How long did it take you to become consistently profitable ?

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Old Jul 10, 2009, 11:51pm   #1
Joined Dec 2007
How long did it take you to become consistently profitable ?

There are endless threads from people asking :

"how many pips does a professional make each month?"
"Is it possible to make 1000 pips a month?"
"How much can I expect to make from trading?"

These (quite rightly) end up in a heated discussion about the relevance (or rather irrelevance) of such a question.

I believe a much more useful question would be :

How long did it take you to become consistently profitable ?

I know the answer to this personally : a long time ... and I'm still not quite there yet.

I've been trading now for 16 months. Full time. Hours and hours of screentime. (about 10 per day)

This was my path -

Learning / sim for first 6 months.
Blew 2.5k account within the next 4 months.
Took a 1 month break.
Back to demo account for 3 months.
Live again for last 2 months.
Doing ok , but yet to have a true consistent track record. I'm working on it !

I wanted to start this thread because I get the impression that so many people think that all you need to do is pick up a couple of trading books and "voila!". And quite frankly I find it frustrating that people think trading is that simple. My family/ friends can't understand why I'm not driving round in a Ferrari yet after 16 months ...

This isn't to put newbies off (in fact I still very much include myself in the newbie category), but rather show the dedication involved ....

Would anybody like to contribute to this thread by showing the stage there are at and how long / how much dedication it took to get there ?

Please no discussion of profitablilty itself. I don't want any discussion along the lines of "I made x number of pips/ percent within x amount of time". This is totally irrelevant to everybody.

I'm just interested in how long it took to attain profitablilty ....

To avoid any discussion about "what is consistently profitable?" - let's say 3-6 months of consistent profitablilty where you were confident you could pay youself a monthly income... (or if part-time, to pay yourself a consistent supplement to your income).

I'd be interested to hear from institutional traders as well ... how long did it take for you to become profitable for the bank/ institution you were employed with ? (I have no idea about the training / structure of this)

I hope this will be an eye-opener for anybody who thinks trading profitabilty is straight forward.

All the best,

Paulie

Last edited by Paulie_5; Jul 11, 2009 at 12:15am. Reason: clarification
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Old Jul 11, 2009, 1:32am   #2
Joined Oct 2008
An interesting thread. I think (as you have mentioned) an important aspect is how much time is spent on trading during this period, full time, part time, one afternoon a week?

Personally I am at a stage ware I know I have an edge and can produce profit but I have not mastered exits and money management. I am working on new time frames to fit in better with my employed work and family life and hopefully this will enable me to nail the for mentioned.

I have been trading evenings for about 8 months. I have had my nose in books and listening to trader pod casts etc most spare moments.

I know this does not really answer your question but I wanted to get the ball rolling.

Jason
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Old Jul 11, 2009, 3:40am   #3
Joined Feb 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulie_5 View Post
There are endless threads from people asking :

"how many pips does a professional make each month?"
"Is it possible to make 1000 pips a month?"
"How much can I expect to make from trading?"

These (quite rightly) end up in a heated discussion about the relevance (or rather irrelevance) of such a question.

I believe a much more useful question would be :

How long did it take you to become consistently profitable ?

I know the answer to this personally : a long time ... and I'm still not quite there yet.

I've been trading now for 16 months. Full time. Hours and hours of screentime. (about 10 per day)

This was my path -

Learning / sim for first 6 months.
Blew 2.5k account within the next 4 months.
Took a 1 month break.
Back to demo account for 3 months.
Live again for last 2 months.
Doing ok , but yet to have a true consistent track record. I'm working on it !

I wanted to start this thread because I get the impression that so many people think that all you need to do is pick up a couple of trading books and "voila!". And quite frankly I find it frustrating that people think trading is that simple. My family/ friends can't understand why I'm not driving round in a Ferrari yet after 16 months ...

This isn't to put newbies off (in fact I still very much include myself in the newbie category), but rather show the dedication involved ....

Would anybody like to contribute to this thread by showing the stage there are at and how long / how much dedication it took to get there ?

