Okay, I shudder to think how this will be received. There seems to be a lot of angry people on this board who live for posts by ignorant newbies like myself asking dumb questions. I am not going to stop you guys. Blast away! But for those who are helpful, let me give you a little bit of background. I know next to nothing. Well, I read Investing For Dummies so I know the very basics. But I wanted to get your opinions on how I should approach trading. I'm a little under 30 with a knack for taking some risks. I would like to make a decent amount of money as fast as is not considered reckless. I don't expect to make 500k in a year, but 100k would be nice once I'm up and running for a couple of years. When all is said and done, I will (yes, very unfortunately) probably only start with 10k. So I know that makes things very difficult. But that's why I'm reaching out for your expertise. Here are my questions: 1) How long should I practice before I start trading for real? 2) What is the practice-trading software preferred by people on this board? 2) I expect to get a lot of varied responses on this one but which strategy is proven to work better? Fundamental or Technical. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what either of these mean. But I believe fundamental is more Cramer-like (do a lot of research on the company, stock, etc.) and technical is more graph-based (study the graph and try to find trends). 3) How much should I realistically expect to make? I know this is a vague question requiring more information (how much are you going to risk? are you going for big gains or small gains? etc.) but from a brief glance at the threads in this forum, it's hard to figure out who, if anyone is actually making any money. Are there people on this board who make a comfortable (>100k) living just by trading? Or is that a pipe dream? If you are one of those people, how long did you work at trading before you became successful? What system do you use? Any advice? 5) How helpful is software in this job? I'm a computer freak so I'm leaning towards anything that involves software helping me out. Is there software out there that traders just can't live without? The software that recognizes trends and, I assume, gives you probabilities on when to buy a stock is something I'm intrigued by. But I don't know if it works. Does it? 6) Finally, any general advice? Maybe you can recount your earliest mistakes so I don't make them. Thanks for you time guys. I appreciate the responses (if any). best, c.g.e.