Ask Colin

How can I assess if I am suited to share trading as a full -time or part-time job?

I doubt there is any simple answer to this or any simple test that can be applied. I suggest you read widely about trading, traders and psychology, to get a feel for what trading requires and all of the different types of people who have been successful.

There are, I think some key ingredients, without which you might struggle, or even fail:

1. No fear of hard work and a preparedness to do whatever it takes to succeed. It will be harder and take longer to learn that you ever imagined.

2. An ability to think things out for yourself and to question and assess everything you read or hear. Nobody is going to be able to do it for you. You must do the thinking for yourself and be comfortable that you can work out the answers for yourself.

3. An ability to be comfortable making decisions by yourself without reference to anyone else. If you have been in a profession where this has been required over many years, you will have a flying start. Some people simply never learn to make decisions for themselves because they were brought up to be consensus people.

4. A very deep knowledge of yourself in terms of attitudes, beliefs, risk tolerance and your general psychological makeup. Your trading method must be comfortable with you as a total person or you will fail. If you do not know who you are, you cannot devise a plan to suit you. If you try to hide from yourself in the market, the market will hone in on your weaknesses and make you pay dearly. It may take you several years of introspection and study to come to a clear and honest view of yourself.

These are probably not what you expected and you may not see these points elsewhere. They are my personal view based on my experience. In particular, you will see lots of advertisements telling you how easy it is and how quickly you can learn to trade. They are very good at telling people what they want to hear, rather than the reality. Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is and that a fool is quickly parted from his money by rogues.

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