Too old to go Prop?

Discussion in 'Prop Firms' started by CaptainObvious, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Well, it's 4AM and I'm trying to stay awake at work. So I got my wheels spinning, which can be dangerous. Lets see how bad I get reamed for asking this question.
    At age 54 am I too old to seriously consider going prop? I could put up some cash. 5-10K easily, more for the right terms and conditions. I live in the Chicago area and would NOT be able to move elsewhere at the moment. Could survive for several months while learning and not making much if that was the case.
    Constructive comments welcome and maybe an amusing one or two as well.
  2. lescor


    You won't be an employee of the firm, all they do is facilitate your trading. Most prop equity firms are just brokers on steroids. They provide leverage, software and maybe some training but you are your own boss and do your own thing, so age doesn't matter. I've seen several people 60+ in trading offices.
  3. My impression is it's the old guys that make the money in the long run. The old guys seem to remember things like the 1987 stock market crash and can sometimes sense another crash coming.
  4. Are you talking about trading? or Investing?

    Yeah.. you know why they make money? They make money because when they remember things like the 1987 stock crash and the sense that another crash is coming, they stay as far away from stocks as possible.

    I also heard that the traders peak at age 54, and 55..

    You might jump in and end up making your millions within a year or two. Think about that..
  5. WarEagle

    WarEagle Moderator

    I think age is irrelevant, more important would be your ability to focus all day staring at the screen. How long you can (or want) to do that will vary from person to person.

    With that said, at 54, if you can only put up $10k and live without an income for a few months then I would say don't do it. The odds of anyone (regardless of age) making a living from a $10k account in 3 months is virtually impossible. There is a <1% chance that you are a natural born trader and a 99% chance that in 3 months you will have to ask nicely for your job back.

    Maybe if you were 21 and lived at home with no bills I might say give it a go so that you can learn that lesson as cheaply as possible, since you would still have 40 years to earn a living. With only 11+ years to retirement, the risk just seems too great. Do you already have your retirement set up separate from trading funds? That might change the equation a bit if you did. But its still a very big risk that is unlikely to pay off.

    An alternative would be to keep your night job (you mentioned working at 4am) and stay up a couple more hours to trade the open before going to bed during the day. With $10k you could trade one of the mini futures contracts. If you then discover its something you are good at you can expand the time trading while still having an income. You will find that trading is much easier when you aren't trying to pay the electric bill with it.

    Good luck to you whatever you decide.
  6. Schaefer


    It all depends on whether you already have a profitable strategy and system that fits your personality, and you're simply looking for more capital and leverage, or you're looking forward to learn from the ground up.

    Either way, good luck :)
  7. SarahG


    54 is not too old. 54 is a good age. I know a 72 year old that joined a prop firm at age 70. He said he got bored of staying at home and so he joined a prop firm. He is still trading with that firm and he does very well with his trading.
  8. Brokers on steroids is right. Prop is excellent for providing you with the means to scale up in a profitable method without the hassles of retail regulations and leverage.

    I can't see how age would matter in the slightest unless you want to learn high pressure techniques like scalping on high volume with groups of 20 year olds cursing and banging on their desks randomly after periods of relative silence.
  9. I've never been asked my age when joining a prop firm, so that isn't an issue. The question is, like others have asked, do you feel you can make it without any income. It took me about a year to become profitable, and I put in as much work, if not more than the next guy. So, just be sure you have a system that works if you want to do it, anything is possible!
  10. a handful of guys aged 35+ have joined the training program at my prop shop.

    100% of them eventually failed at becoming profitable traders.

    they teach a bare bones method of NYSE scalping in the training program and older folks simply do not have the hand-eye speed to become good scalpers. its not just because they are older but because they were not raised on video games, which helps us younger generation folks out alot.

    if your style is scalping NYSE stocks, you are most likely not going to make it.

    if you are in need of a stable income to support your family, do not try prop trading.

    finally, if you have a good trainer, the odds of success are like 100 times better. a good trainer is near impossible to find since stock trading ultimately is a zero-sum game.

    p.s. if you put up money, virtually every prop shop will take you in because at the very least, they can have you churn up commissions for them and ask you to put in more money if you lose too much. risk free profits for them.
    #10     Aug 13, 2006