A markets and trading columnist for the NZ Herald

Nick McDonald: Why I became a trader

Canary Wharf, London. I left the CitiBank tower to trade myself from home. Photo / AP
Canary Wharf, London. I left the CitiBank tower to trade myself from home. Photo / AP

Post GFC, justified hatred has been directed at bankers and traders who immorally and illegally gambled with billions of company, investor and even public money... and lost. Bad things happened during the dark times of 2008/09 and fortunately many of the 'bad eggs' in the banking world were exposed. Unfortunately, this often cost the jobs, savings and investments of the people working for them and/or the public putting their faith in them. No doubt there are still a few bad eggs still out there and hopefully in time, they too will be exposed... with any luck just not to the detriment of others.

To a certain extent this hatred has rubbed off on all professionals involved in financial markets, tarred with the brush of being involved in this supposedly evil profession. Yet every profession has its bad eggs; there are bad builders (leaky homes), bad doctors (illegal operations, etc), immoral lawyers (overcharging, bad advice and more), bad accountants, taxi drivers, bus drivers, politicians, even priests. There are even some VERY 'bad eggs' recently exposed in the very schools that we send our children.

As a father of young boys I find this absolutely reprehensible, yet a couple of bad examples doesn't affect my enormous respect for teachers and the exceptional service they provide.

The point I wish to make is that a small number of bad people in a profession do not make the rest of the profession bad. This applies as equally to teachers as it does traders - despite a few bad headlines.

I am a trader and I trade for myself from home - NOT for a bank. I know many people who do exactly this and there are some really, really great people who choose to trade the markets. They have come from all walks of life - builders, doctors, lawyers, accountants, taxi drivers, bus drivers, politicians; even priests and teachers have come to us to learn how to trade the markets. So are these people good because they are builders and teachers or are they bad because they are traders? Go figure!

Most people are good and most professions provide a valuable service to society in some way. All have bad people in them but the large majority are good.

Back on the trading theme, a free market place is where a willing buyer, transacts with a willing seller. It's legal, legitimate, above board and there are many benefits attached. That is why western first- world economies choose to adopt free markets. This gives those of us living in countries like the USA, UK, Australia, Japan , Singapore and indeed New Zealand, the chance to become traders in almost any market we wish - forex, stocks, options, futures, bonds and more. Even better, we can do this from home and from any country with a stable broadband connection.

Take a look at the countries that don't provide free markets. They also often have no welfare systems, unstable governments, possibly run by dictators, corrupt police (if they have a police force at all) and overall they provide very few of the basic freedoms we take for granted. For those opposed to free markets and the people who trade them maybe you should take a look at these countries.

I want to give you a brief glimpse into my life as a trader and why I love this profession, a career path that's required plain hard work and grit but gives me the freedom to be a present and committed father to my two young sons plus to live and work from wherever in the world I choose.

The beginnings of it for me started when I was a child. I decided that when I had kids of my own, I was going to be home with them. I had a great upbringing, went to a nice school, had very loving and caring parents and all was happy on the home front. There were however some tough times financially and I vowed from a young age that when I was an adult, things would be different.

I went to London in 1999 armed with a business diploma and work experience consisting of KFC delivery driving and furniture removal. Luckily it was economic boom time and for the next few years finding a job was never difficult. I was doing alright and having a great time on my big OE but I had one problem - I had to go to work each day. Now I don't mind work and anyone that knows me will tell you that I am somewhat of a hard worker. I just don't like working for anyone else - how would I be home with my kids later in life if I was heading off to the office daily? A lot of working fathers (and mothers too!) will likely register with wanting a bit more time at home.

Around 2001 I started trading options and stocks in my part time. By 2004 I was actively trading the markets. In late 2004 I left my job on the 20th floor of the Citibank tower in London's Canary Wharf - post September 11 it was far too airy - watching the planes take off from City airport flying right at me - so I left to trade for myself from home. I started to do well, I was working for myself, I was home all day and so long as I could sustain it, I had achieved my goal.

Fast forward to 2008 and my first of two sons was born. I had no boss to request paternity leave from and if I wanted to start late one day or every day, I could. I was there for the milestones with my camera at the ready. I know dads now who are lucky if they get home in enough time to bath their kids let alone share a meal with them after a hard day at the office. Nothing against office jobs - we need them - it's just not for me.

In 2009 as a Kiwi couple living in London, we decided to make the move home to New Zealand, from where I could run my online trading business from just as easily as from London. Nothing changed except the desk I sat at and that the summers improved somewhat. My profession allows me to choose where I live and I am proud to have returned to my home country.

So I became a trader for the same reason most of us do what we do, to provide a good life for my family. Some say we are lucky if what we do excites us in addition to making a living and in that respect, I guess I must be lucky. As the saying goes 'the harder I work, the luckier I get'. I have made many great friends over the years who are traders, some of whom I have helped to become traders. Most of them trade for themselves from home, they are not bankers and they trade their own money. They are good people, great people even. It is a completely moral, ethical and exciting career path that they have chosen.

- NZ Herald

Nick McDonald heads up www.tradewithprecision.com a global company teaching everyday people how to become a trader in the world's financial markets.

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A markets and trading columnist for the NZ Herald

Nick McDonald is a leading independent trader and trading trainer with a global following via his company Trade With Precision. It started back in 2004 when Nick left his 9-5 job while living in London and within 3 months of discovering technical analysis became an independent full time trader. He founded Trade With Precision in 2006 born from corporate requests for him to train retail trading clients of large brokers and exchanges worldwide. A specialist in technical trading strategy for any market and any timeframe, Nick cuts the 'nonsense' associated with traditional technical analysis.

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