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Dealing with the criticisms of being a Daytrader


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Dealing with the criticisms of being a Daytrader

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  #1 (permalink)
jamz
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How do you all deal with the criticisms of being a daytrader? Often when I tell people I'm a daytrader, they always say that I'm a gambler, you should start a business, you only do it for the money, etc. It's annoying. Some of these people are just miserable naysayers. How do you guys usually respond?

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  #2 (permalink)
 MrMojoRisin 
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Once I'm profitable, I think I'll have a much easier time answering when people ask what I do for a living. For now I always say "I trade with futures" and try to switch the topic. Most people don't know what futures are and if they do, they are generally a bit interested in the topic as well and are less judgemental.
I had a phone call this week with the secretary from my tax adviser. She was genuinely interested and it was a pleasure talking with her, but that's really the exception. Most people have fear of things they don't know or understand and their narrow-mindedness blocks their perception from learning about new things and they have to keep their ego in check by reacting in a derogatory way.

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  #3 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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jamz View Post
How do you all deal with the criticisms of being a daytrader?


MrMojoRisin View Post
Once I'm profitable, I think I'll have a much easier time answering when people ask what I do for a living. For now I always say "I trade with futures" and try to switch the topic.

Tell them you just manage your investments.

If they want details, just tell them "It's complicated." Also, look wise. (And prosperous too. )

You really have no obligation to satisfy anyone else's curiosity about what you do, but it is polite to give a response. It is not necessary to furnish a lot of information, just enough to give an honest answer, and you have a right to keep details to yourself.

Also, it is completely unnecessary, and profoundly unwise, to care very much about whether someone approves or even understands. They aren't living your life, after all.

For people who are close to you and who have a good reason to know and a legitimate interest in what you are doing, if you aren't making money (yet), just say so. I used to laugh about it.

If they think you are gambling, tell them you aren't. You may be able to have a conversation there about controlling risk. (Either that or bore them until they drop it.)

The thing is, not to be ashamed about what you are doing or whether you can show any money from it yet. Time will tell whether you ever do, and you may want to make some decisions down the road if you don't, but don't feel that you are doing something you shouldn't, and don't accept any idea from anyone else that you shouldn't. Just do what you want to do, and if you have a way to pay the bills in the meantime, you're fine.

Be yourself. You don't have a lot of choice, so go ahead and be you.

Bob.

When one door closes, another opens.
-- Cervantes, Don Quixote
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 Schnook 
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Not much to add to Bob's reply, but if you want to casually deflect any potential misperceptions about "day traders" then just tell them you're an independent financial risk transfer agent. And then show them your badge. And say you're not at liberty to discuss ongoing operations.

Then look at them all mysterious and jot down notes in your little notepad.

That's what I do, anyway. Usually shuts 'em up pretty quick.

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 matthew28 
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This brief video on the general view of daytrading makes me laugh.



It is easier I imagine if you are profitable, tell them you enjoy the mental challenge and the analysis, planning and discipline required to do something that we inherently find very hard because of the difficulty of dealing with decision making based on incomplete data, seeing price movements based on things beyond your control and having to evaluate that for long term profitability.

If profitable give a small percentage of your earnings to charity. Spend time researching charities that interest you with objectives you are passionate about. You will be able to talk expansively on those subjects and the pleasure you get from being able to help. Nobody can criticize your job then.

Or just be vague, or if the person asking the question is a stranger at a party or somebody else you aren't interested in, just say "actually, I am in between jobs at the moment", then look a little sad and change the subject, it will be less annoying than listening to some sanctimonious lecture

Trading, ideally structured, is a vehicle for expanding consciousness, not damaging it. - Brett Steenbarger
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