Day trading for a living/career?

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Windylotus
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Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Windylotus » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:30 am

Hello fellow Bogleheads,

Now I realize “day trading” is probably a swear word in Bogle land so, let me start by saying I am a long-term, buy and hold investor that has adopted the boglehead philosophy on this site. My DW and my investments are primarily all low-cost Vanguard index mutual funds in a three fund portfolio that we regularly contribute to. This will never change between now and our 20-25-year time horizon until retirement. The difference is, our long-term buy and hold investor mentality is different than speculation which is what day trading is. Could speculation be mastered with a degree of skill?

My question for this thread stems from, I have the opportunity to meet and speak with a successful day trader who makes his living doing this. The thought of being able to work from home and making a decent living at this sounds attractive to me. I’m not talking about wildly throwing money at Bitcoin and hoping for a get rich quick scheme, rather taking a period of time to learn the ins and outs of the industry.

I realize there would be a learning curve with something like this. Understanding trading platforms, accurate news and information feeds, understanding appropriate risk/reward ratios (surviving to trade another day), paper trading for a period of time to prove these trading methods work over and over again ect.

I know some people successfully do this for a living (as long as you have the stomach and risk tolerance for it). I think with an aggressive learning period and watching and learning from someone who is successful at it, one could possibly have a shot to be a successful day trader.
Any thoughts out there? I realize this is a pretty conservative investing advice site but are there people who day trade on this site? Thanks in advance for any comments.

tbone1
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by tbone1 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:42 am

I know many people who have done this. many have done very well for themselves. others have lost everything in a day. don't forget that last sentence. it sounds like you've thought through this. if it were me, do yourself a favor and try paper trading and see how it works out. if you're successful, trade with a small amount of money and see how you do. try this as an experiment first. then look hard in the mirror knowing that a paycheck isn't guaranteed.

livesoft
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by livesoft » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:46 am

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:30 am
I have the opportunity to meet and speak with a successful day trader who makes his living doing this.
I don't think you have any way to judge from outward appearances whether a professed day trader is actually successful or not. They will also fool themselves into thinking they are successful or that could be true.

OTOH, maybe this person is trying to get some advice from you on how to invest without worry?

I won't discourage you from trying, but if you do, please report back every month how it is going. Thanks!

I have known a few people who day traded. They started with a lot of money and did no better than somebody who invested in a 3-fund portfolio tax efficiently. They paid more taxes though and had less to spend in the end, but they could tell people they were day trader instead of saying they were retired or unemployed.
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Nosferatu
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Nosferatu » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:47 am

Please chronicle your experiences here. You could have the next epic MarketTimer thread.

aristotelian
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by aristotelian » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:49 am

It's called investment banking. Then you get to do it with other people's money.

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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Compound » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:50 am

I doubt many Bogleheads day trade, so don’t expect a lot of support for your idea. It’s antithetical to the buy and hold, low cost index fund philosophy we Bogleheads believe in.

That said, I have a friend who is doing day trading. He has a very high risk tolerance and has made some very good money. However, I see him rationalizing losses when they happen and overconfident at times. I can’t imagine it will end well. I keep trying to tell him to take his winnings off the table and park them in index funds, but his mind is set. Time will tell how it goes for him. I’m sure for every day trader who is winning, there is a corresponding loser.

retiredjg
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by retiredjg » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:51 am

Do you have an adequate financial buffer to live on, assuming you will be losing a salary, while this idea gets off the ground? If yes, is this money you can actually afford to lose if things do not go well?

If you plan to work and learn/practice day trading at the same time, will your family life suffer for several years? Is it worth that?

Agggm
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Agggm » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:53 am

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:30 am
Hello fellow Bogleheads,

Now I realize “day trading” is probably a swear word in Bogle land so, let me start by saying I am a long-term, buy and hold investor that has adopted the boglehead philosophy on this site. My DW and my investments are primarily all low-cost Vanguard index mutual funds in a three fund portfolio that we regularly contribute to. This will never change between now and our 20-25-year time horizon until retirement. The difference is, our long-term buy and hold investor mentality is different than speculation which is what day trading is. Could speculation be mastered with a degree of skill?

