My thought is that the optimum amount to learn is absolute zero. My reason is that if you learn in simulation only, and spend several years getting good, THEN you add money to the mix you are much, much more likely to be successful.
Trading is not something you can learn "In Game". You have to learn techniques that work (which you can do in a few months), and hone your skills over a few years or more. You simply need time to see how the system works in all the major market conditions. 6 months in ideal conditions can lead to a blow out if you put real money on just when the conditions you are used to dry up. Experience as much as possible before you do it for real.
College is a4 year endeavor....learning to trade should be at least that.
In todays world, simulated electronic trading is really close to what you would experience in real life, with live real time data feeds and all that. Of course, it cannot simulate Limit moves and such extreme conditions, of course, but they are near perfect for learning and perfecting skills the rest of the time.
The truth, is that Trading is hard. It's not easy, and it takes YEARS to get really good. A 3 month trading course just teaches you the tools of THAT system. You are a long, long way to go till you are ready to get in with real money.
My thought is that if you can develop a system that wins 70% or more of the time, and you can consistently do that for a year, you are ready to enter with real money. How much money will depend on what you want to trade, and the margins required to control contracts.
This is just my opinion of course, but it is an opinion based on a study of Commodity/Futures trading going back to the mid 90's.
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Trading SIM will never equal trading real cold hard cash. Also trading SIM for more than about 2-3 months will do more harm than good. Emotions drive most traders and can not be duplicated in a SIM. SIM is for you to learn your method, learn your platform, and get dressed for the game. Once that is done, you have to go to live or you have to go home...
It is better to trade real money real small for years until you can become profitable.
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I agree completely with that, but trading sim is better for your health lol.
I think the stress of being in positions either drives you forward or out the door. An experienced trader once told me that its the business of a trader to often to make decisions that are counter intuitive, I think that's true, and you can only really feel that if you trade live.
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I can't define the optimum amount except to say that it needs to be enough to cause you profound pain when you inevitably wipe it out. Rinse and repeat until you learn the lessons required which will include humility. There is no free lunch.
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Really depends on the product. You could start in micro forex for as little as a few hundred dollars. Get used to trading successfully with just 1 micro lot, and then learn how to get aggressive with leverage when it is called for. Try doing that with futures, and your odds of blowing out a much larger account quickly are much higher. I would definitely recommend starting trading cash stocks (no leverage) or trading micro forex at around a 5-10:1 margin level. Learn to not risk more than you can make on a trade. You will need more to trade stocks, but swing trading them without leverage will not expose you to as much risk. That could be done with a few grand. You will not get rich with it but you will learn.
this may be a controversial subject, but let;s assume a few facts, and then ask the same question, how much capital do you need?
a. If you lost MOST of your capital through trading something and it didn't work?
For instance, I lost about 3 K trading OIL not long ago ( never traded it before).....my account was down to about $400.
b. Then, let's say that ( due to necessity), you decided you were absolutely going to WIN back that stake no matter what !!! What if you made that statement and meant it.
c. Then you traded something you were more familiar with, and you were using a very rational, common sense approach - which the HUGE loss helped you STICK TO, and you followed rules because you HAD TO.
d. The CHALLENGE then is - could you do it in 1 month???
I did it......and now I'm happy to really GO FOR IT because I realised something in this Big loss, BIG win scenario....
you'll never get rich trading 2% of your account size. And why should you trade 2 % anyway? What beginner trader has 50 K? It's an oxymoron to assume that, because lots of traders are hugely under-capitalised in relation to their trading vision ( I will make a living from trading etc). If you have 5 K, my challenge shows you don't need 50 K to get win enough to start trading.....
e. If you lost $400 trying to make $3000 in a month, how may times could you do that, month after month before you threw the towel in? ( If you lose the $400, you can't trade until the next month)......
My answer is .....I would never give in....it's such a small amount compared to my day job income, it's totally worth the small risk, and the challenge.....why ? because
1) I'm not risking 50 K to start and pretending I'm not scared, and thus trading only 2 % and pretending that if I lose 2 % It wouldn't hurt me psychologically. Why? because, who makes $1000 per day? Not many, that's why.
It wouldn't matter how long it took to make 50 K. It hurts to lose it for most mortal beings here ( be real please).
2) If I lose $400, that's my average daily takings from my day job, not bad you say? Well I think it sucks. That's why I would part with such a small morsel of funds and barely blink ( god knows the tax man takes more than that per week in Australia !)......If it meant gaining financial freedom through trading for a living.....If you can make 3 K from $400.....in 1 month, I'm sure you could make 40 K in a year. I don't care what anybody says on this site....
Just take the challenge yourself.........I've already proven to myself I can do, and I did it with the worst kind of stress, trying to get your losses back.....but that's my point in the thread.......ANYBODY can win their stake back IF THEY ABSOLUTELY MUST DO IT......well, if you have even some small ability trading......If you don't, you can't hide behind 2 % money management risk saving rules........why not prove to yourself you even have what it takes to be a successful trader and stop pussy footing around for years and years procrastinating.....
Sorry, I just say what I think........scold me? I don't care.....just take my challenge...prove it to yourself.
if I'm asked I would suggest starting with 100k and using just half of it with no leveraged instruments.
Give yourself 2/3 years and once you have made a 20/30% over your initial account try more leveraged instruments risking half of your profits.
But this is not the way I started.