Like most traders, I was obsessed with day trading at the start of my career, it’s what I studied, it’s how I traded, it was how I lived. However, I quickly discovered that something was wrong. I just couldn’t seem to make any money trading this way. It was stressful, time-consuming, difficult and even maddening at times. I would make money on a trade and then give it right back. It seemed like I would take one step forward and then two steps back.
In short, it quickly became very clear to me that dodging in and out of the market all day, trading short time frames was really no different than gambling on a slot machine at the casino, I was just doing it from my home. I had spent more than enough time in the trenches early in my career to realize that day trading was unnecessarily difficult, I knew it wasn’t going to work for me and I hadn’t met anyone else it was working for. So, I had to evolve and try a different approach to trading or I was going to lose all my money, quickly.
This was when I decided to stop day-trading and start thinking differently about the market. I began looking into higher time frame charts and taking a lower-frequency approach to trading. I quickly found my groove once I began focusing on the daily chart and trading less often. It was a far less time-consuming, less stressful and just an overall friendlier approach to how I wanted to live my life.
I found that not only was I suffering less losing trades, I also would catch bigger moves and my trading costs (spreads / commissions) went way down because I wasn’t entering and exiting the market so often. Instead of taking 30 to 50 trades a month (or more) as with day trading, I was now only taking 4 to 5 trades a month some months.
Currently, I trade just 30 minutes a day from anywhere I want; I don’t need to be plugged into some multi-monitor trading desk all day. I actually get to live my life on my own terms; free and flexible. Ultimately, this style of trading and the life it lets me lead, allows me to enjoy the fruits of my trading much more than day trading ever could.
Day Trading Won’t Give You A Great Lifestyle
In Hollywood movies, day traders are often portrayed as young rich guys living a fast-paced life of fast cars, big houses and risky behavior that seems to always end up working out somehow. Hence, when someone first gets interested in trading this is usually pretty close to the image they have in their minds of what day trading will be like and what it will offer them.
My issue with this is that it’s basically completely wrong and totally misleading. Also, this misrepresentation of reality causes many traders to blow out numerous accounts and lose a lot of money before they figure out they need to take a different approach.
Do you like sitting in a chair all day staring at your computer screen? Well, this is basically what day traders do. You literally have to be at your computer for 6-8 hours a day to properly execute most day trading strategies. You have to take many, many trades in order to see the edge (potentially) play out over the course of hundreds and thousands of trades. Even if you manage to do this, most day trading systems require you endure a lot of losses simply because it’s a numbers game, not a high-probability edge like higher-time frame trading can provide.
The very reason we become traders is to make money and ENJOY a lifestyle that is different from a 9 to 5 office job where you are essentially a slave-drone worker to a company all day. If you choose to be a day trader you are basically a slave to the screens all day and your head is filled with information overload, stress, pressure and on and on, not much different than that 9 to 5 office job except that you might actually make money at the office!
Here’s How a Trader Gets a Great Lifestyle
When you make the shift from day trading / constant chart-watching to a higher time frame, end of day trading approach, a lot of things quickly change.
You suddenly gain a massive amount of time (which you’ll need to fill), your trading mindset becomes better and clearer and you are now moving closer to becoming a successful trader.
I recently wrote an article on how to trade like a hedge fund manager and in that article I discussed how hedge fund traders are not day-trading. They are not sitting there taking a 5 minute view of the market trying to duck in and out of it all day, to them that is just stupid, and it should seem that way to you too.
Trading higher time frames means you don’t have to be checking the charts all the time. You can spend just 30 minutes a day, trading from a coffee shop or wherever, it’s up to you. The point is, when it comes to lifestyle, the end-of-day trader wins easily against the day trader, it’s not even close.
You Won’t Make More Money Day Trading
A lot of newbie traders believe they will make more money day-trading than position or swing trading the higher time frames. It seems logical; you trade more you make more, right? WRONG. It’s so wrong that it makes me mad just thinking about the misinformation that is spread online, enticing beginners into day-trading, which is why I’m writing this article!
Here’s Why You’ll Make More Money If You Don’t Day Trade
Have you ever met a profitable, successful day trader like you see in the movies? No? Me either. There’s a good reason for this, it’s nearly impossible to achieve great success day-trading, let alone maintain that success over time.
Day-trading involves dealing with a lot of meaningless lower time frame market noise. This noise that is essentially random price movement on short time frame charts, is something that can easily slice your trading account into a million pieces that quickly flow down the ‘drain’ and out of your account.
As mentioned earlier, spreads, broker fees, etc. rack up very quickly when you’re day trading. Every transaction you make in the market costs you money, so when you’re trading 30 – 100 times a month (or more) those seemingly small costs will add up to a significant sum of money over the course of a year.
