If you read too many websites about day trading, you might be lulled into believing that it's all incredibly simple. Don't make the mistake of plunging into any form of day trading without spending the time to learn what you're doing. And certainly don't start by investing every cent you posses, including next week's mortgage payment. Pretend, or paper trade for a little while, make sure you're earning profits consistently, and then you can start to think about using some of your real money - but only some!
As you practice trading, you'll find you learn an enormous amount, and once you have a few dollars of your own on the line, you learn a lot more. It's usually best to start by trading on a longer timeframe, too, so you can master the skills. Learning the technicalities of trading takes time but it's possible to master it. The tough part is the psychology - how to deal with your own emotions and reactions in trading situations. If you can read up on the psychological side of trading, particularly day trading, you'll be better equipped to handle situations as they arise.
If you're serious about day trading, then you will need to find out how much money you need to get started. Different brokers will have different requirements for funding an account. Be aware, too, that it can be tough to make money trading a flat market. As a day trader, that's even more relevant to you. You need enough movement in the market to provide profitable opportunities.
So what is day trading? Basically, it means online trading of stocks or indices, within a very short timeframe - in this case, for one day or less. Day trading requires you to make accurate assessments of trading situations very quickly, and act upon your decisions instantly. This is not a game for the indecisive or faint of heart. It's important to know exactly what signals you're looking for in order to enter a trade, and know your exit strategy even before you buy. Once your exit signals appear, you have to act immediately, not dither and try to second-guess the market.
If you haven't already worked it out, day trading can be extremely stressful. If you can't afford to lose all the money you're investing, or more to the point, if you have a fear of losing any of the money, don't do it. Your fear will paralyze your decision making at the times you most need to be quick and decisive. You also need to be very self confident, so that when you've done your analysis and seen the signals to enter or exit a trade, you're confident that you've done sufficient research and have made the right decision.
Nerves of steel and a dash of raw cunning are part of a day trader's personality, and so are discipline, determination and a high tolerance for stress. It can be great fun, but can always stress you to the max. Most successful day traders work for large institutions, not for themselves.
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