My question for this thread stems from, I have the opportunity to meet and speak with a successful day trader who makes his living doing this. The thought of being able to work from home and making a decent living at this sounds attractive to me. I’m not talking about wildly throwing money at Bitcoin and hoping for a get rich quick scheme, rather taking a period of time to learn the ins and outs of the industry.

I realize there would be a learning curve with something like this. Understanding trading platforms, accurate news and information feeds, understanding appropriate risk/reward ratios (surviving to trade another day), paper trading for a period of time to prove these trading methods work over and over again ect.

I know some people successfully do this for a living (as long as you have the stomach and risk tolerance for it). I think with an aggressive learning period and watching and learning from someone who is successful at it, one could possibly have a shot to be a successful day trader.
Any thoughts out there? I realize this is a pretty conservative investing advice site but are there people who day trade on this site? Thanks in advance for any comments.
Do you mean becoming a trader for an investing bank? Or day trading your own money?

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market timer
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by market timer » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:56 am

Yes, I know lots of people who trade for a living. Most of them work on investment banking trading desks or in hedge funds. I also know some people who day trade their personal accounts for a living, but they're better called retired hobbyists, and are not relying on trading profits to pay for their expenses.

If you think you'd like to trade for a living, I suggest looking for a job on a trading desk. This could be at a bank, a hedge fund, the investment division of a corporation, the trading division of an energy company, etc. I do believe you can find profitable strategies in these markets with great attention to detail. However, I'm skeptical of any self-proclaimed day trader who would be willing to share his secrets, especially if this person has not worked for several years on a trading desk.

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Strayshot
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Strayshot » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:57 am

Do people make a living gambling? Sure!

Will you be able to make a living gambling? Well, you could flip a coin for the answer..........

The real question is if you don’t make a living gambling, how bad will it be?


I know folks who are “successful” day traders, poker players, gamblers, venture capitalists, real estate investors/speculators etc. All involve a chunk of luck. In most cases, I know a larger portion of folks who have crashed and burned in each of these attempted fields than those who have succeeded.

I do some trading, but not with retirement funds and not as a living. For me, it is gambling.

Helo80
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Helo80 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:02 am

Day trading is easier to do when the market's are going up. When they're going down or are very volatile, those are the true tests of day traders and then it starts to look more like gambling.

Windylotus
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Windylotus » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:03 am

It would be trading with my own money.
Last edited by Windylotus on Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

angelescrest
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by angelescrest » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:04 am

Compound wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:50 am
I’m sure for every day trader who is winning, there is a corresponding loser.
Yup, for every buyer there is a seller.

Helo80
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Helo80 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:05 am

n/m, I see what was being said.

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stemikger
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by stemikger » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:12 am

I think in order to do this and succeed at it, you will have to eat, sleep and drink it. In other words, it has to be your passion. I come from a family of actors. They work, but it is a struggle. The advice my Uncle who has been a working actor for over 30 years told my nephew who has gotten the acting bug is, if you can't imagine your life doing anything else then you have no choice, but if there is something else more stable you can do, do that.

I think day trading will be the same way. There are too many ups and downs and even if you understand it, the temperment one must have IMHO cannot be taught.

Not sure if you ever watched Tastytrades, but that might be something you will enjoy. It's all gobbly gook to me.

P.S. And don't forget behind every trade there is a winner and loser.

Good Luck!
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Watty
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Watty » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:33 am

One thing to think about is that to do well at day trading you have to be better than the other day traders.

Think about who the other day traders are.

The big money in day trading is in Wall Street investment firms and hedge funds that spend millions of dollars on high speed super computer systems and they are willing to pay for prime real estate to position their computers near the trading computer to gain nanoseconds of trading advantages.

Many of them will have mathematical and investing related degrees from the top schools and they may have decades of experience. They also have full time staff to assist them and they trade as a team.

Companies are also experimenting with artificial intelligence to trade stocks that can not only use algorithms for trading but also adapt and learn.

There is an old phrase, "Bringing a knife to a gunfight." which would be a good analogy to what an individual trying to day trade is up against but your real odds might be more like "Bringing a knife to a nuclear war."

