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Hey everyone. A while back I made the decision to moderate this subreddit because I was once in your shoes. I honestly did not know where to begin. I would type in “daytrading” in google and come up with so many companies trying to sell me the dream. “Make $$$ while you sleep!” “Look at how much I made today!!” etc. I wanted to make this post to first give new people a place where to start and to even offer some resources that can get you started in the right direction. If I have anything else to add I will add it here.
Open up a papertrading account with Think or Swim. It is free and you can get live data just by requesting it from support. All you have to do is ask them to add live data to your papertrading account. Do not pay monthly for any papertrading account. There are a lot of free videos out there that can help you get started with Think or Swim. The program looks complicated at first but it is very powerful. I spent a few days with the program and at the end of the week I was fairly comfortable with understanding where everything was. I have never had a 60-day limit with my papertrading account by the way. https://www.thinkorswim.com/t/pm-registration.html Start here and start taking trades! It is all fake money and will give you some insight into how the program works as well as how the markets move.
One other tip for setting up your papertrading account is to only set it up with a reasonable amount of money. I know a lot of papertrading accounts give you 100k right off the bat but realistically, how many of us are going to have that much money to start out with? Set it to something more reasonable like 10-20k if you are trading forex (or even less if all you have is 1-5k to trade with) or 25k+ if you are going to daytrade stocks only because the regulations require you to have at least 25k in your account at all times to daytrade (In this case, I would probably give yourself 30k just to be safe). If you are looking for a stock screener, ThinkorSwim has a pretty good one. A personal favorite of mine is www.FINVIZ.com which has an awesome screener for finding different chart patterns and conditions (such as prices crossing above 20 bar EMA, trending up, etc) Think or Swim has stocks, forex, futures, and options. Options are an entirely different beast all together but stocks, forex, and futures are all "yes-no" type of trading while options give you a little more leeway with your mistakes. If you are interested in learning about options, message me and I can help guide you with the right direction and best resources I used to learn options. EDIT: Due to the amount of PM's I was getting, I have decided to post the options course I started with here https://www.udemy.com/learn-options-trading-courses/ You shouldn't pay more than 10 bucks for it as Udemy does a ton of sales throughout the year. You can also just do a "Udemy coupon" search on google and see what you pull up. Its about 10 hours worth of content and in my opinion it is worth every penny if you are wanting to learn more about options. There are a ton of other great classes on Udemy as well for learning just about anything. Just make sure to read the reviews! Stocks is kind of the well known market for new comers but I would argue that Forex can also just as easily be traded by a newcomer. Also the benefit of trading Forex is that there is no commission off the bat. Most brokers will charge what is called a spread of some number of pips that you are essentially paying back. Futures trade in ticks and each tick nets you a gain of some amount or a loss of some amount so I do not suggest any new person to jump into futures until you understand the way markets work. Futures charge commission on each contract you buy or sell. It can be sort of related to Forex since a tick and a pip are essentially the same. The huge benefit to trading Futures and Forex is that there is NO pattern day trading rule. This means you can buy and sell as many times as you want without being flagged for not having 25k in your account.
Tradimo is a great resource for getting your feet wet with technical analysis. It is free and shows you the ropes with how you can start looking at prices and charts: https://learn.tradimo.com/courses
If there is ever a company you want to pay to help you learn, please do your research first. Type in the company’s name along with “review” at the end of your search and make your educated decision off of that. A lot of these companies have amazing advertising but will never teach you the right way to trade. A lot of them are scams too. I read that there was one trading system which the guy had the secrets of the “code of trading” and only he knew the code but would sell it to you for hundreds of dollars. So many people come into trading with high expectations that if I just pay this company to teach me, I can be like them when in reality that may never happen. Always look at their testimonials with a grain of salt. Read the reviews just like you would on amazon for buying a product. I also like to type in the company's name and add "scam" at the end to see if I get any hits on that. Read the good reviews but also the bad to understand the bigger picture here. Very few will actually teach you how to trade. Also, Reddit is a great place to read up on things like this too. Just add "Reddit" at the end of your search and read up on other users reviews.
