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In any capacity though, transitioning from novice to expert takes time, discipline and dedication. Futures trading is no different. There is a steep learning curve combined with the risk of complete and utter financial loss. Most new traders find that just achieving consistency (you might not even be profitable at this stage either) is a colossal challenge. You need to earn the right to trade. And earning the right to trade will cost you the one thing that we all do our very best to try and preserve. Money. For those who do make a living in the markets, education, consistency and discipline is the driver of their success.
Understanding how the futures market functions is vital to conducting yourself efficiently over the long-haul. Taking the time necessary to learn futures trading can help make your journey a little smoother, but it isn’t an easy journey and you will encounter many rough patches when you least expect it.
Education plays a critical role to the gaining of competency in any profession. It can take 7 years to become a practicing lawyer and perhaps more for a medical doctor. Of course, for trading futures there is no “industry standard” education package. Your educational requirements are what you make them and what you need them to be. But do not think for one second you will be different than the millions of traders that have gone before you. There is nothing special about you. There are no corners to cut, there are no black box solutions. It is an incredibly difficult journey.
With all the guts, determination and sharp instinct in the world, you still might not make it as a trader. It will be the biggest challenge you have put upon yourself. Do you still want to give this a go? Yes!
I have split this Education Hub into parts. Each part containing several chapters. I will be referring to and giving examples from the ES (e-mini S&P) futures market for much of this educational web series. It is the market I am most familiar with and therefore feel comfortable about writing.
So, let us begin. Navigate your way through Part I by using the menu on the right hand side.
The intent of this education hub is to give you some guiding principles into futures trading. The information provided will range from choosing a broker and opening an account, all the way through to some actual trading methods. The information I have provided is not revolutionary, but as a new trader you will find yourself getting pulled in many directions, with no real sense of whether what you are pursuing has value or not. In the beginning of my trading career I spent hundreds of wasted hours (along with tens of thousands of dollars) chasing dead ends. The overarching intent of this web series is to get you to focus you on what works rather than wasting time on what doesn’t.
As a reality check, there is no shortcut to becoming a futures trader. Unless trading for a living was in your family’s blood and the success has been passed down to you, or you just happened to stumble on it as a career when you were younger and ended up being successful, the chances are futures trading is a second career choice and you are probably entering into it at a later stage in life.
If I could go back to my semi-younger self, whom at the time was on the precipice of trading futures, I would tell him to slow down. There is no rush. The market will always be there tomorrow. If the last 10 years of doing this has taught me anything, it is that patience really is a virtue.
Futures trading is a long road of immense frustration. You will still have times that will be dark and miserable, even on the days when you believe you have this trading thing figured out, the market will always act as the judge and jury on your trading. To be clear, I do not claim to be a Master Trader. I still take losing trades and I still have losing days. I also know some ex institutional traders (inherently more experienced than I) and they also take losing trades and have losing days. Treat any trader who claims they don’t have losses (even occasional) with extreme caution.
If you want to find out how I got started in futures trading, you can go and read all about it here.