5 Stages of a Trader

Everyone goes though these levels.

Question what stage or level are you at?

Be sure to leave a comment below.

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About Hubert Senters

Hubert Senters is Co-Founder of TradeTheMarkets.com, CEO of Never Quit Media Media Editor-in-Chief of HubertSenters.com


  1. Sometimes 4. Sometimes five

  2. Stage 3!

  3. Matjaz Sket says:

    Dear Hubert,

    First of all, thank you for sharing your knowledge. It’s of a great help and it’s pleasure to listen to you.
    I’m between stage 2 and 3.
    Hope it helps.

    Regards, Matjaz

    • Matjaz

      No worries I love to help people.
      It feeds my soul.

      Thank you for your kind words.
      Pretty funny that people can actually like listen to a red neck from KY.

      Tips to go from 2-3 and on to 4.
      Make sure you have your trading set ups written down on paper.
      Review them each day before the open and after the close.

      It will reinforce what you know you should do.

      Hope it helps

  4. Between stage 3 and 4…close to 4.

  5. Stage 3

  6. Kent Byers says:

    I am at stage 4, with brief mental retracements to stage 3 when I get overly confident at Stage 4. Have gotten better, though, with your training to set stops, wait for set-ups and take the trade with more profitable trades than losers. Since being a member have recouped $50k in losses at beginning of year, which were my gains from last year, and recouped those loses and gone positive with greater confidence, fewer trades and smaller losses. THANK YOU

  7. I’m mostly treading water these days. I win a little, lose a little, with lots of break even days. One day last week I put on 7 trades and evened out exactly to the dollar! I could not believe that. This is a frustrating stage to be in, but at least it does give me some confidence that my account will survive long enough to allow me to get to the next stage.

  8. at stage 4, looking to get to stage 5

  9. Stage 1 especially this week

  10. I think I’m around stage 3.

    • Tom

      Hardest stage to get past.
      The reason is because most people just give up.

      So do you best to stay Trading Mind Strong.

      Focus on small losses and sticking to your plan.


  11. Stage 3 or 4 – Stocks/Options

    Stage 2 – Futures (started recently)

  12. Never made a real trade. Been researching and paper trading the last 3 months. I guess that makes me at stage .1 (zero seems hopeless) I want to hammer down my strategy and discipline before I trade real money

    • Patrick

      Take it nice a slow. Make a detail plan and do your best to stick to it.
      Start Small in a real account don’t spend to much time demo trading.

      As it’s mental masturbation nothing like trading real money even if it is small.

      good luck on your journey.


  13. Stage 5 BUT!!! “You should never stop tryin to learn more”.

  14. Stage 3, I have gotten to the point where (nearly) every trade I make is profitable. How long that trade stays profitable is what I am trying to figure out now. I have accepted the fact that I need to take smaller profits and more of them but some times I just want more. One loss equals about 10 gains.

  15. C. Michael Croston says:

    Hi Hubert,

    Tough question. I’m like a plucked guitar string going back and forth. I’ve tasted 4 a couple of times, did everything (well maybe 87% of things) right. Exciting to maintain that control! I lack discipline though. I’ll do something off the wall and fall back to a 2. For me, it’s hard to wean myself away from an investor mentality into a trader mentality. Finding my “hook” and sticking to stops is good advice. I’m learning, thanks for teaching.
    ~ C

    • C. Michael Croston

      For the Mind stuff look into Some NLP.
      It’s a great way to fix the discipline issue.

      Remember that discipline is not a one time fix we all have to focus on it.
      I still get of course from time to time. Only difference now is I don’t stray to far off course.
      And when i do I get back on track quicker.

      Hope It helps

      PS: Thanks for your kind words

  16. Isaac Benderly says:

    Prior to 11/1/12 there were times that I was in stage1 and stage 2. Your course has been an eyeopener to me. Since Monday, I feel I am getting closer to stage 3 (once in a while I momentarily regress).
    Money spent on your course was well spent. I really enjoyed it and hope to participate in future webinars and courses.

  17. Between 3 & 4. Also, sometimes it’s hard to pull trigger.

    • C Webs

      Fear of pulling the trigger can be a pain in the Ass no doubt.

      Try this find a movie or a song that you love and makes you feel or have a strong emotion.
      Key to this is you must be real emotional for this to work.

      Now anchor you strong feeling to a move or action like a snap of your finger or a clap of you hands.
      If done right it a huge help.