Investimonials is also a good place to use as well (but do not use it as your only review source!!! Fake reviews are everywhere) http://www.investimonials.com So before you drop that 1-2k on a course, make sure you do your homework. Don't be fooled by smooth advertising.
A high probability indicator or a holy grail strategy is not out there. If it was, everyone would be using it and making money. And if there does happen to be one, do you really think anyone will want to share it? The only way to get good at trading is to be able to read the charts and read where prices are going. This is through support and resistance and understanding channels. I cannot recommend Mack’s price action YouTube channel enough. https://www.youtube.com/usePATsTrading I am a firm believer that price action is the basis for understanding price movement. Reading an indicator may help but you should not rely on solely indicators to guide you with trading as they may give you a signal to buy when you are at a major resistance level or sell when you are at a major support, both of which could burn you.
My only other advice is to look into markets that let you maximize profits. For some, it is not possible to buy 1000 shares of Apple. While trading low priced stocks lets you buy hundreds and maybe even thousands of shares at once, those stocks are too unpredictable because they can be influenced by individuals who do what is called a "pump and dump" schemes. Plus they can be difficult to read as far as what they are going to be doing next (going up or going down). My recommendation (and it is only my recommendation so only use this as guidance to make your own decision) would be to look into trading forex if you do not have a lot to start out with as some brokers (like FXCM) allow you to buy "micro" lots which let you invest as little as 100 dollars in some cases and have a much better chance of working in your favor due to the amount of people trading the same instrument. Note: There are some discussions about forex market makers adjusting the markets so you get stopped out prematurely. While I have not experienced this, it could theoretically happen? So if you do decide to trade Forex make sure you pick your broker carefully and again read the reviews!
EDIT: I have read that what I mentioned above about Forex is outdated and the brokers are under stricter regulations. Do your own investigation and do not let what I said steer you away from trading forex if you really want to. The big Forex brokers you are able to open an account with in the US are FXCM, Oanda, and Forex.com. You have a lot more options if you are in another country. EDIT 2: Well it looks like FXCM may get banned from having clients in the US. Apparently they took some trades against their clients to profit on their end and have been using clients accounts to fund their extra expenses. Tread on your own risk.
Above all, do not invest money that you are not willing to lose. I cannot emphasize this enough. Work on a simulator until you feel that your strategy works. This means putting in the time to sit down and analyze every trade you took which worked as well as the ones that didn't work. You need to go back over your mistakes and review why your trade did not work the way you thought it would. Was it because you bought at a high and sold at a low? Was it because you bought at a major resistance level thinking the stock would still go up? Was it because you were impulsive and entered in too early? Was it because you were too slow and entered in too late? This is the most important part about learning how to trade. Putting in the time and work to analyze what you did right and what you did wrong. You will never get better if you do not do this.
Consider subscribing to a free daily financial newsletter such as The Morning Brew. It’s a free subscription that is delivered Monday through Friday to your email before the markets open around 5-6 am central time. It summarizes the big financial topics of the morning in short easy to read sections that you can read over a cup of brew.
I wouldn’t say this is essential for daytrading but it’s nice to read if you are wanting to stay up to date on the financial markets as they will write about companies and stocks to look out for. It’s also not spammy or filled with ads though there are one or two that are listed as “sponsored”. They don’t typically put out a weekend read but instead send it M-F. https://www.morningbrew.com/?kid=08944ba0 I want to make this subreddit not only as a resource for newcomers but also for those who wish to improve their skills with learning how to day trade. I do not want this subreddit to become spam and companies trying to sell dreams. We all need to keep a realistic vision on what learning the market entails because this is a journey. No one becomes a doctor in a day or even a week and you should expect the same becoming a trader. Making consistent money in the markets can be very challenging and most wont ever make it, but it can be very satisfying once things start to click and you can live a very different life if this ever happens.
