How much money do you need to begin trading for a living?

Thank you @Zhadow45 and @dpaterso for a great indepth discussion of this issue. That is quite a rarity for a forum!

Negativity and realism are very easily confused. I consider myself a realist and I guess I can often come across as negative because I am used to assessing the pros and the cons before making decisions. But that is probably the result of a lifetime in banking, primarily in risk assessment! :smiley:

In response to the actual topic of this thread, I don’t think the issue here is just how much money you have in your trading account. As a full-time trader one knows the type and size of one’s positions needed to achieve the quantified required/desired level of income. And one does not need to carry in one’s trading account more than the margin requirement plus a generous addition to cover the extent to which positions may go against you. Anything else is surplus in your trading account.

But that is not the whole story by any means (my opinion anyway). Everyone knows that trading income varies according to market behaviour and one’s performance. There are good months, average months and bad months, too. There will also be longer periods of both good and bad. Therefore one also needs a good deposit in some other place and form that can cover you over these periods and thereby avoid serious stress situations that will destroy your concentration.

In my opinion, this reserve should be sufficient to cover your living costs over a period of even up to 12 months without trading income - and still not leave you bankrupt at the end of it if you actually end up using it all up.

It is also worth considering when deciding how much one needs to earn, that this should also include a healthy contribution to your capital build-up. As you reach the autumn years of your trading career you will want to see something more for your efforts than just the fact that you covered your expenses and survived!

You will also need to take into account when projecting your income requirements that you will not be trading more than maybe 10 months of the year and maybe only 15 days of a month.

It is also relevant to consider whether you will be trading short term or long term. You will need to draw money to live, but long term trades do not always produce regular profits. Short term trades bring in the money but can be far more erratic.

These things need to be practiced and experienced and producing a track record before going full-time.

But the actual sums required depend on the individual and their commitments and ambitions. You don’t get inflation-linked or length of service-related pay increases and you won’t get pension benefits. You are your own boss and the result of your own decision-making - that is the benefit and the risk of such a business.


Almost three years ago, in a thread similar to this one, a poster who calls himself ropunzel asked two questions about full-time trading.

I’m paraphrasing his questions here:

  • How do you budget monthly expenses, given a fluctuating income stream from trading?

  • How much trading capital is required to support a given lifestyle?

Regarding the trading capital question, I offered a formula for estimating the initial capital requirement, based on assumptions of (1) the trader’s required monthly living expenses, and (2) the trader’s proven, long-term, consistent, average monthly ROI (return on invested capital).

The formula suggested a range of $100,000 to $600,000 in trading capital to support monthly living expenses of $4,000 (before taxes), depending on assumed ROI ranging from 6% per month, down to 1% per month.

These estimates of required trading capital are higher than any suggested elsewhere in this thread, but I think they represent the reality of trading for a living in a sustainable way.

By sustainable I mean a capital base which can (1) weather monthly fluctuations, seasonal slow-downs (the well-known summer doldrums, for example), changes in market conditions, occasional (albeit infrequent) black-swan events, and temporary illnesses or other personal problems, (2) allow for stress-free holidays and vacations, and (3) grow over time.

Here’s a LINK to the post in which I laid out my formula.

Much as you might yearn to escape your nine-to-five job, become your own boss, and begin trading for a living — this is not a leap you should make without meticulously careful planning.

Adequate starting capital is necessary. But, equally important is the requirement in bold-type, above.



Wow, dude :slight_smile:

You broke your personal record on word count LOL!

Just messing with you, very concise approach…Well done.


Not quite, but close! :blush: :rofl:

Some topics are more complex than others and deserve more depth. One thing that upsets me more than anything else is seeing and hearing of people losing in trading.

There has been an endless stream of people coming here since I joined BP and so many of them were clearly committed and intelligent people with a strong ambition to “make it”. Most of them no longer post here. Is that because they have succeeded spectacularly and moved on or is it because, well, you know………….

I have yet to see anyone start a journal here as a beginner and reach a stage where they announce they have built up enough capital to go full-time - why is that?

So if I have missed anyone and they happen to be reading this, hopefully they will report in and tell us how it went and how they are getting on as full-time traders……and how much capital they think it takes! :smiley:



One thing I have to say…I belong to some hard-core sites where they don’t do babies. They give it as is…Either you understand, or you don’t. I suspect your flock has moved on to sites like that after graduating Pipsology. I would.

I will start a journal for you from start to finish. I evolved to Price Action Trading, ignoring technical analysis as a benchmark. Only using Support/Resistance (Relevant to price action) and HMA (Personal favorite)…Nothing else technical indicator wise.

