Posted by: joetradingplace | August 27, 2012

How long it takes to be a profitable trader

People underestimate the time it takes to succeed as a trader. Some people come here and think they can sit with me for a week and become great traders. How many people when they went to college would’ve thought to walk up to the professor and say ” I know the course is for a semester, but I think a week should be enough for me to get it.” Getting proficiency is the same in trading as in any other profession it requires experience, and experience takes time.

A man who attended one of my seminars a number of years ago asked me, “How long it take me to become a professional trader so I can quit my job and support my family?”

    “Three to five years, ” I said.

    “What! I’ m going to do it in six months,” he answered.

    “Well, you’re probably a lot smarter than I am, ” I said. “I didn’t make any money in my first five years.”

It’s seven years later, and he’s still not profitable as a trader. You can’t expect to become a doctor or an attorney overnight, and trading is no different. It’s a vocation that takes time, study and experience. Wisdom is a product of knowledge and experience. If you have more knowledge, you can get away with less experience and vice versa. If you can get both, the learning curve is very steep.

This is an interesting article from Stock market wizard….Mark.D Cook interview.

A lot of new traders come into the markets thinking they can just make money from day one. I think this attitude is a result of adverts from mentors and brokers….a lot of people I know came to trading because they saw an advert on the internet. Some programmer has found a system that makes 1400 percent per year….or some mentor can take you on a day course, they show you their strategy and you will be slapping your boss next week…and trading fulltime. A lot of adverts are miss-leading and new traders are usually attracted to the markets for a wrong reason…..GET RICK QUICK SCHEME…But they soon will be shocked when the promised riches turns into a nightmare of their life when they blow thousands of they hard-earned money.

I think I agree with Mark, that it takes at least three years for a trader to be profitable and start trading for  living….some people might be profitable quicker than others…or even in less than year, but that’s very rare. So if you are a new trader, don’t be fooled that you can be taught how to trade on a two-day course…learning to trade is a process not an event.  You have to be willing to work hard and pay your tuition, which is the money you lose while you’re learning how to trade. A question I get most of the time is “How long does it take me to be a profitable trader”…and a lot of people who ask this question don’t want to hear that it takes at least two-three years depending on individuals. As soon as you tell them this, they think you don’t know what you are talking about, they know they can do it in five-six months. Try to contact them in 12 months time….usually reality have kicked in, they have lost money…some lost their marriages and they are still not profitable…some of them would have already quit by then.

If it takes at least two-three years to be a successful trader…WHY then do people who have been trading for two-three years think they can be mentors to other new traders…they charge a ridicules amount of money to teach new traders whilst they are still learning themselves and they still havent made any money in the markets. I wouldn’t pay a penny to anyone who have been trading for less than six-eight years to mentor me. When I looked in the dictionary, a mentor is a wise and trusted counselor or teacher…One of the most valuable assets your career can have is a good mentor, so you have to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Last quote of the interview:

“How long do you think it will take for me to succeed?” I tell them, “three to five years of twelve-hour days and losing money.” Very few people want to hear that.



  1. I completely concur. I started trading in 2010 or before, and got whipped more than a few times. Still hanging in there. It unfortunately also affected my performance at work. I guess that is tuition. I somewhat feel some growing confidence now, and I feel ecstatic about the possibilities.

    But I must confess, this has been one harrowing experience. I thank God I didn’t give up and I learnt a lot about myself and my dreams. Haven’t made money yet, but I feel that I have graduated and it’s time for the big times.

    • Glad things are moving in the right direction 4 yu, keep going and stop stop learning

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