Is it likely to be a successful trader if you have a full time job?

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by bottomdollar, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. I couldn't fit the whole title in but what I wanted to ask is whether people think that it is likely to be a successful trader if one has a full time job in something completely different.

    I have asked this question to some successful traders and they have said that trading is not an easy endeavour and to truly be successful, one must dedicate their time 100% to it.

    Trading is my passion. My work is a means to make a living.. now that I've progressed through the ranks in my company, I find that I'm being paid a reasonable salary which makes it difficult to give it up and trade. I have been at it (trading that is) for many years now and finally I am seeing consistency but I am only trading in relatively small lots. However the PnL isn't huge...

    I am just wondering what people think... what is your personal experience to becoming a successful trader and how did you achieve it if you're in full time work doing something completely different. I know it's possible but just wondering about your personal thoughts and opinions.

  2. Baron

    Baron ET Founder

    The book "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcom Gladwell attempts to identify the ingredients which contribute to a person being wildly successful, such as Bill Gates, The Beatles, etc.

    In a nutshell, he concluded that a person must have the following:

    1. Luck, a.k.a being at the right place at the right time.

    2. 10,000 hours of practice at their craft.

    Although you don't really have much control over #1, you can basically pick whatever you want to do in life and become an expert at it with 10,000 hours of practice.

    So with that in mind, now ask yourself if you can realistically dedicate yourself to 10,000 hours of trading while still maintaining a steady job. The answer is no. That doesn't mean that you can't be successful at trading. In fact, if you're account is larger now than when you started, then you can reasonably call yourself successful (so far). But to realistically achieve outstanding results and generate extraordinary profits over the long term, you'll have to step out on a limb at some point and dedicate yourself 100% to your passion.

    But that's where the problem comes in. Most people simply don't have the resources to support themselves through the countless hours of practice that it takes to become a master at trading.
  3. I agree with Baron. I have found similar problems even as a full-time trader, for example trying to get good at longer-term investing whilst daytrading, and earlier on years ago I was trying to get decent at medium-term position trading whilst trading actively intraday. Even though I eventually did the latter and now my longer-term profits are often higher than my daytrading profits for a year, I'm probably way behind what I could be if I did it full time. I sometimes miss opportunities over the longer-term because my focus is split with trading intraday.

    The only caveat I would add is that you can spend 10,000 hours on something and *still* not become a master at it if you lack talent. You will become pretty good but in a competitive field like trading, that may not be enough. So you should ask yourself how much innate aptitude you have for trading. Bill Gates and the Beatles didn't just work their nuts off and get lucky, they were also very talented at what they did.

    All this is why the best way to learn to trade is somewhere that you "get paid" to learn - now that the floors are dying/dead, and scalping is being pressured by algos & bots, usually that means working at a trading firm, a hedge fund, or investment bank.
  4. Im hard pressed to name one good trader I know who did not come up thru the ranks of some retail bucket shop, bulge bracket or bank before moving on to independent trader status. So I agree 100%. If it means being the coffee bitch then so be it... get in with a firm that does anything involving markets and start learning.
  5. Until you retire, put your market talents to work in managing investments for retirement and in identifying EOD multi-day swing trades. At night hone your daytrading skills by analyzing the day's price action and backtesting ideas. You'll get your thousands of hours of experience that way. But be prepared when the time comes to trade full time to find the truth of the famous Arab curse, "May Allah grant you your fondest wish!"
  6. Dan Zanger.
  7. Eddiefl


    Simple answer is yes,.

    You can swing trade daily, 60min or 120min charts and be "succesful".

    2 Cavets:

    1. to make a good living from swing trades, you need large size. it maybe weeks or so between trades. Each one has to count.

    2. Follow the 10k hour rule. it is true.

  8. I dont know Dan Zanger personally. So he doesnt fit my descriptive.
  9. As a day trader, this might be close to impossible, but if you're a swing trader, you can manage trades either on your break, or put your buy/sell orders in after the market close. I'm a student, so school occupies most my time, but its really not a big deal, as swing trading doesn't require 100% screen time 24/7.

  10. Two ways to work the markets, full-time day trading or buy-hold investing in your spare time.

    There is no inbetween.

    Day trading is a full-time job, a person needs to be fully skilled and capitalised to succeed, say the least.
    #10     Jun 23, 2010