by Gavin M.
Some of you asked me for advice on how to balance life. I will do my best to share some ideas and thoughts. Traders are highly stressed individuals. We worry about our positions, our profits, our losses and everything else. How does one find balance?
I employ a work hard, play even harder approach. So let's take two examples. Back when I was also working full time and also trading full time (sounds disastrous) I had to budget my time wisely. I was at the office 8-4 and the rest of the evening I was trading. Fortunately, I had the forex and futures markets to dabble in so I wasn't restricted to the stock market open hours.
How did I manage this life? I would say I traded maybe 15 hours every week altogether while having a normal 9-5 or 8-4 job. I would not do anything but spend time with family and friends on the weekends. I would dedicate an hour or two on a Sunday evening to review my game plans for trades but that would be it. There is no one-size fits all approach to balancing trading and a job. It's simply taking the commitments of your job and finding free time to go and trade. Your profit target goes a long way to determine what way you would trade. In addition, your trading style also dictates how often you trade.
Let's take my current situation - a full time day trader. I don't trade more than 4 hours in a day. Since the beginning of September, I have not spent more than 2 hours trading each day. There are some days I am done in 30 minutes. What else do I do with my free time? I sleep. I hold my wife close. I spend time with my family and friends. You build up so much stress during trading and they need to be released somehow. So finding your relaxation method is very vital. So in total, as a full time trader, I don't trade more than 12 hours in a week. I trade strictly when the stock markets are at its most volatile and liquid - meaning the first few hours of the stock market. I trade futures and forex at key hours of the day and night when there's spillover liquidity from Japan or Europe.
I hope this at least gives you an idea of what you can do to mitigate the stresses in your life. I hope it gives you some ways to balance your life. If you want to be a full time trader, you have to give up working full time at some point. Unless your job allows you to trade full time, you cannot be a full time trader and be a full time employee without burning out. It simply does not work.
People I know who trade while having a job usually do swing trades but almost always never catches the exact times to enter because of work.
Traders from Equity Sense will be writing on this blog on positions and other market-related things.