Make money with trading at home

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How to Make Lots of Money in Online Stock Trading

Updated: February 11, 2020

This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis. Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin.

There are 21 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Investing in the stock market can be a great way to have your money make money, particularly in today’s economic climate where savings accounts and long-term bank notes do not offer significant returns. Stock trading is not a risk-free activity, and some losses are inevitable. However, with substantial research and investments in the right companies, stock trading can potentially be very profitable.

About This Article

While stock trading can be risky, you might be able to make a lot of money if you do your research and invest in the right companies. Start by researching current market trends from trustworthy publications, like Kiplinger, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and the Economist. Then, decide which trading sites you’d like to use, and make an account on 1 or more of the sites. If you can, practice trading before you put any real money in the market by using market simulators. When you’re ready to trade, choose a mixture of reliable mid-cap and large-cap stocks, and monitor the markets daily. For tips from our financial reviewer on buying and selling stocks for profit, read on!

How Do You Make Money Trading Money?

Investors can trade almost any currency in the world through foreign exchange (forex). In order to make money in forex, you should be aware that you are taking on a speculative risk. In essence, you are betting that the value of one currency will increase relative to another. The expected return of currency trading is similar to the money market and lower than stocks or bonds. However, it is possible to increase both returns and risk by using leverage. Currency trading is generally more profitable for active traders than passive investors.

Key Takeaways

  • It is possible to make money trading money when the prices of foreign currencies rise and fall.
  • Currencies are traded in pairs.
  • Buying and selling currency can be very profitable for active traders because of low trading costs, diverse markets, and the availability of high leverage.
  • Exchanging currency is not a good way for passive investors to make money.
  • It is easy to get started trading money at many large brokerages and specialized forex brokers.

Buying and Selling Currency Explained

It is important to note that currencies are traded and priced in pairs. For example, you may have seen a currency quote for a EUR/USD pair of 1.1256. In this example, the base currency is the euro. The U.S. dollar is the quote currency.

In all currency quote cases, the base currency is worth one unit. The quoted currency is the amount of currency that one unit of the base currency can buy. Based on our previous example, all that means is that one euro can buy 1.1256 U.S. dollars. An investor can make money in forex by appreciation in the value of the quoted currency or by a decrease in value of the base currency.

How Do You Make Money Trading Money?

Another perspective on currency trading comes from considering the position an investor is taking on each currency pair. The base currency can be thought of as a short position because you are “selling” the base currency to purchase the quoted currency. In turn, the quoted currency can be seen as a long position on the currency pair.

In our example above, we see that one euro can purchase $1.1256 and vice versa. To buy the euros, the investor must first go short on the U.S. dollar to go long on the euro. To make money on this investment, the investor will have to sell back the euros when their value appreciates relative to the U.S. dollar.

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For instance, let’s assume the value of the euro appreciates to $1.1266. On a lot of 100,000 euros, the investor would gain $100 ($112,660 – $112,560) if they sold the euros at this exchange rate. Conversely, if the EUR/USD exchange rate fell from $1.1256 to $1.1246, then the investor would lose $100 ($112,460 – $112,560).

Advantages for Active Traders

The currency market is a paradise for active traders. The forex market is the most liquid market in the world. Commissions are often zero, and bid-ask spreads are near zero. Spreads near one pip are common for some currency pairs. It is possible to frequently trade forex without high transaction costs.

With forex, there is always a bull market somewhere. The long-short nature of forex, the diversity of global currencies, and the low or even negative correlation of many currencies with stock markets ensures constant opportunities to trade. There is no need to sit on the sidelines for years during bear markets.

Although forex has a reputation as risky, it is actually an ideal place to get started with active trading. Currencies are generally less volatile than stocks, as long as you don’t use leverage. The low returns for passive investment in the forex market also make it much harder to confuse a bull market with being a financial genius. If you can make money in the forex market, you can make it anywhere.

Finally, the forex market offers access to much higher levels of leverage for experienced traders. Regulation T sharply limits the maximum leverage available to stock investors in the United States. It is usually possible to get 50 to 1 leverage in the forex market, and it is sometimes possible to get 400 to 1 leverage. This high leverage is one of the reasons for the risky reputation of currency trading.

