Trading vs. Investments: What are the differences?

In the world of finance, two concepts can often be confused: trading and investments. Both aim to generate profits, but there are some important differences between them that you should be aware of.

What is trading and how does it work?

Trading is a financial activity in which assets are bought and sold to generate short or medium-term profits. These assets can be stocks, currencies, commodities, and others.


There are several types of traders based on their trading style, strategy, and time horizon of their trades. Here are some of the most common types of traders:


This type of trader focuses on making short-duration trades, typically seconds to minutes. Their goal is to make small profits in multiple trades.

Day Trader:

The day trader makes trades within the same day, opening and closing positions within a few hours. The goal is to generate short-term profits, without leaving positions open overnight.

Swing Trader:

This type of trader holds positions open for several days, weeks, or even months. They aim to take advantage of medium-term price movements and may make decisions based on technical and fundamental analysis.

Position Trader:

This trader holds positions open for months or even years, based on in-depth fundamental analysis of the company or underlying asset.

Algorithmic Trader:

 Uses algorithms and automated systems to execute trades based on pre-defined signals or specific market conditions.

Quant Trader:

Uses complex mathematical and statistical models to make trading decisions based on data and historical statistics.

It should be noted that types of traders can overlap, and many traders may use a combination of these strategies based on their goals and personal preferences.

To be successful in trading, it’s important to have a deep understanding of the financial markets, be able to perform technical analysis to make quick decisions based on current information, and have emotional control when executing a strategy or plan, as the psychological component can play a bad role and move us away from following a well-studied plan or strategy.

If you want to delve deeper into trading and gain a better perspective or learn more about certain topics, we recommend our mini-course here.

What are investments and how do they work?

Investments, on the other hand, have a longer time horizon, and their main objective is to generate long-term returns. This means that investors are willing to wait months or even years to see significant returns on their investments when they have a certain level of security.

This financial activity often involves investing in stocks, bonds, real estate, or mutual funds, among others, with the goal of gradually growing their wealth over time. Additionally, we can say that there are 2 types of investors: passive investors and active investors.

Active investors

Are characterized by making investment decisions based on their own analysis and judgment. In this approach, the investor performs thorough research to identify investment opportunities and makes buying and selling decisions accordingly. An active investor might follow a company’s performance, research its balance sheet and income statement, review its business strategy and the market it operates in, and then decide whether to buy or sell that company’s stocks.

Passive investors

Are characterized by delegating investment decision-making to a third party, such as an index fund. In this approach, the investor does not perform analysis or research on their own and simply trusts the investment strategy of the fund. A passive investor might invest in an index fund that tracks a market index, such as the S&P 500, and simply wait for the fund to follow the index’s performance.

It is worth noting that investments can also involve a certain level of risk. Often, the higher the potential return, the greater the risk. Therefore, it is important for investors to carefully evaluate the risks and opportunities of any investment before making a decision, and to consider their risk tolerance and long-term financial objectives

– In conclusion, both trading and investments have their own unique characteristics and risks. It’s important to understand these differences and choose the approach that best aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance. Whether you’re a trader or an investor, it’s always recommended to do your own research, seek professional advice, and diversify your portfolio to manage risk-.

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Alexander Samacá

Software Systems Engineering at Swiset