Trade from Home
Whether it's trading in the evenings after work or a full-time occupation, there are certain websites, tools and tips which can make the whole thing easier.
The advantages of being your own boss in this environment are balanced by the costs of taking all the risks and liability yourself. Many day-traders have lost their shirts during/after the last dot com boom but for the skilled traders the work-life balance and the fiscal rewards are immense.
Large Screens, Fast Computers
This is something obvious which is often overlooked. If you miss even half a second when making a trading decision then the price could have changed, and you're costing yourself money. With the price of extremely quick PCs falling to very affordable levels it's advisable to get the fastest computer you can. Just boosting up the processor and RAM will improve performance, and widening your broadband connection is another good idea. See sites such as Dell (UK) for a range of products.
The amount of viewing area available is another crucial factor; if you're constantly swapping windows around then this is also a bad use of your time. Extra large flat screen monitors (19 ) are now under $200/ $300, or if you have the space why not consider two monitors working side by side to create an authentic trading environment - the area of screen immediately available for you to see and use is the important factor.
Also, if possible dedicate the use of the pc to trading only, this will aid discipline and concentration. On this point, having a clear working space and a decent ergonomic set-up i. e. a chair that won't give you back problems and screens at the right height make a large difference. Taking regular breaks is essential to keep some balance in the day and to avoid diminishing returns from staring at a screen for too long. If distractions and random personal emails get in the way of your trading then your concentration has gone out of the window and disciplined plans will fall apart.
A Trading Mentality
Work out exactly your approach to the market and stick to your plans. This might need to be revised according to new information, but this would be a positive change. If you alter your trading plans on an ad-hoc basis then you've torn up the road map, and you'll be much more likely to make badly thought-out decisions. Research should occupy the significant part of your time, covering both the big picture and the minutiae.
Keep a detailed account of all trades using Excel is ideal for this purpose. Be honest with yourself about recording the exact facts and figures, then analyse the content. After a while this information will be valuable as you learn where mistakes are being made and therefore how to streamline your trading strategy. Using this method, a loss-making trade has the benefit of also being a paid-for trading lesson. The level of itemization should be high for these records, down to time of day, news events that are occurring and your confidence for the trade.
Knowing the dates of company results, or when the new inflation figures come out for example, is essential. These releases of information form the basis of many people's opinions about the state of the market, so this should be taken into account within a trading plan. A good resource is the financial directory at the link below. Individual stock details should be investigated on a variety of sites to keep in touch with developments.
Work out exactly the amount you'll need, and what you expect to make. Doing this will help you stick to these limits and avoid chasing losses, making last-minute transactions. Don't keep more than you need to in your trading accounts. It's easy to move money around online and you might as well keep the funds where they earn you interest. NB. Certain spread betting providers do pay interest on balances held with them.
As mentioned elsewhere on this site, there's a great deal of free information and software available on the internet. However, there are usually restrictions on this, to make room for advertising space or to entice you to pay for a full version. Often the financial betting company will offer an array of charting tools and live data; Cantor Index offer a range of well presented data for members. The Medved Quote Tracker collates many data feeds to give free charting ($7 a month if you want a slightly improved version with no adverts).
Very extensive and powerful charting software can be purchased, but the amount spent isn't by any means proportional to an increase in trading success. Before buying or signing up for these products, think about what you actually need to achieve your targets via your trading strategy.
Financial-spread-betting.com monitors and reviews spread betting sites like ETX Capital so you know which sites offer the best experience for you to spread bet at.