Trading education

Trading education – how to become a professional trader

When it comes to trading training, I am actually a bad example. It took me far too long to understand what really matters on the stock exchange. And that’s why I paid far too much apprenticeship money.

On the other hand, I have made it. Yes – but I could have done it easier. But this is not about me.

It is about you. About your success. For your money. So that you can reach your goals faster, I have written this article about the training of traders. About the right learning.

It should serve as a guideline for you, if at the beginning of your trader career you can’t see the proverbial forest for the trees anymore.

So in the following paragraphs we will talk about how to learn trading correctly, which steps to take and when to take them and how to correctly classify and evaluate the different training options.

Stock exchange and shares – it worked

For me the interest came from my former profession. I worked in the insurance industry and was able to attend a seminar on unit-linked life insurance. That was in 2001, when these insurance policies were very popular and I wanted to know more about them.

There I learned more about the worldwide financial markets, the most important connections – and – I was fascinated. The big money was attracting to the stock markets – and I wanted to be part of it (and make a lot of money).

But instead of taking out such an insurance policy, I had the crazy idea of investing in shares myself. It was – in the short run – the stupidest idea I ever had. And in the long run the best. Because for many years it has become my new profession

Enough is enough

Actually, I had been fed up with my insurance job for a long time. I didn’t want to work from 9 – 5 (or mostly longer) and only get paid with a compensation ( = salary). Not that I earned badly.

No – one must not be ungrateful. But insurance was not boring per se but I was not interested in it (anymore).

So I looked for other possibilities to earn money and in (at) the stock exchange I had found this possibility. But until then it should still be a long and stony way, as we will see soon.

How not to act on the evil

After my first attempts with Buy and Hold (Investment) I quickly realized that I was very impatient. It simply all took far too long for me.

I bought a share and was annoyed if it did not rise (significantly) immediately after the purchase. So I came across (day)trading and thought that this would appeal to me more. But at the beginning it was not as clear as it probably was with them.

The first steps or how to start

In 2001, when I started, there was no social media. If you wanted to learn trading and stock exchange, the only thing that remained was the good book. And at that time good trading books were (in German language scarce – they are still today, because quantity is not quality). Today I think, on the one hand you can still recommend books as a good source of information. And on the other hand social media.

There are quite a few good Facebook groups for beginners, which will certainly help you to master the first steps and hurdles. And they allow – what was not possible in my time – the easy exchange with like-minded people.

I don’t need to write an instruction for Facebook here. They probably know more about it than I do. But I can certainly help with the topic of stock exchange books and look back on my own experience. What we will do together now.

My first stock exchange books

To be honest, I couldn’t remember which books I had bought first. But luckily I have been an Amazon customer since 2001. (unfortunately I only bought at Amazon in 2001 and did not buy Amazon shares…) I have always bought almost all my stock books online. And at Amazon you have a lifetime history when it comes to purchases.

As you can see on the order date (2002), it took me more than a year (from the beginning of 2001) until I realized that I needed further education to be successful on the stock market. Because I bought my first shares without any know-how. I only bought names. No values. And of course, that backfired.

So my first two financial books I ever bought were:

  • The game of games – Jesse Livermore
  • The capital – Karl Marx

Interesting mixture, isn’t it? Here you can see very well that I had no plan yet. Marx, the capitalist and Livermore, the first (?) real trader. That doesn’t fit together at all. By the way, I have never read Marx. Livermore probably 5 times or more. And this book should have a lasting impact on my trading education.

In my love for the stock markets, in my love for the United States of America. And in my admiration of speculators or traders, who often have a bad reputation in the public eye – it’s not much different today.

What I have to say about Jesse Livermore’s book, you can also watch in this video, which deals with the topic of (invisible) mentors:

Traders have no lobby

Do you know it? You tell somebody that you want to trade (learn) and get only pitiful looks? In the best case! Or are you encouraged in your plans, are you motivated?

I think not. Why does nobody talk you out of going to university? Why does nobody object to you wanting to become a doctor? That is all so sensible. So they say.

Budding traders like you – and this is already the first lesson – have a hard time. Not (only) with trading itself but with the fact that nobody takes it seriously. And that reinforces the initial doubts even more. They will probably lose traders in the beginning.

Because they still know too little. That’s ok, as long as they learn something from the losses. But instead of being encouraged by their environment, they are looked at crookedly. Keep this in mind, it won’t make your trader’s life any easier in the beginning.

