Finally, I’m a day trader. It took me some time to process the thought. I’d been gradually integrating this hobby into my daily life for some time, and suddenly I realized that I’m at the computer every day “playing the market”. I’m still working my old job, but in a freelancer capacity. I’ve recently started saying no to clients who I don’t enjoy working with, or to topics that don’t get me excited. In fact, my day job has suddenly become my backup, and I’ve even been asked by a couple of friends to let them in on my investment ventures.
I discovered that it wasn’t that complicated
It didn’t start out that way. I actually stumbled upon a video on YouTube of a trader in Sydney who spends most of his time on the beach. I started to ask around and discovered that a lot of people I knew were making quite a reasonable sum of money from fx trading, so I decided to give it a go. After finding Alvexo, a refreshingly clean and fast platform with excellent fees, I soon realized that graphs weren’t nearly as complicated as my high school math’s teacher had set out to make them, and I was reading newspapers and saying to myself, “Boy, that’s going to push up the Euro.” I discovered that it wasn’t really all that complicated to estimate what’s going to affect what and how. Perhaps some of this is attributed to Alvexo – their set of tools and analyses really catered to my level of experience.
My strategies were sources from common sense, really. My big mistake lay in thinking that if it was common sense, that it wasn’t a worthwhile idea. No, because as a day trader – you’re the exception. You are the one in command of executing your ideas, and you are supported by your knowledge and your broker. Most people never go for it.
So now, instead of working till late and getting up late, I get up with the wife and kids, send them off with their sandwiches and sit down to “work”.
Nothing could have been better…
I’ll scan at least 4 international newspapers, 3 local ones and, finally, about 5 economic sources (Bloomberg, Reuters and some blogs, which are my favorites). I want to know what’s going on before I examine how it’s all affecting the markets. Of course, I’ll also check up on the economic calendar.
We moved to Brussels about 4 years ago when my wife was relocated here by her company (no need to name names). In retrospect, nothing could have been better for my newly found calling. Obviously, it places me in a convenient time zone vis-à-vis London and New York, but also close to Tokyo, time-wise.
I actually start working at 9 am when the LSE opens, and it also means I’ve still got an hour until the Asian session closes. I’m not actually going to place any trades for the next hour or so. The volatility is good for some people, but I find it drains me and I’m useless for the rest of the day. But it’s an exciting period, especially when you consider that 40% of the world’s fx deals take place in London.
You have to be very alert…
What I do during the next two hours is compare my notes from before to how the charts are actually developing. I’ll basically be narrowing down to – at most – three assets I intend to concentrate on. On one hand, you have to be very alert during this space of time; on the other hand you have to be very cautious. You have to be ready to pounce as soon as an asset reaches the entry point you’ve calculated for, but you also have to make sure it’s moving in the precise manner you expect it to. That’s the difference between a strategy and guesswork. I’m a bit of a stickler: if it’s not happening how I want it to, I’m not opening that position!
By 11, early trading is over. London is getting ready to go out for lunch, and Tokyo is on its way to bed. As soon as I’ve placed my trades, I’ll circle through them every 20 minutes or so, but in general, I’m free until about 2.
At 2pm, London is getting ready for its second wind and New York is about to take off. Again, I’ll take a look at the US news outlets to see if anything’s breaking and then at the charts to see how the world is reacting to those slick New York stock brokers. If there’s anything I planned on opening, it’ll add to the stuff from before, and I’ll often find myself closing positions that aren’t going as I expected.
At about 4, London will be winding down, and the Yanks are beginning to think of food. I’ll be closing down any positions related to the London Stock Exchange and then I’m free until 10. I start preparing dinner for the family, catching up with my other work. Another important thing to do is compare my results to the strategies I’d mapped out – see where the market went wrong.
It’s 10:15. Close the positions, compare plan with performance, and… well, coffee first.
Here it’ll be 1 am when Tokyo starts to trade again, but I don’t think I’ll be up for it tonight. I have a long day tomorrow.