So you want to be a day trader huh?, really???, hmmm, well isn’t that special!!!! Think you have what it takes to make a living trading the Markets??? Do ya Bunkie???? I wouldn’t quit my day job pal. In fact unless you’ve done your homework first and foremost, don’t do this until you’ve at least tried it on a part time basis. Otherwise if you try to dive into the abyss without a net, you’re doomed right from the get go! Doing it on a part time basis just for the feel of it is fine. Never would work otherwise.
Oh and pardon me for asking, but what makes YOU think you’re smart enough, stable enough, and mechanical enough to do this? You read about it in a book right? Seemed kinda easy to ya? Did it? You figured heck this doesn’t seem so hard!!! You even heard about it or watched it on TV, all about these young upstarts making all kinds of money trading the markets fast and furious right? You said to yourself. I can do this, and I can do it better than him or her, right???…Well my friend, that EGO of yours is going to get you in a whole lot of big time trouble right from the get go, so stow it right now…and read on…
Let me tell you a story that may change your mind, or may not. But it’s worth reading BEFORE you take this plunge, because, once you commit to this, it will control your entire life, in fact, life as you now know it will cease to exist for you and your loved ones. Your family and friends will not recognize you in short order…In fact, you won’t know yourself either. You will become a compulsive, addictive person (maybe you weren’t that way before this event but your gonna be one now), that lives, eats, sleeps, nothing else, except this obsessive out of control nutty world of trading for a living…I am living proof of that as I sit here and write this article…. more on that later….
A day in my life
Let me briefly tell you what a day in the life of this trader looks like each and everyday…I get up at 6.00 am EST. I do 2 hours preliminary pre-market work, scanning through stocks, news items, upgrades, downgrades…check the futures markets, and begin the preparation for day trading by readjusting every stock I watch, checking the charts and setting alerts on trigger points at support and resistance areas as they are breached…I then have 2 cups of coffee, read the NY Times, I live in the Philly area<ggg>, and then go on line with some friends each and every day to trade the markets from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm…that’s 11 hours a day, 5 days a week…from start to finish…you cannot really do this part time…you’ll lose your other job trying to trade as a part time day trader…because you’ll never be able to concentrate on your real job with trades hanging in mid air…
I don’t have time to pay the bills, answer the damn phone, or speak to anyone when I’m trading. I go down stairs to my nice cozy office, that looks like a bomb hit it<g>, and wearing my robe, sweat cloths, or some such get up, sit there glued to the screen until I can’t see straight anymore. And after the close, just collapse down dead….
I won’t go into the particulars of getting into the trades right here. But suffice it to say, the emotional roller coaster you’re about to put yourself and your family through, makes the Kamikaze Pilots of WWII look like a bunch of choir boys. Any real roller coaster ride you’ve ever ridden on, makes this treacherous business about 1000 times more daring, more exciting, more exhausting and more exhilarating…yeah we get pumped up too<G>
And talk about exhaustion? Trekking through the Mohave Desert without water for a week could not be more exhausting than trading the markets for 11 total hours…start to finish. We all just can not speak any more…we just close down and die…..
So this is a wake up call to all you newbies, wannabies, and hope-to-be’s…If you think this is easy, a piece of cake, think again pal…this is one of the toughest sole proprietorships in the world…It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. The pressure is enormous because your using “Real Money”, your money, your wife’s money, yeah it’s hers too ya know! The real question for anyone that’s starting out in the crazy biz, is this. ”Are you gambling?, or are you trading like a pro…technically? Do you know what it means to trade “technically”? Exactly what are you doing? My Cyber Trader Friends and I do not gamble, we do take risks for sure. It happens on each and every trade each and everyday we open our stores. Oh yeah and by the way, how much money are you starting up with? Huh? You better fund it like it should be funded. Because if you try to skimp the account, you’ll trade scared. And let me tell ya boys and girls, your already going to trade scared anyway, so it makes no sense to have that hanging over your head too!
Remember when you were a kid and you started to play cards or run to the racetrack? I started to play poker in High School in Atlantic City in the mid to late 50’s. 7 card stud High Spade splits the pot, remember that?<VBG>. I would sneak into AC Race Track when it was in it’s heyday watching the likes of Round Table and Beau Purple, it was the Era of Kelso, gosh what a rush of memories. If you got in the game/track short money you ALWAYS LOST! Yeah that’s right…dump it in the street, donate it, burn it up, it won’t matter. Hey, I always lost…and so will you…Fear of losing your money is a big time no-no. It messes with your head, it keeps you from making the correct buy or sell decisions. Trust me on this, I am living proof of it…It happened all along my trading life at certain times…I always lost…with short money.
You better get the help you need on every aspect of this profession, using every angle you can glean from traders you know and believe. Forget the people saying they win 70-80% of the time, they are liars…do not believe that for one second. Try to sit down with a trader friend and watch the action, in real time. Hang out with the newest fastest rising segment of our cyber trading world, Real Time Virtual Trading Rooms, with people like yourself belonging to groups of day traders helping each other with 100 pairs of eyes, watching your back and front! It might be the way to go before you decide if you’re stable enough to do it alone. Being in solitary confinement is fine for some, but not for others. I am one of those people that love the daily company.
