And actually, I have made money on commodity futures. I hold a commodity futures fund in my 401K that is set an auto-rebalancing to bonds and stocks. I calculated I earned an extra 1.5% during the last 2 years from all the wild swings in prices from rebalancing.
Beyond holding a CCF ETF or fund, it would be impossible for an individual to diversify without blowing everything on commissions.
It is certainly possible to make money in futures. And I understand that by creating a properly constructed position one can eliminate most risk. But, with an MBA in finance, extensive education in investments and in statistics and mathematical finance, I would not be comfortable devising that "low risk" position except in the most benign vehicles. I think it is hopeless for 99% of individual investors to do it right.
Mossy, if you are in the 1% that can then that is fantastic and I give you great credit. But I would never encourage anyone to speculate in futures. And, by definition, individual cannot invest in futures, they can only speculate.
I am fully aware that the whole point of futures is to reduce risk by hedging positions. For businesses, including many small farmers,futures are a tool for reducing risk. I understand them thoroughly. But I would never speculate in them except to hedge risks.
The real problem with futures is that the loss can be unlimited. If you but a stock your loss is completely limited by the amount you invest. With many futures positions your loss potential is unlimited. While you could hedge it, if you made a mistake the consequences could be dire.