quitting job to day trade for a living, Need Advice
June 3, 2016 4:58 PM   Subscribe

male, 43 yrs old, married with two kids (7 and 2), the only wage earner in the family. i know this step is incredibly risky and probably selfish too, but i am tired of my job and don't see a future even assuming i finally climb to the top of my career track. figure this is probably my last chance to do sth i would remember on my death bed. details below

geography: cheap part of NYC
saving: 12K net cash (after credit card debt)
investment: 15K, some stocks are in big red though
roth contribution which i can withdraw tax free and penalty free:48K
pension lump sum pay-out: 37K after 20% tax withholding if i don't roll it over, possible additional penalty late on (?)
family budget if i quit: 7K/month, including family health insurance (which i would have to buy on my own if i quit) 1.8K/month and car loan $800/month, no mortgage.

Questions: 1. any financial maneuvers i shall consider, e.g., register a company to collect legit expenses if i trade for a living? 2. any advice, ideas, comments, criticism, past experience, 2nd hand stories, all welcome and appreciated....

thank you for your time!
posted by kingfish to Work & Money (141 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
i know this step is incredibly risky and probably selfish too

You are correct on both points.

Please do not do this. You have given no indication you can possibly succeed at this. All odds are against you. If this was a reasonable career track, then it would not be possible to make money doing it (as everyone would be doing it).
posted by saeculorum at 5:03 PM on June 3, 2016 [51 favorites]


Your numbers don't make sense. You don't have enough cash to net $7k/month, especially considering taxes. You didn't mention a partner, but if you were my spouse I would feel incredibly scared.
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:05 PM on June 3, 2016 [32 favorites]


Wow, no, I don't understand what about your situation makes you think this is anything other than a terrible idea. Not to mention what about day trading for a living makes you think it's something to remember on your deathbed...
posted by town of cats at 5:08 PM on June 3, 2016 [14 favorites]


You're feeling restless, and you're fantasizing. Day trading is no better than taking all your savings and deciding to become a professional gambler. Think more realistically about what actually makes sense. If you don't like your current job, what other field could you enter which would be more interesting to you, and make a plan for getting there.

Raising a family, having a wife, kids and grandkids who love you. That's what you want to remember on your deathbed. Not some midlife crisis harebrained scheme.
posted by mono blanco at 5:09 PM on June 3, 2016 [22 favorites]


You lost me at "cheap part of NYC." This is a really bad idea.
posted by something something at 5:09 PM on June 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


thanks for commenting.

1. this is not joke, i am deciding this weekend

2. wife doesn't work

3. i am not asking for day trading advice, rather any financial planning advice

4. all the $ in my post is essentially my funding plan for a family of 4, assuming i don't make a cent in trading
posted by kingfish at 5:10 PM on June 3, 2016


I do not recommend quitting until you have 6mos of expenses saved up (so $7k x 6mos = $42k) PLUS operating costs for your business (so, $50k?). Do not withdraw from your Roth; that is an emergency fund at best, not an operating/daily expenses fund.
posted by samthemander at 5:12 PM on June 3, 2016 [21 favorites]


Tell us exactly why you are sure you will not lose all of this money. Do you know anything at all about trading stocks? Also, does your WIFE get a say in this?
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:12 PM on June 3, 2016 [16 favorites]


all the $ in my post is essentially my funding plan for a family of 4, assuming i don't make a cent in trading

The problem isn't if you don't make a cent in day-trading. Not making a cent in trading is literally the statistical expected outcome of day-trading; if it were possible to make an expected profit, then again, everyone would do it.

The problem is if you lose your entire savings day trading, causing your notional budget to be not only meaningless, but incredibly devastating to your family.

3. i am not asking for day trading advice, rather any financial planning advice

My financial planning advice is not to do this.
posted by saeculorum at 5:13 PM on June 3, 2016 [16 favorites]


You have far less money in savings than I do and I live in a cheap city and have no debt and no children, and I would still not do this. You have little kids and no other source of income. You need to think about how you're going to feed your family if this plan goes south. Work hard for a year and save as much as you can and then reevaluate.
posted by something something at 5:15 PM on June 3, 2016 [17 favorites]


Go for it and have fun! If you fail you can always get a day job again.
posted by paulcole at 5:16 PM on June 3, 2016


yes, like i said, this is very very risky.

but anecdotally there dose seem to be about 5 to 10% folks who tried and succeeded to trade to put food on table.

i am not saying i'm in that 5 to 10%, but if i don't try, i would never know
posted by kingfish at 5:17 PM on June 3, 2016


So how much have you made trading in your spare time to justify putting full time effort into it? You've done this lots and are pretty good at it, yeah?
posted by ryanrs at 5:17 PM on June 3, 2016 [49 favorites]


Wait, you want to earn a living in financial trading, and you've posted _those_ numbers?

Wow.

Don't quit your day job, my friend. Trust us.
posted by dbiedny at 5:18 PM on June 3, 2016 [62 favorites]


You can not do this- you do not have enough money and the fact that you don't know that makes me sure you should not do this. You're talking about throwing away not only your current salary but your retirement savings too?? Nooooooooo. You have to find another avenue for adventure-seeking. Rock climbing? Ironman? MMA?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:19 PM on June 3, 2016 [27 favorites]


but anecdotally there dose seem to be about 5 to 10% folks who tried and succeeded to trade to put food on table.

If you take $100 and take a series of three double or nothing bets, 6.25% of people will end up with $800.

This is not an indication that you should gamble your life savings away.

Please do not do this.
posted by saeculorum at 5:20 PM on June 3, 2016 [24 favorites]


Not to pile on, but the fact that you mentioned credit card debt (unless you're talking about month to month expenses and you're not paying interest on that cc debt) and investments that are already in the red are also red flags. nthing advice to not do this and find a less risky job to change to.
posted by TwoWordReview at 5:21 PM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


i am not saying i'm in that 5 to 10%, but if i don't try, i would never know

And if you do try, there is a 90-95% chance that your children will be homeless? Why does this sound like a good idea to you?
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:21 PM on June 3, 2016 [20 favorites]


again am really appreciative of all the feedback.

1. i have additional retirement saving. basically anything i can't withdraw without penalty are not in my post (except the pension lump sum)

2. i love trading, and know how risky it is, but again this post has nothing to do with that.
posted by kingfish at 5:22 PM on June 3, 2016


If you are tired of your job, why not get another job? Hell, why not get another job and trade on the side?

Does your wife know you are thinking about doing this?

What will you do if you lose everything?
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:23 PM on June 3, 2016 [13 favorites]


There's no financial advice that doesn't involve your income. You're giving up the steady paycheck that's feeding your family so you can have a notional feeling of fulfillment on your deathbed? That's a dick move, my friend.

Instead, why not find a new job, work on lowering household expenses until you can amass a few thousand in savings, and then play the markets with that in your spare time?

Or be an adult and buy life insurance so your family doesn't go into debt for your funeral. Up to you, really.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:30 PM on June 3, 2016 [13 favorites]


Is there perhaps a chance that you might be experiencing a manic episode? Before doing this, you might consider checking in with a trusted loved one or perhaps your therapist for their take.
posted by mcduff at 5:33 PM on June 3, 2016 [92 favorites]


"Registering a company" doesn't magically transform personal expenses and capital losses into ordinary losses.

Tax court is littered with day traders taking those positions, and they almost always lose.
posted by jpe at 5:33 PM on June 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


In terms of financial advice, I am staggered that you wouldn't consider a means to try day trading alongside another source of income at least for the next 6 months.

With only one income, it's kind of mind-numbing that you're considering this, frankly. If you'd been saying "I've been making $2-3,000 per month consistently day trading part time and I am considering jumping full time" this would be an entirely different question. One where SOME people may say go ahead and jump.

As presented, there is no financial sense in making this jump because of some ego-filling bullshit like "I want to make a decision I will make on my deathbed". Because I think this one will certainly be, if you go ahead with it, but not at all for the reasons you are hoping for.

Honestly, I searched your history because this question is so insane in the cold light of financial day that it seems like a stunt post/joke. In all seriousness is everything ok?
posted by Brockles at 5:34 PM on June 3, 2016 [44 favorites]


This is such a risky idea you should run it by a doctor.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:34 PM on June 3, 2016 [43 favorites]


This proposal is frankly scary, given your responsibilities and finances. Look for a new job (a steady one! with a paycheck!) if you hate the one you have now.

Have you considered setting up a paper money account to give this a go without risking any actual money?
posted by esoterrica at 5:36 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just showed your question to my stockbroker husband. He just slowly shook his head and said, "Oh boy."

From my point of view, you've just said you know how risky this is but your post has nothing to do with that, um... It has EVERYTHING to do with that. If you were only assuming risk for yourself and were happy to go live on the street if it didn't pan out, I'd say sure, it's not smart but you're the only one to get affected. But here, you're risking having your wife and toddler homeless on the street. Seriously. Are you really that selfish? Really?

If you don't like your job, the answer is to get another job, not burn everything you own to the ground.

Oh, and tell your wife because something tells me she has no idea whatsoever of your plans. Please report back, I would love to hear her opinion on this.
posted by Jubey at 5:36 PM on June 3, 2016 [31 favorites]


but anecdotally there dose seem to be about 5 to 10% folks who tried and succeeded to trade to put food on table. i am not saying i'm in that 5 to 10%, but if i don't try, i would never know

What kind of bullshit reasoning is this? "I could quit my job and join a field where 5-10% of people strike it rich and the other 90-95% bring financial ruin on themselves and their families, but I'll never know unless I try" - so you HAVE to put all your resources into this project with 5-10% odds of success or else miss out on some vaguely-defined knowledge about yourself? I mean, there's no way to know yourself that doesn't require a total commitment of all your family's resources? WTF.

i love trading

Huh. Do you love it enough to come up with a realistic plan to sustain your family while you put yourself through business school and then get your Series 7? Because I know some SEC registered representatives and those are the people who get to trade for a living, my friend. It is a career. You can educate yourself and train for it. What you can NOT do is quit your job and profit by keeping zerohedge open in one window and e-trade in the other for 12 hours a day. You might as well just set your money on fire.

