Does TradingSim.com Offer the #1 Market Simulator Available Online?
TradingSim.com offers a web-based market simulator created by cofounders Al Hill and Kunal Vakil. Al and Kunal began trading full-time in 2007, but quickly realized there was no realistic trading environment to practice new strategies risk-free. They wanted a safe setting to train and test. Something flexible enough to fit any schedule or pace. To fix their own problem, they created TradingSim.
TradingSim provides 24/7/365 data on over 11,000 stocks and 1,000 ETFs on NASDAQ, NYSE, and AMEX. With two years of historical data available, you can go back in time up to 730 days and replay the day’s trading action for your own personal growth and development. Instead of relying on old printed out charts, you can experience the actual in-the-moment ebb and flow of the market. This can be done using the time period (1min, 3min, 5min, 10min, 30min, 60min, 1day, etc.) and replay speed of your choosing.
It’s also possible to pause, play, or skip directly to any time of the trading day you choose (similar to how a YouTube video works). This can give you time to fully analyze a potential trade or review it after-the-fact. The best part of all is how many repetitions the simulator can feed you in relatively short periods of time. For example, if you’re looking to trade a strategy that only gives you about two trade opportunities each day, you can go back 2 or 3 months in the simulator to get hundreds of reps in within just a few days.
This ability to go back in time with accurate historical data in a life-like market environment provides the conditions necessary for accelerated trading mastery. You’re no longer limited to only being able to develop core trading skills during market hours.
Top 10 Features of the TradingSim Market Simulator:
A handful of TradingSim features have already been mentioned, but there are many more. Some of the best ones available to personalize your charts are the 50+ technical analysis indicators (volume, moving averages, Bollinger bands, RSI, ATR, MACD, VWAP, etc.) and the 60+ drawing tools (horizontal/vertical lines, triangles, Elliot wave, Fibonacci retracements, etc.).
Top 10 TradingSim Features:
- Choose/Adjust Account Balance
- Create Watch Lists
- Track Profits and Losses
- List of Market Movers
- Hold Multiple Open Positions
- Level 1 and Level 2
- Play, Pause, and Multiple Fast-Forward Speeds
- View Up to 4 Time Frames/Charts at Once
- 50+ Technical Analysis Indicator Overlays
- 60+ Drawing Tools to Annotate Charts
The bottom line is that you have complete control over your experience with TradingSim. It’s an all-in-one platform that allows you to paper trade in a way that represents your own experience and skill levels. You can choose your starting account balance, display multiple charts at once, create watch lists, monitor time and sales data, execute trades, juggle open positions, track profits and losses, and truly get a feel for how the market flows in real-time. If you need to slow things down or speed them up, you can do that too.
Pros and Cons of TradingSim:
There are many pros associated with TradingSim, but there are also a few cons. First, there is no options trading available – only stocks and futures. Second, level 2 data is an additional charge of $99 per year. And third, paying monthly is much more expensive than yearly. In fact, it’s nearly double the cost. For example, if you want to pay monthly for the stock simulator, it’ll cost $49 per month. But if you pay for the yearly subscription, it breaks down to only $25 per month.
4 Helpful Links on the TradingSim.com Website:
- About TradingSim and Co-Founders – Al Hill & Kunal Vakil
- 7-Day Free Trial Offer
- TradingSim Blog Posts
- Explanation of TradingSim Features
Additional Market Simulators and Paper Trading Platforms Available:
Obviously, the biggest problem for new traders is that they lack experience. So the best place to start before risking real money in a live trading environment is within the confines of a market simulator instead. But many other simulators don’t necessarily feel real. They fail to replicate the real market environment to a level that TradingSim does. And even when they do, they often require at least one of these things: clunky software downloads, opening brokerage accounts, or increased expenses.
With that being said, your simulator or paper trading platform of choice could depend on other components besides just the simulator itself. For example, there are a handful of other market simulation platforms that also offer access to trading communities and additional educational resources. These added features can potentially be helpful for providing direct support from more experienced traders or pinpointing strategies that fit your particular trading style, but are not necessarily required.
