Difference between Investing and Trading: A complete explanation

Difference between Investing and Trading - Stock Market Basics The Indian Trader

Investing and Trading are two ‘almost’ synonymous terms but there are very fine differences between them, making a layman confuse between the two. Here’s an explanation that will end the confusion forever.

Why the confusion?

Investing and Trading creates confusion in people’s minds because they are similar on few terms.

  • Trading is buying and selling of any financial instrument. Investing is also the same.
  • A Trader trades, trade means buying and then selling, and an Investor also does the same which is making a trade. Then, does an investor become a trader by this logic?

Now, if a person is buying and selling any financial instrument to earn profits, how do we know if the person is a trader or an investor?

The distinct differences

  1. Time

  • The biggest difference perhaps between the two is time. Time for what both investor and a trader buys and holds before selling are completely different.
  • An investor will buy and then hold for years before selling them whereas a trader will buy and sell in matter of weeks, months or days and sometimes even hours.
  • Since the time difference is that great, an investor aims to make huge profits off of a single trade. A trader on the other hand looks for small profits and then accumulate to increase wealth.
  1. Frequency

  • A trader makes a lot of trades in a year, month or day. While, an investor makes very few in a year as compared to a trader.
  • Well, if time is more, then obviously frequency will be less, since time is inversely proportional to frequency! Basic physics right? 🙂
  1. Method

  • To earn profits a trader can buy low and sell high and also go short (selling high and buying low).
  • An investor can use the basic buying low and selling high method because one cannot sell first and not buy for years.


  1. Tools

  • A trader uses technical analysis (based on the price movement and volume traded) to select the stock or any instrument to trade in.
  • An investor uses fundamental analysis (analyzing instrument’s actual value and its future prospects) to select the investment.


  1. Psychology

  • Lastly an investor and a trader differ on how their mind works. An ideal investor has to be patient enough to overlook the market’s fluctuations and hold to get profits.
  • A trader on the other hand has to be quick to see the change in the market trend and make a trade at the right time.


So, in crude terms we can say that an investor is also a trader because the investor is also making trades. But as explained, the differences are too immense to not consider both investor and a trader as completely different and not same or even ‘almost’ synonymous.

An investor is a person who buys with a purpose of holding for a long term and then selling for a large profit while a trader is a person who buys, holds for a short term and sells for a quick, small profits.

Like this post? Share with your friends!

Do post your questions, comments, or suggestions. Your questions will be answered and the suggestions will be taken seriously. Your feedback is important.


4.3/5 (4 Reviews)
Knowledge grows when shared!


I started to learn about the stock market in 2014 after getting excited by watching the movie The Wolf of Wall Street and reading about people like Warren Buffet, George Soros, Steven A. Cohen who earned a lot of money in the stock market. I wanted to do it too. I wanted to learn how to do it.

Well, this is the point where the problem and my journey to solve it begins. After reading about a few market wizards I was certain about one thing that without knowledge this was not possible. The big problem was I had no prior knowledge of the stock market whatsoever. However, the bigger problem was I did know where I could get the required knowledge from. Neither the books helped initially (because there is no course or guide for this thing only stories and novels) nor I knew anyone who did not have a negative position about stock markets (or ‘Jua’ as they called it).

Still, I was stubborn enough to not listen to anyone and continue learning about the stock markets until I felt I was ready. Well, it took time but yes I did enter the stock markets with some knowledge, a plan and also a vision.

Success story..? Well, let’s see..!!~


  • Hey,
    Thanks for explaining the difference in simple terms, however I did not completely understand “fundamental analysis” and “technical analysis”. Wish there was more information about that. Anyway I understood the difference pretty well. Keep up the great work!

    • Hey Yash,
      Thank you for your feedback. We sure will keep posting informative content like these.
      The terms shorting, fundamental analysis and technical analysis mentioned above, will be explained in detail in the upcoming posts as they are complex and need to be dealt with, separately. If you want any topic to be explained by The Indian Trader, just contact us, and we will fulfill your request.
      Subscribe to stay updated with our posts.
      Keep reading, keep learning and have a nice day!

Subscribe to Blog via E-Mail

Stay tuned for new posts!