How does one know they want to be a trader and not only an investor? I mean, isn’t trading and investing the same thing? You buy a position – be it stock, bond, fund, future holding and then you sell it?
Well that is true to some extent. In reality, trading and investing are completely different animals. The most important thing to know is this: Investing is long term and trading is daily.
But here are some more fun reasons why they are similar yet different.
How investing and trading are similar:
1. The tools you learn to trade with (charts, indicators, etc…) can be and should be applied to your investments.
2. Doing due diligence is crucial for both your long term investments and your daily trading techniques
3. The myth that investing and trading are a form of gambling. When using a strategy this can be less risky than being hired by a corporation these days with all the lay offs happening.
4. You must set your targets, especially the stop-losses for both. However, investing for longer term allows you more leeway to go through more ups and downs. Day traders need to tighten up their stops. In the end, risk management is crucial for both.
How investing and trading are different
1. Positions – Investing usually means holding on to your positions anywhere from one week to many years. Trading is done intra day with all your positions closed out before the 4pm bell.
2. Time Frames – Trading is micro management. You are usually focused on extremely short periods of time (two minutes, five minutes, fifteen minute charts). Investing is usually looking a the macro picture (one month, six months, one year, etc…), as well as some micro examination too.
3. Passive income – Dividends mean absolutely nothing to a trader. But for a long term investor, dividends can be a great supplemental income
4. Analysis – Fundamental analysis mean very little to traders. It all boils down to the technical analysis. Investors need to use both for long term holdings.
5. Daily News – For a day trader news is vital. If you’re holding a position during news, you can literally lose everything. Long term investors can follow some news, but they can usually ride out most storms.
6. Taking Shorts – Day trading is much more fun when shorting positions, not at all recommended for the longer termed investors
7. Education – Way too many people think they can become a day trader just like that. You will fail for sure without learning and developing a strategic plan. This requires to take courses. Either one great one, or several ones. Which ever works for you. Even though there is no point of entry to this industry except to have money, you need to understand what you are doing. Does a wanna be doctor go directly into the operating room? Why should a trader start taking trades without knowing what they are doing? Investors can get away with doing their own self-education.
8. Career – this is the main difference – Day trading is a career, not a hobby. Many investors can look at their different investments periodically. They can study them on their free time. Day trading is your work and your life. No matter if you do it for a couple of hours each morning or a full day watching the market.
How I Became a Day Trader
It is may calling.
Honestly, I don’t believe many people will become full time traders if it wasn’t their inner passion.
Investing is something that always interested me. I enjoy learning all about the markets. Different ways to set up portfolios and funds.
Even though investing is something that every person should do for the growth of their money. You know you are a trader when you want to do daily, on shorter time frames and understand how to work with the market. Basically, you want a reason to do it all day long.
That is what happened with me. Investing for years on the side wasn’t enough. I always wanted more and more.
Like everything you want to do in life, if it is unconventional (especially for a woman), you put it off. I did that for years until my main business came to a halt. And instead of freaking out where my money is going to come from to feed my family, I sat in my room and took out my ‘dream life’ goals that I have been writing for the past five years. Each year I wrote I want to become a full time day trader and surround myself with other women who have similar interests either in investing and/or trading.
It took a harsh wake up call from the universe to tell me it is now or never. This is when I decided instead of putting more energy into a business that I loved, but wasn’t in love with anymore to starting a new, scary career path.
I will tell you this. Trading is soooooo not easy.
Trading has challenged me on every single level and every fiber of my being. From financially to psychologically.
It is without a doubt the greatest most powerful thing I have ever done. And every single day I learn something new that not only affects my trading, but my every day life.
Trading teaches me how to handle my relationships with my family, friends and even my own body.
It teaches me about patience and discipline and consistency.
I am nowhere near mastering it, but I know I am a better person with it in my life.
Marina 'The Trader Chick' Villatoro