As a profession that’s fairly recently entered the public consciousness — even though it’s not a new profession by any count — it’s fair to say that there’s still more that we don’t know about day trading than what we can say with certainty. Statistics and studies are only slightly helpful. A study by the Sao Paulo School of Economics determined that only 3% avoid losing money. A study, appearing in the Journal of Finance, of Robinhood users found that increases in their numbers trigger price spikes and eventually negative returns.
Even though it can’t be doom and gloom all the time, day trading is often looked at through a lens that emphasizes its downsides. Ultra Calls, a professional trader who has made a career in day trading, can understand why. “Many people go into day trading thinking that it’s a way to get a lot of money fast,” he explains. “It’s not like that at all, so it makes sense that publishers and media focus on the downsides. With so many people rushing in, it doesn’t surprise me that the success rate of traders is so low.”
Day Trading as Gambling
As someone who is a valued member of the day trading community, and is dedicated to helping others succeed through his work with Sapphire Trading, Ultra Calls likes to do his part to make sure that people land well when they start trading. To that end, he’s very keen on busting the most pervasive myths about day trading, and the one about it being likened to gambling is one of the worst.
“In gambling, luck matters the most, even though in some forms skill counts, too,” Ultra Calls explains. “In day trading, preparation, routine, focus, and skills are what matters. Luck can count, but you should never count on it to work for you.” Treating day trading like gambling is the surest way to quickly lose money.
Everyone Can Day Trade
Closely related to the gambling misconception is that everyone can day trade. The barrier to entry might be lowered thanks to the influx of day traders, but that doesn’t mean that it’s become any easier to succeed. It certainly hasn’t changed the rules of the trade.
“It takes time to become a good day trader,” says Ultra Calls. “However, it takes consistently setting aside the time to do it, and not many people can afford that. Even fewer can maintain the level of calmness needed to stick with a strategy. When the adrenalin starts rushing in, people sometimes throw their playbook through the window and start doing all sorts of crazy stuff. More often than not, they lose money.”
People Routinely Get Rich Day Trading
The most damaging myth about day trading is that people think it leads to quick earnings. While it might be possible to day trade successfully and consistently, becoming an overnight millionaire is not that common.
“Some people make millions day trading, but we are the outliers,” admits Ultra Calls. “Aspiring traders should have more realistic expectations and slowly work their way to the top instead of counting on that one big trade to set them up for life. Slow and consistent wins the day.”