How do I begin trading from home?

Posted By Scott Philips On Friday, December 16th, 2016 With 0 Comments

How do I begin trading from home, with no prior experience of trading?
What books would you recommend? What websites? How does one do their research?
What trading terminal should be used? What laptop is best used or computer? How many monitors?
What hours would a trader usually work?

  1. Good question. This is my idea of the “gold standard”.  Accept that learning to trade will be roughly the same sort of effort as learning to be a lawyer, architect or engineer. So about 3 years of hardcore work, or 5 years part time. Just like learning to be a concert pianist, or a world class athlete, focused practice is key.
  2. Trading is like “sports”. It is so huge that you have to specialize. I am a trend trading futures trader. My friend is a price action scalper. Another friend is a small cap mining investor. You might write options. You might build automated trading systems (I have done this). So you need to have an overview of most things to see what you have an affinity with, and the physical capabilities to do. Certain types of trading require physical attendance and full concentration for hours a day, others require advanced maths or programming skills.
  3. Before you start, read everything. Learn some technical analysis, but keep in mind that most of what is taught is complete horseshit without evidentiary basis. Read reminiscences of a stock operator, all the market wizards books, everything by Alexander Elder and Van Tharp, Mark Douglas and Brett Steenbarger. Brett Steenbarger’s blog is a wealth of great information also.
  4. Don’t trade yet! Trading seems easy but is really really hard. Don’t trade until there is virtually no chance of you failing.
  5. Find an edge in the marketplace. Without an objective edge you have no chance of success. Most of the good edges are entirely uncontroversial and boring, and don’t rely on custom indicators or secret knowledge. For example…
    • Pullbacks in an uptrend are an edge
    • Opening gaps are an edge
    • Support and resistance in trading ranges is an edge
    • Seasonality is an edge
    • Intermarket analysis is an edge
  6. Develop a trading system (set of rules governing how you enter, manage and exit trades). These can be guidelines or hard and fast rules. As a general proposition beginning traders do better with hard and fast rules and expert traders do better with guidelines.
  7. Develop a business plan that covers all eventualities of the trading business. What do to if your broker goes broke? If your internet connection dies? Your laptop breaks? At what point do you reduce position size? At what drawdown level do you stop trading? How do you pull out funds to live off?
  8. When you have your trading system and business plan, practice trading, at first for no money, then for small money, increasing size as you are able to trade mistake free. A general rule is that professional traders will trade at 95% efficiency, ie less than 1 mistake per 20 trades. As a general rule it is better to trade an average system well than a great system poorly.
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