How long does it take to become a successful consistant day trader?

blash

Active member
Just wondering from the guys and gals out there who are "Day Trading for a Living" how long it took to get to that stage.

Presumably you were in a full time job before which wouldnt have aloud you to watch/trade the markets all day (unless your an IT contractor).

So how long was it from giving up the job to being a consistantly profitable day trader.

Are you trading the same instrument/s you started out with using the same indicators or has it developed into something completely different.

I'm an IT contractor who decided at the start of this year to have a go at day trading as the IT contract market was quiet.

I'm still day trading now but struggling to get any consistancy but I know its what I want and that I can do it, but how long do I give it.
 

DaxTrader

Active member
The "average" is supposed to be about 3 yrs, according to mkt wizards traders, some people much shorter, some longer or never. To say you can do it in 6 months is definaetly hope over reality.

Personally , took me 2 yrs in stocks and about 3 yrs in futures (some overlap doing both)
 

mmillar

Guest
I think 3-5 years is about right. It took me a year of losing money, a year of breaking even, and now my third year I am making money. Doesn't mean I'm consistent, of course. Will only know that in the future.
 

oatman

Senior member
I think you know pretty quickly if you're going to make it or not. It can be learnt but discipline is the key.
You must feel comfortable hitting that button.
 

Qwento

Junior member
I too was an IT contractor - got fed up with it and started trading full time just over two years ago.

Initially started trading actual shares - knew no different. First year was a total disaster. Eventually moved on to spread betting and CFD trading which has made the second year profitable although it has not exactly paid all of the bills.

I have stuck to trading the UK market. I tend to day/swing trade FT100 stocks only now - fed up with the spreads on many of the other stocks.

I used to trade mainly on indicators (RSI, Williams, Bollinger ...). Although I still scan for likely candidates end of day and also like to glance at the indicators prior to entering a trade I now favour simple intra-day price action for entry/exit points in combination with trend lines, median lines and pivots. I am quite a fan of candlestick analysis.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time writing my own EOD and more recently real-time scanning/charting software. At least I can see exactly what is going on in the market now - even if I still don't always make the right decisions !
 

neil

Legendary member
Could Do Better

Well - I thought I had the hang of it until this week when I managed to be in the red most days on Dax and Dow Futures.

Looking at my notes I see that each loss was down to jumping on a trend near it's end, instead of patiently waiting for support/res lines to break etc. which would give me a nearby stop loss exit point.

jumping on a trend some time after it's initiation gives the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing where the safety net is.

All this due to walking away from the computer at various times - and I only have to sit there for 3 hours !

Must resolve to do better next week.

:eek:
 

Trader333

Moderator
neil,

If say you had been profitable on all of these trades this week do you think it may have given you negative re-inforcement ? ie that your trading was all OK and it would be fine to carry in this way in the future ?

Also you have clearly analysed your losing trades so do you do the same with all of your profitable ones as well ?


Paul
 

neil

Legendary member
Could Do Better

Yes Paul,
It would have installed a false sense of confidence if I had been "lucky."

Profitable trades have come from stalking price action - by sitting there watching each bar unfold. I usually keep a higher time frame open for the bigger picture.

Even marking higher highs/ lower Lows etc would work, I feel , if you sit and watch and ruthlessly chop trades that fail to move the right way within a stop loss range. Types of price bar shapes (length, position of open/close - all give clues)

At least it gives a framework for entering/exiting trades.

So - must do better next week

:|
 
Considering you have started to get comfortable with your trading methods/tools and risk management limits after a year or two - regardless of trading equities/futures..

What would you be expecting to make on a capital investment of

(A) £15k

(B) £25k

(C) £50k

(D) £100k or more?

Infact, what is your average capital investment :cheesy:
 

waqr

Active member
neil,

I found the dax very difficult this week. Could'nt see any decent opportunities all week...................sometimes the market is lousy it's not always possible to get it right.

Go easy on yourself !
 
what time frames are you measuring returns on ?

I assume 1 year , in which case my answer would be :

anything up to 50 K : about 2-4 X my risk capital

100K : 2-3 X

what about you ?
 
Seems reasonable, but as I'm currently trading an account of around £25k, I would expect better returns for a larger account between £50-100k (something I may increase my capital pot by releasing some assets I have in property)..again with a larger account I would expect the returns on 6 months, unlike my current situation where I set returns annually !

What is the take of other members?
 

peto

Established member
mktmaker/jossbar

" I would expect better returns for a larger account between £50-100k (something I may increase my capital pot by releasing some assets I have in property)..again with a larger account I would expect the returns on 6 months, unlike my current situation where I set returns annually !"

How do you work that one out then?.... Larger account = larger positions which are more difficult to scale in and out of if your market is illiquid, thus diminishing returns as a % of capital. If volume supports your larger positions then your returns will remain the same in % terms
 
* How do you work that one out then?.. *

I second that .

Interesting that he evaded answering my question directly , coupled with your observation , I seriously doubt whether he has even come close to doubling his money in a year.
 

josbarr

Active member
Does'nt necessarily mean larger positions.
Depending on market conditions, the weaker long or shorts have to exit their positions.


peto said:
mktmaker/jossbar

" I would expect better returns for a larger account between £50-100k (something I may increase my capital pot by releasing some assets I have in property)..again with a larger account I would expect the returns on 6 months, unlike my current situation where I set returns annually !"

How do you work that one out then?.... Larger account = larger positions which are more difficult to scale in and out of if your market is illiquid, thus diminishing returns as a % of capital. If volume supports your larger positions then your returns will remain the same in % terms
 

PurplePerson

Active member
It's now almost 6 years since I quit the day job to play the market, during which time I've tried numerous approaches, and I'm still around. So it looks like I've done nothing drastically wrong, and I have at least proved to myself that it's perfectly possible to make a living this way. (I have no other current source of wealth nor any pension beyond the eventual state one, if it exists by then)

I play UK stocks only (no indices), mostly SEAQ not SETS, plus some spreadbetting on same.

My overall aim has been to become good enough to spend less time at it, and I concluded 18 months or so ago that roughly one third of my time would (should) be enough. Having juggled with various ways of achieving that (trading one third of each day, or a third of each week, or a third of each month, each quarter, whatever), I have concluded that working fulltime at it for one third of each year is the way to go (for me).

This weekend marked the start of the 4 months I have set aside for fulltime trading. From 6:45am to 4:45pm five days a week Nov-Dec-Jan-Feb. During this third of the year trading takes priority, with the intention of making enough by end of Feb to tide me over 8 months (Mar-Oct) in which life takes priority instead, and in which my cash will be switched into investment rather than trading, and then back to trading next winter. So it's 4 months of trading - with serious continual concentration and a fixed final exit date in mind, then 8 months in which I hope that checking positions 2-3 times a week will suffice.


PS: Don't take my competition performance as any indicator of what I do in the real world!
 
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