Did you know the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was the first market to introduce continuous trade beginning in the early 17th century? Since then, most wealthy developed nations have implemented one or more stock exchanges to represent securities that can be traded in one way or another. Today, trading in many different global markets is one of the best ways to achieve financial freedom.

You may be thinking it’s too late in the game for you to benefit from learning to trade and invest, but that’s not true. You’re never too old to start learning how to trade and invest for yourself. In fact, you could end up being able to fully support or supplement your lifestyle. 

There are many reasons why people turn to trading further along in life. Some of our students are looking to put their kids through college, others are just burnt out and want a change of career. Others want to move to a bigger house, or have more disposable income.  Some of our students are approaching retirement and are worried whether they’ll be able to afford to retire, while others are retired and want to supplement their pension. 

Being successful is the key here though. While age is not an inhibiting factor, proper education can be. Many people jump in without really knowing what they’re doing and end up losing their hard-earned money. That can be scary if you’re retired, or close to retiring. That’s why we’re here to help you learn the ropes as quickly as possible so you can start your trading career properly and understand the tools and skills it takes to get ahead.

How do Beginners Learn to Trade?

You may already be investing for retirement or have a managed account, but how do you begin actively managing your own money? Before buying or selling stocks, there are multiple considerations to make when getting set up:

woman learning to trade stocks

Choosing a Brokerage

You will need a reputable brokerage to hold your funds and execute your trades. We highly recommend avoiding mobile-based, gimmick-laden apps that capitalize on inexperienced traders by taking hidden costs at every turn.

Instead, we would recommend brokerages that can execute trades quickly, are not subject to crashes during peak volume, and have accessible customer support. Our recommendations include Charles Schwab, iBroker, Vanguard, and TD Ameritrade to name a few.

Assess your Risk Tolerance

Stock trading (no matter what style you prefer) is a zero-sum, competitive activity with inherent risk built-in. You should never be trading with money you can’t afford to lose. Additionally, your initial trading increments should be small as you develop your strategies. We encourage new traders to paper trade in order to practice their trading strategies. 

Learn From the Pros

Experience and education are some of the most important factors in becoming successful in the market. This creates a difficult dynamic for people who want to learn to trade on their own time with no help. Not only will their learning curve be steep and costly, but it will also take longer to recognize errors or adopt smarter strategies. Studying with experienced professionals, taking courses, and tracking your progress with well-developed resources will help you accelerate your introduction to trading and end up saving you significant money and heartbreak.

One critical element of learning to trade is that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy or developmental curve. Even mimicking the best traders will not end up being the best move for you; it is a combination of getting a proper education and integrating that knowledge into your life to create long-term financial freedom.

how to start day trading

How Long Will it Take to Learn Trading?

There is not a finite answer to this question, but with the right resources and mindset you can begin to set expectations for yourself. It is important to remember that these also have to be your expectations; no one else can tell you what will make you comfortable and happy in life.  Similarly, while the trading style you are most comfortable in might feel obvious from the start, it is not uncommon to want to try out different asset classes, trading hours, and strategies before you are ready to call yourself a trader.

We recommend setting certain benchmarks that correspond to your working capital, training program, and lifestyle goals. An important part of trading as a career is mental health and long-term focus, so we encourage people to make sure that they are:

  • Consistently profitable and can justify their trades.
  • Maintaining proper diet and exercise to stay sharp.
  • Constructing a schedule that allows for enough sleep and decompression.
  • Not trying to force trading in around other life obligations.

Even if you can only trade part-time and for small amounts at the beginning, you need to be able to realize this and take trades that fit with your plan. Volatile day trades, for example, might not be in this strategy. Ultimately you and your coaches should decide on a strategy that works best for your lifestyle.

When Is the Best Time to Start Trading?

There is an ancient proverb that states: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” This is to say that while experience in the market helps, and we always recommend investing early, it is never too late to begin. In fact, a good number of our students are retired and seeking a better way to manage their money themselves.

One of the great things about learning to trade is it can be calibrated exactly how you like depending on your age, lifestyle, and financial status. The most common denominator holding people back is just a fundamental lack of knowledge about how to approach the market.

We recommend approaching your trading journey in a disciplined, organized manner. If you treat it like a business, you are far more likely to make one out of it. This means writing out a plan that includes researching trading platforms, seeking out professional coaching, and continuing to better yourself every day that you can. 

trading stocks on a computer

Learn to Trade Effectively with StockAbility™

It can be daunting to take the first step towards independence and financial freedom via day trading. At StockAbility™, we have helped people take this step and make leaps in their stock trading abilities. Our experienced professionals, proprietary training techniques, and dedicated community will be there every step of the way in your trading journey.

To learn more about the best methods of progressing rapidly, sign up for a free webinar or day trading course. We’re ready when you are.