Build Redundancy into Day Trading Equipment and Connections

When you day trade, you are intentionally looking at volatile markets and fast-moving securities because that’s where you have the most opportunity to make money in a short time. You may very well be leveraged, either through the use of borrowed money or by trading securities with built-in leverage, such as futures. If you’re in a position that moves against you and you can’t get out, you’re sunk.

Not being able to get out because the markets are melting down due to some kind of global catastrophe is bad enough. But suppose you can’t get out because the batteries in your wireless mouse have died and you can’t find new ones? What if you spill pop and short out your keyboard — or your PC? What if the developer next door accidentally knocks out your DSL service?

All these little workaday calamities have happened. They are downright annoying even if you aren’t trading. If you are trading, they can be ruinous. If you are serious about making money as a day trader, build in redundant systems as much as possible:

  • Have high-speed data service on your smart phone or pad computer in case your primary Internet access goes out.

  • Consider having two computers that are duplicates of each other so that you can swap them if one goes down.

  • Keep extra supplies on hand: extra batteries, extra keyboard, and extra mouse. You want to be able to react quickly when things go wrong. (These are all cheap to keep in inventory, too, because the computer makers give keyboards and mice away with every new PC.)

  • Invest in an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) backup for your PC so that, if the power goes down, your computer stays up. You don’t need a backup generator, though — unless you think that you’d still want to trade after your town was devastated by an earthquake or a hurricane. (Hey, crisis creates opportunities!)

  • Finally, back up your computer regularly. You don't want to lose your tax records! You can back up online through Mozy or Carbonite or you can use an external hard drive connected to your PC. Most backup systems can be set up to work automatically — but don’t back up during trading hours! It’ll slow you down.

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