Day Trading Makes a Bad Hobby

Because of the excitement of day trading and the supposed ease of doing it, you may think that day trading makes a great hobby. On a boring Saturday afternoon, you could just spend a few hours day trading in the forex market (foreign exchange) to make more money than if you spent those few hours playing video games! Right?

Uh, no.

Trading without a plan and without committing the time and energy to do it right is a route to losses. Professional traders are betting that plenty of suckers are out there, trading in just such a random way because that creates the losers that allow them to take profits in a zero-sum market.

The biggest mistake amateur traders make? The biggest mistake is making a lot of money the first time trading and then assuming that all such successes will come as easy. That first success was almost definitely due to luck, and that luck can turn against a trader on a dime.

If you make money your first time out, take a step back and see whether you can figure out why. Then test your strategy to see whether your strategy is a good one that you can use often.

Successful day traders commit to their business. Even then, most day traders fail in their first year. Brokerage firms, training services, and other traders have a vested interest in making trading seem like an easy activity that you can work into your life. But it’s a job — a job that some people love, but a job nonetheless.

If you really love the excitement of the markets, you can find ways to invest on a hobbyist’s schedule: You can spend your time doing fundamental research to find long-term investments, you can look into alternative investments to help diversify your portfolio; and you can trade with play money, either in demo accounts or in trading contests, to try trading without committing real money.

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