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What is FOMO? Why Does FOMO Affect Trading and How to Deal With FOMO?

FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a common psychological phenomenon that can impact investors and traders. It refers to the feeling of anxiety or urgency that can arise when an individual feels like they are missing out on an opportunity or that others are making progress or gains while they are not.



How Does FOMO Affect Trading?

FOMO can lead traders to make impulsive decisions, such as buying into a cryptocurrency or stock without thoroughly analyzing the risks and potential rewards. It can also lead to overtrading, where an individual engages in frequent buying and selling in an attempt to capture every potential opportunity. Both of these behaviors can increase risk and expose the trader to potential losses.


Where Does the Term FOMO Originate From?

The term FOMO (fear of missing out) is thought to have originated in the late 1990s and early 2000s, around the time of the dot-com bubble. It became more widely used in the 2010s, particularly in the context of social media and online communities, where it was used to describe the feeling of anxiety or urgency that can arise when an individual sees others participating in an activity or event and feels like they are missing out.

In the context of investing and trading, FOMO refers to the feeling of anxiety or urgency that can arise when an individual sees others making gains or progress and feels like they are missing out on an opportunity. It can lead to impulsive decision-making and an increased willingness to take on risk in an attempt to capture potential profits.


How Does FOMO Lead to Bad Trades?

Imagine that a trader is monitoring the price of a cryptocurrency that has been steadily rising over the past few weeks. The trader is feeling anxious about missing out on potential profits and decides to buy a large position in the cryptocurrency without thoroughly analyzing the risks and potential rewards. This decision is driven by FOMO, as the trader is feeling a sense of urgency and anxiety about missing out on the perceived opportunity.

However, after the trader makes the purchase, the cryptocurrency's price starts to decline. The trader becomes even more anxious and decides to hold onto the position, hoping that the price will recover. This decision is also driven by FOMO, as the trader is afraid of missing out on a potential recovery and does not want to sell the position at a loss.

As a result of the trader's FOMO-driven decisions, they end up holding onto a losing position for longer than they should, potentially leading to even greater losses. This illustrates how FOMO can lead a trader to make a wrong decision by not thoroughly analyzing the risks and potential rewards of a trade and instead acting on emotions.


In another example, a trader is monitoring the price of a popular cryptocurrency that has been getting a lot of media attention. The trader sees that the price is rising rapidly and starts to feel FOMO, fearing that they will miss out on potential profits if they don't act quickly.

Without thoroughly analyzing the market conditions or the cryptocurrency's fundamentals, the trader decides to buy a large position in the cryptocurrency. However, shortly after the purchase, the price starts to decline. The trader becomes anxious and starts to feel pressure to sell the position to cut their losses.

The trader's FOMO-driven decision to buy the cryptocurrency without thoroughly analyzing the risks and potential rewards leads to a poor trade. The trader's subsequent decision to sell the position due to FOMO-induced anxiety only compounds the losses. In this scenario, FOMO has led the trader to make impulsive and emotional decisions rather than more rational and informed ones.


How to Overcome FOMO?

Overcoming FOMO can be challenging, but there are steps that traders can take to manage it:

  1. Develop a trading plan: Having a clear and well-thought-out trading plan can help you make more informed decisions and resist the urge to act on FOMO. Your plan should include your investment goals, risk tolerance, and a strategy for entering and exiting trades.

  2. Use stop losses: Setting stop losses can help you manage risk and limit potential losses. This can be especially helpful if you are prone to FOMO, as it can help you avoid making impulsive decisions.

  3. Take breaks: It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of the market, but it's important to take breaks and step back from trading occasionally. This can help you clear your head and make more rational decisions.

  4. Seek out education: Continuing to learn and educate yourself about trading can help you make more informed decisions and reduce the impact of FOMO.


In conclusion, FOMO is a common psychological phenomenon that can impact investors and traders. It can lead to impulsive decision-making and overtrading, which can increase risk and expose the trader to potential losses. However, there are steps that traders can take to manage FOMO, such as developing a trading plan, using stop losses, taking breaks, and seeking out education. By being aware of FOMO and taking steps to manage it, traders can make more informed and rational decisions and potentially improve their overall trading results.


If you like to learn more about this, consider to take a look at our foundational trading course, which includes 15 chapters about trading. Also consider to join the More Crypto Online private community, in which we share additional tips and tricks and you can stay up to date with latest developments. In the video below, you can find out what is included in the membership.

Also, consider to join our Twitter and Instagram channels for regular content and insights around trading and investing as well as cryptocurrencies.



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