Thanks to several alert readers for sending me this insightful New York Times article on daytrading and the challenge of daytraders.
A while back, I posted on the topic of research concerning individual daytraders and how many of them are truly successful. That is worth reading or re-reading: it clearly indicates that most active trading is hazardous to traders' wealth, but that a small group of participants are able to sustain success.
This is not like most career fields, where an average teacher, middle manager, or sales person can sustain a living. An average performance in trading is one in which the trader does not make money at all. The Times article cites research suggesting support for the often-cited statistic that 80% of daytraders lose money.
I'm in an interesting position, because--as a trading coach--I see the actual trading of actual traders, not the performance claims of wannabee gurus. I also see which traders have been able to sustain meaningful livings from their trading and which have not.
Here is a post outlining what I see among the consistently successful traders. The links at the bottom of the post will also help you focus on what helps traders sustain solid performance.
Ultimately, the most important contributors to trading success are twofold:
1) The development of concrete trading skills: pattern recognition, ability to execute sound trade ideas to create a positive expectancy, sound risk management;
2) The cultivation of the mental toughness, continuous learning, and discipline that enable you to adapt to new, challenging market conditions.
Sitting at a computer each day, not having a concrete strategy for the day, and relying on a vague sense of intuition to get you through is not going to cut it.
Success is something the great traders do, not just something they have. They work on building skills, they work on building themselves, and they have routines in place for accomplishing both.