Day Trading: Its for SUCKERS. Here’s the proof.

Yeah, I know this headline is going to piss you off. But it’s true — day trading Futures (and stocks) is for suckers. And I have proof.

We often hear through rumor and internet chatter that “90% of day traders fail.” But these have been just that — rumors. And innuendo, that courses through the veins of a ‘faultless’ internet.

But we also know that the internet is a great fountain of disillusionment, fantasy, misinformation, and “fake news.” The internet makes it hard to believe anything. Yet, we cannot live without it.

I have a lot of friends that are Futures brokers. And I don’t use the word “friend” lightly. In fact, a good deal of my review subjects come directly from the brokers themselves. And these conversations go something like this:

Emmett, you have got to write about that YouTube scammer selling his bullshit trading indicators and courses! My clients got burned real bad.

Or,

That scammer swindled an 88 year old grandma with a magic trading system. Do something!

Too often I tell the broker, “Fool, you knew it was a scam and you could have warned your clients months ago!”

It’s not easy for a broker to call out a trading educator as a fraud or a phony. You must understand, they rely upon each other. It is a symbiotic relationship. The broker, although he hates the scammers, he also relies upon them for the opening of new trading accounts. The grinding wheel always needs grease.

The honest brokers, that have been in the business for many years — they all know the truth. Yet they will never admit it. And the truth is very simple: the higher the frequency and shorter the duration of your trading, the higher the likelihood that you will lose everything.

Let me repeat, and as simply as possible. The more you trade, and the shorter your time frame, the less likely you will earn a profit. Doesn’t that sound so harsh? It hurts to read.

But many will say, “Where is the evidence!” And, “Lambo Boy and Warrior Boy are making millions from $500 dollar trading accounts.” Sorry folks, Lambo Boy and Warrior Boy are making millions from selling hyped up magical trading indicators and front running your trades. Let’s be clear, I am not accusing anyone of committing a crime. The real crime is the self-inflicted stupidity that consumers inflict upon themselves because they willingly swallow the BS.

Regardless, let’s look at the most comprehensive and current data that suggests that ‘day trading’ is a scam.

Brazilian Futures Traders

Many of my readers might be surprised to read that Brazil is really, really into Futures day trading. In fact, most readers might be even more surprised to read that the Brazilian Emini Futures contract is 300% more popular (in terms of daily trading volume) than the ultra-popular Emini SP500 Futures contracts. Yet, the population of Brazil is approximately 38% of the US population. (320 million vs 120 million).

Just like in the United States, and other English speaking countries, the Brazilian Futures industry is filled with nearly identical quacks and whack-a-doodles peddling all manner of indicator insanity, amazing trading systems, and social media day trading hucksters. In fact, many of the people I write about also have websites in Brazil, displaying both the Portuguese and Spanish language versions.

Same bullshit — different language.

People really are the same. It doesn’t matter the color of skin, the language used, or the minor differences in weight, height or appearance. We are all the same. Our motivations are especially similar. We all need resources to survive. And we all labor the same, eat the same proteins, study the same math books, and dream the same dreams. We all want an opportunity.

Why am I making such a pointed effort to draw comparisons of Americans to Brazilians? Because some readers might be biased into believing that “American exceptionalism” or anything American must be better than anything Brazilian. But this is false. The English speakers are no different than the Spanish and Portuguese speakers — we are the same in every imaginable way.

In Brazil, day trading is a national pastime. Even more popular than in the United States. But until recently, nobody in Brazil had performed a credible study that analyzed a large pool of investor data that specifically analyzed Futures day traders.

Day Trading For A Living?

On August 19, 2019, the Sao Paulo School of Economics published a highly controversial study about Futures day traders in Brazil. This published study made front-page news across the country. Literally, nearly everyone in Brazilian society was talking about the study. Day trading in Brazil is extremely popular, and extremely controversial. Its like soccer.

