For many traders, it is a lot of fun to make $200 trading for a couple of hours in the morning with the help of a guru. But the reality is that if you considered all the costsyour hourly wage, utility bills, the cost of the tools you use, any hidden fees, and other trading expensesyou would probably be shocked to discover that you did not make as much as you thought you did that day.
The IRS calls traders like this, Hobby Traders. This tax status means you often cant legally deduct your expenses or lower your taxes on other income when you take a loss on trading over the year.
It IS possible to write off every trading expense when you Trade as a Business under IRS rules, but there are rules you must follow.
Twenty years ago, the IRS recognized that there were many non-professional traders who were trading stocks. To ensure the tax rules and laws were equal for both retail and professional traders, the IRS enacted the Trading as a Business status for retail traders IF they met specific criteria.
One important criteria is that your trading is profitable at the end of the year. It is not hard, but you do need an education that you wont find free on the internet or in chat rooms.
You must conduct trading activity as a serious business, not as a hobby or a fun game to play every morning. You need to have a Trade Management Planner and Trading Journal to document your trading activity.
Trading as a Business requires a private office space, even a big closet would do.
You do need reliable internet service, but you should not worry about trying to day trade. Professionals stopped day trading 20 years ago when the penny spreads made it impossible to make high profits intraday and illiquidity on the public exchanges due to Dark Pools has made it worse.
You need a full service charting program. This is one of your primary tools for trading. It should include Scans, Sorts, Market Condition Analysis techniques, Hybrid Leading Indicators and other tools to streamline your workload.
You do not need fancy expensive trading platforms. But you should have access to advanced order types and a simulator trading platform to practice new ideas.
You do not need more than 3 screens unless you are trading several financial markets at a time, which is rare.
Trading as a Business, when you are earning 6 and 7-digit income yearly, is different from trading for the fun of it, not worrying about the fact that you are not really making any money.
Trading is a SKILL that takes a serious education and time to develop that skill. Sure, you can practice on your own for many years and not really get what is wrong. Most keep trying and keep losing money and confidence too.
Professionals, in any high paying job or career that requires skill development, require a comprehensive education created by credentialed educators, training and practice with guidance from a professional educator. You need someone who is capable of pointing out what mistakes you are making in stock pick selection, entry signals and exit signals, stop loss placement, profit potential to loss ratios, and much more. No one can self-mentor in this business. Relying on the advice of other retail traders is even worse as most have minimal training.
There are 2 sides of the market:
The retail side constitutes a mere 20% of all trading activity
The professional side constitutes 80% of the market.
Professionals take their work seriously and continue to learn new technical patterns, new candlestick patterns, new trading techniques, new routing systems, etc.
Often the difference between high-income traders and those who are constantly trying to get back what they lost last week is very simple: a clear trading plan, critical trading techniques, thorough knowledge of the market structure, and ability to read a chart as if it was a book.
Any high-income business or career requires much more education than could ever be found free on the internet or in guru chat rooms. There is simply far more knowledge you need than most comprehend. Professionals are constantly learning to keep up with the changes in the market. Professionals earn high incomes but they also support the economy of the US and the stock market in doing so.
TechniTrader teaches retail traders how to Trade as a Business, how to trade like the professionals, and how to earn the high incomes professionals take for granted.
If you want to be more than a Hobby Trader, check out TechniTrader Courses.
Martha Stokes, CMT
TechniTrader has been teaching traders and investors a complete process for trading or investing in the stock market and other financial markets since 1998. We have helped over 500,000 traders and investors achieve their financial goals. Our courses provide a complete, comprehensive training program based on a college-style curriculum that uses a tri-level approach to analyzing assets or derivatives to trade.
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