Day Trader

Day Trader


New York, NY

Male, 32

Day Trading: is it a game? A skill? A science? Instinct? Luck? I have no idea, but I do it for a living. Day traders employ a mix of speed, instinct, guts, knowledge and emotional intelligence to trade millions of dollars with a keystroke. The faint of heart need not apply. Ask me anything.

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49 Questions


Last Answer on August 23, 2012

Best Rated

Do a lot of traders take speed or focus-oriented pills etc to stay on top of their game all day?

Asked by billy valentine over 11 years ago

I can tell you that I don't see much of it. Some guys take a supplement called "Jack3d," which is a stimulant used for focus. There is lots of coffee and tea around. But I have not seen any drugs or anything abusive. In fact, I saw more adderall and ritalin usage in college than I see on the trading floor. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but I think it does mean that drugs are not a part of the normal culture. People do talk about how popular drugs were "back in the day," but I don't see it around now.

Do different day trading shops employ different trading strategies? Are some consistently more profitable than others?

Asked by MAT14 over 12 years ago

Yes and Yes. Every individual trader is going to have his own style and his own strategies, but firms are going to have some styles and strategies that tend to work better for them, that they are able to teach better, and that their trading program is built around. Its only natural. There are trading "shops" that are consistently successful and make a lot of money. Other shops don't do nearly as well. The quality of recruits, training, and especially in today's trading world, technology, make a huge difference in the success of different firms.

What's the most a typical trader will make or lose in a single day?

Asked by COSTANZA almost 12 years ago

Beginners will typically make or lose no more than $3k in a day. Intermediate traders often have 5 figure days and rarely lose more than $5k. Advanced traders can make $50k in a day and lose more like $10-20k. I've heard of traders making millions in a day and also of losing hundreds of thousands.

Do you trade your money or your employer's?

Asked by retro_travis over 12 years ago

I trade 100% my employer's money, which I think is pretty rare. I think at most purely day trading places, traders are expected to put up some percentage of money. At the more successful firms the company will provide all the capital, but as I said, this is rare.

How emotionally fulfilling do you find your job? What do day traders contribute to society in your opinion?

Asked by ja1lbreaker almost 12 years ago

Emotionally fulfilling? Does not apply. The token answer is that traders add liquidity to the market, which, I tend to believe is true. Neither Mom and Pop investors nor big institutions are going to be able to buy or sell shares unless someone is on the other side of that trade. That’s what traders offer: someone to take the other side of the trade for you. That might be about it.

Are junior traders expected to be profitable from the moment they walk in the door?

Asked by i-looooove-gold about 12 years ago

No. In a bad market, no one is profitable for at least a few months. Most don't really turn the corner for 7-9 months. If after a year you are not profitable, the company will pretty much give up on you. In a great market, as I said, a monkey can make a profit, so there are plenty of people who are profitable right away.

Barring all the possible legal issues, do you think Facebook was priced appropriately, and did you get in on the action?

Asked by Unfortunately Not Zuck almost 12 years ago

I assume you mean from a process standpoint? Because I can think of very few things that are more clear than that facebook was not priced correctly. From a process standpoint, I can't pinpoint anything the bankers did incorrectly, except maybe underestimate the sophistication of the market. This isn't 2001 anymore. The market generally demands that companies show earnings. I played around a little, trying to buy a few bounces, to mixed results. I didn't have a "play" on Facebook, if that's what you mean. IPO's typically are not my game. I'm sure plenty of traders crushed it though.