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Toons
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Toons » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:34 am

I hope you are able to compete with the computers that the institutional investors are using,
While you are sleeping.
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bling
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by bling » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:38 am

i used to play poker very seriously. i would go on forums every day, study hands i've played, and basically live and breath poker. i was profitable, and at the time was good enough that if i wanted to do it full time i could have made comparable money to my salary.

many of the attributes to be successful at poker apply to day trading. by far the most important thing is being able to control your emotions. after losing a bunch of hands that you *should* have won, you get pissed off (or "on tilt" in poker lingo), and you start to make bad decisions. moreover, you need to have a big enough bankroll so if lady luck is not on your side that you can survive long enough to come back from it.

the sound of being able to "work from home" sounds enticing, but it's not. you need to act like and *feel* like a robot. and when you're not trading, you're reading up on trading strategies and back testing. it's actually very stressful work.

but, if you want to try it out, no one will stop you. if you're going to go the technical analysis route, i'd recommend looking at forex trading because there are tons of market makers you can sign up with that let you trade with no minimums. that means you can bet $1 on whether USD will go up against the EUR or not. i'm not a fan of play money accounts because it's not real, and you can make any backtest successful by choosing the right time time period. at least with real money, you can start with a small amount like $100 and see how easily it is to lose it all, even betting $1 at a time -- and then reconsider whether you have the temperament to do this at a larger scale.

livesoft
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by livesoft » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:40 am

Watty wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:33 am
One thing to think about is that to do well at day trading you have to be better than the other day traders.
This reminded me of a passage in Meir Statman's book "Finance for Normal People." While this book is not about day trading, it does have a section about it. The OP should read the entire book to help with their decision.
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ImUrHuckleberry
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:47 am

Helo80 wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:02 am
Day trading is easier to do when the market's are going up. When they're going down or are very volatile, those are the true tests of day traders and then it starts to look more like gambling.
The handful of traders I know tell me that they live for days like we've seen the past week or so.

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alpenglow
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by alpenglow » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:48 am

I was a professional day trader about 15-20 years ago at a now notorious company in NYC. I can say that I did in-fact make lots of money, consistently. At one point, I had a solid year of positive trading days in row. That's right. One year straight without a single negative day. In retrospect, that might mean that I should have taken on more risk, but who knows. Whatever the case, I was super disciplined and stuck to my bread and butter. I had a few strategies that worked very well and stuck with them until they stopped being profitable. I knew when to hang up my gloves and now I'm a school teacher. Obviously, there are still profitable day trading methods out there. Good luck figuring them out because if they work no one is sharing them with you. I'll also mention that I had the very best, fastest equipment available at the time. I was literally in the same building as a popular ECN. No one was getting the execution we were getting. So ask yourself, do you have the best equipment, information, and execution? Do you have winning strategies that no one else has and/or how much capital can you devote to developing those strategies? A few friends know what I used to do for a living and ask if I still trade on the side. The answer is a quick no. I know I'm outgunned.

Best of luck.

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AtlasShrugged?
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by AtlasShrugged? » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:50 am

I know some people successfully do this for a living (as long as you have the stomach and risk tolerance for it). I think with an aggressive learning period and watching and learning from someone who is successful at it, one could possibly have a shot to be a successful day trader.
Any thoughts out there?
Windylotus....Since you asked: There are bad ideas, and then there are spectacularly bad ideas. Guess which one this is.

Seriously, you need to ask yourself....what are you, sitting in your jammies at home, going to know and capitalize upon that institutions with thousands of computers and rocket scientists in their employ don't? Answer: Nothing.

Every week, somewhere in this country, someone buys a winning lottery ticket. Your chances of being really successful at day trading are about as good as buying the winning lottery ticket. I urge you to think long and hard about that decision.

But if you must 'sin', then why not just 'sin a little'. Put aside a small account, and play with it for a year or two. See how you do.
“If you don't know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.”

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David Jay
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by David Jay » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:51 am

No. just NO.
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livesoft
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by livesoft » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:53 am

alpenglow wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:48 am
I was a professional day trader about 15-20 years ago at a now notorious company in NYC.
And back then exchanges had special order types that were not known to everybody that allowed firms to take advantage of retail traders. Some of those day-trading classes sold the software that used those order types and taught one how to use them profitably. It was almost like printing money.
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alpenglow
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by alpenglow » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:04 am

livesoft wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:53 am
alpenglow wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:48 am
I was a professional day trader about 15-20 years ago at a now notorious company in NYC.
And back then exchanges had special order types that were not known to everybody that allowed firms to take advantage of retail traders. Some of those day-trading classes sold the software that used those order types and taught one how to use them profitably. It was almost like printing money.
There were hidden orders, subscriber only orders, and who knows what else. If I got bored I would pick off odd lots from retail customers at crappy prices, but, overall, I made most of my money from the big boys. MSCO was my favorite. :moneybag

folkher0
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by folkher0 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:06 am

The stock market has risen for the last 10 years. Even an “average” trader could probably make some money (minus fees of course).

