Don’t Waste Your Time Trading a Small Account

If you have $10,000 to put towards your trading account, don’t waste your time. As a matter of fact if you have $15,000 or even $25,000 in your trading account, don’t waste your time. That is, don’t waste your time with careless mistakes because every trade counts.

The learning curve for learning how to trade futures for a living can be extremely flat, that is you may spend countless hours learning all there is to know about the trading the markets, but you aren’t seeing a return in profits. Your time spent learning increases, but your account stays the same, or in many cases shrinks.

Trading Learning CurveIf you want to win at this game and become consistently profitable over time then you absolutely, positively, must be disciplined 100% of the time, all of the time.

Trading as a career is non-linear, meaning regardless of how much time you spend learning about the markets, you may not see a return on your investment (or profits) till much later on down the road. The smallest details clicking into place is often times all it takes to get over the “hump.”

Not shown on the graph above is discipline. The fastest way to become a successful trader is to enact a constant state of discipline. If you are disciplined 9 out of 10 times, then you cannot call yourself disciplined. This list of top traders is a great example of traders that use discipline to trade consistently profitable.  They and all share the same characteristics of successful traders that you can learn to and avoid those hefty trading losses up front.

Many people like to credit their trading losses in the early years towards “tuition” or “paying their dues” and while there is something to be said for learning by doing, there is no reason for justifying a trading mistake. Every error you make in trading is costing you money.

That first step

When starting out as a trader, you probably traded a practice account for a couple of months and began to learn the ropes, testing your strategy (my broker of choice is Infinity Futures for both practice accounts and live trading). After becoming anxious you make the switch to live trading and realize that most of what you learned goes out the window when you’re in a live trade. Your emotions come into play and your methodology becomes foggy.

There are many “light bulb moments” along the way, but limiting the mistakes when you’re trading a small account is crucial if you want to prevent blowing up your account. Along with reading the material on the EminiMind Blog :) I recommend reading and learning from the mistakes of other top traders in the Market Wizards series.

3 trading mistakes that will lead to disaster:

  • Impulse trades – If you find yourself clicking sporadically on the trading ladder you need to stop immediately and reevaluate your trading plan.
  • Revenge trading – Just because you had a loss doesn’t mean your next trade needs to be a home run, try for consistent singles and doubles with a few strikeouts in the mix.
  • Trading too big for your account size – If you’re trading an account size of $10,000 then the max number of contracts you should be trading on the ES or 6E is 2, enough said.

The only guarantee

While no one can guarantee your success trading the markets (if you come across such claims be leery) I can guarantee you that if you make any of these 3 trading mistakes you will lose money. Treat your trading capital like you would your children, or if you don’t have children, like a one of a kind Porsche, you wouldn’t throw your kids in front of a bus so don’t piss away your trading account with avoidable mistakes.

Patience pays in trading the markets so don’t waste your time trading a small account. Every trade is a valuable step towards generating consistent income trading futures for a living.

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About Tim Racette

Tim is a full-time trader in the futures and stock markets and founder of He is also a Chicago-land native, competitive mountain biker, adventurer, and ASU Sun Devil.

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