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How long does it take to become a good trader?

Something someone said in another thread got me thinking...How long does it take to be a good trader??? Not just profitable but consistant new account highs?
IMHO I would say 10,000 hours, thats almost 6 years of screen time. I put in +7hours a day on the us index's and 3-4 on the euro every night which I think really helped. And it took about 10,000 before my account stopped with the large swings and replaced with the more easy on the stomach new highs, higher lows.
It's a never ending learning experience. You have to study a lot about the market. I cant tell you really how long but somehow you have to dive into it to learn. Risk only what you can afford to lose.
Shouldn't this topic be stickied?

I'm new here to MyPivots (What an excellent find it was) and I'm surprised, like a few of the posters, that this topic hasn't gained more attention.

I aim to learn how to trade well and I am giving myself a 5 year plan to get really good at it. I can put in about 20 hours a week right now and as time goes on I may be able to steal more hours away from other responsibilities.

I agree with Kan Trading in that it seems so many people think they can just start trading and be a pro in a couple months, whereas in other professions it's known that it will take many years of serious study to be proficient.

I suspect that there is a lifecycle to the new traders that expect instant riches and buy into the marketing hype of "indicator of the month" systems and such. I'll bet come in, trade for a few months, and blow up their account in 6 months or less.

Well, I hope that any new traders that find this forum like me are able to read this topic first and understand that hard work and dedication are required to excel at the skill of trading, just like any skill.

It is impossible to say how long it will take because the fact is, most who try never do become good traders. There is another catch: Those who have succeeded or are succeeded never reach some, "grand finish line" in the sky. Success in trading is literally something that has to continually be recreated. There are times when a trader can feel wonderful: They have "figured out the game" and are able to print money for months or even longer.

Then market dynamics change, and suddenly profits turn to losses and the "made it" trader suddenly feels at square one. Is this trader a success? Well, are they willing to create success all over again? Can they stomach throwing away what is broken and recreating new tools that fit the current environment? The trader that can succeed over time has to keep digging deep to overcome these kinds of situations.

An old poem about Bagpipes goes, "To the make of a Piper, go Seven Years...."
catpurley - I wish you the best of luck with your endeavor.

A couple of random thoughts on the topic...

No indicator can replace experience.

In the end, every indicator leads you back to yourself.

In most cases the time necessary is a function of the individual's willingness to listen to the market.
PT, I'm not arguing with you, but in the end, every indicator leads back to Price Action.
Originally posted by piperian

PT, I'm not arguing with you, but in the end, every indicator leads back to Price Action.

No worries, just an observation on my part.

I agree with your observation that indicators are twice removed from the actual market. Price Action (on a chart) is a first derivative, and thus is closer to reality, meaning chart based price action is faster and more accurate (with less distortion from the truth). The actual market (reality) is order flow and both charts and indicators are derived from some part of order flow (typically from the last price data stream).

My statement was intended to point out that all indicators have an inherent uncertainty associated with them. An indicator signal always has the chance that it might fail and result in a loss, and we never know in real-time when the indicator signal will fail. This ever present uncertainty oftentimes creates havoc in the minds of many traders, both new and experienced alike.

A "signal" to buy or sell is nothing more than an expectation that something predictable might happen next. The word "might" in this context implies there is a historic probability of success and failure associated with the signal. In the past this signal resulted in a profit 70% of the time. Knowing this historic probability of success provides the necessary motive to act on the new signal. A chart based pure price action signal has an associated probability of success and failure. Likewise there is a probability associated with an indicator signal. In both cases, pure price action and indicator, there is an uncertainty associated with the new signal. It is this uncertainty that crosses the boundary from "market analysis" to the individuals capacity for risk taking.

No matter the method used to generate the next trading signal, each individual must face this struggle between trusting the historic probability of the signal and the inherent uncertainty of the new signal in real-time.
My own personal problem is hanging onto a good trade. I've got my Trailing Stops set right, yet I'll hit "FLATTEN", getting out WAY too early, in a panic, 9 times out of 10.
I gotta stop doing that to climb up to the next level.
Originally posted by piperian

My own personal problem is hanging onto a good trade. I've got my Trailing Stops set right, yet I'll hit "FLATTEN", getting out WAY too early, in a panic, 9 times out of 10.
I gotta stop doing that to climb up to the next level.

Essentially the same problem as I described, it's a trust issue.

This is how I look at it. You did your job taking the entry signal, stay out of the way and let the market do it's job and find a way to get to your profit target.

It's funny you mentioned price action in your prior posting, because I have noticed that pure price action traders tend to have the exact problem you describe.
Very good words to trade by.
As for pure price action, I've got custom Fibs up on the screen, as well as yesterdays RTH OHLC.
I actually don't give the Fibs much thought, cuz I tried Pivots for so long. They were "magic" stop and reverse lines for me. Needless to say, that didn't work out so well.
I won't ever look at a line on the screen the same way again.
It is interesting to watch PA hit a Fib level and bounce off it.
“Well everything gets on you with time. You have to devote your efforts in specializing in trading”