That works great until it doesn’t (see last week). Everyone who was trading stocks on margin in the 1920s looked like a genius...

...until the market crashed.

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alpenglow
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by alpenglow » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:08 am

A lot of money were making money selling vol until it blew up in their faces. Look up XIV if you don't know what I'm talking about.

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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by mega317 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:24 am

Just because you're going to meet one? I met Magic Johnson one time. The thought of playing a game and making millions sounded appealing to me. But I didn't consider trying to become a professional basketball player.
I was super disciplined and stuck to my bread and butter. I had a few strategies that worked very well and stuck with them until they stopped being profitable.
This sounds so boring. Wouldn't one prefer a job with more variety and intellectual stimulation?

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JoMoney
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by JoMoney » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:30 am

I've seen people make it work for awhile, but my impression is that most of them were "picking up pennies in front of a steam roller". They had a strategy, but nothing that could be shown to have a positive expected value. In my estimation the strategies usually boiled down to overly complex versions of betting against the trend (hoping for mean reversion) or betting with the trend (hoping to catch a momentum streak)... and in the process betting more and more assuming more and more risk hoping to make up for prior losses. Leverage or synthetic leverage through options was usually needed to make the relatively small movements more meaningful, but that also amplifies the cost of the spread giving the market-maker middle men an even bigger edge over you. Sooner or later the expenses (some explicit, some hidden), the lack of a real advantage, and bad bankroll management / risk control, would come back to bite them. Be careful about fooling yourself into thinking you're winning, when you're really just putting yourself in a position to take big risks with bad odds offered (likely negative expected value).
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

folkher0
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by folkher0 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:41 am

One other thought:

If you are a committed boglehead with a long-term buy and hold strategy in your retirement accounts, and choose to pursue day-trading as a source of income,are you willing to significantly dial back the risk in your retirement portfolio to adjust for the increase in risk that you would be taking as a trader?

If you are not, than you need to re-evaluate your motivations for exploring this strategy. You are probably succumbing to a get rich quick mentality.

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whodidntante
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by whodidntante » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:56 am

That sounds like a tough way to make an easy living. If you do it, I hope you make (and keep) ten million. And I hope you'll report back either way.

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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by steadyeddy » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:21 am

I knew a handful of people that quit their jobs to become full time daytraders in the late 90’s. They claimed to print money, but then the bust bankrupted them.

I cannot fathom how you could consistently make a living day trading in a market where high frequency trading outfits are able to exploit every opportunity faster than your brain can process it’s discovered said opportunity. There are just not a lot of opportunities for “slow” humans to create value by executing trades in 2018, and among the humans still trying to do so, you lack every conceivable advantage.

Windylotus
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Windylotus » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:30 am

Thank you all for your comments.

The more I read them, the less appealing day trading sounds. (at least on my own dime)

My motivation behind this thread is I'm at a bit of a career crossroads.

I have been in the building industry for the past 28 years and currently own my own general contracting business for the last 16 years. I had major back surgery in 2005 and suffer from degenerative disc disease. Not a great combination for building homes and remodels. Truthfully, I have just lost my passion for it and it is a younger man’s game.

Fast forward a bit and I now find myself in college at age 43 for the first time. I’ve just started my junior year as a business finance major. I was fortunate to qualify for college through the Montana vocational rehabilitation program due to my back issues. I feel so blessed for this opportunity to have my college tuition, books, travel expenses to school and a lap top computer all paid for. My only issue is I have to take student loans to supplement my income while going to school. (I still have all my adult bills) I do some part-time work during the semesters and hit it hard over the summer to build and save as much as I can, but it still is not enough to cover our family expenses.