I have created my new life account on Friday, please give me 1 week to set everything up. You will have your journal on a brand new life account on Monday the 20th of May…Only running on Price Action Trading. I am prepared to put my money where my mouth should be.

Will this do, Manxx?

@Ignis_Draco @anon46773462 @dpaterso @Clint I ended up creating a new topic on this forum because I was curious about others opinions of the realistic needs to be full-time. I know you all already left your points there. But if you want, feel free to say what one would truly need to be a full-time trader as realistically as humanly possible.


Short answer…Needs analysis

How much do you want to invest versus growth %? Trading is high risk, so reward is high when successful. Damage for life, when you get it wrong, hence the fact that most people put their money in a money market, or relevant safeguarded environment. Trading is not an option for nest egging…Trading is for capital gains.

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Not really. You are talking apples instead of oranges. I was referring to the journey of a Newbie from start to graduating to full-time trader - not just another trader showing his trades. But it will be interesting to see for its own value as a PA trader’s journal, even if it is something different to what we are talking about here! :slight_smile:

What do you mean? I have no “flock” here! I hardly even post here very much. I am only interested in trading and contributing when I see someone serious about their business. I have no interest in the puerile macho tit for tat of those who hide behind internet anonymity in order to play to some imagined hero-worshipping audience - like some enjoy on other, less well moderated sites! :slight_smile:

So why are you here still?

It will be interesting to see what it produces! :smiley:


I am still here because I don’t like you! Go away and I will do the same!!!

Please don’t report me, Manxx, I got a crap load of beatings from the Admins allready.

See, record time words used!!!



Truthfully… Successful traders are quiet by nature, they will never tell you what you want to hear. You will add to the noise with your trades, they prefer it being quiet while they set up their trades.

God’s honest truth.

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Although that is very true. I don’t necessarily just want responses from fulltime traders. More so just everyone’s opinion. you gave your opinion just early on this thread so clearly people can have one without being fulltime. I like to hear people harsh realistic ideas of what traders need to be. It helps keep you grounded you know?

Haha! I am glad I have had some impact on someone here. Whether I should be upset by such a statement really depends on what I think of the person who says it - and you already know the answer to that! :joy:

Seems we have exhausted sensible conversation on this thread so I will leave you to it. Try to behave, I know it is difficult………


I’m getting the bottle of brandy and Need for Speed Most Wanted…2 Classics.

You children can play for now :slight_smile:

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Enjoy! :+1:

I gotta start looking at next week’s prospects. See you there! :smiley:

Wow this was explosive :woman_facepalming:t4::woman_facepalming:t4::woman_facepalming:t4:Back to the drawing board

One of the biggest mistakes of newbies is underfunding, you will end up blowing up, 100$ or base currency of your choice is OK though more is advisable then start trading with micro lots and see how far you can go with the right skills…

I started reading this thread wanting to like this comment, and then the next one, and the another one after that… eventually I just gave up and had myself good read. I have since bookmarked this thread and will probably come back to it a couple more times in my spare time.

@Zhadow45, thanks for bringing this thread to life with your question, it’s gotten way bigger than what you expected I’m sure.

@Clint and @anon46773462, we should declare a day of community mourning if you guys (and a few others I never pass up their posts) ever stopped posting on Babypips haha :slight_smile:, as always you bring quality to the table. God bless you guys for what you do.

@dpaterso, I haven’t seen much of your posts on the community, I suspect that’s because I’m still relatively new. Your beliefs and opinions are definitely ones to be consumed whether or not in agreement with one’s personal perspective on trading.

I hope newbies manage to find this thread (and a few others more like it) before we ever commit to live trading.

I haven’t managed to read a thread from top to bottom in quite some time… this one IS an exception. A good way to start a Forex Monday :sunglasses:


Today forex traders can start their career with any desired amount as forex brokers are now offering micro trading account. One of the basic rationales behind choosing micro trading account is: new traders like you can be comfortable in starting career with smaller amount here. And yes, if you are a quick learner than you can easily move to standard account easily.

At this point you need to practice by getting the right skill first. It is not the huge amount that will determine your success in forex trading but your understanding of how to trade. For example, if you are given huge amount but lack the right skill, you will end up loosing the fund. After the skill, you can try demo andd treat the demo account like that of live account until you are able to achieve success in that demo before going to live.
Do not rush into it, remember you are going to trade for a living.
To me, you will need not less than $1000 for a start up. It all depend on the kind of life style you want to live.
Set yourself a target amount of profit per day. Don’t be greedy, if that amount is achieved that day rest your mind. Do not enter every trade opportunity. Be desciplined.