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A Beginner’s Look at Online Trading as a Digital Nomad Income

I’ve been looking at different digital nomad-friendly income sources I’d like to explore next year, and online FOREX trading continues to draw my interest. This article marks the beginning of my own naive thought process.

I’ve been in a digital nomad in one form or another since I was 18. I’ve reinvented myself around half a dozen times, learning new skills in my own time and making them profitable. And when it comes to online trading –let there be no illusions for my readers; I am not going to read a bunch of articles and then write one, passing off other people’s thoughts as my own.

The truth is, all I know about trading stocks I learned in High School –most of my electives were in business, and I am fully aware of how ridiculous that sounds. I remember repeatedly making the lion’s share of colored Monopoly money during in-class lessons. I took to making trades based on daily newsprint right before I discovered the bong, and the rest is lost in the haze of adolescence.

Related: How to Get Started with Bitcoin

A beginner’s luck is about all I recall; the entire topic of online trading is by all intents and purposes a new one for me.

Above all I am writing this with the hope that it triggers a few knowledgeable people into stopping by and leaving a comment; suggesting a legitimate online trading course, resources to add to my reading list, and generally providing insight. This is a call –and the main thing I’d like to instill in the minds of those that understand trading is that I’m an open book, and I’m not romanticizing trading stocks online as a digital nomad. I’m playing a long game with this one, and if anything, using the word “digital nomad” over and over again throughout this article is to collude the two topics for organic search.

Digital Nomads who Trade Stocks

Digital Nomad Lifestyle and Online Trading

The digital nomad lifestyle is one that is full of hyperbole and eye candy. My peers and I know that it’s far from glamorous. With that established, I can only assume the same when you combine the digital nomad lifestyle with online trading. It’s a clusterf*ck, and those that do it well make it look easy. Few people find sustainable success.

It took years to teach myself design, search optimization, business analysis, proposal writing, and a bunch of other skills I’ve got rattling around between my ears before I got into blogging full-time. And as I get older, I am beginning to seek new challenges because as fun as blogging is, I’d rather leverage my time learning. Today it’s June 21, 2017 and I recently turned 36. I won’t chalk it up to a midlife crisis if you won’t.

Why Online Trading?

For one; the challenge. Online trading has always been something I am interested in. Perhaps I’d be better in penny stocks –it’s mostly smoke and mirrors from what I understand and the investments are smaller. I like smoke and mirrors. In my basic understanding, penny stocks are more about gut checks and what people want to believe and less so about spreadsheets. If it’s all smoke and mirrors, SEO and timing may very well be the smoke. A rapidly growing backlink profile could indicate a stock being dressed up –how long before the person pumping a stock will dump it? If I got into penny stocks, and I may be way off course here –I would imagine that my understanding of search optimization would be an asset (and less so for day trading).

And then there’s “real” stock trading –this is where I know I’ll have one hell of a reading list. It isn’t something to be taken lightly. Some have reported a 10 year learning curve before they ever posted a profit.

The other reason I’m considering stock trading as an income generator is that leaps in technology have made it possible to trade online from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The rest of that thought process writes itself.

Digital Nomad Online Trading Examples (and Role Models?)

If you’ve been curious about digital nomads who trade stocks, you’ve probably heard about the likes of Wandering Trader, Freedom Surfer, Two Blokes Trading, Money Nomad, and others. The latter isn’t so much into trading stocks as a main source of income, but he’s still a relevant role model.

Any experienced location independent online trading professionals to put on my radar? Please leave a comment on that one.

What I Know About Online Trading as  Beginner

I don’t know what I don’t know, but here’s what I do know.

Have $25,000 USD to Start Day Trading Online

The Wandering Trader originally started out with massive bucks in his pocket, albeit student loans –$25k to be exact, and he originally wound up with bupkiss. The man is a legend by some standards today, and that’s sobering.

Marcello has a popular day trading course and it could be my first step into the world of online trading in 2018.

