Nick McDonald 's Opinion

A markets and trading columnist for the NZ Herald

Nick McDonald: 10 Reasons to become a trader

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Photo / AP

Ever considered becoming a trader? Whether it is part time, full time or just a hobby on the side, these are some of the reasons why we love it.

1 - You choose the hours
Are you a morning person? Or a night owl that functions best at midnight when the office is closed? As a trader it makes no difference. There are markets open 24 hours a day, 5.5 days of the week that are ready for trading when you are focused and functioning at your best.

2 - Work from anywhere
I have traded the markets while visiting London, Europe, Singapore, Sydney, Auckland, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas to name a few. I could live and trade in any one of those places if I chose to (and held the relevant visa), it would make no difference to my ability to trade. You can too! All you need is a stable internet connection.

3 - Be your own boss
Fancy a sleep in, a longer lunch break, knocking off at lunchtime on a Friday or cancelling that flight home and spending an extra week in Fiji? As a trader it is your call, there is no one else to ask for permission.

Fancy a payrise? You get paid according to your own ability with no boss to ask for an increase.

4 - Low start up overheads
There are not many businesses you can start for as little as $500 but trading happens to be one of them. Please don't read this the wrong way, I am not saying that you can make a living off trading with just $500 starting capital. But I am saying that you can get started, manage risk and gain experience in a new field with very small capital outlay. Not many other businesses or professions allow you to do that.

5 - Odds of success as good as or better than starting a small business
We often hear silly statements that 'all traders lose money' but more common is a statement that 85-90% of traders are losers. We also hear similar stats in the 85-90% region thrown around about the majority of small businesses failing.

Actually since regulators in the US made forex brokers publish their client profitability every quarter by number of accounts, it has become apparent that major US forex brokers have between 30-45% profitable accounts. Sure, it's not the majority that are profiting but that's not surprising at all, no one claims trading is easy and many of those accounts will be completely new and inexperienced. But it does show that profitability is possible and that 90% losing is way off the mark.

6 - Manage the risks
When we are teaching people to trade, especially those just starting out and learning, we encourage people to risk very small amounts on each trade. After all, placing losing trades while learning to trade is as certain as playing bad golf shots while learning to play golf. 1% risk of trading capital per trade is the maximum we suggest risking even for the most experienced of traders and we live by this rule ourselves.

So even going back to the small $500 account, so long as you trade with a broker that has no minimum trade size you will be able to risk just $5 per trade and stick with the 1% rule. If you can handle losing $5 and still sleep well at night then trading might just meet your risk profile.

7 - Enjoy the challenge
When you succeed in a field where many do not, it's a big achievement and it feels good. If you like a good challenge and if giving up after a few failed attempts is simply not in your DNA, then trading might just be for you.

8 - Start out small and grow big
While you can start with as little as $500 as stated already, you can grow almost as big as you can possibly perceive. It reminds me of one of my all-time favourite quotes by Napoleon Hill, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve". That statement is particularly true in the markets where people are successful with anything from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of billions of dollars. The biggest place where new traders go wrong is trying to start big, before they have the competence and experience to trade even a small account. If you start small and focus on learning, you give yourself a chance to grow big.

9 - Free up time
Full time trading does not need to be a 40 hour week, in fact I know many full time traders and I can't think of a single one of them who spends that much time trading. I know people who spend their extra free time cycling, skiing, holidaying, playing golf, fishing, running a business, playing with their kids and just generally doing things they enjoy more than been glued to a desk. Once you are trading well, you can choose how to spend your free time.

10 - It is fun!
Some will disagree and that's cool, we all enjoy different things. If you are not interested in trading then stick with what you do now. But if you are intrigued and excited by the challenge while being prepared to keep risk very low as your highest priority while you gain experience and learn to trade... then not only can you potentially turn a profit in the future, you can have a lot of enjoyment along the way.

Nick McDonald is a New Zealander teaching everyday people how to trade the worlds markets via his company Trade With Precision.

Nick McDonald

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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