I got an email about how a long-term investor had a 15% trailing stop loss on their share and asked it this was the right stop loss level. The question was moot as the writer seems confused as to whether they were a trader or an investor.
The easiest measure is how long you plan to hold a position. If less than three years than you are a trader as SARS says holding less than three years is income and hence taxed at your marginal rate. So derivative or not short-term under three years is trading.
But there is another issue which is technical vs. fundamental. Traders generally use charts as price action trumps all else and plays out in the short term regardless of valuations. Long-term investors use fundamentals as they will play out over the long term. So a long-term investor would have a stop loss but it would be fundamental based, not price based.
Lastly, you can be both. Certainly I am both short-term trader and a long-term investor. Importantly use separate accounts, even if with the same broker.
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