At the beginning you hear all kinds of things from your environment: be careful. Stock market is for gamblers. Casino. And much more. And there you only said that you deal with the stock market. Perhaps you also mentioned that you trade.

But nobody knows what a trader is. And what distinguishes him from a “normal” investor. Nobody – except you. And so it’s no wonder if you flee to the Internet and search for (and find) like-minded people.

But caution – second advice – always remain cautious and skeptical. Anything that sounds too good that is. But further in the text.

Even more books

After I had devoured “The Game of Games”, I wanted more. But the next order, a short time later, was just as haphazard as we see in the picture below.

On the one hand, I ordered a book about the then president of the FED, Alan Greenspan. Then one about George Soros and his methods. Both were not trading books but books for investors. So I was still not sure where to go. Trading or investing?

Then there was a book about warrants. It was one of my excursions into a profession that I didn’t understand at all at the time. But warrants promised rapid wealth. At least I thought so.

I bought at that time thus “armed” with the knowledge of a (small) councellor these products. And I paid my ignorance with heavy losses. Once again I was too impatient.

In any case, only trade what you understand, that is another advice from me. In any case, I did not understand warrants. And the stock exchange punishes such things immediately.

One of the keys to success is specialization

Another piece of advice at this point – specialize in one asset class after an initial phase in which you try out a lot. Otherwise they will get bogged down. Of course, you have to look around a bit first. Try different things.

But not too long. They should find the focus relatively soon and specialize in markets that appeal to them. And then start to understand these markets down to the smallest detail.

But that is not all. You should ask yourself the following questions at the beginning of your trading career:

  • Which markets (stocks, currencies, bonds, commodities etc.) interest me?
  • Which products can I use in these markets?
  • Do I have enough money to trade these markets / products?
  • Do I have enough time to trade these markets / products?
  • Which broker is suitable for these markets/products?
  • And only then: which trading strategy should I use, what works?

At that time I myself tended more and more towards trading. It was simply more exciting for me. Successful investing came later, when I was already trading professionally.

While trading I could (at that time) “do” something while as an investor I could only observe. But I wanted to really “work” on the stock exchange. So buy/sell/buy later/ and everything around it. Write a diary, document trades and of course earn money with all the work.

But in trading you don’t have to work hard. You have to work smart. And nobody has ever got rich from hard work anyway. With smart work, with good ideas, with good strategies, however, you can.

A juicy detail: today, I don’t actually “do” anything in operational trading anymore. Because everything is automated.

What I do today is to develop and revise trading strategies. Trying out ideas (with backtests). This is much more interesting than operative trading itself.

But one should not expect from any beginner that he first of all also sees it that way and secondly understands it at all – in the whole range of this statement.

But back to the Trader Evolution. To learn. So I ordered more books, more and more towards trading. At the end of 2002 I bought a book about the technical analysis of candlesticks.

Today, almost 20 years later, I know, because I analyzed it, that candlesticks are on the one hand humbug and on the other hand too vague (inaccurate) to trade successfully.

Again a piece of advice: try from the beginning to trade only what can be clearly duplicated.

Without room for interpretation. 100% without interpretation. Otherwise, the question always remains open, whether the rules are bad or whether they are just the (loose) rules improperly executed. And in the end, this helps nobody.

Book tips? Missed out at

Except for “The Game of Games”, I would still not recommend stock exchange books here. Why? Because there is so much literature available in the meantime that it is almost impossible to keep track.

I have read more than 100 books myself, but the only one I really remember was Jesse Livermore’s book.

The only advice I can give you about literature is that one or more books are a good start. Just browse the internet and read (with care) the reviews and then decide which books you want to read.

But with books alone you will never be successful in trading. And that’s why I don’t want to list all the hundreds of stock exchange books I bought in the years after that.

So let’s move on to the next possibility how to learn trading. seminars. After all, after reading a lot, attending such events was the next obvious thing to do in my case.

Trading Seminars

I attended my first trading seminar – as far as I remember – in 2007, relatively late, because I started trading in 2001. In between were several years of research, trial and error. In 2007 I had already largely found my way. I had become a Swingtrader. On a daily closing price basis. With shares, but also with CFDs.

Today I know that CFDs are not good products, but not back then. But back to the seminar topic. 2007 – so I have it at least in memory, Trading (also thanks to CFDs) experienced an upswing in Germany and Austria.

Finally also private traders could work with small stakes and high levers (bad!). It is best to always trade without leverage. Finally, private traders were able to go short (also in some markets bad).

