Does anyone really make money trading futures?

Does anyone really make money trading futures?

I am just wondering.

I know I don't. I have tried all the indicators and the chat room gurus, and none of them make money.

I have a suspicion that a lot of the chat rooms for emini trading are just for hobbyists and market enthusiasts and not for serious traders trying to make a business out of trading.

For any new traders out there please be very cautious of paying anyone to mentor you or signing up for training or a chat room. From what I have seen the only people making money in these deals is the mentor, the chat room owner or the author of the training manual.

I would love to hear from you if you are a successful trader making 20% off your account or better over the past year. I know only 5 to 10 percent of traders are supposed to be successful, but I am beginning to think that zero percent of traders are successful over the long haul. Certainly anyone can have a streak of luck and rack up a few good months where they dramatically increase their account size, but these people are normally big risk takers and eventually they blow out their accounts by taking the exact same risks that help double their accounts in the first place.

Thanks in advance for any response.
I've said many times that I think the closest profession to trading is professional poker (I feel the second closest would be being a professional athlete, followed then by other professions like doctor, architect, commercial airline pilot, and so on). So, I would say that trading is just about exactly like gambling. Now, let's look at poker. Most would say making it on the pro circuit would be very difficult, and most would fail. Yet I've not met a single person to date who says it can't be done. They look at the track record of Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth, and on and on, and they all see it can be done. I've never heard a single person tell me they thought Doyle Brunson's success for over fifty years as a professional was due to luck. So, why would someone say trading can't be done, not by anyone ever? I'm still struggling to understand that, when it is so clear that professional gamblers exist, and retire net profitable all the time.
And now we will hear that Doyle Brunson's fifty years was indeed due to luck, and that no successful professional gamblers exist, and that even if they did, gambling is not like trading, so it doesn't matter. Drum roll, please...
It comes down to what Jim has already said. Trading is a business. 90% of all new businesses fail within the first year and 99% of the last 10% will fail in the following five years. So if you open a trading business(just like any other business) you will most likely fail. It doesnt mean it cant be done though. There is plenty of proof out there of people succeeding in every profession, Including trading. Imagine that!
Well, that's the endless discussion in here, the claim that no trader ever has made it, and that no trader ever will. And it goes on and on and on, no matter what evidence it produced or what common sense is applied. And I doubt it will ever stop. It's really quite pointless, but even that has been discussed in here ad nauseam, and it still goes on and on. And ultimately, that's the point, to just repeat the exact same thing over and over and over, and to use our time in ways that are not productive towards the goals of this forum.
Yep, people really do. I do. The thing about trading though is it is not some static, "i have made it" kind of thing. The trader has to keep at it, and keep manufacturing success every day with every decision. Even traders who have succeeded for some time "hit walls" or have periods where they feel completely out of touch.

I think one of the biggest roadblocks to success is the kind of goals people have.

For example: Trying to turn $10,000 into $1M in a year is possible but not probable. However, it seems fewer traders today are looking for that big score, and more are wanting to trade a small amount of capital and trade for a living. This, in my opinion, is even less probable than making a big score. Lots of frustration and lots of losses in this group.

The best odds of success go to those who can find a profitable niche in the markets that fit the amount of capital they have and their position in the markets. For example, a trader paying $5 a round turn should not try to compete with traders who pay almost nothing and move near the speed of light via automated programs. This would be like a mom and pop discounter opening up right next to a wal-mart. Success just ain't going to happen. Yet how many struggling day traders are effectively trying to do this?

It is possible to achieve great things through trading. Just realize the key to success is doing the hard things and having the tenacity to do what almost no one else is willing to do. This often starts with making goals that are realistic and based on who you really are and where you really are at.
Hi Michael,

On a more positive outlook, I do not feel markets are random walk.
There is an excellent video by Jack Schwartz of Market Wizards fame
debunking the random walkists. He interviews the elite traders who make money year in and year out. They all work very, very hard and love what they do. Each has their own approach.

The markets aren't random walk because people are random walk.

I have also read Reminiscences of a Stock Operator. I loved it!
Great book. (It's online at this site BTW).

I came away with a different take of his message and he certainly did not say the markets were random walk (BTW the random walk theory was created by a professor long after Jesse Livermore was dead and there are strict assumptions to his hypothetical economic theory - if the assumptions aren't met even he would not claim his theory holds true.)

