The true value of trading for a living

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Once upon a time, not too long ago, when I made 27% profit a month in 2 consecutive months, I projected myself to be a millionaire in 12 months.

The inevitable drawdown came hard and fast, and from then on I managed my perspective to be more down to earth: Take what the market gives, not what you want from it.

Since then I’ve been able to manage my risk much better. And while I never got close to the 27% months because of tighter risk management, I’ve come to learn the true value of trading for a living.

Here are my “working hours”: I open the hourly charts every 4 hours through the week. So that’s 9am, 1pm, 5pm and 9pm. Sometimes I miss the timings because life happens, and that’s okay. Sometimes I “skip work” because I am already positioned in the market and no longer need to make new entries or changes to current positions. I usually place trades on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Sometimes I just pass on trading completely because of major events such as Brexit or the NFPs or potential surprise interest rate changes. And all this is fine. No boss is going to be folding his arms when I enter the office late.

You know what I tell my wife when I need to work?

“Give me 15 minutes.”

When I do open the charts, I scan through them at a rate of about 5-10 seconds per pair, pausing only when I see a potential setup. My trading decision is usually complete within 5 minutes or less, and I move on to the next pair. I now only trade, with rare exceptions, majors and cheap crosses. So that really isn’t many charts to scan through. Heck, it’s taking me much longer to get this post out than to finish a full day’s work!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying trading is easy.

I’m saying I have chosen to make it easy.

The true value in trading for a living, to me, is the freedom to make your life easy. The freedom is yours to complicate your trading and over-optimize your strategies. Sure, you can be making more money than me, but what’s the point of losing sleep, increasing your stress, staring at the screens and numbers for hours when you’ve made the leap to trade for a living? Didn’t you make the leap for a better life?

I used to be like that, and it was not worth it. Not even for 27% a month.

What’s really important to you? Has trading given that to you, or distracted you from it?

With my choice to make trading easy, I get so much time with my family. I get to wish my son “Good Morning” every day. I get to bring him on simple outings on lazy weekday afternoons, instead of rushing through a packed itinerary on weekends. I get to sleep normal hours, contrary to the belief that forex traders are night owls. (You can choose to be one, by all means!)

This is, to me, the true value of trading for a living. I get to choose to live more, and work less. Forget the notion that trading is all about the money, about the millions, about getting rich quickly. Trading, to me, is a means to living life as it is meant to be lived.

Drop me an email at james@smartcasualtrader.com if you wish to get on my email list, where I share my views and trading approach in the forex market on a weekly basis.

(P.S. Also drop me an email if you are making 27% a month without losing sleep, hair or weight, I’d like to know how you do it , if you don’t mind!)

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9 thoughts on “The true value of trading for a living

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