I know a close relative who has a PhD from an Ivy League School in Engineering, and he spent his lifetime trying to trade stocks. It's going on since 1970s to today. 40 years and still a losing/marginal trader now in his 70s. So, FYI, being a lifetime losing trader does happen. OTOH, there are really gifted traders whom can learn and adapt to the markets effortlessly, eg. Andy Priston featured in Trader Monthly a few years ago. Then there is everyone in between these two extremes. Struggle for years, then succeed and also those who strike it rich, but lose it all on one bad trade going back to rags. One example of someone who made a modest success at trading is Gary Smith chronicled in his book "how I trade for a living." He turned $2,200 into $700,000 over a period of 14 years, which is a very respectable +50.9% annual return.