Many people think that trading does take ages and practically is a full-time job. Therefore, most people don’t think that they have the time to be active in the markets and don’t want to start trading because they already have a job or something else. This misconception is sadly common and prevents many potential traders from starting to make money in the markets. But I think investing with a full-time job can be done easily. In this article, I want to tell you the truth about how much time you really need, to be profitable in the market.
How long trading actually takes depends on many different things like your trading style, position sizing, trading assets and so on. Therefore, (of course) the time that you need to trade can vary. But generally speaking, many people still think that trading takes much longer than it actually does. It is a common misconception that traders usually sit in front of their screens all day to analyze the markets and their positions. Luckily for the trader, this is not the case. A full-time job should not be a reason to not get into trading. I will make the bold claim and say that you can beat the market by just using a few minutes every week for your trading activity and make extra money with a full-time job. Of course, by doing this you won’t earn huge sums of money, but you definitely can still beat the market. This brings us to our first point, which is:
Don’t Have The Wrong Expectation!
What is your (realistic) profit goal with trading? (Obviously, as much as possible which ideally would be millions, but this is not realistic!) The time spent trading often is somewhat correlated to your profit. This means that in many cases, more time can result in higher returns on a long-term basis. But this is not always the case and this does not mean that you can’t be profitable with only little time. If you keep your goals down to earth, you really won’t need a lot of time. Let’s say you shoot for 10-20% profit per year: an approach like this will definitely be doable with very little time and a full-time job.
‘I Don’t Have Any Time!’
Often people say that they just don’t have time for additional things. This is not only the case when it comes to free time for trading. Somehow, very many people are occupied 100% of the time. If you are one of these people, I want to ask you: what takes up all this time? Maybe it is a full-time job and family… But even if this is the case, this does still not take up 100% of your time. I would almost bet that there still is some time left where you aren’t really occupied. In this time, you probably tend to relax by watching tv, watching other videos/films, being on social media or whatever. This is completely fine and everyone needs to have some time like this. But this time could theoretically also be shortened and used for other things like trading.
As sorry as I am, but in most cases when someone says that he/she does not have any time, it is not true. Even if you have a full-time job, you probably still do have some time which you could use for other things. This does not have to be much time, but most people could definitely use a few minutes a day on other things like trading. If you are one of these persons, the next time you are on the internet or somewhere else and not doing anything actually important you could reconsider this time-use.
How To Trade Time Efficiently (With A Full-Time Job)?
No matter what your trading style will be and what you want to trade, you can certainly trade time efficient. Here are several tips and tricks to do so:
- The use of GTC (Good Til Cancel) orders. GTC orders can save you tons of time. Instead of having to manually check and order anything in your platform, these orders allow you to ‘automate’ your trading to some extent. This can make you and your trading much more flexible. A concrete and common way to use a GTC order would be to send out a GTC order at your profit target as soon as you enter a new position. In other words: you enter a credit spread at 0.2$ and want to close it at 50% of its max profit. Right after your credit spread positions get filled, you send out a GTC order for these positions at 0.1$. This order will run so long until it either gets filled (so your positions are closed for the desired profit) or it gets canceled manually by you. By doing this after every entry, you won’t have to check your position and worry about closing it. As soon as it reaches your profit target, the GTC order will get filled and you will have a profit. This allows you to leave your positions alone and leaves time for other things. The same can be done for an exit for the downside (stop loss).
- Furthermore, contingent orders are very useful to save time.
Contingent orders are the next step up from normal (GTC) orders. These orders allow you to connect many different orders to one string/course of orders. Let’s say you want to open an iron condor if the price of the underlying reaches a specific point. Contingent orders allow you to set certain criteria for the execution of many different orders. For example, you can say that an order for an iron condor will be sent out if the underlying price moves up by 2$. Additionally, you can say that if this iron condor will be filled, one or more other GTC/closing orders will be sent out at your profit/loss target. You can even say that if one of these orders gets filled, the other one will get canceled automatically. As you can see, this could theoretically fully automate the entire entry/exit process and you wouldn’t have to check anything at all. Nevertheless, it can take some time to set these orders up and not all broker platforms do have them.
- Another great way to minimize the time spent trading is using alerts.
This is a very easy trick that can be done with almost any broker platform. It can be handy to set alerts on positions right after every entry. The alert can either be set to price points, profit/loss, the probability of profit or something else. If you choose to set an alert at a price point, you will automatically be notified if the selected asset reaches the desired price point. You can either be notified by mail and/or a message to your phone. By setting up these alerts, you won’t have to constantly check prices and positions and you will still have an idea of what is going on.
- Moreover, very many broker platforms offer mobile apps or at least very mobile friendly platforms in a browser. Getting familiar with a mobile platform is a very good idea when you want to save time. Doing this will allow you to check and/or manage positions while on the go. You could even do this during breaks at work.
- The next tip is making use of other/foreign markets.
In most places, the ‘local’ markets open relatively early and close in the afternoon/evening which is similar to normal work hours. Therefore, you may not be able to trade during the open hours. But luckily our world has become very international and it is extremely easy to trade in other markets that are based in other regions of the world. For example, if you live in some places in Europe, the US markets open in the afternoon and close late in the evening. This allows you to trade in the US markets even with a full-time job that doesn’t give you time during the day. So try to look for trade opportunities in other markets that have different opening times.
- Finally, try to split up your time.
What I mean with that is that you should trade when you have time for it. If you don’t have time for whatever reason on Tuesday to Friday, just trade on Monday. Ideally, it would be great if you could set up trades relatively regular, but if you can’t, just make up for the missed trades on another day. Instead of making one trade every day, do 5 trades on the one day where you have time. In other words, if you can’t trade on specific days, just trade more on the days when you can.
How To Trade Profitable?
As you may have noticed by now, trading does not have to take up too much of your time. You can theoretically trade with just a few minutes per week and be profitable. But with this, I only mean trading itself. Trading does not always take long. The thing that probably takes much longer than trading itself, is learning how to trade. This does not only take longer, but it is also more important! Starting to trade without a plan and enough knowledge about it is not a smart move. I recommend that you should educate yourself until you at least have a concrete strategy to make money and have some good general knowledge about trading (like order types, asset classes…). Don’t start before that. If you do this, you won’t have any problems being profitable.
You can take me and my trading as an example. Back before I even invested a penny, I informed and educated myself for more than a whole year. After this one year, I had a concrete trading strategy and knew what I was doing. Even after this, I continued to learn more. You can never do too much. This doesn’t mean that you have to educate yourself for a year without trading. Just keep in mind that the more work you put in, the better prepared you will be! Just try to take your time and don’t rush it. If you only have a few hours per week, then that’s fine. Put in those hours and educate yourself. Trading isn’t about short-term success. It is about long-term success, so treat it that way!