No matter – trading was booming. And the financial crisis that followed reinforced this trend. Nobody wanted to buy and hold anymore. But everyone wanted to trade.

In any case, the first CFD brokers in this country experienced paradisiacal times in these years. The customers kicked in the doors of the providers. And the more customers came, the more offers were created for them to keep them happy.

One of these offers was a free roadshow of the then largest CFD broker. In a Vienna Ringstraßen Hotel. In front of more than 500 people. The house was crammed full. And I was there live.

On the stage there were numerous speakers, who were known from the stock exchange TV. I felt wonderful. I was one of them. Did I realize that it was all just a show? No idea. Did I notice that I learned nothing here?

I guess not. On stage was also a trader from Austria as speaker, whom I knew from his blog at that time (it was one of the first trading blogs in DE/AT).

He talked about his trading, explained charts and I hung on his lips. And after the talk I and dozens of others besieged this speaker and wanted to get some tips. I felt good – and I wanted more. Trading was just my thing. And it came better.

(Good) seminars cost money

So I decided to book the first paid seminars of this broker. It took place a few months later. So I attended a workshop of several days, which was offered at the Vienna Stock Exchange. The speaker was an employee of this broker and trader himself. His lecture was good, but once again I learned nothing new.

On the contrary – I had the feeling that I could just as well have given this lecture myself. But I had respect for the speaker and asked him during the break if he could have a look at my trading records of the last months. Because I had the feeling that something was wrong with my trading. The problem: it was going too well (seriously!).

The trainer assured me that everything was ok after having saved my records. And he asked me if I would like to hold trading seminars myself.

After all, he is from Berlin and only rarely here in Vienna. And Vienna (and especially the broker) could urgently use a good trader who served as a leading figure.

Since I had a lot of experience with seminars in general from the insurance company, I agreed.

And so a few weeks later I was allowed to attend my first trading seminar as a trainer. At the age-worthy Vienna Stock Exchange itself as a venue. And that, although I didn’t even think of myself as nearing the end of my training.

So you see, you should think carefully about who you trust when it comes to trading. Who you follow. Ask yourself what qualifications someone has. Who is this person? What is their background? Has she worked in the industry?

I myself was already successful in trading back then. But was that (long) enough? Was that enough to show others how to do it? Today I suspect that it was not quite enough. But the broker did not care. The participants did not ask. And I enjoyed it.

So we learn: trading seminars usually cost money. But are they worth their money? If the content is good, then definitely. Which brings us to the following question:

What does a Trading Seminar cost?

Well – there is no price list and no guidelines. My own seminars today cost between 500 and more than 1,000 euros. Depending on content and duration. A few years ago I even organized workshops that lasted a whole week. The price was over 2,500 Euro. Justified? It depends again.

If you really learn something, then yes. Because we know from various broker information requirements that around 80% of all traders regularly lose money. We also know that the average trading account is capitalized with a little less than 10,000 Euros.

If you do the math now, you will quickly realize that a good trading seminar is certainly cheaper than the trading losses that you would inevitably and usually suffer if you just started trading without training. If it is a good seminar, as I said. We are going in circles.

Webinars as an alternative?

For some years now – and in Corona times anyway – webinars have been experiencing a surge in popularity. Of course, it is easier to listen to a webinar at home than to go to a seminar – anywhere. So is a webinar a good alternative to a seminar?

On the one hand, yes, because webinars are often free of charge (but sometimes also purely promotional events) or inexpensive. Because it is less effort for all participants. On the other hand, no, because – I also do many webinars myself – the participants are often not as concentrated. You surf the Internet on the side. You get yourself a cola. And you miss important things.

And a webinar rarely lasts more than an hour, because you no longer remain attentive to this medium. While trading seminars are offered in all lengths (and technical depths).

And you stick to it, because you have paid (a lot of) money for it. But the participants of my seminars confirm that they are often dog-tired in the evening. When I hear that, I am always very satisfied. Because a seminar that lasts one day must be exhausting.

So a Trading Webinar is a good thing, but it will – so much my tip to you – never replace a good Trading Seminar. Use webinars as a supporting tool for your training, but as the only tool they seem unsuitable for a complete trading training.

Online trading courses on demand

So streaming on demand. I really see this as a good option instead of a live on-site basic seminar. Here you should make sure that you have unlimited access to the course for a period of time (at least 6 months).

So that you can watch the lessons again and again. You know for sure: the constant repetition increases the learning progress.

Social media, books, seminars, webinars or online courses – is that it? Or are there other ways to learn trading? Yes, there are.

