How to Start a Trading Career While in College


The Martin B Greenberg Trading Room at Hofstra University

How to Start a Trading Career While in College.

We have all head stories of the guy or girl who said how they made their first fortune while trading in college. I happened to know one of these traders and, like all super stars in any field, they are part of the very small group.

If you want to start your trading career while still in college, this is how I would tell my own children to do it. First, remember your main job in college is to be a college student. The cost of college is not getting any cheaper and you must stay focused on your schoolwork. Trading in college should be a hobby. With that being said, there are many colleges that have mock trading competitions.  Taking part in this is a good way to get a general understand of the markets, the trading terms, and how to place orders correctly. This early experience can help you avoid mistakes in the future.

The most import thing to understand, as a novice trader, is that mistakes can cost you a lot of money, and very quickly.

The next step would be to open an online trading account.  STAY AWAY from commodities for now. It takes time to really understand the risk that comes along with commodities. I know that it sounds sexy to say you bought gold, but in the long run making money is more important than how things sound when you talk to your friends. In commodities, the speed in which money can be made or lost is must faster, and most new traders do not have the reaction time fast enough to compete.

When you open an online account, such as E*TRADE, they will give you more than enough tools to learn and get used to being in the real market.  All online trading companies have sections to help you learn how to trade.  You can also sign up on my web site with your email and I will send you my trading tips eBook.

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The list below gives you pointers to start your trading career.

  1. Open a account just go to E*TRADE, Scottrade or Schwab – Make sure it is with money you are able to afford to lose.
  2. Try some small trades. Small trades will help you get a feel for what you are doing and will not cost you much if you are wrong.
  3. As you feel more comfortable, increase your size.  Once you find you are having more days making money than losing, increase the amount of shares you buy or sell.
  4. Expect to have losing trades (its okay, everyone does).
  5. Make some trades from both the long and short side. To make money in all types of markets you need to lean how to trade from the short side. Selling stock before you own it with the thought the market will go down.  Look for “The Trading Shrink” webinar coming soon to on this topic.
  6. Realize that markets never just go in one direction.
  7. Understand there is money to be made in a down market.
  8. Take it slow, steady and easy.  Do not try to be a hero.
  9. Never think you have figured out the market, when you feel that way, the market has a unique way of reminding you who is boss.

And, finally, remember you are in college and that this is a hobby that, in time, can grow. Singles add up, and traders who swing for the fence usually get blown out. Take your time, enjoy college, and your new trading hobby.

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