rule to let your profits run is given too much emphasis generally. Don’t let it override risk management.

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What would you do after your stop-loss is at breakeven? Keep it at breakeven until you’re ready to manually close the trade? Or roll your stop-loss manually closer to the price which makes it more probable for it to get hit?

When to exit is the most difficult question in trading.

I am not likely these days to let winners run in forex or index trading. If I’m in a winning day-trade from the London open, I will exit before the New York open. Obviously I will close a later winner before the NY close.

If it’s a long-term trade from a daily chart, I will exit before the third winning close. It’s not very common for a pair or an index to make a fourth daily consecutive close in the same direction.

In all cases, if price spikes dramatically in my direction, I’ll get out then.


“When to exit is the most difficult question in trading”

Indeed. Many of my winning trades have turned into breakeven trades just because I waited for the pullbacks to end and the trend continue. But the pullbacks would not end and hit my stop-loss.

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I have had that so many times. It’s soul-destroying. It makes you want to stop trading even more than the trades that go in the losing direction right from the entry.

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Yes, exactly. That’s why I’m trying to come up with a mechanical rule to take profit even when the odds are in my favor. For instance, everyone talks about 1:1 or 1:2 RRR. Which is not bad per se, but there are other methods to calculate where/when to exit. For example if you have a very small account (let’s say $100), and the current trade is giving you $18, well one way to look at it is to say $18 is nothing so I might as well wait. But I’d say the correct way to look at it is the following: $18 is 18% of your account. It’s an amazing amount of profit percentage-wise. Why would you wait so that it turns to $2 loss? I think we all need to think in terms of percentage, not the dollar amount. Thinking in percentage, puts everything into perspective.

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I begin to scale out after a +30 to +50 pips move an i take mostly half my lots out and sametime i move SL to BE, and then i set an alarm near the next support/resistance level and i will moniitor the trade from there and i TP just before the trade hit the next support/resistance

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I’m still struggling with my profit taking. Most of the time, my profit turns into loss. It’s extremely frustrating. I just want a mechanical rule that tells me this is time to take profit. Even if after my profit taking the price keeps going in my direction.

I moved a stop loss to a profit position just this morning on Usd/Huf.

As expected, the SL was hit for 30 pips profit.

Its nearly a given that unless I leave about a 200 pip minimum SL on my daily and weekly chart trades, the SL will get hit. So when I move it to a profit position, that means I am happy with the amount of profit it gives me when the SL is hit. I then look for a re-enter point and continue on to (hopefully) the expected TP.

This way, I make so much more than if I just let the trade run for days and weeks until the TP is hit. I also get the good psychological boost of taking profits several times along the way.

My TP on the chart below is a little over 1000 pips, but it could take months to get there. So there will be several pullbacks on the D1 along the way. If price does get to my TP, I’ll make closer to 2000 pips.

If I move the SL to just break even - I get stopped out for no profit. I hate that.


what TF you trade on ?

M1. I’m not a scalper though.

why you not try same setup you use to enter a trade on like a 15 TF or a 30 TF or a 4 TF maybe or even on a D1 ?

Higher TF like H4 is so relaxing compared to M1 :sweat_smile:

How is it relaxing wondering what is happening for 4hrs ??? :rofl:

At least the 1 minute chart is the head of the snake and you can see what is happening.

You need the higher TF to show you the pips and the direction and i like you the get lets say +50 pips in a session on one trade on the 1M TF - good luck with that

Why I’m not using higher timeframes? Well, I used to, but now I prefer M1. I don’t have the patience to wait for 4 hours for one candle to complete.

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That is not my point @new.trader

This setup i did find on the H4 and then i go to lower TF in my cace its mostly the M5 or M15 or M30 and i fine tune where to enter my trade.

That was my point :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes, I do indeed go to higher timeframes to find setups and the general direction of the price. But them come back to back to lower timeframe for execution.

@new.trader and the setup looks like this on the H4 in this case, so from i see that on the H4 in this case i go to lower TF to find my entry, that was my point :slightly_smiling_face:

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In my opinion, moving stop to breakeven is good as long as you know what you are doing. There is a logical way to move stops to breakeven. As for exit, you need to have some experience to know what is the realistic points/pips for your trading style. You can use ATR to measure it also to get a general idea.