How I Got Started Trading Futures: My path to learn trading is summarized in this piece of writing.
(The Futures Trading Information Network)
I've been watching financial markets with varying degrees of interest for 20 years on and off. I remember the economic woes of the late 80's. I remember the economic wows of the late 90's and early 2000's as well as the bursting of that bubble. I was active in the markets before, during, and after the crash of 2008. All in all, up until now, I've witnessed 3 major market downs, and two major market ups. I vividly remember gold being below $200/oz and Crude Oil in the 'teens. I'm not an expert trader yet, but I'm no greenhorn.
I first became aware of financial markets when I was around 12 years old and my mother and father decided to buy my younger brother and I some mutual funds as a long-term investment. At the time, I had no idea what a mutual fund was, so I asked my father. My dad told me it was when a bunch of people put their money together and then someone in charge of the money bought and sold stocks to make profit on price fluctuations. Of course, I didn't know what a stock was either. Guess what I asked my dad next!
Anyways, at the time, my dad received a subscription to a newspaper named "The Financial Post". The Financial Post had a pretty complete stock & commodity listings section. Once we had our mutual funds, I looked them up in every Saturday's newspaper edition and carefully plotted a price chart for them in a binder I had. As the months went by there were fluctuations and I got bored, as you'd expect a 12 year old tracking 2 mutual funds would.
Eventually, I decided to learn more about these "stocks" that my dad had told me about. So instead of charting the mutual funds in my binder, I started charting a handful of stocks that had cool names. I particularly remember one called "Tomahawk Resource" because I was really into axes, bows and arrows, and spears and all that stuff. So it was through these seemingly casual day-to-day events that I learned what the financial markets were about. However, I was still unaware of the full potential that existed within them.
A few years later when I was about 15 years old, my dad had brought home a book from our local library entitled "How to Make the Stock Market Make Money for You" by Ted Warren, a book I recommend. The book talks mostly about how stocks and commodities go through long cycles of accumulation, appreciation, and distribution. It talks about getting on board a stock/commodity as it is being accumulated or as it is breaking out of long term accumulation and holding for massive profits. It was through that book that I learned about commodities.
Having "lived in the fast lane" as often as I could, I sure as hell was more interested in learning more about commodities and futures than I was about stocks. I wanted to learn futures trading. Unfortunately, it wasn't until recently that I was able to open a futures account, so I had to settle for stocks for a long time.
It was at the same time that I was reading Ted Warren that I also started reading Jesse Livermore. Naturally, my interest in trading only increased after reading "Reminiscence of a Stock Operator" by Edwin Lefevre. It was at this time that I started making price charts and paper trading for a handful of commodity futures. This was in the late 90's when crude oil was fairly active. You can imagine my excitement to check the newspaper quotes every day. Keep in mind that the internet was still relatively new, and we didn't have a fast connection at the time nor was I even aware of any charting websites. I knew I wanted to learn to trade.On the subject of books, I highly recommend "Trading for a Living" and "Come Into my Trading Room" by Alexander Elder, and "How To Make Money In Stocks" by William O'Neil.
By the time the 2000's rolled around, I still didn't have enough money to make any meaningful trades. Futures would have to wait. My stock account was $200 and my commissions were $60 round. Eventually I convinced them to knock my commissions down to $10/side but my account was still just practical practice. I was using a stock charting website called “BigCharts”. When I went to go live in Mexico in 2003 I deposited $1000 in my stock account and over three years I managed to build it to about $3500. Then some personal stuff happened and trading got put on the back burner for a few years.
I now have a futures account with a discount broker and I am slowly but steadily finding my footholds. I haven't lost any substantial sums, and my profit rate and frequency has steadily increased. I'm still not rich, but I will be. I guarantee it.