Can an average guy make a living at trading?

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by EliteEd, Jul 5, 2003.

  1. EliteEd


    Looking for help and information from the more experienced and knowledgable traders. I am 59, recently laid off and am looking for a new career to take me into retirement. I have been dabbling in trading for the last five months and even took an options course, but have had limited success. Can I really make a living trading, and if so what is it going to take, and where do I get the needed information or training?
    I love the idea of being a trader, and have no qualms about sitting in front of my computer 8 hours a day. I think I can be disciplined where required. I am leaning toward equities and would prefer short term swing trading verses day trading. But, am really looking for what I can make a living at. I would appreciate any help and info from those more knowledgable. Listed below are some questions I have (assuming that it is possible to make a living from trading):

    1. What are the best books, videos, web sites or cd's to learn from?
    2. Are there seminars or courses that would be well worth the expense?
    3. How much capital will I need to work with?
    4. What are the more profitable or proven systems, and where can I find info on them?
    5. Is this web site geared more toward the part time or the full time trader?
    6. What are the best sources of charts, platforms, brokerages and software for swing traders?

    Appreciate your help.
  2. Could you become a doctor? A lawyer? A nuclear physicist?

    You could, if you had the requisite skills, and many many years to learn how to use your skills in those professions....and of course the financial backing to go years without an income.

    My advice is not to buy into the technology of trading, but accept that whatever methodology you bring to trading, it will take years and years of the learning curve to make a decent living trading.

    Most failures come because people are underfunded and/or impatient about the learning curve.

    When I started, a commodity trader told me it would take seven years to understand the game.

    I think in many ways he was right, because the game is about money management, learning to handle the emotions of fear and greed, and becoming flexible within the fixed rules of trading.

    It is not an overnight process.
  3. nitro


    1) There are no books that will teach you to trade, only teach you basics of trading. It is the same as a book explaining how to move the pieces in chess. However, after learning the moves, you now expect to sit across the board against seasoned tournament players that make a living doing it. Think about it...

    2) I doubt it, but I know people that have paid pro's to help them and they claim it has helped. I have never done so, however, for the first time, I will be attending a "Show" - the Chicago Expo, but mostly for fun.

    3) Profitable systems? IMHO, you are not thinking logically if you are asking for this.

    4) This website, AFAIK, is geared toward traders. That word can mean either a trader that is a scalper and is in and out many times a day, or a position trader/swing trader. What it is not is a place to come and give "Stock Picks" for investors.

    5) There was a person that came in here, margo_trader, that posted many charts for swing trading. If there is anything that you take from my post is: when you have a question, learn to use the search feature on the upper right hand corner of this web page.

  4. You probably won't follow this advice but here goes anyway:

    avoid all books, courses, videos etc. They will extend your learning curve instead of shorten it. Get yourself a quote feed and some historical charts and learn by observation.

    unless you want to position trade, forget about daytrading stocks. Those days are gone and not likely to return anytime soon. Futures are and will be the place to be. I recommend

    keep in mind, 95% of all who try this fail. I think its 99% failure for someone your age. If you can live with those odds I wish you good luck.

  5. bobcathy1

    bobcathy1 Guest


    Yes you can make a living trading.
    But you need to papertrade for at least a year until you get it right.

    It will take you a while to get all the information you need, this is not an overnight process.
    The expensive courses are not neccessary.
    Most of the information you need is free on the internet or public library. Look into chat rooms so you can watch other people trade in real time. Look in the "search" on ET for all the information you can read.
    You need to find the indicators that help you see the best, or play follow the leader in a chatroom with theirs.

    I day trade and swing trade.
  6. Very good piece of advice, learn by observing and being very critical about what you read anywhere, particularly on this board. Most is a total crap, otherwise it would not be posted here, always question it, in fact always question everything, and that includes your own setups too. Only this way you can arrive at something that really works.

    I am now returning to some setup that worked well for me in the past, but now it is extended to accomodate new situations that it could not handle before. Or at least I could not see how to do this. I believe I made progress on the whole even if I am coming back to something that I already used in the past, but it's extended and I understand it better now. But in the meantime, I have tried many other schemes and some of them will remain in my trading arsenal.
  7. 1°) You don't need a PHD to succeed in trading for yourself but you need commitment and judgment. If you are a sportman that can help more than a PHD - If you have also a PHD you can go potentially very far but not for sure because PHD are often too theorical and not practical enough.
    2°) You must have enough capital. If you don't have enough capital you will risk to be in bad situation one day IF YOU HAVE WIFE AND CHILDREN BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO RISK YOU FAMILY BUDGET !!!
    3°) You must have time so still look for a normal job
    4°) Be careful when taking advices from others some will seem authorative and sure but they can be craps. I avoid myself to give too much advice because you won't be able to judge if my advice is worth or not. Also it depends on the profile of the person.

  8. Ditch


    Take a look at Visiontrader's thread "chronicles of an idiot" This guy isn't swing trading, however it will give you an idea of what to look for, namely a simple pattern, that you learn to master 100%. It doesn't take more than that to make a good living.
  9. You are getting quite a condensed response from the seasoned traders you were looking for. Read these posts carefully and thoughtfully. It's never too late to begin trading. Your life experience can be a benefit to you. Some kids come in here and I hope the best for them too, but your situation can only be a benefit to you....or trading could be the worst thing for you.

    In reading between the lines, you are at a turning point in your life. To get a job in this environment ...let alone a new career is tougher than it has been in years. There are many competing with you, and at our age Ed, I find that companies would rather "bring along" a young man or woman. They want to pay them less in the beginning and train them up.....holding out the promise of a higher income in return for a loyal "long timer".

    Many Companies are savvy at interviewing and will have a question mark in their mind.....Will Ed stay with us? Is he over-qualified?

    Ed....You must sell your experience....all companies need mature management.....Use this to your advantage.

    Now, as far as your trading.....I cannot tell...but I think you are a planner and a builder. You are growth oriented and have put your thread in an open forum, not afraid of ridicule or criticism from unknown identities with or without the experience for you to form your opinions with.

    Ed tread must be observant, analytical, methodical, reactive to change, nimble minded and alert.

    Now if you must trade......start with a simple exercise of building a spreadsheet and starting a trade log.

    Spend the money on E-signal charting platform and start to see and ask "what if" questions. If I were to enter here.....what would I I like this type of trading? Do I like hit and run? Do I like longer term swing type of trading. Ed, for you to know what type of trading you like you must go through this and survive. You will eventually need to trade real money to also confirm how you like to trade and your mentality.

    There is so much more to talk about...But others will help...I hope this is post is more concrete for you Ed...and let us know how you progress....thank you for your post and good luck to you....

    Michael B.
  10. EliteEd


    I appreciate all the comments and advice. Please keep them coming.
    #10     Jul 5, 2003