Tell me why I can't grow my account to $1M in 12 years

Discussion in 'Trading' started by jeffbader, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. jeffbader


    I'm 35, a full-time salaried electrical engineer and I don't need the money. However, I don't like being an employee. My wife is self-employed and I envy her freedom to be with our children and still make a living. Also, I really don't like the mediocre returns that conventional vehicles offer. We own and manage 8 rental units and I see real-estate as our primary retirement plan. To me, the stock market is simply a means to an end.

    I made my first day trade on January 10th, 2019, so I've only been at this for about 1/2 a year. From what I've gathered, this means that I'm barely scratching the surface. Because of my schedule and personality, I have concluded that day trading (for me) is preferred over swing trading. I consider holding over night to be far more stressful. Although I can imagine that I may prefer swing trading some time in the future, I'm 100% convinced that day trading lines up better with my lifestyle as it is now. Being in the Pacific time zone, I can make a few trades and still be to work at a reasonable time. For now, I'm sticking with stocks straight up - no derivatives.

    When I made my first trade, I made $9. Second trade I made $568. Third trade I lost $1114 and the fourth trade I lost another $514. It was clear to me after trade #4 that I had no clue what I was doing. I then began investing in my education and I am now tailoring my own personal plan / strategy. I decided to bite the bullet and allow myself to become PDT on April 11, 2019.

    Although I am not yet profitable, I can see the potential. However, it is unclear to me how to set realistic goals. When discussing actual profitability, I've heard people say "trust me, you can make a lot of money." Some say they've turned $500 into $5M (ha!). Most say it's gambling and we're all doomed to fail. From what I've endured over the last six months, it is no surprise that it is rumored that 95% of traders fail. While it is both easy and simple to click the "buy" and "sell" buttons, it is actually quite grueling, complicated, and at times exhausting to soldier through this learning curve.

    One complaint I have with this entire industry is the general fog when searching for actual long-term average profit expectations. This may not matter to most people, but I already have a tolerable job. I'm looking for growth. "Trust me, you'll make more than you ever dreamed" is not good enough. I already make enough money to live on. I should only be risking that hard-earned money if there truly is a real-life potential for the reward (which I would define as consistent profit that justifies continuing to trade on a regular basis). So far, I have been unable to find proof of this potential reward, and I suspect that my own success or failure will be the only way for me to really find out for sure.

    I have attached a normalized graph of my account over time. Oh, how I desperately wish that I could see this type of chart from others. It begins with my very first trade before I knew anything about the market and includes every trade that I've made since. To date, I've made 168 round-trip day trades. I generally only make between two to four round-trip trades per day. My latest discovery is that if I had restricted myself to trading only after 9:50am EST, this chart would look much better.

    The purpose of this post is not to request advice (although I'm very thankful for anything offered!). Rather, as a brand new member, I'm wondering if this community is willing to convince me of what is realistically possible. I figure that if I can win 4R per month (which seems quite conservative if I'm risking an amount that would allow for 75 consecutive losses before reaching the PDT limit of $25k, which works out to be 1.33% of the portion of the account that is greater than $25k) and increase my risk each month according to my account growth, then my account would grow from $30k to $1M in about 12 years.

    Am I delusional? Can anyone offer their own real-life normalized graph of account value over time?
    Snuskpelle likes this.
  2. why are your goals so low? lol
  3. First, great honest and humble attitude, will get your farthest when you're able to be honest to yourself.

    See Dozu's thread:

    This kind of very basic strategy that anyone can do is what you're competing against. Now, of course, lower risk of not holding overnight is desirable, which is why a lot of the smartest people tried already.

    There are not floating around that many simple statistical directional edges as one might believe in the world's most efficient stock market. I don't see you mentioning your strategy at all and of course what would be viable is entirely dependent on the strategy. The smaller the company the better chance of finding one, simple because it's harder for the largest guys to trade with volume in these. Then again, so will it be for you quite quickly.

    I'm not going to attempt advising you on DT as I don't have anything resembling enduring success in that, I'm sure there are some ETers who will though; you can usually research people's posting history to figure out what their advice is worth.
    jeffbader, stan1 and dozu888 like this.
  4. dozu888


    use a simple savings calculator... $30k down, $5k a month, all in QQQ or XLK, 12.5% annual return, after 12 years you are at 1.7m

    magical... but so few can do it, because along the way you will hit 1-2 bear markets and my pro boys will use their media machine to ask you to surrender.. 24/7..

    day trading is waste of time.. don't do it.

    just blind buy $5k every month, don't talk to people about stocks, don't read news about stocks.... enjoy your engineering life, enjoy your rental house... company with your wife and kids... have a good life.
    T-Mex, stan1, ElCubano and 4 others like this.
  5. maxinger


    If you don't have confidence you can make it, then you can't make it.

    If you believe you have confidence you can make it, then there is hope you can make it.
  6. shatteredx


    stan1 likes this.
  7. jeffbader


    My apologies, I should have explained that I already understand this. My point in the example was to illustrate that even conservative estimates of what is possible yields returns that would appear to some as unrealistic. My request is for empirical results of a day trader that could serve as a metric for my own performance. I have so far been unable to find anyone willing to help.

    Shouldn't a good day trader be profitable regardless of the overall market conditions? In theory, the only thing that could take me out would be a losing streak of an entire month straight of losing trades. I'd have to be some kind of stubborn to not pause and re-evaluate even after a week-straight losing streak.

    There it is. Ok. Are you really claiming that there are no successful day traders? This is not a rhetorical question.

    No thank you. At this time, I do not need to sacrifice anything but a few spare hours each morning while everyone's asleep in order to vet this thing. I consider the money in my account already lost to the endeavor.

    See doz, this is the pickle: you don't have anything to prove to anyone. And here I am asking for it. I understand if you either don't have the time or the data readily available. I'd also be hard pressed to indulge some noob, some random guy out of a thousand losers asking for my personal info. I am investing my time to prove this out. The money I'm risking is important to me, but if I were to lose it all, then I would know for sure that I gave it my best and failed. So I am taking it seriously, because I don't want to look back after failure and think "well I didn't really take it seriously that time."

    Who doesn't do research when choosing a major to study, career to choose, job to take, business to start, business to invest in, house to buy, etc?

    Your platitudes aren't helpful. I will continue to hope that someone is willing to help me. I mean no disrespect and I wish continued success for you.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    Calmness and comagnum like this.
  8. smallfil


    Just follow the trend and ride it up as long as it keeps going up. Using stop losses to protect your capital and profits. Rinse and repeat.
  9. jeffbader


    I have confidence that I can be profitable. I just have no idea what "making it" means in terms of $$. I'm pretty sure that "making it" is somewhere between making $100 per year and $100M per year, but I'm seeking help in determining what is realistic. I know this is a loaded question because everyone's situation is different. But at this moment I don't know anyone first-hand in my personal life that has "made it" to any degree (in trading), so I am totally clueless on this aspect of the career.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  10. jeffbader


    I love your attitude, Mark. And your question is actually the same as mine. Why are my goals what they are? What is realistic? What is achievable? If I could achieve 20% per year, then I would be happy to spend a few hours a day growing my account. But the threshold to determine when I could replace my salary is less trivial of a calculation.
    #10     Jul 28, 2019
    MarkBrown likes this.