Finding the right work-life balance when trading

The life of a trader can be stressful, with important developments taking place constantly. This makes it essential that individuals maintain a positive work-life balance

Forex trading can bring healthy returns, but traders should be careful to nurture hobbies beyond the job in order to maintain a healthy personal life 

I started trading around 2007, after attending an event with a pensions advisor who put the idea of forex (FX) trading in my mind. As the advisor was speaking, I started to consider ways of building up a pension pot over time. I remembered that the GBP/USD exchange rate would vary considerably from year to year, having noted how changeable exchange rates and currencies were when travelling with my parents as a child.

I asked the pensions advisor if I could convert GBP into USD when the exchange rate was working in my advantage, before converting USD back into GBP as the exchange rate went back in my favour the other way. He replied that this was exactly what he was already doing. He was obviously an FX trader too, and it was this initial thought that led me to FX markets and the start of my trading career.

Another day at the office
I usually start my day at 6:30am, reading up on the latest market-moving news that occurred overnight in the US and Asian sessions before analysing the markets and looking at opportunities for the coming day. I then have breakfast at 8am, after which I monitor the squawk service, write articles, engage with fellow traders and have a mid-morning break when I take a short walk. I continue working until 1pm, when I have a break for lunch, before coming back to my desk and monitoring the markets for the rest of my afternoon. If any special events occur, such as a central bank rate announcement, I will stay up to monitor those before heading back to bed.

What I really enjoy about trading is the stories. I love following central bank and political developments and mapping how they move currencies

Every Monday at 12:30pm, I run the HYCM FX Week Ahead webinar, during which I flag upcoming events that are likely to have the greatest effect on markets. These webinars are free to attend and available on HYCM’s website. On Tuesdays, I run the HYCM Online Trading Workshop, where I go over the principle of pairing a weak currency with a strong currency. This session is designed to be more practical, demonstrating the backbones of making a trade.

Finding job satisfaction
What I really enjoy about trading is the stories. I love following central bank and political developments and mapping how they move currencies. Breaking news that changes a currency’s outlook is particularly exciting. I also enjoy being a guide for other people, showing them how to trade and manage their risk. Helping people trade brings me considerable satisfaction and I get to meet some very interesting people along the way.

Of course, trading comes with its risk. For instance, at HYCM, contract for difference (CFD) trades, are always accompanied by a high-risk investment warning. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage – 67 percent of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with HYCM. Every investor should consider whether they have a full understanding of CFDs before they start trading.

Giles Coghlan, Chief Currency Analyst at HYCM, speaks at the company’s Becoming a Pro Trader course

If I wasn’t a trader I would like to go into politics as it’s a great way to serve your country. However, finding success in politics is much harder than doing so in trading. A trader would consider a year successful if they brought home a positive figure at the end of the twelve months, but being a successful politician is both harder to measure and achieve. As a politician, it is also easier to be viewed as a villain by other people, regardless of how well intentioned you may be.

Helping people trade brings me considerable satisfaction and I get to meet some very interesting people along the way

Off the clock
In my spare time I like to run, read novels, play tennis and visit the theatre. I love reading classic novels because I believe that if a book has been popular for more than 100 years, it must be saying something worthwhile. I also enjoy philosophical novels because the questions they pose seem the most worthwhile to engage in. I am currently reading the fantasy novel Eragon by Christopher Paolini, which my daughter recommended to me. Once I have finished this, I will start Meditations by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.

When I play tennis at home, I play very badly compared to the rest of my family. My wife played tennis to a national level when she was in her teens and my son and daughter both have high national rankings. My son is competing in a Tennis Europe event in Portugal and has reached the top 16, with a ranking of eighth in the UK for the 12-and-under age group. I find it frustrating getting consistently beaten because I am a sporty person, but that counts for nothing in my household.