We get this question a lot, and it’s impossible to answer, because every investor’s objectives and risk tolerance are different.

The short answer: That’s entirely up to you and your broker.

In general, we do recommend two risk management principles: 1) following a “position sizing” discipline that works for you and 2) using trailing stops to protect your principal and your profits. Beyond that, we can’t offer any advice about how much to invest in any position.

One rule of thumb you may want to follow is to make certain you don’t have any more than 2% of your risk capital exposed to any single investment (unless specifically advised by the editor).  Studies show that this helps keep risk down to palatable levels, while still allowing you to build a diversified risk portfolio capable of stellar performance over time.

When your 2% max investment is combined with a 25% trailing stop, you should never lose more than 0.5% of the value of your total portfolio on any one play. Let’s say you have $100,000 to invest. The max you would put into any position is $2,000. And with a 25% trailing stop, the most you could ever lose in that play is $500 (1/200th of your total).

When it comes to controlling risk and position sizing, there are many rules, but one trumps them all… don’t play the game if you don’t have the cash to back it up.

Note: The Securities and Exchange Commission regulates the financial publication industry. Due to regulations enforced by this agency, we are prohibited from providing our customers with personalized investment advice. Because we are financial journalists – not advisors or brokers – newsletters and investment advisories should never be interpreted as personalized investment advice. Any decisions related to investment amounts should be left entirely up to you and your broker.