Is day trading a good career?
YES, it’s a great career if you enjoy getting good at something that has a 95% failure rate! Read again: 95 PERCENT FAILURE RATE!
A few years ago, I remember shorting 1,000 shares of AMZN (it could have been any stock, there were many bearish weekly moves on AMZN over the past few years) w/ a “shortcut key” (shift + down keys) I setup using DasTrader Pro. Within 5 minutes, I was down -$6,500, I closed my position, took the loss by “buying back” the shares. I was mentally numb and “done for the day”. This sick feeling followed me for several days. On the outside, I was myself, on the inside I was thinking: What the heck did I just do? Am I sure I want to do this? Do I really have what it takes?
Granted, I’m not the same trader today and wouldn’t make the same mistakes, that was some time ago. Today, I’m building a quant trading system that removes all the emotions & feelings and follows a hardened strategy every time.
I tried “day trading” for about 6 months, lost $$ consistently using many of the popular strategies and switched to a longer time frame — “swing trading” (holding stocks for a few days to 6 weeks) and never looked back.
I agree with the other posts that it’s really more of an emotional & psychological hurdle to overcome for most people. When you lose money, self doubt comes knocking AND your account balance is down and you have to choose to either push forward or quit. Fast forward to today, I don’t even flinch when I’m down. Today, my biggest losses are typically followed by my biggest gains.
What would have happened if I quit when I’m down? I think part of it is managing your expectations, if you come into it thinking, “if I click a few buy/sell buttons and make $5k/day, I will be rocking life!” … it’s not that simple.
I would say it’s 20% strategy, 80% managing your emotions and following your plan. It doesn’t have to be hard, but you have to keep a level head. That is easier for some, harder for others.
UPDATE: My other related answer: Which is more profitable: day trading or swing trading?