Oh, and you make it sound like you have some other pool of money you'll use for trading, but as to the assets you recite in your post: I have like 5 times that much saved and I'm 5 years younger, with no kids, and I would DEFINITELY NOT quit my job to day trade. You have nowhere near the resources needed to make this realistic.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 5:38 PM on June 3, 2016 [26 favorites]


Nope. You are barely solvent, and have three souls depending on you. You present no reasons other than teenage dreaming. Nope, this is not an option for you.
posted by Dashy at 5:40 PM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


So you have $112K to invest and you need $7K/month for expenses? So you'd have to make an 84% return just to cover your living expenses?
posted by Grumpy old geek at 5:40 PM on June 3, 2016 [17 favorites]


I've worked in trading and investments for 15 years. This is a horrible idea.

First, your 5-10% number is way off. Maybe 5-10% of the people who are currently doing it are making enough to live off but that's not 5-10% of the people who have TRIED to do it. Success rates are well below that.

Second, and more importantly, this decision in and of itself is a bad trade. You're throwing everything on one hand, no margin of safety, no fallback plan and huge need for relatively large immediate income. If you are going to try to make a living day trading it's a grind and is all about loss management and making small, consistent profits. It's not about throwing it all on one hand. There's simply no way that can work over extended periods of time.

Third, you aren't even close to considering ticket charges. If you are going to day trade high frequency, you are going to get chopped up by ticketing charges. Day traders don't make money, day trading shops do by taking cuts. They're the house and they gate the rake. Transaction costs are going to kill you.

Finally, with your savings relative to costs you are going to be trading scared as soon as you have a loss and you're not going to be able to detach emotions from it.

I do know a guy who makes a living trading but he has multiples of your savings and relatively complicated options strategy. He also has outside investors and a second income. And he did it professionally for 10 years before he started on his own.
posted by limagringo at 5:40 PM on June 3, 2016 [54 favorites]


How do you know you 'love trading'? How much money, so far, have you made trading?
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:41 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Was just going to post what Grumpy old geek said. A good index fund returns about 5-10 percent a year over many years. Starting with $112K you will need returns an order of magnitude greater. This is simply not possible. For the financial security of yourself and your family please do not do this.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:48 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Please oh please either say that you are joking, or stop yourself before you do great harm to your family.

You say you need $7k per month as family budget. That is $84k per year, right?

So, in order to "break even" at this - i.e., not constantly be eating into your savings, not be constantly losing net worth - you have to make substantially more than $84k per year from your trading (because, you know, income tax). Call it roughly $100k per year income from your day trading, maybe more.

How in the world do you imagine that you have a chance of earning that much in day trading, in the next year, from the pot that you are starting with (even assuming that you are prepared to invest ALL of it)?
posted by sheldman at 5:52 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


investment: 15K, some stocks are in big red though

Why do you think you are any good at trading then?
posted by AFABulous at 6:05 PM on June 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Your deathbed? You're worried about regretting not becoming a day trader on your deathbed? You know what you should be worried about regretting on your deathbed? Putting your wife in the position of having to bail your entire family out when all this goes south and you've destroyed the stability she and your children presently enjoy.

You are setting up yourself and your loved ones for a lifetime of regrets -- not to mention anger, sorrow, anxiety, shame, and a lot of other facets of pain -- because of what you know full well is a selfish whim.

You've got two kids. You don't get to put yourself first until they're adults. If you do, and it goes badly -- and you have absolutely no reason to expect that it won't -- they will pay the price for the rest of their lives.

What's that you were saying about regret?
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 6:10 PM on June 3, 2016 [23 favorites]


If my partner did this, I would leave. Like that, boom. I'd leave, what's more, while there were still some assets to split. This is such a bad idea and your responses are so odd that I am actually worried that you might be having a first manic episode without realizing it. If you were my friend and you were proposing this, I would do everything in my power to talk you down, and I would tell your wife all about it too.

Why not set aside either a paper account or a little mad money and try it out for a year first? Think about how great you'll feel if it's June 2017 and you can say "I parlayed $1000 into [some ginormous sum, whatever that would be with a good return]". And think how relieved you'll be if it's June 2017 and you lost your shirt...but it turns out that your shirt was only $1000 and not all your money.

You must be making pretty good money right now, too, if you have $84,000 plus savings after taxes and retirement contributions. Don't throw away a job where you make good money, really don't. I will probably max out my earnings at less than half what you make right now, and I'm telling you that you really should not underestimate how much less your life sucks when you make a decent income.
posted by Frowner at 6:12 PM on June 3, 2016 [28 favorites]


I know someone (a really smart guy in all other matters btw) that decided to take a bunch of his money that he had earned from a business he started and do day trading. He doesn't have a wife or kids. Now he has defaulted on his debt on his way to declaring bankruptcy (he ended up about 200K in the hole) and his 65 year old mother sends him money for rent.

DO NOT DO THIS

DO NOT DO THIS

DO NOT DO THIS

He still won't admit that he made a poor choice, saying that it was just a bad bet. Day traders are pathological gamblers, and it's only the lucky ones that get out with their shirts.
posted by permiechickie at 6:16 PM on June 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


Have you spoken to your wife about this? What is her vote? Does she even know you're considering this? If my husband did this...I would first take him for a complete medical work-up, but then I would very possibly divorce him.

figure this is probably my last chance to do sth i would remember on my death bed.

Yes, and what you'll possibly be remembering is the time you lost all your family's money. Dude. You need to get a grip. I echo the people wondering if you are having a manic episode. This is a tremendously terrible thing to do to your family. Please take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Also: You are 43. You've probably got 40 years left (you are having a mid-life crisis, FYI, if not something worse). There are SO MANY THINGS you can do to remember on your death bed over the next forty years that will not bankrupt your family and ruin your children's safe, comfortable little lives. Like:

Climb a mountain.
Take up white-water rafting.
Sky diving!
Buy a motorcycle
Take your little children who depend on you to keep them safe and well-cared for to Disneyworld and enjoy how much they love it
Go back to school to LEARN how to be a trader and then switch careers
Watch your kids graduate from a college you were able to pay for, and start their lives without having the burden of knowing their father briefly lost his mind and bankrupted their family.

Seriously, I am friends with someone whose parent blew their family's entire financial future on a similar whim and it was a very bad scene for the kids, with far-reaching psychological consequences involving trust and relationships. Please think about what you are gambling away with regards to your two little kids, if not your wife.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 6:18 PM on June 3, 2016 [23 favorites]


Well, you'll definitely remember this on your deathbed if you do it. You'll remember the moment you quit with stunning clarity, the first failed trade, the second, the moment you realized that you threw it all away for no reason. You'll remember your kids being hungry. You'll remember your wife leaving you. You'll remember how sick you felt when you saw that she remarried on Facebook.

I speak from personal experience. I had something good once and I threw it all away for something messy, chaotic, and insane, something that seemed super sexy and like a great incredible wild leap, the stuff of which incredible movies and great books are made. I remember the way my stomach felt when I did this thing like it was yesterday. I can remember exactly where I was, everything about the moments leading up to it. I remember lots of horrible things afterwards, too. I regret my stupid choice like nothing else, in a life that I've tried largely to live quietly and methodically with no regrets. I think of this stupid thing every day, long after the aftermath has faded and my life is normal again.

You'll remember it, but you will not want to. Don't do this.
posted by sockermom at 6:18 PM on June 3, 2016 [46 favorites]


hi, guys and gals, i am reading every post. thanks a lot for straight talks, maybe i am indeed going through a manic depressive episode right this moment lol
posted by kingfish at 6:21 PM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also, look, I get being fortyish and feeling trapped, I really do. I've been thinking about that situation myself, and trying to figure a way out of it. Sometimes I too am tempted to chuck it all.

But really, if you want to do something to remember on your deathbed, there are tons of things you can do - learn krav maga, take up film-making, hike the Alps, teach your kid scuba diving, fish for sharks, whatever. Teach - if you have a skill or a field of knowledge (and I see from your previous questions that regardless of this plan you presumably understand the mechanics of finance) you can share it with people in your community and gain fame and importance that way. You have a decent income in a stable field, apparently, and that means you really can pursue some serious non-work interests that most people don't have money for.

You could throw all your effort into getting your debt cleared and moving toward early retirement, too. Extra years of freedom before your deathbed might turn out to be pretty sweet.

God, how is your relationship with your kids going to be when they look back and say "our family life was destroyed when my dad day traded away everything we had; also, now we have to care for him and our mother in their old age because they are broke as hell, due to the day trading". Your kids may still love you, but they won't respect you.
posted by Frowner at 6:22 PM on June 3, 2016 [10 favorites]


I so wish I could introduce you to my cautionary tale of a cousin who day traded away his several million dollar inheritance from his grandparents.... His siblings manage his finances now and give him an allowance.
posted by cecic at 6:23 PM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


High Speed algorithmic trading exists and pretty much guarantees that you will lose money. There are a lot of people who can, essentially, cheat, by basically seeing your trade (and everyone else's) before they happen. You will lose your shirt because the market is currently rigged against people like you. Don't do this, you don't have a 5-10% chance; you have no chance with the size of pot you have. You will go broke, do to the random vagaries of trading + fees before you hit it big. It's statistics.
posted by djinn dandy at 6:30 PM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


And one last comment - if your job is horrible and you're feeling stuck (even if well-paid!) try just making some kind of smaller positive change now and see if you can take the edge off some of the boredom and frustration. It would be a great time to do something you've been wanting to do for a while - I don't know whether that would be taking a trip, trying some smaller but still ambitious new project or what, but giving yourself some other exciting and different experience in life might help you to get on a more even keel so you can make a really good decision about how to change your life successfully. A taste of change, a chance to flex your muscles - that might take the edge off of your feelings.
posted by Frowner at 6:33 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


You really should take some small amount of money to test yourself on for the next year or two while you aggressively pay down debt and get a much bigger nest egg (unrelated to the small amount you're day trading). Then when you have no debt and enough savings to get through a year without an income, you can see whether you've made or lost money day trading -- you should do both real money and a (much larger amount) of paper money.

