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How to start trading with a small account: Is $1000 Enough to Start Trading? 

Last Updated: August 2, 2022

By Rayner Teo

start trading with 1000

You don’t have a ton of money to spare.

Perhaps you’ve just started working.

Or maybe you’re still studying.

But you’re wondering…

Can I start trading with $1000?

The answer is, yes and no. It depends on the instruments you’re trying to trade.

In this post, I’ll share with you the financial instruments which are feasible to trade with a $1000 account and those which are not.

But first, let’s understand what trading is all about…

What is trading?

Trading refers to the buying and selling of financial securities, in an attempt to earn a profit over time.

The various types of trading are:

Day trading traders who seek to capture intraday volatility, typically closing their trades within a day.

Swing trading traders who seek to capture swings in the market, typically holding their trades for few days to weeks.

Position trading traders who seek to capture trends in the market, typically holding trades for weeks to months.

In order to be profitable, you need to an edge in the markets and allows the law of large number to work in your favor.

You’re probably wondering, what is an edge?

How to start trading: Understand the elusive edge traders are talking about

An edge is when you have a set of trading rules that yields a positive expectancy over time.

Expectancy can be defined as:

(Winning % * Average win) – (Losing % * Average loss) – (Commission + slippage)

If you have a positive expectancy after 100 trades, then you possibly have an edge in the markets.

But wait…

Having an edge alone is not enough to know how to start trading.

You also need to allow the law of large number to work in your favor.

What is that exactly?

The law of large number and why it matters

The law of large numbers is a theorem that describes the result of performing the same experiment a large number of times. According to the law, the average of the results obtained from a large number of trials should be close to the expected value and will tend to become closer as more trials are performed. – Probability Theory

In other words, your trading results are random in the short run but will be closer to your expected value in the long run.

This means:

Even if you have an edge in the markets, you can expect to lose over the next 10 trades.

But after 100 trades or more you can expect to be close to your positive expectancy.

Do this:

Toss your coin 10 times and check how many percent of the time it comes up head or tail.

Now toss your coin 100 times and check how many percent of the time it comes up head or tail.

Do this simple exercise and you’d understand what the law of large number is all about.

Knowing how to start trading is not enough, you must also know how to survive trading.

Now here comes the important part…

Proper risk management so you don’t blow up your account

Now that you’ve realized your trading results are random in the short run, how does this impact your trading?

This means you will encounter losing streaks. And the last thing you want is to empty your trading account during a losing streak.

Looking at the risk of ruin table, if you lose 50% of your trading capital, you need to make back 100% just to break even.

start trading

So how do you prevent the risk of ruin?

Practise strict risk management.

Risk no more than 1% of your account on each trade.

Here’s an example:

If you are starting to swing trade with 1000 dollars account, this means you cannot lose more than $10 on each trade.

Because 1% of $1000 = $10

Now with only $10 to risk per trade, what can you trade?

Which financial instruments can you trade?

Following the 1% rule will prevent your risk of ruin.

But given a $1000 account size, it reduces your option to trade different financial instruments.

Let’s analyze:


Minimum size: 100 shares

Transaction cost: $50 per round trip (round trip means buy and sell)

The transaction cost itself is more than your risk per trade. Recall you can only risk $10 per trade.

Your transaction costs eat up 5% of your return before you’ve even started trading. And if you’re making 40 trades per year, you need a return of 200% just to break even.

Clearly trading stocks is not feasible.


Minimum size: 1 lot

Transaction cost: $10 per round trip

Your transaction costs eat up 1% of your return before you’ve even started trading. And if you’re making 40 trades per year, you need a return of 40% just to break even.

Clearly, trading futures is not feasible either.


Minimum size: 1000 units

Transaction cost: Average 3 pips (which is about 30 cents)

Now you’re onto something.

Your transaction cost is now a fraction of your risk per trade.

Let’s assume:

Your trade requires a stop loss of 50 pips. Since each pip is worth 10 cents, this equates to a risk of $5.

Adding transaction cost…

…your total risk is $5 + 30 cents = $5.3 (This amount is lower than the $10 risk per trade we set earlier)

Trading Forex is feasible with a $1000 account.

If you want to know which instruments you can trade safely, just do this:

1. Calculate how much you will lose if you get stopped out of your trade

2. Calculate your transaction cost

Add 1 & 2 together, if it’s below 1% of your trading account, the instrument is feasible to trade.

You could start by swing trading with 1000 bucks on the higher timeframe in Forex if you’re just starting out.

Now you may wonder:

How much can I turn $1000 into?

This is the truth…


The reality of trading is this…

You need money to make money.

If you have a profitable trading system averaging 15% return a year:

$1000 account will make you $150.

$10,000 account will make you $1500.

$100,000 account will make you $15,000.

$1m account will make you $150,000.

But I’ve heard stories of traders turning $1000 into $100,000.

Some YouTube gurus even boast about day trading with 1000 bucks…

Some of you might be wondering how to start day trading with 1000 bucks because it looks so easy and exciting from what these YouTubers are doing.

It’s possible. But they conveniently forget to tell you the number of trading accounts they blow up along the way.