On one end of the spectrum were the brokers, the educators, the software providers, the soothsayers, and indicator gypsies that have been hyping (and profiting from) the industry for years. On the other end of the spectrum were the scientific community, including social scientists, economists, and data scientists. Let’s just say that the scientific community was in the extreme minority.

The scientific community was extremely skeptical of many of the claims of “people getting rich quick” and the constant television and internet ads that promised “day trading” glory and “work from home” opportunities.

And so, the Sao Paulo School of Economics commissioned a study that tracked a total of 19,646 day traders from 2013 through 2015. The data was broken down into bite-sized chunks to better understand the data.

The first group of day traders totaled 1,111 individuals that day traded only a single day. Of this group, 29.8% achieved a profit.

The second group of day traders totaled 9,978 individuals that day traded between 2 to 50 days. Of this group, 15.5% achieved a profit.

The third group of day traders totaled 3,100 individuals that day traded between 51 to 100 days. Of this group, 8.9% achieved a profit.

The fourth group of day traders totaled 2,738 individuals that day traded between 101 to 200 days. Of this group, 6.8% achieved a profit.

The fifth group of day traders totaled 1,168 individuals that day traded between 201 to 300 days. Of this group, 5.4% achieved a profit.

The sixth group of day traders totaled 1,151 individuals that day traded greater than 300 days. Of this group, 3.0% achieved a profit.

What does this data suggest? Ironically, the data suggests that the odds of achieving day trading success is nearly identical to playing roulette at a casino. The more you play, the greater the likelihood that you will lose everything.

The social scientists were particularly surprised to discover that ‘learning’ played nearly no part in the results. For instance, it was assumed that if a person had traded 6-months and 200+ trades, that they would learn to trade better or improve upon their trading strategies to achieve greater success because they were “learning from experience.”

And this is just what the trading educators want us to believe…that we need to “learn” and over time, this “learning” will improve our results. But the data absolutely destroyed these assumptions. In fact, the more a person “learned” to trade, the worse their performance became. It seems like “practice makes perfect” does not work in day trading Futures markets.

The Brazilian traders that actually earned an income

We all know that some folks, through luck or skill, are going to achieve success. Let’s take a look at those figures now…

The first group of successful day traders totaled 17 individuals that earned an average of $16 per day.

The second group of successful day traders totaled 8 individuals that earned an average of $54 per day.

The third group of successful day traders totaled 1 individual that earned an average of $310 per day.

But here is the sad part…of these successful Futures day traders, the standard deviation of their daily profit ranged from $632 to $3,308. What does that mean? In other words, in order to consistently earn $80 per day, you would also have to experience massive daily fluctuations of between $632 and $3,308.

And based upon the data, only one person was able to earn more than a minimum wage job.

It gets worse

For those 1,151 day traders that persisted 300 days, 97% lost all of their money once commission was factored in.

Even the highest performing trader that earned an average of $310 per day ended up barely profitable once the commissions were factored in. How sad are these numbers?

In conclusion, the study stated that “It is virtually impossible for an individual to day trade for a living, contrary to what the brokerage specialists and course providers often claim.”

So what should you do?

If you are stuck in that sad wheel of constantly funding a day trading account, and constantly looking for a new ‘Guru,’ then perhaps its time to put the mouse away. At least for a while.

The sad and sorry truth is that day trading is mostly a scam. Yes, some can pull it off successfully. Just like how some people will be cured of cancer by drinking apple cider vinegar. But the overall scientific data put the odds at roughly equivalent of playing roulette. The more you play, the greater the likelihood that you will lose everything.

For those that want to take a deeper dive into the data, I have included the study below. Also, you can read the report on a full page here. Thanks for reading.