I'm fairly sure it will still be a terrible idea in 2 years, but you will also have paid down debt and have more savings, and will hopefully have found something else to do with your time that is fulfilling and won't bankrupt your family.
posted by jeather at 6:33 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


You'd do better financially if you quit your day job, live off savings and just practice day trading with fake money. Go for a walk and pick up pop cans for spare change and you'll come up significantly ahead than this plan. Invest your new found time on something you love, but not your money -- at least not on this.
posted by cgg at 6:34 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe you are joking about manic depression, but in case you are not:
I have bipolar disorder. Sometimes I have very bad ideas that seem absolutely rational. At these times I depend on my husband to be the rational one. Please send your wife this link: http://www.bipolarcaregivers.org/supporting-the-person/supporting-a-person-with-mania-or-hypomania
Hopefully you have a doctor who can help you right away. I'm sorry you are going through this.
posted by Biblio at 6:38 PM on June 3, 2016 [11 favorites]


thanks again

it is indeed risky, maybe i am raving mad, but i couldn't see how i can ruin my family for life by this scheme. essentially i am planning to make no money for a year while doing this.

worst case i am going back finding another job.

am i missing sth big?
posted by kingfish at 6:43 PM on June 3, 2016


You are too close to retirement age to do this with this little assets. It may seem like a lot, but even just looking at this off the top of my head, I don't think it is, even assuming you were to break even. This is a bad idea. If your spouse were working and you had two incomes and were both saving, that might be a little different, but I still think this is a bad idea. Look at different potential careers, look at going back to school, look at pivoting in your field (and doing more active trading while doing so), but this does not seem like a viable way forward.
posted by limeonaire at 6:46 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


The bit where you could not just "make no money" but lose all the money you have, and then your family can't afford rent or health insurance or food, and then you try and get another job and find out that as a 40-something with a year of unemployment nobody will hire you, so now you're broke, long term unemployed, and not supporting your family at all.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 6:48 PM on June 3, 2016 [40 favorites]


Why is it such a rush that you need to decide this weekend?

Assuming that you're wise enough not to borrow in order to trade -- you're not planning to, are you? -- then your first big problem is that you do not have a year of (a) money to cover your monthly expenses and (b) money to invest.
posted by jeather at 6:49 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is confusing - you outlined how you will pay the family bills, but you need extra money to trade with. How much capital do you have?

The way this is laid out seems very risky because you are talking about cashing out several retirement funds, which is kind of the savings of last resort (not typically your fun money). How much retirement savings do you have that you won't touch? Your savings rate seems really low for 43, so unless you have $1 million in retirement savings I am concerned this plan will also put your retirement at risk.

Why can't you day trade on the side? Or go back to school to actually be a professional trader with someone else's money?
posted by rainydayfilms at 6:49 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you have just enough money to last for a year in NYC without making significant money -- which you may or may not have depending on how you live -- then you still do not have enough money to deal with an expensive emergency, or a series of them. Even if you and your family are insured up and down (which I hope to god y'all are) in every applicable way you still run a risk of ending deeper in debt than your are capable of handling even with a new job without making significant sacrifices.
posted by griphus at 6:49 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Actually, maybe that is what you should do: Study and take the certifications required to become an actual stockbroker or trader. Do that while staying in your current job. Then become a stockbroker or analyst or trader.
posted by limeonaire at 6:50 PM on June 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Can you please tell us what your wife thinks of this?

Being cavalier about losing an entire year's worth of income in a one-income household with two young children is really worrying. I'm your same age and have got about your same level of assets (more of it liquid than you, actually)--different numbers because I live in a low cost of living city, but equivalent--and a working husband and only one child and I still periodically am kept up at night worrying about what if one of us loses our job. Have you talked to people who have been looking for a job for literally years? It happens. Very few people just step into a new job after a long period of unemployment. And you know some employers do credit checks now, right? In many lines of work, the hint that you're irresponsible with money or have a scary lot of debt makes you a risky hire. Employers are going to want to know why you have a gap on your resume. What will you say?

Seek help, my friend.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:51 PM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't think you understand. The worst case is not that you don't make any money. The worst case is that you lose it all and then some.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:06 PM on June 3, 2016 [10 favorites]


am i missing sth big?

You are missing the fact that it's extremely easy, in fact it is the most likely outcome, on average, for you to lose a couple percent of your investment nest egg on each trade and essentially slowly go broke that way. You have not articulated any reason why this is not likely to happen to you. In fact you seem almost in denial about the possibility of losing your whole investment when you trade stocks. You say "essentially i am planning to make no money for a year while doing this" but are seemingly unaware that a zero percent return on investment is far from the worst you could do. Minus 100% is a realistic worst-case. Unless you trade on margin, then frankly it could be even worse.

I am also disturbed that you have listed a bunch of assets that you seem to think of as a safety margin that justifies your plan, while at the same time you have been extremely cagey about exactly how much you'll be day trading and exactly where it is going to come from. It's like you're giving us partial information in the hopes that you'll convince us to say yeah, this is a great idea. If you want honest, informed feedback, give us full information.

Finally, yes it is also disturbing that you have not once addressed your wife's thoughts on all of this despite repeated requests about that issue.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 7:08 PM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


thank you all for the feedback.

ha ha, if my wife has one opinion or another, would i ask for thoughts here? she is very nice and we are happily married for over 10 years now, but she seems to be living in another planet, she is not really interested in knowing how unhappy i am about my work, even if she listens to my rant, her usual style is not to give any opinion, believe me, i tried...
posted by kingfish at 7:13 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


She's not the only one.

Your answers are extremely hard to take seriously, at this stage. You cannot possibly be so clueless as to think this is a viable plan if you consider the worst case of trading for a year to be 'not lose any money'. So far off base.
posted by Brockles at 7:15 PM on June 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


If your wife doesn't have an opinion yet, why not send her the link to this question and talk through the risks with her?
posted by salvia at 7:27 PM on June 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


H! I've seen this done by people with similar family stats. By dad has successfully day traded enough to make a living. It only took him a few hours a day. Here's what you need:

Several hundred thousand dollars in savings. An additional security fund that will pay a year's worth of your families income.

Experience in finance. Preferably a graduate degree but you can teach yourself.

Experience in the market. You need to practice day trading for several months and be confident you will win over the long haul. If you're not making more money than you need in practice, you may not start.

Ok, so you have nothing you need and even asking this question is probably a great reason to not do it. Also, my dad actually did this for almost zero months, because he felt like he was cheating society. Just taking money seemed wrong to him. And I would say he doesn't have an overly high moral standard. If you can do this, you can make a crappy ton of money is some more standard arena, like management of vping, or hedge funding etc.
posted by Kalmya at 7:28 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh and you don't need to be risk adverse. You just need a backup plan. Keep a year of expenses and your retirement accounts separate from anything you'd hedge or gamble. You don't have those things, so you should probably get them and then save your "gambling" money. You're basically upside down.
posted by Kalmya at 7:30 PM on June 3, 2016


but anecdotally there dose seem to be about 5 to 10% folks who tried and succeeded to trade to put food on table

Anecdotes don't mean a thing if they're cited to create statistics in this case.

some stocks are in big red though

You are provably bad at this. That means you're not going to be in the hypothetical 5%. As others have noted, your math is so incredibly unrealistic that you are almost

i couldn't see how i can ruin my family for life by this scheme. essentially i am planning to make no money for a year while doing this.

You currently have a woefully small amount of retirement savings and cash in hand. Your plan will destroy what little you have. If you can't comprehend how this will ruin your family, get to the doctor Monday morning and get yourself checked out.
posted by Candleman at 7:30 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you listen to your wife as well as you're listening to these replies it's no wonder she's given up and not offering her thoughts.

Seriously, if I were her and you insisted on doing this I'd insist on a divorce with alimony and child support upfront.

This is midlife crises territory, you need a therapist (and a financial planner).
posted by jrobin276 at 7:34 PM on June 3, 2016 [17 favorites]


I think your chances of success would be greater if you have more capital. People do live off of investment income, but they're usually starting with a bigger base. If you hate your job so much, it would really stink to have to go back! Why not delay this decision, talk to a financial planner to identify a target amount of capital, practice trading with a smaller amount of money, and save up for your real exit. That way you can be more sure you'll be able to laugh at your old boss (rather than having to call to ask for your job back!).
posted by salvia at 7:38 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


ha ha, monday morning doctor visit, i'd book that right away, if my nasty boss lets me take the day off
posted by kingfish at 7:38 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have traded for a living, no salary, a percentage of my profits, except for 5 years, since 1984.I was a floor trader on the exchanges in Chicago primarily on the cboe. I have trained scores of traders.

I cannot advise you on your finances. I have no idea what your tolerance for risk is and what your reaction will be when you are in a position to HAVE TO make money to make rent. All the folks saying don't do it are more indicating their own tolerance for risk. They should not trade for a living.

Having said that, to make 7k a month you will need to average $500 a day 4 days a week with the 5th day losing half your average profit. I do not know what your buying power will be, but $500 a day or about $85k a year would generally require at least double that in buying power if not more. Also, $500 a day is a pre-tax number. Probably need to average $800 gross.

I have no idea what your knowledge level is, but I recommend you get training from someone who has done it successfully for a while. It is going to take above all, discipline. Discipline to do what you know is right and also to not do what you know is wrong. Trading is at least 50% mental.

