When Is A Good Time to Learn to Trade?

I have no shortage of potential e-mini traders who, for various job related reasons, would like to learn to supplement their retirement income by day trading. Most explain they plan to begin their training when they retire. With that thought in mind, there is going to be a serious time lapse between beginning the learning process and actually showing an actual profit. It takes time and experience to learn to day trade and there aren’t a lot of shortcuts to learning to trade.

It stands to reason that if you are serious about supplementing your income by trading you should start well in advance of your targeted day to trade real money. In my experience it takes from 3-7 months before you reach any level of competence. There is a tremendous amount of information to digest and apply to the markets.


This is a confusing scenario for me as it flies in in the face of a carefully thought out decision. Granted, trading is not for everyone; but if you are committed to learning to day trade it is essential to learn to trade prior to actually trying to supplement your income. I can’t tell you the numbers of times that I have had a beginning e-mini trader spend a single week learning and complain that they aren’t making any money. My answer is always the same, “how can you possibly expect to trade profitably after only a week?”

Of course, it you choose to learn to trade on your own by buying the latest book on e-mini trading you can expect a much longer learning curve. Most books feature a methodology that features lagging indicators and oscillators, moving averages, and a number of other lagging indicators. This is the recipe for disaster, as lagging indicators are among the worst for day trading.

The toughest hurdle to overcome is not reading indicators and spotting potential trades. (Though most beginning e-mini traders tend to trade too much and too many contracts) The toughest part of trading is to master the psychological profile of a successful e-mini trader. Logic and common sense are of little value in the trading arena, as the market is not logical nor is there any display of common sense. The market is the summation of a wide variety of opinions on which direction the market is headed and the results of this process produces some unexpected results. To be sure, most e-mini markets are traded on a technical basis and having a solid grounding in trading in this style is especially helpful.

In summary, if you have a targeted date you want to supplement or replace your income it is imperative that you start to learn to trade well in advance of that date. I have yet to meet the e-mini trader who is profitable in a week, and only one that was profitable within a month. Think about it, it may be the only logical tidbit in the e-mini trading business.

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