Am I asking for too much?

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by Propeller Head, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. I originally posted this thread in the Prop forum, but I haven't gotten many responses yet, so I figured I'd ask the career traders.

    I'm an inexperienced newbie interested in starting a career as a professional trader in the New York/New Jersey area. The thing is, I don't want to put up a capital contribution, or pay commissions, desk fees, or software fees. I'd be happy to give most of my eventual profits to the firm, but I don't want to pay for my losses. More importantly, I need an effective training program. I've read some comments from guys on this board looking for prop firms that offer a salary, which sounds spoiled and naive to me. I'm NOT looking for a draw or a salaried position, but at the same time, I don't want to pay money out of my own pocket to learn how to trade. As it is, it will cost me almost $400/month to commute from the suburbs to NYC, plus another $300-400/month for health insurance, etc. I can't afford to pay commissions and desk fees on top of that.

    I'm a college graduate (average mediocre public college, but good grades). I also have an unexpired Series 7 from my days working as a stockbroker. I'm willing to trade anything (stocks, options, futures, forex, etc.), but I need some training or mentoring. I do not need or expect a salary or a draw. So does anyone have any suggestions? Does anyone know of any firms in New York City or New Jersey that fit my specifications? The only one that I know of is First New York Securities, and they even offer a salary, but they never called me back after I submitted a resume. From what I understand, they only hire newbies from Ivy League or semi-Ivy League backgrounds anyway. Where does this leave me? Am I seriously asking for too much here? Thanks.
  2. i'm sort of in your boat, but i'm not exactly sure i understand what you're looking for. by not wanting to put up capital do you mean you don't want to buy in to a prop-firm or you just don't have enough capital to learn and trade profitably on your own? if you're not looking for a salary and expect to have some trading losses as you start out, where would your living cash come from?

    if i'm interpreting correctly it seems you're mostly looking for a way to get *thoroughly* trained in a way other than through something like what BT has to offer with their boot camp and such. i sympathize as i have been looking for the same thing but i'm not sure it exists. the semi-conclusions i've come to after the bit of research i've done are: 1.) get my MBA and climb up the totem pole at institutional firm, 2.) buy in to a prop-firm like bright or assent and hope to meet some experienced, angelic people who don't mind giving tons of guidance, or 3.) continue trading my small retail account on my own and hope student loans don't drain my savings before i get consistently profitable. right now i'm sticking with (3) but if anybody comes up with better suggestions on this thread i'm constantly reviewing my options.
  3. cold


    OP you are looking for a mentor you wrote

    training you wrote

    take this what I am about to write very very seriously

    WHen I was a noob, I did not even think to go and seek mentors, it was all about can I figure it out myself or not

    if you don't understand the difference between those two attitudes

    you will fail and go flip burgers with your college

  4. Thanks for the response. At the moment, I live with my family, and I have some savings that I can live on. So theoretically I CAN afford to make a small capital contribution, but I'd probably blow that in a matter of months. Even if I just broke even, my commissions could run into the thousands of dollars per month. Five round-trip trades each day, 1000-share lots, $0.007 commission per share, equals $1,400 per month in commissions. I could easily see blowing $10,000 in a few months, and being no closer to my goal of trading profitably.

    My three options are the same as yours. Option #1 seemed promising at first, but then I realized that the only MBA programs I could get into would be mediocre at best. I haven't done anything impressive with my life since college that would merit acceptance to Harvard Business School or Wharton. And I don't see myself getting an employment offer from Goldman or Morgan with an MBA from Rutgers or Baruch or Utah State, or whatever. Hell, I applied to be a sales assistant at Merrill when I first graduated college, and I never even got a call back! A friggin' sales assistant! All I'd be doing is taking on unnecessary student loan debt. Option #2 seems unrealistic, especially given what I've heard about the quality of the "training programs" at firms like Echo and Assent. Which leaves me with Option 3, which, compared with Options 1 and 2 isn't half bad. Any suggestions on how to learn on my own?
  5. What goldman, merrill etc does is not rocket science. And, getting into an overrated and expensive pvt school doesn't mean that you are all that special either.

    Brand yourself, Educate yourself, and promote your little successes. Voila, before you know it you turned yourself into a little investment bank and growing & hiring those ivey league monkeys.
  6. hell, i went to a good school but majored in the wrong thing...twice...and now i don't know what to do with my life. i love math but hate programming so being a quant is out of the question. i'm not a type a so i don't desire the pressure of a professional finance job. i like trading and would like to be able to support myself with it until i can go back to school for another completely unrelated field.

    anyway, it's a bit of a pickle isn't it? perhaps you're being too pessimistic in regards to your potential to be profitable on your own. either that or you're being realistic and i'm too optimistic about what we, as newbies, can do...but it seems to me that you must know something about trading or you wouldn't want to do it. if you have the drive, the time, and enough capital to open a retail account then get some books and start reading. learn everything you can about the semantics of trading, then cautiously dip your toes in the market to get real experience. i'm learning no matter how many books i read there's no substitute for experiencing the games my mind plays when i've got a trade on.

    for my first six months i focused on equities thinking all the other markets were a different sort of monster i wasn't ready for. (i'm switching to the eminis, but that's another story) i started with 20k and mostly swing traded to get up to the minimum for pattern day trading. finally got there after three months then within a couple weeks i got lazy with ETFC and experienced a drawdown that took me right back to where i started. that was a big psychological blow and for the last few weeks i've kept my money out of the market in order to reorganize. all the books tell you to "plan your trade, trade your plan" but it's so easy to put the development of such a plan off.

    i don't know if me sharing my ideas as a newbie is what you're looking for, but i guess it can't hurt to get another perspective. since i'm tired of taking two steps back for every one step forward due to distractions, laziness, and lack of discipline, i'm finally serious about developing a trading plan. i won't get into specifics of my plan here, but i guess i can sum up what i'm trying to say with this: as difficult, and quite frankly impossible as it appears, i'm convinced that with just a little knowledge and a lot of discipline anyone can be profitable trading. perhaps i'm wrong but at least think about it because i don't know if the training we're looking for is out there. good things take time, and even small profit is profit. if your main focus is discipline, ie. setting rules for your trades and NEVER breaking them, 90% of the risk of serious drawdown vanishes. i guess there's always a possibility that the sun will explode as soon as you buy a contract of the ES and you could lose everything as the market evaporates and your stop never gets filled, but if that happens i'd call it destiny.