Good luck. Memail me if you want more feedback.
posted by AugustWest at 7:39 PM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


there are really a lot of good thoughts here, thanks
posted by kingfish at 7:39 PM on June 3, 2016


This is a such a bad idea that your wife should take the kids and split if you do this. You'll deserve it and they will be better off. Seriously.
posted by COD at 7:42 PM on June 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ok, in re your wife: I would feel really alone if my partner had no opinions about my life choices - even if I loved my partner a lot. Are you comfortable with this state of affairs?

Even if you are - well, let's assume that for personal, religious, mental health or cultural reasons your wife is totally dependent on you to make the money and the decisions. If that is the case, man, you can't fuck around. If you're all she's got and she can't look after herself financially, you have to play it safe. You can't just say that she might be on another planet. If you're deciding for her you really need to decide for her, in her interest to the best of your ability, even if it conflicts with your desires.
posted by Frowner at 7:42 PM on June 3, 2016 [14 favorites]


You wanted some 2nd hand stories about this. My cousin in laws husband quit work to do this, his wife now drives a truck interstate for a living to make sure her kids don't starve while her husband some months makes enough of a profit that he'll withdraw funds to go into the household budget. He does get to spend much more time with his kids, in their now tiny house in small town Midwestern USA as they couldn't afford to live in LA anymore & there were more trucking jobs around that area at the time.

Not sure how happy the husband is, know the cousin in law is pissed off & having an affair while on the road. The 3 kids like living in a small town in the Midwest though as they are nearer extended family so that's nice.
posted by wwax at 8:01 PM on June 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


monday morning doctor visit, i'd book that right away, if my nasty boss lets me take the day off

Call in sick. You're wanting to cash it all in anyway, right? Why not start by just cashing in a bit of the paid time off that you've accrued?
posted by salvia at 8:03 PM on June 3, 2016 [16 favorites]


You made my heart sink a bit. I'm about your age, and I know the feeling of occasionally wondering "what if" and feeling a bit restless. I have children that are around the ages of yours.

I will tell you what I tell myself when life gets tough. Love, if I love my family, presents itself in a certain way. It doesn't subsume all personal desires below others, but it most certainly takes others into account in a way that protects their welfare and their interests. Love also says that I'm willing to take on some things that I don't like always doing (even long term), because their flourishing is a very, very high goal for me, and I've learned to incorporate my happiness in a reciprocal relationship with theirs, such that we all pursue a good life together.

You may feel like this is what you are doing: if you are happier, they are happier, and if you strike it big, they do, as well. In this case though (and this is where the financial feedback comes in that you requested), even if you are right about the percentages, you are gambling on some very long odds. When I evaluate what love is for the people I've committed myself to, I'm not sure I could do that. Care for others certainly takes risks at time, but for me they need to be better calculated and more certain.

I've come to believe (very strongly) that the goal of life is not to find a job that leads to self-actualization, but to learn to develop contentment as a fundamental virtue as we pursue the good life in responsible ways (which in no way excludes trying to find a better job when possible). Good luck to you, and I hope that you find some peace as you consider your long-term employment plans.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:03 PM on June 3, 2016 [49 favorites]


Your answer about your wife seemed to answer the question "What does your wife think of your hating your job?". That's not what you need to find out. Ask your wife "I'm thinking of doing something that has a less than 5% chance that we will continue to be as financially secure as we are now, and a 95% chance that in a few months we will lose our home and have no money to buy food. Do you think I should do it?" I suspect she will have an opinion about which one of you is on another planet.

probably my last chance to do sth i would remember on my death bed.

Unless you are planning on developing some kind of antegrade amnesia after this weekend, this is not true.

It would be financially better for you to just quit your job with no plan, than to quit your job with this plan. Why not be a stay at home dad for a while while your wife works?

I see that you favourited the answer that said what you wanted to hear. This is all about risk tolerance and obviously your risk tolerance is higher than everyone else's. But A) It seems less like you have high risk tolerance and more like you're dramatically underestimating the risk. Your chance of success here is nowhere near 5%. I'd be shocked if it were .05%. B) It is not only your risk tolerance that matters. You are married. Your wife's risk tolerance matters too. You cannot put her at this level of risk without her informed consent.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:08 PM on June 3, 2016 [21 favorites]


I'm reading midlife crisis here - you sound unhappy with your job and unhappy with your wife. Are you sure a better investment wouldn't be a therapist?
posted by Toddles at 8:31 PM on June 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


Let's say you're not having a manic episode. Let's say you're just hugely depressed (in part about your job) and demonstrably bad at statistics, personal finance, and risk management, and are grabbing onto the only life preserver you are able to imagine at this moment. And then let's leave that all aside.

You're unhappy. If you're so unhappy that you want to leave your job, then why not:

--make a list of 10 things (hell, 100 things) that you could ALSO do besides day trading to make money that would not be so hugely risky?

--evaluate that list of professional opportunities and narrow it down to half a dozen occupational options that are, even if not as appealing to you as day trading, more realistic opportunities that you could, conceivably, do and possibly enjoy?

--make a list of what, BESIDES HOPE FOR PROFIT, you think you would like about being a day trader? You haven't indicated anything about day trading that appeals to you except that it's not your current job with your current employer and that you think you could make money, even though you haven't done your homework about who DOES make money (and it's not usually the traders, themselves).

--make a list of 10 (but preferably many more) things that you can and should be doing outside of your horrible job to give you joy, hopefully with your family, because money will not bring you joy, and escaping your current job will "only" take away misery, which is reason enough to leave, but not reason enough to embrace something far more risky to your family than having an affair or suddenly doing extreme sports without adequate health and life insurance, or doing any of the other mid-life crisis things you could be doing that would not prevent your children from having good medical care, enough to eat, and a safe place to sleep at night.

--see a therapist to figure out a) why you're in such a rush to do THIS SPECIFIC THING and b) why you're in a rush do it right now? Being miserable at your job is worth B, but not worth A.

You don't have to keep your current job.
You don't have to keep your current career.
You don't have to give up the idea of day trading EVER in your whole life.

But even if we all shouldn't be day traders because we have a greater than zero avoidance of unnecessary risk, we all seem to recognize that you are putting OTHER PEOPLE at risk, and you don't get to do that.

Are you prepared for your wife and children to hate you, not just now, but forever, for ruining their lives? Because I can tell you from personal experience that when the sole provider for the family makes decisions solely for himself without researching the alternatives for a damned long time, getting guidance from experts who are considered wise and have long-term experience, and having the cognitive, emotional and financial wherewithal to protect the family not just for a year but for all the years this mistake could cause, that you will absolutely destroy your family. The best you can hope for if you make all the money on what is basically a lottery ticket gamble (given your explanation of how why you believe this is workable) is that you have a small enough failure that you'll just cause yourself, your wife and your kids a limited amount of stress. There is no upside for them.

You also cannot assume you will be able to find another job after a year or more away at day trading, even in a good economy (which, depending on what happens in November, we may not have) because an employer is going to want to know why you left your prior position and/or what you've been doing. More than one potential employer will consider this kind of behavior at your age to be too irresponsible to trust you.

Look, I get it. I've owned my own business for 15 years. I'm really good at what I do and am considered a leader in my industry. I quit a career for which I had an advanced degree but which made me miserable, and I "escaped" a horrible boss. But I also prepared for the transition. I had demonstrable proof that I could succeed after multiple informational interviews with people who had a decade+ success at what I was doing, and I had alternate income in place. AND I'm not responsible to/for anyone but myself. Yet it has still been a precarious existence. I got unexpectedly ill in 2009 and was hospitalized for six months. My financial life is still recovering.

We all want you to be happy, but an entire room full of MeFites aren't merely Nervous Nellies. Get therapy. Maybe get professional training. Get out of the job you hate. But get help, because your current "plan" is a recipe for hurting the people for whom your main job in life is to NOT hurt.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 8:43 PM on June 3, 2016 [26 favorites]


Your wife seems like she is on a different planet because she's at home with the kids, plus probably occupied with running a household while you are at work.

Why don't you discuss a plan where she can transition back into the workforce, and you can take care of things at home and try day-trading.

Your wife may not have an opinion about your work rants, but she'd definitely have an opinion about something this big that would affect her and your kids in a big way. She may not be able to give you tips about how to survive by day-trading (what you seem to be asking for), but she NEEDS to have a say in your decision.
posted by ThatSox at 8:47 PM on June 3, 2016 [11 favorites]


Are you prepared for your wife and children to hate you, not just now, but forever, for ruining their lives? Because I can tell you from personal experience that when the sole provider for the family makes decisions solely for himself without researching the alternatives for a damned long time, getting guidance from experts who are considered wise and have long-term experience, and having the cognitive, emotional and financial wherewithal to protect the family not just for a year but for all the years this mistake could cause, that you will absolutely destroy your family.

Seconding this, strongly. I won't bore you with how I know this, but let's just say this sort of decision can literally reverberate through generations, and not just have a negative impact on your personal financial and emotional well-being, but on the financial and emotional well-being of many people around you, for many years and in some cases for the rest of their lives.

This isn't about risk aversion. This about being a fundamentally decent enough human being not to torpedo your family's lives.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 8:49 PM on June 3, 2016 [12 favorites]


Third, you aren't even close to considering ticket charges

The taxes are nuts, too. You can lose ALL your money and still end up owing a boatload of taxes next April.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:58 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


again thanks,

why does day trading get such a bad rap? after diving in various traders forums, i do believe there are people living off trading, but they are such mythic creatures, i really can't pull one out of my pocket to show you.
posted by kingfish at 8:58 PM on June 3, 2016


There are quite a few articles on it. Here's one from quite a long time ago (2010). I think it still applies, though. (And new article from Motley Fool.)
posted by small_ruminant at 9:01 PM on June 3, 2016


why does day trading get such a bad rap?

i do believe there are people living off trading, but they are such mythic creatures, i really can't pull one out of my pocket to show you.


