Career Trading out of college

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by ssbc19, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. ssbc19


    I'm a freshman finance major at a private university. I thought finance would be a good choice however I absolutely hate it.

    It seems like most of my time is filled with classes about calculus, "network building", and "taking on leadership roles".

    My plan initially was to get my degree and start trading after college. But now I'm thinking about just quitting college and trading.

    If I'm going to try trading it seems to make more sense to do it when I have some money and not 4 years of student loans to pay off. And if I fail at trading that would be great motivation for my studies and I would finish my degree.

    A little background. I'm entrepreneurial and motivated. I have been working as a freelance photographer and part-time studio photographer since mid-'05 so I have something to fall back on.

    I started following the market around that time as well. Last spring I really became interested in the market and have been practice trading and spend hours each day reading about trading and going over charts.

    I've risked (and lost) real money and am now making some profits.

    My plan is to finish out this semester while doing photography work to save money and then over the summer get a full-time job and then start trading remote prop in the fall.

    I have very little in terms of expenses. Although it's not the most desirable, I could live with my parents when I start out (free rent, free food, etc...)

    Anyone have thoughts or advice?
  2. ss - I think you'll hear two responses:

    1) Stay in school, do not take risks
    2) Follow your heart, you are young

    After reading through posts similar to yours over my time here, you'll get a healthy dose of both if the thread does not die.

    My suggestion is simple - be happy. If you hate school, it just might not be for you. Maybe a change of major would fix that. You like photography, so what about a photography major?

    Make no mistake, having a degree is a good thing to have.

    But it's your life and you only get one. So, make the most of it and be happy. You are so young right now that you are expected to try things out and make mistakes. You don't have a wife and kids depending on you. Now is a GREAT time to take some chances with your life and see where it goes. No matter what happens, you'll learn a lot about you as a person.

    Good luck.
  3. I'm 22, recent graduate with a economics & finance degree from a private university too. I feel ya on not digging the classload brother. Most of the classes don't pertain to trading but more corporate or general finance.

    With that being said, I'm happy I have the degree to use as a bargaining chip/safety net as necessity dictates. I'm working for a wealth mgmt firm as their equity trader right now and I do some system trading on the side. I've considered going prop and I have a friend doing it now in NYC. He seems to enjoy it and if you're good it's solid income, amazing flexibility (when you become an 'experienced trader' you'll set your own hours and vacations), and it's straight up fun.

    Just a thought, but try doing some remote trading while you're wrapping up your degree. Same leverage and concept but you're in your apartment/dorm room/parents' house and you can still get your degree. If you're good at it, you'll graduate with dolo in your pocket and be able to get your own apartment.

    All The Best

  4. I'd say you should change your major and stay in school. You clearly don't like your finance major, but that doesn't mean you should ditch college. The fact is, a lot of people change their majors. And like a previous poster mentioned, you can trade remote while you are still in school, which will do two things for you provided you are consistantly profitable: 1) You will make some extra cash and 2) You will create a track record for yourself.

    If you want to get a full-time trading job after school, which I think is a better idea than going at it solo when you first start, you can get a job without having a finance degree. I'm a good example. My degree was in psychology but I am a futures trader with a hedge fund now. I'm salaried, plus I get 40% of my profits. It's a hell of a lot less stressful to me than trading my own money like I used to do.

    However, I am glad I have my diploma to fall back on. Good luck and best wishes.
  5. Stay in school, get a "marketable" degree as a hedge to fall back on and trade during your free time when you are not in class.
  6. Study what you enjoy, not what you think will bring financial rewards. Could be philosophy, I don't know. As long as you get a good grade. If you want to trade then get a job with a firm, show enthusiasm, work your way onto the desks. Interact with folks in the industry, lots to be learnt. If you don't make it then become a retail trader at 40, a lonely business. You are too young for this at the moment. Get mixing and read what turns you on. Money is a false god.
  7. ssbc19


    Thanks for the input so far, I really appreciate it.

    Right now I'm swing trading so my classes don't interfere with trading.

    What I'm thinking of doing is working over the summer so I have more capital and swing trading when I'm back at school (with a different major).

    Right now I'm trading stock and want to continue that and eventual try out futures trading and shorter term trading with stock.

    Any thoughts on trading in the evenings? I'm thinking about trading Nikkei stocks or maybe trying out forex.
  8. Cutten


    Here are your main options as a youngster who wants to get into trading, listed from best risk/reward balance (first) to worst (last). After all, if you're gonna be a trader, you should consider risk vs reward right? Not just which particular fairytale seems most appealing right now.

    1) Go to the best college you can, do an economics/science/finance degree (if you do an arts degree, you better ace it and have good extra-curricular stuff too), then get a job with either a serious trading firm (i.e. a company that makes its profits from trading, not a churning prop shop or other BS scam), an investment bank, or a flexible investment/fund/hedge fund company. This allows you to learn about trading, investing and the markets, while getting paid a nice salary to do so. You will get skills and mentoring from experienced market professionals, have the best data, support, back office etc. Your risk is almost zero, your income is good and your long-run prospects are great.

    2) Get a decent but not amazing degree, then join a 2nd tier firm in the investment/trading business.

    3) Get any degree, join any non-bucket-shop in the investment/trading business

    4) Don't get a degree, and join whichever bucket shop will have you

    5) Drop out and try to make it by yourself

    There is one exception - if you have spotted a true, bone fide market inefficiency, so that you not only think, but KNOW with certainty you can run $10-20k up into $1 mill+ in 3-4 years, then it can be worth dropping out. Other than that, dropping out is f*cking stupid. The market will still be there in 3 years. Only reason to drop out is the Bill Gates reason - you see millions sitting there waiting to be plucked by you and no one else has spotted it. Even in this case, in 4-5 years the edge may be gone, then what do you do? You may have a better start than your college-going peers, but in 10-15 years they will recover the deficit and then start to pull away from you. While you're desperately searching for the next "free money", they are starting hedge funds, founding startups, becoming multi-millionaires, while you sit in your pyjamas at home piking on the ES, completely unemployable because of your unconventional CV.

    Education is not necessary for success. But it is a big help, and if you don't succeed, it gives you the option of a tolerable, reasonably well paid career that you can stomach, rather than stacking shelves or working on an assembly line if it all goes tits up. People with a degree, on average, earn a crapload more over their lifetime than people who don't.
  9. Cutten


    I traded through college without skipping a single class, let alone dropping out. Forget daytrading or even swing trading. Just trade longer-term timeframes, 1 month+. Identify some bull markets, buy, and sit on your position until you graduate. You will learn a lot, and if you are right, you will make some $$$ too.
  10. Relying on trading for yourself as a living and getting out of college is sort of like the person who drills holes in the bottom of his boat to let out the excess water.

    In spite of what you see here, few make it in trading. Few. And you must know what the earning potential is of a high school student vs. a college grad

    If you don't like finance, find another major.
    #10     Mar 5, 2008