So I’m currently trying to figure out how might I obtain a gratifying career path? I have so enjoyed learning much about personal finance over the last few years through Bogleheads and other like-minded stuff that when I signed up for college, finance seemed to be the path to take. I am a little concerned when I get my degree going to work for an employer. Being self employed for the past 16 years, I kind of have gotten set in my own ways/schedule. That's where the working from home/day trading idea came from. I'm not adverse to working for an employer. Getting regular paychecks, benefits, 401(k) contributions, vacation/sick time are all welcoming things.

Maybe I should try investment banking for a career start?

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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:31 am

You have to get up very early, I no longer trade for that reason. I like to sleep in. But no day trade, multiple days trade.

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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by KlangFool » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:38 am

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:30 am

My question for this thread stems from, I have the opportunity to meet and speak with a successful day trader who makes his living doing this.
Windylotus,

If he/she is successful, why he/she is still doing it? He/she would be Financially Independent Retired Early (FIRE) and retired on a beach elsewhere. My older brother is successful in his career. He early retired at 49 years old. He no longer works for a living.

KlangFool

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alpenglow
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by alpenglow » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:42 am

mega317 wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:24 am
Just because you're going to meet one? I met Magic Johnson one time. The thought of playing a game and making millions sounded appealing to me. But I didn't consider trying to become a professional basketball player.
I was super disciplined and stuck to my bread and butter. I had a few strategies that worked very well and stuck with them until they stopped being profitable.
This sounds so boring. Wouldn't one prefer a job with more variety and intellectual stimulation?
It was actually a very exciting and intense job. I had my bag of tricks, but I was always applying them to new stocks and new situations.

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Watty
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Watty » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:44 am

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:30 am
So I’m currently trying to figure out how might I obtain a gratifying career path? I have so enjoyed learning much about personal finance over the last few years through Bogleheads and other like-minded stuff that when I signed up for college, finance seemed to be the path to take. I am a little concerned when I get my degree going to work for an employer. Being self employed for the past 16 years, I kind of have gotten set in my own ways/schedule. That's where the working from home/day trading idea came from. I'm not adverse to working for an employer. Getting regular paychecks, benefits, 401(k) contributions, vacation/sick time are all welcoming things.
Just for brainstorming you might look at what being a commercial real estate agent would be like. This is much different than a home real estate agent and often involves leasing instead of buying but when there is often extensive remodeling that needs to be budgeted for as part of the transaction. With your background as a general contractor you might be able to bring a lot of value to that job.

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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by KlangFool » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:47 am

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:30 am

My motivation behind this thread is I'm at a bit of a career crossroads.

I have been in the building industry for the past 28 years and currently own my own general contracting business for the last 16 years. I had major back surgery in 2005 and suffer from degenerative disc disease. Not a great combination for building homes and remodels. Truthfully, I have just lost my passion for it and it is a younger man’s game.

Maybe I should try investment banking for a career start?
Windylotus,

<< I have been in the building industry for the past 28 years and currently own my own general contracting business for the last 16 years.>>

This is ridiculous. You have 28 years experience in the building industry. Instead of capitalizing those experience and do something in the industry, you want to go into finance?

<< Truthfully, I have just lost my passion for it and it is a younger man’s game. >>

Only if you choose to be hands-on aka actually doing the work.

Are you trying to tell me that there is no possibility of employing your experience in the industry without being hands-on?

You have home court advantage in the building industry.

KlangFool

Windylotus
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Windylotus » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:51 am

KlangFool wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:38 am
Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:30 am

My question for this thread stems from, I have the opportunity to meet and speak with a successful day trader who makes his living doing this.
Windylotus,

If he/she is successful, why he/she is still doing it? He/she would be Financially Independent Retired Early (FIRE) and retired on a beach elsewhere. My older brother is successful in his career. He early retired at 49 years old. He no longer works for a living.

KlangFool
KlangFool,

Good point! I guess I looked at it as their successful at it as they're doing it day to day, paying their bills and are independent. Making a living. I didn't say the guy was rich, but he certainly lives a comfortable life. I have no idea if he's keeping up with the Jones' or not.

KlangFool
Posts: 10197
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by KlangFool » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:55 am

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:51 am
KlangFool wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:38 am
Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:30 am

My question for this thread stems from, I have the opportunity to meet and speak with a successful day trader who makes his living doing this.
Windylotus,

If he/she is successful, why he/she is still doing it? He/she would be Financially Independent Retired Early (FIRE) and retired on a beach elsewhere. My older brother is successful in his career. He early retired at 49 years old. He no longer works for a living.