Day Trading Study
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Pinochet
Pinochet
12 days ago

Will the popup leave my screen if I leave a comment?

rookie
rookie
1 month ago

sad

Henrique
Henrique
1 month ago

Also, what is “extremely popular” for you? Here in Brazil less than 1% of the population has any kind of relationship with the variable revenue market. Needless to say, less than 0,5% of the population actually “trade”, since most of the people are just buying stocks to hold for years. So, no. Trading futures is not popular AT ALL in Brazil. People don’t talk about the research because people don’t talk about daytrade in Brazil because it’s irrelevant for 99,5% of the people here. Besides, it’s as easy to win as it is to lose: just sit a kid next to each of these guys losing money and make them perform reverse orders and SURPRISE! They will be making money! This BS about “virtually impossible” is very arrogant people stating that “if I wasn’t capable of, then no one is”. Please… Don’t talk about stuff you have no idea about, it makes you sound dumb as hell.

Henrique
Henrique
1 month ago

Brazil has 120 million people? Dude… Please check your numbers, otherwise, everything you say seems as trash as saying a country has almost 50% of its actual population.

Rancher Bob
Rancher Bob
6 months ago

success and failure rates apply to all self-employed professions in the world. it doesn’t matter what the business is, success and failure will be the same. Employment is different as that is more in line with an updated version of slavery

Roman
Roman
2 months ago
Reply to  Rancher Bob

I was thinking the same thing. Was in the mortgage biz and only top 1% made really good money and most everyone failed and left. Is it a scam? No. Just really hard. Also the winners of anything financial don’t share their secrets and don’t participate in studies. It’s a competition. They don’t want anybody to know how they do it.

D L
D L
7 months ago

So is there any form of investing that is condoned or recommended?

Martin
Martin
7 months ago

Agree, day trading is a roulette and probability game. But the question is if those in the study had applied basic risk/reward principles, how disciplined they are and how well they know what they trade. Like in sport, there are millions going to the gym looking the same all day and only few really making a difference. So, if the study compares the average, you get exactly that…the average. Which is not exactly a proper analysis. Like, on average…well yes, you lose all day, you don’t become a top sportsman, you don’t become a top musician or engineer. But that’s life I guess. Try harder.

Rotherhilde
Rotherhilde
8 months ago

I have seen a Chinese study that confirms the result of the Brazilian study. I have investigated three proprietary trading firms, SMB Capital, located in New York City, Montreal Trading Group, and Maverick Trading, based in Salt Lake City but working with traders in their own homes. These groups concentrate on day trading and at SMB capital and Montreal traders work in their offices in front of six screens.

I was given a one-month trial subscription to the Maverick training program and have watched some of the videos by Montreal’s owner Moshen Hassan available from Udemy and frequently on sale for $30 down from $300. At a proprietary trading firm a trader trades with the firm’s money and takes a percentage of the profits. My conclusion from studying these materials was that I did not want to do day trading.

Nevertheless recently I became a day trader by mistake and inadvertently reaped a windfall profit of $30,000. If my mistake had been larger it just as easily been $300,000 or $3,000,000. Here’s how it happened.

I had found a stock I thought would be a good long term investment and put in an order to buy 700 shares. It executed well, but when I looked at my account’s cash and money market balance it was -$700,000. I had bought far more stock than I had the money to pay for. It took me two minutes to troubleshoot the problem and make a correction. I had mistakenly put in an order to buy 7000 shares. I promptly sold down to the 700 shares that I wanted but in my two minutes of panic the stock had risen by two points, giving me the windfall profit on my purchase. The purchase went through because I have a margin account and had sufficient margin to cover it.

Most brokers will give a customer a margin loan of four times the equity in his account and not charge him interest provided that the loan is repaid on the same day. That is the appeal of day trading – the enormous leverage available. Combine this with the fact that it is easier to predict what a stock will do in the next few minutes than in the next few days, then why don’t people make money by day trading?

