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Is it possible?

  1. I want desparately to daytrade e-mini's for a living. I keep hearing that this is an impossible task.

    Currently I am a "break-even" trader. I would love to hear from someone who is actually making a living from their trading proceeds (not selling seminars, books or classes on trading).

    Is trading for a living really possible? If you're someone who is doing it, please tell us your story. There are people out here who dream of accomplishing what you've achieved.

    I just have to know if we are all being pulled into a game that has no long-term, consistent winners.

  2. No.
  3. it is indeed possible. But it isn't easy. Most people get disheartened because they have unrealistic expectations. I don't know the exact stats are but from my experience (and this is at a professional level) for every 10 new traders that get taken on 1 will become a super trader, 2-3 will become ok traders but the rest will be gone within 6 months. For a trader at home the odds are probably even slimmer. But its the possibility to be that one great trader that everyone focuses on and get so depressed when they realise its not that easy.

    The guys that make the money are the ones that spend 12 hours a day in the office, and when they go home they print out all their trades and start writing their plans for tomorrow. They have an edge and a plan and they are like robots nothing can shake them, no matter what happens they stick to their plan and they have a special talent.

    Trading isnt a get rich quick scheme. If you bought yourself a set of golf clubs and a book on how to play golf you are not going to be Tiger Woods. Just like if you set up a trading account/ join a trading firm and read a few books on trading you are going to make money. There are people that make money day in day out and if anyone tells you it cant be done they just say that because they cant make money. But the people that can make a go of trading are a little bit special and work extremely hard and have years of experience under their belt. People need to remember that
  4. Trading the indexes for a living is very possible! BUT, I have never seen a new trader make it. The best thing you could do to start is go prop trading listed madcap stocks. It’s much easier and your odds are much better. The only people I know that make money trading the indexes have been around for 10 years or more. Yes they make a killing in the 7 figures plus a year.

    My advice is save your time and money on indexes. Find a good prop firm that trades NYSE mid caps and go for it. At least there you have a good chance of being able to pay your bills and surviving. If you are breaking even, you could go to a place like Bright Trading and in a few weeks you might be able to use there strategy to make a very good living right away.

    As for my story I am doing OK trading the YM’s, but I lack discipline (I have been trading them for 2 months). I have traded equities for about 5 years before I started indexes. My solution is I automating my trading. Indexes move quickly and unlike stocks you don’t have bids and offers to lean on. So yes I am doing good but not good enough. If I were to go back to stocks I could easily make a lot more.

    Yes you are being pulled in to a very hard game. You should focus on something a little easier at first and when you are ready go back to indexes.
  5. It is not impossible - I am now doing it in the minis as an automated trader, and have been doing it for a while in equities.

    The story would fill two volumes and I am still growing as a trader! I hope to make it three volumes.

    As I said above, it is possible. But trading futures it is the hardest form of trading imo, and in my experience, requires a different set of skills than equities trading. As I said above, my current trading story would fill two volumes.

    If only I knew when I started what I know now. If you master trading, not only will you master trading, but you will learn a great deal about yourself too. At tleast that was true for me...

    There is nothing to learn about trading until you know how to trade and what trading is. You only understand that once you understand it. Then if you go back and read the true classics of trading, all you do is sit there and say, yes, yes.

    But you should be aware that there are all sorts of ways to make money from the markets, the "easiest"way being arbitrage in all it's forms. This is imo where all beginners should start - i.e., arbitraging equities. But many traders stay there once they have mastered it because it provides a basic living. I have seen people off the streets with no trading knowledge get hired as "arbitrageurs" and make a decent living.

    Then there is automated trading, which requires an orthogonal set of skills to arbitrage and discretionary trading. The one thing that is really important about automated trading that everyone benefits from is that you have to define things very clearly - computers afterall run programs and they do what you say not what you think. That is an important skill in life not just in trading. However, this is an extremely hard road and I would stay away from it at first, inspite of all the magic that people promise you.

    Finally there is discretionary trading. Imo this is where the true mastery and challenge in trading is. This is where you learn the most about yourself. Incidentally, this is where 99% of beginning traders want to start [because this is what most books on trading think trading is, mostly because everyone has a brain so it becomes a sort of common denominator for discussion, so this is what they write about] but discretionary trading is the hardest form of trading there is!