He has a series of videos that start off pretty easily –you learn about the advantages and disadvantages of day trading –the main disadvantage for many is that the true cost of entry on day trading as a digital nomad is that you need $25k to day trade. It keeps out the fools, and it protects fools from being bigger fools. And sometimes it doesn’t.

The underlying fact is that you shouldn’t invest with any money you might need within the next 5 years or so. Hands off. The longer your financial runway, the less risk you take.

You’re Either a Loaner, or an Owner

Although I’ll touch on some of the investment types I’ve identified in a moment, they all boil down to two –either you’re loaning to others for interest, or you yourself are investing in another person’s business with the hope that your ownership interest appreciates.

If you’re investing in debt –like bonds or loaning money to the bank (because that’s what a deposit into a bank is –you’re helping them make money off yours), you are a loaner.

If you invest in the stock market or into real estate, that makes you an owner. I want the majority of my would-be investments to be as an owner. Being an owner carries with it more risk, but it is more profitable than being a loaner.

I understand it’s prudent to invest in both modalities, owning a little bit of many companies instead of a lot of a few. That whole “too many eggs in one basket” adage, we’ve heard it all before.

Take Your Time

Set a budget and invest in smaller amounts every month. My guess is a lot of beginners are all too eager to throw down immediately, but it’s good to taste smaller, non-lethal doses of poison that eat the whole stew in one go. Case and point, Wandering Trader. I’m not as young as he was when he started, I don’t have the luxury of fucking it up to the tune of $25k.

If the market dips, you’ll have money left over to buy at lower-yet pricing as opposed to losing your whole dinner.

How Much to Invest

A common measuring tool of how much to invest every month is surprisingly beautiful in its simplicity because it has nothing to do with the complexities of the stock market or investing at all –I’ve heard of others tell online stock trading beginners to consider their age and subtract it from 100, and you’re left with the percentage of how much of your long-term savings you should invest. 25 year-olds would invest 75% under this model, and 75 year-olds would take less risk in their twilight years by investing a mere 25% (although their 25% probably destroys any 25 year-olds’ 75%).

Stick to What You Know

If you can’t explain it to a six year-old, you probably don’t understand it yourself shouldn’t invest in it. That’s Einstein.

I’m familiar with C-level suits and a number of industries from tech startups to health and manufacturing –I’ve worked cohesively with many of them over the years. I’ve planned their online solutions, I’ve written proposals they’ve accepted, and I’ve usually been able to demonstrate my understanding of their needs. And unless it’s to save my own skin, I can smell a failure a mile away when it’s still a twinkle in an investor’s eye. I’m very meticulous when it comes to disqualifying an idea, and I’ve seen enough to understand your average consumer.

I usually ask the right questions –and questions are more important than anything in any business.

As the son of a truck driver and a daycare support worker, I didn’t have a ladder to borrow. I had to create my own, and fast. I’ve fit in with some interesting people over the years –and even if some of them knew I didn’t belong in their crowd, they still paid me their respect and bought me drink.

So my point is this; if you’re reading this and like me, you’d like to get into online trading –start figuring out the right questions about everything before you start looking for answers. Everyone has an answer, but questions can blow over a billion hipster startups or “revolutionary” ideas. Even when I was hungry –I’d always turned down more client projects than I took because I wanted to work with people who would still be standing in 10 years. I have a reputation for being an asshole but I wear it like a badge of fucking honor.

The only time I’d invest in a loser is on a penny stock, if that’s even still a worthy enterprise –because sooner or later a loser gets dropped, and it’s the timing of buying and selling that can turn a loser stock into a winner for somebody. I assume every expert trader will tell you to steer clear of penny stocks, but consider me tickled by the idea, anyway. Zig or zag?

That’s also why I’m wary of anything I read in the news –seek out the doublespeak. If XYZ is in the news, I’d look long and hard at their competitor instead.

And their CEO. Always look the horse captain in the mouth.