Please no discussion of profitablilty itself. I don't want any discussion along the lines of "I made x number of pips/ percent within x amount of time". This is totally irrelevant to everybody.

I'm just interested in how long it took to attain profitablilty ....

To avoid any discussion about "what is consistently profitable?" - let's say 3-6 months of consistent profitablilty where you were confident you could pay youself a monthly income... (or if part-time, to pay yourself a consistent supplement to your income).

I'd be interested to hear from institutional traders as well ... how long did it take for you to become profitable for the bank/ institution you were employed with ? (I have no idea about the training / structure of this)

I hope this will be an eye-opener for anybody who thinks trading profitabilty is straight forward.

All the best,

Paulie
Unfortunately, with trading, you can try for a lifetime and still never become consistently pofitable.
There are, simply, no guarantees in this game.

-Take Whichever Way Works-
Bruce Lee
Jeet Kon Do
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Old Jul 11, 2009, 9:37am   #4
Joined Nov 2008
no indicator, no technical, no fundamental, nothing else.. its only you and a chart.
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Old Jul 11, 2009, 10:26am   #5
Joined Aug 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsoul View Post
Unfortunately, with trading, you can try for a lifetime and still never become consistently pofitable.
There are, simply, no guarantees in this game.

-Take Whichever Way Works-
Bruce Lee
Jeet Kon Do
Indeed.
I myself tend to make money most days now, although I still trade at small stakes, and am only slightly profitable considering that I lost alot of money when I very first started trying to trade when I was about 17 (im 24 now)

Of that 7 years, about 2 of them I was able to dedicate all day to trading (and I did - getting up at 6am, reading and learning, and then trading the US open until the close, and then staying up till gone midnight to carry on reading forums, studing charts endlessly, and then trading on a simulator)
The other years have been spells of the above, mixed with fulltime employment, and other patches where I took time off assuming that it simply was NOT possible to be consistently profitable. (Even to this day I am not 100% sure, but am much more convinced)

I know of a few people in the 'real world' who have dedicated fulltime hours to trying to learn for about 8 years and are still not consitently profitable - These are clever guys - friends of my dads (who i first saw trading which got me interested when i was a kid).

When newbies come to sites like this expecting instant riches, they are often told to expect to have to wait more like 18 months. This tends to shock them. Well in my opinion/experience/observations of others - the wait will be alot longer IF AT ALL!!

There will be exceptions to the rule. Some people will find true consistency within a few years. Some people probably think they have 'got it' right now, but will be having second thoughts a year down the line. It is a tough old game. As 'mr soul' says - "no guarantees"

Im content at the moment with making money most days. its been this way for a fair while now, but im taking nothing for granted!

good luck!!
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Old Jul 11, 2009, 10:58am   #6
 
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What they said!
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Old Jul 11, 2009, 3:18pm   #7
 
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4 months.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 7:51am   #8
Joined Dec 2007
Paulie_5 started this thread
Quote:
4 months.
Wow - and your profile says you only trade in your spare time - good going !
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 8:57am   #9
Joined Nov 2008
hahaha..
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 9:54am   #10
Joined Jun 2009
No not yet, not all the time

find it pretty easy to trade in profit for weeks / months on end ..... then !!! ### !!! typical blow up trader, never been able to identify the trigger to it over the years

these days do not trade that active, no real point I trade forward for a few months then it happens again, some kind of inner self distruct button, very hard to identify the cause

I post the warning ........ BEWARE ! ........ I consider myself very lucky that no real damage was done

Start - Finish

1982 - 1986

1 year horses / snooker / poker - odd bets on considered good things :-) + 200 % - my edge - I was inside the snooker game, access to watching the players practice and bookmakers offering many silly prices at that time

2 years approaching full time active from thursday - Sunday every week - life was sweet + running at + 15 K approx, never really counted proper in those days, it was easy money

