Exploring a career in 'Trading'

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by wolfen, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. Geezer


    Hey Frenchie, your post made me laugh. Although real traders are usally pretty well educated these days, we get tons of neophytes who think they can trade without a university education. Then they post on various boards that trading " is the hardest thing you will ever do" and "95% of traders fail" etc. I can tell you one thing for sure, 95% of uneducated traders fail, but you get someone who has a four year degree and a year of training, and he/she will most likely make it. Your 80% number might be right. Hey just a few more days and I made it to another year. Amazing. I finally recognized you by the bias in your post, but whats with the handle? You finally lost weight?
    #11     Dec 26, 2003
  2. First check out the following links: Training, Brokers, Software, Hardware, Books, Search.

    If you really want an all-in-one package, try Tradestation. I don't use them, but I believe they offer data, charting, backtesting, and brokerage services.

    If you have more questions after reading the above, come back and ask away.
    #12     Dec 27, 2003
  3. Hello:
    I thought I would offer a point of view here. I think your success depends on random chance at this point. Normally the odds would be greatly against you, however if you listen to the more conservative comments other traders offer and take it slowly, you may have as much as a 50/50 chance to have success. If you do not take care to go slowly, you should be prepared for the eventual loss of most of your first trading account. If you are unlucky, you may even lose more than your account, finding yourself in debt to your broker. As to the matter of intelligence, I find that it matters, but is not the only critical issue. In fact, it seems to be more important that you are willing to work at this every day/night in the same way any person would pursue a professional credential. As far as education, you will find that most short term "trading courses" available to the public are of dubious value. If you have access to a top tier business/finance school, I suggest you start there. Get a degree or get a syllabus and start reading. Since almost no one will do this, I am guessing you will end up on the wrong end of a monthly statement, wondering what you did wrong. I hope not, but then again, I have been there and done that. Outside of formal education, you can start with any good reading list (Vanguard, Bob Brinker.com, etc) and with luck you may learn enough before you lose your entire account, to take a step back and ask yourself, is this what I thought it would be?. Do I really want to be sitting here with my head pounding and my guts tied up in knots "tick watching"? I apologize for the dark presentation, but I think it is necessary in this case. Good luck. Steve46
    #13     Dec 27, 2003
  4. I don't believe there has ever been a study comparing the success of college educated traders to non-college educated traders. Please correct me if I am wrong. Furthermore, you state that "you get someone who has a four year degree and a year of training, and they will most likely make it". Really? Pretend I am from MO and show me the figures. I will agree with you that if you give someone...anyone regardless of formal education a year of money management, mkt psych and trading "101" as it were they have a better than avg chance of success. That can just be chalked up as good preparation...as a person should do with any major task they face. But what is "most likely"?

    Stress free trading from this undereducated speculator :)

    #14     Dec 27, 2003
  5. NET


    Hey wolfen...

    First of all, good luck with your endeavor.

    I'm a trader "in training" for about 18 months or so. We have the same goal, so I have some tips.

    Based on your question, I suggest an educational approach prior to putting capital at stake. Even if you use a professional money manager instead of trading yourself, you should learn what the MM will be trying to achieve so that you have an effective BS filter.

    Develop a passion for reading and learning everything you can about the field. To get started, may I suggest "Trading in the Zone" by Mark Douglas, "Come Into my Trading Room" by Alexander Elder, and "Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets" by Murphy. Another good read is "How I Trade for a Living" by Gary Smith. I concur with the previous suggestion RE Jessie Livermore.

    Those books touch on psychology, money management, and technical analisys, all of which require mastering before you will achieve success. Smith and Livermore are traders and their experiences are very educational. Of particular interest is that many (but not all) beginning traders are successful--to very successful when they start out. Then something happens. This "something" causes most hopeful traders to wash out.

    After my first 6 months of trading experience I thought I had it mastered enough to trade full time (I was one of those beginning traders that experienced initial success). I became confident, laid down the books, put much more money into the market, and immediately started loosing, and loosing big. That "something" happened to me just the way the books outlined it would--and I thought I was prepared--after all I studied it and was watching for it!

    I am far more experienced now and have changed my goal to break even over the next 12 months (this does NOT include winning back lost equity). If I achieve my goal of break-even, the next goal will be to establish a consistent rising equity curve. If I'm not making money after two more years of training, I will have to evaluate if I have the mentality for this profession (as will you and other hopeful traders). If you are like most other hopeful traders, you will discover there is a difference between "talking the talk" and "walking the walk." After your first year of trading education you will certainly master "talking the talk," just the same as a doctor in training masters the technical knowledge of his profession. "Walking the walk" is like the doctor in training going through his residency. This is where I find myself now, with a goal to have it mastered in the next two years.