I felt I had learned a valuable trick and am revealing it to Emmett Moore and his readers out of respect for him and his mission, but as for myself I shall keep it on the back burner for a dire emergency. Anyway, if I make too much money in a particular year it gets me in trouble with my wife, as it reduces the size of her social security check and she complains.

dtchurn
dtchurn
7 months ago
Reply to  Rotherhilde

Having margin activated accounts can often be risky. I knew of a hs friend’s parents who blew out hundreds of k’s during the dot-com crash always trading on heavy margin and that example is very common among retailers. In my own trading journey I was burned from initially trying to do the options spread scam particularly with “methods” learned from the optionetics guy and his then “advanced GET” pushing cohort Tom Gentile. Also got my refund back from one of Sykes’ earlier scam courses where his newsletter picks were mostly all losers. (back then he used WIA for customer and subscription service which I was successfully able to nag their support for a refund showing the requisite proof of his losing trades in my tos sim account, and past losing chart action-screenshots of all his smirking jackass picks, where I suspect he probably wasn’t even trading live anymore but working on expanding his shamshow “empire” with help from whatever entities were helping to push his media “stockwhiz” narrative creation similar to those fake corporate lipsync music creations) I quit trying to trade for years, then got back in earlier this decade, but now I only daytrade futures. Someday I may get back to stocks proper, (I did a stint on sim in Ross’ room for a couple of months, and we all know how much of a joke and shamshow he and his site fakery turned out to be where in fact, I discovered tradingschools’ existence gratefully, because a chat member mentioned Emmett and the WT review before Ross or his cronies shut him up/banned. Ross replied “the guy who runs it (tradingschools) is a felon”, lol) but all I do now about stocks is sim stock “diversified” portfolios on thinkorswim. If I trade stocks live again with the “proper” account size, heck no, I won’t ever do it with margin activated. I get enough decent reduced margin per instrument contract requirement and available futures leverage with my chosen futures broker(s) and able to do well enough risking only 2-4% per trade as generally recommended.

Wolfgang Rosner
Wolfgang Rosner
8 months ago

Brazil has 210 million inhabitants, not 120 million.

Wolfgang Rosner
Wolfgang Rosner
8 months ago
Reply to  Emmett Moore

Nevertheless you are almost right because of these 210M actually 50% hardly know to read and write. Sad story and result of 13 years socialist government …

Cesat Flavius Graccus
Cesat Flavius Graccus
8 months ago

The poor scholarity is not a socialisty legacy but decades of bad educational policies.

Frank
Frank
2 months ago
Reply to  Emmett Moore

Hello Emmett,

I read this article and it sounds a bit contradicting after reading many other reviews thay you have done for other services, for example Axia Futures. You saying here that day trading futures, to be more specific scalping is not successful but at the same time you updated your review of axia futures, talking about demetris who seems to only be trading from the order flow and scalping the hell out of those bunds. You also issued an apology. So you sound a bit contradicting. From going to day ttading “scalping” is a scam to fully backing the axia futures guy who are mainly known to day trade futures. I am confused now…which one is it? Make up your mind please.

dtchurn
dtchurn
2 months ago
Reply to  Emmett Moore

I just saw this comment Emmett only now. It’s one of the best I’ve read from you. Maybe you could make a follow up article to this article or the axia review which includes what you’ve expanded with the comment on this article. I very much agree with that general percentage, and probably even more of a harsher ratio imo where it’s like 99.8% vs. 0.2% of attempted traders each year. It’s not so much the “roulette” chances of being successful in trading, somewhat particularly daytrading on shorter timeframes, it’s about those same chances of someone achieving consistency for a substantial period of time. And then it will likely be retested for those who make it in the 0.2% of consistency year to year, with market conditions changing, or a successful trader’s strategies no longer working as well, and they then have to yet successfully adapt their strategy or have a back up or alternate one to move on to keep being successful for the next year or period. Absolutely the 0.2% or “2%” don’t sell crap and are busy performing their golden goose for as long as they can sustain it for their goals. Good to know it was only because of Demetris’ partners of Axia who seem to still be shamshow runners mainly pressured him to show proof sessions to you, where their main goal was still to sell their sham products and selling snakeoil dreams instead of doing the work of trading with true performance for themselves like Demetris.

