Most American guys reading sites like this long ago realized the best women are no longer found at home. Therefore, living overseas and supporting oneself via a remote work gig is understandably the next thing on a young man’s mind.
However, more important than deciding where is deciding what the best way to support a lifestyle in an ideal location. While some bloggers and writers earn a decent living via their skills, not everyone is handy with the written word. Even if you are, unless you have thousands of social media followers, blogging probably won’t pay you what think it can, and nowadays your first e-book usually won’t generate a lot of money.
Hell, they often don’t generate anything even for established authors. So what other internet-based options are out there for the would-be remote worker with a serious independence streak?
In terms of working remotely, day trading seems appealing. There’s no boss, no commute, no office, tons of information about how to trade and if you’re already a news junkie and into the markets, it fits right in with what you pay attention to—so why not do it?
Not so fast.
Is it possible?
The short answer is yes, it’s possible to make a living day trading. The big picture is that it takes time to get there. Imagine having no experience playing a musical instrument, going to the music store, buying a guitar with all the right equipment, and then tomorrow trying to start earning a living as a musician.
Likewise, if you have zero experience day trading and think all you need is a brokerage account with some seed capital, a laptop, and an Internet connection, you are essentially walking on stage with a Stratocaster and expecting to play like Jimi Hendrix with zero preparation. Day trading isn’t a casino, you shouldn’t be in it for the excitement and it takes a serious commitment of time and study to develop a winning strategy. Ignore this warning at your financial peril.
How much money do I need?
Gurus with plans to sell will tell you that anyone can be a trader with a couple of thousand dollars. Realistically, your $2,000 eTrade account may be a fun distraction, but for serious day trading, you need the right brokers. If you plan to short sell penny stocks, only a couple of brokers will allow you to do this, the cheapest of which requires a $10k account to start.
The best broker out there that all the top individual traders use requires $50k to start. Still ready to do this? Bring along your discipline and learn before placing trades. Yes, you can practice with simulated trades too, but just as in poker, when the chips actually mean something, you WILL trade much differently—or at least you should.
Are there good teachers?
I’m not here to plug products or gurus, but I will say that most of them are full of hot air. That said, there are about three or four well known ones which, although their styles differ, can back up all of their trades. Those guys have all busted their ass to get where they are and actually walk the walk.
But keep a few things in mind if you’re shopping around for a course. First, if they can’t back up their trades, they’re not worth the oxygen they’re stealing from you as they speak. Plenty of bozos are out there selling books, videos, plans, and programs about how big a millionaire their system will make you, but unless they’ve got verifiable trades (and the good ones will) forget them.
Even if they can back up their trades, you still need to be skeptical. If someone has a success record of more than 75% winning trades, walk away—any “proof” provided will be bullshit. The best day traders out there do not go through life winning all their trades, and anybody who shows you stats with near-perfect records is a delusional liar.
That said, don’t be automatically dismissive of people with a low win rate either. Plenty of profitable traders have closer to a 30-40% win rate, but because their wins are so much greater than their losses they still make money. Great traders learn to cut losses quickly the minute the trade goes against their plan. When it comes to any guru, do your homework, read reviews, try to find people who followed them and actually made money.
Who should do it?
The best candidates for day trading are those with the time to devote to learning the craft. If you have a regular job, transitioning to a full time trader lifestyle will be very difficult since you’re probably at work when the market is open. It’s no surprise most of the guys getting into trading are young, often in college or out for summer break and have both the time and lack of obligations enabling them to study and practice their trading.
The last thing you need is pressure to perform as a brand new trader. If you’re unemployed with a mortgage and have a family to feed, for heavens sake, do not take out a HELOC to finance your “career change” as there will be far too much pressure, causing you to force trades and lose. The fewer burdens on your mind when you get into it, the better your chances of success.
Why not do it?
There are a gazillion reasons not to do it. I’ll also add that part-time trading more than likely won’t support you even if you are good at it. Forget the idea of laptop trading on a beach with an umbrella drink in your hand; this is solitary, difficult, intense and anti-social work. The best traders are full-time, full-system, full-focus.
If you aren’t prepared to put in the time to learn, fail repeatedly and get back up again, then stick to mutual funds and investing (which is not trading!).
Finally, don’t forget your whole motivation for trying to get into day trading—to work remotely and independently. Assuming you’ll be trading the US markets, where you decide to locate will influence how convenient the lifestyle is for you. If you like the women of South East Asia, not only may you have a difficult time finding a solid and reliable Internet connection, but you’ll also be up in the middle of the night trying to participate in the New York markets when you’d rather be gaming the women you moved there to pursue.
Europe is much better time zone-wise, but even then your early evenings may be taken up with late day trades instead of dates. Also bear in mind that successful traders don’t stop working when the closing bell rings, they’re researching and running scans and trade setups for the next day. As for connectivity and time zones anywhere else on the planet, it’s too often a crapshoot—your broadband connection and availability during market hours are vital to your ability to execute trades.
Not really the best choice for independent men
In the end I do not recommend day trading as a profession for someone looking to start an internet-based business. The chances are far too great it will end in disaster for the novice trader. Unless you are already a consistently successful trader with an edge and a working system you’ve developed, pulling up stakes and expecting to master a craft in a matter of weeks or months in a foreign land will only make you go broke even faster.
Most men looking to step out with a location-independent business are better served spending their time and money learning some other occupationally mobile skill. And for Pete’s sake, save your eyesight for looking at beautiful women rather than green and red dots on a screen all day.