1 year poor results - resulting in giving about half back ( benifit of hindsight (very young at time) I changed method of operation ... method drift ... God complex crept in ....Greed ... thought it was my right to win ! the usual rubbish

moved on in life, did not push it, never bet again for many years, odd share purchase, odd snooker wager etc - some good some bad - in the main positive - no real interest in taking it more serious with a young family etc

Dot com bubble - never got involved - very busy at the time - a business friend at the time who I went out of my way to warn regards what he was getting involved in after he had given me a very soundly based share tip -

his lack of knowledge - what it can do to you if unprepared etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc

NO GOOD - DEAF EARS - WAS A BIG WINNER AT THE TIME - WANTED MORE - LOST A LIFE TIMES WORK - EVERYTHING - HOUSE - BUSINESS

he was very lucky, he just avoided full bankruptcy and his wife stood by him, it worked out for him and many others - he found himself - he fosters children :-)

I have lost contact with him over the years, was informed he absolutely loves it

others may not be so fortunate !

trading runs, some reflection gaps in between

1 year reading etc, demo trade ideas, odd live single trade ideas ..... + 30 %

3 months - SB account very simple method + 50 % intra day

6 months - blown 1 SB account intra day

3 months - blown 50 % of 2nd SB account intra day

3 months - recovered the lost 50 % SB account intra day

6 months - doubled above SB account intra day

3 - 6 months - DMA intra day - running at + 40 % at 3 months - ended period at Scratch .... 1 very large error ! (66% of account in one hit ... over everything / complete brain down / complete rape of emotional bank / total step out of .. or perhaps not !)

since then (1 yr ago) consistant runs out to 2 months then problem arrives like magic, have built a very sound method with tight stop / MM etc in an attempt to protect myself from the step outside myself days, even went so far to request my broker de-activates platform at certain limits

account closed, gave up on intra day - cannot trust myself five days out of a hundred to do the right thing !


these days I trade longer timeframe ideas with much smaller size/lever - consistant at the moment :-) running total + 50 % over last 6 months




noticed from the posts and the posts on many threads on this site how many repeat the same ~ hours of looking at screen and reading etc etc required to master trading


my advice to anybody just starting out or anybody who is not yet profitable who is putting in hours on end of screen time in to attempt to learn to trade is

STOP why would you need to look at something for hours on end

what are you looking at exactly ?

take yourself for a walk and just consider what your looking at and who provides it, what the market actually is, what it does ? If you cannot answer that question, then find out

get yourself a very simple set up based on your new understanding and make sure you have the math on yourside everytime you trade

be watchful of self

sorry off on one again :-)




in answer to the thread question

so a touch consistant with an aberration here and there


trading = Death or Glory no inbetween :-)


Andy

Last edited by tenbobtrader; Jul 13, 2009 at 12:32pm. Reason: typo
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 10:19am   #11
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Quote:
running at + 40 % at 3 months
youre gamblers..
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 10:54am   #12
Joined Jun 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by everyonerich View Post
no indicator, no technical, no fundamental, nothing else.. its only you and a chart.
and the point being

Quote:
Originally Posted by everyonerich View Post
hahaha..
yes I thought so

Quote:
Originally Posted by everyonerich View Post
youre gamblers..
possibly


and your consistant and very very profitable with a five year track record behind you trading at 10 -100 lot size ?

Last edited by tenbobtrader; Jul 13, 2009 at 11:27am. Reason: ?
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:06am   #13
 
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I think most of the more established members here have a problem with the word "consistently" because all of us have bad weeks.

If I make money for 10 months of the year but lose for 2 - does that make me consistent?

It is also dependent on the time frame you are trading. A short term/scalper will be able to make "consistent" profits. However a swing trader's profit curve will be much more erratic.

Also - anyone who claims they are consistently profitable after a few months is probably heading for a big fall.... Been there done that!

For me - It was about 6 months before I was treading water consistently - and about 3 years before I was in a position where I could honestly expect to finish the year with a worthwhile profit.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:20am   #14
Joined Jun 2009
from mr one liners own blog and profile

looks like some interesting stuff and thoughts in there




Some article for sharing..


