Aspiring traders often ask me whether or not it’s really possible to make a living day trading the futures market. The short answer is yes. The longer answer is, yes you can make a living trading the futures market but you have to consistently do a lot of things right. Most traders simply do not yet possess the necessary trading skill, discipline, patience, or realistic attitude to succeed long-term in the markets.
However, this does not mean that it is impossible. You simply have to learn what you need to do to become a consistently profitable trader, and then do it. Easier said than done, I know; but, I am living proof that you can make a living trading the futures market, and I personally know other people who make consistent money in the markets. So, it can be done. My story has ultimately led me down the path of helping other traders, so let me give you some valuable insight into what it takes to be able to trade futures for a living…
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How much money do you need to make a living day trading futures?
The first thing you need if you want to make a living trading the futures market is enough starting capital; if you are under-funded you will have to accept that you will not be making a living from trading futures any time soon. The exact amount of disposable money that you will need in order trade full-time will be different for everyone. But, generally speaking, if you plan on effectively managing your risk on every trade, you will need a decent amount of money at your disposal in order to trade a large enough position size to make enough money to support yourself while at the same not risking too much of your account on any one trade.
Part Time trading for extra income is easier to achieve in the early stages of you trading career. You can obviously still trade and make consistent money each month even if you don’t have enough money to allow you to trade for a living just yet. However, instead of putting pressure on yourself to make a lot of money really fast, focus on building a consistently profitable track record and self confidence and the money will follow. Even if you have a lot of money to trade with, if you do not focus on the mechanics of successful trading, you will lose regardless. When I started trading, I started small, and when I became good, I approached people for money to trade, I built up my own capital and then went out on my own. People need to focus on becoming good traders and not focus on how much money they are trading, because let me tell you, if you are good, people will throw money at you to trade for them, and you will be fine in the long run (there are funds and private investors looking for good traders to trade for them, but you need to be good). My most sincere advice in the early stages of your trading pursuits is to aim to be a part time trader and a good one ! Big things will follow for you in the future if you can get this first part right.
So, yes, you do need a relatively large amount of money in order to trade full-time and be a player, but you still must be able to be a consistently profitable trader regardless. If you cannot make consistent profits on a small or medium size trading account you will not make them on a large account either, in the end it’s just Zeros .. $100, $1000, $10000 per point means nothing, it’s all the same.
Day Trading Futures for a living is the result of doing a lot of things right…
Trading full-time is not about over-analyzing and over-trading, it’s about being a “sniper”; making sure everything is as “perfect” as it can be before risking your money. Combining this high-reward / low-risk “sniper” mentality with a high-probability trading strategy is your edge in the market. Focusing your efforts on trading higher the fewer higher probability setups will give you a much better perspective on the markets and will greatly reduce the amount of trading mistakes you make.
The two most important components of success are not being under-funded and trading only a few setups:
• Learn and master a truly effective futures trading strategy.
• After learning and mastering an effective trading strategy, design a tangible and “working” trading plan around it. Refer to this trading plan every day and tweak or update it as you learn and grow as a trader.
• Record your trades in a trading journal and start creating a track record. This is important for keeping you accountable and helping you maintain discipline.
• Identify a logical and tolerable risk amount for every trade you take, do not ever risk more than you are comfortable with losing on any one trade. Practice proper money management.
• Do not over-trade. Doing everything else discussed in this article will help you to not over-trade. But you really have to be consciously aware of this huge trading mistake. Most new traders trade too much and in my opinion this is the number one reason most of them fail to make a living in the market.
If you are properly funded, have mastered a few high probability setups, are consistently and perfectly executing your edge, are following your trading plan, are recording your trades, and not over-trading or over-leveraging, you have a very good shot at eventually making a living from the market. The trick is that you must do ALL these things right. You can’t just do one, you have to be on top of your game all the time to make a living as a trader; it’s not easy or get rich quick.
Learning to trade from a successful trader can help you achieve your goals faster…
Just like any other profession or skill in life, it is easier to learn from a mentor. Learning to trade from a skilled trading mentor is arguable the most efficient and effective way to achieve your trading goals. ( No this is not some marketing pitch lol, I am serious, you need to educate yourself and be around others with the same goals, that is the entire reasons I started my trading community in the first place, ie; to share ideas, to be around other traders who have similar goals and to continue my own learning journey).
For almost 2 years, I have shared all my technical trading strategies with the public in my trading course and members’ community. I provide aspiring traders with the necessary pieces of the puzzle, but it is up to them to put them all together, I cannot do this for you. There are many “human” elements to trading that will require much effort on your part to master. If you can master the technical aspects that I teach along with the human elements, trading for a living is a realistically achievable goal for you.
Check out some of our live trades in our Futures Trading Room.