I'm completely new to trading. I want to transition to day trading for a living. I'm currently (last 3 weeks) paper trading the E-Mini.
The purpose of this thread is:
1) Get feedback as to whether or not I'm on the right track to making this a reliable source of income. Am I picking it up fast enough and competently enough? I'd like others, preferably successful traders, to compare my progress to theirs and let me know if I'm progressing at a sufficient pace.
2) Share my experiences so that others can learn something from my successes and mistakes.
Here is a simple trading log for the last 3 weeks.
My success rate for round trip trades is 60.5%. My profit/loss ratio is 1.18.
I started out before Christmas, getting set up with a paper trading platform. I then found some web sites with information and techniques for trading the E-Mini. I jumped right in and started trading. I kept trying to read and learn more about indicators and techniques. Before the new year, I started concentrating on learning to understand how price and volume are related (VSA, Wyckoff). It wasn't until Monday, the 5, that I felt I was starting to get a handle on analyzing the charts and they weren't just gobblygook.
If you add the numbers up, you'll see I dug a pretty deep hole before Christmas (opened a position without limit/stops overnight, and the market went against my position). I became net positive (including fees and commissions) after Tuesday, the 6th.
What have I learned so far? 1) Use stop orders to limit losses! 2) Don't trade at the bells, or at least don't try to guess which way the market is going to go within 30 seconds either side of a opening/closing bell. 3) Don't trade on gut instinct. (It seems like I'd be better off just doing the opposite of what I think is going to happen!)
Something I could be better at? Letting winners run to goal (+4). My losses are all -3 pts (if not more), but my winners are not all +4. I get anxious just to get out with a win and flatten. Then I look back and see the market would have hit my limit. Maybe I should figure out trailing stops to lock in some gain.
My current goal is to start using real money by February and average $200 / day (gross), trading 1 E-mini contract. That would replace my current income and pay all the bills.
I'm open to any questions about my methods, platforms and indicators.
Last edited by oddTrader; January 7th, 2015 at 08:05 PM.
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I don't really know where to start, so I will be as blunt and brief as possible. Please don't take this as being rude. I have been there, done that and got the t-shirt!
To start using real money after only 12 weeks of paper trading in my opinion is crazy. I would suggest at least 12 months to really hone in on your trading style, risk appetite, types of trades you want to focus on and defining trading rules.
Unless you are a trading God whom just gets it, I am certain you will blow your account. Trading real money is totally and utterly different than trading in sim. Until you feel the deep pain of losing real hard earned funds, you have no idea what your psychology will be. I have stressed this over and over in other posts where a new trader wants to move from paper to real money - it isn't easy.
Now, you might be sitting with tens of thousands of dollars in your trading account and you might just survive, but trading is really, really hard!
I could write a lot more but I'll finish up for now.
- Trade what you see. Invest in what you believe -
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I don't mind bluntness. Thanks for the advice, but I won't be following it.
My one month to live funds goal, is just that, a goal. If in a months time I don't think I'm ready, I'll keep paper trading. But I want to be successful at this much sooner than 12 months.
I'm working on my trading rules as I learn a trading style. I'm a quick study and VSA makes sense to me. I plan to keep it simple and just focus on ES.
I'm going to do day trading because I just want to sit at a computer for a few hours, make some money and be done for the day. Then I don't have to worry about what the market is doing until the next day.
I think I'm OK with, and I understand, the risks involved. I participate in some high risk activities, where my life is on the line, so losing money doesn't phase me. I'm not very emotional about money, so I don't think going live is going to change how I feel about losses. I've already lost tens of thousands of dollars on other business ventures and I'm still kicking.
I don't expect trading to be easy, but so far, it doesn't seem that difficult either. I'm confident in my ability to learn new things and then be successful at them. I don't get hung up on failures, I just learn what I can and move on.
I didn't have a good day, but it wasn't catastrophic. I slept through the opening bell and didn't start looking at charts until 8:30 am MST. Would I have made one or more winning trades between 7:30 and 8:30? Probably, but maybe not. Given what happened the rest of the day, I'm not so sure.