Where we are with personal coaching.

Personal Coaching

A tip on coaching: first of all, everything that could be said about the seminars applies here.

Pay particular attention to the trainer’s qualifications and background.

If we assume that these qualifications are present: is it worthwhile to have Trader Coaching?

Yes – in any case. I too have spent several thousand euros on various trader coaching sessions. And not one cent of it was for free. I have saved time. And I have learned a lot. In an atmosphere that a seminar could never have offered. In an intensity that I would never have achieved with a seminar. In a quality that gave me the final touch.

The great advantage of coaching was that my mentors were dedicated to me alone. My very personal problems and questions. But to take this step, to book an expensive coaching, you need the right inner attitude. After all, a few thousand euros is not a small amount of money.

I have always seen coaching as an investment in my business. An investment that pays for itself over the months and years and thus pays off. It’s like when a company buys a new machine that works better and faster. It costs a lot of money, but in the long run it pays off. And that’s how they should look at it.

Coachings are (probably) not for trading beginners

However, a trading beginner rarely sees the need to pay for trading training at all. Everything free of charge is the motto and that’s not bad at first. At the beginning – another piece of advice – it makes no sense to book expensive seminars or high-priced coaching sessions immediately. I had not done that either.

It’s much better to dive into the topic step by step. Read some books. Consume social media content (here my Facebook page) (here my YouTube channel).

Because a good Trader Coaching lives from the subtleties. Of high-quality methodologies. From processes. Not from the question what a chart is. For example, I would never coach someone who hasn’t internalized the basics. Not because I’m arrogant, but because it’s too early for the client to distinguish these high-quality methods from useless accessories.

Personal coachings are expensive. They must be expensive. They are also extremely time-consuming. For the client even more than for the coach. Because a good teacher doesn’t tell them how it works when trading.

He leads them in a direction where they themselves find out how it works. And when they have found out (or think they have found out) the coach confirms (or refutes) their thesis. That is real learning. That is training. These are facts. Everything else is hot air.

A Trader Coaching is the kingpin of trading training. It is the final step to becoming a real trading professional. It is the ticket into a new trading world.

A world that makes or can make the hobby a profession. If that is what you want. Many – like me – had the goal to become a trading professional at the beginning of their trading career. To live from trading.

Today I live from my trading successes of the last years. I no longer have to work properly. Fortunately. Therefore I like to pass on my knowledge to beginners who are serious about trading. And I often ask myself whether the goal must be to make a living from trading.

Do you have to live from trading?

I absolutely wanted to pursue the profession of trader. Initially, however, only because I no longer wanted to pursue my actual profession, insurance. Instead, I would have done almost everything that I could have done from home.

Because I absolutely wanted to be independent. Work from home and earn money. But that was my decision. What was yours?

At first I thought that the money was on the street at the stock exchange. Why doesn’t everyone trade? Isn’t it easy? Buy cheap, sell dear. It’s not difficult, is it? Yes, it is. It’s hard. And no beginner knows what he’s getting into. Nobody knows how hard it is. But it’s worth it if you hang in there.

Why do you want to become a trader? Because you want to become a trader or because you no longer want something else (your previous job?)? Let’s look for some reasons and then give a counter.

Because you want to be free? And then you sit all day long and stare at the monitor and watch charts…
Because you want to be financially independent? And then they mess up every trade because they fear for the profits.
Because you want to live from trading? And then they make permanent losses?
Because you are fascinated by trading? And then they surf the internet all day long instead of studying this subject?
Because you want to get rich quickly? And then you move a whole year’s salary with a trade, only to be nervous at every tick?
Because you want to live a relaxed trader life? And then you are in a bad mood for weeks because things aren’t going well.
Trading is gladly glorified – especially by ignorant beginners. But trading is hard work. Trading gets to the substance – until you really understand it. Trading is not a rhetorical science – but it takes borrowings from science when it comes to understanding statistical relationships.

In the end, trading is statistics, and if you don’t understand that – and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way – then you are (still) a trading beginner.

Trading can be learned. Like any other profession. But which profession can be learned without training? Which job is perfectly executed from day 1?

In which profession is there no familiarization phase and also – no grace period? Correct – on the stock exchange this is all the same. Except for the grace period. Because the market likes to devour especially beginners.

So take care of a well-founded trading education, that is my final advice. With me or with another good trader. The main thing is that you do it. Then every path is open to them – on the stock exchange and in their lives in general.

A good start could be my free basic trading course, which you can sign up for here. Good luck!

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