The past year has seen a flood of new traders entering the stock market, especially among millennials. That’s been due in part to the pandemic which has sent many people in search of careers that can be done remotely. Stock trading is a profession that fits that description; however, it is also a career that can be fraught with risks.
In fact, it’s frequently ranked as one of the most stressful careers one can choose. So how does one know if they are fit for the trading lifestyle and whether they can tolerate the risks? To give us an inside take, we sat down with Paul Scolardi, CEO of SwingTrades.
Paul has been a professional trader for more than 20 years. His impressive record has made him a multi-millionaire and in 2020, he surpassed $5M in annual earnings from trading. His company SwingTrades also teaches thousands of newcomers how to navigate the world of swing trading– Paul’s specific area of expertise.
Many millennials think about the trading lifestyle as allowing them to have ultimate freedom and work from anywhere in the world. Is that possible as a trader?
It is possible! However, let me be clear it comes after hard work, many hours studying and learning a risk management strategy, and discipline! This is not about getting rich overnight without any effort. Ridiculous new stock market slogans like “stocks only go up” create lazy undisciplined traders that will eventually lose all of their money because they have not learned how to minimize losses and maximize gains.
I lost ALL of my money many times while I was learning this and it was devastating. I chose to also teach to help new traders avoid those mistakes that I made. I can definitely speak that the effort is worth it though! I can work and trade from anywhere and the best part of my life is not the money but the FREEDOM to work from anywhere, make my own schedule, and not have to deal with power trip, insecure bosses in the cut throat corporate world anymore.
What’s the biggest misconception about the lifestyle that traders have when they first start?
The biggest misconception is that it is easy and requires little effort. That you have to put in little effort. Stocks do NOT only go up. When starting you have to constantly be studying to learn risk management and how the market works. Without knowing a risk management strategy like the one I teach, the market can eat you up and spit you out.
Should one begin trading while keeping their 9-5 job or jump right into it full time?
I do not think it is wise at all to quit your job and become a full time trader without any education. Many traders do this to day trade and most lose all of their money. I am NOT a day trader. My style is called swing trading and my stocks take days, weeks, or even months to work. But swing trading correctly allows you to catch massive gains whereas day traders are typically selling quickly for smaller gains.
I created my strategy while working a demanding full time job and it is perfect for those that cannot be glued to the stock screen all day due to work or other commitments. This allows traders to learn and if successful create a supplemental income while still keeping their job. When they get financially successful enough then they can evaluate becoming a full time trader. That is what I actually did myself.
How long should someone spend studying before getting into their first trade?
I believe all new traders should paper trade while they are studying and learning risk management. Paper trading is simulated stock trading where you trade stocks but not using real money just pretend.
There are many free sites where you can do this. As far as how long one should study, a strategy like the one I teach can be studied anywhere from one to two months to six to twelve months depending on how much time one has to put into it.
What’s the biggest mindset mistake that causes traders to fail?
Lack of discipline. Get rich quick mentality. “Stocks only go up” mindset. Refusing to wait before you trade money and instead learn a growth and risk management strategy. Fear and greed.
What’s one tip that can improve anybody’s trading ability?
Do not boredom trade. Trading because you are bored or feel you have to make money every day is a horrible habit. I equate these types of traders to gamblers. There are going to be some days when there are 3-5 legit stocks to trade and there are going to be other weeks where there is not a single trade.
If something does not fit my criteria I will not trade. I will seek to watch and learn from what is going on in the market. I have an expression: “A wise man trades because he has something good to trade; a fool trades because he has to trade something.”