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Nial Fuller

NIAL FULLER
Professional Trader, Author & Trading Coach

Why I’m Not A Day Trader

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By in Forex Trading Articles by Nial Fuller Last updated on | 54 Comments

Like most traders, I was obsessed with day trading at the start of my career, it’s what I studied, it’s how I traded, it was how I lived. However, I quickly discovered that something was wrong. I just couldn’t seem to make any money trading this way. It was stressful, time-consuming, difficult and even maddening at times. I would make money on a trade and then give it right back. It seemed like I would take one step forward and then two steps back.

In short, it quickly became very clear to me that dodging in and out of the market all day, trading short time frames was really no different than gambling on a slot machine at the casino, I was just doing it from my home. I had spent more than enough time in the trenches early in my career to realize that day trading was unnecessarily difficult, I knew it wasn’t going to work for me and I hadn’t met anyone else it was working for. So, I had to evolve and try a different approach to trading or I was going to lose all my money, quickly.

This was when I decided to stop day-trading and start thinking differently about the market. I began looking into higher time frame charts and taking a lower-frequency approach to trading. I quickly found my groove once I began focusing on the daily chart and trading less often. It was a far less time-consuming, less stressful and just an overall friendlier approach to how I wanted to live my life.

I found that not only was I suffering less losing trades, I also would catch bigger moves and my trading costs (spreads / commissions) went way down because I wasn’t entering and exiting the market so often. Instead of taking 30 to 50 trades a month (or more) as with day trading, I was now only taking 4 to 5 trades a month some months.

Currently, I trade just 30 minutes a day from anywhere I want; I don’t need to be plugged into some multi-monitor trading desk all day. I actually get to live my life on my own terms; free and flexible. Ultimately, this style of trading and the life it lets me lead, allows me to enjoy the fruits of my trading much more than day trading ever could.

Day Trading Won’t Give You A Great Lifestyle

In Hollywood movies, day traders are often portrayed as young rich guys living a fast-paced life of fast cars, big houses and risky behavior that seems to always end up working out somehow. Hence, when someone first gets interested in trading this is usually pretty close to the image they have in their minds of what day trading will be like and what it will offer them.

My issue with this is that it’s basically completely wrong and totally misleading. Also, this misrepresentation of reality causes many traders to blow out numerous accounts and lose a lot of money before they figure out they need to take a different approach.

Do you like sitting in a chair all day staring at your computer screen? Well, this is basically what day traders do. You literally have to be at your computer for 6-8 hours a day to properly execute most day trading strategies. You have to take many, many trades in order to see the edge (potentially) play out over the course of hundreds and thousands of trades. Even if you manage to do this, most day trading systems require you endure a lot of losses simply because it’s a numbers game, not a high-probability edge like higher-time frame trading can provide.

The very reason we become traders is to make money and ENJOY a lifestyle that is different from a 9 to 5 office job where you are essentially a slave-drone worker to a company all day. If you choose to be a day trader you are basically a slave to the screens all day and your head is filled with information overload, stress, pressure and on and on, not much different than that 9 to 5 office job except that you might actually make money at the office!

  • Here’s How a Trader Gets a Great Lifestyle

When you make the shift from day trading / constant chart-watching to a higher time frame, end of day trading approach, a lot of things quickly change.

You suddenly gain a massive amount of time (which you’ll need to fill), your trading mindset becomes better and clearer and you are now moving closer to becoming a successful trader.

I recently wrote an article on how to trade like a hedge fund manager and in that article I discussed how hedge fund traders are not day-trading. They are not sitting there taking a 5 minute view of the market trying to duck in and out of it all day, to them that is just stupid, and it should seem that way to you too.

Trading higher time frames means you don’t have to be checking the charts all the time. You can spend just 30 minutes a day, trading from a coffee shop or wherever, it’s up to you. The point is, when it comes to lifestyle, the end-of-day trader wins easily against the day trader, it’s not even close.

