Most traders begin their career as an individual, discretionary Day Trader. An individual learns from experience, and that couldn’t be more true for a trader. Once a trader has some experience under their belt, they may consider trading stocks from home. Certain circumstances could prompt this desire to work from home rather than your firm’s office; perhaps you are new to an area and want to work for a company located in another state, or maybe you are already settled into your dream home, and find yourself in transition searching for a new firm to call home but the one you want to work with is located miles away. Many trading firms offer their traders the ability to trade from home, or from their office. While there are many advantages to both, we’ll evaluate the pros and cons in both situations, the requirements for successfully trading remotely, and the benefits of working in the office with other experienced traders.
Trading Stocks From Home – Pros and Cons
While the pros of working from home are obvious – flexibility to be available for family – this number one main goal must be carefully evaluated for what it is – flexibility. This gives you the flexibility to be there to take or pick up your kids from school, to attend after school functions that may cut into ‘office time’, but take a good hard look at how these distractions will actually cut into your working time. Flexibility also gives you the option to walk away from your computer to deal with a home distraction, this is not a good idea when the market is active.
Working from home involves much more than flexibility, it also comes with an onslaught of distractions. Whether it is a sick child, school errands and activities, or just a noisy neighbor, the home day trader must shut out the outside world and focus on their task at hand. Humans tend to get comfortable, and relax in a comfortable relaxing environment. Home traders must fight the urge to get too comfortable and realize they are walking into work when they step into their home office. While most traders spend their mornings perusing the market activity of the night before with their espresso in hand, once the market gets into full swing for the first round of morning trades, you had better be wide awake and paying attention. Things happen fast on Wall Street, and if you walk away to tend to a home distraction, you will most likely miss something important.
Trading stocks from home comes with a downside of being isolated to your own view of the markets, and you will most assuredly observe much less market activity than the office trader. With only one view of the market place, the home trader would sit back and hesitantly watch with apprehension during a flash crash. If that same trader was surrounded by other experienced traders also watching the market, they would have multiple views and could collaborate with their peers, gain confidence and share opinions.
The bottom line is that the home day trader must possess personal traits of self-motivation with a strong work ethic in order to obtain high performance results. People tend to perform better when someone is watching, or holding them accountable, (hence the need for personal trainers), unless they have the self-motivation to hold themselves accountable on a regular basis. Trading from home requires focus. Multi-tasking with home distractions is not conducive to conducting positive market trades. Successful day trading from home is definitely achievable for the experienced trader, with the right backing and of course the proper equipment.
Requirements to Successfully Trade from Home
The basic tools for a trader are a computer, reliable internet connection, and a trading platform. An experienced day trader working from home must invest in all of their own equipment, reliable hardware and software, to successfully trade from home. Their work computer or computers must be kept for work only – do not allow the family to download music or use for entertainment. The last thing you need when working in an active market is a pesky pop-up spoiling your trade at the most inopportune time, and inopportune times is typically when pesky pop-ups decide to reveal themselves. A home computer can become bogged down with malware and exposes a great deal of risk to your highly sensitive data.
Your computer should be a multi-core 64-bit processor, with adequate RAM. RAM is inexpensive to purchase, so upgrading to 8 or 16GB should not be too costly. While some off the shelf computers come with 2GB or 4GB RAM that may be adequate for some, why limit yourself on speed and cache when 8GB or 16GB is available? Definitely do not settle for 2GM RAM, you will be running too slow to keep up.
Several trading software platforms now take advantage of a 64-bit multicore technology, so hopefully you’ve upgraded from your Windows XP Pro 32-bit system (let’s hope so as support for this operating system ended in 2014) to a newer Windows 7, 8 or 10, or Pro with 64-bit processor. The bit count indicates the speed with which your machine processes data, the amount of data it can process along with maximum capacity for memory. If you need to check your system, detailed instructions from Mircrosoft can be found here. The bit count of your operating system must match the bit count of the computer itself for optimum performance. Whichever hardware specs and operating system you choose, be sure to have a backup system! Things happen, and computer processing equipment is outdated from the minute you open the box, so having a backup will ensure that you never lose your pertinent data if your system crashes or when it’s time to upgrade machines.
A reliable high speed internet connection is much more accessible now than even a few years ago, as most areas have providers offering a large bandwidth of 50 Mbps, a huge improvement over the standard 2 Mbps available in recent years. While most locations have reliable connections, you still run the risk of an outage, whereas office systems rarely, if ever, will go down.
Whether or not you have multiple monitors is a personal preference, although most day traders, whether in the office or at home, have more than one screen. This allows for real time simultaneous monitoring of several market trends. If you have more than one monitor, just be sure to have a good video graphics card, and you should be fine.
Trading at the Office – Pros
One of the benefits of working from your trading firm’s office is the exceptional IT access and support that comes with it. Reliable high speed connections with backup systems are common practice for any office, especially for a Day Trading Firm operating with multiple computers and monitors running real time market data. If any one machine should experience a hardware malfunction, there are plenty more to jump on to complete your trades in time.
There is no substitution for the experience that you will find within your firm’s office. Being surrounded by experienced traders with their own systems and feel for the market is hands on training you cannot learn on a screen. This valuable mentoring is only available on site at the office, where the age old advice from the likes of Henry Ford, “I am not the smartest, but I surround myself with competent people”, ring true. By watching, and learning, you learn to develop your own feel for the market where collaboration is an arm’s length away.
As far as we can tell, there are no cons to working from the office, unless of course the flexibility you desire is a matter of necessity. If you are in some way unable to physically trade from the office location, know that Great Point Capital is here to assist you, the experienced trader with a proven track record.
Great Point Capital Offers Benefits to Both Home or Office Traders
Great Point Capital LLC currently has offices in Chicago, IL and Austin, TX, employing nearly half of our traders from remote locations. Our remote traders have access to our Takion Software Platform, which rates superior over competition in all user reviews. Takion utilizes algorithmic smart order routing, and technologically advanced code, while connected to exchanges, ECNs and all major dark pools.
Not only will you have access to Takion, you’ll be connected to our proprietary Instant Messaging (IM) software, where you’ll experience the next best thing to live in person mentoring. You’ll be in constant contact to the most experienced traders in the industry, which is critical for collaboration. Our IM software gives remote traders a feel for the market that is only possible with exposure to other traders viewing market activity.
Great Point Capital LLC offers all of the same benefits to our remotely located traders as we do for those working in-house. You’ll be trading with bigger buying power, enjoying aggressive payout structures, and joining a team of best traders in the business. With our two national locations, we are positioned to trade with you on site from either one of our modern offices or remotely from any location.