You literally answered your own question here. It gets a bad rap because MOST PEOPLE FAIL AT IT, to the point where even you, a guy who has spent time reading forums about this, still cannot actually point to a person who has succeeded.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:05 PM on June 3, 2016 [25 favorites]


Ask yourself why you want to do this, and then find a different thing to do that fulfills that same need without being a terrible life-destroying mess of an idea.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:06 PM on June 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also, does your WIFE get a say in this?

Yes, yes, she does. Trust me on that. One way or another, she does. Substitute going to film school and trying to sell screenplays for day trading and I can tell you exactly how badly this will end. (tl;dr - imagine your life exactly as it is right now, except without the wife and family.)
posted by Naberius at 9:16 PM on June 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


why does day trading get such a bad rap?

Because it's gambling. Like, there are a few people who make money at poker, a few who make money at "daily fantasy football", but it's gambling. Would you quit your job to bet on horse races for a living?

Because if that seems too risky, so is day trading.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:25 PM on June 3, 2016 [11 favorites]


-How did you go bankrupt?
-Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.

As I've said here before, the stock market (and especially daytrading) occupies a space in America where other countries and cultures bet on sports. If a British person posted an AskMe saying 'I'm going to quit my job to bet my savings on the gee-gees, please advise', then the responses would be largely the same, but the premise would have very different connotations. Now, I actually know people back in the motherland who are in the matched betting business that calculates odds and issues tips to make the most of online bookmakers' promos, and I know that theirs is a tedious, tedious job with tissue-thin margins and no room for error or exuberance.

At very bloody least, find a copy of the book Joey Anuff wrote on daytrading that came out just as CNBC became a thing and just before the first dot-com bubble went pop.
posted by holgate at 9:42 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


So you've looked for people who can make a living doing this, can't find a single example, yet you somehow think you'll be the one person to achieve this. Even as, right now, you've got stocks in the red.

How about you try this instead. Google other people's experiences of quitting their job to day trade and see what they say. Don't look for success stories, just stories full stop. See if that gives you pause.

I somehow feel like all these comments are futile though, and you are intent on doing this and will only learn by putting your hand in the fire. Please tell your wife first so she can get her ducks in a line. Be aware - this career move may cost you things that are a lot more precious than money.
posted by Jubey at 9:43 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


FYI this is actually WORSE than quitting your job to become a professional gambler because at least in poker you can learn enough strategy to be a +EV player.

Day trading is inherently -EV and thus you're just hoping that you'll be one of the rare few who gets lucky on the variance.

Do not do this.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:51 PM on June 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Things you will almost certainly remember on your deathbed that don't involve day trading:

* The way your wife looked on your wedding day
* The way she looked holding each of your children for the first time
* Your children's graduations
* Your children's weddings
* The first time you see each of your grandchildren

...or, you will be able to remember them if you don't trash them or cause them not to happen altogether by risking your family's future on a nutty plan. I don't look to my family for most of my life satisfaction, but, damn, man, you have a wife and kids, that's a beautiful thing. Don't learn their value by throwing them away.
posted by praemunire at 10:59 PM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


How much sleep have you been getting lately? How much are you eating?

Do not make this decision without being evaluated by a doctor.
posted by KathrynT at 11:46 PM on June 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Do one of these instead:
1. Take a 2 week vacation, day trade with $5000. See if you like staring at a screen for 8 hours a day, plus research before and after trading hours. Avoid saying "if I only had 2 more weeks and another $5000 I could figure out a way to make a profit".
2. Take your $5000 and swing trade in your spare time. If you are profitable, then try #1.

I have actually tried day trading, it seems like it would be exciting, but unless you are raking in the profits, which is unlikely, it's pretty boring. I think you have a much better chance for success by swing trading, which you can do in your spare time.
posted by H21 at 11:53 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


From an anonymous commenter:
Hello. You want anecdotes? I'm a daughter of a man who decided to do something similar to what you did; he was even better prepared for it than you are. He was a lawyer who won a contingency case he'd worked on for several grueling years and got a couple million all at once, not the paltry sums you possess that are the mere minimum family savings to prevent a small life roadbump from becoming total penury. He kept working as a lawyer but also started to ply his hand at being some big-deal-business-investor type person.

At first, it must have been everything he dreamed. He loved the adrenaline, it made him feel alive. My sister overheard him talking on the phone saying that he didn't care if he lost it all, it was worth it just to be on the ride. He was buying nice things that he must have felt were more in line with the stature he felt he deserved all along. He had tried to get my mother to be more of what he wanted/needed her to be, but I think it just jacked into all her insecurities and fears and he couldn't get very far, they were both quite unhappy and argued frequently. I assume that's why he started having the affair.

Once all of us were on a trip for a family reunion. He was going to meet up with us in a later port, because of "business", but before that happened the money in the bank account ran out. We didn't know why. We couldn't contact him. My mother went around saying that he'd finally done it, he'd either committed suicide or ran off with everything. When it came time for one of the outings we had to confess to the rest of the family that we couldn't go because we didn't have the funds. I was a student in college when this happened and was thinking to myself that I had $500 in my bank account that I could use to get us home on if what my mother said was true.

It was a reoccurring sort of theme. When my mother went to pay the bills, she never knew if we actually had the money to do so. She didn't know much about what my Dad was doing with the money and he was never straight about the real situation.

Within a few years of this payout, one day he'd decided he'd have enough of his stressful job and quit without much notice to anyone to solely do whatever bigwig investment stuff he was after. His wife was a homemaker, his children much older than yours--in high school or very young adults. I'd just moved to the big city in search of my own fortune, so got to watch the ensuing disaster enfold from the relative safety of my newfound independence.

He didn't tell me this news himself, but when I found out about it I immediately called and left a distressed voicemail on his phone. I just couldn't fathom this being a good idea, not without more and better planning. This was before Obamacare and people in my family had health problems and you couldn't just buy healthcare without a job easily. I heard from my sisters that he ranted and raved about the voicemail I left, but when he called me he did not sound angry, just told me about how he couldn't take it anymore.

Of course, his investments did not pan out, and my Dad was not just back to square zero, he was in the hole, because he had been leveraging things to greater heights. Both my parent's houses got foreclosed on. Mom found out about the affair, things got even more rocky and avalanched into divorce; he lived with and then married the woman he'd been having the affair with. He lost his oldest, closest friend who had retired early from a lucrative job, because my dad had convinced him to put his money into some of these investments, and his friend was wiped out and had to come back into the workforce. He felt my Dad lied to him. They had to make sure the car was parked in the garage without fail, because the repo man was after it and if it was left in the driveway it would disappear. He called me up asking for money for X Y Z and I gave it, only to find out later that Z never got covered after all, so I don't actually know where the money went. I had to start covering my sister's medication for her disability, paying for another sister's tuition for the remaining college semester so the money already paid didn't turn into a sunk cost, paying for my mother to fix her car when it broke down. Some of these things my Dad would tell me he would pay back at some point, but I didn't believe him, I figured he was just saying that for his ego's sake. I tallied up what I gave against the cost of money/funding they'd given me since I started college and figured things were even overall. That's the best way to look at it, because you never want to loan to family.

The worst part is towards the end of everything falling apart, my dad in his flailings did something that was fraudulent enough that the FBI caught him at it. He swears up and down that he didn't do it, but it didn't really matter, because fighting charges like that is expensive, and he didn't have the money anyway. When he told me about it, he said he had to think of the good of the family when it came to not fighting and just pleading guilty instead of spending loads of money figting. I wondered what happened to the good of the family when it came to him quitting his job. So he went to prison for a short time. At some point he was also disbarred as a lawyer for unethical behavior towards his clients.

Since then I think he's mostly lived off the good graces of his new wife and her well-to-do family and support from his family, trying out different lower key business ventures. But I think they're splitting up now and I'm not sure what he's going to be doing now to survive. My mother had a rough time adjusting for a while, but has had some pink collar job that pays most of her bills. My dad owes her unrealistic alimony from the court case he didn't fight, probably because he felt back then that he'd be able to afford it, or because he was in the nadir stage of his mania-depression cycle. He can only pay some of it, and of course my mother doesn't feel she can rely on it; sometimes his new wife has threatened her with not paying it. My mother has had a parking ticket sent to her even after the divorce and six months later after my Dad hadn't paid it she buckled down and did so because she was afraid of causing herself more trouble if she didn't, even if they were divorced. I find that galling.

I write all of this to you because your story and attitude reminds me a lot of my father at the height of his mania. He was so unhappy, he couldn't see a way out, and so doing something daring even if it would be utterly destructive was better than trying to incrementally work his way towards a more stable happiness. Like his unhappiness had hitched him to a roller coaster clicking its way slowly up to the apex, except the bottom of the track had fallen out and as soon as he went over it there were a few exhilarating loops before everything just crashed straight into the ground.

I don't know what can make you happy. If I did, maybe I would have been able to give better guidance to my father, back when he was where you are right now, back when things could have turned out better for everyone. But I don't think quitting your job and becoming a day trader is going to make you happy. I think it will mask your unhappiness briefly with adrenaline, until you lose all your money (and probably more) and then are ground into a more pathetic unhappiness spiked with the loneliness of alienating those around you. Leaping into daring purportedly deathbed worthy pursuits hasn't made my Dad happy, I can tell you that.
posted by taz at 12:14 AM on June 4, 2016 [116 favorites]


why does day trading get such a bad rap?

As Burton Malkiel spends 500 pages explaining in nearly as many ways in A Random Walk Down Wall Street, consistently beating the market is nearly goddamn impossible. I haven't read the latest edition, but I'm sure there's a new chapter explaining how the introduction of high-frequency trading makes beating the market EVEN MORE difficult for the individual.

