Trading for a Living: Why I Have the Best Job in the World
Most people have a preconception of who and what a professional trader is. They might think about how trading is depicted in the media, movies, or on television, but I can tell you that it’s nothing like that. While trading is definitely exciting at times the vast majority of my days are spent staring at a screen and waiting for something to happen. Even though the life of a professional trader is not nearly as interesting or glamorous as it is in the movies there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. Trust me, it’s not for everyone. It takes a lot of mental discipline and an appetite for risk that not everyone shares. If you are able to stomach the swings and trade with a disciplined plan, then trading for a living might be for you. Let’s talk a little more about the benefits and some of the drawbacks of doing what I think is the best job in the whole world.
The Freedom of Being a Trader
Professional traders used to be bound to the market centers they worked in. Traders who worked in the trading pits in New York City, Chicago and other regional exchanges did not have the freedom that even retail traders enjoy today. These professionals had to show up at the exchange everyday if they wanted to trade. With the rise of electronic markets this is no longer the case. Traders can now access markets from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. Professionals and non-professionals alike can now trade complex financial products from their personal computers, smartphones and tablets. The advancement in trading technology has also made professional tools and platforms available to retail traders. The technology available for mobile trading has also advanced to the point where many traders are able to trade exclusively from their mobile devices.
This gives traders freedom and mobility that no other profession can provide. Traders can access and participate in their markets from anywhere in the world. Traders can also trade foreign markets from anywhere in the world. This gives traders the freedom to make their own hours and commit as much time as they see fit to trading. At any time during the day there is a market somewhere in the world that is open and tradable. This means that traders can essentially set their own schedules. After a trader determines what they want to trade they can also determine when and how often they want to trade.
Some traders choose to only trade the open or the close so their “work day” might only be a few hours long. A trader is really only required to put in as much screen time as they feel is necessary.
The Earnings Potential in Trading
Financial markets are big. They are impossibly, unfathomably huge and the potential earnings a trader can make is only limited by the amount of capital that they are willing to risk. Most people who are unfamiliar with trading think that in order to make money in the long run traders need to put on massive amounts of risk. Many people believe that trading with a smaller amount of capital isn’t worthwhile but these people are mistaken.
Traders can earn a very decent living with relatively modest daily profits. Traders should set daily profit goals for themselves and should have an understanding of what those goals mean. For example if a trader’s goal is to make an average of $200 a day they would net a yearly profit of over $50,000. This is a lot of money for most people. As a trader finds consistent success they are able to scale up their position size to potentially earn more. There really is no limit to how much a trader can earn.
You would be amazed at how many traders I know who work from home and are able to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit on a yearly basis. These traders didn’t get to this point overnight but built their accounts over time. This is something that anyone can do if they have a consistent and disciplined trading strategy.
The sky is the limit. If you want to do something where you are rewarded for the time and effort you put in directly then trading might be for you. You are only limited by your own risk appetite and capital. Even though you might not think you have enough money to start trading you can still earn modest daily profits that will add up in the long run.
Be Your Own Boss
Many professions allow people to work with some degree of independence. People might even be able to work from home or remotely, but nobody who isn’t self-employed has independence like a professional trader does. Traders who trade for themselves do not have to answer to anyone. Although some people are not comfortable with this dynamic those who are willing to accept responsibility for their decisions will find that trading on your own is liberating. Professional traders have nobody to answer to but themselves. Their gains, losses and mistakes are all their own.
I love the fact that when I am successful I don’t have anyone to thank but myself. If you have always hated having people to answer to, trading could be a profession that you thrive in. This can be a bit of a double edged sword though. Traders who trade alone might not have someone they can bounce ideas off of or get feedback from. This is why it’s so important to find a community of other traders you can share ideas with and talk about the market with. While traders who trade completely alone can be successful many traders, especially beginners, benefit greatly from having some kind of support network.
Trading is Fun!
While I love trading for the freedom and earnings potential it gives me, the main reason I love it is because it’s so fun! Trust me, if trading wasn’t enjoyable I wouldn’t be doing it. That’s not to say that everyone in the world will find trading enjoyable. Some people simply lack the risk appetite to make trading a viable option for them. If you are someone who hates the idea of possibly losing money then there is no way you will find trading enjoyable.
I love to take on risk and always have. If you are someone who enjoys games like poker then you might find trading to be very fun. Trading is about constantly assessing your risk and reward potential and determining the most efficient way to express a view you have on the market. People who don’t think that they would enjoy that would probably hate trading. Even though television and movies portray trading as fast-paced and exciting, it’s actually very methodical and can sometimes be tedious. Those who enjoy spending time analyzing details and working with numbers can really work well as a trader.
There is a saying amongst professionals, “Trading is hours of boredom punctuated by seconds of panic.” Trading can be tedious. Most days, markets trade in ranges and people who expect nonstop action will likely be disappointed with how most days go. Those who are also less equipped to deal with the stress of taking on risk will also probably not enjoy trading. If you are someone who loves the idea of taking on calculated risk to potentially make a profit and can deal with the occasional stress then you should consider trading.
While trading isn’t for everyone, those who have the risk appetite and the interest in market and analysis can truly thrive as a professional trader. The freedom, earnings potential, and fun nature of the game can make trading the ideal occupation for some people. If you aren’t sure that you fall into this category it’s easy to find out. Spend some time trading a simulated account and see if the routine and general day to day is something you think you could enjoy. Remember, not everyone is guaranteed success but for those that find it there are few jobs that are more enjoyable or rewarding.