You Won’t Make More Money Day Trading

A lot of newbie traders believe they will make more money day-trading than position or swing trading the higher time frames. It seems logical; you trade more you make more, right? WRONG. It’s so wrong that it makes me mad just thinking about the misinformation that is spread online, enticing beginners into day-trading, which is why I’m writing this article!

  • Here’s Why You’ll Make More Money If You Don’t Day Trade

Have you ever met a profitable, successful day trader like you see in the movies? No? Me either. There’s a good reason for this, it’s nearly impossible to achieve great success day-trading, let alone maintain that success over time.

Day-trading involves dealing with a lot of meaningless lower time frame market noise. This noise that is essentially random price movement on short time frame charts, is something that can easily slice your trading account into a million pieces that quickly flow down the ‘drain’ and out of your account.

As mentioned earlier, spreads, broker fees, etc. rack up very quickly when you’re day trading. Every transaction you make in the market costs you money, so when you’re trading 30 – 100 times a month (or more) those seemingly small costs will add up to a significant sum of money over the course of a year.

However, that is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. You’re going to have a lot of losing trades with a day trading method. In fact, most day trading strategies involve poor risk reward scenarios, like 1:1 or less. This is because you’re aiming for small wins when you’re day trading, also known as “scalping the market”, so you’re not holding trades long enough for them to turn into big winners. With small risk rewards of 1:1 or worse, just to breakeven you need to win more than 50% of the time, to offset spreads and commissions, this is very hard to do with a day-trading system that falls prey to the random market noise and intraday “churn” of the price action in the market.

If you decide to trade end-of-day strategies, higher time frames and focus on the daily chart time frame like I teach in my courses and members area, you’re going to have an easier time making money because you are not fighting the intraday churn of meaningless market noise. Instead, you are waiting strategically for a high-probability price action signal to form in confluence with the surrounding market context. These signals will produce bigger movements since you’re on the higher time frames. Also, since the higher time frames carry more weight, you’re more likely to get a win on any given daily chart signal compared to any given 5 or 1 minute chart signal. This means, you’re risk reward can become more favorable now, think 1:2, 1:3 or even higher! Hence, you do not have to trade as much nor do you have to win as much (as with day trading) to actually make a profit!

I don’t know about you but I am all about DOING LESS TO GET MORE!

You’re Not Going to Be Able to Quit Your Day Job and Day Trade All Day

A lot of traders seem to get the fantasy in their heads that they will simply be able to quit their day job and start day trading all day and somehow magically make money. This is not reality. Sadly, I know quite a few traders who quit their day jobs too soon because they thought they could make money day trading, only to find that not only were they not making any money anymore, they were now losing money from day trading!

  • How to Trade Around Your Day Job

Thankfully, there is a perfectly effective way to maintain your current job while you are trading. I’ve written many articles about trading with a day job, but the most important thing to know is that not only does higher time frame trading allow you to trade around your current schedule, but doing so will actually accelerate your trading progress for a number of reasons…

A day job is a natural distraction from the market, and may people need this because they simply become addicted to the charts otherwise. It’s important to realize that not only is day-trading very difficult to profit at but even if you manage to do so, the temptation from constantly being in front of the chart is just too much for most people to handle.

Your goal should be to make a trading routine wherein you are checking the markets sometime in the morning for 15 – 20 minutes and sometime in the evening / before bed for 15 – 20 minutes. Once you have learned how to trade properly, there really is no need to spend more than 1 hour per day looking at your charts. In fact, I would argue that after about 45 minutes to an hour a day, each additional minute you spend analyzing the charts will negatively impact your long-term trading success.

Don’t think about “quitting your job” right now. Instead, utilize your job to keep the income flowing steadily (this will help maintain a clear and calm mindset that you need for trading) and also to maintain a natural distraction from the intraday market noise that costs many traders their trading accounts. IF you are ever able to quit your job and become a “full time” trader, you will know when the time comes. Whatever you do, don’t go quitting because you “think” you can make money trading. Wait until you’ve BEEN making money consistently for one year or more.