You are not special. You will not succeed in this endeavor. Do not quit your job for this.
posted by slagheap at 12:15 AM on June 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


I found some real data on day trading success in a real stock market. (A study that looked at four years of trading records in a major exchange). Here's what they found:

- 130,000 active day traders.
- 393 of them (0.3%) were in the "high profit" category.
- the average "high profit" day trader netted ~$65,000/yr after fees.
- they had an average of ~$150,000 invested each day.

As such, for your plan to have worked in that market, you would've needed to be absolutely extraordinary, as more than 99.9% of the day traders could not have supported your monthly nut, even with a larger capital base to work with.

So, in that market, your odds of success would not have been 5-10%. They would've been less than 0.1%. This implies that putting your entire life savings on an inside number on a roulette wheel is likely orders of magnitude *less* risky than your proposal.
posted by whisk(e)y neat at 12:43 AM on June 4, 2016 [27 favorites]


Are you aware that as a day trader you are required by FINRA rules to maintain at least $25,000 equity in your trading account at the end of each day or you are not permitted to day trade at all? You barely count as a legal day trader. If you have any run of bad luck putting you below the margin, your broker is required terminate your day trading.
posted by JackFlash at 12:59 AM on June 4, 2016 [13 favorites]


I think it may be worth considering whether trading is really a passion of yours, or whether instead you're experiencing something closer to a gambling addiction. Not saying your life has to continue just as it is; if you hate your job it's normal to think about other options. But I think you need to think carefully about why exactly this still feels so compelling to you even after hearing that it is extremely likely to cause you (and your marriage) major problems.

In addition to mania/bipolar, I'd also see about getting an adult ADHD screening; people with ADHD also can be prone to rash decision-making and getting hooked on compulsive behaviors.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:35 AM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I get the feeling of wanting to escape - trust me, I really do.

But I've also had the feeling of getting to the card machine and it saying "card declined, sorry, no groceries for you."

I don't have anyone to support, no partner, no kids, just myself and that's still a shitty feeling. I can't imagine what it'd be like if I was buying food for my family and seeing that awful message on the screen.

Life is as exciting as you make it - find something to do outside of work and do it, and in the meantime look for a more pleasant job. I can't imagine New York City is short of employment opportunities. If you can afford to live in NYC you're in a privileged position in terms of looking for interesting work to do.
posted by winterhill at 2:00 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think you really buried the lede here about your wife being "on a different planet" and having no opinion about this. You only mention this is passing, so I don't think you really grok the significance.

She's got one foot out the door already.

Ok, maybe not literally, as it sounds like she is pretty trapped by circumstance. You think you're miserable with a crappy boss, not enough control over your decisions, no days off and presumably not making as much as you'd like? Ask her how she feels about her life. (Actually, don't bother. She's already checked out, and she's probably terrified to rock the boat if her only means of security is going through some kind of midlife crisis or manic phase.)

You know how people have mentioned that it won't be easy to find a job after being unemployed (and broke, and possibly homeless) for a year? How many years has she been out of the workforce? How realistic is it that she'll be able to get some kind of job that pays living expenses for her and the kids, probably counting childcare expenses for at least a couple of the kids?

Do you hate your wife this much? I'm not really being facetious here: you're about to destroy the life of someone who has very little power to stop you. If you don't manage to get yourself to the doctor, at least get her some help.

Actually, it would be a really smart idea to take $5-7k of your money and go find an accountant/financial planner to help you figure out how to protect your family if you're determined to be a day trader. If your response is "I can't afford to do that! I need that money to trade!" then I think that is a really big clue that you don't have the resources to do this and keep your family safe.

But it really doesn't sound like there is anything MeFi can do to keep your family safe, either. Based on what you're favoriting, you're going to do this. Ask yourself this: can you, right now, split your money down the middle and give half to your wife to hold on to? That way she'll have some security when you run out of your own funds in three months. At a minimum, make it so she can cover groceries, healthcare, and housing, preferably in your existing house, but at least in a cheap 2 bedroom apartment in your city.
posted by instamatic at 3:57 AM on June 4, 2016 [18 favorites]


Actually, you're looking for successful day traders? My mom was a successful day trader for several years about fifteen years ago. She loved it! She'd spend hours researching different stock trends, she'd be totally gleeful when Oracle went up or Amazon went down or whatever. She was always happy when she talked about it.

Here's her data at the time:
- two grown kids in successful careers
- spouse with government job
- investments from a second property that was functionally "bonus money" for them, plus a nest egg that was never touched
- a house that was eithe paid off, or was a fraction of the value of the nest egg away from being paid off in a low cost of living area. (I can't remember if they paid off the mortgage before, during, or after this time.)

And a criteria of success that was "yay! I made $10k this year! We can go on a really nice vacation to Europe!"
posted by instamatic at 4:15 AM on June 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I hope you'll take AugustWest up on his generous offer to discuss details with you, particularly the parts about bankroll and discipline.

People have made so many good points already. You sound a lot like a gambler to me, but maybe that's because there are gamblers in my family and not day traders. With gamblers, there are some who want to make a killing, or at least come out a little ahead. Then there are the ones who just want to gamble, and then there are those actually who want to lose. Seriously, I know a couple of people who have just needed to lose a bunch of money at various stages. You almost sound like you are in the last category, like you are thinking in terms of losing everything. Why would that be? I think it's different with everyone but it might be worth looking into. If things are bad enough that you need to sort of burn down your life, you need to feel better. Sit down with your wife and tell her that it's gotten to the point where you need things to change.
posted by BibiRose at 4:59 AM on June 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


Day trading gets a bad rap because it doesn't really work anymore - someone unthread mentioned high frequency trading, which gives firms with more money and advanced technology an unreasonable advantage over the individual trader. So, your chances of actually beating the market in the era of quantitative trading are slim.

There was once a time when day trading was probably more viable, but that is not the current market. I would actually be less concerned if you said you planned to become an angel investor or a value investor, because those areas of finance could win through research and skill (all of it still requires luck!), whereas day trading has become more like gambling for an individual investor with a small portfolio.

Is your current job in finance at all? Seriously, if this is an interest go work for a great investor and see how it works. Hedge funds have basically all turned into "family offices" where a high net worth individual has a company set up for investing and a staff to work on it. They are typically hiring people from banks and top tier MBA programs (I assume that is not your profile, but may be wrong) but perhaps you can find someone through a friend of a friend or something and set yourself up with an internship. I think it would be informative to see how someone with billions in assets does it.
posted by rainydayfilms at 5:21 AM on June 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Sorry, kingfish, but Ask Metafilter isn't meant to be a back and forth discussion area. It's okay to respond to questions if people need more info, but otherwise just relax, take in the answers, and use whatever works for you.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:43 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


In realistic terms, you don't have any money.

You going into day trading is exactly like showing up to a gunfight with a sponge, and your opponents all brought machine guns with lasers.

Based on your intentions, and the cavalier attitude evidenced by your responses here, your mental health is seriously questionable.
posted by yesster at 6:15 AM on June 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Why don't you get a job in financial services? You could use this enthusiasm for trading more productively, work on your skills, and get the first-hand experience you'd need to strike out on your own someday.

From looking at your history, you seem to be a CPA? I have to think you could get to series 7 fairly easily, become a CFA, and then figure out how to get paid to trade, instead of risking the house.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:46 AM on June 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


In any market with good information, and that certainly means any financial market in the US, you cannot win without outside information. Example: the grain trading company I worked at create it's own, world-wide survey of grain crops every year.

The owner of a company I have worked for is now in jail because he lost his customers' money. (Whether he actually deserves to be in jail is debatable, the fact that he is presently in jail is not.)
posted by SemiSalt at 6:59 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Let me begin by joining in the chorus of people that are saying, "for the love of all that is holy, please don't do this!"

And now, let me engage in the popular Metafilter pastime of projecting my own concerns and dreams onto your story. What follows isn't really for you (although I hope you find it helpful) but for me.

I remember well the following two bits of parenting advice for fathers that I heard many years ago. The first covers the emotional needs of children, and it is: love their mother. (It models good relationships, creates a stable home life, etc). The second covers Every. Single. Other. Thing, and it was something I found in some sociological study of the benefits that fathers can provide to children, and it is this: keep them out of poverty.

That's it, and it might be a bit depressing, but it's true: the Single. Best. Thing. you can do for your kids is to keep them out of poverty.
posted by math at 7:04 AM on June 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


Continuing on my previous comment (on the popular Metafilter pastime of projecting my own concerns and dreams onto your story), I totally get the idea of wanting to do something daring, something heroic, something personally fulfilling, something that you will remember on your deathbed. I totally understand the ennui of the long slog through middle age (because that's where I am, too), with the job and the kids and the wife, and plenty of times I have wondered why I am not more wealthy, more fulfilled, more anything other than the graying fellow in the background.

I've always wanted to be the hero of my own life story, winning personal acclaim and fame, with the stories following me around about there's That Guy who did That Thing and he made it work and wow isn't that amazing!

Pffft. You want real heroism? I've come to see that real heroism and real maturity comes from buckling down and Doing What Needs To Be Done. It comes from subsuming one's own desires to the needs of the ones you love. For decades, and for little to no recognition. I imagine that at some point my children will look back and thank me for having grown up in a safe and stable home (because my children are kind and thoughtful and at some point, when they have children of their own, they might, as I finally did, recognize the sacrifices of their parents) but that is not at all what anyone should expect. It's not at all why I do the Same Damn Thing every day and then get up the next day to do it all again. I do it for myself, because it gives me personal fulfillment to know that I am indeed the decades-long hero of my own life, the one who provides a stable income and a stable home and who picks up the messes and listens to the stories and washes the dishes and remembers to change the oil and to save up for orthodontia and to send the check to the piano teacher and so on and so on, ad infinitum.

