What is the required capital investment to achieve substantial earnings through trading?

Forex and Futures earning

Forex and Futures earning

What is the required capital investment to achieve substantial earnings through trading?

Naturally, a commonly asked question before one enters the trading market is the required or ideal amount of capital that should be invested before effective trading can be conducted. Each particular market has its own bundle of regulations, laws, and ideal amounts so it is important to understand all of them before delving into putting your hard-earned money and valuable time. In particular, the four main markets are made up by:

  1. Stocks (equity)
  2. Forex
  3. Futures
  4. Options


All of which will be explored in further detail in a supplementary article. We will explore the legally required or obligatory resources needed to start trading in the major markets as well as some general ideas about how the markets move, however, each effective trader will have their own methods and strategies that work for them, thus complicating any particular ideal investment to achieve substantial earnings.


Stock Market:

The base for day-trading stocks in the United States starts at a baseline threshold of $25,000. This is the minimum equity balance that is required by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) that must be maintained at all times by a trader, otherwise, the customer will not be permitted to trade until sufficient cash or securities are deposited into the account to meet the reserve balance. Although this is the minimum amount of money that must be maintained within an account, it is highly advisable to deposit more should you ever face any type of loss and facing a suspension hold on your account so consider the minimum for those intending to make trades to be $30,000. Other countries may have more relaxed policies than the United States and in these cases, it is still ideal to put at least $10,000 into a trading account, otherwise the fees and commissions, the largest cost for traders, will encompass a significant portion of any potential profits. The stock market provides ample ability to take risks or trade conservatively, however, it is essential to always be conscious of the costs associated with any trade. Casual traders can find brokers who have lower minimums and/or allow them to borrow a portion of the amount.


Forex (aka FX):

The forex (short for foreign exchange) market is a global, decentralized, financial medium for currency trading involving a currency pair that has an exchange rate that fluctuates continually. Unlike stocks or other markets that trade on an exchange like NASDAQ, FX trades are conducted via the trading rooms of the big banks. Generally, forex trading does not require high amounts of money to be put in relative to trading stocks because of the more relaxed regulations and allows for greater leverage. For example, a trade of $5,000 with leverage of 1:100 means you can make up to $500,000. Additionally, the losses and returns resulting from leverage tend to be higher due to generally increased risks and rewards. Out of all the major markets, the currency market is the largest with over 5 trillion dollars being bought and sold around the world daily thus resulting in ease trading up or down due to the plethora of buyers and sellers. The minimum amount in the United States needed to open an account is $100, but it is recommended to start with $500 at the very least, otherwise utilizing proper stop loss levels will be difficult. In order to begin one’s path to day-trading as a profession, it is best to start with at least $1,000, but most preferably over $3,000-$10,000 for anyone taking it remotely seriously. It is definitely possible to be successful with small amounts of money, however, if a trader’s starting amount is too small and they experience consecutive losing trades, they may feel urgently pressured to change their strategy even if it is effective.



Options and futures trade by contract, meaning that they represent some unit of the underlying security. Recently, trading futures, a derivative of an underlying asset, has grown significantly in popularity because of the lack of a necessity to maintain the same $25,000 minimum that trading stocks require and the opportunities that having greater leverage provides. Examples of products that are traded in the futures market include oil, stock indexes, and natural gas, among others. In the futures market, brokers require their clients to maintain a minimum balance of at least $1,000 and first deposit of at least $5000.


For most brokers, a strict minimum of $5,000-10,000 in your account balance is needed to meet the margin required. Thus, even though there is no legal minimum balance, you should research the specific brokers you want to use in order to best understand what amount of money is both required. Other things that should be kept in mind are how you will manage your risk, and what is ideal for the size of the trades you wish to make.



Like futures, options are considered to be a derivative of another underlying asset like a stock. When you buy an option, you get the right to buy a stock at a later date at a price specified now. The volume in which you wish to trade options will have an impact on the minimum and optimal amounts of money you put in. Those who execute 4 or more trades per day are considered to be pattern day traders and need a minimum of $25,000 in their account. In options trading, only using small amounts of money can be a hindrance as many brokers may restrict what you can do. It is highly advisable that at a minimum, one should be putting in $5,000-10,000 for starting options trading in order to make any profits. One can use conservative strategies to ensure that they at least make back their initial investment and the probability of running a negative balance is slim, and options trading is usually considered to be all about customization. It is usually considered to be one of the lower risk opportunities among the major markets, but like all other investments, you should be cautious of the decisions you make.


If one is looking at all 4 major markets, the relative order of minimum amounts of money that must be put in from least to most would be:

  1. Forex
  2. Futures
  3. Options
  4. Stocks

Most suggest the “1% Risk Rule,” meaning that new traders should not risk more than 1% of their total capital on any given trade so that it mitigates any losing purchases and very often, even experienced traders will still avoid risking above 2-3% of their total capital. Each market has its benefits and obstacles and prospective traders should evaluate their strengths and shortcomings to determine which market(s) is/are best for him/herself.


For those looking to trade for a living, it is essential to put aside an emergency fund regardless of the market you are in, so that you have a safety net that you can live off of in the event of consecutive losses. Whether you are in trading as a professional, side-hustler, hobby, or beginner,


A bit about BetterTrader regarding the markets in this article:

Better Trader provides the best analysis that interprets economic event releases and market movements into actionable insights in real-time. The company was created by a team led by day traders with real insights and experience on the world’s biggest exchanges and will help you achieve your trading goals at all levels and markets with the company specialization being in Forex and Futures markets.