The Daily Journey Of A Day Trader What Prompted Me To Trade Shares For A Living

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The Daily Journey Of A Day Trader - What Prompted Me To Trade Shares For A Living

Having first dabbled in shares in about 1994 as a way of bettering my C&G savings account, I knew I could do it and would find it interesting (made 24% in year one and 20.4% year two, using only teletext, Investors Chronicle and no computer).

I had always fancied quitting paid employment by 50. That was looking like a pipedream, as i never made any surplus cash from any job I ever had (never volunteered to do overtime, never chased bonuses - preferred gardening).

At 49 the firm I worked for got bought by Americans of the type that make good Americans cringe. Time for a sharp exit. The only way I could raise capital to set up in business on my own (or to buy a cheap franchise) was to sell my modest terraced home in a S.Warks village, pay off the mortgage, downsize to something barely habitable in a very very cheap area, and invest whatever was left. That took me a year to arrange, during which I attended numerous franchise exhibitions and weighed up every type of business on every page of the Yellowpages, regardless of what field. Also, read some inspiring articles regarding individuals who had quit day jobs to become investors or traders. They all started with far more capital than the Ј25k I figured I would likely have. Cheapest houses were in rundown ex-mining areas (E.Midlands and S.Wales valleys) and were a very depressing prospect.

A headline in a Sunday Times article caught my eye; "If you thought house prices were rocketing - here's ten that sold for under Ј10k last week." One I think was a Ј2300 sale in London (wedged between railways - "You could buy it on your credit card"), a couple in Notts, most in South.Wales. Advantage to me of South.Wales was proximity to coast and hills and rivers. Didn't fancy any of the seriously dismal Ј8k valley terraced ones, but wondered if any estate agents with that low price mindset handled properties just outside those areas. Made full use of the company car, driving back and forth around the south side of Brecon Beacons National Park between Ammanford and Abergavenny, and sure enough - agents south of that line priced their properties north of that line much lower than did the posher agents in Llandeilo and Abergavenny. Ended up buying a 3bedroom detached house with forecourt parking and big back garden sloping down to a small river, 20 miles from the sea, 200yds from the park, for Ј23k. Scruffy and not totally watertight, but habitable. Had escaped the job with 7 weeks to spare before 50th birthday ;o)

The only worthwhile franchise prospects involved were too great an outlay, and would only work for someone prepared to put in far more effort than I could muster enthusiasm for. Various other ideas had come and gone. So despite warnings that I was way underfunded to do so, I went with trading shares. By then (Xmas 1997) we were seeing online brokers chopping their fees and finance sites providing new access to facilities, so it was clearly becoming more and more practicable. The overheads and regulatory costs involved in every other business were greater - in this they are minimal. Having no customers or employees to worry about is a huge advantage.

It seems to work.