KlangFool
KlangFool,

Good point! I guess I looked at it as their successful at it as they're doing it day to day, paying their bills and are independent. Making a living. I didn't say the guy was rich, but he certainly lives a comfortable life. I have no idea if he's keeping up with the Jones' or not.
Windylotus,

1) As per your definition, anyone that has a job is successful.

2) As for your definition, you are successful too. So, why do you think he/she has something to offer for you?

KlangFool

Windylotus
Posts: 51
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Windylotus » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:56 am

alpenglow wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:48 am
I was a professional day trader about 15-20 years ago at a now notorious company in NYC. I can say that I did in-fact make lots of money, consistently. At one point, I had a solid year of positive trading days in row. That's right. One year straight without a single negative day. In retrospect, that might mean that I should have taken on more risk, but who knows. Whatever the case, I was super disciplined and stuck to my bread and butter. I had a few strategies that worked very well and stuck with them until they stopped being profitable. I knew when to hang up my gloves and now I'm a school teacher. Obviously, there are still profitable day trading methods out there. Good luck figuring them out because if they work no one is sharing them with you. I'll also mention that I had the very best, fastest equipment available at the time. I was literally in the same building as a popular ECN. No one was getting the execution we were getting. So ask yourself, do you have the best equipment, information, and execution? Do you have winning strategies that no one else has and/or how much capital can you devote to developing those strategies? A few friends know what I used to do for a living and ask if I still trade on the side. The answer is a quick no. I know I'm outgunned.

Best of luck.
alpenglow,

Thank you for your insight. As a veteran trader of 15-20 years, I really value your insight and honesty about the industry. I guess if one could still be making good money at it, you would still be in the game?

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unclescrooge
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by unclescrooge » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:00 pm

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:03 am
It would be trading with my own money.
Probably not for long.

A close friend of mine finally gave up after about 16 years of trying. Very bright, double graduate degrees (engineering and science), strong work ethic.

Three years ago, he wanted me to help him with some algo trading he was trying to develop, and I declined. Despite his having earned more than me over our careers, I have more to show through value investing. (By value investing, I don't mean buying vanguard value funds, but finding real value).

If he can't make it, I doubt it can be taught.

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alpenglow
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by alpenglow » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:17 pm

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:56 am
alpenglow,

Thank you for your insight. As a veteran trader of 15-20 years, I really value your insight and honesty about the industry. I guess if one could still be making good money at it, you would still be in the game?
My pleasure. I'm sure there is still money to be made, but, like I said, what worked for me stopped working and I knew when to quit while I was ahead. I watched people around me lose some serious money because they didn't see that the game had changed. It's always changing. When I started, stocks were still trading in fractions. The bid-ask spread alone was a great way to make money. Decimalization tightened spreads down quite a bit. As others have mentioned, HFT took away profitable opportunities that I was able to do very quickly by hand. I usually made hundreds of trades daily, often being in a stock for seconds at a time.

limeyx
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by limeyx » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:19 pm

folkher0 wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:06 am
The stock market has risen for the last 10 years. Even an “average” trader could probably make some money (minus fees of course).

That works great until it doesn’t (see last week). Everyone who was trading stocks on margin in the 1920s looked like a genius...

...until the market crashed.
Yeah but (obviously) you'd have already sold before the crash ....

Windylotus
Posts: 51
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Windylotus » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:20 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:55 am
Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:51 am
KlangFool wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:38 am
Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:30 am

My question for this thread stems from, I have the opportunity to meet and speak with a successful day trader who makes his living doing this.
Windylotus,

If he/she is successful, why he/she is still doing it? He/she would be Financially Independent Retired Early (FIRE) and retired on a beach elsewhere. My older brother is successful in his career. He early retired at 49 years old. He no longer works for a living.

KlangFool
KlangFool,

Good point! I guess I looked at it as their successful at it as they're doing it day to day, paying their bills and are independent. Making a living. I didn't say the guy was rich, but he certainly lives a comfortable life. I have no idea if he's keeping up with the Jones' or not.
Windylotus,

1) As per your definition, anyone that has a job is successful.

2) As for your definition, you are successful too. So, why do you think he/she has something to offer for you?