As a new trader, I would rather you do swing trading with 1000 bucks on the higher timeframe to learn and earn—slowly but consistently.

Frequently asked questions

#1: What timeframe do you suggest for a $1,000 capital since daily candles can be quite long and the 1% rule would mean that the stop loss is extremely tight?

If you have a $1,000 trading account and you risk 1%, that would be $10. So if you go with a broker which offers nano-lots, it might be possible to be trading off the Daily timeframe.

Else, you can go into the 4-Hour timeframe.

Avoid going lower than that or even attempt day trading with 1000 bucks, you’re likely going to be whipsawed out of your position as a newbie.

#2: With a $1,000 account, will I be able to trade CFDs of markets like wheat, cocoa, oil, metals, bonds, etc.?

It depends on the broker and the margin required to trade the CFDs of those markets.


Trading is more than just random buying/selling.

If you want to be a consistently profitable trader, you must understand what is your edge, and how the law of large number works.

You will encounter losing streaks, and only proper risk management will prevent the risk of ruin.

A guideline is to risk no more than 1% of your account on each trade.

But if you have $1000, only the Forex market is feasible to trade, and still follow proper risk management.

The other markets will incur a higher transaction cost and the minimum size is too large relative to your $1000 account.

Putting it altogether…

Imagine if you start to swing trade with 1000 dollars in Forex, then having proper risk management will allow you to survive and let the law of large numbers play out.

Over time, you can find your edge in the markets and be consistently profitable from there.

So, what else can you trade with a $1000 account?

Do you want to learn a new trading strategy that allows you to profit in bull & bear markets? 

In my FREE trading course (valued at $48), I will teach you this powerful trading strategy step by step, along with charts and examples.

You can download it here for FREE.

Leave a reply

  • Standard Chartered has no commission fee, just small charges. $1000 worth of singapore stocks will most likely incur $5 worth of fees I think. You can only buy stocks and the currency spread is wide if you need to convert currencies to buy foreign stocks. User interface is not as good as a brokerage too. A good place to start out and understand one’s risk appetite.

    • Are you talking about standard chartered bank? If yes then please let me know website and some details.

      I have back account there but in different country.


  • Hi Rayner!

    Thanks for sharing!

    What timeframe do you suggest for a $1000 capital? Because daily candles can be quite long and the 1% rule means that the stop loss is extremely tight.

    • Hi numberator,

      Time frame does not make much of an impact in forex.

      Because you can one trade micro lot which is 10 cents a pip. Some broker even offer nano lots where you can trade even a smaller pip value than that.

      So with a larger stoploss, you’d want to reduce your position size, to still keep your risk constant.

      You can look at this position sizing calculator here.


  • Nice discussion and it is helpful! But now that you have brought this subject up, you have me questioning whether I would be able to trade all the markets you trade with a $1,000 account. I mostly trade Forex and have minimal exposure to Sugar, Oil, and Gold according to past reviews by you. I am gearing up to increase my exposure to other Markets in order to increase the possibility of finding a trend as you have suggested in the the past.

    So, with a $1,000 account will I be able to trade all the markets you trade like, Wheat, Cocoa, Oil, Metals, Futures, Bonds, S&P, etc., etc.? And if not, what would be the minimum amount I should have in my account to be able to trade all the Markets you trade?


    • Hey Chaplainrick,

      This would vary from broker who offers CFDs.

      Because when trading CFDs their pip value isn’t fix unlike the forex markets.

      So what you can do is to check:

      1) Your stoploss dollar value
      2) Your transaction cost

      If both 1 & 2 are less than 1% of your trading account, then you can trade it.

      If they’re larger than 1%, then you either need to risk a larger % or increase your account size.


  • First of all i want to compliment and thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge on trading.
    I am a newbie on trading, got interested in it this summer and every day i am trying to learn on this matter. There is much info available on the internet but as you say also what is the quality of much what i read .
    Trend following looks promising but i was wondering if it is possible to use on a small account when you have to diversify and hold several positions for a longer time. Maybe it’s better to concentrate on swing trading? At the moment i’m testing several setups and systems on forex cfd’s.
    Also i have a question on SR lines. One of the rules is no expectations. What is the purpose of these lines then?



    • Hello Cornelis,

      If you want to adopt a trend following approach with a small account, then it would be prudent to trade forex and CFDs.

      Sorry I didn’t understand the part of “no expectations”, care to elaborate more?


      • Hi Rayner,

        First of all a happy new year to you and everyone and good trading!
        Sorry i used the wrong words i think. The first of the 5 rules you mention is “zero prediction”. What about Support-Resistance lines/areas or other kind os lines people draw? Doesn’t that make you try to predict something that often doesn’t happen? I know that counts for MA lines too, but SR lines i have to draw myself and are more dependent on skill etc.

        • Hello Cornelis,

          Happy new year!

          Okay I get what you mean. I’ll look at SR still.

          But generally in an uptrend, resistance tends to be broken, so I’ll tend to ignore it. Vice versa for downtrend.


  • Hi rayner,

    do you know of any brokerages that offers micro lots e,g, $1000 lot size.

    Cause my philips account only offers mini lots at $10 000 per lot.

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