For the day I was -2.75 on 13 round trip trades and down $220. In looking back at what went wrong, I found 3 trades that were losers that should have been +3 to +4 pt winners. Why were they losers? ... because I got out too early. I think I've identified one of my problems, I get impatient for a win and get nervous with the market bouncing around. I don't even know why I was nervous, there was never more than -2 pts of heat and I try to use -3 or -4 pt stops. I had the market read right and tripped over my own feet.
In analyzing the price chart and volume histogram today, it seemed like there were two competing factions today and not one entity employing accumulation and distribution. Just when I thought I figure out which way the big boys wanted the market to move, it went the other way, with valid volume indications. I couldn't figure out which faction was putting more pressure on the market at any one time. The range of highs and lows, after 8:30 am MST, was too tight for me today, by the time I got in on a move, it was 1/2 to 3/4 over.
So, if I replay the day I could have had a +11.75 day and been out by 12:30 pm MST.
I had a couple accidental trades because I'm still trying to learn the ToS platform. One actually could have been a +3 win, but with a +4 target it just reversed and hit my -3 stop. The other mis-fire just got me in and out in a millisecond.
I'm still on track and above my goal for the week. My success rate is now 57.4% and profit/loss ratio dropped to 1.11.
Overall, I think I had a good day. The analysis of the price action and volume seemed pretty clear. And, I may have cheated a little bit.
I wasn't planning on it, but I ended up at my computer before the release of the jobs numbers today. I got in Long just after 6:30 am MST and made 7 points. Woo hoo! Almost to my daily max goal of 10. Then, the market paused a bit. I waited, and after 15 minutes I thought the market was going to keep going up, at least for a little bit, and I got in Long again.
Then my power went out! I had forgotten to place a stop order! I remembered that I had the ToS app on my phone and logged in to check. Ahhhgg! The market had plummeted! As quick as I could I got out, but the damage was done. My previous gain was wiped out, but I was only 1 tick in the hole. I had a good laugh after that. I guess I really wasn't supposed to be trading that early. OK, Trading Gods, lesson learned, ALWAYS place stop orders.
Like I said earlier, I may have cheated. I was watching the charts, and following the Spoo-nalysis thread. Use all the info at your disposal, right? I saw what others, more experienced than I were saying, and checked it out for myself. The signals looked good and valid to me, so I made 3 more trades. I think I would have made the trades anyway, but maybe not gotten in as early. The trending was fairly straight forward this morning, I thought. Anyways, I more than exceeded my max daily goal and was done before lunch.
Well, I think that's it for this thread. I decided to start a journal thread. I think that will be more appropriate repository for my ramblings.
Have a CAVU day!
Last edited by oddTrader; January 9th, 2015 at 06:36 PM.
Hey man - it's exciting to start trading. I was in your shoes a few months ago, went from successful paper trading to abysmal live trading. Just letting you know.
My recommendation to you (which is what I'm doing now and have found it extremely helpful) is to trade the micro-euro futures (M6e). At first, the $1.25 tick seems like nothing, but it adds up quickly (both ways). It'll also bring into sharp focus the reality of widening markets, optimal times to trade, slippage, and the macro economics behind price movements. Since it's a futures contract, you can also use volume analysis.
Start with 5K, and try to double it. The contract routinely moves a minimum of 50 ticks a day, usually up to 100, sometimes much more depending on if there is news. If you can double your initial 5K investment (should take you 3-6 months depending on how good you are, or even faster if you use more than one contract), you'll be ready to trade the ES. If you happen to lose the 5K, well, you just saved yourself 50K from not trading the ES.
The benefit of trading the micro-futures also is the ability to use multiple contracts, which will help you learn about sizing positions and risk taking. With 5K, you can use almost 20 contracts if you really want to max things out and you're on a roll. You can also reduce your position to 1 lot if you become risk averse in certain situations.
Lastly, I encourage you to read the autobiography of Niederhoffer and read through all the posts tigertrader has made on this website.
I wish I had known about this contract at the beginning of my live trading. In my opinion, paper trading is really only useful to figure out the software, to learn about the mechanics of trading in general, and to test out some strategies.
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