By: Steve Smith
As we drift into Thanksgiving and the holiday season it’s a good time to think about not only what we are grateful for, but also the things in our life we’d like to change or improve in some way.
The three that top most people’s list are family, health and their work. Work, or your financial well being, is probably the one you have most control over.
A couple of months ago, I wrote about how the old saying, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is not really true.
Whatever endeavor you undertake will require work and commitment if you’re going to achieve any success.
I get the gist of the saying; hopefully what you do to earn a living will overlap with something you like (or even love) doing.
I love trading, so I consider myself incredibly lucky. But it took work to get to where I could support my family; there were years I had to work jobs I definitely did not enjoy.
The aspects I love about the trading lifestyle I call the three Fs:
My Fate Is In My Own Hands
Sure, there are events I can’t control, like whatever the Fed has been doing for the past decade. However, I don’t have to answer to anyone and my success doesn’t depend on anyone else’s decisions. The state of the economy and sector trends are opportunities, since I can be both bullish and bearish.
Financial Freedom Is Obviously A Huge Attraction
There are few other jobs that offer unlimited earnings power with very minimal capital outlay. It takes very little money to get started and no recurring costs beyond whatever news or data services you want to subscribe to.
Of course, if you intend to make your trading your primary source of income, you will need a certain amount of risk capital to scale up your trading size sufficiently.
But even $5,000 is enough to start using options to generate supplemental income to help maintain or boost your lifestyle.
And Then There’s The Flexibility
I can work from anywhere and no one is looking over my shoulder to see I’m trading today. So while many people will be watching the clock waiting for when they can leave work and join their family and friends, I’ll be wrapping things up early and playing tennis this afternoon.
Some people decide to really dig in and eat, sleep, and breathe trading. Others just want to use the extra income to allow them to lessen other workloads or pursue other activities.
Hopefully, as you get older it becomes more of the latter. For example, practically no “job” in the world allows this kind of control over your time and location. This gives more time to pursue the activities you do love.
I just found this chart (you know I love charts). It seems that in the curve of happiness, I’m entering a huge upswing.
Funny enough, it seems to be playing out that way.
The best job I ever had was at age 18 working as a waiter for a summer in East Hampton.
My days were free, the staff dinner provided sustenance, and it was very social.
Now, I’ve learned to cook and be happy keeping to myself. Of course, the above graph is not entirely accurate. We all more or less have the life of a turkey.
But until that day comes, I’m going to use trading as a means to enjoy a flexible, financially free lifestyle.