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John Rampton

John Rampton

1 month ago

Ideas for Samples of Retirement Letters

More on Personal Growth

Alexander Nguyen

Alexander Nguyen

25 days ago

How can you bargain for $300,000 at Google?

Don’t give a number

Photo by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash

Google pays its software engineers generously. While many of their employees are competent, they disregard a critical skill to maximize their pay.

Negotiation.

If Google employees have never negotiated, they're as helpless as anyone else.

In this piece, I'll reveal a compensation negotiation tip that will set you apart.

The Fallacy of Negotiating

How do you negotiate your salary? “Just give them a number twice the amount you really want”. - Someplace on the internet

Above is typical negotiation advice. If you ask for more than you want, the recruiter may meet you halfway.

It seems logical and great, but here's why you shouldn't follow that advice.

Haitian hostage rescue

In 1977, an official's aunt was kidnapped in Haiti. The kidnappers demanded $150,000 for the aunt's life. It seems reasonable until you realize why kidnappers want $150,000.

FBI detective and negotiator Chris Voss researched why they demanded so much.

“So they could party through the weekend”

When he realized their ransom was for partying, he offered $4,751 and a CD stereo. Criminals freed the aunt.

These thieves gave 31.57x their estimated amount and got a fraction. You shouldn't trust these thieves to negotiate your compensation.

What happened?

Negotiating your offer and Haiti

This narrative teaches you how to negotiate with a large number.

You can and will be talked down.

If a recruiter asks your wage expectation and you offer double, be ready to explain why.

If you can't justify your request, you may be offered less. The recruiter will notice and talk you down.

Reasonably,

  • a tiny bit more than the present amount you earn

  • a small premium over an alternative offer

  • a little less than the role's allotted amount

Real-World Illustration

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Recruiter: What’s your expected salary? Candidate: (I know the role is usually $100,000) $200,000 Recruiter: How much are you compensated in your current role? Candidate: $90,000 Recruiter: We’d be excited to offer you $95,000 for your experiences for the role.

So Why Do They Even Ask?

Recruiters ask for a number to negotiate a lower one. Asking yourself limits you.

You'll rarely get more than you asked for, and your request can be lowered.

The takeaway from all of this is to never give an expected compensation.

Tell them you haven't thought about it when you applied.

Matthew Royse

Matthew Royse

2 months ago

Ten words and phrases to avoid in presentations

Don't say this in public!

Want to wow your audience? Want to deliver a successful presentation? Do you want practical takeaways from your presentation?

Then avoid these phrases.

Public speaking is difficult. People fear public speaking, according to research.

"Public speaking is people's biggest fear, according to studies. Number two is death. "Sounds right?" — Comedian Jerry Seinfeld

Yes, public speaking is scary. These words and phrases will make your presentation harder.

Using unnecessary words can weaken your message.

You may have prepared well for your presentation and feel confident. During your presentation, you may freeze up. You may blank or forget.

Effective delivery is even more important than skillful public speaking.

Here are 10 presentation pitfalls.

1. I or Me

Presentations are about the audience, not you. Replace "I or me" with "you, we, or us." Focus on your audience. Reward them with expertise and intriguing views about your issue.

Serve your audience actionable items during your presentation, and you'll do well. Your audience will have a harder time listening and engaging if you're self-centered.

2. Sorry if/for

Your presentation is fine. These phrases make you sound insecure and unprepared. Don't pressure the audience to tell you not to apologize. Your audience should focus on your presentation and essential messages.

3. Excuse the Eye Chart, or This slide's busy

Why add this slide if you're utilizing these phrases? If you don't like this slide, change it before presenting. After the presentation, extra data can be provided.

Don't apologize for unclear slides. Hide or delete a broken PowerPoint slide. If so, divide your message into multiple slides or remove the "business" slide.

4. Sorry I'm Nervous

Some think expressing yourself will win over the audience. Nerves are horrible. Even public speakers are nervous.

Nerves aren't noticeable. What's the point? Let the audience judge your nervousness. Please don't make this obvious.

