Resources for the Self-Directed Trader

If you decide to be a self-directed trader making your own trading decisions and entering your own orders, you undoubtedly will need to rely on some resources to help you in that process.

What you need and where you will get it depends to a great extent on the type of trader you want to be, the trading style you believe will be most suited to your personality, and the amount of money and time you have to devote to trading.

Do you want to be a day trader, moving in and out of positions intraday and winding up with no positions overnight? Or would you prefer to be a longer-term trader, taking positions that you might hold for days or weeks in an attempt to catch bigger price moves? Would you be most comfortable trading spreads? Or would you be better off in the options on futures market?

Whatever type of trader you choose to be will have some bearing on the resources you need. Years ago all you might have needed to trade was a phone and an idea, but the resources you almost certainly need in today's trading include a personal computer and an Internet connection to link you to the marketplace—plus the plain old telephone service of the past as a backup. Beyond that, you may be able to get everything you need from a brokerage firm. Or you may want to supplement what a brokerage firm offers by subscribing to some of the many specialized services available, especially if you are looking for a particular type of analysis offered by a software ...

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