Full-time or Part-time

When initially looking into the wonderful world of trading I had no idea that doing it part-time while still having a day job was even a possibility. The sheer complexity and scope of trading seems far too vast to imagine it can be done in any other way than sat glued to your computer screen all day long. But alas, it is possible.

You will however need to carefully consider what style of trading you want to adopt. Take the four main styles below. Only Position Trading and Swing Trading would realistically work part-time given the usual holding periods and level of engagement required throughout the day.

Trading Full-Time or Part-Time?
Trading Style Position Trading Swing Trading Day Trading Scalp Trading
Time Frame Long Term Short Term Short Term Very Short Term
Holding Period Months to Years Days to Weeks Day Only – No Overnight Positions Seconds to Minutes – No Overnight Positions

Obviously part-time trading isn't for everyone, but that's not to say that you should write it off completely. Throw in a job opportunity you can't possibly turn down, or the pitter-patter of little feet arriving and you may want to consider your approach to trading again. For those just starting out then now is the perfect time to take a look at how you want to trade and ask yourself a few key questions to decide what you can realistically stick to, and doesn’t negatively affect the way you live/ want to live your life.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help decide your trading style:

  • How much time do I want to spend looking at a trading screen?.
  • Am I trading to supplement my current income or be the sole source of income?
  • Do I have access to the internet/ trading resources when markets are open?
  • Can I afford to trade full-time?
  • What does my system/ trading style require?
  • Do I need to view live data or is End of Day data sufficient?
  • What can your current lifestyle allow, or the lifestyle you wish you lead?

One of the main decisions you have to make when thinking about trading, whether it's traditional shares dealing, spread betting or CFD trading, is 'What kind of trader do I want to be'...well other than the obvious 'a sh*t hot amazingly successful one' of course. For me it's a part time trader.

How you want to trade stocks has to fit in with the life you want to live. As flowery and 'away with the fairy's' as that sounds, it is actually 100% honest. I for one happen don't want to be glued to a screen for hours on end (which is quite ironic since I work in and office...but you get what I mean). And that's where part-time trading comes in.

To start with I only see spread betting and trading as supplementing my income. And for me personally I'm fine to work with End of Day data and only check in once or twice throughout the day to see how things are going and if there's any big happening in the market that I should be aware of.

Why Part-Time Trading Works for Me:

This was quite an easy decision to make, but it might not be as clear-cut for you guys. Having a job that I actually enjoy was the biggest factor, and unless you're lucky enough to be able to dip in and out of work throughout the day at key trading times then you may come to the same conclusion. But part-time trading suits me fine.

The point is, I still want to have a decent life at the same time as trading part time and doing something else with my life for the rest of the time. And let's face it - most of us also have relationships and doing a full-time job will only leave you with limited time to spare for trading. It's all about striking that balance, and it all comes down to having a process set up, and the discipline to follow it. The point is most of us still want to have a decent life at the same time as trading part-time and doing a full-time job.

I included this in one of my earliest posts about 'part-time trading' but below is a brief snapshot of what my usual week looks like:

Sunday: 2-3 hours.
Researching potential shares based on the criteria of my system. If any tick all the boxes then I look at entry points, stakes etc and log them in with my spread betting company platform.

Monday – Friday: 1-2 hours each evening.
Review current positions and run through my watch list to see if any shares are ready for me to open a position in.

Do whatever I want to. FREE DAY!

For me, to give trading a serious go I knew it had to be a long term strategy, and that meant that it being something that fits in with everything else I like to do rather than mean I have to make sacrifices I'd start to resent over time. Obviously I'm still in the early stages so who knows what things will be like in future.

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