How Much Money Do I Need to Start Day Trading?

by Meir Barak | based on content from the Market Whisperer – day trading book

In the United States, the “pattern day trading rule” in the United States prevents U.S. residents from day trading in an account with less than $25,000, and limits margin to 4:1. The “pattern day trading rule” does not apply to residents of other countries. Therefore, if you are not a U.S. resident, you can open an account with a non-U.S. broker—such as Colmex Pro, a European-regulated broker—and start with an initial deposit as low as $2,000. An EU broker will provide you with up to 1:5 margin. This means that a $10,000 deposit will give you the buying power to trade stocks worth up to $50,000.

Consider Joining a Proprietary Funded Account Program

Joining a proprietary funded account program is a great option for both U.S. residents and non-U.S. residents who can’t afford (or are not willing) to open their own live day trading accounts. With a starting cost for day trading as low as $500, individuals can talk to day trading mentors, trade with a funded account and share a portion of their profits with the sponsoring investment firm.

A realistic annual income target for successful day traders is to double their money each year. Therefore, an experienced day trader starting with $10,000 should expect a profit of $10,000 after one year.

Avoid Day Trading with an Account that is Too Large

If your annual income is going to be limited by the amount of money in your trading account, should you consider depositing more right off the bat? Eventually that might be the right move, but initially it is not. To trade with larger sums requires being psychologically prepared for larger fluctuations in profit and loss. The mental ability to cope with these fluctuations is acquired only after years of trading. Each of us has our own level of psychological limitation. Therefore, trading too early with sums that are too large may lead to losses. As time passes and you gain experience, your psychological resilience will strengthen, and you will hopefully trade a larger account.

If you are a beginning day trader hoping to immediately earn a livelihood from stock trading, your chances of success are far lower than for those who simultaneously maintain their original source of income. Plan to succeed slowly and safely, knowing that you have a secure amount of money coming in from another job. Work with a day trading mentor or take day trading courses to understand how the process works. This will reduce the pressures to generate immediate income and will enable you to risk less. If you’ve left your job or are between jobs, don’t rely on trading profits. If you don’t place all your hopes on trading profits, you’ll do much better and risk less. If you feel pressured to profit, you may end up losing.