So I guess what I'm saying is that you're already doing the heroic and daring deeds by simply continuing to show up to your nasty job with your nasty boss. Keep doing that. You'll thank me on your deathbed.
posted by math at 7:34 AM on June 4, 2016 [13 favorites]


again thanks all of you for the time and input. based on the overwhelming comments here, probably try this for 3 months then re-evaluate.

1. i am at the stage where simply thinking about driving to work sinks my stomach. won't go into details here. sadly thinking about work is all i do starting sunday afternoon.

2. hard to change career track probably in any market, i.e., treasurer to controller, finance to IT, EVEN IF i'm willing to take pay cut AND have all the educations, believe me, i tried

3. don't see how less risky it could be to go back school at my ripe age;

4. my woman friends say, just think your job as a pay check, once out of your company door, forget everything, looking at your family, you have all the stuff you ever could want, BUT i can't, job / career is a large part of how i define myself, i know it's completely screwed up perspective, but can't change now, probably it's guy thing, probably it's just me....

5. don't think i am in maniac episode, tend to spend tons of time over-analyzing things, i.e., spreadsheet for job offer..
posted by kingfish at 7:53 AM on June 4, 2016


Do you think switching companies or departments might help? I actually know someone in financial services (at a less well compensated level) who switched from one company to another and it's like night and day - the work is very similar, but it's organized differently, the company culture is much healthier, the people are more sympathetic (like, this person has actually made a couple of real life friends), the people they report to are much nicer and more team-focused.

There was a detour through some "follow my passion" work between companies, and it was a disaster, not only poorly paid (lots of debt crept up over a few years) but full of stress and dotted with terrible people. It took a LOT of stress and a LOT of luck to get back into financial services, and it meant taking a lower-paid job later in life. This person often says that they wished they'd just jumped companies in the first place.

Again, this is basically the same work, but organized differently with different metrics and deadlines and a different company culture. It may be that you could at least tolerate a similar job but in a company that is a better fit.
posted by Frowner at 8:15 AM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Can you take a leave of absence for three months? Some kind of short term disability, maybe? Can you job hunt now, and delay your start date for 3 months? If not, what's your plan for maintaining your employability while you're not working? (Have you ever tried to get a job when you don't already have one?)

What does your spreadsheet look like for this job change? Have you gone through it with your wife yet?
posted by instamatic at 8:22 AM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I started a company, which I'll use as a stand in for day-trading as a risky activity here.

I did so when my financials were much stronger than yours. I had enough saved so that I and my family could go for well over a year with no income.

That there was my key financial strategy: protection of my most important assets – family. Without their support and safety, starting a company would have been a terrible move.

My financial advice to you: do not do this unless you have 18+ months of savings. And even then, only do it if your partner thinks it is a good idea.
posted by zippy at 8:26 AM on June 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I help out at an addiction centre as a counselor's aide, specializing in addicted gamblers. I have heard your story many times, including all the reasons and validations you provide. And yes, including people that were day traders.
My advice: Don't do it.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 8:34 AM on June 4, 2016 [8 favorites]


In case it's relevant: There are some medications that have side effects of impulsivity and newfound gambling addictions for some people. If you are on any medications, especially anything that's supposed to affect your dopamine levels, please ask your doctor about them.

And looking at spreadsheets as a usual tendency does not rule out a manic episode.
posted by lazuli at 8:37 AM on June 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


And if you were my partner, I would seriously want you screened for a brain tumor, too, as well as psychiatric/neurological issues. You are seemingly fixated on a grandiose idea, ignoring any advice to the contrary, and not creating a realistic plan to get there; the plan you are creating will put other people in danger, which you seem to be ignoring.
posted by lazuli at 8:41 AM on June 4, 2016 [14 favorites]


If by "try this for three months" you mean you're going to quit your job and trade for three months and see how it goes, I wonder if we are even reading the same thread. You could lose your whole pot of cash on day one and bankrupt your family. How is a three month trial seeming like a sane course to you?

Please, please, go to therapy. Look for another job that's a better fit for you. Please don't gamble away all your money because you hate your life and want to destroy it as efficiently as possible. There are innocent children - your innocent children - depending on you to keep them fed, clothed, and warm.
posted by town of cats at 8:43 AM on June 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


Don't do this.

But if you are as hell-bent on doing this as you sound, don't use real money at first. Get some practice in with simulated money for your first three months and see how it pans out.
posted by Ndwright at 9:22 AM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Your plan is only half complete. I see only what you have now, when you want to begin. What is your plan for later, when you want to stop? How much do you plan to have at that point? I understand the whole game is volatile but if you think the people who succeed at this are doing so without a very detailed plan from start-to-finish, for all best- and worst-case scenarios, then you are sorely mistaken.

Delay your decision to quit your job to day trade by at least 3 months. Start planning and gathering information so you can decide later, if you must, but you are in absolutely no position to make this decision now.
posted by juliplease at 9:56 AM on June 4, 2016


I see you highlighting answers that indicate "things are bad enough that you need to sort of burn down your life."

There are probably ways to do that that will leave you happier in the long run.

An alternate plan might be to put a solid down payment on or (work a little longer and then) pay cash for a house in Michigan or on the coast of Maine -- find somewhere that you and your family would be excited to try living. Live simply in a place you'd love. Do enough accounting to pay the bills (remotely? for local businesses?), but otherwise greatly reduce how much you work. Set aside a year of (your new, lower) expenses. Then trade with whatever money exceeds your cost of living.
posted by salvia at 11:52 AM on June 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Don't quit your job, for heavens sake. All this spreadsheet stuff is an effective way for you to mask your anxiety. It's helping you think you're in control when you know you are not.

Call in sick for a week, say someone is having an emergency. You hate your job, so it's not like you care if you get fired? Which they won't do.

Today, sign up for one of those text a therapist services.

On Monday, go see a doctor. You're depressed, anxious, about to make VERY bad decisions. They ll start you on an antidepressant or anxiety med.

On Tuesday, do some light research to find a new job. Call some recruiters.

On Wednesday, call your office EAP plan and find a therapist. Call your insurance and find a psychiatrist. Keep texting your text a therapist.

Thursday, relax. Apply for jobs.

Friday, same.

Saturday, Sunday, whee! Hopefully, the vacation and time to think and plan has helped.

Resources: doctors, EAP, recruiters, sick leave.
posted by charlielxxv at 11:53 AM on June 4, 2016 [25 favorites]


Your wife really needs to understand just how much you hate your current job and living arrangements. If she won't hear you when you explain it, show her this thread.
posted by salvia at 11:54 AM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I think if you identify by your job that much, you should find a therapist to help you find other things in life to identify with.

And what happens when you fail at day trading? Where your sense of identity be then? You will have no job, no identity, and no income. Don't just imagine the potential positive outcomes, but also worst case scenarios.

If you want to get out of the grind, the correct answer is to tighten up your budget (possibly move to a lower cost of living area) and save up as much money for retirement as quickly as possible. Hopefully, your wife can chip in by working when the younger child is old enough to go to school full time.
posted by ethidda at 12:14 PM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


A former manager of mine went through a very similar situation, in terms of hatred of job situation and then going into day trading. He quit his job and got into trading with fake money and won a prize, £5000 in a stock trading contest. He decided that was the kick he needed and went into day trading. He convinced his wife's family to lend him £10,000 and kicked in £50,000 himself borrowing against the value of his home. The "first" day, he showed his wife what he was doing, and in a moment earned £1,000. He did some bets and then went to the bathroom. When he came back, he had lost £15,000. It was a really sobering moment. He cashed out and paid back his in-laws.

He found a new job where he could walk to work and was there for over a decade. It was a commission-only job that he was able to make his own as a financial planner, selling insurance and planned products. He was a junior for the first year but made approx $45,000 on commissions. Your mileage may vary, but it worked for a guy living in deepest Yorkshire so it could probably work for you.

Also, if you're wife isn't listening to your problems, quitting your job will allow you to change the conversation.
posted by parmanparman at 12:15 PM on June 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think people have already thoroughly covered how realistic it is to expect to succeed at day trading, so let me just focus on i am tired of my job and don't see a future even assuming i finally climb to the top of my career track. figure this is probably my last chance to do sth i would remember on my death bed. details below

What are you imagining in this vision of your death bed? A big payoff, predicting a trend that no one else saw? Even among people who do succeed at making a living as freelance day-traders, these are once-in-a-lifetime events, at best. A lot of it is very prosaic, everyday work, like any other job. Staring at a screen for hours researching market trends. A lot of days where when you finish, the best you can say is that you kept your losses below par. The trappings of freelancing: having to budget with an uncertain income, no paid sick leave, having to motivate yourself to sit down in front of your computer again at 8 in the morning after a whole week of disappointing trades.

People who try to make a career out of their hobbies usually find that after a brief honeymoon period, it just becomes another job, with the same ups and downs and fatigue and boredom that they had in their old jobs, only now they've lost a fun hobby that used to give them some extracurricular joy. A few of those people manage to shift their mindset to turn what they enjoyed about their hobby into what fulfills them about their job (although it is still a job). A lot more people quit.

