How long would it take before you can make a stable income from trading?

How long is a piece of string?

The best answer anyone can come up with is somewhere between 6 months and never – which isn’t very helpful!

Therefore, what this FAQ will aim to do is to outline practical steps that you can take that will help you to get from wherever you are now – to making a stable income from trading – as quickly as possible.

If you’re offered a salaried position at a proprietary trading firm (referred to as a ‘prop’shop’) or at an investment bank, you’ll be expected to make money for your employer in a matter of months. If you don’t, you’ll either be moved on to a different department or invited to find alternative employment. However, for the purposes of this FAQ, the chances are that you’re a self taught retail trader working from home. The only time limit is one that you impose yourself. The upside to this is that there’s little or no pressure, but the downside is that you could spend years of not getting anywhere and eventually give up. A lot of time will have been wasted and, quite possibly, a lot of money too. So, what’s the solution?

Set your own time limit

Unfortunately, there’s no reasonable benchmark which helps you to gauge what would be appropriate for your personal circumstances. However, what you can do is to set realistic time based goals. For example, month No 1 might be to read all the FAQs and Stickies on T2W. Month No 2 might be to set up your data feed, charting software and broker. Month No 3 to develop and test a simple trading methodology etc.

Learn fast and get experience Knowledge is power and the best kind of knowledge is that which you acquire through your own experience. Learning to trade is a bit like learning to drive. Learner drivers read the Highway Code, but that’s no substitute for getting behind the wheel of a car. The same principle applies to trading, so open an account and paper trade on a simulated platform as soon as possible. Then, when you’re ready, trade very SMALL amounts of real money.

Have a reason to trade other than just making money

The goal of consistent profitability is common to most traders. However, make sure that it’s not your only goal. If you never achieve it, how will you feel? You don’t want to devote months – or maybe even years to this endeavour – and, if it fails, to conclude it’s all been a total waste of time. Your trading journey should be rewarding in itself, even if you never achieve the goal of making a stable income from doing it

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