New forex traders should not use high leverage. It is best to start using little or no leverage and gradually increase it as profits and experience grow.

Disadvantages for Passive Investors

Passive investors seldom make money in the forex market. The first reason is that returns to passively holding foreign currencies are low, similar to the money market. If you think about it, that makes sense. When U.S. investors buy euros in the forex market, they are really investing in the EU’s money market. Money markets around the world generally have low expected returns, and so does forex.

The benefits of the forex market for active traders are usually useless or even harmful for passive investors. Low trading costs mean very little if you do not trade very much. Using high leverage without a stop-loss order can lead to large losses. On the other hand, using stop-loss orders essentially turns an investor into an active trader.

Getting Started With Forex

The forex market was once much less accessible to average investors, but getting started is easy now. Many large brokerages, such as Fidelity, offer forex trading to their customers. Specialized forex brokers, such as OANDA, make sophisticated tools available to traders with balances as low as one dollar.

Is It Possible to Make a Living Trading Stocks?

What You Need to Know About Trading for a Living

Image by © The Balance 2020

Stock enthusiasts have probably been asking whether it’s possible to actually make a living trading stocks for a very long time.

The idea that you could quit your job and support yourself just by trading stocks is fascinating, and to some seems like an impossible fantasy. It is possible to make a living trading stocks, but the real question is if it’s probable.

Novice investors buoyed by their success with paper trading simulations may take the leap of faith and decide that they’re going to earn their living from the stock market. Some make it, but the vast majority just blow their accounts up. Studies on day trader performance have shown that most lose money over the long term.

Still, some people make a good living trading stocks and have done so successfully for years. Some people actually do sit on a tropical beach, or in a mansion high up in the Hollywood Hills, armed with only a laptop and an internet connection, carving out a living from the market.

That, of course, is the allure of trading for a living: freedom. Freedom to be your own boss, ti work where, and when, you want, and to be financially secure.

The reality is that trading for a living is a tough job, one that requires a very specific skill set and risk tolerance that most people don’t possess.

Trading Requires Diligence

Being able to day trade for a living successfully means reaching a level of focused excellence that most people will never achieve, no matter what career they choose. It’s the difference between being a movie extra and an Oscar-winning actor or between playing in a pick-up football game in the park and being the Superbowl MVP.

The point is not to discourage someone from pursuing their dream, but it’s important, if you want to pursue day trading for a living, to go into it with your eyes wide open.

Get Educated About Trading

Spend some serious time educating yourself about everything you can related to trading. Most likely, you want to be a day trader look for short-term gains, not an investor seeking long-term profits, so put in the hours necessary to give yourself a strong understanding of the world you’re about to enter.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) all offer valuable information for day traders. Introductory books on strategies and theories will help you get acquainted with the playing field.

Choose a Good Trading Strategy

To get started trading, you’ll need to develop a sound trading methodology, one that takes advantage of volatility, yet always keeps risk management as its core principle. Ideally, this methodology should be tested over months or years, in all different market environments, first with a demo account and then with real money.

Set Aside Some Income

Financially, many experienced traders suggest having at least one year’s worth of income set aside before you start. This is not the bankroll that you will trade with— you’ll need separate capital for that, in amounts that vary depending on the kind of day trading you’ll do—but money that you will use to pay your living expenses, including for housing, insurance, and food.

Having this financial cushion will give you peace of mind, allowing you to begin your new career without the pressure of having to trade to “make the rent.” You’ll also need to have a record-keeping strategy ready for tax season.

Prepare Yourself Mentally

Psychologically, you will need to steel yourself for the income inconsistency that will likely accompany your trading.

The goal when trading for a living is to have a reliable and consistent revenue stream, but that will take time, diligence, and luck to achieve. Having to bear the daily fluctuations of your income can be tough on the psyche over time.

The speed, fluctuations, adrenaline, and comparatively high loss ratio relative to wins can make investing a jarring experience for new day traders. This runs against the basic human impulse to “win” as much as possible. You’ll need patience and cool-headedness; otherwise, the stress of day trading can wreak havoc on your emotional well-being.

These are some of the basic things to be aware of if you are going to try to make a living trading stocks. And though the odds are against your success, if you’re one of the few who can master this art, you’ll enjoy excitement, independence, and financial rewards.

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