I think The Wrong Kind of Cheese's homework is a good suggestion. Make up a list of other changes you could make--whether that's working somewhere else, starting your own business, going back to school, moving, aiming for early retirement, etc. Pick five or so and spreadsheet them out to the same extent you've done for day trading. Some of them will be very hard, yes, but I don't think all of them will be harder than day trading.
posted by Krom Tatman at 12:33 PM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seems like you have a lot of good advice already....former day trader here. I have lot's of insight on this stuff (in my opinion). My first year of day trading I turned $40k into $1.3M ( I was 27). I once bought a $25k call that I sold for $875k 40 days later (that was during a different year, not part of the $1.3M). I traded 500 times a year. I wrote the option trading system for E*TRADE and was an early employee there, I had a lot of first hand access to the other E*TRADE day traders around me. I have a friend/family member that is on the fed reserve board. I have close friends that are HFT traders. I hated my job too, I quit mine 2 weeks ago to start a new company. However, I have a multiple years of expenses saved up and no family or children.
Here's the kicker, though, knowing what I know now. I have a few stocks I hold AMZN, TSLA, etc...however, I would never short term trade now. You are competing with the market makers, you are competing with the insiders. Hell, Cramer said in a TV interview that he has used his position to manipulate stocks. Go watch Wolf of Wall Street....you're going to be the guy on the other end of the phone.
If you absolutely must day trade, do it part time. Frankly, it doesn't take up much time. The year I traded 500 times, I was still working 80 hours a week at E*TRADE and I did very well that year. Take $2-3k of your savings and day trade after work for 6-12 months - if you are absolutely killing then quit the day job - don't do it the other way around.
Best of luck to you, and I hope things improve.
posted by ill3 at 12:34 PM on June 4, 2016 [13 favorites]


hi, again a million thanks here. got a lot of great ideas.

my last update:

1. probably have a very mild form of bi-polar, but don't think can claim the disability route, it really is the magic bullet, e.g., resume with no gap, thinking straight while away from the job sh**...

2. tentative plan: trade full time for 3 months, if any discernible and improvable talent on this, will take a part time gig (uber, personal financial planner, etc) to improve family finance, or wife back to work; if complete disaster, back to work force...

3. looking at my kids' pics after taking sh** at work? can't do...
posted by kingfish at 1:23 PM on June 4, 2016


I'm not sure what your #3 point is in reference to, but I'm baffled at how you still think #2 is the best solution after all the advice here, even from people who have traded professionally. Uber will not pay your bills like your current full time job. I see in your posting history you were complaining about being professionally miserable back in 2010--did you make any changes? Did they help? Is it time to make another change that is somewhere between Uber and day trading? I am concerned for you and hope you do not lose all of your money. You have yet to answer where the money you will be trading with is coming from--are you able to shed some light on that?
posted by masquesoporfavor at 1:30 PM on June 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


wife back to work

Is your wife onboard with this in any way? This is not a plan if she's not in on it.

tentative plan: trade full time for 3 months, if any discernible and improvable talent on this, will take a part time gig (uber, personal financial planner, etc) to improve family finance

I'm pretty sure most of us advocating anything part-time are advocating for work toward this goal part-time while keeping your current job or switching jobs in your field. Even if your wife is on "another planet," I'd hope you'd think about your kids.
posted by limeonaire at 1:39 PM on June 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


The community you trust for advice is telling you clearly: You are not ready to do this yet, and quitting your job now would be a mistake with many lasting negative consequences.

Based on reading this comment thread, the Metafilter community does not support your decision to try full-time day-trading for 3 months.

We do support your decision to look at other ways to leave your job and still support yourself and your family.
posted by samthemander at 2:03 PM on June 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


Ok, seriously, are you ok? Your messages are devolving over the space of this thread to the point that I literally can't understand what you're trying to say. I'm sort of moving from "call a therapist Monday morning" to "seek emergency treatment RIGHT NOW." Please, if you don't feel like you can show this thread to your wife, text a link to a friend or family member. I really think you need an objective observer who knows what your "normal" is, and whether you need immediate medical care. How much did you sleep last night?
posted by instamatic at 3:39 PM on June 4, 2016 [24 favorites]


I've never shared this before, but my father did something similar when I was a child. The end result was he never found another job, his self-esteem rotted away, we lost our home and my mother moved me to a different continent to live with my grandmother. My father's brilliant mind never had the chance to reach its potential and I'm heartbroken for my parents and what they went through.

I wish my father had used that spare money and undergone intense therapy to get to a place where he was ok day to day, not just when he was energized (read manic).

Please understand I too am self-employed and struggling with supporting myself. But I have also worked on doing what I can to 1) learn how to actually run a business, and 2) dealing with my brain (through medication, therapy, mindfulness, etc).

Based on your posts, I wish you would trust someone to sit down with you and find a solution that would get you away from your current job but would also allow you to provide a stable life for your children.
posted by A hidden well at 3:56 PM on June 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


If you think that the reason people are suggesting the possibility of bipolar is because we think you should claim disability, I am concerned. People are suggesting this because you are about to do something incredibly rash with your life, your wife's life, and your kid's lives. This is something that people with specific mental illnesses do when they are having an episode.

This is not about claiming disability. This is about getting help so you do not wreak havoc on what I hope is your road to treatment for whatever is going on.

You need a doctor. Your update is not comprehensible.
posted by sockermom at 3:59 PM on June 4, 2016 [25 favorites]


Oh also, one bit of advice that I once got and keep very close to my heart: you do not have to make this decision today. You do not have to make it tomorrow. A big life choice like this can (and should) be a series of small steps, not a giant leap off a tall cliff.

Wait a day, and then wait another day, and while you waiting, come up with a better plan than "I'll try doing the highly risky thing for three months rather than for a year." A solid, real plan. And see a professional while you are planning and waiting.

I would advise this if you were asking about any big catastrophic decision. My advice is not specific to day trading.
posted by sockermom at 4:01 PM on June 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


I went to talk therapy because I didn't know what I wanted to be doing in life. I had a job but I was quietly miserable. All I knew was what I didn't want to do. Therapy helped me figure out what I really wanted in life. It was a neutral outlet where I could talk about anything I wanted to, especially things other people in my life wouldn't understand. I am in a happier position now. I have a better job that I like and I have better relationships with my loved ones.

Please go for therapy.
posted by cadge at 6:16 PM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I'm on my phone so this isn't as long as it probably would be otherwise.

My first thought as well was, how much does your wife know? Are your kids old enough to understand, and have you talked to them?

My dad pulled something like this at the beginning of high school. He didn't tell me, or really talk to my mom much about it.

It ended in an eviction notice being taped to the door, being how I found out. It ended in me being homeless for over a year. It ended in my mom crashing with an abusive piece of shit "friend".

It ended with my dad living in his car for YEARS. Even after inpatient psychiatric treatment, which he really needed AT THE BEGINNING.

PLEASE listen to the people in this thread saying "see a doctor NOW". Please get evaluated. Please. Especially after mentioning mild bipolar.

Please don't do this to your family.

What my dad pulled likely fucked up, or at the very least least say ~majorly changed~ my relationship with my dad. Forever.

Please get help. Please at least see if you need it.

Please don't make Father's Day awkward for your adult children for the rest of their fucking lives.

Please.
posted by emptythought at 6:49 PM on June 4, 2016 [23 favorites]


[One comment deleted. If you are talking privately with the OP as a mutually appreciated thing, that's fine, but that needs to be between the two of you... and a sort of semi-essay to a supposed audience talking about the poster, and generally metadiscussing the thread isn't a good way to answer here.]
posted by taz (staff) at 1:27 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dude, I've had some pretty bad mental health crises before, and you're currently making less sense than I was during those crisis episodes. Think that over for a moment. I'm trying to give you a slap in the face with a wet fish, because you don't seem to be in a place to be making any decisions, let along big ones like what you're discussing.

I'll try to come at this from the angle I know personally: you may not see it right now, but you're actually down at the moment. You're not happy. Things aren't good at home and you hate your job and your life doesn't make any sense. That's what you've admitted in this thread.

You know that aphorism that goes "never make a decision when you're down?" That's you right now. Things aren't good enough in your life generally to make this kind of decision. If you decide now, it's gonna be skewed, and you could do a lot of damage.

I think you need to look after yourself a bit first. Choose any of the following: go see a doctor tomorrow and tell them everything you've shared here. Take a few sick days, or take vacation time, or if you have to, quit, but take a week or two before you look for another position. Tell your wife you need a career change or she has to go back to work. Take an actual vacation, work be damned.

You really need to get a little bit of mental space before you can be smart about this. Get yourself a bit of personal emotional stability, because you deserve that, then take some time, then, maybe, come back to the idea of trading (and if you do, take the excellent advice in this thread).

But for heaven's sake don't do this right now.
posted by iffthen at 8:08 AM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hi. I was kind of your kid back in the 80s -- my parents weren't day traders, but they started a couple of businesses (these either failed or got abandoned when my folks got tired of them) and generally wouldn't commit to anything sensible because, you know, jobs suck and corporate bullshit sucks and bosses suck and whatever.

I grew up without health insurance because my parents were busy being free spirits. I grew up with massive anxiety caused partially by my parents' constant money issues. I have crooked teeth and TMJ disorder because I couldn't get my bite fixed as a kid.

My parents surrendered back to "normal" jobs when my little brother was young. He grew up with insurance and braces and general stability, and he's pretty damn normal and successful now. I am not. I am a mess trying to pull myself together. I'm also bitter because my parents were too selfish to make sacrifices and take care of me when I needed them to.

Don't do this to your kids. Please. The time to take major risks is before you have a family depending on you.
posted by QuickedWeen at 10:55 AM on June 5, 2016 [13 favorites]


The answer to "I think I have bipolar" shouldn't be "so I'll indulge my delusion for 3 months." You need to go to the hospital before you break something.
posted by Biblio at 11:44 AM on June 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


Please, please see a doctor to be evaluated for bipolar symptoms. Do it for your children, if you care about them even the tiniest bit. Your plan to burn your life down will impact them severely and they will grow up to despise you for taking away the bright future they could have had because you were so incredibly selfish that you couldn't spare them a thought before throwing your family's finances in the toilet. Please, please, please, stop and consider your children.
posted by palomar at 1:39 PM on June 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


If you want to scratch the day trading risk|reward itch without the potentially ruinous results others have cautioned you about, consider a) trading with imaginary money on your own or entering contests (there are many); b) arbitraging stuff you buy retail or online by selling it on Amazon; c) playing small stakes poker on line or at a friendly regular game. Items b and c also take discipline.
posted by carmicha at 2:18 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


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