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Case Study: Mariana Studied For a Year — and Became a Millionaire By 20 {Infographic}

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 4/19/2022 4 min read

Mariana is a trailblazing Trading Challenge student. Not only is she my first female millionaire student, but also the youngest. She was just 20 years old when she passed seven figures in trading profits.

I’m so inspired by Mariana’s trading journey that I dedicated my 86th Karmagawa school to her:

She may be young, but Mariana’s success is no accident. Her story is the perfect illustration of ‘preparation meets opportunity’ — and the results are extraordinary.

Mariana’s Guiding Principles

  • Grind every day and STAY HUMBLE
  • Be willing to adapt
  • Use trading tools to track opportunities
  • Keep learning every day

mari case study infographic


Mariana’s dad urged her to find a career where she could support herself. She gravitated toward the stock market and joined my Trading Challenge right after high school. Mari didn’t get serious until 2019. Early on, she lost — like most traders. But she learned from the experience and made three important changes: scaling down positions, studying harder, and ruthlessly cutting losses.



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Joins my Trading Challenge right after high school but doesn’t start trading yet.


Attends my Trader & Investor Summit, gets inspired, and starts studying.


Starts trading and has a string of losses before adjusting her strategy and approach.

December 2020

Mariana becomes my first six-figure female student.

February 2021

Mari has her best trading month yet and crosses the million-dollar mark!

May 2021

I dedicate my 86th Karmagawa school to Mariana.

August 2021

Has her biggest losses ever — totaling $90K.

September 2021

Adapts to the changing market and makes over $63,000, reporting about $40,000 of it from short selling.

April 2022

Up over $1.6 million in trading profits.

Go-To Strategies

  • Dip-buying Nasdaq and OTC stocks. She considers going long her home.
  • Shorting isn’t her favorite strategy, but Mari will go wherever she sees opportunities.


  • Over $1.6 million in trading profits
  • Average 4.98% gain per trade
  • Average $1,382 gain per trade
  • Passed $1 million in February 2021

Source: Profit.ly (April 2022)

Trading Superpowers

  • Supreme patience — studying the market for a full year before trading with real money!
  • Maximal restraint — from savoring crème brûlée to waiting for the very best plays.
  • Powerful perspective — Mari’s $90K+ losses prompted time for self-care so she could come back with confidence.

See Mariana’s Chart + Learn More

Take Your Education Further!

What did you learn from Mariana’s story? What can you take to your own trading? Let me know in the comments!

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Author card Timothy Sykes picture

Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”