    Learn to walk before you run. Learn to arb. Then move towards where trading becomes both an art form and a science.

  6. Find a loser who trades e-minis then fade him, you will learn a lot.
  7. did someone say trading bubble?
  8. nitro

    what do you mean by this:

    "It is not impossible - I am now doing it in the minis as an automated trader, and have been doing it for a while in equities."

    I thought those automated systems from vendors were just a gimick?

    Whats your experiance with them?

    - nate
  9. Nate,

    Systems that are for sale are a gimmick. But what makes you think that all trading systems are developed by con men to be sold to fools?

    What about programmers that develop their own system for their own consumption, whose logic will never to known to anyone else but the programmer?

  10. Nitro, would you say that a successful discretionary equities trader would have an easier (relatively speaking) transition to discretionary futures trading than your avg trader? Whats your opinion?

    Thanks a lot!
  11. nitro

    good point. I dont really understand automated systems though..

    1. How do you connect your software to the markets ?, and how do you tell the program "when this happens, do, or not to do a certain action"? I have some programming experiance myself, so I guess you use a combination of conditional statements and loops.. do certain brokers have their own script/programming language?

    2.do you program your own indicators/ charts/ ect..?

  12. Check out Tradestation.
  13. Anything is possible, the question is can you do it, no one else's opinion is going to help you. Are you looking for someone to give you confidence that you can trade, if so, it won't work. It's hard work. I'm not a successful trader and I've been at this for nearing 10 months now, but I still am hanging in there trading because I love it, I'm not worried anymore if I will be successful or not, I just want to gain as much experience as I can while I'm still young and then go from there.

  14. The answer is yes. But if you do not have the proper mindset then you will be pissing in the wind. The are 3 stages to trading.

    break even

    It seems you have made it to stage 2 which is farther than most ever make it. If you are break even, then profitability is just right around the corner with some tweaking of your trading plan.
  15. From personal experience, futures require more discipline. I am purely discretionary and recently started trading the eminis (since Oct last year). I've been trading stocks a long time and the first thing you'll notice is the speed difference. In comparison to many equities, the liquidity in futures is not manipulated, hence the moves are a lot more fun IMO, things happen very quickly (and can be potentially much more dangerous).

    I have noticed that my futures account has a higher volatility in terms of gain/loss. I think this is due to my being better able to define monetary risk when trading equities - per example I trade 1k shares of INTC and set a 12 cent stop all the time, that ratio hardly ever changes, this is true with all the stocks I daytrade. I haven't found that number in the futures markets yet, sometimes I need to have a 3 point stop, sometimes a 5 or a 1 point stop based on the markets mood and the time of day. Regardless, the pace is faster and patience is a much more important factor.
  16. Yes Noob it is possible to make a very good living trading. Use the Search function and you will see 100's on threads already on the subject.
  17. Thanks Mike.

  18. if u can trade equities successfully u should have not much of a problem with futs...a few bumps on the road but u should get there eventually....r/r not that good tho, I can't understand why u want to switch, there are so many opp on equities...u have to change your style and give up scalpin', go after big ranges: there's a way to capture them with consistency and it's in front of u every single day.
  19. Steve,


    1) Discretionary trading is the ultimate form of trading.

    2) Futures trading are the hardest instrument to trade.

    Put those two together and you have the making of an account killer. However, any trader that is consistantly making a living trading anything discretionarily is a ripe candidate to expand into another venue, futs or otherwise. Thing is, there are so many places to go. For example, there are the usual suspects, ES NQ and YM. But what about ZN or ZB or Eurodollars? What about Nikkei futs or DAX? What about spreads on any of those? What about options on the SPX or NDX? What about going for some more lower hanging fruit like equity pairs or convertible arbitrage? What about overseas stocks? So many choices, so little time...

    I am not sure that a trader that has access to firm money should be jumping into futures [because he already has leverage], but if you do, the rewards can be astonishing because of the monster leverage and liquidity.

    I guess I didn't really answer your question, but I am not even sure I am qualified since I don't trade futs discretionarily at this time - only by machine.


  20. Thanks Nitro, its not a cut and dry question to answer anyways. I am just very interested in slowly expanding into other markets and just have heard that, to trade futures discretionarily, you need the utmost discipline and patience which are my two strongest qualities as a trader. Need to work on my aggressiveness and risk tolerance though :).