The other day it occurred to me how much I really like trading. It has given me a quality of life I never dreamed I would enjoy. In my former lives I practiced law for many years and then ran a photo processing business and portrait studio. The law practice was interesting and relatively lucrative but came with heavy burdens of time and obligations to courts and clients. Many times my work day began at 6:00 A.M. and didn't end until 10 or 11 at night. I don't mean that as a complaint, only as a fact to be compared to my trading experience. The photo business came about as a result of my passion for photography. The only problem was that it was a retail business and as anyone who has been or is in a retail business knows, you are a slave to it.
As I have written in "Smart Investors Money Machine" and in "Trade Your Way to Wealth," trading changed my life completely. Once I advanced through the learning curve, my time became my own. I am no longer beholden to clients or customers and my calendar is not set by the courts or the needs of others. I can pretty much do what I want and when I want to do it. Rarely does my trading day extend beyond a couple of hours and I can do it anywhere in the world that I can hook up my computer. It has given me the ability to travel, spend more time with my family, and live life as I choose.
Of course, I do perform functions that take up some of my time. I edit the three alert services (Option Trader, Trend Trader, and $10 Trader), and I write this Newsletter article each week, but I am able to do those things because I choose to rather than from any financial need. I take on the occasional coaching student because working with people who are interested in trading helps keep me sharp and introduces me to some fascinating folks. Trading enables me to do these things that I enjoy and have fun doing. If there is a time when they are no longer fun, trading has enabled me to be in a position where I can just stop doing them.
As I write in "Smart Investors Money Machine," I have learned, and in that book I share, a variety of ways to create streams of income that are at least somewhat independent of the constant use of my time. I've learned that almost anyone can add substantial income with relatively little effort once they have made an effort to learn what to do and how to do it.
Maybe that's the rub. All too many come to trading thinking it will be easy and the truth is that it isn't easy. Successful trading can be simple, but that isn't the same as being easy. Before trading can work for any individual I am convinced that the person must make serious efforts to understand that it is a business and as such requires knowledge, a specific plan, and practice. Successful trading also requires self-knowledge and understanding. One of the greatest battles we seem to fight in reaching the ultimate status of becoming a winning trader is against ourself. We must learn to achieve a level of discipline that removes as much as possible the elements of greed and fear from our trading decision making process. All of these things involve real effort and without that effort it is difficult if not impossible to become a really good trader.
For most, the question becomes is it worth it? For me the answer has been a resounding yes. One of the best trading teachers I have ever known once said something like: "If you are willing to do for 6 months or a year what others won't, you will be able to do for the rest of your life what others can't." That thought has stuck with me for more than a decade of trading now and it rings as true today as when I first heard it. When I began, I spent about 5 or 6 hours a day studying and I did that for at least 4 months. At that point, I had no job so I was able to devote the time. I understand that most readers simply can't devote that much time a day to study, but most could afford an hour or so on the average. Maybe it would be a great trade-off in the long run to give up an hour of TV a day in exchange for a better quality of life not too far down the road. Sure, it will take longer devoting only an hour a day to study than it took at 5 hours a day, but in the end the rewards can be unbelievably great. Imagine a life where someone could work half the time and make three or four times the money. Would that be worth the effort? Only you can say. Trading and investing definitely isn't for everyone. It involves risk and oftentimes risk that an individual may be unwilling to take, but armed with appropriate knowledge risks can be managed and controlled.
Anyway, that's my ramble for this weekend and I hope it provides some food for thought. Personally, trading has been very, very good to me and maybe it could be to you as well.
by Bill Kraft, Editor
Copyright 2009, Makin' Hay, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
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