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How Old....Career Change?


Just wondering how old most of you were when you decided you wanted to take up day trading futures? Also, is it completely different from your profession before? Do you feel like your turning a profit.

I personally work in computers and have always been interested in trading...My brother in law turned me on to futures a few months ago. Ive been out of work for about 4 months after a residential relocation and hope to possibly change my career.
Thanks for all the input you provide.
There's a guy that I know who retired (in his 60's I think) and is now trading futures. His career until he retired had nothing at all to do with trading. Because he doesn't need to make a living out of trading I think that his approach and risk assessment of each trade that he does is a little bit better than the average trader. He's okay with just watching the market and waiting for that right trade. There's no rush to make a ton of money for him, just a moderate return.
Not sure age is a significant characteristic that determines success or failure day trading futures.

If you plan on trading to support yourself that is one major strike against you right from the start. It is almost impossible to do so starting out, the extraordinary pressure of meeting living expenses will overwhelm your trading. Realistically you will need at least 18 months of living expenses covered from a source other than your trading, based on the highly optimistic assumption (best case) you will lose money the first year, then breakeven the next 6 months, then show a profit after 18 months.

I recommend setting aside $10,000 working capital per e-mini contract. This is needed to give your trading system the room to ride through the inevitable losing streak and return to trade another day.

I suggest you paper trade your method/system for at least 6 months before risking any actual money.

Considering you come from an engineering background, here is a little helpful advice that might save you some years of struggle: Trading is not engineering. Trading is not mathematics. Trading is not physics. You will never engineer your way to profitability trading. If I had to choose a candidate for a trader, engineer would be at the bottom of my list of choices...

Consider the following scenario: Suppose you walked into a casino in Vegas and the casino owner invited you into the VIP area and offered you a seat at his high stakes no-limit poker table. Feeling pretty good about yourself, you walk over and quickly recognize most of the players seated at the table are the famous well known professional poker players from the TV circuit. You also notice they are playing with $500 and $1000 chips and each has a stack you quickly estimate being well in excess of $250,000 each. Would you sit down with your $2,500 stack of $5 & $10 chips and risk the money you need to pay your mortgage and buy food for you family ? How long do you think it would take them to take your stack from you ?
I love your analogies pt! Brutal but very accurate.
Thanks for the input... Good thing Im not an engineer huh... I just fix the broke stuff. Personally engineers get on my nerves... they never "engineer" something for the guy that actually has to work on it. Your analogy is good. Straight to the point. So what about your personal experiences... How did you get in it and what pitfalls did you go through?
quote:
Originally posted by day trading

I love your analogies pt! Brutal but very accurate.



thanks dT...


... hey better a little direct truth here. might save this individual a little money learning the lessons the hard way using money they cannot afford to lose.

...the market is the best and ultimate teacher of lessons in this business. we can sit back and say not a word and the market will take care of the training... but, if we can lessen the pain just a little with some helpful advice, or help make sense out of the confusion resulting from painful losses in the market so the better for everyone.
quote:
Originally posted by ThBrtmn

Thanks for the input... Good thing Im not an engineer huh... I just fix the broke stuff. Personally engineers get on my nerves... they never "engineer" something for the guy that actually has to work on it. Your analogy is good. Straight to the point. So what about your personal experiences... How did you get in it and what pitfalls did you go through?



ah ok, sorry for the misunderstanding on your professional training... if you fix stuff then perhaps there is some glimmer of hope...


in terms of the analogy, you need to think about how your going to survive as the small minnow in the big pond... it can be done but it's excedingly difficult and very few survive long enough to make it.

... pitfalls generally revolve around the concept of gaining experience.... putting it another way, it takes time to figure out all the mistakes traders make and all the wrong ways to behave... learning each lesson the market will teach you over time... this is why so few survive, because they run out of resources long before they learn everything they need to in order to be profitable.

...trading is like learning a new language, a new way to think, which is why i was so hard on the engineering professionals because they usually have the most difficult time letting go of their predispositions and prior formal training and learning how to think correctly. so for my personal experience, i had to learn the language of the market, and how to think and behave correctly as a trader.
ThBrtmn, how old are you? (If you don't mind me asking?)

Irrespective of your age, I agree with what pt says. Unless you shadow trading your brother-in-law (assuming that he's profitable) you're not going to make a profit for at least a couple of years. Then, assuming that you've worked hard at it and mastered all the steps, you should start to turn a profit or at least know if you're able to turn a profit.

People often say things like "don't trade real money until after you've traded paper money for 3, 6, 9 months" etc. I personally don't think that you should trade real money until you are turning a profit with your simulated trading.
quote:
Originally posted by day trading

People often say things like "don't trade real money until after you've traded paper money for 3, 6, 9 months" etc. I personally don't think that you should trade real money until you are turning a profit with your simulated trading.



good points DT

if I may, i would like to add the new trader should experience a few drawdowns during this simulation phase, losing streaks, and see how they react to that experience. Often traders will hit a losing streak and abandon or signficantly modify the trading method/system they were using, which in my view amounts to curve fitting on the fly and thus negates the previous work and sets them back to square one in the process. The point is to experience different market conditions, and that takes time. Done properly the trader needs to ride out the losing streak and return to profitability with the original system intact, thus proving to themselves the method will survive a drawdown. Losses and drawdowns are a real part of trading, and learning how to react properly, with discipline, and confidence in the long term value of the system is very important.
I agree, a draw down is very good to experience while doing the simulated part of your training. If you have a look at the Fading the Gap study you will see in the section labeled Back testing fading all gaps that this strategy had a 5.5 month draw down and back to break even period where your account lost almost 40% of its value before returning back to where you started. Once you've experienced that and know that your strategy is capable of doing that and still coming out ahead then you might be prepared to risk real money. Until you've worked through this exercise you don't know how you will feel (emotionally) after suffering a 40% draw down with a winning strategy.