However, that is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. You’re going to have a lot of losing trades with a day trading method. In fact, most day trading strategies involve poor risk reward scenarios, like 1:1 or less. This is because you’re aiming for small wins when you’re day trading, also known as “scalping the market”, so you’re not holding trades long enough for them to turn into big winners. With small risk rewards of 1:1 or worse, just to breakeven you need to win more than 50% of the time, to offset spreads and commissions, this is very hard to do with a day-trading system that falls prey to the random market noise and intraday “churn” of the price action in the market.
If you decide to trade end-of-day strategies, higher time frames and focus on the daily chart time frame like I teach in my courses and members area, you’re going to have an easier time making money because you are not fighting the intraday churn of meaningless market noise. Instead, you are waiting strategically for a high-probability price action signal to form in confluence with the surrounding market context. These signals will produce bigger movements since you’re on the higher time frames. Also, since the higher time frames carry more weight, you’re more likely to get a win on any given daily chart signal compared to any given 5 or 1 minute chart signal. This means, you’re risk reward can become more favorable now, think 1:2, 1:3 or even higher! Hence, you do not have to trade as much nor do you have to win as much (as with day trading) to actually make a profit!
I don’t know about you but I am all about DOING LESS TO GET MORE!
You’re Not Going to Be Able to Quit Your Day Job and Day Trade All Day
A lot of traders seem to get the fantasy in their heads that they will simply be able to quit their day job and start day trading all day and somehow magically make money. This is not reality. Sadly, I know quite a few traders who quit their day jobs too soon because they thought they could make money day trading, only to find that not only were they not making any money anymore, they were now losing money from day trading!
How to Trade Around Your Day Job
Thankfully, there is a perfectly effective way to maintain your current job while you are trading. I’ve written many articles about trading with a day job, but the most important thing to know is that not only does higher time frame trading allow you to trade around your current schedule, but doing so will actually accelerate your trading progress for a number of reasons…
A day job is a natural distraction from the market, and may people need this because they simply become addicted to the charts otherwise. It’s important to realize that not only is day-trading very difficult to profit at but even if you manage to do so, the temptation from constantly being in front of the chart is just too much for most people to handle.
Your goal should be to make a trading routine wherein you are checking the markets sometime in the morning for 15 – 20 minutes and sometime in the evening / before bed for 15 – 20 minutes. Once you have learned how to trade properly, there really is no need to spend more than 1 hour per day looking at your charts. In fact, I would argue that after about 45 minutes to an hour a day, each additional minute you spend analyzing the charts will negatively impact your long-term trading success.
Don’t think about “quitting your job” right now. Instead, utilize your job to keep the income flowing steadily (this will help maintain a clear and calm mindset that you need for trading) and also to maintain a natural distraction from the intraday market noise that costs many traders their trading accounts. IF you are ever able to quit your job and become a “full time” trader, you will know when the time comes. Whatever you do, don’t go quitting because you “think” you can make money trading. Wait until you’ve BEEN making money consistently for one year or more.
Day Trading Does Not Give You More Opportunities
One of the most widespread misconceptions about day trading is that it provides traders with “more opportunities” (to make money). Sure, I won’t argue that you will enter more trades as a day trader, but are those really good opportunities to profit? I would say no, they are not.
In my opinion, an “opportunity” is something that will likely lead to something positive for you, and the greater “opportunities” people speak of in regards to to day trading are certainly not all positive. Hence, the higher quantity of ‘opportunities’ that day trading offers is not at all what it seems. I look at it as more opportunities to lose your money!
The Real Opportunities in the Market
The opportunities that a higher time frame, swing trader has are much, much better than those of the day trading variety.
Not only are the trading opportunities on the daily chart much higher probability than those on small time frames, they are also much better for your mind and your body. You are not sitting all day slouched over in a chair frantically combing the 1 minute charts for your signal to pop up. This is mentally and physically draining! Instead, an end of day trader simply follows their routine, checking the higher time frame charts at their predesignated times each day, for 20-30 minutes. They execute their trading plan and then walk away.
This is an opportunity to live the life you have always dreamed, and in my opinion, ONLY higher time frame trading affords you such an opportunity.
If there was any doubt as to why I am not a day trader, today’s lesson should have removed it from your mind. However, I didn’t just write this lesson to tell you why I don’t day trade, I wrote it to (hopefully) convince you not to day trade either. My number one concern is helping traders and teaching trading concepts that actually work. I don’t want you to lose money unnecessarily, so I don’t want you to day trade.
Trading the daily chart time frame in an end-of-day manner provides you with the best possible shot at making money over the long-run as a trader. I can tell you without a doubt, from 18 years of live market trading experience, if you go down the day trading route you are taking a huge detour that is only going to push you far off the path that will lead you to successful long-term trading.
If you are interested in learning more about the end-of-day trading approach discussed in today’s article and exactly how it all works and how I trade, you will learn this and a lot more in my trading courses. The concepts and strategies I teach in my price action trading course are the exact same ones that I use today and hopefully they will change the way you think about and trade the market as well as improve your results and ultimately give you the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.