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Day Trade Part-Time or Full-Time? Both Have Its “Sins”!

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Day trading is becoming a popular approach to make money these days. While people have always traded stocks and forex, the practice jumped sharply during the Covid-19 pandemic when interest rates were low. People also had a lot of money, thanks to Covid-19 stimulus packages and overall savings.

This has led many people to consider pursuing a career as a day trader or at least combining activities in the financial markets with their current job. Which of the two paths is best, then?

In this article, we will compare the pros and cons of being a part-time vs full-time day trader.

What is day trading?

Day trading is defined as the process of buying and selling financial assets and exiting them within a short period. The most solid definition of day trading ensures that trades are closed before the market closes on any given day. Trades that are left open for a few days are known as swing trades.

Day trading is different from investing. Investors research, buy, and hold assets like stocks, commodities, and cryptocurrencies and holds them for a long time. In most cases, investors hold their positions for a few months or years.

Investors and traders have different objectives. For one, investors buy assets because they believe that they will continue rising in the long term. They often believe that the assets are highly undervalued.

On the other hand, traders tend to be less focused about the long-term viability of an asset. Instead, they are mostly focused on the short-term volatility of an asset. They can trade any asset provided that chart patterns allow.

Part-time vs full-time trader

There are two main routes to day trading. First, you can decide to be a full-time day trader. Alternatively, you can decide to be a part-time trader. A full-time trader is a person who makes money solely by trading financial assets.

On the other hand, part-time traders are people who have other jobs and then day trade for a few hours every day.

In most cases, these people open positions for a few minutes or hours every day. Part-time day trading has been made possible because of the ease of trading and the fact that there are now mobile apps. Also, companies like Robinhood and TD Ameritrade have introduced commission-free trading.

Similarities of full-time vs part-time day trading

There are several similarities and differences between full-time and part-time trading. First, in both situations, traders are not necessarily focused on a company’s long-term fundamentals.

In this, traders focus on short-term price movements. As a result, they mostly focus on short-term price movements and momentum.

Second, the two traders tend to have a short-term horizon. Unlike investors, traders tend to focus on short-term gains of the asset. They are not interested in identifying the company’s valuations and their long-term value.

Third, the two types of traders ensure that they have closed their positions before the end of the day.

They do this to avoid the bullish or bearish gaps that happen when the market closes the following day. Gaps can happen for numerous reasons, including:

  • Earnings
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Product launches
  • Short-seller reports

Further, the two types of traders use several strategies, including using technical indicators like moving averages, the relative strength index (RSI), and the MACD.

They also use price action strategies like triangles, head and shoulders, and rising and falling wedge patterns.

Part-time vs full-time day trading differences

There are numerous differences between full-time day traders and part-time traders. First, the obvious one is that the primary source of income for full-time traders. On the other hand, part-time traders have full-time jobs. As such, they use day trading to complement their income.

Second, in most cases, full-time traders open more trades than part-time traders. As a result, it can be more profitable to become a full-time trader compared to a part-time one. However, in some cases, many part-time traders are able to generate strong profits in an extended period.

Third, full-time traders have more access to the market. These people can trade for 24 hours since the market is usually open all the time. While the stock market is open for a few hours per day, the forex and crypto market is open for a 24 hours.

Pros of full-time day trading

There are several benefits of being a full-time day trader. Some of these benefits are:

It can be a highly profitable

Being a full-time trader can be a highly profitable compared to a part-time trader. This happens since they have more time to analyze and open trades.

In contrast, part-time traders tend to open a few trades per day. As a result, all factors held constant, these traders tend to be less profitable.

Access to more markets

The other pro for full-time trader is that they have more access to more markets than part-time traders. Part-time traders, especially those who trade US stocks, tend to have access to the market for a few hours per day.

Also by trading full time you can take advantage of the volatility that the first hour and the last hour of the trading session offer.

More specializing

Further, when you put your focus too much on an activity, you become a specialist in it. The same is true in day trading.

People who focus too much on it tend to become specialists in it. As a result, they learn how to interpret the market and execute trades. As a result, they gain the experience required to perform better and better.

Independent boss

Finally, as a full-time trader, you are an independent boss, meaning that you can trade when you want. You can take days off when you feel like. Also, you can also decide to start a day trading office, where you hire people and manage them.

Related » Full-Time Trader vs 9-5 Job: Which Career to Choose?

Cons of full-time trading | pros of part-time

There are numerous cons of trading full-time. First, it can be risky, since it is possible to lose all your money when the markets move against you.

Experienced full-time traders solve this situation by ensuring that they have good risk-management strategies.

Second, having a second job can help your finances by having a regular stream of money. As a day trader, you will experience a situation where you are not profitable in some months. Therefore, with a regular income, there is a likelihood that the trader will be at a much better position financially.

Third, it can be emotionally challenging, especially when things are not going on well. Further, being a part-time trader means that you have a better work-life balance. But this depends since many full-time traders do have time to spend with their family.

Summary

The decision for being a full-time trader can be a tough one because of the risks involved in the industry. In most periods, many people who attempt being traders fail.

Therefore, if you have a full-time job, we recommend that you take time as you transition. Only leave your job if you have consistently become profitable.

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