How To Trade for A Living (Here are three bad reasons)

Brett Steenbarger writes:

Three Bad Reasons for Pursuing Trading as a Career
When I talk with traders who are having problems, I often find that the root problem is that they have pursued work in the financial markets for the wrong reasons. Here are three of the most common problematic reasons that draw people to trading:

1) The Thrill of Gain – While this often masquerades as a passion for markets, a little observation reveals that these traders have little interest either in markets that they don’t trade or in markets while they are not trading. The interest in market action often reveals addictive patterns, in which the roller coaster rides of gains and losses become more valued than the achievement of a smooth, upward sloping equity curve. This leads to overtrading and painful emotional ups and downs.

2) The Need for Independence – These traders are drawn to markets because they don’t want to have to answer to someone else in a structured job. The problem with this pattern is that the very need for independence that leads people away from structured careers also leads them away from the kind of structured practice and preparation that are necessary for trading success. Just as these traders don’t want to be tethered to a 9-to-5 career, they rebel against being tethered to markets. This shows up as poor discipline, poor preparation, and difficulty sustaining even modest efforts at performance development (such as keeping daily journals).


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