5. I'm not a speaker or I've never done this before.

These phrases destroy credibility. People won't listen and will check their phones or computers.

Why present if you use these phrases?

Good speakers aren't necessarily public speakers. Be confident in what you say. When you're confident, many people will like your presentation.

6. Our Key Differentiators Are

Overused term. It's widely utilized. This seems "salesy," and your "important differentiators" are probably like a competitor's.

This statement has been diluted; say, "what makes us different is..."

7. Next Slide

Many slides or stories? Your presentation needs transitions. They help your viewers understand your argument.

You didn't transition well when you said "next slide." Think about organic transitions.

8. I Didn’t Have Enough Time, or I’m Running Out of Time

The phrase "I didn't have enough time" implies that you didn't care about your presentation. This shows the viewers you rushed and didn't care.

Saying "I'm out of time" shows poor time management. It means you didn't rehearse enough and plan your time well.

9. I've been asked to speak on

This phrase is used to emphasize your importance. This phrase conveys conceit.

When you say this sentence, you tell others you're intelligent, skilled, and appealing. Don't utilize this term; focus on your topic.

10. Moving On, or All I Have

These phrases don't consider your transitions or presentation's end. People recall a presentation's beginning and end.

How you end your discussion affects how people remember it. You must end your presentation strongly and use natural transitions.


Conclusion

10 phrases to avoid in a presentation. I or me, sorry if or sorry for, pardon the Eye Chart or this busy slide, forgive me if I appear worried, or I'm really nervous, and I'm not good at public speaking, I'm not a speaker, or I've never done this before.

Please don't use these phrases: next slide, I didn't have enough time, I've been asked to speak about, or that's all I have.

We shouldn't make public speaking more difficult than it is. We shouldn't exacerbate a difficult issue. Better public speakers avoid these words and phrases.

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” — Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father


This is a summary. See the original post here.

Mia Gradelski

Mia Gradelski

22 days ago

Six Things Best-With-Money People Do Follow

I shouldn't generalize, yet this is true.

Spending is simpler than earning.

Prove me wrong, but with home debt at $145k in 2020 and individual debt at $67k, people don't have their priorities straight.

Where does this loan originate?

Under-50 Americans owed $7.86 trillion in Q4 20T. That's more than the US's 3-trillion-dollar deficit.

Here’s a breakdown:
🏡 Mortgages/Home Equity Loans = $5.28 trillion (67%)
🎓 Student Loans = $1.20 trillion (15%)
🚗 Auto Loans = $0.80 trillion (10%)
💳 Credit Cards = $0.37 trillion (5%)
🏥 Other/Medical = $0.20 trillion (3%)

Images.google.com

At least the Fed and government can explain themselves with their debt balance which includes:

-Providing stimulus packages 2x for Covid relief

-Stabilizing the economy

-Reducing inflation and unemployment

-Providing for the military, education and farmers

No American should have this much debt.

Don’t get me wrong. Debt isn’t all the same. Yes, it’s a negative number but it carries different purposes which may not be all bad.

Good debt: Use those funds in hopes of them appreciating as an investment in the future

-Student loans
-Business loan
-Mortgage, home equity loan
-Experiences

Paying cash for a home is wasteful. Just if the home is exceptionally uncommon, only 1 in a million on the market, and has an incredible bargain with numerous bidders seeking higher prices should you do so.

To impress the vendor, pay cash so they can sell it quickly. Most people can't afford most properties outright. Only 15% of U.S. homebuyers can afford their home. Zillow reports that only 37% of homes are mortgage-free.

People have clearly overreached.

Ignore appearances.

5% down can buy a 10-bedroom mansion.

Not paying in cash isn't necessarily a negative thing given property prices have increased by 30% since 2008, and throughout the epidemic, we've seen work-from-homers resort to the midwest, avoiding pricey coastal cities like NYC and San Francisco.

