How to Day Trade – It’s not gambling, unless you’re stupid
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” (quote attributed to Herbert Spencer)
Whenever I mention Day Trading to someone who hasn’t tried Day Trading, let alone studied it, they immediately call it “gambling”. Sheesh.
There’s no hope for stubbornness and stupidity. Luckily, that is only part of my story, and I got help…
My Day Trading Story – so far
When I decided a year ago to learn how to day trade, I committed to studying courses two-hours a day and paper trading* for six months. Many day trading instructors recommend a minimum of 6-12 months of paper trading – and repetitive success – before moving to real money. Note: I should’ve gone with the 12 months.
*Paper trading is where the brokers give you fake “Monopoly” money in an account so you can practice.
In the beginning, I took several free courses through TD Ameritrade (TDA), I bought access to watch a famous day trader (who I won’t name in this post) trade real time every morning, and watched the free training videos by ZipTrader Charlie (more on him in a moment). I learned to use TDA’s thinkorswim platform for professional traders. I paper-traded every day (before and sometimes after my day job) for six months and then moved to real money.
After trading for a few months with real money, I was doing well. Since I do not have anywhere near $25K to get around the PDT rule and I have a day job, I could only trade for an hour in the morning with money that had settled, so it was (and still is) slow-going. I was also trying to shadow-trade the real-time super fast setups of the famous day trader. (Not something a newbie should ever do.)
Then I had a significant loss on a swing trade [Luckin Coffee ($LK) = bad, dishonest company]. After that, I seemed to lose my mojo (read: some more money). My already small account was rapidly getting smaller.
So last month, after a year of trading, I decided it was time to take a step back, and go back to day trading school. This time I bought Charlie’s ZipTraderU course.
As I mentioned, I’ve been watching ZipCharlie’s free trading videos since summer of last year. They’re terrific: He makes trading easy to understand, and he does it with humor. He is intelligent, witty, and ravishingly handsome.
See what I mean? I’ve proposed marriage, but he has yet to respond. It may be that he prefers women closer to his age. Even though I am only 29 (yes, I am!), I think he is around 24. Or maybe he prefers brunettes. Or sane women. Could be anything, really.
But as usual,
I am distracted by a good looking man I digress.
Back to his course in ZipTRaderU… It takes the content he offers in the free videos to a whole new level of understanding!
The course focuses on day trading, but also includes swing trading, as well as how to find stocks to trade, how and where to research news and other catalysts (like biotech PDUFAs), price action, when and where to enter and exit a trade, how to determine position size, and details the steps to take for determining if it’s a good trade or not.
The course wasn’t even expensive, only $349 with the discount. No hidden or recurring fees like so many other courses out there, a really smooth teaching platform (Teachable), and life-time access to the course. It also comes with access the Discord ZTU community (which has also been invaluable!), where he posts comprehensive daily watch lists and tips, and answers questions. It’s so nice to be among a large group of successful and helpful traders! The course was more than worth it.
And having just completed the course, I can tell you two things: I learned a great deal more about day trading, (like price action, among other things) – something I thought I already knew, and my trades are already much more successful than before I started trading real money. Upon reflection, buying ZipTraderU was something I should’ve done the minute it came out early this year. But when it came out, I thought I had already learned more than the course could teach me. (Ha!)
I trade for a bit before and after my day job (which I plan to replace with day trading), so it’s totally doable if you’re working a day job and have limited resources to start with. My account is still small but I’m building it back with what I learned in ZipTraderU. I’m making a few percent on each trade now (only 10% have been losing trades, but I get out quick now), and I am having a great time!
Trading is so much fun! More than I ever realized it would or could ever be. And there is always something new to learn. Now I am studying options trading.
If you want to learn how to day trade, here are my recommendations:
- Treat trading like an awesome new job that requires diligent studying before you get the awesome position.
- Commit to practicing with paper money for a minimum of six months.
- Sign up for a free account on TDA, and then download and learn to use their thinkorswim (TOS) desktop trading platform. TOS has the best charts and news feeds around. (TOS also has decent mobile version, with paper trading at the flip of a switch!)
- Practice, practice, practice!
I’ll close with a quote from the ravishing ZipCharlie:
Trading is not easy, but each individual step to become and develop yourself as a trader is straightforward and doable. There are absolutely no “secrets,” growth as a trader comes down to both what you can learn, what you can practice, and how much time & effort you dedicate to it.
In my experience trading isn’t hard at all, if you’re willing to learn. And it’s a lot of fun.
Update Feb 5, 2021: Taking this course in 2020 changed the game for me. It has been about seven months since I took it and I can now see myself being able to trade for a living by the end of this year.
Update Sept, 2022: I’m not good at day trading.
Because I still believe in managing your own money, for the last year I’ve been taking the free live classes on TD Ameritrade for options trading. Despite what you may have heard about options trading, it’s much safer that trading stocks. Go for small wins and always set a target and an exit on the trades.