New people coming into trading these days are lucky in one sense. I believe it is possible now to simulate live trading fairly accurately. I have been playing with Buttontrader in simulation mode with live data feed in order to learn how to use it and am quite impressed. With some frontends in simulation mode the fills are not realistic but Buttontrader puts you in line and fills you when your turn comes. It also deducts your commissions from the P&L. Of course you cant get complete realism but I wished I had had this tool when I started. I see no reason to risk your money until you acheive consistent profitability with one of these simulators. Using simulation in recorded mode does not work well, imo, because you need a lot of other information. Trading simulation with a live feed gives you access to everything. I urge you new traders to go this route. Pick a strategy and test it for a few weeks. I understand that Ninjatrader is quite good for this too.