dtchurn
dtchurn
2 months ago
Reply to  Emmett Moore

It’s nice that a much higher percentage of US citizens can read and write compared to Brazil, but it could be in general that culturally, and economically desired by the corporate powers that most citizens are just needed to be literate enough to be brainwashed consumers and taxpayers rather than a higher percentage of science trained and competent graduates. It is kind of shocking to hear that figure about Brazil, but then again, it seems a lot of those south american countries still have extreme socioeconomic disparities and economic class differences. I recall bigmike when he expatriated to Ecuador noting extreme class disparity recognition and acceptance. Some I’ve corresponded who actually live or had lived in Brazil or a nearby country attest to very disparate regions like a main city’s nicer side is more modernized for the wealthier but the other part of town or whole regions look almost pre-industrial , or impoverished slumholes and shanty towns. Same goes for Mexico most likely where I doubt much has changed since the turn of the century.

tee
tee
8 months ago

This article is totally true. Also, to add additional scam and corruption is the “governing body” that regulates trading. The industry is legally allowed and designed to take traders money, telling you how to trade, and eventually bleeding your funds dry. Any industry that is legally allowed to touch a traders account and manipulated in a way that regulation “protects” a traders account is a (legal) scam.

Rich
Rich
9 months ago

I do it! I hold one or two stocks long term (currently WING and SSRM), but make most of my income day trading with REALLY STRICT RULES. My scanner is the result of thousands of stock “behaviour” (pos in bol band, pos in 20 day rng etc etc etc…).

On average I make between 1-2% / day with an 84% win ratio in 2019.

I don’t profit from sharing my tips with friends and very rarely post on Stocktwits.

It’s these people, the ones that supposedly make a fortune (Sultan at Elevate Trader for example) yet charge people for their wisdom are the ones you need to watch.

If you put the work in, analyse stock patterns, quantify and test this in a scanner, it’s easy AS LONG as you commit to your rules – This is the hardest part..

Sean
Sean
8 months ago
Reply to  Rich

Rich, thanks for sharing. Whenever riches are involved our greedy hearts come swelling up for the gold rush. Sounds like you have found a way to work hard and consistent in trading. I’m not looking to get nasty rich, but find a fun way to provide for my family. Maybe you can help me. I am looking for a mentor.

Tim
Tim
9 months ago

Very interesting!

Sebastian B
Sebastian B
10 months ago

What do futures traders in Brazil using Brazilian brokers that aren’t subjected to the same rules, policies and regulations of U.S. brokers have anything to do with U.S. traders day trading in a country where both traders and brokers have to adhere to strict rules, policies and regulations?

Tom
Tom
9 months ago
Reply to  Emmett Moore

You are wrong again…just because only small percentage 4 to 6% are able to make it thru does not make it losing game.
What percentage of small mom pop shops u think make it thru 7 year mark …way way low but people still do it …how come senate did not put a report out in that?…and who trusts The politician anyways….bunch of do nothing free loaders.. That report from politicians is not any better than report from Brazil
How did they conduct that report? Look at unexperinced people who open account for first time a month before the report?…lol

Nigerian Prince!? Your comparison is way way off sir.

Jasper Chute
Jasper Chute
10 months ago
Reply to  Jasper Chute

Haha, no response.

Look, just because most people can’t do something doesn’t mean an individual can’t. Trading is hard. So is getting a degree in engineering, becoming a doctor, becoming a lawyer, starting a business that makes 100k+ a year. You think trading is a free lunch? There are no free lunches in life.

Spending 300 days finding no one succeeded yet is laughable. I didn’t get my degree in computer science for 4.5 years. And even then I wasn’t earning what the person above me is earning… “but you always have to perform!” Yeah. I have to go to work everyday and get measured on my performance… No free lunches. Stop treating trading like a unicorn. It just involves losing money which creates a harsh learning environment and it has a low barrier to entry, allowing any idiot to think he knows what he is doing.

