Career change advice

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by ggulser, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. ggulser


    Hi all,

    I am an Electrical Engineer who has an interest in trading. I am married and have 2 kids. And I am 35 years old. I have been living in the US for the last 10 years. I am originally from a 3rd world country and I had no idea that a profession such as trading even existed until maybe a few years ago. Of course I knew about Wall Street and Financial Markets, etc. but it all seemed like a game that only extremely rich people played and I thought the only way a regular person can get into that world would be through a degree in economics and/or finance and a salaried job with one of the financial companies. So it always seemed like a world that is far away and inaccessable to me.

    But then I found out about people who traded their own account for a living and about day traders, prop firms, etc. Then it started to look like something I can also try. I have been reading about trading and markets for the last 1.5 years. I traded my own account for several months part time and then about 4 months full time, from home. I lost about 10K of my own money during this period. I expected to lose some money of course but it was the limit I set for myself for this experiment, so I stoped trading and got a salaried engineering job again. Several months later, I got laid off, and I thought I would give trading another shot. This time I wanted to do it with a Prop firm. They asked me to take Series 7 exam and I did. It took me 2 months to study for this exam and I got a good score. When I finally thought I would be able to start trading with them, they said there was another test I need to take (Series 55). They assigned me a mentor and asked me to watch him and also study for the Series 55 at the same time. They didn't have a workstation for me to trade myself yet. They said it would take about a few weeks to get it ready. I watched the mentor for about a week and decided to go back home and study for the Series 55 and return to that place once I pass that exam. But then I realized it had been too long (several months) since I attempted to trade and didn't even place a single trade after all that time. And I knew that it might take another 6 months or so to become profitable. The problem was that I didn't have enough money saved for my living expenses and there was another engineering job lined up for me at that time. I had spent all my savings by that time and even got into some credit card debt. So I felt compelled to take the salaried engineering job, since I needed to support not only myself, but also my family.

    I have been working for that engineering company for 8 months now and I hated every minute of it. Besides, I was so close to actually try trading with a real chance of success that I regret I hadn't stayed with the prop firm longer. I was feeling like I was so close to actually getting it right and becoming profitable with that firm thanks to my earlier trading experience. And I would have done it without risking my own capital. My feeling is that I would have become a profitable trader within only a month with that company, since I had all the theoretical background I needed (from all the reading I did) and a significant amount of practice too (from my own day trading experience from home). And I am a capable person. When I think about the conditions I lived in, in my home country, and the obstacles I overcame to get to where I am now, I think I have all the necessary ingredients (determination, drive, intelligence, discipline, etc) to become successful in this field. (Maybe in any field).

    But having confidence in oneself isn't enough in these matters. There are financial realities too. I studied for several years after I came to this country and then I had to pay off a huge student loan to my home country's government. And as I said, I have a family to support too. That is why in spite of my age and profession, I still don't have enough savings. Plus, although the principal amount on the student loan I mentioned is over, there are still some payments I need to do because of the interest and some legal expenses. So I still owe some money. (Plus a car loan and a mortgage). It would take me a few years to completely pay off all the debt I have, but by that time my age would be almost 40, and one may think it would too late to start a trading career at that age.

    So the question on my mind is, what should I do? Should I quit my job and try trading now, or should wait several years more and lose all that time and maybe also lose the passion and/or interest in trading.

    What would you do?

    I am especially interested in the opinions of people who had to change careers to become traders themselves.

    I would appreciate any comments.