Should I Learn to E-Mini Trade Through an Educational Course, a DIY Book, Or a Trading Room?
I don’t think I would be exaggerating in saying that I answer the question posed in the title at least once a day, if not more. There is no doubt that a successful individual in e-mini trading enjoys the kind of freedom most hourly workers would envy. But there’s of small problem that must be overcome before a trader can enjoy consistent and profitable trading; you have to learn how to trade e-minis and the market, as it stands, is a bit dodgy. There is reluctance by the e-mini trading educators and traders to disclose anything about performance and e-mini trading methodology. Some of this reluctance is understandable as traders are notoriously averse to disclosing anything about how they trade. In the past year, several review sites have uncovered some unsavory facts about trading rooms; and educational courses are difficult to evaluate my shoe have an extensive knowledge of the e-mini trading.
In short, if you don’t have a good working knowledge of trading it is very difficult to evaluate which option will provide the most expedient route to trading success. On the other hand, if you have a good working knowledge of trading you probably don’t need any of the 3 offered options. It’s a real dilemma and I talk to traders every day who have been in unsuccessful trade rooms, tried to learn to trade with unethical e- mini educators, and bought a stack of day trading texts that were of little use in the long run.
How do you learn to trade then?
The honest answer (and this is coming from an e-mini educator/trader) is that the path to success is fraught with all kinds of problematic issues that take careful analysis. With a couple of wrong steps, you may well find yourself parting with an excessive amount of hard-earned cash and very little to show for it. I don’t really know how long some of the unsavory characters in this business have been working, as I retired from institutional trading and after several years began teaching and trading in the futures markets. In short, I have only been training individuals for about 5 years.
My opinions are not too complicated on this topic; in my opinion it would be very difficult to learn to trade profitably by reading a “how to” sort of textbook. I use several textbooks in my trading course and have found that they are wonderful to augment basic principles of trading but there is so much more to trading that is learned through experience (and not in a textbook) that textbooks merely provide a structural framework from which to build a trading system.
It is highly unlikely you’ll ever learn to trade in a trade room because the room moderator will make calls based upon his or her personal trading methodology and it is not in the moderators’ interest to disclose how he/she is making trading decisions. Additionally, performance issues have come to light regarding several trading rooms and documentation concerning past performance. I’m not going to elaborate on this touchy subject, but any perfunctory search on the topic will show scads of rumors, facts, and mass confusion regarding performance documentation.
Finally, we come to e-mini education and the horizon tends to get even muddier, if not downright insane. You can only become as skilled, at least initially, as the sophistication of the educational system the vendor has to offer. Unfortunately, many if not most systems are just recycled techniques from dozens of identical systems. My advice is to thoroughly interview any potential trading educator and ask pointed questions about his/her experience. As a retired institutional trader, I am prejudiced towards people who have been on the floor or in the back room of one of the major investment houses because they have learned to handle pressure and succeed. I don’t get too upset when I trade because I have seen quite a few different trading dilemmas and have figured ways to rectify problems and stay detached emotionally.
I have outlined some of the problems you are bound to encounter in your search for the proper methods of learning to trade e-minis. Walk lightly and do your homework on whatever choice you deem best for you.