By no means do I think NYC is dead, nothing will replace this beautiful city that never sleeps, and now is the perfect time to rent or buy when everything is below average value for people who always wanted to come but never could. Once social distance ends, cities will recover. 24/7 sardine-packed subways prove New York isn't designed for isolation.

When buying a home, pay 20% cash and the balance with a mortgage. A mortgage must be incorporated into other costs such as maintenance, brokerage fees, property taxes, etc. If you're stuck on why a home isn't right for you, read here. A mortgage must be paid until the term date. Whether its a 10 year or 30 year fixed mortgage, depending on interest rates, especially now as the 10-year yield is inching towards 1.25%, it's better to refinance in a lower interest rate environment and pay off your debt as well since the Fed will be inching interest rates up following the 10-year eventually to stabilize the economy, but I believe that won't be until after Covid and when businesses like luxury, air travel, and tourism will get bashed.

Bad debt: I guess the contrary must be true. There is no way to profit from the loan in the future, therefore it is just money down the drain.

-Luxury goods
-Credit card debt
-Fancy junk
-Vacations, weddings, parties, etc.

Credit cards and school loans are the two largest risks to the financial security of those under 50 since banks love to compound interest to affect your credit score and make it tougher to take out more loans, not that you should with that much debt anyhow. With a low credit score and heavy debt, banks take advantage of you because you need aid to pay more for their services. Paying back debt is the challenge for most.

Choose Not Chosen

As a financial literacy advocate and blogger, I prefer not to brag, but I will now. I know what to buy and what to avoid. My parents educated me to live a frugal, minimalist stealth wealth lifestyle by choice, not because we had to.

That's the lesson.

The poorest person who shows off with bling is trying to seem rich.

Rich people know garbage is a bad investment. Investing in education is one of the best long-term investments. With information, you can do anything.

Good with money shun some items out of respect and appreciation for what they have.

Less is more.

Instead of copying the Joneses, use what you have. They may look cheerful and stylish in their 20k ft home, yet they may be as broke as OJ Simpson in his 20-bedroom mansion.

Let's look at what appears good to follow and maintain your wealth.

#1: Quality comes before quantity

Being frugal doesn't entail being cheap and cruel. Rich individuals care about relationships and treating others correctly, not impressing them. You don't have to be rich to be good with money, although most are since they don't live the fantasy lifestyle.

Underspending is appreciating what you have.

Many people believe organic food is the same as washing chemical-laden produce. Hopefully. Organic, vegan, fresh vegetables from upstate may be more expensive in the short term, but they will help you live longer and save you money in the long run.

Consider. You'll save thousands a month eating McDonalds 3x a day instead of fresh seafood, veggies, and organic fruit, but your life will be shortened. If you want to save money and die early, go ahead, but I assume we all want to break the world record for longest person living and would rather spend less. Plus, elderly people get tax breaks, medicare, pensions, 401ks, etc. You're living for free, therefore eating fast food forever is a terrible decision.

With a few longer years, you may make hundreds or millions more in the stock market, spend more time with family, and just live.

Folks, health is wealth.

Consider the future benefit, not simply the cash sign. Cheapness is useless.

Same with stuff. Don't stock your closet with fast-fashion you can't wear for years. Buying inexpensive goods that will fail tomorrow is stupid.

Investing isn't only in stocks. You're living. Consume less.

#2: If you cannot afford it twice, you cannot afford it once

I learned this from my dad in 6th grade. I've been lucky to travel, experience things, go to a great university, and conduct many experiments that others without a stable, decent lifestyle can afford.

I didn't live this way because of my parents' paycheck or financial knowledge.

Saving and choosing caused it.

I always bring cash when I shop. I ditch Apple Pay and credit cards since I can spend all I want on even if my account bounces.

Banks are nasty. When you lose it, they profit.

Cash hinders banks' profits. Carrying a big, hefty wallet with cash is lame and annoying, but it's the best method to only spend what you need. Not for vacation, but for tiny daily expenses.

Physical currency lets you know how much you have for lunch or a taxi.

It's physical, thus losing it prevents debt.

If you can't afford it, it will harm more than help.

