I was thinking of making a nice flowchart for this but I'm too lazy. So I'll try to break it down into text.
START: So You Want to be a Market Trader
Path #1: You Go At This On Your Own
P1-1: You Succeed After Much Research and Trial and Error
P1-2: You start losing money
P1-2-1: You give up
P1-2-2: You seek help
Path #2: You Buy Books and Read A Lot
P2-1: Your research works and you succeed
P2-2: None of the stuff you read works
P2-2-1: You lose money and give up
P2-2-2: You seek help before you blow up your account
Path #3: You Seek A Mentor
P3-1: You learn a lot and you start to trade profitably
P3-2: You put to practice your education and you still lose money
P3-2-1: You feel scammed and start talking smack about your mentor
P3-2-2: You look for another alternative
P3-2-3: You simply just give up
I know that the above stuff would be easier to visualize but again, I'm too lazy. My point is that the path to being a trader can take on different routes. There isn't a single perfect route. It's always dependent on your personality and your preference. If you hate to pay for things then you're going to try to go at this on your own. Studies have shown that only 2% of those who are self-taught go on to be successful. If you are feeling lucky, then by all means go for this.
Most people take Path #2: it's the 'cheaper' option because it'll only cost you time and a few hundred dollars of books. As an avid reader myself, I can honestly tell you that all the trading canon out there are completely worthless. Find a book that explains ridiculous algorithmic swings and volatility spikes and I'll take back what I'm saying. By the time a book on trading has been published, the information contained within it is stale. Remember that it takes months to get books published as it goes through the rigorous scrutiny of the publisher for any plagiarism and errors.
Then we have Path #3 - Getting a mentor. Know that even going through this path the success rates are as follows:
It can be disheartening to know that even with a professional or experienced trader guiding you, the chances of success are still low. So what's an aspiring trader left to do? Well, you can either give up or accept the reality and go for it still even with the odds stacked against you.
I've been at this for more than a decade. Every day I know that as a retail trader, I am always the last one to know about what's really happening in the markets. Big funds have armies of analysts helping them to decide where to best put their money. All I have is my brain and the data my trading platform gives me to decide how to deploy my capital.
I'm not writing this post to discourage people from going into trading. This post is to enlighten you and to make it perfectly clear to you of the real perils of trading. This isn't for the foolhardy and the faint of heart. This gig is for people who can take on huge amounts of pain and stress and still come out positive in the end. I always tell people who are thinking about trading that it's much easier to open up a Subway than try to use $50,000 of your hard earned cash into this market.
As 2017 is almost upon us, I hope that I can at least give you a real albeit rude awakening to the world of trading. It's not for everyone. It's only for the 5 or 20% of the people who truly can handle it. You may have the biggest set of testicles out there but if you don't have the heart and mind for this, your drive will be misspent.
Think really hard about your plans for being a trader this 2017. For every 100 wannabe traders, only 5 of them will eventually move on to being successful. That is not fiction, it is fact. I wish you the very best for 2017!
Traders from Equity Sense will be writing on this blog on positions and other market-related things.