Learn About Trading Types, Methods, or Styles

For the sake of brevity –and who listens to a blogger who hasn’t begun trading online yet? Hell, who listens to one in their first 3 years without anything noteworthy under their belt? –I’d like to keep this one short.

I can’t speak with any authority at the moment, but I can say I’ve identified a few different trading styles and types that might suit the personality of a digital nomad online trading beginner. And I’d just like to list them for terminology sake so you can hit the ground running with your beginner online trading research, on your own.

There are others, but this should get your inner dialog going –and one thing worth observing in this is that each of these online trading styles cater different personalities.

I can see a programmer giving technical trading a try, whereas a street smart person (read: former weed dealer) may take the “scalping” route. I don’t know, I make this shit up as I go along –but your personality is an important thing to consider when you get into online trading as a beginner. Don’t deny your strengths, or your impulses.

Investopedia has an article worth perusing on the subject, too.

Some Trading Styles to Explore:

  • Day trading
  • Short, medium, long-term trading
  • Guerrilla trading
  • Swing trading, retracement trading
  • Arbitrage trading
  • High-frequency trading
  • Quantitative trading
  • Trading based on technical analysis
  • Positional trading
  • Event-based trading
  • Scalping
  • Fundamental trading
  • Headline trading, or “news playing”
  • Rebate trading
  • Pattern trading
  • Price action trading
  • Market making
  • Range trading
  • Contrarian investing
  • Breakout trading
  • Reversal trading
  • Rangebound trading

Learn About What You’re Trading

This is where I get off the love boat and I need to roll up my sleeves –I understand the thinking behind the strategies a bit better than what I’m trading, if I understand anything today at all.

In my humble opinion, and I am LOLing as I write this because what the fuck do I know today –but I think this puts me at a bit of an advantage over an online trading beginner that read the About Us page on the FOREX website and decided they want to be a day trader nomade without understanding styles first.

Who gives a damn whether I’m trading apples or pieces of paper; by this digital beginner’s guess, my strategy and preferred trading style is more important. And if and when I get into online trading in a serious capacity over the next few years, I will probably write a real nice teardown of this entire article.

With my limited understanding, I think I know enough to let style dictate form.

All that aside, there’s a whole lot of markets one can trade in. And your choice of which market you trade in relies on your preferred trading style. Some markets are better or only suited for specific trading styles, while others can fit into multiple markets.

With that said, here’s a small fist full of words we should all learn more about:

  • Commodity trading
  • FOREX trading
  • Bitcoin trading
  • Equity trading
  • Futures trading
  • Options trading
  • CFD trading
  • Binary Options (controversial?)

In Summary

Alright, let me have it. Where did I mess it up? Did I mix up points between bulleted lists? On a scale of 1 to 10, how naïve am I right now? (Ignore the date on the post, that’s updated automatically to improve click-through rates –I wrote this on June 21, 2017).

I’m playing a long game. I am looking to begin my self-education in online trading as a digital nomad in 2018. I am writing this article in the middle of 2017. There’s a few reasons for that.

It’s going to take a while for this article to percolate and get in front of the right eyes. I bet a lot of beginner online stock traders will find it, and I could probably learn a whole lot from just about anyone who had the nerve to search for it and read this far.

I want to trade –if I didn’t, I could just take stocks I acquire in one form or another and hand them to a company like CMC Markets to handle it for me. But I don’t want to do that. Knowing how to trade could put me in a good position –maybe one day I’ll take stock options instead of a paycheck or a salary. Who knows.

But nonetheless, I think that having a solid understanding of online trading is an asset worth sweating out. And I’d really appreciate some insight from anyone in the crowd.

You there! Anything to add or perhaps some suggested reading for beginner trading?

Let me know in the comments.

Bitcoin Blog - Michael Hulleman

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Learn about cryptocurrency at your own pace! We took a more conversational approach to explaining cryptocurrency, pointing out tools and resources as we go along, in context of real-world situations.

The articles below are listed in the order of our own learning experience, moving through the different layers of cryptocurrency adoption from understanding criticisms and myths to the wide range of technologies that underpin it.

