How to Manage Your Trading When You Have a Day Job

The world has changed.

Jobs have disappeared. Everything we once strived towards for the sake of security is no more. While the one percent ride on the coat-tails of a fed-induced stock market boom, the rest of us hold on tenuously at best.

With employers that know no loyalty and an unfriendly job market, we can no longer rely on what we thought was the safe path through life.

Instead, the “new safe” comes with the ability to create your own wealth. It’s the entrepreneurial spirt that will save you – not being a good corporate flunky, like in days gone by.

It’s time to choose yourself, and become what you always wanted to be – a trader. Traders are a beacon of self-reliance in a world where the future for so many is held in other people’s hands.

But, as much as you might like to tell your boss to go shove it (or more politely “au revoir”), it’s best to learn first and jump ship later.

Be honest to yourself about your time commitments

While many of you may have grand visions of the trader you ultimately want to be, the reality is most of you have plenty of commitments on your time.

Start by assessing how much time you can consistently allocate to trading. You want to keep that in mind throughout the system development process. Remember, you start with the objective that you want to achieve (say, “trade one hour per day”), and then you build the system to fit.

You will also need to make a commitment to learning. It takes persistence to develop the skills you need to trade effectively. You will want to communicate to your family that you are going to need some personal time so you can build your system. The flipside is that you will have a lot more family time in the future.

Spend your time in the right areas

It is quite easy to waste a lot of time on your trading. I call it getting lost exploring the wrong rabbit hole.

Perhaps you spend your time scouring charts for set-ups, or you obsessively check your positions. Both of these are of little utility to effective trading, and a can be a real vacuum on your limited trading time.

The most important activities instead include:

  • Take 5-15 minutes getting into the zone before you trade
  • Spend 15 minutes recording, annotating, and writing in your trading journal

When you are learning and formulating your system, just to reiterate for those that are new to this blog, you should prioritise in this order:

  1. Getting clear on your objectives
  2. Identifying the market type
  3. Your exit strategy
  4. Your position sizing
  5. Your entries

Of course, you should also commit an equal amount of time to developing your trading mindset.

Limit your universe

While it may be wonderful in theory to have several non-correlated systems across multiple market types, in practice you might find you have the most success with a limited amount of trades. Be it one or max two trades a day for short term trades, or max five positions if you are a longer-term trader.

There are also significant risk management benefits to running a limited number of positions, and it will certainly reduce the volatility of your account.

Have a strategy for when you go to bed

The markets don’t need your attention 24/7. In fact, watching every bob and weave of a currency pair can be counterproductive.

Instead, have a plan for when you go to bed. This could be adding a profit target and/or a trailing stop on existing positions, or cutting your trade size and leaving only a small balance for shorter term traders.

Longer-term traders will want to design a system that needs checking only once or twice a day, and does not require them to be about during the wee hours.

Outsource and automate your trading

For the savvy individual, there are plenty of ways to benefit from technology. For instance, there are multiple outsourcing websites to assist you in your trading progression.

You could use a tool such as FX Synergy to manage your scale outs and trailing stops, or you could automatically import your trades into Tradervue to help you manage your reporting.

On websites like Elance you can hire people for only a few dollars an hour to help with any data-entry or manual work you might need doing. (By the way, Elance is a great resource for another avenue of freedom from wage slavery – building an online business.)

Companies like backbaymarkets will be able to assist you in automating your trading with an expert advisor.

Of course, you can always outsource some of the analysis and trade identification to our traders too.

It is possible to have a winning trading system and a full time job

There are plenty of examples of traders that have winning systems and work full time.

It is a matter of making the most of the time and resources you have. You want to keep things simple, focus on your core activities, and be smart about outsourcing and automating.

If you can do that, then over time you will build confidence in your system as a source of income, and you will have achieved a true security for yourself and your family.

About the Author

Sam Eder is a currency trader and author of the Definitive Guide to Developing a Winning Forex Trading System and the Advanced Forex Course for Smart Traders (get free access). He is a co-owner of Forex Signal Provider FX Renew (Get a FREE 30-day trial). If you like Sam’s writing you can subscribe to his newsletter.

View further posts from Sam in the FX Insights section

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