Hi Guys, 

At the end of 2019 I began really diving deep into option trading as a extra source of income.  Options really appeal to me because they take little time to manage.

Starting in the 1st week of January I began demo trading a couple option strategies just to make sure I was doing things right as I didn’t want any costly mistakes. I was using my Think Or Swim platform(TOS) which is included with equity accounts  in TD Ameritrade.  It’s  an extremely high level professional platform with endless features and bells and whistles.
It really allows my “Inner Trading Geek” to run wild! 

Anway, I started with $100,000 in demo mode and within 6 weeks was blown away that the account was worth $545,000. I was quietly doing a happy dance and proceeded to start with a real money account.

After 30 days I had made 20% return which wasn’t bad but… Nowhere near what I had done in demo mode.  In month 2 down to 10% which really bummed me out! 

What gives, why such a difference?   After all, I was still using the exact same strategies. 

In a nutshell I would do my analysis and enter the trade and immediately set my profit target of 10% to 20%.  I would often be filled within 30 to 60 minutes which allowed me to keep turning over my capital 3, 4 and even 5 times a day.

Believe me that adds up real quick!


In live mode it was taking me often 5 to 10 days to get filled at my targets which meant way less trades.  It turns out the TOS demo platform is great for practicing proper order execution but doesn’t reflect accurate real world fills especially in hyper volatile markets like we’ve had post virus crash. 

This ties in with traders I’ve taught in workshops where I strongly suggest getting out of demo mode as quickly as possible.  You see, it’s not realistic and give you a false sense of security as there is no fear of losing money. 

I’ve known many traders that could never get out of demo mode due to either fear or thinking they could practice their way to perfection. Sorry but that’s just wishful thinking but not possible. It’s not like learning to play piano with the sheet music in front of you in which with enough practice you’ll play it exactly as written.

 To sum this up… The only thing that will take you to the next level as a trader is to make hundreds and hundreds of live trades with hard earned money on the line.

Also don’t get too excited with your results in demo mode as real money profits are the only ones you can take to the bank.  Even with 20 years of trading I never anticipated the situation that came up. 

I hope this gives you some food for thought… 

Cheers and stay safe, Jeff


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Since 2003 I’ve written 5 books on trading and taught over 14,000 students in more than 73 countries. I love sharing my knowledge and I’ve found by accident that mentoring others actually helped me become a more profitable trader.