I wrote an article last week on when the time is right to transition from part-time to full-time e-mini trading. It was a brief article, and as I thought about the topic further I decided that I had more to say about the transitioning process. One thing I failed to emphasize, in my opinion, was the gravity and implications of changing professions, especially changing professions to futures trading.
I have had many students tell me about “the look” they get from relatives and concerned friends when they tell him about their intention to become a full-time trader. Some good friends may even suggest that you are “out of your mind.” If you think about it some, leaving a steady job with benefits and a guaranteed salary to our trading job with no salary and is fraught with danger could leave you scratching your head.
On a serious note, there are some important implications (outside your ability to trade) that should be given careful consideration. Things like:
• You should consider the effect on your relationships, if you have one, and the time e-mini trading may consume.
• You should consider the effect trading has upon your interpersonal life. Training can be a very lonely profession, if you let it be.
• You should consider the fact of added stress in your life. Even though we work hard to de-stress the trading process, there can be no doubt that each day will bring a “white knuckle” moment or two. Additional stress can be created by the realization that you and your family are dependent upon your positive trading performance. Again, this sort of stress can be detrimental to your trading and health.
I want to stress that making the move from part-time to full-time e-mini trading is not one to be taken lightly. I can understand the natural enthusiasm anyone feels when they make a career decision, especially one like e-mini trading, which has a plethora of unknown variables to deal with down the road. But I think it is important to be methodical in your approach to a new profession:
• Where will you conduct business? For me, and many like me, an office in the home is the obvious choice. What about family? This is a tough one, you must be at peak performance throughout the course of the day and, in general, you must be undisturbed. What system will you work out with your wife and kids to assure your trading time is uninterrupted?
• Most beginning traders are undercapitalized and often failed to consider the effect of e-mini trading on their cash flow. Further, it is common for traders to have a regular cash flow from their trading accounts. As a new full time trader, what happens if you have a bad week? Month? I think you see the picture.
• Even basic items like health insurance, tax filing status, even life insurance can be affected by your change in profession.
In summary, there are factors in our lives that must be considered when thinking about moving from part-time to full-time e-mini trading. A job change would have an effect on the family dynamics, potentially the family income, and a change and the daily structure of the family unit. In short, some of the decisions you will make regarding trading may be nonmonetary in nature.
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