Before the bell or before you embark on trying to day trade. Ask yourself these 10 important questions FIRST!
- Who are you??? What are you??? And what do you want to accomplish today…Are you day trading, swing trading or what. Scalp mode today?? Know what it means to scalp a trade?? Do not be in the middle here, one way or the other. If you have a doubt about what you’re going to do with the stock your trading, you’ll make mistakes. Should I keep it for a day or two? Should I scalp it? Should I trail a stop? Indecision will destroy the trade right then and there!
- How much is enough money to make today??? Set that number first. A must. Look the biggest problem everyone has is when to sell. We all have this ongoing battle with Mrs. Greed. She sits there on our shoulder opposite Mr. Fear. They are eyeball to eyeball, and WE are in the middle of this battle. You must have it pre set in your mind as to when to exit. And then just do it, either by getting stopped out for a gain, or selling “too soon”. I always try to sell to soon as the stocks running up. Now how much money have you placed in your acct. to fund this business of yours? Enough??? Tight money will kill you. This part alone could sabotage your entire game plan, for the day or for your trading life.
- What is your predetermined rule for entries and exits if you get into a trade for the day…Do you understand completely Support and Resistance’s on any chart any time frame, and do you have the ability to draw lines on your real time charts to help you SEE these area’s and then SET Alerts intraday to get you in or out??
- Do you have the correct hardware, software, and real time charting service, Online Direct Access Broker. Without it, don’t even think about coming to the dance. How about Cable modem, dsl line, etc, how about a back up computer all set up and running in case yours conchs out? What is your back up?
- Determine what a “Trend Day up or down is, and can you recognize this event? Do you have a complete working knowledge of Candlesticks and or Point and Figure Charting techniques…and what tells you what kind of a day it is, are you fighting the trend? Are you trading the long side when we are falling like a stone that day?
- Do you follow and understand the futures markets the S&P’s and NQ’s? Can you understand what they are telling you, how about Tick and Trin, got those down pat?. Do you read volume and watch Level II…can you determine buying and selling pressure..
- Can you spot a “Divergence in your charts and indices…what does it mean to you while day trading…How can you take advantage of these divergences that others have NO clue about to your advantage…reading between the lines…using solid techniques at all times…
- How do you have your charts set up for real time data feeds? What moving averages are you using, what time frames do you use…and what if any indicators or oscillators are you using in conjunction with your charts…
- STOPS!!! Are you using hard stops or mental stops, and do you use them automatically? Do you know where to place them? How about the gaps each day, what are you doing to the morning novice gaps?? Chasing them or selling them…
- And then what about your general make up…how do you handle things emotionally…can you control those demons on your shoulders, Mr. Fear and Mrs. Greed!!! Are you screaming at the screen, cursing and throwing things, pounding your fists on the keyboard? What are you doing to combat all theses internal emotional problems…because with everything I have written about in this article, …without absolute control over your trading, over your emotions, your D-O-A.
Short quick end to this article…It is self-explanatory. When I am in my manic mode, trading each day, I have this enormous amount of high-end concentration staring at the screen. I hate interruptions of the flow I’m enjoying. I will not answer the door, the phone, nothing interrupts me I mean zero, nada. Uh well, there’s one thing I can not ignore it’s the wife!<smile>. So I am trading one day, and for months now we’ve had this problem at our house with a damn woodpecker. Yeah you heard right, the goddamn bird is making perfect symmetrical holes all over my wood house. My wife is pissed off too.. I mean big time.
She’s so mad at the bird she wants to kill it! I mean dead. How? Shoot it<GGGGGG>. I’m laughing to myself as I write this. It’s an endangered species too. She checked. So she goes to Dicks Sporting Goods store near us, and walks into a store full of men. They turn around and check her out she is a knockout. She asks the clerk for a gun! He says what for? She says I want to kill a bird! The entire store erupts with laughter. He says a bird? She says yeah a woodpecker. Well folks she comes home with a freakin rifle, hahahahahahaa….a bee bee gun, pump action with a telescopic site on it to boot.
I look at this thing in total amazement. My wife the big game hunter? Gee whiz! Well she tries to shoot it and so do I. No luck, the damn bird is very smart<g>. Anyway that was after market hours…One day in the heat of battle she hollers there’s that (explicative depletive) bird again go get it NOW! I say but honey I’m in the middle of 2 trades, I can’t leave the damn screen here…forget it, go shoot the &%##$##$ bird yourself. Needless to say, I have to get up from my seat, I am wearing slippers, with white sweat socks, a bath robe, hair up to here, and out to there, and I walk outside with this air rifle, you got this picture? Even the damn bird is laughin’ at me…heheheheheee..I raise up the muzzle, and whoosh he’s gone with the wind…Lucky I didn’t blow out a neighbors window or something because I’m shooting as he fly’s away merrily threw the trees…
To his day we have never even come close to hitting this damn bird, but each and every time she hollers I have to get up and chase it…man what a way to trade huh?
In closing, all I can say is check out everything you can before you get into the game. Because once you’re in the battle, it’s all over but the music. Nothing and no one will even exist anymore. Except “the wife”.