I am often asked during my trading sessions – how long does it take to learn how to trade ? That is a tough question to answer. The short answer is that a diligent person can learn the basics of trading in a couple months. The long answer is that it can take a lifetime to master. Its very important to realize for trader, Master in trading does not come overnight, It takes Years and years of efforts coupled with burning desire to succeed with setbacks market will offer you.
Since most people just want to make a consistent profit from trading , we will concentrate on the time frame for achieving that.
The One-Year Mark
The one-year time frame is the most critical for trading futures. Most new traders like to make huge sums of money right out of the gate. That usually gets them into trouble and almost guarantees them an inclusion into the 80 – 90 percent of people who lose money from trading.
The first year of trading is all about learning how to trade. Achieving breakeven at the end of year one is a victory. Most traders who can at least breakeven after one year of trading will often become profitable traders.
Consistently Profitable Traders
It will normally take about three years of trading before someone can become a consistently profitable trader. It takes a good deal of research and experience before you can reach this level. If you cannot put in the time, effort and discipline, it is a good chance that you may never become a profitable trader.
I highly recommend that new traders try to learn to trade from someone who is already a successful trader. This will substantially speed up the learning curve and some good trading techniques will be learned. If might be difficult to find a trading mentor, but it will help immensely if you can find one.
The best thing you can for learning how to trade is take your trading slowly, but spend a lot of time on research. Expect many setbacks in the first year as it should be considered a learning year. You should become a successful trader after three years or you are likely not exercising the proper discipline. Also, you may not be putting in the proper amount of time is takes to learn how to trade .
In his recent book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell describes the 10,000-Hour Rule, claiming that the key to success in any cognitively complex field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. 10,000 hours equates to around 4hrs a day for 10 years. For some reason most people that ‘try their hand’ at trading view it as a get rich quick scheme. That in a very short space of time, they will be able to turn $500 into $1 million! It is precisely this mindset that has resulted in the current economic mess, a bunch of 20-somethings being handed the red phone for financial weapons of mass destruction. The greatest traders understand that trading much like being a doctor, engineer or any other focused and technical endeavor requires time to develop and hone the skill set. Now you wouldn’t see a doctor performing open heart surgery after 3 months on a surgery simulator. Why would trading as a technical undertaking require less time?
Trading success, comes from screen time and experience, you have to put the hours in!