What to consider before day trading

The number of novice investors day trading has surged during the coronavirus pandemic. People stuck at home have turned to playing the stock market on trading platforms with the hopes of big returns on their investments. While it has made some savvy investors rich, day trading has left many others with massive losses and in worse financial shape than before.

Day trading is risky and different from traditional investing. Day trading involves rapid buying and selling of securities to take advantage of small movements in prices. As a day trader, hedging your bets across a variety of day trades comes with inevitable losses on some trades and gains in others, with the goal of ending the day in the green. Day trading isn’t for everyone, and it takes a particular type of person to ride day trading’s rollercoaster of volatility day-in and day-out. Most individuals do not have the wealth, the time, risk tolerance or the temperament to make money and to sustain the devastating losses that day trading can bring.

If you are considering day trading, make sure you understand its dangers:

Huge risk – losing money is part of day trading.

Don’t enter into day trading if you don’t have the money to lose and you don’t have the flexibility to sustain losses daily across multiple trades.

Quick wins don’t guarantee future success.

Be careful of unfounded confidence and emotional decisions – each trade is unique and a huge win one day could be a loss the next.

Be prepared to treat it as a full-time job.

Day trading is time-consuming – to be successful, you need to have the self-discipline to view it as a full-time job and conduct ongoing investment research and monitoring.

Watch out for claims of easy profits, hot tips or expert advice

Relying on investment advice from day trading firms or platforms, websites, social media like TikTok or charismatic day traders can be dangerous as they may be seeking to gain profit from their recommendations. Don’t believe any claims without checking sources thoroughly.

Remember that seminars, classes and books about day trading may not be objective.

Find out whether anyone offering advice about day trading stands to profit if you start day trading.

Beware of easy training sales pitches.

Day trading training systems are heavily marketed to make it seem like an easy, safe, fun way to make money. These commercials leave out details about the pressure, the importance of researching and testing, and the high levels of risk.


If you recognize this and are still determined to try your hand at day trading, make sure you do the following:

Understand the risks and then choose whether this type of investing is right for you.

Know yourself as an investor, your risk tolerance and your financial goals before you decide to day trade. Take our Check your risk tolerance quiz to see if day trading aligns to your investing style. > Go to quiz

Learn all you can about investing and day trading.

In order to increase your chances of success, you need expertise, so read and research all you can on it. Day trading is not ideal for those new to the investing world.

Assess if you have the right personality and discipline 

You need long-term dedication, a focused mindset and the ability to ride the stressful highs and lows of the day trading roller coaster.

Only invest what you can afford to lose.

Day traders typically suffer severe financial losses in their first months of trading, and many never attain profits. Set aside a set amount and don’t get caught up in the hype or panic to invest more as a way to make up losses. Think of it like gambling in Las Vegas – it’s never a good idea to double down at a table when losing. Get up and walk away.

Research a good trading system, and keep at it.

Day trading requires a lot of self-discipline and trust in your trading system and algorithms. It is more complicated than just following a hunch. If you don’t have a system and manage risk, you are more likely to lose money.

Day trading requires expertise. If you do decide to pursue it, do your homework, and develop a financial plan to ensure it’s the right approach for you. Remember, all day trading firms must be registered, visit CheckFirst.ca to check the registration of any firm or call 1-877-355-4488.

5 Steps to Manage Financial Stress

We are living in challenging times and every day Albertans face the unprecedented combination of economic uncertainty, ongoing COVID-19 dangers, volatile stock markets, a shaky job market and rising costs of living expenses. In a recent national poll by FP Canada[1], more than forty percent of people in Alberta ranked money as their biggest cause of stress in life and more than half said the pandemic had impacted their finances.

Financial stress can impact your health and relationships, while negatively affecting how you approach money and planning for your future. The good news is that you can take control and do what’s right for you. By taking these five steps you can reduce your stress level, optimize your expenses to weather the storm and avoid unwise investments.

1. Start with your budget

When it comes to your finances, there is no better ally than your budget in order to understand where your money goes and give you a plan of action that can relieve stress. If you don’t have a current budget or know how to make one, visit CheckFirst.ca  to build your own. Compare the money you bring in to the house, and your expenses. Consider looking for areas where you can reduce unnecessary costs and make a few changes if you’re spending more than you make. For example, maybe you can take that step you always talked about and cut your cable or stop using food delivery services and cook at home instead. Once you have built your budget, make sure you review it at the end of each month to stay on track. Take note though, a budget isn’t a dream scenario – use real numbers and take action based on what you learn.

2. Establish or strengthen your emergency fund

Unforeseen events happen. Whether your hot water tank goes on the fritz or you unexpectedly lose your job, unwanted expenses can strike when you least expect them. Saving and protecting emergency funds are a great way to hedge your bets against these unforeseen circumstances and avoid the financial impact and stress that can occur. A solid budget includes dedicating some of your income to an emergency fund. Open a separate savings account, ideally one with a decent interest rate and low or no fees, and start automatically contributing what you can. Even $40 every two weeks can net you $1,000 in savings within a year – the key is to consistently save the amount you are comfortable saving, no matter how small.

3. Defer payments

You are not alone in feeling the financial stress of COVID-19. Many Albertans are facing unprecedented challenges, which has made meeting financial obligations like paying mortgages, utilities, and other monthly expenses more difficult. Fortunately, many businesses, banks, service providers and municipalities recognize this and are providing payment deferrals for up to six months to help ease your financial stress. If you’ve reviewed your budget and removed all unnecessary spending, your next step is to identify bills that may qualify for a deferral. Try and pinpoint the smallest bills you can defer that will help you balance your budget.  Just remember that deferred payments still have to be paid – they do not cancel or eliminate the amount owed, but instead put them on hold to give you time to either grow your income, or further reduce your expenses.

4. Consider using an investment adviser or planner

Sometimes calling in an expert is a necessary step to help reduce the stress you might be feeling about your financial future. If you have investments, you are not alone in worrying about the volatility of the stock markets and the rapid changes in your portfolio. Making an appointment with a registered financial adviser or planner and seeking their knowledge and guidance can be a great way to review your investment portfolio against your financial plan, ensure you’re staying on track with your goals, and make any adjustments as needed. Learn how to ask the right questions and check the registration of your investment adviser by searching “Choosing the right financial adviser” on CheckFirst.ca.

5. Beware of “get rich quick” opportunities

Current economic conditions create a breeding ground for fraudsters looking to capitalize on the fear and vulnerability of hard-working people trying to make ends meet. Fraudsters use economic uncertainties and current trends to sell COVID-related investments, forex trading work-from-home opportunities, and too-good-to-be-true offers with the sole purpose of stealing your money quickly and efficiently. If you’re approached with a red flag of fraud such as an investment opportunity with the promise of significant returns with little to no risk, you could be dealing with a potentially fraudulent investment that could make your financial situation worse. Don’t make rash decisions with your money. Learn more about the red flags to be wary of, and always check the registration and disciplinary history of the individual or firm offering you any investment at CheckFirst.ca

Financial stress is an overwhelming reality for many households across Alberta. Take control of your financial security and relieve stress by taking action through these five steps. Visit CheckFirst.ca for free, unbiased resources to empower you through every step of your investment journey, detours and all.

[1] Seto, Steve, Financial stress biggest concern for Albertans during pandemic: survey, 660 News, Jul. 13 2020.