Big Mike's Trading Blog

Day trading futures, discussing money management and trade management techniques, and more

Support from your wife and kids or other loved ones in trading

I'd like to talk about the psychology of having/not having support from your wife (and kids) in your trading business.

First, notice I used the word business. Trading is a business! If you run it any other way, it's just gambling.

From students and friends that I've talked to, it seems many times "the wife and kids" have no appreciation for what you are doing. They don't support it or respect it. Examples would be constant interruptions throughout the day or nagging remarks in the bedroom, etc.

Why do you think this happens?

I think that unless you are a trader yourself, it is about impossible to fully respect the emotional roller-coaster trader's experience, the psychological impact, the stress, the preparation required, the concentration, all of it.

So you cannot completely fault an outsider, even your wife or kids, for not being able to fully appreciate it. They can't, not until they are no longer an outsider!

Needless to say, trying to succeed in trading is hard enough without problems of lack of support from your loved ones.

I think there are a few angles to approach this from. One, if your family is not in a financially stable situation and you are "home all day playing on the computer" instead of out in the "real world looking for a job", then you can expect this is not a good situation and you have to understand that you are risking a lot for your own personal happiness.

But two/second, if you are in a somewhat stable situation, then it is possible your loved ones still do not appreciate or possibly even condone trading because they feel it is just a toy/hobby or even gambling, a "no win" situation, etc.

Assuming the second situation, one possible way to overcome this barrier is to involve your loved ones more. In fact, doing so will almost certainly dramatically improve your trading since most trading mistakes are due to psychological missteps, by thinking things through more carefully so you don't make mistakes when explaining them to others and look like a fool, you'll find that you're actually a much better trader for it.

The first two to three years of your trading business is probably a losing proposition in terms of your bank statement. That's true of any business of any nature. It's also true most businesses fail within two years, just as most traders do. Your wife and kids need to understand that this is a business, and just like if you opened a restaurant, or a fitness club, a computer/electronics storefront, any of these things --- they are all risks and require support as well as "leaps of faith" in order to be successful.

Just like you could hopefully turn to your wife and kids to support you in your new business venture of starting a "fitness club", and get them involved and make them feel like they are contributing, you can also do the same thing with trading!

Most families and outsiders think trading is pure gambling and frown on it. They think you are a degenerate for trading and spending your life savings or not looking out for your family. I think there are two extremes here -- one, it is possible to treat trading like a gambling addiction in which case you don't know when to stop. But it's also possible to treat trading like any normal business. If you started a coffee shop and invested 50k of your own money, and 3 years later it failed, most likely your wife and parents and friends would not disown you. However, in trading, they just might. It's a stigma.

Unless you are willing or capable of doing this on your own, the best way to combat this stigma is by involvement. Not just involvement for the sake of understanding of the complexities of trading by your loved ones, but involvement for the sake them better understanding the pleasure and joy it brings to your life. Most men would do anything for their wife and kids if they knew it would bring them joy and happiness, even at great financial cost. The same is true in reverse, your wife and kids need to give you some freedom and room to experience these things even at great financial cost.

So what are some of the better ways to involve your wife and kids? Well, I hope to hear from you guys! But here are some of my suggestions (although I'm not currently married, and have no kids!)

- Don't just make them watch. Give them something to do.
- What they do needs to have meaning. It needs to have an impact and even consequences.
- Make it consistent. If it is not consistent they cannot appreciate both up's and down's.
- Let them control some of their own trades. Sim at first, but move them to a small cash account. For kids, you can make it tangible (more for teenagers). Rewards for certain percentage gains like clothes, ipod, movies, xbox games, etc. For wife it can be stuff a bit more extravagant, like hit 'xx%' gain and we'll add that new deck in the backyard you wanted, or a weekend get-a-way trip for family, etc etc.

What do you guys think?  Join the discussion on the forum, here:



Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.