#3: You really can purchase happiness with money.

If used correctly, yes.

Happiness and satisfaction differ.

It won't bring you fulfillment because you must work hard on your own to help others, but you can travel and meet individuals you wouldn't otherwise meet.

You can meet your future co-worker or strike a deal while waiting an hour in first class for takeoff, or you can meet renowned people at a networking brunch.

Seen a pattern here?

Your time and money are best spent on connections. Not automobiles or firearms. That’s just stuff. It doesn’t make you a better person.

Be different if you've earned less. Instead of trying to win the lotto or become an NFL star for your first big salary, network online for free.

Be resourceful. Sign up for LinkedIn, post regularly, and leave unengaged posts up because that shows power.

Consistency is beneficial.

I did that for a few months and met amazing people who helped me get jobs. Money doesn't create jobs, it creates opportunities.

Resist social media and scammers that peddle false hopes.

Choose wisely.

#4: Avoid gushing over titles and purchasing trash.

As Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reports, “Showing off wealth is no longer the way to signify having wealth. In the US particularly, the top 1% have been spending less on material goods since 2007.”

I checked my closet. No brand comes to mind. I've never worn a brand's logo and rotate 6 white shirts daily. I have my priorities and don't waste money or effort on clothing that won't fit me in a year.

Unless it's your full-time work, clothing shouldn't be part of our mornings.

Lifestyle of stealth wealth. You're so fulfilled that seeming homeless won't hurt your self-esteem.

That's self-assurance.

Extroverts aren't required.

That's irrelevant.

Showing off won't win you friends.

They'll like your personality.

#5: Time is the most valuable commodity.

Being rich doesn't entail working 24/7 M-F.

They work when they are ready to work.

Waking up at 5 a.m. won't make you a millionaire, but it will inculcate diligence and tenacity in you.

You have a busy day yet want to exercise. You can skip the workout or wake up at 4am instead of 6am to do it.

Emotion-driven lazy bums stay in bed.

Those that are accountable keep their promises because they know breaking one will destroy their week.

Since 7th grade, I've worked out at 5am for myself, not to impress others. It gives me greater energy to contribute to others, especially on weekends and holidays.

It's a habit that I have in my life.

Find something that you take seriously and makes you a better person.

As someone who is close to becoming a millionaire and has encountered them throughout my life, I can share with you a few important differences that have shaped who we are as a society based on the weekends:

-Read

-Sleep

-Best time to work with no distractions

-Eat together

-Take walks and be in nature

-Gratitude

-Major family time

-Plan out weeks

-Go grocery shopping because health = wealth

#6. Perspective is Important

Timing the markets will slow down your career. Professors preach scarcity, not abundance. Why should school teach success? They give us bad advice.

If you trust in abundance and luck by attempting and experimenting, growth will come effortlessly. Passion isn't a term that just appears. Mistakes and fresh people help. You can get money. If you don't think it's worth it, you won't.

You don’t have to be wealthy to be good at money, but most are for these reasons.  Rich is a mindset, wealth is power. Prioritize your resources. Invest in yourself, knowing the toughest part is starting.

Thanks for reading!

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The woman

The woman

17 days ago

Why Google's Hiring Process is Brilliant for Top Tech Talent

Without a degree and experience, you can get a high-paying tech job.

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Most organizations follow this hiring rule: you chat with HR, interview with your future boss and other senior managers, and they make the final hiring choice.

If you've ever applied for a job, you know how arduous it can be. A newly snapped photo and a glossy resume template can wear you out. Applying to Google can change this experience.

According to an Universum report, Google is one of the world's most coveted employers. It's not simply the search giant's name and reputation that attract candidates, but its role requirements or lack thereof.

Candidates no longer need a beautiful resume, cover letter, Ivy League laurels, or years of direct experience. The company requires no degree or experience.

Elon Musk started it. He employed the two-hands test to uncover talented non-graduates. The billionaire eliminated the requirement for experience.

Google is deconstructing traditional employment with programs like the Google Project Management Degree, a free online and self-paced professional credential course.