I hope it helps

Originally posted by mmartinez


Good question. I am looking at this forum because I would like to ask the same. I've been trading for years and haven't made a dime.

People and books always mention the 5% of traders who are successful, I would like to see replies from some of them if any are in here.

I read a book many years ago which impressed me that trading is a zero sum game for just about everyone. The book was Reminiscences of a Stock Operator. The guy in it was considered one of the best traders. Despite it, he found himself broke several times, even after thirty years of doing it.

I also recently asked someone I know who is the manager of one of the quant funds in New York about trading. His response was that the markets are a random walk and its a waste of time to trade.

Dismal thoughts, aren't they.

So if there's anyone who is actually successful at this, we'd like to hear from you.


Originally posted by jimkane

They look at the track record of Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth, and on and on, and they all see it can be done. I've never heard a single person tell me they thought Doyle Brunson's success for over fifty years as a professional was due to luck. So, why would someone say trading can't be done, not by anyone ever? I'm still struggling to understand that, when it is so clear that professional gamblers exist, and retire net profitable all the time.

Well ... winning the lottery can be done. It doesn't mean it's a worthwhile thing to pursue.
You know, I thought of about five different points here (all of them made in the past in this thread already) that I wanted to bring up in response to this, but I think the way mmartinez chose to answer says it all...
I dont know what is bothering me more, the fact that i cant figure out how to get off of the auto notification from this ridiculous posting or that the site hasnt shut it down.

mr martinez must be having a good laugh over all the fools who continue to attempt to present reasonable responses to his negativity. no one is going to convince him of anything. he is full of negativity and really needs to get a life.

no matter what or how you respond he will respond with a negative so why respond.

by the way, m martinez, i am making money and continue to make money. and the inevitable response from you will be, lets see, wait over time youll lose, or maybe, its not the norm or whatever.

if anyone can tell me how to get off the auto notify i would appreciate it.
I think your sentiment is shared by all, trader1512. It got so bad that a separate topic was even created for mmartinez ( so that he could interact with those that, for whatever reasons, wanted to keep going on and on forever about this. We see now that that thread is inactive, and he's back in here, with the same exact comments. It's his sworn mission in life to save us all, and nothing short of DT is going to stop that.
I consistently profit from futures/futures options, but it took me a long time to figure out the best way for me to do so.

While a set of trading rules is very important, I have found that it is just as, maybe even MORE important, to develop "trading callouses" from getting your butt handed to you repeatedly along the way.

Here's the thing: Any set of rules will only work until they don't. It is normal human psychology that there will come a time (again and again) where you deviate from the rules because A) you have had a string of losses, B) you have had a string of wins and now you have a loss and can't believe you're really supposed to "lose this one," C) you get greedy, D) you get scared for whatever reason, or E) any one of a thousand other things that will cause you to screw up.

I had ups and downs for many years until I thought I had it figured out and had a couple of years of really solid profits. I had my own private island picked out :) (not really, but I did have a condo in mind O/N an island). Then came the financial crisis of 2008 and I learned that while I had a generally good strategy, because times were good I had not developed an appropriate risk control system.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars later... (and that didn't take long at all!) I learned the hard way that my strategy was woefully inadequate when the unexpected happened. It took me a while to brush myself off, but eventually I did.

Since sometime in 2009 my cumulative returns are somewhere around 450%. Over the past 9 years I've found that proper risk control continues to be where I tend to fall short, so I've had some choppiness during this time. About two years ago I tightened things up some more to try to make for a smoother equity curve... this mean that, theoretically, my losing months should NOT be as large as in the past, but my winning months will also not be as large as they were in the past.

That's okay though -- even my cumulative success over the past 9-10 years, when averaged out by month, comes to < 2% a month. I suspect that 2% a month, long term, is about where I'll stay, but the ride should just be smoother along the way.

A return like that may or may not be enough for a particular person--it is for me--but keep in mind if you want to shoot for the stars there's a really good chance you're going to eventually crash land back on earth. It really does come down to being adequately capitalized and having a reasonable return be "enough" for you. By all means, trade even with a small account, because you need that experience to get to the point where you'll know what you're doing when you have the larger account. Just don't expect to turn a tiny account into a massive one along the way or you will probably be disappointed.