When I was younger, my class had the opportunity to join one of our parents at their workplace for “take your kid to work day.” Of course, many of us were excited to get the day off of school and do something different. I remember being timid, sitting in the corner of my mother’s office, filing some charts of hers. She was proud and showed me off to all of her colleagues.
It was helpful to see a day in the life of a nursing supervisor. Over the course of the day we tackled a lot of troubling phone calls, dealt with a couple deaths, managed employee schedules, etc. I got to see a glimpse of my mother’s working life, which made me appreciate her efforts a lot more.
That being said, I knew one thing: I did NOT want to become a nurse.
I’ve always known this fact. I’m not very good at dealing with sickness and would rather be isolated during flu season. What would happen if a pandemic were to occur?! My living nightmare.
Being able to experience my mother’s workday gave me even more insight to why I didn’t want to be a nurse, even on the administrative side. It’s useful to know what a day looks like in any field before you enter it.
So today’s blog is all about a day in the life of a day trader.
Of course, this may vary from trader to trader in their preferences, but I will recount my own experiences as a full time day trader.
Day traders are typically in a trade for the day and avoid holding the trade overnight, whereas another method like swing trading can typically last from days to weeks.
So let’s look at the day.
I usually wake up at around 8am, shower, grab a coffee and catch up on world events from the previous day/night.
Traders usually read the news and financial journals and websites to get up to date information on anything that will influence the stock market that day.
Jot down some notes while you read what the analysts are saying, turn on your computer and scan the markets on whatever platform you use.
Market opens at 9:30am
The first 30 minutes of market open tend to be volatile. Traders around the world are getting excited about the opening bell and are quick to trade. I usually watch the market for a few minutes before getting into my first trade. I analyze my possible trades and wait for the optimal time to enter – usually at about 9:55 – 10:00 am.
Now it’s a waiting game. I bid on the direction of the markets, whether it’s bearish or bullish and implement my strategy. Day Trade SPY’s strategy is to get out when I hit 5% profit on my trade, so this often leads to short trade of about 10 to 20 minutes. Some may last longer.
I generally end my trading day at around 11am and head out to meet some friends for coffee and/or lunch, or I run errands.
Traders often come back the check on the markets throughout the day to stay updated on its movements. I never trade in the afternoon, as there is a higher chance to hold overnight, where the markets can be unpredictable.
Once the closing bell rings, traders can take the time to reflect and evaluate their trades of the day. Keep a trading journal and record what went well and how you could improve. Be sure to keep your emotions at bay and write them down if need be. The market feeds off of fear and greed and it doesn’t care whether or not you made or lost money.
On top of keeping a trading journal for personal use, record any market trends of the day. This is especially helpful if you only trade one stock, like we do at Day Trade SPY. Trading only SPY on the S&P 500 allows us to track it’s market trends and focus on one thing, rather than spreading ourselves thin analyzing multiple stock trends.
Concluding the day
Although day trading has the benefit of having a short work day – often only working a couple hours at most – research and analyzing the markets can take up much of your day before and after market times.
The downfall is that it is a lot of hard work. As mentioned above, much of your time is spend on analysis. You could put in the same amount of work as you would in you typical 40 hour a week, 9-5 job, but you may not get a paycheck. In fact, there is a high risk of losing money if a trader does not have a good strategy in place.
At the end of the day, a trader is their own boss and do have the ability to only work a couple hours a day. It’s more time spent with the family, working on hobbies, visiting friends, attending your “day job”, playing golf, travelling, you name it. The best part is, so long as you have an Internet connection, you can trade form anywhere!