professional career vs. trader

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by omega3, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. omega3


    I graduated about 2 yrs ago from an ivy leage school. I'm currently mulling over some possible career paths. what are your thoughts? on paper, its a no brainer, take the stable dentist route, right?

    for those of you who are successful traders, why did you feel compelled to take such a risky path? who in their right mind would chose trader?

    1. dentist.

    pros: self employed, average 220k/year (specialists 300k), 35hours/week, 3 weeks vacation/year, stability.

    cons: work with teeth, 4 years gradschool + 250k debt, takes several years to establish practice, inferiority complex to MDs.

    2. daytrader.

    pros: self employed, "fun", constant need to adapt, supposed freedom (do you make the rules or does the game rule you?).

    cons: potentially unstable, "90% failure" rates, constant need to adapt, inferiority complex to bankers, sleazy image.

    flamers welcome, more fun that way.
  2. I think you forgot to mention the percentage of people that begin their academics (freshman) year that don't reach their goal of becoming a dentist.

    Getting into the School of Denistry is tough...most fail in getting in or fail in getting to the point where they can apply to the School of Denistry.

    It's high and the its also high that a majority of those that start their trading careers do not reach a point where they can trade for a living (consistently profitable and able to support themselves/family).

    You also have to look at the fact that most traders had a prior career and then switch to become a fulltime trader or had a professional career and was part-time trading before traversing into fulltime trading.

    I've personally met fulltime traders that have had the following prior careers although I've never met a dentist that switch career to become a trader:

    (I do know a dentist that's a part-time trader one day per week)

    Doctor, police officer, pizza delivery, website designer, cook, child psychologist, restaurant owner, accountant, auto mechanic, house wife, photo journalist, musician, furniture salesman, olympic athlete, floor trader et cetera.

    In addition, lets not forget those that lost their prior professional job due to being fired, corporate merger, down sizing, salary restructuring et cetera.

    In fact, there's a thread here at ET where traders had discussed their prior careers.

    My point is that most traders come from a prior career instead of choosing to be a trader while still in college.

    Also, via my discussion with those that traverse from one career to the career as a trader...they have the following commonalities:

    1. Independence...financially and personally.

    2. There's an entrepreneur spirit about them.

    3. They enjoy the scratches that itch sort'uv speak

    With that said, getting back to someone that's in college and wants to make a career decision...

    There are dozens of well known universities that offer trading classes and have trading rooms.

    Further, don't forget about all the institutional traders or floor traders that have MBA's and some of them went to an Ivy League school to help get doors open so that they can become a professional trader (day trader).

    My point, treat your trading like a business and it becomes a professional career just like any other business owner.

    Last of all, if that truly is your image of what a day trader is...

    I highly recommend you not to become a trader.

    P.S. Each year at ET there are lots of threads like this started by a new member.

    I recommend this put in the Frequent Asked Question section.

  3. I think you should consider the fact that the more you know about dental hygiene the less likely you are to ever kiss a girl... let alone have oral sex

  4. I enjoy independence and intellectual puzzles. I am self confident enough to quit my job and trade full time.

    I do not consider trading necessarily risky. Trading is risky if I do not manage risk.

    I remember finding working for the big company every day to be counterproductive. The study of speculation takes time. I recall becoming much more successful when I quit my job.
  5. igor043


    You're young enough to go either route first, experience it, and make decision which one is best for you.
  6. romik


    Do both, just trade longer term while studying. If you are any good at trading at the time of your graduation you will have a real choice. Whatever you decide to do, I wouldn't look at the financial benefits first. If you are a great dentist or trader, money will not be an issue.
  7. Take the degree, get into a bank here in NY, learn all you can, and then.... save enough and go on your own.

    I was fortunate enough to start out on my own at first, have a successful start (in bonds) and then get blown out by something that I failed to knew existed. So, got off my horse, got in the backdoor at Bear, got transferred to Bear NY, and now I am at a diff place learning exotic FX Options (otc markets)...

    So, see... you learn a lot. And with good credentials (such as what you have now).... there will be chances. The doors are opening now for the summer. Get in. Make the move... and plot your long term plan.

    The craze these days... if you are GOOD at what you do at the banks, you will make friends who will bankroll you if you decide at a later point to go on your own. I've seen it happen.
  8. Isn't it kinda difficult to "get in the back door" from independent trader to an institution? Not that I've any ambitions, but I have a hunch that no matter what numbers I could show, no bank would ever hire someone like me.

    If it were my own kid(s) who showed an interest in the markets, I would probably discourage them as much as possible from doing the independent/prop route.
  9. Most of my family are involved in the health care business. While many points you make about trading may be true, you seem to have an overly optimistic view of dentistry. First of all, most students incur HUGE amounts of debt while attending dentistry school. In many cases, much more than 250K. In general, it is probably more expensive than medical school Keep in mind that you have to buy all your required tools. These are very expensive too. Also, I doubt the average general dentist makes 220K per year. If you can show me this, I will be impressed. Specialists probably increase the pay when averaged in. If you want to talk about inferiority complexes, wait until you prescribe something beyond your scope. Also, have you looked at the suicide rates of dentists? Like a lot of health care jobs, it is monotonous work that drives people crazy. Are you prepared to look at people's mouths everyday for thirty years? You mention that as a con, but have you actually thought about what it would be like. Most dentists I know are the most miserable people on earth. As one always says, "the human mouth is much more dirty than the human asshole." I don't know if that is true, but that is what he says. Finally, investing 250K or more for a health care job seems kind of risky. The fact is this country is going through a health care crisis. There is too much money being spent by the government and not enough reimbursements for providers(medicaid, medicare, and private insurances). Something is going to have to happen in the next few years. More than likely reimbursements will continue to shrink, which makes it harder for you to make that 220K per year. Eventually, a complete socialized program is inevitable. If you are general dentist by then, it will not hurt you much. If you are a specialist, look for your salary to fall 50% over a year or so. These are all things to think about.
  10. The wild card factor here is the fact you went to an ivy league school. That is like having a VIP all access card to the CROBAR on a night of a sold out venue.

    So you would not necessarily have to be starting out on your own, from scratch just jumping into the independent prop world. I am not being snooty here saying this would be a bad thing. What I am saying is that, some of the best institutional trading jobs/firms be it newbie, quant, market making, or other usually have this long grocery check list which typically eliminates 3/4's of the hopefuls out there. You could obtain some great real world experience and see if it really does in fact fit and suit longer term.

    If you have/had good aptitude for math also and possibly killer SAT, GMAT, and/or academia GPA performance scores, you may want to explore some of the following sites for some ideas:
    #10     Dec 29, 2006