So, long time lurker of this subreddit, but only have posted once before. I'll get to that later. First, I'd like to share my appreciation for this sub as a new beginner getting into trading. There's a lot of crap out there and it’s hard to sift through it. Not saying crap doesn't get posted here, but it's well modded. So thanks for that. This is a decent place to get grounded. Intention of this post is info from one newb to other newbs getting started. The purpose of this post is more for information and factual stuff than advice. As a beginner some times just factual info can be the most help rather than advice. I’ll try to make this quick. Probably won’t be, I’m summarizing a year and 4wks here. How I got started. I was listening to Jim Cramer on Mad Money while at work. Yea don’t laugh. I always wanted to trade stocks, but never really had the capital to do it. The idea of working from home and trading always appealed to me like it has to many others. Also, I was getting frustrated with my job, (still there by the way). Anyways, once I finished paying off all my school loans I started seriously looking in to trading. I’m 26 atm. Quickly learned I still didn’t have the capital to trade stocks the way I wanted to. Living in the U.S. and subject to the pattern day trading rules I would need 25k. Which I don’t. Not sure where I found the info but looking for other ways to trade I discovered spot forex. Hey! And you don’t need 25k to trade like a mad man. Quickly learned from multiple sources, seriously its everywhere, if doing FX you need to go through babypips. So 1 year ago at the beginning of March I started working my way through baby pips. Also, I opened up a practice account with Oanda at the same time of starting babypips. Being in U.S. the broker options are limited. I saw the big 3, Gain, FXCM, and Oanda. Gain had terrible reviews, FXCM already had a sketchy past, so I picked Oanda. But honestly they all have bad reviews, but I wanted to trade. Took me about 2 months to work my way through baby pips course while trying every indicator under the sun on my practice account. Also discovered tradingview during this time. Best analysis center out there honestly. Now around my 3rd month I started to hit this wall ( this is a magical wall that re-appears throughout this endeavor whenever you finally think you’re getting somewhere) . Realizing that with all the crap and indicators on the screen and if I’m being honest with myself I haven’t got a clue what the crap I’m doing. I knew I needed to simplify things and stick with things that stuck out to me (you know what they say, find your edge). For me that was going to be MACD. It’s the one thing I thought I understood. Keyword “thought”. And only in the larger time frames 4hr + charts. I could clearly see divergence and convergence throughout the charts. And I could clearly see a shift in the trend after things like divergence. So my goal was to master the MACD. It was brutal, but in some ways it worked for me. I could clearly see that an up or down trend was dying out on the daily or 4hr. charts. So when I thought the trend was almost over I would start taking reversal trades or what I thought were break outs of the trend. My practice account almost got murdered multiple times. But if I was convinced the trend was turning, I kept buying or selling more positions until it reversed (but sometimes it never turned and I just ended up cutting a huge loss). Now I’m getting close to 6 months of trading. I was up about 40% on my 100k practice account. Believe me, I understand I still didn’t have money management, and it was probably complete luck, and it was stupid trading with such a large practice account, but at this point in my mind I thought I was ready for the “next stage.” Going live, some people suggest not going live until you have your strategy completely mastered. ( I didn’t) So naturally my sympathy’s fell with those who suggest after 3 months of positive trading you should start prepping yourself mentally with a small real account. By this time I had saved up $3k to throw into my live account with Oanda. And I told myself I was mentally prepared to completely lose all 3k (was I really? I don’t’ know). Why did I pick 3k as my start amount? To me it was just large enough that it would hurt if I lost it, and the potential wasn’t too small where if I was successful I would only be able to buy a happy meal from McDonalds. So here I am, 6 months into trading with a live account. It started about as bad as one could expect for someone with no money management. I still didn’t know how to take profit with targets. It’s like I took a stupid pill right before trading live. Cause not only did I not trade divergence all the time, I started taking trades from others on tradingview. Hence my first post on this reddit which I got railed for copying another persons trade. I had to take break for like 2 weeks after that to recoup my mind. I lost about 25% or more of my account. Started