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What Mariana Learned From Her Biggest Losses Ever-$90K!

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 4/18/2022 9 min read

Mariana’s Lessons on Trading Losses: Key Takeaways

  • Two massive losses erased all her gains for the month and then some…
  • Why traders must ALWAYS stick to the rules…
  • Do losses hurt more with a bigger account?

Millionaires aren’t immune from making mistakes.

If they were, I might not have lost $500,000 back when I had a hedge fund. If you don’t know that story, check out my autobiography

Even Mariana, my first female Trading Challenge millionaire, messes up sometimes.

Despite being an extremely diligent trader who’s made over $1.4 million in trading profits, she had a VERY rough month in August 2021.

Two big losses erased all of her monthly gains and then some. It was a big red month.

Losses like that hurt a LOT. But they can also be powerful teachers.

She’s been through the pain. What did she gain? Keep reading to see what Mariana learned from her biggest losses yet — and how they’ve made her an even stronger trader.

Don’t miss my recent interview with Mariana:

What Mariana Learned From Her Biggest Losses

Mariana had two really big losses in August of 2021…

  • On August 5, she lost $49,538 on Robinhood Markets Inc. (NASDAQ: HOOD)
  • On August 11, she lost $40,881 on Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA)

These losses outshadowed her monthly wins, putting her $20,000 in the red on the month.

As you can see in her extensive monthly recap, these losses have taught her a lot about trading — and herself.

But this big loss for her monetary account turned out to be a massive investment in her knowledge account. Here’s what she learned…

Mariana’s Lessons About Loss #1: Every Trader Loses

From October of 2020 through March of 2021, Mariana was on a killer run:

But that was a very hot market. Things change.

When the market slowed down into the spring and summer of 2021, all of a sudden her top patterns on panic dip buys, first green days, and breakouts weren’t working anymore.

She started losing.

This happens to every trader at some point. The key is adapting to what IS working in the current market.

Mariana’s Lessons About Loss #2: Stick to the Rules

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In the case of both of Mariana’s big losses, she wasn’t trading her go-to patterns.

She was deviating from her usual plan and didn’t cut losses quickly enough.

In retrospect, she recognizes that she was breaking her own rules. She was trying to force trades. Trying to get one last trade in for the day can be dangerous…

Don’t deviate from your rules! Stick to your go-to patterns. Trade like a sniper

Traders can use tools like screeners and market alerts to help search out opportunities … but be patient. Wait for the right setups, even if they don’t come that often.

Mariana’s Lessons About Loss #3: Don’t Fight the Market

tim sykes and mariana $1 million trading milestone
© Millionaire Media, LLC

In the summer, Mariana found that there was less hype in the market and the ‘unwinds’ were much bigger.

The more she tried to fight the changing market current, the more she lost. 

Her two big losses gave her a lot of clarity. She realized how much she was trying to resist what was happening in the market. She decided to stop fighting and to go with the flow.

While she considers going long her ‘home,’ she started shorting more because that’s where she saw opportunities.

Case in point: she made over $63,000 in September and reports that about $40,000 of it was from short selling.

Mariana’s Lessons About Loss #5: Don’t Fight Yourself

Mariana’s loss on MRNA happened while she was in Italy. I was there too, along with several of my other top students.


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Here she was in the most beautiful place, with amazing people, food, and views, and she had one of her biggest losses ever.

In retrospect, she wonders if she should have avoided trading while traveling.

Mariana values routine — so she was a little thrown off. Was she able to make the best trading decisions possible?

Losses are challenging for Mariana. She knows she’s not the type of trader who just bounces back. It takes her a long time to build back up.

It’s gotten even more pronounced as her position sizes have grown. Her losses are bigger, and they hurt more.

After her big losses, she stayed in a holding pattern of $1.3 million in profits for a few months. It took her time to progress past that hump and get to where she is now — over $1.4 million in trading profits.

In knowing that about herself, she’s motivated to stick to what works for her. Next time, she might think twice about trading while traveling and focus on enjoying her time off…

Learning From Loss and Moving Forward

What has Mariana learned from her big losses? Here are some of her biggest takeaways:

  • Keep grinding every day and STAY HUMBLE.
  • Be willing to adapt when necessary.
  • Use trading tools to track trading opportunities! Screeners and market alerts can help you find them faster but always do your due diligence.
  • Keep learning every day. Here’s how you can learn from Mariana — she’s the newest co-host of TWIST and one of the featured traders in StocksToTrade’s Breakouts & Breakdowns chat room.

How did you overcome your biggest loss? Leave a comment and share tips, experiences, or lessons YOU learned. I want to know!

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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”