And no, you aren’t competing with Warren Buffet. You are a small fish riding big waves. Money managers who can’t beat the market are the market in a sense. Actually learn a bit and you will understand what actual edge you have being a pipsqueak with under 1 million capital…

Henrique
Henrique
1 month ago
Reply to  Jasper Chute

Thank you!

Guest
Guest
11 months ago

Being under-capitalised is a recipe for disaster for one endeavouring futures day trading. And then again, if one happened to have enough funds to sit through elevated volatility periods (like in 2008, or 2015), why bother to day trade anyway? I mean one would be better off financially AND mentally to buy emini or emicro SP 500 future contract(s) and hold it for whatever time horizon, the longer the better, of course. Do your self a favour, find and read a book by Gary Smith How I trade for a living – this is the only dude I know of who could prove his trading results with broker statement, and it is an eye opener in many respects. Peace.
PS – Do not trust anybody who is unable, for whatever reason, to show you his broker statement. And even if there’s a good statement but covering just a year or two – this is not valid proof of any future success, because good statement must include bear and bull markets, crushes, and all those black swans that have already – and will always – come to the market. I’d put it like this – any statement shorter than 10 years is not representative at all.

Tom
Tom
11 months ago

1 people who trade wildly successfully would never open a trading room 2 -people who have robust system would never sell it for few 100 or few 1000 dollars
3 it takes years blood sweat tears (10 to 20 years)
To become successful..u think they will sell the system
!!??
4 u can not call a person who opened account yesterday for a first time a trader——same way u can not call kid at first day in college doctor /lawyer if that’s what they want to be in 10 to 12 years of studying
Yes there are planty of successful day-traders
For the reasons I listed above u won’t cross path with them
This day trading letter is BS
What makes people think they can ace one of the hardest professions in the world in 4 to 5 years?
If u want easy money get a 9 to 5..it’s not for the weak
Why would brokers say day traders don’t make money
When that’s how they make their living…. it’s like a lawyer saying laws are not needed
obviously u can not do it successfully and if u think u going to find someone because of this website to teach u or make money from u are kidding yourself
Who cares about brazil. All ur brokers feedback report sounds fake

What’s funny is that u are trying to tell other people what they should do when they can not make money
From same thing U can not make money urself
This whole site is a joke. Just like all the other jokers
With trading rooms u report on!! U r just like them

Emmett stop pushing ur weaknesses on other people!

dave
dave
11 months ago
Reply to  Emmett Moore

People who don’t know what they are doing long term trading is just slower bleeding , if right skills are not acquired they will lose at the end.
long or short term trades depends on the personality, I don’t think there is right or wrong answer there.

Rob
Rob
11 months ago

Soulfire and Longshot are both right. The thing is, the definition of success in trading and the proper education of it is nebulous. You can make a killing for a while and then your edge can either go away for an extended period of time or permanently. Will you be able to adapt and sit through the drawdown or find another edge? The reality of professional trading is you don’t make constant consistent money month after month. Successful trading means you have been able to weather these ups and downs and come out ahead over the long haul. It is not uncommon for me to make $250K in the first 3 months of the year and then go through a $100K drawdown for the next 8 months because my edge is blunted and then make $200K in December because the action gets good again. Most traders will blow up during that 8 month drawdown and lose a lot more than $100K out of frustration or lack of discipline, trying to get back to their high water mark and exceed it. I’d reckon about 95% of people who want to become traders will not be able to handle this kind of turbulence in real time nor will they accept it so they quit or they run out of funds. Experience helps you to get better at things like setting expectations and risk management. Experience does not mean you ultimately “unlock the secrets to the markets”. The idea that someone out there has the secrets to the markets, and once you learn them then it’s clear sailing, is a lie. Your cumulative time in the markets does not allow you to reach a point where you can coast on your experience. The learning never stops.

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