What does it take to be a professional trader?

What does it take to be a professional trader?
Not all traders approach the markets the same way…

Are you considering becoming a professional trader as a career? Then read on to get clarification to common misconceptions.

When the average person thinks “day trading” they think about trading stocks. Trading stocks requires around $25,000 USD. This is often called the PDT (Pattern Day Trader) rule. This amount is the minimum equity on any day that you trade. If you make an average or modest U.S. income, that cost is quite the hurdle! It is rather difficult to invest in markets that are inherently uncertain.

In comparison, futures are also regulated by U.S. federal agencies. Many traders start futures trading accounts with a couple thousand dollars. Although consecutive losses can drain these accounts, infusing a couple more thousand can help create an account-busting buffer against consecutive or significant loss.

Cryptocurrency trading (often called “crypto trading”) is appealing due to the small transaction fees, 24/7 market access, and few stipulations. However, many big investment advisors and cryptocurrency experts have said that crypto markets should not be traded. They claim the value of these systems is actually the underlying technology in which digital currency is exchanged, validated, and logged. You have probably seen news reports that discuss the unpredictability of Bitcoin. When it falls, it falls! Another appeal of crypto trading is the low cost barrier. If you are getting into trading because you have $500 to trade with, you will probably have to reduce your profit and loss potential. It may take a while before any sizable profits stack up.

Professional Trader Careers

Then there are the career trading professionals. These are people with degrees in finance, mathematics, computer science, engineering, etc. People with such degrees may have a better chance of guaranteed success applying their professional skills in a traditional career path. Why risk devoting your career to a highly competitive firm that rewards the top of the top? If your skills are that good, maybe you would have also been successful figuring out how to trade on your own, so what does the hedge fund really get you? Create your own or become a bazillionaire with your amazing skills.

Many traders start with at-home futures trading because the costs are reasonable and you can practice at your leisure. The NinjaTrader trading software allows for simulated day trading off-hours. In the event you have access to a computer during U.S. morning hours, you can use the platform with a real-time practice data feed to really hone your skills. Are you interested in learning more? Drop us a comment and we’ll set you up!

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