“How Much Do Day Traders and Scalpers Make? Average Income of a Day Trader”

Day trading and trading in general may seem an easy and fast way to make profit. For some, it may even look like an exciting gamble, where one, if lucky enough, can make 100%+ of their deposit in one trade. But is that really how it works? How much can day traders expect to make realistically? What is scalping? How is it similar to, and different from, 'normal' day trading, and how much money does it make compared to day trading? This and more, we’ll break down for you in this article.
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If you’re asking the Internet how much money day traders make, you’re likely new to trading. You’ve probably heard about traders magically making thousands of dollars in a day by doing and investing fairly little. If yes, then you’ve probably thought that you can do that, too.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but trading is actually hard work and takes a long time to raise the first substantial income (unless you get extremely lucky, of course). It’s best not to leave it to chance, as this approach can easily backfire on you. Instead, if you’re patient enough, try to learn how day trading and scalping actually work (we’ll talk about it later on in this article). Leave your emotions behind, as it won’t be a ‘game’ but rather a mixture of calculations, risk management, and strick discipline. If you put enough effort into it, it’s all going to be worth it in the end.

Some of the readers who came across this article probably do understand the true nature of trading and want to deepen their knowledge of it. You might already know that there are two ways you can go: regular day trading and scalping. Below, we'll explain how each method works, how they differ, and will give you a hint on how much you can earn (although we’ll be talking percentages, not absolute numbers).

What is Day Trading? And What Do Day Traders Do?

Day traders usually buy and sell assets within one day; their positions are always closed by the end of the trading session. In this type of trading, you make a handful of deals a day. Many use futures and leverage to increase their profits, although this can lead to a higher potential risk. However, with proper risk management, potential losses even with high leverage can be negligible. You can find out more about effective risk management techniques in our free scalping course.

You can day trade any type of asset, including currencies, stocks, options, futures, ETFs, and more. The key aspect day traders look for in a market is liquidity. The frequency and speed of transactions are highly dependent on it. Thanks to its high liquidity and volatility, crypto is a great choice for day trading. One could even argue that crypto as an asset class for day trading is superior to all others. But then again, it doesn’t really matter what class of asset to trade so long as it's both liquid and volatile.

This trading approach implies making money from frequent short-term market movements. Consequently, most day trading strategies require lots of technical analysis, the ability to keep a cool head, and rigid self-discipline. In a nutshell, what day traders do is gather information about the upcoming market fluctuations, find and measure an entry point, trade the asset, and close the positions before the end of the working day. So, as you can see, it’s not actually a one-day type of work, even though it may look like it at first glance. In reality, only through constant market exposure and extensive practice can one learn to day trade at a profit.

Most times, day traders use the default exchange interfaces. However, one way to day trade that's been gaining popularity in recent years is trading via a terminal. Previously reserved for professional traders, terminals are now becoming more accessible and approachable than ever before. Compared to standard exchange interfaces, they offer cleaner and more customizable interfaces, a broader functionality and much faster order execution times, among other useful perks. But most importantly, a terminal connects to multiple exchanges at once, including subaccounts on each exchange. This eliminates the boundaries and makes your day trading truly efficient. You can try out the CScalp terminal and see if it fits you personally. It's 100% free and comes with an in-depth course for beginners (also free).

Types of Day Trading

There are two main types of day trading: regular day trading and scalping. One of the key differences between the two is the length of holding a position. While day traders can hold their positions from a few hours to a few days, scalper deals can last minutes and even seconds. Day traders usually wait for bigger price fluctuations and end up making up to 5 deals a day. Scalpers, by contrast, take advantage of smaller but more frequent price movements, and usually make 10+ round-turn trades daily. It can get up to 100 deals on a hot day. Scalpers typically make a an average profit of 2% from a deal. This may vary, as in scalping you can take advantage of minute price fluctuations. Whereas in traditional day trading you make one 5% deal, in scalping you can easily make 10+ deals worth 0.5% each without having to wait for those whole-percent moves. As such minor price fluctuations are commonplace within a trading day, a scalper has virtually no limits as to how much profit to make. If their analysis turns out to be wrong, the scalper’s losses will be minimal as a stop-loss order in the terminal is always very close to the entry point.

A day trader relies a lot on financial news, live charts, and a combination of fundamental and technical analysis. In scalping, news are of little importance, although you can sometimes scalp trade some major events. Fundamental analysis is also of no relevance to a scalp trader. Instead, scalpers use a very specific set of tools, including the order book, clusters, the tape, the volume indicator, etc. You can learn more about the nature of scalping on our YouTube channel. Trading software, such as the CScalp terminal, is also essential for a scalper’s success.

Day trading is already well-known and widely used around the world. It entails a number of different approaches and strategies that are relatively well-known to the mass audience. Scalping strategies and tools, even though extremely efficient, are still a novelty for most traders. At this point, it’s still hard to find accurate information about scalping on the Internet. If you'd like to know more about crypto scalping, check out our free scalping course for beginners.

So, How Much Can One Earn by Day Trading?

There really is no straight answer to this question. There are too many variables including the deposit size, the trader’s experience, the type of trading, market conditions, as well as some degree of luck. One can use tools such as leverage and risk management for increasing profit and minimizing risks. A trader should also be able to adapt to trend change, trade both long and short, etc.

However, by taking statistics into account (for example, taken from our YouTube videos and live streams) we can calculate the approximate percentage of income for each type of day trading. Let's consider the core principles of how to calculate your potential profits from day trading:

Day Trading vs Scalping

Let’s assume numbers for a typical day of a day trader and a scalper, and calculate the approximate income of each per week. Let’s say, on average, a day trader has 1.5 round-turn trades per day, while a scalper has 7. The average profit per deal of an experienced scalper is 2%, and that of a day trader – 6%.

Thus, in the best case scenario, according to the numbers above, the estimated profit over 5 days will be:

  • 1,5 x 5 x 6 = 45% for a day trader
  • 7 x 5 x 2 = 70% for a scalper .

If we change the scenario and decrease the success rate to 30%, the picture will look like this:
  • (1,5 x 5) x 0,3 x 6 = 13,5% of profit for a day trader
  • (7 x 5) x 0,3 x 2 = 21% of profit for a scalper.

Bottom Line

All in all, even though there’s no universal formula that can tell you the exact sum of income you should expect from day trading, at least you can have an idea of what percentage of profit you might get. As you can tell from our example, scalping in general is more profitable than regular day trading strategies. This is amplified by using leverage and proper risk management. Moreover, scalping in general is more reliable, as it has minimal risks of big losses. It’s also worth mentioning that experienced scalpers typically make more money than other types of experienced traders. So, if this type of trading sounds interesting, we encourage you to learn the basics through our free scalping course and check out our trading terminal to get practicing.

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