Is It Possible to Make Money Day Trading? Part 1: My numbers

Last Updated on November 24, 2020 by Oddmund Groette

My simple answer is: yes, of course. This is the first article of many where I will try to actually give some hard evidence of how many are making money, who are making money and how much, for good or worse. Today I will reveal my own numbers from 2002 until May 2012.

Having said that, this is no easy way to riches. Most likely you will end up finding out this has been a waste of money and/or time. I think there are other businesses that have a higher and better survival rate than daytrading. Also, I think you are better off trying swing trading before you start daytrading. At least you have the opportunity to participate in the upward bias in the stock market.

I have been doing this since 2002 and I have witnessed a lot of turnover in people starting and quitting, but I happen to know some people who have been doing this longer than I have. So like any business, this requires preparation and strict discipline. Surviving the 2-3 years of learning is the key to success. I am only trading stocks and only know stock traders. No futures, options or forex.

Right now I am in a dry spell. 2012 is just grinding and I find it very hard to make good money. There are several reasons for this which I will get back to later.

Let’s look at the summary of my own trading statistics from 2002. Hopefully, the numbers can give some motivation for other traders.

This is my key numbers from January 2002 to May 2012:

  • In total, I have traded 2545 days
  • 2182 days have been profitable (net after commissions), ie 85,7% (2011 and 2012 makes the average lower)
  • Two losing months: January 2012 and April 2012
  • Worst day: 16th of august 2007, 22 154 USD in losses
  • Best day: 21st of April 2006, 37 246 USD in profits
  • Best year: 2008 (only 8 losing days that year)
  • Best month: October 2008, 220 000 USD (September, October and November was terrific that year)
  • Total number of shares traded: almost 170 million
  • Value of shares traded: approximately 5.1 billion USD

Here is a graph showing my accumulated profits since the start (number of days on the x-axis, 2002 until May 2012):

It illustrates the good thing about good daytrading: there is no significant drawdown (click here for an article on the pros and cons of daytrading).

2006 to 2009 were the really stellar years. I had just 15 losing days in 2006, 17 in 2007 and 8 in 2008. I consider 2002 and 2003 as a foundation to get experience and to learn. However, the conclusion of this graph is the following:  The first third is nice, I love the middle third and the last third is quite depressing. I will write more about the latter third later.

Why do I write this?

  1. To show it can be done
  2. To motivate me (I am having a tough time making money now)
  3. To summarize before I start trading other strategies
  4. I am using this website as a partial CV