Can You Make Money Playing the Stock Market?

Many of us who trade financial instruments go through a phase where we want to make a killing by ‘playing the stock market’. It sounds like a lot fun, right? Tapping a few keys on your computer keyboard, then a few minutes or days later closing the trade with a huge win on your hands – no work, no sweat, and (be honest!) the adoration or envy of family and friends. Do that enough, and you might as well have won the LOTTERY.

Which, of course, is the problem with that vision of stock market success: a gambling mentality. From this perspective, winning an extra-ordinary amount of money with little more effort than going to your local gas station and buying a Powerball ticket is taken as a serious goal. It’s a ton of fun if things work out that way, but gambling (either with the lotto or the stock market) always stacks the odds against the player. That’s you.

The truth (usually learned through repeated, painful beatings by the market) is that you can NOT reliably make a ton of money playing the stock market, any more than you will generally make a ton of money playing Blackjack. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that you CAN make significant money by working the stock market. Money is made every day by people just like you and me; people who know how the market works, respect the stock market’s ability to squish any single player like a gnat, and run their trading operation like the business it is. You can do it, too.

What do you need to work the stock market like a business? In broad strokes, you need a firm business plan. You need to know:

  • what you will be trading,
  • when you will be trading it,
  • how much you will risk on each trade,
  • who you will be trading through,
  • a specific trading system (or systems), and more.

Initially, this can sound like quite the downer; there are a whole lot of boring decisions to make. But once you’ve got all those nailed down, you can just follow your plan – and presumably make some good, reliable money.

Here is the bottom line: if you want to gamble, go ahead and play the lottery. You can have fun with that, and probably won’t be risking more than a few bucks at a time. But when it comes to playing the market – JUST DON’T. Make a plan, and WORK the market. For more thoughts on trading as a business, visit You’ll find information on trading systems, information about the internet’s best stock sites, and more!

Stay timid,

Timothy McCready

Sunday, July 4th, 2010 Education, Stock Trading

1 Comment to Can You Make Money Playing the Stock Market?

  1. It is easy to make money in the stock market if you have a good system. The key is to pick companies that have strong fundamentals and trading at a reasonable valuation.

    Get in when the everyone is running for cover and get out when everyone is dancing in the streets.

  2. Stock Picks on January 23rd, 2011

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