Day Trading Does Not Give You More Opportunities

One of the most widespread misconceptions about day trading is that it provides traders with “more opportunities” (to make money). Sure, I won’t argue that you will enter more trades as a day trader, but are those really good opportunities to profit? I would say no, they are not.

In my opinion, an “opportunity” is something that will likely lead to something positive for you, and the greater “opportunities” people speak of in regards to to day trading are certainly not all positive. Hence, the higher quantity of ‘opportunities’ that day trading offers is not at all what it seems. I look at it as more opportunities to lose your money!

  • The Real Opportunities in the Market

The opportunities that a higher time frame, swing trader has are much, much better than those of the day trading variety.

Not only are the trading opportunities on the daily chart much higher probability than those on small time frames, they are also much better for your mind and your body. You are not sitting all day slouched over in a chair frantically combing the 1 minute charts for your signal to pop up. This is mentally and physically draining! Instead, an end of day trader simply follows their routine, checking the higher time frame charts at their predesignated times each day, for 20-30 minutes. They execute their trading plan and then walk away.

This is an opportunity to live the life you have always dreamed, and in my opinion, ONLY higher time frame trading affords you such an opportunity.

Conclusion

If there was any doubt as to why I am not a day trader, today’s lesson should have removed it from your mind. However, I didn’t just write this lesson to tell you why I don’t day trade, I wrote it to (hopefully) convince you not to day trade either. My number one concern is helping traders and teaching trading concepts that actually work. I don’t want you to lose money unnecessarily, so I don’t want you to day trade.

Trading the daily chart time frame in an end-of-day manner provides you with the best possible shot at making money over the long-run as a trader. I can tell you without a doubt, from 18 years of live market trading experience, if you go down the day trading route you are taking a huge detour that is only going to push you far off the path that will lead you to successful long-term trading.

If you are interested in learning more about the end-of-day trading approach discussed in today’s article and exactly how it all works and how I trade, you will learn this and a lot more in my trading courses. The concepts and strategies I teach in my price action trading course are the exact same ones that I use today and hopefully they will change the way you think about and trade the market as well as improve your results and ultimately give you the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

To learn more about why I dislike day trading and how I currently trade with an end-of-day approach and higher time frames, you may like to check out these lessons:

Are you totally new to the world of forex trading? Get started on the right track with our beginner’s trading course

Check out some of my price action trading videos to see more in-depth tutorials!

If you aren’t yet a member of our private trading group and would like to learn more about becoming a member, visit the Professional Trading Course Page Here.

What did you think of this lesson? Please leave your comments & feedback below!

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About Nial Fuller

is a Professional Trader & Author who is considered ‘The Authority’ on Price Action Trading. He has a monthly readership of 250,000+ traders and has taught 20,000+ students since 2008. In 2016, Nial won the Million Dollar Trader Competition. Checkout Nial's Professional Trading Course here.
  1. Dmitriy September 16, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks a lot, Nial!
    That was a truly beautiful lesson!

    Reply
  2. Sunday September 14, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    what to know more about risk management
    if I want to risk 1$ on a pair what will be my lot size and pip value to set as a Stop loss

    Reply
  3. Zinnur June 2, 2019 at 4:34 am

    Important lesson. Thanks

    Reply
  4. Благодарность October 30, 2018 at 3:47 am

    Magnificent article

    Reply
  5. Rahmat February 26, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Almost every articles content and language from Nial are really giving positive effects including this one.
    So thank you Nial.

    Reply
  6. Olawa February 18, 2018 at 1:01 am

    Nial is my preferred Forex mentor anyday

    Reply
  7. DERRICK February 16, 2018 at 12:54 am

    all i can say is thank you so much

    Reply
  8. Tha Mathabzo Zulu February 15, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Thank Nial

    Reply
  9. Duncan February 15, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks Nial;

    This was a great post which actually helped me rephrase my thoughts after my losses.