Google's hiring is interesting. After its certification course, applicants can work in project management. Instead of academic degrees and experience, the company analyzes coursework.

Google finds the best project managers and technical staff in exchange. Google uses three strategies to find top talent.

Chase down the innovators

Google eliminates restrictions like education, experience, and others to find the polar bear amid the snowfall. Google's free project management education makes project manager responsibilities accessible to everyone.

Many jobs don't require a degree. Overlooking individuals without a degree can make it difficult to locate a candidate who can provide value to a firm.

Firsthand knowledge follows the same rule. A lack of past information might be an employer's benefit. This is true for creative teams or businesses that prefer to innovate.

Or when corporations conduct differently from the competition. No-experience candidates can offer fresh perspectives. Fast Company reports that people with no sales experience beat those with 10 to 15 years of experience.

Give the aptitude test first priority.

Google wants the best candidates. Google wouldn't be able to receive more applications if it couldn't screen them for fit. Its well-organized online training program can be utilized as a portfolio.

Google learns a lot about an applicant through completed assignments. It reveals their ability, leadership style, communication capability, etc. The course mimics the job to assess candidates' suitability.

Basic screening questions might provide information to compare candidates. Any size small business can use screening questions and test projects to evaluate prospective employees.

Effective training for employees

Businesses must train employees regardless of their hiring purpose. Formal education and prior experience don't guarantee success. Maintaining your employees' professional knowledge gaps is key to their productivity and happiness. Top-notch training can do that. Learning and development are key to employee engagement, says Bob Nelson, author of 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees.

Google's online certification program isn't available everywhere. Improving the recruiting process means emphasizing aptitude over experience and a degree. Instead of employing new personnel and having them work the way their former firm trained them, train them how you want them to function.

If you want to know more about Google’s recruiting process, we recommend you watch the movie “Internship.”

Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio

4 months ago

The latest “bubble indicator” readings.

As you know, I like to turn my intuition into decision rules (principles) that can be back-tested and automated to create a portfolio of alpha bets. I use one for bubbles. Having seen many bubbles in my 50+ years of investing, I described what makes a bubble and how to identify them in markets—not just stocks.

A bubble market has a high degree of the following:

  1. High prices compared to traditional values (e.g., by taking the present value of their cash flows for the duration of the asset and comparing it with their interest rates).
  2. Conditons incompatible with long-term growth (e.g., extrapolating past revenue and earnings growth rates late in the cycle).
  3. Many new and inexperienced buyers were drawn in by the perceived hot market.
  4. Broad bullish sentiment.
  5. Debt financing a large portion of purchases.
  6. Lots of forward and speculative purchases to profit from price rises (e.g., inventories that are more than needed, contracted forward purchases, etc.).

I use these criteria to assess all markets for bubbles. I have periodically shown you these for stocks and the stock market.

What Was Shown in January Versus Now

I will first describe the picture in words, then show it in charts, and compare it to the last update in January.

As of January, the bubble indicator showed that a) the US equity market was in a moderate bubble, but not an extreme one (ie., 70 percent of way toward the highest bubble, which occurred in the late 1990s and late 1920s), and b) the emerging tech companies (ie. As well, the unprecedented flood of liquidity post-COVID financed other bubbly behavior (e.g. SPACs, IPO boom, big pickup in options activity), making things bubbly. I showed which stocks were in bubbles and created an index of those stocks, which I call “bubble stocks.”

Those bubble stocks have popped. They fell by a third last year, while the S&P 500 remained flat. In light of these and other market developments, it is not necessarily true that now is a good time to buy emerging tech stocks.

The fact that they aren't at a bubble extreme doesn't mean they are safe or that it's a good time to get long. Our metrics still show that US stocks are overvalued. Once popped, bubbles tend to overcorrect to the downside rather than settle at “normal” prices.

The following charts paint the picture. The first shows the US equity market bubble gauge/indicator going back to 1900, currently at the 40% percentile. The charts also zoom in on the gauge in recent years, as well as the late 1920s and late 1990s bubbles (during both of these cases the gauge reached 100 percent ).

