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Trading For A Living – Expectations Vs Reality 

Last Updated: September 13, 2022

By Rayner Teo


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In today’s episode, you’ll discover the truth about trading for a living (and it’s not what you think). 

So listen to it now…


Why You Should Not Be Day Trading With a Full Time Job — Do This Instead

How to be a Profitable Trend Follower, Trading Less Than an Hour a Day, Without Quitting Your Full Time Job

Trading For A Living: How Much Money You Need?


Hey, hey, what’s up my friend? 

In today’s episode, I want to share with you trading for a living, its expectations versus reality.

I know many of you want to trade for a living. But the thing is you don’t know what’s real and what’s not real. Because on the internet, people like to blow things up out of proportion. And it’s hard to tell whether trading for living is realistic or not. 

In this episode, I won’t dive into the specifics of how to trade for a living, but I want to share with you some of the expectations versus the reality of trading for a living.

1. You have unlimited earning potential if you trade for a living

The answer to that is yes, it’s true. But there are a few things that you need. 

Let me share with you a story…

Back then in my university days, I had the ambition to trade for a living. I wanted it to be my own boss. I have no one to answer to, stuff like that. 

I had about $5,000 in capital and I borrowed another $5,000 from my parents so that I could trade for a living. That was my plan. And I had about $10,000 of trading capital. 

My thought process at a point in time is if I were to make 20% each month, then that’s about $2,000. I believe I can survive with that amount of money. And that’s what I did. 

But guess what the problem is? There are 2 things… 

Number one, I didn’t have the skill to consistently make 20% every single month. I realized that that wasn’t realistic. Nobody makes 20% a month consistently because if you can do that, it’s only a matter of time before the entire world’s money is in your pocket.

Number two is that since I know 20% a month is not realistic, I thought something more realistic is anywhere between 1% to 5% on a per month basis, depending on how much you risk per trade, that is something that is much closer to reality. 

The problem with that is even if I were to make, 2% or 3% each month, the amount of money that I make is not enough to sustain my living. 

The $10,000 at that point in time in my trading account wasn’t enough for me to trade for a living. 

So that was the “Aha” moment for me, it was something I realized. And I hope this is something that you can take away as well.

Yes, you have unlimited earning potential, but bear in mind, you must have the skillset to make a profit from the markets and you also need money to make money in this business.

2. You have the freedom to do anything you want

You have the freedom to travel. You have to freedom to pretty much call the shots. 

But here’s the thing…

In trading, there’s a learning process involved. There’s a learning curve. 

Like if you want to be a neurosurgeon, you have to spend 6 years as undergraduate studying medicine, maybe another 5 years at medical school, then maybe be at a residency for another 7 years. Then after about 18 years, you’re a full-fledged neurosurgeon.

At this point, it doesn’t mean that you have made it. Your yearly earnings might be a pretty decent 6 figures a year, but you’ll still need 4, 5 more years to grow your savings into a comfortable nest egg. 

So if you take another 5 years to grow the nest egg for retirement, that’s in total 23 years in medicine and neurosurgery before you find your freedom. 

Now, what about trading for living? 

Well, most traders think they can take a weekend course and find their freedom after the course or seminar. Does it make sense? 

If that’s the case there won’t be any doctors, lawyers, engineers around because everyone wants to be a trader. Just take a weekend course and you find your freedom.

So yes, trading could lead to financial freedom. But it’s not a clear path. There are numerous obstacles in your way. The learning curve, the amount of capital that you have access to, the discipline to be consistent.

You need to give yourself time. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. 

Neurosurgeons take anywhere about 20 to 25 years before they can find their freedom. So think about that.

3. You can set your own working hours

If you’re trading for a living, you can set your own working hours and you can wake up when you want to. You don’t need any alarm clocks, etc. 

Well, that kind of depends.

If you’re a short-term day trader, then that really isn’t the case. Because if you trade the US markets and you happen to be based in Singapore, like me, guess what?

Your day trading hours in the US markets will be something like 9 pm, 10 pm till the next day at 4 am, 5 am.

I don’t think, you can set your working hours because you have to follow the market. 

Or maybe if you’re trading Forex for living in Singapore, the most volatile hours are during the London session. That’s from about 3 pm to 12 midnight. Those will be your day trading hours if you’re a short-term Forex trader.

So you can see that you’re not necessarily able to set your own working hours. You’ve got to be following where the money is, where the market is. Don’t forget that. 

And finally…

4. Trading offers you passive income

Let me explain to you what passive income is.

If you do nothing at all and you still get paid for it, you get money. For example, this YouTube channel of mine, I have published like 400 plus videos till date. 

If today, I decided to stop publishing videos for let’s say the next one or two years, I will still get an income from YouTube each month, for the advertising that’s on my channel.

I have no idea how much money I’ll get for the next year. It might slightly dwindle down lower. But I’m pretty certain I’ll still get money from my existing videos. That is passive income. I don’t do anything, but I still get an income. 

Now, let me ask you if you were to be trend trading for a living and you’re not able to place trades for the next 30 days, the next 1 year, will you get profits? Will you get money from the markets? 

No, of course not.  Because if you don’t trade, there’s no money. 

Well, at the same time, there’s no loss as well. But in terms of passive income perspective, trading has nothing to do with passive income. Trading is an active thing that you’re doing. 

So don’t get the wrong idea that trading is passive income. 

With that said, I’ve come towards the end of today’s video. I hope you got some insight out of it, the expectations versus the reality of what trading for living really entails. 

That’s it. I wish you good luck and good trading. 

I’ll talk to you soon. 

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