Support Items Every Trader Needs

11/11/2011 10:00 am EST

Focus: TRADING

Michael Toma

Author, The Risk of Trading: Mastering the Most Important Element of Financial Speculati

Those who trade alone need to develop a support system behind them, explains Mike Toma, identifying how to overcome solitude and continually learn and improve along the way.

At-home trading can be a lonely business at times if you’re just there in front of your screen and there’s nobody else around you. But actually, you can have a team behind you as a trader, even if you are at home. 

Our guest today is Mike Toma to talk about that. Mike, what kind of team do I have if I’m just retail trading my e-Trade account at home?

I always say you can have a team. Now, a lot of traders don’t have a team, and actually, one of the things I want to talk about is suggesting that the individual traders get their team, build their team. 

There are a lot of different variables you can look at as far as the type of components you want on your team. I’m a big proponent of having a coach. 

Whether it’s myself, professional golfers, tennis players, sports figures, even successful business executives, they all have trainers or coaches. I’m a big proponent of that. 

I certainly wouldn’t have had this success without having my first coach. But also, developing as you go along as an individual. Being proactive in taking classes, taking sessions at Expos, and things like that. 

There are other components to your team as well. I’m a big audit fan. I love to audit trade journals. Some traders maybe don’t have those skills, so I suggest they find someone who can do that, or even a coach. 

Don’t forget the third element, which I think is actually somewhat critical, having a family support team. Having a spouse sort of keeps you honest. You know, when you show those trade journals every Friday and after the week, it kind of makes you think twice about not taking that risky trade.   

I guess like any other business or career, you have continuing education, and there’s probably some money that you continually invest in yourself and in your trade or your skill to get better at what you’re doing.

Yes, and isn’t that true of any business. I see sometimes traders will just say “You know, I’m going to master the set-ups; show me the set-ups” and they just want to push the button. 

As you know, markets change, people change, dynamics change. Even the best trader all of a sudden maybe has a new addition to the family or something. Now other things are on his mind, the priorities are different, so I think really having that independent team, such as a coach, or even, again, a spouse that can encourage you. 

It’s so important as you make your way to those next levels from beginner to intermediate to really being a professional in this business. I think it is critical to have that team in place. 

I see individuals try to do it alone and I just don’t see too many success stories with that.

What about the idea of going to a Traders Expo and finding somebody that I can Skype during the day, bounce ideas off of. Is that a valid point?

Excellent, fantastic, and it’s not just for trading tips or “Hey, what are you looking at or what do you see in the market today?” It’s just having your network. It’s your people in your circle of friends within your business that you just bounce ideas off of.

I got involved with other markets from speaking to other traders, particularly at Expos, but it’s really opened up some doors and other business opportunities within the business of trading.

I find it very valuable; it keeps me balanced. I see other traders that go on that way also just seem more content or more fulfilled.

Sometimes trading is a lonely business, even when it’s successful. I think to have a nice balance within that and have a framework where you can get to that next level is really, really important. 

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