The chart below depicts the average bubble gauge for the most bubbly companies in 2020. Those readings are down significantly.

The charts below compare the performance of a basket of emerging tech bubble stocks to the S&P 500. Prices have fallen noticeably, giving up most of their post-COVID gains.

The following charts show the price action of the bubble slice today and in the 1920s and 1990s. These charts show the same market dynamics and two key indicators. These are just two examples of how a lot of debt financing stock ownership coupled with a tightening typically leads to a bubble popping.

Everything driving the bubbles in this market segment is classic—the same drivers that drove the 1920s bubble and the 1990s bubble. For instance, in the last couple months, it was how tightening can act to prick the bubble. Review this case study of the 1920s stock bubble (starting on page 49) from my book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises to grasp these dynamics.

The following charts show the components of the US stock market bubble gauge. Since this is a proprietary indicator, I will only show you some of the sub-aggregate readings and some indicators.

Each of these six influences is measured using a number of stats. This is how I approach the stock market. These gauges are combined into aggregate indices by security and then for the market as a whole. The table below shows the current readings of these US equity market indicators. It compares current conditions for US equities to historical conditions. These readings suggest that we’re out of a bubble.

1. How High Are Prices Relatively?

This price gauge for US equities is currently around the 50th percentile.

2. Is price reduction unsustainable?

This measure calculates the earnings growth rate required to outperform bonds. This is calculated by adding up the readings of individual securities. This indicator is currently near the 60th percentile for the overall market, higher than some of our other readings. Profit growth discounted in stocks remains high.

Even more so in the US software sector. Analysts' earnings growth expectations for this sector have slowed, but remain high historically. P/Es have reversed COVID gains but remain high historical.

3. How many new buyers (i.e., non-existing buyers) entered the market?

Expansion of new entrants is often indicative of a bubble. According to historical accounts, this was true in the 1990s equity bubble and the 1929 bubble (though our data for this and other gauges doesn't go back that far). A flood of new retail investors into popular stocks, which by other measures appeared to be in a bubble, pushed this gauge above the 90% mark in 2020. The pace of retail activity in the markets has recently slowed to pre-COVID levels.

4. How Broadly Bullish Is Sentiment?

The more people who have invested, the less resources they have to keep investing, and the more likely they are to sell. Market sentiment is now significantly negative.

5. Are Purchases Being Financed by High Leverage?

Leveraged purchases weaken the buying foundation and expose it to forced selling in a downturn. The leverage gauge, which considers option positions as a form of leverage, is now around the 50% mark.

6. To What Extent Have Buyers Made Exceptionally Extended Forward Purchases?

Looking at future purchases can help assess whether expectations have become overly optimistic. This indicator is particularly useful in commodity and real estate markets, where forward purchases are most obvious. In the equity markets, I look at indicators like capital expenditure, or how much businesses (and governments) invest in infrastructure, factories, etc. It reflects whether businesses are projecting future demand growth. Like other gauges, this one is at the 40th percentile.

What one does with it is a tactical choice. While the reversal has been significant, future earnings discounting remains high historically. In either case, bubbles tend to overcorrect (sell off more than the fundamentals suggest) rather than simply deflate. But I wanted to share these updated readings with you in light of recent market activity.

Justin Kuepper

Justin Kuepper

5 months ago

Day Trading Introduction

Historically, only large financial institutions, brokerages, and trading houses could actively trade in the stock market. With instant global news dissemination and low commissions, developments such as discount brokerages and online trading have leveled the playing—or should we say trading—field. It's never been easier for retail investors to trade like pros thanks to trading platforms like Robinhood and zero commissions.

Day trading is a lucrative career (as long as you do it properly). But it can be difficult for newbies, especially if they aren't fully prepared with a strategy. Even the most experienced day traders can lose money.

So, how does day trading work?