      Also next time ask you self what who a pro trader do here.

      Hope it helps

    • C Webs

      Fix the fear thing with an anchor.

      Fear of pulling the trigger can be a pain in the Ass no doubt.

      Try this find a movie or a song that you love and makes you feel or have a strong emotion.
      Key to this is you must be real emotional for this to work.

      Now anchor you strong feeling to a move or action like a snap of your finger or a clap of you hands.
      If done right it a huge help.

      Also next time ask you self what who a pro trader do here.

      Hope it helps

  18. Stage 1 and 4. So I guess that puts me in stage one since I’ve lost more than I’ve made. I’ll make decent money and then do something stupid (not take the stop out) and blow myself up. My analysis is great. Making and following a plan I could use some help with. Actually, if I new how to make a decent plan, I don’t believe I’d have a tough time following it – I just need help formulating one (no set strategy yet).

    • Julius

      Two ways to fix this.

      One Hire someone to do the trade you tell them to take. You do the research and find the trade they execute them.
      Two just spend a few day and write a a plan the simpler the better.
      Don’t trade till the plan is in place.

      Hope it helps

  19. I am in around stage 3. Overtime I learned what NOT to trade. However what stops me is that I still hesitates when real opportunities come. Thanks for the video!

    • Bo

      Good old fear.

      Best advise I can give you is that trading is very counter intuitive.
      You have to be real comfortable being uncomfortable.

      The best trade I do are the one I hate taking that scare me to death.

      Hope it helps

  20. Hi Hubert,

    At this for about 3 years. About to complete a year (in hindsight) of stage 4 now, which not so coincidentally began with a New Years resolution to keep a spreadsheet with every trade detailed 🙂 I pretty much managed to skip stage 1 as I was lucky enough to find a website early on that preached risk management above everything. But I made up for it with extra time in stage 2 🙂 Stage 3 was the most frustrating though – oddly, more frustrating than stage 2! I’m excited about the transition to stage 5, but I don’t want to push it. I find myself questioning how long I should stay at stage 4 to fully trust my edge. And how I should plan that transition.


    • Josh

      Sound like you have had a nice journey.

      things that helped me was socking away enough cash so
      that I could really focus on the craft of trading.

      It will all come with time don’t force it.

      Enjoy the process.


  21. Hubert
    stage 2 in options, close to 3. Stage 1 in futures. Need a plan

  22. stage 3,over think the trade, need to follow my instintcs

  23. I’m between 2-3. I would like to make a transition to trade full time.

  24. Stage 2. It is a much better place than stage 1. I have had short forays into Stage 3.

    Thanks for the all the information you give away so readily – it really helps. It is good to know that it is really possible to make it.

  25. I am almost in stage 3. I have figured out how to win some, then loss a little so I am trending water right now.

  26. Stage 4 with lapses to stage 3. Start to make money then have a few losses and have trouble starting to pull the trigger on trades.

  27. between 2 and three

  28. stage 2 -3

  29. My whole life i am in stuck in stage 3. I always at some stage lose my profits, but somehowe i also always make up for my losses. I think the problem is, that i try to skip stage 4, and want to go directly from stage 3 to 5. So the last few days i sort of decided to go for small profits for a while, and see how that works.

  30. Stage 3, I’ll get a couple of good winners and then lose it all because I have a hard time selling a loser. Been really enjoying your videos and updates.

  31. ok im in stage 2-3, but mostly 2 for 2 years of active trading. Is this long?
    First I started with $6600 traded TF mini and in one day I lost $1000, than did not trade for whole year almost on real acc. When I returned this spring I had $5333 and started to trade ES and YM. Now im down on $4700. I make few good trades and mess it all up in one bad day. Am I undercapitalized ATM? And should I try to trade something else?

  32. Rick Friesen says:

    Hey, thanks for your videos! I love everything you put out!

    I am between 3 and 4… Although I sometimes go through all the stages again as I learn a new skill set. (I first learned options strategies that were 100% non-directional, now I am much much better at being able to trade directionaly.) I am still learning some how to use platforms (TOS) and TA tools (fibs etc) even better.

    I feel like I have a plan now. It is empowering!

    • Rick Friesen

      Glad you are getting value from the trading videos.

      Great job on getting passes 1 and 2. I know how you feel.
      The only way I can learn a new skill is to break it down
      into simple parts.


      PS: Yes having a plan is very powerful.

