Well..maybe I am a little strange but..when I see this thread I recollect a quotation which I try to abide by.... And it was best interpreted in one of my favorite movies - Kingdom of Heaven. There is a knight oath that says:
Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death. That is your oath...
So I am constantly trying to do this (not the dying part! ). And sometimes it's very difficult in today's world. But not impossible... So when someone asks me what I do for living I answer that I am a trader. And almost everyone reacts negatively...but only in the first few seconds. Because I don't try to fight them. Just as Mike said - it's not possible to "win" with those people. I do not fight but I clearly show them that they can't change my opinion and I don't care about their opinion. It's quite simple...
The following 4 users say Thank You to trigon for this post:
When someone asks me what I do for living I used to always say that I am a trader, but now not every time.
Lately, I am possibly more clear to some with no clue about trading by saying that I buy and sell.
And say what instrument(s) or just "Indexes".
They can place me in either in purchasing, marketing or sales of something they haven't heard about.
But it becomes work in a standard label occupation.
It is easier to go on without an involved explanation or doing more selling of our work.
I sometimes lack patience when being labelled a gambler, the closest many get to understanding trading.
I find this easier to show that I don't care about their opinion because I don't so long as I am not being labelled a gambler.
The following user says Thank You to Ron Schnee for this post:
Ironically, I find it better to just tell people I'm unemployed. If you tell them you're a day trader, 50% of people have no clue what that means (or at least 50% of the people that ask me) and there's always going to be some people that have a negative outlook on the profession. With all the propagand circling about "speculators" I find that telling someone you're a "trader" sometimes tends to garner the same reaction as telling someone you're an ambulence chasing attorney.
A guy who "speculates" and purchases real property in order to rezone, improve, chop, and resell at a profit (aka a developer) is considered successful and in high standing, but the guy who speculates on the markets is considered less than honorable. Go figure.
The following user says Thank You to RM99 for this post:
One thing that came to me is to compare what a trader does, using statistics/probability etc. to what so-and-so
does using statistics/probability etc.
In car insurance, an independent insurance agent may take on a new client. This person could have a good
driving record, or bad, or if a 17 year old, no driving record at all. The insurance agent (ie. trader) takes this new
customer (ie. trade, or to simplify it, going long on a particular stock). The agent has no idea if this new customer
will have an accident this year or not. He doesn't know, if there is indeed an accident, whether the vehicle will
have little damage or be totaled. He is just playing the probabilities, like a trader does.
The following 3 users say Thank You to stephenszpak for this post:
Thank you. You're essentially conveying what I was trying to say in the CL thread about speculators driving up prices.
Any business venture is speculation. Anything that tries to predict the future is pure speculation...it's supposition. Obviously there's a spectrum.....on one end is ventures based in law and contractual obligation (which aren't 100% rock solid either) and on the other end, there's gambling.
Obivously there's a risk factor associated, but I find it odd that anything that's not considered "safe" is considered speculation.
If you buy shares of a stock as an employee of the company because you're investing in your own success, you're still speculating....you're speculating that your company will continue to be successful and grow and produce profits and dividends/capital gains to its shareholders....that guy is considered honorable.
But the guy who "speculates" on the stock value moving a particular way for a few minutes is considered evil and dishonorable.
The following user says Thank You to RM99 for this post:
"The poor hate the rich, but the poor want to be rich."
Generally in the U.S. if a person works hard with low pay they are respected and even sympathized with.
Generally if someone makes BIG money, like >$1,000,000 a year, it's just the opposite.
It is certainly nobody's business what you do or how much you make. However if you and whoever, wants
to discuss it, I would suggest having a couple pieces of paper in your wallet. A chart or whatever, and start
explaining to them some basics. I think they'll see real quick that it's not just blind guessing. It's not like
"Trading Places" where our heroes already know the true value of orange juice futures because they've
seen the crop report ahead of time.
There is nothing really wrong with danger. The safest investments have the lowest return.
" Nothing ventured, nothing gained." is an old saying that still has use, and probably will for a while longer.
It takes courage to take a risk. People that take risks (ie. have courage) in their normal line of
work, like firefighters or soldiers in Afghanistan, are respected.
"...courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every
virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A
chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest
or merciful only on conditions." C.S. Lewis as Screwtape, from the Screwtape Letters
The following user says Thank You to stephenszpak for this post:
I never offer my profession to anyone outright, number one. Number two, given my level of success in the business, I don't really want people to know what I do, honestly. However, during the course of human events it will inevitably come up. Everyone around the table is being asked the question: "So! What do you do?"
I don't like lying to people, so when I hear those questions popping off, I tend to head for the restroom - to escape having to answer. Still, there are times when there is no restroom nearby to save me. In those few moments, I simply say: 'I'm a systems engineer." I leave it on the table that way and I don't offer any augmentation. This way, I don't have to lie and I don't have to reveal what I do.
Most people leave it at that, but whenever I say that to someone with a technology background, I almost always get a follow-up question: "What type of systems do you design?" That's when I say: 'I design systems for the currency markets.' That typically is enough to satisfy most people with a technical background in a social setting. However, if the setting is a technology environment, then some people will launch into a discussion about the kind of tools that I use to build such systems and who is my current employer. When it starts to get down to that level, I basically tell people the following: 'I'm under an NDA, but the project that I am currently involved with has mission critical specs. and it fits inside a real-time data environment.'
Buy this time, most people are satisfied, but every blue moon, someone will follow that up with: "So, is it government project?" To that I always reply: "No, its a private sector project." After that, there really is no place for anyone to go, without knowing that they are asking me to violate my NDA. Typically, the question about what I do, does not get this far unless the person asking has a technical background themselves.
Before I can be a trader, I have to be a systems engineer, because I do not trade outside of my system. So, I am not lying to anyone when I simply cut it short at "I'm a systems engineer." They don't know that's only half of what I do, and they don't need to know either. Regarding the "NDA." Well, since I trade through a legal entity that I created and not through my own personal accounts, and since I am the CEO & Founder of my private fund, I can and do have a standing non-disclosure agreement with myself that I do not reveal the details of what the fund does on any substantive level. So, I'm not lying there either.
But, telling someone that I am CEO/Founder of a Private (not open to the public) Fund that trades International Currencies, is not the conversation that I want to have in public when people can readily identify me in-person. Thus, I am a "Systems Engineer" and the NDA covers all the rest.
Gotta love that NDA. It is a nice little tool to have in the shed when you need it, I'll tell ya that much.
The following 2 users say Thank You to JetTrader for this post:
I have had the same comments several times!
People some times got angry and saying things like "you guys make the economy go bad"
I never ever expected such comments since I am proud on what I am doing.
So now if that question comes and I dont know those people I watch out with wath I say.
I sometimes say I do the household and my wife does work for our income! LOL
The following user says Thank You to Lamboo for this post:
Well I get the same response as Mike has gotten. I use to tell people that I'm trying to learn to day trade. That was meet with mostly utter silence. It's like I said I'm trying to be a dead beat to them or something. So now I just tell people that I work as a sand blaster for my father. This has some truth to it, because I have worked down their at Airmec.inc sand blasting alot.
I guess I do not even feel comfortable telling people I'm trying to day trader anymore. I've been trying to do this for eight years now. I'm 35 and have sacraficed alot to attempt to do this. I just don't know at what point I decide to give it up, and get a "real job". I guess it's personal no doubt. Every time I think I'm on the verge of giving up, I read something, or hear something that gives me inspiration. Their is no doubt I allow myself to be inspired, because I do believe that their are people that do, do this.
Anyways thats a great question Mike, made me laugh reading it lol.