We have a question from Gavin asking whether we have any tips for trading around a busy schedule, if we consider things like work life and domestic responsibilities it’s quite easy to miss certain market opportunities, and Gavin just wants some tips on building a trading routine around that.
Thanks for the great question Gavin, and the first thing that I would say about this is that I can speak of experience that it’s not an easy thing to do. There are a lot of the so-called gurus out there saying that you only need 5 minutes a day but in reality, we know that not to be the case, and I can totally relate to having a very busy schedule and trying to balance work life and regular life with trading in your free time. I call it free time because when you have a regular fast-paced job you don’t really trade part-time because you don’t have a part-time, you just have some free time.
Secondly, I can totally understand the concern about missing a lot of trading opportunities in the market due to the lack of available screen time or trading time. But, just to put it into context for you, I spend between 12 and 16 hours a day in front of my screens, and even I miss plenty of opportunities, because I might be doing something else or that 5 minutes, I step out to make a cup of coffee someone tweets something important, so even with all that screen time there are opportunities that gets missed, so don’t feel bad about that part that is normal whether you have 5 minutes for trading of 5 hours.
Now, the first thing I want you to do is to really sit down and consider how much free time you realistically have available to trade each day, and I want you to be very honest with yourself here. It’s no use you set a goal to spend 3 hours trading per day if you realistically just have 20 minutes to give. So, the reason why this is an important step is it will help you to be accountable but will also help you to adapt your routine around the rest of your life. So, if you realistically say that you have 20 minutes per day or 30 minutes per day, make that a goal to reach every day.
There were times when I would work a normal 13 or 14 hour day, get home, chow something and help get the kids ready for bed and help them to get to sleep and then I would start analysing and working after all that to the morning hours, then I would wake up tired and start a whole new day and go through periods like that for weeks, and eventually it ended up with me burning out as my body just couldn’t handle that for long periods of time, and it’s not healthy to stretch yourself that thin, so later on I got a bit more realistic in my time goals for trading and tried to stick more to what I could spend instead of what I wanted to spend.
So, coming to the routine side of it, obviously with a regular demanding job and working hours it’s going to be challenging for you to have a day trading focus, so you are going to want to predominantly focus on more macro-fundamental trades, things that you are expecting to play out over several days or weeks or maybe even months. For some traders, they might have more flexibility at work to be able to trade during important economic events like data or central bank meetings etc and if you can do that then great, but if not, you’ll just want to focus on the bigger macro trades.
The other thing to consider for taking a slightly longer-term view is that you need to make allowance for short-term volatility pushing against your trade. So, if it’s a med-term or longer-term position make sure that you almost over-compensate for your stop loss, rather reduce more size on the position and make sure that you are giving enough space for the market to move against you in the short-term. That means that account size also is a consideration because if you are trading with a small account it will be quite challenging to have your percentage risk make sense on a trade because even at a minimum lot size on a small account some trades might require you to risk a lot more than you might be comfortable with, so that is something that you’ll need to take into consideration as well.
Now, the good thing about those type of trades is that you can be very flexible in your trade management because it’s something you can give some time to develop. A good recent example would have been the Dollar short bias in the market, from a bigger picture view that could mean that you trade those bigger macro themes instead of short-term opportunities. For those type of longer-term macro trades, you can cut your analysis and research time per day down by quite a bit. As a bear minimum, I would, if your time allows it, try to at least go through the start of the day and the end of the day information, watch our opening and closing videos or read the opening and closing news wraps, just to make sure you are staying aware of any shorter-term moves in the markets that could affect your trades.
Then, if there is time, I would spend any additional time for conducting additional analysis and research on other larger opportunities in the market by going through investment bank articles and by reading publications in financial journals and scouring through things like Bloomberg and Reuters.
If I was in your shoes, I would be happy to get through that every day, even if it means just going through the wraps, catching the opening and closing videos and then spending some additional time on additional research by reading the top trading opportunities reports and the fundamental drivers reports etc. At a bare minimum that would already give you a lot of food for thought and provide you with a good idea of what happened in the markets and provide you with some ideas for generating more medium-term trade ideas.