  33. 4 working on 5 and feeling like I’m on the verge of that breakthru.

  34. Hubert, I am at stage 3. Trading currency futures, mainly the EURO and GBP.

  35. Well Hubert – I would say Stage 3-4
    It has been a long road – wondered about knocking on the head! I still hope to make it my vocation ……………

  36. Mete Topcuoglu says:

    After being in stage 3 for quite some time, I have moved into stage 4 after completing the Small Lot Course.

  37. Hi Hubert,
    Thanks for all the nice advice,
    I would say I’m mostly a 3, but working on it by redoing and finetuning my trading plan.

  38. I am between 3 and 4 I add to my account weekly and keep my trades about 1% for day trades to 2% risk for my swing trades.

  39. Over a period of about fifteen years I went from stage 1 to stage 5 and then back to 1. I reached stage 5 during the dot com bubble and made a ton of money very easily but apparently that was luck. I spent the next four years going from stage 5-4-3-2-1 and then went totally broke. I was mentally crushed to smithereens. My lifelong dream of trading for a living was gone forever. I still don’t trade today but still follow Hubert and John. In hindsight, I never had a trading plan and if you don’t have a trading plan you cannot use discipline which is what makes you stick to that plan.

    • Greg R.

      I feel your pain lots of people went though the same thing you did.
      I remember getting a call for a guy that started with $20 Million
      and only had $600,000 left.

      He want help and wanted to know what to do.
      My advise to him was stop while you still have some left.

      I have way more horror stories than I do success stories.
      Most people just don’t talk about the massive losses.
      Or the destroyed hopes and dreams.

      Good news is a good plan can help fix most of it.


  40. Level 4.5

  41. Hi Hubert,
    I would say I’m in the latter stages of stage 3 and knocking on the door of stage 4. Although I’ve started to make a little money in the market, I think it might be quite some time before I can say I’m in positive territory, as with most people I encountered some heavy losses early on and have paid some quite substantial education fees.
    It’s taken me 2 years to get to this stage.
    I’m sure that I’m not that far away from the ‘aha’ moment.
    Looking forward to moving deep into stage 4 and knocking on the door of stage 5.
    Thanks for all your tips, tricks, and knowledge. It does help.

  42. Stage 3, Hubert. Been here for a year. My early mentors didn’t use stops and losses were substantial. Fear of repeating those losses (even with stops) keep me from pulling the trigger even though I have good instincts. Can’t wait to move to stage 4! Thanks for your help.

  43. Tim Williams says:

    Hi Herbert,

    I would say i’m at stage 3 right now. I’m more confident now that i will get higher because i’ve stopped listening to people that obviously don’t trade and take notice of experienced traders like yourself and john carter from trade the markets who do know how to make money from the markets. I have just completed the small lots course with TTM which i can recommend to anybody, a real education in how to trade the right way. So now that i’ve unsubscribed all the junk that comes into my inbox, and concentrate on great traders like yourself and john who educate newbie traders like me the correct way stage 4 seems within my grasp.

    Thanks for your no nonsense approach to the markets.


    United Kingdom

    • Tim

      Glad you got a lot of value out of the class.
      Yeah some times it’s hard to find good people to hang out with.

      Most of my growth happens when I get around great people.


  44. Sam Thompson says:


    Here’s what my account has done this year….

    35k to 25k back to 35 k and now at 33.5

  45. William Hickey says:

    I am in stage 3 area. Took your gold class and loved it but find bonds and gold difficult to trade. They run and reverse a lot just like minis to me. What I really like is your trade 4 contract , buy 2 at small gain, 1 at slightly larger gain and 1 as a runner. Just trying to decide how to implement that with a 15000 account .

  46. Between a 3 and a 4

  47. cindy talylor says:

    Between 3 and 4. I trade stocks vs. futures. I trade reversals. Having trouble getting to 4 cause I always leave money on the table to the up side. And I am consistantly ONE day early. Been hanging in there for since 2004.

    • Cindy Talylor

      Since you are a Counter Trend Trader.
      Find Stocks that trade in channels.

      Will make fades more predictable.

      Being early is part of you style you will
      get better with it over time.


  48. Short term day trading 2-3, Long term positions 5

  49. Stage 3/4 with a stage 1 thrown in once in a while to cause doubt. With more experience comes confidence in pulling the trigger (though sometimes probably shouldn’t). Now looking for the *right* market to stick with.

