Trade for a living- best approach

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by tudor.squared, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. What would be the best approach for someone to continue learning and eventually transition to full-time trading several years down the road? FWIW, I have been swing-trading and intra-day trading stocks for 4 years or so (part-time) with moderate success. Recently I am in a position where I can no longer touch stocks and can only trade ETFs (swing only) or futures. So, my options are:

    -swing-trade ETFs
    -day-trade futures in the evening for a 2 hrs or so (the opening in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea). Looking at trading ideally from 8-11pm Eastern. If you find this option most suitable, please recommend product to trade as well, whether currency futures, index etc. I was looking at Taiwan's Index futures STW on the SGX, as its USD denominated (but it doesn't have to be- not a dealbreaker).

    ****Please don't turn this thread into a debate about trading on a full-time basis and failure rates. I am not well enough capitalized to even consider that for a few years but well enough capitalized to trade futures with 1-2 contracts.****

    Thanks in advance.
  2. 1st paragraph Translation: I can’t trade stocks anymore because I lost too much money and cannot get around the PDT rule. By moderate success, I assume you mean you haven’t lost all your money yet. Because if you did have what I consider moderate success, you would have enough money trade the contract or instrument that best fits your personality.

    Having said the above, you need to realize there is no holy grail and no secret to learn because it sounds like (unfortunately, very typically) you think there is a shortcut to success. THERE is not. Based on the very limited info you have posted, it is impossible to recommend anything as you need to figure yourself out to figure out what the best instrument to trade for YOU is.

    After that, you need to define an edge and put down on paper a trading plan (I bet you don’t have one). Then you need to learn about money management. Then, most importantly, you need to FOLLOW your plan and adjust as needed. I am sure this is not what you want to hear but there is a lot more to learn other than picking a trading instrument. You have a long road ahead.

    Read up on the instruments you have an interest in. Do some research as it pertains to you. Expose yourself to as many possibilities as possible.

    Best of luck

  3. 1st paragraph translation- I work for a brokerage firm now in a department that doesn't allow me to trade stocks without massive restrictions (compliance reviews, min 30 day holds, can't trade it if we cover the stock on the desk). I have plenty of capital so I don't need to worry about PDT, and I am in Canada anyways, thus it doesn't apply. I started 6 years ago, lost 50% of my capital, made it back in 2 years and have been moderately consistent since then with good money management.
    Yes I have a trading plan, but given my new job it needs to change. Hence my question re: approach. I understand why you made the assumptions you did when you replied above, but it doesn't apply in my case.
  4. schizo


    Personally, I would stay away from the Asian session altogether but if I had no other choice then I would go with either KOSPI or JGB. Others like Taiwan or Hong Kong are just garbage in my opinion.

  5. Do you say that because of lack of volatility and/or liquidity? I did notice some tendencies of "gap-and-flat" which can be annoying...
  6. I think you are going to be frustrated if you can only daytrade 2 hrs or so. IMO, that is too short of a window to let a daytrading strategy unfolds properly, unless the stategy focuses only on the open which is something you can consider. Time restriction puts additional pressure and forces you to take unecessary trades.

    The less constraints, the less pressure, the better you learn how to trade. Swing trade until you can free up more time to learn how to daytrade.

    Hope that helps.
  7. Tudor,

    Well you are ahead of the game so far then. I would also agree with lurefo in that you can’t force trades to fall only into your 2 hour trading window IMHO. But it sounds like you can’t trade anyway until you find a new job (30 day holds you said) so the whole thread is moot for now it seems. You either have to find a job where you can trade on the side (swing trade, forget daytrading on your time constraints IMHO) or be content to invest in your approved funds/retirement plans.

    Life is all about choices and you have a big one to make. Take the road less traveled and move more toward trading or at least finding a job where they can coexist. Or option 2, stay where you are, put away all you can and someday make a move or be content to stay in a job you may or may not like.

    Again, I can’t be too specific because by the time you get around to having the time to trade, things will most certainly be different than now. What do I mean by this? I am an index futures trader for the most part and that is where I suggest people to start. But the volatility is way down there so depending on your strategies, that could be good or bad for you personally. So any advice we could give now will surely be different than when you actually start trading on a more serious basis. What is favored now, may or may not be moving then.

    Best of luck. You have some hard choices to make.

  8. Why have you ruled out swing trading futures?
  9. Thanks for the replies thus far, looking forward to more inputs. To address a few points that were brought up:

    -I could focus on swing trading ETFs (or futures) only. The reason I contemplated daytrading Asian futures is that I can continuously improve that way by watching the market tick by tick for a few hours per day. Swing trading won't let me do that.

    -I would need to refine my strategies for trading the open only if I go that route. I know this means fewer entries but it is what it is, I can't be up all night either and be up at 5:30am every day. Also, if I get a signal I can always manage it with an OCO order once I enter. Most of my previous intraday trading was around the open anyways, usually in by 9:45 out before noon.

    -Leaving the job for another job that allows me the freedom to trade more frequently intraday is out of the question

    =Do you guys find it that unreasonable to trade the opening only in futures (Asia in this case)? I know that most opportunities I get in North American markets, from my experience and my style, occur shortly after the market opens.
  10. I haven't ruled that out.
    #10     Mar 15, 2010