Trading Gear 

The Hardware

Trading is about working quickly, which means your equipment must be very fast. There are conflicting suggestions and opinions about what kind of computer to get. Apple or Windows?  

What is important, however, is that your computer can boot up Windows 7 or 10. Apple’s OS is incompatible with most critical trading tools.

Your computer is going to need some impressive stats. A fast processor is a must, as is enough memory and RAM to avoid lag. Experts recommend a minimum 1 gig of RAM, and a 40 GB hard drive to start, I say minimum 8 gigs for Ram (more the better) and 500 gigs of hard drive. A laptop is not going to cut it for this task. Go for a desktop. Have a laptop for traveling, or when you are on the go. If you loose your Wi-Fi connection, you can use your smart phone as a hotspot. 

Multiple monitors are valuable tools, and worth investing money in. Between three and four monitors is common, but some investors have reported seeing traders using 12 monitors at a time. This is unnecessary; if you’re using 12 monitors, you probably need to get rid of a few.

When you set up your monitors, make sure to calibrate the brightness settings to avoid straining your eyes during long trading days.

 

The Software

You’re going to need a lot of data and platforms to get started in trading. Both new and experienced traders can benefit from using one of the many trading software options available in the market to support their trading decisions. Automated and manual trading software's are available with varying levels of sophistication to meet different needs. All brokers will provide you with trading software to help you with setups based on your trading strategy and when to enter/exit trades.

Charting software will also help you observe patterns over short-and long-term periods that allows you to track changes. There are many online options that can accomplish this, often for free. TradingView.com is that platform. TradingView has everything you need to start.

Finally, stocks, currencies, commodities, and other investments are often affected by news, particularly on a day-to-day basis. Breaking news providers can help you react to news that impacts your trades quickly. Please reference Fundamental Analysis for more information.

Other Considerations

Your internet connection needs to be fast, stable and strong in order to trade successfully. Don’t skimp on your internet provider, and go for a high-speed connection. If you’re unlucky enough to be in an area with poor WiFi, consider a signal booster to increase your reception. If possible a wired connection is preferred. When checking your internet, you want to make sure that pages can load immediately and you don’t experience any lag in data. Here are questions to ask for the perfect set up.

#1 Do you have a home office or private work area? Trading requires you to focus. There are no if, ands, or buts about it. You can’t use your dining room at night for family dinners and then think you are going to convert the dinner table into your trading headquarters the following morning. You need the privacy. If you are in an area of your home that is accessible to everyone without a door, this will not work.

#2 Do you have access to a high speed internet? You need high speed internet and preferably a direct LAN connection from your provider to your home. The markets move extremely fast. I’ve seen traders’ screens lock up as they are putting on trades because their connections are too slow.  Do not let this happen to you.

#3 Do you have a big desk? You are going to need a pretty big desk. Think about it, if you have 3 screens for trading with an average screen of 20+ inches, your desk will need to be 5+ feet in length at a minimum. Having a decent size desk will allow you to comfortably place the screens next to each without making you feel cramped.

#4 Do you have a comfortable chair? Depending on your trading style, you could be sitting for a few hours or up to 8+ hours per day. Since you will be sitting for long hours, your chair needs to provide the right amount of back support to prevent cramping.

#5 Do you have a powerful desktop computer? When I say powerful, I am not suggesting you need to go spend thousands of dollars, but your trading computer should have the ability to multitask between a dozen or so screens that are streaming data. Assuming you are using more than one monitor, you will also need multiple video cards so you can power all of those beautiful 20+ inch  monitors.

#6 Will you only use your trading computer for trading? You nor your family members should not be using your computer for entertainment purposes. Do not allow anyone to use your trading computer. Get an inexpensive laptop for others to do whatever they like to do.

#7 Do you have a backup computer and an alternate means of accessing the web? At any given time either your computer or internet connection could fail you. With more and more powerful storms hitting the US, you may lose your internet connection and or power for a few hours. To combat this make sure you have the following: Have an extra laptop handy. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but just enough that you can finish up the trading day. Make sure the backup machine is fully charged. You may be stuck without power for a few hours. Have another internet service provider, in the event your provider has issues. Another option is to set up your phone as a hotspot; not an ideal solution, but it will work. Make sure all your equipment is connected to a heavy duty surge protector that cuts off power.

#8 Does your room have windows? It may be a nice to have but being able to look out the window for a few rays can be a positive and uplifting experience. Don't have a window? Make sure to take breaks and get some fresh air. Being at the charts all day can be taxing. 

#9 Can you follow a schedule when day trading at home? At work you always had a schedule, whether you wanted to admit it or not. No matter how flexible your boss, you were expected to work a set minimum number of hours during the day or week. Your trading at home operation should be no different. Have a set time every morning that you will be in your chair ready to start researching your trades for the day. Also, think about when you plan on taking lunch. Depending on how ambitious you are, you may be saying to yourself, “I’ll just power through it."  Wrong. You need to eat; it provides you much needed energy and also gives you a break from the trading day. I’m not suggesting you take a 2-hour lunch every day, but a 30-minute or 1-hour break will do you and your trading some good.

#10 Do you have your Family’s/Friend's support? While they may not understand the details of your trading, you will undoubtedly need their support. There is simply no way you will be able to pull this off without them. In terms of trading at home, they are a part of your business, simply because they are also at home. Will they respect your office boundaries and not constantly walk in and out of your space?  Are they prepared to keep the rest of the house quiet, so you can focus on your trading activity? Could you handle when there is tension in the air?  Will you still be able to approach each and every trading day with confidence?

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