A Forex trader, especially a day trader, probably can begin with a trading account size as small as $1,000. I have seen ads suggesting that an Emini trader can make money by day trading only a $500 account. I think that is a mistake. A beginning trader will probably lose for at least a year or two, although he will likely have many streaks where he wins several days in a row. The reality is that most traders never become consistently profitable. Common reasons are insufficient funds and the inability to trade long enough to develop the skills needed to make money.
Many traders who stay with it long enough to become consistently profitable look at the loss as tuition in the school of hard knocks. They know that they are competing against professionals with degrees that prepared them to trade the markets, and they are trying to collect enough experience to make them competitive. It can be done, but it usually takes a long time to become very good.
Minimum account size
If a person is starting out with the Emini as he learns how to trade, he will probably need at least $10-25,000. Even if he beings with $100,000 and wants to trade the Emini, I think that he should only trade one contract until he is consistently profitable.
If he can only afford to lose $5,000 and he wants to day trade, he should look at other markets, like a high volume stock or ETF under $20 that has regular 20 cent swings; in January, 2013, possible candidates included BAC, FAZ, and XIV.
Need small risk when starting out
Another reasonable alternative is to trade weekly SPY options, as I discuss in the course. If a trader were to buy one ATM or slightly OTM put or call, the cost is usually under a dollar and often under 50 cents. Even if he lost, the loss would probably be less than 20 cents ($20, since each option is for 100 shares) if he managed his trade reasonably well.
This can keep the losses smaller while the trader learns how to trade. So, how can he get rich if he is looking for $10 – $20 profit per trade? He can’t, but that is not the goal. He is trying to hone his skills by trading real dollars in real markets until he is consistently profitable. He then can increase his volume and add other markets. At that point, his goal changes from learning to trade to earning a living.
Thank you for reading my How To Trade Price Action manual.
The next article is Trading position size.
Complete list of links for all How to Trade Price Action Manual chapters.