KlangFool
I was thinking/hoping they would have knowledge that I don't posses to offer me.

I guess my definition of success may be different. Not everyone who has a job is successful (I'm strictly speaking financially when saying successful). If one works at a remedial, low paying job and unwilling to advance their future for a comfortable retirement, that is not success. They may be happy and content, a goodhearted person but living on social-insecurity just isn't going to cut it. Making enough to retire with dignity, living comfortably, being humble, giving generously, leaving a legacy to my children and grandchildren, that is my vision of success.

long_gamma
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by long_gamma » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:28 pm

aristotelian wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:49 am
It's called investment banking. Then you get to do it with other people's money.
No. It is not.

I-banking is raising money thru IPO, debt securities or M&A
"Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth." --Mike Tyson

long_gamma
Posts: 231
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by long_gamma » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:31 pm

Helo80 wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:02 am
Day trading is easier to do when the market's are going up. When they're going down or are very volatile, those are the true tests of day traders and then it starts to look more like gambling.
Actually day trading is easier, when market is volatile. 2007-2009 was very good period for day trading and last couple of weeks too. Day trader seeks volatility, not run away from it.
"Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth." --Mike Tyson

KlangFool
Posts: 10197
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by KlangFool » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:37 pm

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:20 pm

I was thinking/hoping they would have knowledge that I don't posses to offer me.

I guess my definition of success may be different. Not everyone who has a job is successful (I'm strictly speaking financially when saying successful). If one works at a remedial, low paying job and unwilling to advance their future for a comfortable retirement, that is not success. They may be happy and content, a goodhearted person but living on social-insecurity just isn't going to cut it. Making enough to retire with dignity, living comfortably, being humble, giving generously, leaving a legacy to my children and grandchildren, that is my vision of success.
Windylotus,

<<If one works at a remedial, low paying job and unwilling to advance their future for a comfortable retirement, that is not success.>>

I think you are confusing income with net worth. I know folks with a remedial and low paying job. But, they save and invest a significant percentage of their gross income. Hence, they have a nice and comfortable retirement.

On the other, in my neighborhood of annual median income of 150K, there are plenty of "House Poor" folks that can only count their house as savings and their net worth.

You should read "The Millionaire Next Door".

KlangFool
Last edited by KlangFool on Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KlangFool
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by KlangFool » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:41 pm

OP,

It is very simple but hard.

If a person consistently saves and invest 30+% of his gross income over 10 to 20 years, that person would be rich.

KlangFool

Windylotus
Posts: 51
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Re: Day trading for a living/career?

Post by Windylotus » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:53 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:47 am
Windylotus wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:30 am

My motivation behind this thread is I'm at a bit of a career crossroads.

I have been in the building industry for the past 28 years and currently own my own general contracting business for the last 16 years. I had major back surgery in 2005 and suffer from degenerative disc disease. Not a great combination for building homes and remodels. Truthfully, I have just lost my passion for it and it is a younger man’s game.

Maybe I should try investment banking for a career start?
Windylotus,

<< I have been in the building industry for the past 28 years and currently own my own general contracting business for the last 16 years.>>

This is ridiculous. You have 28 years experience in the building industry. Instead of capitalizing those experience and do something in the industry, you want to go into finance?

<< Truthfully, I have just lost my passion for it and it is a younger man’s game. >>

Only if you choose to be hands-on aka actually doing the work.

Are you trying to tell me that there is no possibility of employing your experience in the industry without being hands-on?

You have home court advantage in the building industry.

KlangFool
KlangFool,

Yes, I could stay in the building industry if I wanted to. Frankly, I'm bored with it. There are no challenges left in my view. I have never been a just drive around in your pick-up truck with a clip board and tape measure and just tell people what to do kind of contractor. I have always been very hands on during my career and gained the respect of my sub-contractors and clients because of that. It's just my body is finally wearing out. I want to stay fit enough that I can at least chase the DW around in our golden years :D The only contracting I care to do anymore are my own projects. Going to build us a new home in a few years, possibly some rental properties. Tired of working on everyone else's projects.



As far as the finance degree, that's still up in the air. I'm leaning between finance or MIS (Management Information Systems). Just looking for a fresh career re-start and seeing how my college career is being paid for, I thought a business degree would be the way to go.

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