taking money management seriously at this point. Started reading up on it, started taking calculated trades with risking only 2% of my account. Those first 2 weeks were necessary for me to grasp money management. Believe me I read all about money management, I even understood it for the most part, but I didn’t really utilize it till I took that hit on my account. Reading is not the same as experiencing. Now things started to work out for me again. I went back to searching for divergent trades, my trades. But I also started looking for others on trading view who traded just divergence. This helped, especially when it came to spotting trades you agreed on. I didn’t just follow the highest rated traders, I followed those who were trading similar to my style. Now, believe me, I still suck at trading at this point, but my money management still allowed me to recover my account, and even gain on it. But I was break-even trader 9-10 months in with my bad trading. Now this is going to be the part that I never thought I would do, especially since its frowned on in general by this group. But I paid for a trading course, well more like to join a permanent trading group who trains you. (I’m not recommending this) I won’t say who or what the group is. This is just factual information. Yes I paid 2.5k to join a group. So don’t ask who the group is. I’m not writing all this just so the mods delete it as a promotion. But through trading view I found someone whose charts I liked a lot and got in contact with him. Our trading styles were similar and he peaked my interest and was nice when I contacted him and I wanted to learn more faster. So like I said, I found someone whose trading style I associated with. Your style maybe completely different and probably is. So finding a group who doesn’t trade like you would be a complete waste of time. And what do I think of my experience in a trading group? I refrained from live trading during these several weeks of training. I wasn’t the only student. In general we had 1 week of lessons, then split into a small groups for 2 weeks of 1 on 1 trading with a senior trader. Rinse and repeat for a couple of weeks that was my training. All in all, it wasn’t all I expected and yet it was more than I could have expected. I did learn new techniques that I believe help me, but I only finished 2 weeks ago. So all in all its been 1 year and 4 wks since I started trading. I haven’t made globs of money in a short time. And I’m still not as good as the senior traders in our group. I still maintain a full time job because it’s necessary for me at this point. I was waking up at 4:30am in the morning just so I could attend these training sessions. And trade before and after work, and have reduced my work hours from 50+hrs a week down to just 40 hrs so I have more time to trade. I hope one day to quit my job so I can trade full time. Anyways that’s my first year of trading in a nutshell. Going into my second year. If you would like me to update again at the beginning of my 3rd year give it a thumbs up. God Bless.
ECN. Used most by professional traders. Difficult platform for beginners
Minimum deposit $10000 (or $3,000 if under 25yo) * Well diversified -Oanda
Market maker. Second largest retail FX brokerage in the US. Easy platform for beginners.
No minimum deposit
Not well diversified, but well capitalized -Gain Capital (whitelabel forex.com) *Market Maker *Fair spreads *Minimum deposit $250 *Well diversified -FXCM Inc
ECN. Largest retail FX brokerage in the US
Minimum deposit $2000
Not well diversified. CAUTION: FXCM nearly went bankrupt in Jan-2015 due to a lack of diversification and low capitalisation. As a result FXCM LLC was bailed out with a large loan which may prove difficult to pay back. Be warned that their business may not be sustainable in the long term. -MBTrading
ECN. Mid-sized retail FX brokerage
Minimum deposit $400
International Only- -LMAX (whitelabel DarwinEx) *DMA broker based in the UK. Note that as a DMA broker LMAX eliminates the ability for LPs to last-look transactions. This may result in reduced liquidity during volatile times as liquidity providers would be likely not to risk posting liquidity to LMAX's pool. *Tight spreads *Minimum deposit $10,000 *Fairly well diversified -Dukascopy *ECN based in Switzerland, but available elsewhere depending on local regulations. *Tight spreads *Minimum deposit $100 *Fairly well diversified -IC Markets *ECN based in Australia *Fair spreads on standard account, tight spreads on professional accounts. *Minimum deposit $200 *Fairly well diversified -Pepperstone *ECN broker based in Australia. *Fair spreads on standard account, tight spreads on professional accounts. *Minimum deposit $200 *Not well diversified Software / Apps: Desktop/mobile
Apps are typically broker dependent. Some brokers have their own proprietary software, while others lease common software like Metatrader or NinjaTrader. Some software has a large development community for indicators and EAs.
