FAQ How Long Does it Take to Make a Stable Income from Trading?

Dec 14, 2008
I'm not a successful trader, so take all this with a grain of salt...

I know one man who I'm 99.9% sure is a successful discretionary daytrader, primarily of the es. It took him 5 years, he says, to be able to make money and avoid giving it all back to the market. He has now been making a "good living" he says, for over 25 years by daytrading - plus a small trading website with very few customers.

I also know this, I myself am not able to become a successful discretionary trader (of any timeframe) because my nervous system can't handle it. When I put on a position, my heart races, my blood vessels constrict and my IQ drops significantly (due to reduced cerebral blood flow). This "fight-flight or freeze) reaction even happens when I'm paper trading the es. I hear you laughing. :LOL: I'm laughing, too - or at least trying.

After about 4 years of this misery, I read a book that contained a test designed to categorize people into 4 groups as potential traders: 1) Those potentially capable of discretionary trading. 2) Those capable only of trading an automated system. 3) Those capable of trading a hybird of discretion and computerized systems. 4) Those who are INCAPABLE of any successful trading, but who may be able to design automated trading systems (which they, obviously, can't personally trade). I fell into the latter category.

The book is, "How to Become a Successful Trader, by Gandevani." Please do yourself a favor and read it. :clover: Amazon has it. (I have no connection, financial or otherwise, with the author.)

I hope my honesty is worth something to somebody. I've spent well over 20,000 dollars chasing a dream that, for me personally, turned out to be an expensive education. I know a lot of valuable generalizations about trading the markets, but they have value only to potential traders.

Like athletic ability, IQ, musical talent, show size, and just about all human characteristics, the potential to learn how trade for a living is distributed on a bell-shaped curve with only the outliers on one tail able to put it all together and make it happen. Don't let vendors convince you that this isn't true if you just have the right tools, system, edge, mentor, or what-not.

But, hey, diving into the trading game can be a lot of fun too. So as long as you don't lose too much money, maybe for you the cost is worth the ride - like a vacation or a new hobby. That's how I try to look back at my own trading failure.

Also, I gained a good friend who, I'm 99.9% sure, trades for a "good living." (I haven't seen his tax returns or his trading account, but I've seen a ton of other evidence.)

Again, I hope all struggling traders will please read: "How to Become a Successful Trader, by Gandevani"? :cheesy:
Likes: Lee Shepherd


Active member
Apr 7, 2010
Another thing to remember is some traders even though successful will have weeks months or even the odd year when they lose money having the mental capacity to deal with that is a challange!
Feb 22, 2012
I'd say it probably takes about two weeks to learn to be a profitable tarder, if you work really hard at it. I mean really hard - a proper 9 to 5, no looking at porn on teh tinterwebz during the week, and doing a few hours at the weekend.

But if you're willing to work that hard, you deserve teh rewards that being a tarder can bring.
Feb 22, 2012
One thing people should bear in mind is the psychological impact of trading with an account that is large enough to give you a reasonable living. You can learn to be profitable with small amounts risked but everything changes when you move to a large account and start trading even slightly serious money.

There are ways to address this issue, but I found it extremely tough to begin with and still find it tough now when I increase account size by a significant amount.

It is not just about learning to trade, you also have to learn how to trade a serious account.
Likes: robster970
Nov 18, 2006
whenever I see abstract questions like this, I ask myself "is this person serious about wanting a winning [or working] trading method?" The question does not say: "when using xxx method, with yyy starting capital, how long does it take....." which is much more specific and concrete.

As long as we distract ourselves with these ambiguous questions, why are we shocked when the answers lead nowhere?
Lol, how long is a piece of string?

It depends on the size of your trading account and how consistent you are. Consistency is the key. However, even if you are regularly, say, making 6% per month but have a $1000 account then it's not worth your while unless you can verify your results and get introductions to potential high-net-worth investors. In which case, you will have to negotiate a performance fee (these are getting more competitive these days!)

It is when you have bigger money in your account when this becomes more interesting. Anyway, let’s not jump the gun. It's often alleged that it takes 10,000 hours to be "good at anything" and I have met very good traders from all walks of life: some it has taken a year to reach the level of consistency, others up to 7 years! It's a very individual thing.

It took me three years to get to that stage - and my, was it a learning experience - for better and for worse!!
Sep 4, 2012
My eureka moment was when i threw out ll the indicators , and stopped searching for system after system. I didnt lose any money because i was so busy tinkering about with all the parameters and reading up on everything , then after a couple of years decided it was all just a big scam , the only people making money out of indicators were the people selling them

All i use now is price , a candlestick chart with volume at the bottom
\I only trade double bottoms , thats all i do. Every one that occurs i print off , even the ones which dont quite fit the criteria , and i watch them all develop , even the ones i dont actually trade.
Pick one small area , and study it to death , just one set up , thats it , and ignore everything else. You will find iot makes life much easier . Fags , Pennants , triangles , whatever , just pick one and only one

Im patient , never try to second guess or jump in early , just patiently wait for the best looking set ups , dont chase them after they break out , but patiently wait for a retest and buy when they leave the support the second time.

There is a book called outliers , the author reckons it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be good at anything in life , be it music , sport or whatever , after 10,000 hours it becomes second nature.

In short dont be a jack of all trades and a master of none
May 10, 2012
In order to have stable income, it takes a lot of hard work, commitment, persistence, etc. You need to be aware of the market, and study everyday. After a few months, and once you have your trading strategy working, you'll be able to have a stable income.
May 23, 2011
In order to have stable income, it takes a lot of hard work, commitment, persistence, etc. You need to be aware of the market, and study everyday. After a few months, and once you have your trading strategy working, you'll be able to have a stable income.
A few months? lol

People totally under-estimate the time is will take to become consistently profitable. There is a miniscule percentage who will be able to become profitable within a few months.

For the majority it WILL take years and years.
May 4, 2012
The reason the majority will never suceed is because of some hyped up view of what returns one can expect from trading forex.

With a 20k account and decent money management you can make the average uk salary!
Likes: BSD