  50. Stage 4 working on stage 5

  51. I’m stuck in stage 3. I’m trying to paper trade my way to perfection because stage 1 and stage 2 kicked my butt. Now I’m more afraid of losing money than I am excited about making money and that keeps me from doing real trades. Basically I have failure to execute. Is there a pill for that? I’m in watching and learning mode. Which isn’t very profitable. I’ve almost given up multiple times this year.

    • Chris

      First never ever ever give up.
      100% of the people that give up don’t make it.

      It always a good idea to take breaks from time to time.

      I would suggest you put on some very small trades with real money as
      Demo trading is almost worthless.

      Here is why it’s fake it’s not real you have no real skin in the game.

      Real Money will be totally different.

      Perfection is the enemy of Progress.
      “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
      ― Salvador Dalí


  52. I am between 3 & 4

  53. Glynn Wright says:

    Hubert, I certainly lost a lot of money buying and holding, but I’m not sure if there is a comfort level with that. I need a zero level. Don’t have massive amounts to lose again either so I’m not sure exactly where I fit in with a trading strategy. I would like to swing trade but I need guidance with that. Had a mentor way back when(8yrs ago) but haven’t heard from him. Teaching program I bought was a mentor for life. Guess he died. The Teach Me to Trade school program was mired in a civil suit a while back too. I’m a what you call a “newbie” I guess when it comes to trading futures. BTW I did have a program that came with it that was called TradeSeeker, very much like what you described that you had designed for yourself only. It was a well designed software that you could put in many parameters to find trades, like the gap trades.

    • Glynn Wright

      Sounds Like you have had a hard time.
      Sorry To hear that.

      Here is what I would do find some one
      that you know like and trust.

      Then check them out on the CFTC site
      to make sure they dont have any bad stuff out there.

      Then contact them and see if they have a formal or informal
      training program.

      The best money I have ever spent was sitting next to
      other pro trading picking the minds.

      Ever time I did it I increase my results.

      Hope it helps

  54. Glynn Wright says:

    So Hubert, I’m hearing you say that you are not that person who I have already spent money with on the Bluecollar trader, to help me learn because I don’t know enough yet?

    • Glynn Wright

      Thank you for investing in Blue Collar Trader.
      It will help you get from the beginning stage and up and running faster.

      It was designed for people that are just getting started out.

      It a great course its just not an advanced course that you will need
      once you get more experience under your belt.

      But don’t worry I will be releasing more advance course in the future
      to help you.

      Hope it helps

      PS: I will help you as much as I can

      • Glynn Wright says:

        THanks Hubert, I know you will do all you can. I’ve been listening to your free videos for about 7 or8 years now and I know that you are a down to earth guy who is giving back. I will not let you down on studying and learning. I do have a friend that I’ve kind of lost contact with who is a commodity trader and is very good at it. He offered on time to teach me how, but at the time I had a full time job and could not sit every day with him. I’m going to try to reconnect with him.

  55. I am at stage 4. I keep trying to hold those ‘winners’ longer, but never hold till target. How did you learn Hubert to ‘hold’ the winners longer?


    • vr

      The Guy that taught me to trade caught me jumping out early one day.
      He said if I ever see you do that again I will not teaching anymore.

      Best way to do it it just get up a leave and don’t look at it.

      Hope It helps

  56. Glynn Wright says:

    opps, I double booked myself Hubert. I had promised my wife I would take her to the movies tonight, so looks like I’ll miss the webinar.

  57. mike loesch says:

    I am in stage 3, have tasted stage 4 and i am ready to jump into stage 4 with both feet!

  58. Preston Bealle says:

    Key for me was learning to love small, repeated hits, sometimes as little as $100, but shooting for several trades a week that would make $100-2,000 each. Now at the 90% win level, over and over, not wanting to ramp it up much. When you take on that mentality and don’t get greedy, you can earn a nice 6-figure income clicking your mouse. For me, it’s selling naked puts and calls with a 7-day expiration. Keep it short and small, and win.

  59. Trent Thomas says:

    Just signed up today and read all the questions and answers. Thank you everyone for asking and Hurbert for your advice to each persons stage. I gained new perspective help me get consistently to 4-5.

  60. A few months ago, I would have said stage 4. Now, I feel like I’m at stage 2. Great video. I love the idea of riding down the road with you talking trading. Would enjoy more of these. Beats looking at charts for a few minutes for a psychology lesson.

    BTW, you passed by a place that looked like a castle?!

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