The Routine of a Stock Market Day-Trader

Jordan Mendiola

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Welcome to the crazy world of day-trading!

It’s an enjoyable experience when you make money, but it can be a really crappy experience when you lose money. 

The bottom line is that money can be made from tapping a few buttons on a screen and having considerable risk-management. 

I have been day-trading for nearly a month ever since my job became work from home. In my spare time, I’ll check out some moving stocks, make a move, and secure profits whenever possible.

In this article, I’m going to go over my personal routine and share some of the many lessons I’ve learned along the way. Let’s dive right into it. 

The Routine of a Day-Trader

  • Wake up 1 hour before the market opens (7:30 CST for me)
  • Grab something quick to eat
  • Check CNBC, MarketWatch, Twitter, and Stock communities I’m part of for news and updates.
  • Create a “watchlist” for the day for easy access to stocks I want to monitor.
  • Go for a walk outside to get some fresh air and clear my mind.
  • Sit and watch the first 5 minutes of trading to let profit-takers take their money, and figure out which way the market wants to move.
  • Wait for setups to reveal themselves, enter a position, and then exit.
  • If the trade is victorious, set some aside by adding current positions (buy more ARKK, AMZN, and Tesla).
  • If the trade fails, figure out what went wrong, trade smaller, and don’t repeat the same mistake twice.
  • Once the goal for the day is met, turn off the screen and move onto something else.
  • Rinse and repeat into the next day so on and so forth. 

3 Common Mistakes Day-Traders Make

“FOMO”

If you’re part of trading communities or Facebook groups revolving around trading, you’re going to see people making lots of money. 

Don’t FOMO into positions that have already succeeded, otherwise you could be on the wrong side of history. People who chase after what worked for someone else doesn’t always bode well for day-trading.

What happened is in the past, and unless there’s some sort of miracle, you can jump in and make the same great play as well.

“Over-Trading”

Trading Fraternity on YouTube has a motto that says “less trades, more profits”. This means that you enter fewer positions but end up making more money.

If you make 10 trades in a day and profit $100 for the day, you made $10 per trade. If you make 3 trades in a day and profit $300 for the day, you made $100 per trade. Work smarter, not harder. 

If you’re trying to time multiple trades, you open up room for error, and this is where you can really start to lose your money. 

Risking Way Too Much

You’ll see movement on stocks like Tesla or Zoom that will be tempting to hop into, and if you win, great, but if you lose, you could lose big.

Depending on your account's size, you should really only be trading with about 15% of it. There’s no reason to risk your entire portfolio on day-trading without at least establishing your foundation. 

As an above PDT trader (Marked as Pattern Day Trader with an account over 25k), I have unlimited day-trades. Whereas someone with a smaller account is limited on how much they can risk on any given day.

Know your limits and your risk tolerance. Day trading can be a source of income for you. Please don’t treat it like a casino. That is how you’ll get burned. 

How to Use The Money You Make

Assuming you find a rhythm with day-trading, you’ll have extra cash in your brokerage account. Technically you could risk more money and potentially make more or stick to what works and reinvest the profits.

Personally, I like to keep my cash balance around $1,000 so that I have funds to make plays for any given day. If I end up below that, I play smaller positions to work my way up. 

If there’s a point in time where my cash account exceeds $1,000, I make sure to add shares to positions like Amazon, Tesla, Nio, or ARKK. The reason I do this is that when your cash account grows, so does your risk tolerance.

You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world and that nothing could go wrong, but you can quickly lose a lot of it. That’s why sticking to a trading plan is crucial. Don’t risk more than you’re able to lose. 

If you’re someone who feels like your cash is better off sitting in your own pockets, you’re more than welcome to withdraw some of the funds from your account. 

Just remember that you’re probably going to want to add more in at some point, and it's much easier to liquidate stocks you own by selling them versus depositing more from your checking account and having to set aside money. 

10 Stocks I Like to Day-Trade

  1. Beyond Meats ($BYND)
  2. Roku ($ROKU)
  3. S&P 500 ($SPY)
  4. Plug ($PLUG)
  5. Advanced Micro Devices ($AMD)
  6. NIO ($NIO)
  7. BIDU ($BIDU)
  8. Lemonade ($LMND)
  9. Spotify ($SPOT)
  10. QuantumScape ($QS)

10 Stocks I Own Shares in 

  1. ARK Innovation ETF ($ARKK)
  2. Advanced Micro Devices ($AMD)
  3. Bionano Genomics ($BNGO)
  4. NIO ($NIO)
  5. Tesla ($TSLA)
  6. Jumia Technologies ($JMIA)
  7. Immersion ($IMMR)
  8. Foresight Autonomous ($FRSX) 
  9. Apple ($AAPL)
  10. Riot Blockchain ($RIOT)

Bottom-Line

Not a lot of people make money day-trading. I’ve been lucky enough to have mentors guide me through the craziness and learn how to consistently make a profit. 

If you get emotional seeing your money go dramatically upwards or dramatically downwards, day-trading isn’t for you. There will be days you feel on top of the world. But there will also be days when you feel like you take a break. 

You must first set aside the money you’re willing to risk so that you don’t have to think about it possibly affecting the way you pay your bills or live everyday life.

Take it from me, there's a lot of money to be made, but there’s a lot of money to be lost. You’ve got to study hard, constantly be willing to learn, and then and only then will you become profitable. 

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Creative entrepreneur, U.S. Army Engineer, and dedicated runner. Committed to sharing ideas that lead to more fulfillment in all areas of life. Email: mendiola1829@gmail.com

Chicago, IL
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