I recently returned from a two week trip to Southeastern Asia. It was the first trip I took where I was completely unwired from all of my trading and execution platforms for at least 7 trading days. And after this experience I have decided that I will never want it any other way when traveling.
It used to be that whenever I took time off, I would find myself (much to the frustration of my wife) spending an hour or two in front of the charts. And often it was not enough time to remain focused, but just enough to disrupt our travels.
So, after this latest experience, I spent some time reflecting on why it’s important to completely detach one’s self from trading while traveling – even if you have a viable internet connection at your destination. Below are 3 main reasons:
1) Cash is a position. We’ve heard this before. For traders, taking a position in cash ensures no gains but equally important (and probably more important for beginner traders) is that it also ensures no losses. This helps you focus more on your travels than your PnL.
2) Know when NOT to trade. This is a trait that traders need to learn. As traders, we are exposed to so many equity names and even more equity options, futures contracts, and forex: It’s like a kid in a candy store. The ability to freely stay way from trades (and not force the action) is an underappreciated skill traders often overlook.
3) Stress Down. Emotional and mental fatigue isn’t unique to trading but few civilian professions out there put as much emotional, mental and psychological stress on an individual as trading does. Just as taking time off is a welcome relief to an engineer, analyst or marketing manager, traders should relish their time off too. Enjoy your time with our family and friends.
The market will be here when you get back. If it isn’t, there’s bigger problems to worry about than just trading. As we march into the summer season, be reminded that trying to be a market participant 100% of the time the market is open for trading is likely losing proposition. Take time to enjoy your family, friends and some good culture, food, and community. It will help you become a better trader in the long run.
Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of any other person or entity.