I'm wondering how many traders are actually trading for a living? Please do not spam you system here as that is not the point of this topic. What I'm looking to find out is the answers to the following questions, (if you are trading for a living):
- How did you make the move from part time trading to fulltime?
- What starting capital did you require to trade full time?
- Has your performance changed once you did the transition from part to fulltime?
- Are you happy with your decision?
- Do you trade only your own money? Either yes or no, why?
- Do you see yourself still trading fulltime in the long term?
If more questions come to mind, I will be sure to post them as well 😄
I do, though, mostly through stocks, as my day job is at an equity prop firm. I also trade FX on the side, and I started with FX before anything else.
In answering your questions:
- I made the move right after college (though I went to college later than most, since I worked in IT for a few years before going back to school.) Back then, I had gotten the hang of trading FX (and by that I mean I was net profitable over many months and many trades,) but felt that FX might change (being unregulated and decentralized) and it was important I develop my ability to adapt to new markets and constantly changing conditions if I wanted to make a career out of trading.. so I started seeking out equity prop firms.
- Capital requirements vary a lot between people when it comes to full time trading, not only between the specific markets involved but also between trading styles. It's not quite right to say one number and expect it to apply to everyone.
I will say that if you are starting with just $5-10k and need to feed a family in the western world, you're just asking for a lot of pain and frustration. You'd need much, much more.
My firm backed me, so I got issued some buying power (few hundred grand at first) but not until I proved I could manage it. Don't let that fool you, just because I had access to that amount of capital to use doesn't mean I was dumb enough to use it fully unless I was damn sure about a trade.. Or in the FX world, it's like having 400:1 leverage but never using more than 20:1... there's a reason why professional traders (at institutions, people who will be profitable for their 20+ year career, not cowboys who burn out quick) don't leverage themselves up much at all (<10:1); they like keeping their job.
- My performance changed a lot. I was forced to trade differently once I started depending on my performance to pay the bills month in and month out. My equity curve smoothed right out after the first 6 months of full time trading... I started going for strategies that yielded more small winners and smaller losers, and I entirely stopped trying to make 'home run' trades. It was about consistency and repetition, and that's probably the main reason why I've lasted the past few years doing this full time.
- I am happy with my choice. Though, it's not all models and bottles, it's hard work.. I'm just glad I have a job that makes me bored on weekends and excited to get out of bed in the morning. None of my (non-trader) friends are able to say that, they all live for the weekends and hate their day-jobs.
- I trade my firms money, but I only get paid if I make a profit. I also trade my own capital.
- I see myself trading fulltime for the next 5-10 years. At some point, I'd like to branch off and start my own prop firm with a few traders I trust and know well... but I do want the additional 5-10 years of trading experience before taking that step...