    Part of my education includes lurking these boards. The wisdom is excellent. Visit http://www.traders-talk.com and follow the fearless forecasters posts. These experienced traders debate future market direction which makes it clear why it is futile to follow one's preconceived beliefs about a market direction, instead of listening to what the market has to say. Also, notice that many signatures have trader's rules and wisdom.

    Finally, wolfen, you do not have to be brilliant or college educated to trade successfully. There is a huge psychological component to trading that must be mastered, as the emotions of greed and fear are indeed very powerful. There are those who will never master this component and are therefore destined to failure. It is for this reason you will find allot of negativity towards achieving this goal. But without trying with a sustained effort (as outlined above) who knows?

    You will need time, and plenty of it. After reading more than 20 books (approximately one third on psychology) the consensus seems to be that new traders will require a minimum of three years of dedicated training (typically 5 years) before one really becomes proficient--such to develop a smooth and rising equity curve that withstands the test of time (drawdowns will occur, but the trend will be up). You should be prepared to withstand $50K in losses. Some professional traders refer to this as "tuition" and I have adopted this attitude as well.

    Hope this helps...
    #15     Dec 27, 2003
  6. NET sounds like a nice guy and has lots of good advice, but as he tells us, so far he has lost money.

    Indahook sounds like a nice guy but you won't get a dialougue going with Geezer, he posts once in 50 days and you post three times a day.

    I know Geezer, trained under him before he retired to just trading his own account. Indahook wants a "study" on the merits of education for a trader. Geezer starting trading in 1952 so even if he only met 40 new traders a year that would be......
    one hell of a big study.

    Some Phd student may one day do such a study for a thesis such as the one you suggest, but in effect the study is done, the big firms have hired just about every kind of guy you can find to find out what works.

    What works is someone who has shown the ability to stick with something for years, someone who can study, someone who can write, someone who can learn quickly, someone who can achieve their goal, ie: someone who has earned a degree.

    Mix that with certain personality traits (which they also test for), and you have a trader trainee.

    Say you skip all the above, you still might make it, not too likely though, but you got a shot. Good luck.
    #16     Dec 27, 2003
  7. traderob


    Net, I am going through a very similar process, with just over a year of semi-fulltime trading. My current aims to break even are on the same time frame also.
    #17     Dec 27, 2003
  8. Hi wolfen,

    I traded off and on for a couple of years in the 90s and I did really well in 2000. I went on with my professional carrier after that.

    I came back 2 months ago since I got laid off.
    When I first started. in the 90s, I did really well. I think, I believe,it was because I was keeping it simple and I did not bother to see what anybody else was saying.

    The more I "educated" myself the worst I was doing. The more I was looking to see what the "professionals" are doing the more problems I had.

    I don't want anybody to take me wrong. learning and knowing is a must. The way you apply it is what matters to me.
    Knowing what the other successful guy does might not help you, actually it might hurt you. I might not fit to your needs and your personality. I never made any money applying 100% somebody else's opinion.

    Here I am now trading for two months. I asked for help and advice.
    Many responded, a few helped me with information I needed and I am thankful. I PM them with my thanks. Some were sarcastic and tried to put me down with their superior knowledge. I did not bother, I ignore them.

    I am still struggling. I trade very small at this stage and I have been fortunate to cover expenses and have a tiny profit.
    Some fellows told me it is a success for this stage others told me that since I ask questions I should know thats why I cant make any money.

    I keep records, watch my statistics, find out where problems exist
    and I try to come out with solutions.

    I know it can be done and it is up to us to do it.

    I might start a thread with my trades but I am concerned at this stage. I am not afraid to be wide open, I would welcome any constructive criticism. Maybe that is the answer to mentorship.

    #18     Dec 28, 2003
  9. wolfen


    Hey folks,

    Thank you each and every one for your comments/suggestions and even some pathetic attempts at humor.

    For those of you that responded through the PM system, to each of you I extend my deepest thanks and appreciate your obvious sincerity.

    For the curious, I earned my BA in Econ. from the University of Virginia, My Masters in Econ. at Cambridge (UK), and my MBA from the University of Virginia. I have taught undergraduate courses in economics, international trade, and universal contracts at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and Queen Margaret University (Edinburgh, Scotland). Most recently I have been teaching English Language and basic economics in Morocco.

    Oh, almost forgot to mention it, but I am a girl. female, woman, just turned 27.

    Brokerj, I hope you read this, I managed to lose your email address along with a lot of others while transferring data to my new computer system. If you get this, please give me a shout, I have read everything you suggested, and contacted all but one of the sources you suggested, and I have a few questions on one outfit you mentioned.

    Thanks to all of you again, for the most part you guys are great, but some of you seem to have your heads parked in places where the sun does not shine, ever!!
    #19     Jan 6, 2004
  10. nkhoi

    nkhoi Moderator

    all you need is a year of training, good luck.
    #20     Jan 6, 2004