That's a lie. Honestly, I would have rather been a Formula 1 driver and not just because I was watching them race today. All joking aside, trading really is the best job in the world and I want to share with you a personal story and insight into my daily/current life. Now normally I tend to be a private person and don't really showcase the 'inner look of my life' too much. One, it tends to be pretty boring, the traders life, though some traders will have you believe otherwise. Second, I like to keep things private as I can imagine most of you do as well. And finally, it's more important to discuss what matters in these blogs: Trading and making money. So let's talk a little more about why I think this is really the best job in the world.
Traveling & Trading is Hard, But it's Fun:
As I currently write this I'm in Barcelona, Spain with two weeks left on a 'vacation' of sorts. In fact, this is the first vacation I've taken in five years. See what most people won't tell you is that it's actually really hard to 'trade and travel' and I can tell you that being on this trip that this is in fact the truth. The upside is, I am outside of my daily routine and seeing some amazing historical spots and witnessed the testing of the new Formula 1 cars today at the Circuit de Barcelona which was truly amazing and plus, who doesn't like Barcelona?
The strangest thing for me so far is getting used to the time difference here. The US markets do not open until 3:30 PM so the mornings are filled with sight seeing and pretty much anything else you'd want to do. The kicker is that the markets close at 10:00 PM EST so by that time you can feel yourself getting tired. I'm not sure I like it but I would imagine if I lived in this time zone I would wake up later. The other cool part is that I can trade the European open and it's morning, not 2 AM!
But I will tell you this. Being in 'your zone' as a trader is essential and I can tell that traveling, not having my monitors, having to call in futures orders is harder than I imagined. What that really relays back to is the psychological part about trading, which I think people don't talk enough about. For me it's important to have my daily routine which usually starts at 7 AM EST. That daily routine is important to be focused and consistent with what the markets are doing and it's something that you get used to doing which in turn makes your trading that much better. While I like traveling and trading from abroad I can tell you that I would rather be at my office in my routine, you might be different but the point here is simple: Trading allows you to make your office from wherever you want.
Below are some photos from my day at the Formula 1 Testing in Barcelona today with one of my students/friends Haley!
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. When I was 20 I worked 40 hours a week and still carried a 16 credit course load at Arizona State because I wanted to do whatever it took to ingratiate myself with the markets and learn, I never wanted to be dependent on a government or another person. In fact, anyone that knows me knows that I hate being told what to do and the idea of being tied to that scares me more than anything.
It's not that simple though. Not anyone can just up and quite their job's to trade full-time, in fact, Hailey who is pictured above, is one of the only people I know that did it, but with a catch. She spent a few years in corporate life and saved, practiced and planned to quit to trade and start a food blog. In fact, that's the reason I am in Barcelona now as she is moving here and I decided to take the trip as I've always wanted to go.
Obviously there are up days and down days in trading but I can tell you coming from institutional finance that I would rather make less trading on my own than being tied to 80 hours a week making $1 million a year. Really. I mean that. If you're reading this and you disagree then you've never done it to that extent and you'll find most institutional types have a goal of working for a few years for someone only to take the savings, quit, and start their own shop.
Trading alone can get boring so it's important to surround yourself with a group of serious, committed traders. You need a community to be around to help you through down times and to keep you from getting bored during slow times.
The Freedom in Trading
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.
Make no mistake, trading is the hardest easiest money you will ever make. Do I think most people should only trade? No. In fact, most retired institutional traders I know have more than one source of cash flow going, as should you. Now obviously part of that freedom comes from lowering your overhead, which is part of also getting more freedom.
Now for me, there has been some sort of 'freedom' per se. I can choose to trade when I want but usually my days are tied to the screen, sometimes trading the European session at 2 AM, really whatever it takes to make profits. For you reading this you can define what that means to you and being a 'Wall Street Warrior' doesn't have to be it, it could just be trading passively to make an extra $2,000 a month.
Trading definitely is not for everyone but if you have the appetite for risk and have been successful in other endeavors it usually ends up working out for you. The freedom, being your own boss and the earnings potential of this game 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, nobody is guaranteed success but if you can learn to master yourself and this craft it will pay off thousands of times over and not just monetarily.