Five Questions Before you Quit and Start Day Trading
One question that any trader will one day ask themselves is, when am I read to start day trading full time and leave my job? This will often lead to the second question, how much money do I need? In today’s blog post, I will answer both of those questions but also provide a few others that you may not have even considered, but could help make a decision and even change your life!
Let’s start with the easy one.
How much money do I need to start day trading professionally?
The answer to this question depends on your spending habits as much as it does on your performance. Transportation, clothing and eating at restaurants are expenses you can expect to decrease while you are working from home. However, the ability to provide for your family’s well being is not something you want to skimp out on. So grab a pen and a piece of paper and create a budget. Here is what mine looked like:
- Housing: $3,000
- Car & Insurance: $700
- Cellphone: $75
- Internet: $90
- Food: $450
- Grooming: $200
- Entertainment: $400
Let’s call that $5,000 a month. $60,000 a year.
Now that we have a monetary target for office freedom we need to talk about returns. We generate a 5% – 10% monthly return on our capital, and have done so since 2012. Some years have been over 200%!
From here it’s a simple calculation:
$5,000 / 5% = $100,000
$5,000 / 10% = $50,000
It is very important to have a system and strategy in place when it comes time to trading, so you are able to make a reliable assumption on your returns. If you have neither, you are not ready to go PRO!
I needed $50,000 to $100,000 of capital to sustain my living standard. Now that you have your number as well, you have a savings goal to work towards or you may already have enough to take the plunge. But not so fast, there are a few other questions to answer.
Before you make a firm decision on finances alone however, ask and answer these questions to yourself:
Am I disciplined enough to stick to my strategy while I’m in front of the computer day trading all day? Will I over trade and be impulsive and impatient?
A great place to get these answers is to review your trading journal. Don’t have one? You’re definitely not ready to trade full time. Start tracking your results, join our site and use our free journal template. Also, you will definitely need to have a solid trade planning, execution and money management strategy in place. And by solid, I mean titanium solid, because you and IT will both be tested.
Will I tell my friends about my new day trading business?
Some people like and even need the added pressure, like me. Others would prefer to keep it under wraps until they prove themselves first. This is a big consideration and can cause some friction in your personal relationships.
How will I maintain my social lifestyle and friendships?
Being at home on a daily basis while the majority of your friends are at work can get a little lonely. Sure there are the perks of listening to embarrassingly loud music as you trade, or ALT-tabbing for a game of poker, but are those little things enough to replace your dose of human interaction? I am a very social person and need to interact with others, so I started this business to give me the opportunity to stay connected and meet new people on a daily basis – as I do what I love and trade the markets!
What is my exit strategy?
This question is most often asked by people when it is far too late. The exit strategy should be identified before you even start, and it should be very specific. I call them my fuses. “I will stop trading full time if I lose 20% of my account balance, if it effects my relationship with my spouse and/or kids, or if it drives me up the wall mentally even though I’m making a tonne of money.” All of these are valid exit points. Write yours down and keep them handy, because on the dark days you will want to check if you’ve blown a fuse and you need to spend some time in self-reflection.
If your honest answers get you excited, then you are likely looking to trade full time for good reasons. If however you are starting to notice that it may not be for you, then forget about the millions you think you can make, it won’t make you happy even if you do. You have to love what you do or you won’t do it very passionately. Just look around you at work, 90% of what is created in this world is created by unhappy people.
Regardless of the conclusions you came up with while reading this post, there is one last thing you can do that is very low risk and can help you make your final decision. Take a week off from work (use up that vacation if you have to) and stay at home to try out day trading career. You will know by the third day of the week if it is right for you or not. It’s a job you will either love or love that you are not doing.
If you do decide to give it a shot, I know it can be the most satisfying feeling in the world! If not, you can always adjust your strategy to trade part-time while you work your day job or do whatever else you love. Whatever you choose, the most important thing is to do what makes the heart and soul happy – and not your wallet.
Good luck and good trading.