We've continuously updated and expanded on each article over time to ensure relevance. The last content review was March, 2018.
1. Bitcoin Scams, Criticisms, and Myths Explained
2. Intro to Cryptocurrency Technologies
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5. Cryptocurrency Wallet Types Explained
6. What to Consider Before You Choose a Crypto Wallet, Exchange, or ICO
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  1. I see you’ve gone into the rabbit hole of trading…and are completely bogged down with information overload. Also some guys on your list are scammers/educators/fake traders.

    Stick to ONE market. Stick to 1-3 SOLID setups. Trade with at least a 1:3 risk to reward, journal all your trades (the setup you took, what you learned etc) and also journal all your emotions. You should know how well your setups perform, which means you’ll need to spend lots of time backtesting.

    Feel free to e-mail me if you want to hop onto a call to discuss trading. I can direct you to some REAL trading groups, not some wandering scammer who’s going to charge you 5k to learn support and resistance.

  2. Interesting, I began reading this website to learn about living in Asia, and I ended up reading about trading! Well, I have a couple of comments, (a) day trading requires an extreme fast connection to jump on the up and downswings before others do or you lose your profit margin, (b) FOREX is not predictable, no matter what analytic tool you’re using because the largest currency buyers and sellers are governments, which they manipulate the currencies according to their political agenda i.e. controlling inflation, accumulating dollars, euros, pounds, etc. to lower internal commodity prices, and on and on. Add to that, geopolitics, is China building aircraft carriers, why? Is the USA in danger, when?, etc. which create panic and opportunities but difficult to forecast. In my modest experience, I started in 2003, stock trading, slow and methodical, in the end brings the best results, even in the short term. And, there’s a reason why the fundamentals are called “fundamentals”: other forms of trading are prone to hype and herd mentality, a sure way to lose your capital.

  3. Hey Michael, funny I just stubled upon your article here. I also have an interest in developing trading skills, good to have a backup plan I figure and another way to earn since Google SEO doesn’t seem like such a sure thing anymore lately to some.

    My main question at the moment is, what type of trading lends itself best to the Nomad lifestyle. Trading the US market while living is Asia would be a pain for example, the time difference, so I figured forex maybe?

    I don’t know yet, i’ve got plenty of questions still, but I’m interested to learn and start practicing at some point.

    1. Hey Paul, thanks for stopping by.

      Currency exchange and travel go hand in hand, going the forex route would likely give you some applicable travel skills while making you money.

      If you’re going to give forex a shot, this article sums it up pretty well.

      And then there’s crypto –it’s still possible to make money with it. As long as it trades, there’s an opportunity.

  4. I would personally recommend you the book “If you can” by William Bernstein. It covers by my opinion all you need to know about investing in stocks. But you know, there is HUGE difference between investing in stocks and trading in stocks, so i don’t know what you prefer more 🙂 Wish you good luck anyway

  5. Great article and introduction to trading Mike! And thank you for mentioning Money Nomad in the post. It’s true, there are a lot of opportunities for online trading.

    Personally, I think it’s a bit of a gamble to focus on day trading. However, one trading method I do like is buying stocks and selling covered calls. This is essentially like putting a renter in a rental property. By selling options, you earn money from the stock whether it goes up or down — all while still owning the underlying stock (which means you’ll always walk away with something).

    Keep up the hustle Mike — I’m loving all of this great content.

      1. As I get more into cryptocurrency (Ethereum for now) –I am re-reading this blog post thinking my gut check wasn’t too far off point, and what you said above makes sense in terms of what an ICO is to Ethereum.

        I could still be off the mark, but it’s my view that as an investor, I personally would be more on the offering side of the fence and would abstain from buying “tokens” offered in an ICO because you’re right. The one “renting” has much more to lose.

        More on cryptocurrencies as the year goes on –I’m onto something and decided I couldn’t wait until 2018. And I’m a little impressed I can now understand the candlestick chart in the featured image of this article 😉

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