I joined TopStepTrader, but did not complete the combine. Just for total transparency I participated for one month and my account was down, but I did not blow out. I could have continued, but I decided for several reasons to use other funding options available to me.
That said, I would recommend TopStepTrader (TST) to any trader who lacks sufficient funding, but wants to advance as a trader. TST is a serious and professional service. There is nothing bogus or shady about it that I could detect. And I was quite skeptical when I first learned of it.
TST provides an environment in which you can learn to trade without risking your own money. The chat room and squawk radio allow you to network with other traders and learn things that you otherwise might not have. And there are regular appearances by professional traders and other experienced market folks who teach their approach and ideas. I saw no attempt to upsell or wheedle more money out of members. The support staff was friendly and attentive. The combine rules are extremely simple and fair.
TST provides a supported simulated environment in which to trade and learn to trade. In my opinion, every new trader should learn to trade play money before he or she trades with real money. If you cannot profit in a simulated environment then forget about a real one until you can. Also, simulated trading allows you to find out if your strategic approach to trading even works. Testing a trading plan with real money is a recipe for pain. You never really know if the problem is the plan or if you are so unsure of it that you can't trade it correctly. This is especially true of day trading, where true backtesting is basically impossible (outside of replay options like NinjaTrader).
The TST $50k account combine is only $165 a month, and that is a BARGAIN compared not only to losing your own money trying to learn, but also simply paying the data fees you would need to just have your own simulated account! TST provides everything you need to trade (assuming you don't mind using NinjaTrader or any the other prop platforms they provide.) So for $165 a month max you can trade for months on end to your heart’s content, learning, growing and actually have a something of a trading social life. BARGAIN, trust me.
TST’s simple combine rules provide a structure for trading. Plus the pressure of possibly blowing out (and having to pay an extra $100 to reset if you want to do that before the month passes) simulates to some extent the pressure of trading real money.
I’ve belong to other trading chat rooms and they all have their drawbacks. Irrelevant banter does happen, but TST is far from the worst and better than most I’ve seen. One thing a service like this shows that is that traders, even the successful ones, are real, imperfect people like you. They aren’t robots or supermen. They’ve just learned a skill. That is encouraging.
So why did I quit? One is I'm a TradeStation trader and TST does not support TradeStation. I tried the NinjaTrader and Rithmic Trader platforms they provide and just could not get used to them. There are several other reasons:
I obtained other funding, and felt I needed to get on with making money, as completing the funding process would have taken weeks.
Once funded, TST keeps 20% of earnings.
Once funded , TST charges 3 times what TradeStation does for exchange data fees.
Once funded, TST would expect me to purchase a $1000 license for NinjaTrader, even though I already have TradeStation.
TST pays 1099 income, which is "normal" income. In effect, they employ you as a subcontractor. Nothing wrong with this, but futures profits gained on your own account are actually in some cases subject to less tax than normal income.
I can continue to attend the chat room as a guest if I like.
I can always rejoin.
In short, I didn't have a compelling reason to continue and had several reasons not to.
Still, I believe TST is a good fit for unfunded traders who aren’t TradeStation users, and I would recommended it highly to any friend interested in becoming a trader.
This review is the subjective opinion of an Investimonials member and not of Investimonials LLC
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