Day Trading Basics

Day trading is the practice of buying and selling a security on the same trading day. It occurs in all markets, but is most common in forex and stock markets. Day traders are typically well educated and well funded. For small price movements in highly liquid stocks or currencies, they use leverage and short-term trading strategies.

Day traders are tuned into short-term market events. News trading is a popular strategy. Scheduled announcements like economic data, corporate earnings, or interest rates are influenced by market psychology. Markets react when expectations are not met or exceeded, usually with large moves, which can help day traders.

Intraday trading strategies abound. Among these are:

  • Scalping: This strategy seeks to profit from minor price changes throughout the day.
  • Range trading: To determine buy and sell levels, range traders use support and resistance levels.
  • News-based trading exploits the increased volatility around news events.
  • High-frequency trading (HFT): The use of sophisticated algorithms to exploit small or short-term market inefficiencies.

A Disputed Practice

Day trading's profit potential is often debated on Wall Street. Scammers have enticed novices by promising huge returns in a short time. Sadly, the notion that trading is a get-rich-quick scheme persists. Some daytrade without knowledge. But some day traders succeed despite—or perhaps because of—the risks.

Day trading is frowned upon by many professional money managers. They claim that the reward rarely outweighs the risk. Those who day trade, however, claim there are profits to be made. Profitable day trading is possible, but it is risky and requires considerable skill. Moreover, economists and financial professionals agree that active trading strategies tend to underperform passive index strategies over time, especially when fees and taxes are factored in.

Day trading is not for everyone and is risky. It also requires a thorough understanding of how markets work and various short-term profit strategies. Though day traders' success stories often get a lot of media attention, keep in mind that most day traders are not wealthy: Many will fail, while others will barely survive. Also, while skill is important, bad luck can sink even the most experienced day trader.

Characteristics of a Day Trader

Experts in the field are typically well-established professional day traders.
They usually have extensive market knowledge. Here are some prerequisites for successful day trading.

Market knowledge and experience

Those who try to day-trade without understanding market fundamentals frequently lose. Day traders should be able to perform technical analysis and read charts. Charts can be misleading if not fully understood. Do your homework and know the ins and outs of the products you trade.

Enough capital

Day traders only use risk capital they can lose. This not only saves them money but also helps them trade without emotion. To profit from intraday price movements, a lot of capital is often required. Most day traders use high levels of leverage in margin accounts, and volatile market swings can trigger large margin calls on short notice.

Strategy

A trader needs a competitive advantage. Swing trading, arbitrage, and trading news are all common day trading strategies. They tweak these strategies until they consistently profit and limit losses.

Strategy Breakdown:

Type | Risk | Reward

Swing Trading | High | High
Arbitrage | Low | Medium
Trading News | Medium | Medium
Mergers/Acquisitions | Medium | High

Discipline

A profitable strategy is useless without discipline. Many day traders lose money because they don't meet their own criteria. “Plan the trade and trade the plan,” they say. Success requires discipline.

Day traders profit from market volatility. For a day trader, a stock's daily movement is appealing. This could be due to an earnings report, investor sentiment, or even general economic or company news.

Day traders also prefer highly liquid stocks because they can change positions without affecting the stock's price. Traders may buy a stock if the price rises. If the price falls, a trader may decide to sell short to profit.

A day trader wants to trade a stock that moves (a lot).

Day Trading for a Living

Professional day traders can be self-employed or employed by a larger institution.

Most day traders work for large firms like hedge funds and banks' proprietary trading desks. These traders benefit from direct counterparty lines, a trading desk, large capital and leverage, and expensive analytical software (among other advantages). By taking advantage of arbitrage and news events, these traders can profit from less risky day trades before individual traders react.

Individual traders often manage other people’s money or simply trade with their own. They rarely have access to a trading desk, but they frequently have strong ties to a brokerage (due to high commissions) and other resources. However, their limited scope prevents them from directly competing with institutional day traders. Not to mention more risks. Individuals typically day trade highly liquid stocks using technical analysis and swing trades, with some leverage. 