StocksToTrade is an example of a trading platform built primarily for fast-moving penny stock traders. It offers watch lists, news, charts, indicators, and realistic paper trading capabilities. Since it also supports live trading with broker integration, you don’t have to move to another platform once you are ready to take that step, making the transition rather seamless. It also offers access to additional trading education within StocksToTrade University. The downsides to a StocksToTrade subscription, however, are that it requires a software download and costs nearly $200 per month.
Trade Ideas is an example of a platform that can be customized to fit your own individual trading style and preferences. What sets Trade Ideas apart from the competition is how well it harnesses the power of artificial intelligence. It provides three different algorithms named Holly Grail, Holly 2.0, and Holly Neo to help you pinpoint potential trade opportunities with high statistical odds. In addition, the platform also offers a powerful backtesting tool, simulation mode, and brokerage integration. So everything from simple scans to fully automated trading is possible.
A Handful of Other Popular Market Simulators and Paper Trading Platforms:
The #1 Limitation of Market Simulators and Paper Trading Platforms:
The Psychological Component
Besides the risk-free aspect of paper trading within a simulated market environment, there are many other benefits to it. The main one, in my opinion, is the ability for traders to explore, develop, and iterate their own systems and strategies. Far too many traders fall into the dangerous trap of blindly mirroring some guru’s hot picks or alerts, but in doing so, they’re only doing themselves a disservice. You will never build the core skills and mindset necessary for consistent trading success by mindlessly copying someone else.
There are also far too many traders who claim that simulators and paper trading platforms are useless. Usually, the reasoning is along the lines of “psychologically it’s different trading virtual money and real money”. To a certain degree, this is true. But what about all of the other great benefits that a market simulator can provide? It allows you to build confidence in your abilities to properly identify trends, chart patterns, and specific setups. It also allows you to practice risk management techniques.
While these tactical trading skills are critical on their own, they undoubtedly have an impact on the mental component as well. When you develop a certain level of consistency and discipline with your strategy, it can also impact your mindset. The tactical and mental components work together – they’re not entirely separate. So when traders refuse to use a simulator just because it “feels” a little different psychologically, they’re passing on critical components of both the tactical and mental training process.
They immediately opt for the “feel” of live trading without actually learning and developing core tactical and mental trading skills. As a result, avoiding the proper developmental phase always ends up being the harder, longer, and more expensive route.
Conclusion – Is TradingSim a Legitimate Trading Tool? And is it Worth the Cost?
There’s no doubt that TradingSim is a legitimate market simulator and offers great value for the price. Especially considering the rate at which inexperienced traders jump straight into the market just to destroy their entire trading accounts in relatively short periods of time, this is an invaluable tool. These types of “newbie” mistakes should be happening in the simulator – not in the market.
Trading is a skill-based endeavor much like becoming a professional athlete, musician, or pilot, just to name a few professions. Without logging thousands of hours of training in advance, these people wouldn’t be able to perform their jobs very well. When you hear about the amazing accomplishments of Michael Jordan, for example, you probably think “natural talent” or “luck”. But it took him years of effort and persistence, continuously getting his reps in, in order to get to the top of his sport and stay there. The same exact training concept applies to trading. Unfortunately, most traders don’t take the training process seriously.
The shortcuts most traders take are what lead to the 90%+ failure rate. They try to skip the learning and development phase, and shoot right to the spoon-fed hot picks phase. But this approach simply doesn’t work. It would be like taking someone with absolutely no basketball skills, putting them in a live NBA game, and then shouting at them to “run”, “dribble”, “shoot”, and “pass”. Not only would that person not understand the terminology, but even if they did, they wouldn’t have the necessary skills to execute on them. For traders, TradingSim can be a powerful platform for legitimately developing and honing essential skills and strategies.
The ability to replay any trading day from the past two years, at pretty much any speed you want, can greatly accelerate your path to mastery. You’re not confined to training based solely on today’s market action. You can essentially take trips back in time to get a year’s worth of trading within just a few weeks or months, depending on your personal availability. In the end, the ultimate goal of trading mastery can only be achieved through experience, concentration, and countless repetitions.
Please share your personal experiences with TradingSim or any other market simulators and paper trading platforms below.
Written by Matt Thomas (@MattThomasTP)