Terminology/Acronyms: www.forexlive.com/ForexJargon - Common terms and acronyms FAQ: I need to exchange money, how do I do it? This isn’t what this sub is for. Your best bet is using your bank or an online exchange service. Be prepared to pay a hefty fee. I have money in one currency and need to exchange it into another sometime in the future, should I wait? Don’t ask us this. We speculate intraday in FX and shouldn’t be relied on to tell you what’s best for you. Exchange the money when you need it. I have an FX account, should I start trading demo or live? This is highly debatable. You should definitely demo trade until you have mastered how to use the trading platform on desktop and mobile. After that it’s up to you. Many think that the psychology of trading live vs demo trading is massively different. So it may pay to learn to trade live. Just be warned that most FX traders lose almost their entire first account so start with a low affordable balance. What’s money management? Money management is a form of risk management and is arguably the most important aspect of your trading when it comes to long term survival. You should always enter trades with a stop loss - the distance of the stop allows you to calculate how large of a percent of your account balance will be lost if your trade stops out. You can run a monte carlo simulation to figure out the risk of having a number of trades go against you in a row to drain your account. The general rule is that you should only risk losing 1-4% of your account per trade entered. More on this here: www.investopedia.com/articles/forex/06/fxmoneymgmt.asp www.swing-trade-stocks.com/money-management.html What about automated trading? Retail FX traders have been known to program “Expert Advisors” (EAs) to automate trading. It’s generally advisable to stay away from that until you’re very experienced. Never buy an EA from a developer because the vast majority of them are scams. What indicators are best? That’s up to you to test and find out. Many in this forum dislike oscillating indicators since they fail to capture the essence of what moves price. With experience you will discover what works best for you. In my experience indicators that are most popular with professional traders are those that provide trading “levels” such as pivot points, fibonacci, moving averages, trendlines, etc. What timeframe should I trade? Price action can vary in different timeframes. In longer term timeframes the price action and fundamentals are much more clear. Unfortunately it would take a very long time to figure out whether or not what you’re doing is successful on longer timeframes. In shorter timeframes you can often tell very quickly if what you’re doing is profitable. Unfortunately there’s a lot more “noise” on these levels which can prove deceptive for those trying to learn. Therefore the best bet is to use a multi-timeframe analysis, working from top-down to come up with trades. Should I trade using fundamental analysis (FA) of technical analysis (TA)? This is a long standing argument in these forums and elsewhere. I’ll settle it here - you should have an understanding of both. Yes there are traders who blindly ignore one of the other but a truly well rounded trader should understand and implement both into the analysis. The market is driven in the longer term through FA. But TA is necessary to give traders a place to enter and exit trades from a psychological risk/reward standpoint. I’ve heard trading Binary Options is an easy way to make money? The general advice is to stay away from binaries. The structure of binary options is so that when you lose the broker wins. This incentive has created a very scammy industry where there are few legitimate binary options brokers. In addition in order to be profitable in binaries you have to win 55-65% of the time. That’s a much higher premium over spot FX. Am I actually exchanging currencies? Yes and no. Your broker handles spot FX is currency pairs. Although they make an exchange at the settlement date they treat your position in your account as a virtual currency pair. Think of it like a contract where you can only buy or sell it as a pair. In this sense you are always long one currency while short another. You are merely speculating that one currency will appreciate or depreciate vs another. Why didn't my order fill? Even if price appears to cross over a line on your chart it does not guarantee a fill. Different charting platforms chart different prices - some chart the bid price, some the ask price and some the midpoint price. To fill a limit order price needs to cross your limit's price plus the spread at the time that it is crossing. If it does not equal or exceed the spread then it will not fill. Be wary that in general spreads are not fixed. So what may fill at one time may not at another.
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