Day trading necessitates access to some of the most complex financial products and services. Day traders usually need:

Access to a trading desk

Traders who work for large institutions or manage large sums of money usually use this. The trading or dealing desk provides these traders with immediate order execution, which is critical during volatile market conditions. For example, when an acquisition is announced, day traders interested in merger arbitrage can place orders before the rest of the market.

News sources

The majority of day trading opportunities come from news, so being the first to know when something significant happens is critical. It has access to multiple leading newswires, constant news coverage, and software that continuously analyzes news sources for important stories.

Analytical tools

Most day traders rely on expensive trading software. Technical traders and swing traders rely on software more than news. This software's features include:

  • Automatic pattern recognition: It can identify technical indicators like flags and channels, or more complex indicators like Elliott Wave patterns.

  • Genetic and neural applications: These programs use neural networks and genetic algorithms to improve trading systems and make more accurate price predictions.

  • Broker integration: Some of these apps even connect directly to the brokerage, allowing for instant and even automatic trade execution. This reduces trading emotion and improves execution times.

  • Backtesting: This allows traders to look at past performance of a strategy to predict future performance. Remember that past results do not always predict future results.

Together, these tools give traders a competitive advantage. It's easy to see why inexperienced traders lose money without them. A day trader's earnings potential is also affected by the market in which they trade, their capital, and their time commitment.

Day Trading Risks

Day trading can be intimidating for the average investor due to the numerous risks involved. The SEC highlights the following risks of day trading:

Because day traders typically lose money in their first months of trading and many never make profits, they should only risk money they can afford to lose.
Trading is a full-time job that is stressful and costly: Observing dozens of ticker quotes and price fluctuations to spot market trends requires intense concentration. Day traders also spend a lot on commissions, training, and computers.
Day traders heavily rely on borrowing: Day-trading strategies rely on borrowed funds to make profits, which is why many day traders lose everything and end up in debt.
Avoid easy profit promises: Avoid “hot tips” and “expert advice” from day trading newsletters and websites, and be wary of day trading educational seminars and classes. 

Should You Day Trade?
As stated previously, day trading as a career can be difficult and demanding.

  • First, you must be familiar with the trading world and know your risk tolerance, capital, and goals.
  • Day trading also takes a lot of time. You'll need to put in a lot of time if you want to perfect your strategies and make money. Part-time or whenever isn't going to cut it. You must be fully committed.
  • If you decide trading is for you, remember to start small. Concentrate on a few stocks rather than jumping into the market blindly. Enlarging your trading strategy can result in big losses.
  • Finally, keep your cool and avoid trading emotionally. The more you can do that, the better. Keeping a level head allows you to stay focused and on track.
    If you follow these simple rules, you may be on your way to a successful day trading career.

Is Day Trading Illegal?

Day trading is not illegal or unethical, but it is risky. Because most day-trading strategies use margin accounts, day traders risk losing more than they invest and becoming heavily in debt.

How Can Arbitrage Be Used in Day Trading?

Arbitrage is the simultaneous purchase and sale of a security in multiple markets to profit from small price differences. Because arbitrage ensures that any deviation in an asset's price from its fair value is quickly corrected, arbitrage opportunities are rare.

Why Don’t Day Traders Hold Positions Overnight?

Day traders rarely hold overnight positions for several reasons: Overnight trades require more capital because most brokers require higher margin; stocks can gap up or down on overnight news, causing big trading losses; and holding a losing position overnight in the hope of recovering some or all of the losses may be against the trader's core day-trading philosophy.

What Are Day Trader Margin Requirements?

Regulation D requires that a pattern day trader client of a broker-dealer maintain at all times $25,000 in equity in their account.

How Much Buying Power Does Day Trading Have?

Buying power is the total amount of funds an investor has available to trade securities. FINRA rules allow a pattern day trader to trade up to four times their maintenance margin excess as of the previous day's close.

The Verdict

Although controversial, day trading can be a profitable strategy. Day traders, both institutional and retail, keep the markets efficient and liquid. Though day trading is still popular among novice traders, it should be left to those with the necessary skills and resources.