“My kids think all fathers work from home” – Marty Schwartz, Market Wizard
If your aim is to create a second income through Forex trading, then you’ll know the difficulty of fitting trading around a full time job.
We’re all on the verge of a time management crisis.
Luckily, with the right approach, the amount of time required to trade can fit easily into a busy schedule.
In this article we go through five tips to help get you started.
But first it’s important to get clear on your motivation for trading.
For most people, spending a few hours a week learning to take charge of their financial future should be considered essential.
Think of it like getting a master’s degree. You are studying a craft that you will be able to carry with you for the rest of your life.
The initial sacrifice of a few hours a week will seem minuscule in the grand scheme of things, and the benefits can be significant.
Truth be told, you need to take control of your own financial future. Nobody else is going to do it for you. Make the commitment, and share it with others who will hold you accountable. It’s you in the driver’s seat, but an audience will keep you on track.
Start small, and if you don’t like it, there’s no pressure to keep going. With that in mind, let’s get into our top five tips for the trader with a full-time job.
1. You don’t need to watch the markets 24/7
No matter how much you do it, staring at the screen does not make the prices change.
Nor do your trades require constant attention. As famous trader Jesse Livermore said, “The money is made in the sitting”.
Look to build a Forex trading strategy that is either:
- Monitored once or twice a day. You could use a slightly longer-term approach that requires checking once or twice a day for new entries, or to adjust orders. Don’t forget that you can set and forget orders to open or close trades that will be triggered while you are away from the screen.
- Traded in a specific time period. This could be for a set time you block off in the evenings. It is common for traders to watch the London or US open as market volatility provides opportunity during these times.
Of course an approach where you monitor the markets more often than that is certainly doable. The key is to know that you can structure your trading around your lifestyle, and that it does not have to take up all your time.
There is another big benefit to not watching the markets 24/7.
By separating yourself from the markets, you avoid making emotionally driven mistakes. Instead you trade your plan, leaving your orders to enter and exit the market while you are away. This is a big – yet somewhat unappreciated – advantage for the trader with a full-time job.
2. The crucial role of organization
A disorganized trader is a bad trader.
And needless to say, one of the greatest challenges the trader who is also holding down a full time job has is to get organized.
You want to make sure your Forex trading routine is well structured. Have a set list of activities that you conduct each time you go to trade.
This should include (but not be limited to):
- Mentally preparing for your trading session
- Conducting market analysis
- Placing trades and checking your risk management parameters
- Monitoring trades
- Recording trades
- Conducting a debrief and review
- Research and development
How long should each of these activates take? It does not have to take long at all.
You need to divide your allotted time amongst each of these activities. If you don’t have time to conduct all these activities, it probably means you are placing too many trades. If that is the case, then cut back to something more manageable.
To help you stay organized, a useful resource is this interactive trading plan template from FX Renew.
3. Focus on your top strategy
One of the challenges traders face is they have too many good ideas for trading strategies.
Not only does this result in their best ideas not getting the attention they deserve, but it is also very time consuming.
Instead, be ruthless. Choose only your very best strategies to focus on. This could be your highest quality set-ups, or the currency pair where you feel you have the greatest edge.
It could very well be best that you only trade one or two of your favourite currencies.
Apply the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) approach, use a simple set of indicators, and don’t overcomplicate things. This will save you a ton of time and keep your trading manageable.
4. Program a robot (Expert Advisor) to do your trading (or follow someone else’s strategy)
Automating your Forex trading ideas is not as hard as it seems, yet the benefits can be significant.
By using a robot you can:
- Improve your discipline by automatically triggering your entry
- Manage your position when you are not there
- Follow the strategy of another trader with a verified track record.
The good news is you don’t have to program the Forex trading strategy yourself.
There is a large community of developers that can program your ideas, and an even larger number of strategies available that you can pick from.
A more recent innovation has been the advent of social trading. Social trading allows you to automatically follow the strategies of other traders around the globe.
You simply connect your account to a social trading provider, and then select the strategy you want to follow. You can check out these providers:
Note that there are several factors for you to consider when selecting a Forex trader to follow. You can find out more about them here.
5. Free yourself with alerts
These days trading platforms come replete with alerts that will notify you in a variety of ways.
In your trading platform you can configure alerts based on:
- A price level being breached
- If orders are triggered
- Chart patterns occurring
- Indicators (or combinations of indicators) meeting certain conditions.
Alerts can be delivered to your desktop and email. These tools can make your trading life much easier, so be sure to use them.
These alerts can be set in your Forex trading platform or you could use a service like Tradingview.
Break the mould
A final critical point.
It is very easy to find excuses not to make the changes that matter in your life.
If you want to be a trader, don’t let them get in your way. Keep your eyes on the prize and take the steps you need to take to see this through.
If this requires re-organizing or restructuring your life, then do it. Don’t let the malaise of a busy life get to you. If you truly want something, there is always a way.