Quote:
Running Money

Kathy and I often receive offers to manage money and so far we've refused everyone of them because we are simply too busy with research and our advisory services to devote the proper energy to the task. However the idea of running money has made me think about the criteria I would use to evaluate a money manager. Following are simply my thoughts and are by no means the final word on the subject, but I thought they may be useful points of reference for everyone to consider.

1. Be Sceptical

I never believe triple digit returns. Even if the trader can show me an audited trail of his results (and most never can), I know that 100%+ gains can only be achieved in two ways - through massive leverage or unbelievable luck. In either case, disaster is just around the corner. Leverage will turn on you like a rabid dog and luck will always run out. Have I seen traders take $100 to $10,000? $10,000 to $1,000,000? Yes and yes. But inevitably I've seen those same accounts give the money back as $10,000 suddenly shriveled to $2,000 and $1,000,000 dropped to $100,000.

The problem with investing with a hot hand is that you never jump on board during the initial $10,000 to $1,000,000 run because the trader has no "record". Once the trader has a "record" and you climb fro the ride the losses inevitably start. In fact the longer I am in finance the more I believe that allocating your capital based upon the best return "record" is a near guarantee of losing money.

2. Acceptable Drawdown

Paul Tudor Jones, one the greatest traders of all time, has a very simple and I believe very effective formula for properly analyzing trading success. No sharp ratio, no risk-adjusted returns, no complicated math at all. Instead the Tudor Jones rule is quite straight forward. Your drawdown should not be greater than 1/3rd of your gains. That means that for every $1 run up in profits you should not give back more than 33 cents to the market. That is a very difficult task to achieve. Even, if the trader only gives back 50 cents of every dollar won consider him a good prospect for your money.

3. Evaluate By Months, Not Trades

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative according to Oscar Wilde, but when it comes to financial returns it is the true measure of success, because money compounds and grows much faster in the long run with small but predictable returns rather than with huge hits or misses. At the same time worrying about every trade is a sure path to an early grave. Most professionals evaluate trading records on a monthly basis which seems to be a period long enough to smooth out the day to day bumps but short enough to warn the investor of any possible problems. Steve Cohen and Paul Tudor Jones have only had two or three losing months out of more than 200 and in the losing months they never gave back more than 2% of the equity. That's the gold standard to beat.

4. The 1% Solution

What's a reasonable rate of return? 1% per month. Achieve that and you are making 12% a year - almost double the long term average of the equity markets. Make 2% per month and you are on the way to hedge fund immortality as less than 1% of all investors worldwide produce such returns on a consistent basis. These expectations may seem remarkably modest but they are realistic. You make millions one slow dollar at a time."

Reference : Boris Schlossberg & Kathy Lien
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:31am   #15
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and another ~

Title : What really is the market?


Quote:
Money is only shadow of something else. Concentrating on this shadow (the physical dollar bills) is very unwise and not healthy for your bank or trading/investment accounts. A much more profitable strategy is to look at the value inside yourself and others. Watch the flow or exchange of this value between people. It is only our internal values that create money. If we can somehow learn to observe the changes in internal values in others and ourselves, we can hone in on opportunities that others miss.


The markets are not mysterious and unfathomable. The primary purpose of any market is to ration, at a reasonable price, existing and future supply to those who want it the most. We buy bonds when we would rather own the bonds than the money we are paying for the bonds. Our fantasy (yes, trading is a fantasy game) is that the value of the bonds will go up relative to the dollar. We bought them from some unknown trader who was just as confident that their value was going to go down. We have a real disagreement on current and future value, but we agree on price.


Every market in the world is designed to ration or distribute a limited amount of something (whether it be stocks, agricultural products, currencies, or whatever) to those who want it most. The market does this by finding and defining the exact price where, at that moment, there is an absolute balance between the power of those who want to buy and those who want to sell The stock, commodity, bond, currency, and option markets all find that place of balance very quickly whether they are using open outcry or computer balancing. The markets find this place before you and I can detect any imbalance and before even traders on the floor become aware of any imbalance.


to be continued..


please do ...........
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