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Building Algorithmic Trading Systems: A Trader's Journey From Data Mining to Monte Carlo Simulation to Live Trading, + Website by Kevin J. Davey

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CHAPTER 4 Making the Leap—Transitioning to Full Time

It is the dream of every part-time, retail trader—one who loves all aspects of trading—to trade for a living, full time. At least that was always my goal, to live the dream. Trader Gary Smith wrote a book with just that title: Live the Dream by Profitably Day Trading Stock Futures (Advanced Trading Seminars, 1995). The dream, of course, is whipping the markets every day with your amazing strategies, taking as much money out of the market as you need (Want a new car? Simple—just double the size of your next trade!), spending your ample free time playing with your kids or doing volunteer work, or the typical stereotypical behavior: lounging on the beach, margarita in your hand, as bikini-clad women (or hunky guys, if that is your preference) stroll by on your private island.

The problem is that the dream is rarely, if ever, reality. The truth is that trading full time, as I tell many people, is in my opinion “the toughest way to make easy money.” But that does not mean it cannot be done; it just means it is incredibly difficult. Anything great worth attaining is always difficult, right?

After about 15 years of part-time trading, quite a lot of unsuccessful trading, I had 3 consecutive years of contest-winning performances. As 2007 ended, I began to seriously consider trading as a full-time profession. After all, if I could not succeed at it, after all I had been through and all I had accomplished, who actually could? So in ...

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