Support Systems for Day Traders

Day traders need support systems. Friends and family are all well and good, but they don’t directly address the mindset of day trading. Ah, but there’s a veritable industry of support for traders, and you can tap in to it easily. Many day traders find that reading books, hiring a coach, or finding other day traders helps them get through the day.

  • Books: A library-full of books have been written on the psychology of trading itself. In addition, many traders rely on other self-help and history books for inspiration and ideas.

    I think every trader I’ve ever known owns a copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, which is about military strategies and tactics. They find that this book helps them prepare their minds to face the market — or at least gives them something interesting to talk about.

  • Counseling and coaching: Because handling big losses — and big gains —takes a lot of mental toughness, many traders find professional support. They use counselors, psychologists, or life coaches to help them deal with the challenges of the market and understand their reactions to it.

    You can ask other traders or your doctor for a referral, or check the online directory at Psychology Today’s website or the International Coach Federation. When interviewing coaches or counselors, ask if they have experience with traders or others who work in finance.

    Many day trading training and brokerage firms also offer coaching services that specialize in helping people learn and follow day trading strategies. Some day traders find these people to be invaluable, whereas others find they are just glorified salespeople.

  • Finding other traders: To offset the loneliness of trading alone, many day traders choose to work out of trading rooms operated by brokerage firms or join organizations where they will meet other traders. These may be formal or informal groups where traders can socialize, learn new things, or just commiserate.

    Many day traders also get together through Internet message boards and chat rooms. These groups are less formal, more anonymous, and sometimes as destructive as supportive.

    Most day traders lose money and give up their first year. You may find that spending too much time with other traders is more depressing than supportive.

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