    I am still not very profitable at this stage but every time I lose, I look back to see what I could have done better and learn to minimize my losses maybe exit at a small profit rather than a loss!!

    However; after having read this, I also now appreciate the fact that losses are a part of it as well and I feel less discouraged before taking the next trade than before. Things sometimes are easier said than done – true – but after reading these guidelines, I learn a lot and appreciate it heaps. I am learning a lot and the best part of it is that I am enjoying it.

    Thanks for spending the time to post such valuable guidance!

    Duncan

    Reply
  10. Peter Miller February 15, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Another good lesson. As they say ” life is what you make it “and that goes for trading also, think before you act and know that never one day (or life is ) is the same as the last one, so treat as Nial says each trade as a new beginning. Thanks .

    Reply
  11. rudra February 15, 2018 at 6:24 am

    good one sir

    Reply
  12. Khesiwe February 15, 2018 at 2:14 am

    Excellent article pactice makes perfect I’m going to practice every advice in this article thanks Nial

    Reply
  13. Winston Roy Longbottom February 15, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Thanks Nial, I for one admit that I was influenced by previous success and could not see the next trade through that; I was brought back to reality with some quick losses, however I puuled my thoughts together and looked at my next trade with confidence and considered every possible angle before taking it and I am now back on track. This article has since reassured me of that fact and I must disregard any previous trade before attempting the next. Your articles help keep sanity in the trading game and also leads to further success. Many Thanks. Winston

    Reply
  14. farzad February 14, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Every word in this article is like gold…

    Thanks AGAIN Nial.

    Reply
  15. Olamide February 14, 2018 at 2:03 am

    Thanks Nial. That’s reminds me of a trade some years ago before I quit trading. I bought EUR/USD on $0.05 lots with $20 risk and i made a profit of $183 on that trade so that winning recency bias got into my head and I felt overconfident, then i went ahead to trade $0.10 lots on my next two trades and I lost both. That’s how I gave back the profit I made from that EUR/USD to the market. Fear start to catch me then I reduce my lots to $0.01 which definitely reduced my profit that I would have make on some trade. Though I just came back to the market since two or three years ago that I quit but am still using demo account to test my trading strategies before trying to come back live. Thanks once more.

    Reply
  16. Wandera Moses February 13, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Nial thx for this one also. i have improved alot in trading just by reading your articles. thx alot

    Reply
  17. ampurirag February 13, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Excellent and timely. Thanks Nial.

    Reply
  18. Seiso February 13, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Typical of Nial’s mail’s. I am not in anyway surprised to find this post hitting the nail on the head as it does and so timely as well. I always find Nial’s post as informing, factual and educating like this one. Thanks to Nial, from now I am no longer going to be enslaved to my last trade’s results.

    Reply
  19. Colin February 13, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Thanks for the trading insight. Particularly about training our brains to behave properly.

    Reply
  20. Hettie van der Vyver February 13, 2018 at 5:12 am

    this makes sense!!

    Reply
  21. Thoko February 13, 2018 at 5:09 am

    Well I am a true novice,I have not started trading yet. If I understand well briefly you say if one is a trader one must bury the past.That is my motto
    So I feel l Iam going to do well.

    Reply
  22. Wasantha February 13, 2018 at 4:45 am

    This article explains what happened when I first started trading forex. After reading many of Nial,s writings on the subject of trading I feel that I am expanded in my knowledge and confident about my trading decisions.I really appreciate Nial,s works,

    Reply
  23. kris February 13, 2018 at 2:59 am

    i noticed today after one loosing trade that it can’t reflect, the other running trades .
    After that i checked my emails and i saw your email as first .I have read it and then it was like you would heard what i sayd before It was simmilar to :

    If you just lost, it has no bearing on the fact that your next trade might be a winner.
    If you just won, it has no bearing on the fact that your next trade might be a loser.

    thank you for your work .
    traders mindset ..

    have a nice day.

    Reply

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