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Old 12-20-2009, 12:49 AM   #1
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Hi Guys - I have been very fortunate to have found this forum and have been a passive reader for the last six months now. I am very impressed with the knowledge and practicality that so many of you guys have here. Your posts have helped reinforce several core concepts which somehow I lost focus of over the years.

I would like to introduce myself and my current situation and would like some responses from some of you guys. I am male, 35, married (no children yet but planning to start a family in the next 2 years). I work in financial services industry. Just like so many of you guys here I dont want to work for somebody else. I want to pursue my passion - day trading and swing trading in the markets full time. I have a very strong passion for the stock market, futures and forex. I have tried trading in the evenings and nights and have had mixed results (not the ideal time to trade but thats what is available if I keep a day job). I have accumulated a lot of experience and knowledge using technical analysis, money mangament etc. I know day trading has very low success rates and requires solid discipline but I wouldnt know I have it until I try it.

On to my assets I own a fully paid apartment in manhattan (market value $1.25 million or so). My 401k has 250k and my liquid investments most of which are primarily in savings and CDs are approx. $4.25 million. (Wife just started working but I would like to leave out any assets she accumulates from our net worth- its for her to do what she wants with it).

My expenses are approx. $50,000 per year currently. (on the high side). Health insurance from my wife's employer shoud I quit.

So my questions:

(1) Do I have enough to leave my day job and start day-trading? (Lets assume my income from trading will be ZERO- no income and importantly no losses). Could i live off my net worth for say 65 years out? (100 year life expectancy just to be absolutely on the safe side). Inflation thoughts make me go dizzy. Thats why the uncertainty.

(2) Im pretty much all in cash, savings, CD, short term bonds and negligible equity ( had been selling my equity during this run up - sold at S&P 800, then 850, then 900, rest at 950 convinced each time market aint going higher). Have been feeling like a fool for quite a few months now and consequently find myself all in cash only to hear everbody shorting USD and buying gold . SO I have approx. 4.5 million to invest and the allocation and timing makes me dizzy again. What allocations would you suggest if I were to quit my job and start day trading full time? And within what time frame should i execute those?

(3) I have an option to even relocate to the suburbs where my expenses will reduce from 50k to 40k (renting an apt) and if I do that I would then have my current condo netting me a net after tax income of approx $20-25k (so my net expenses would then be 15-20k only). Is this a game changer? Would I even need to do that? Am I just thinking too much?

(4) Quality of life - I dont really need retirement but freedom to day trade. I could be on the computer working hard 16 hours because of the passion and interest i have for the markets. I dont know how long I live but do you guys think it is time for me to just do what I want even if it means quitting from a job that pays great (500K+), decent prestige etc etc. ( assume If I quit here I dont think i will ever make this kind of money in another job ever - maybe 100-150k max if at all).

Thanks for the patience in reading this email and I sincerely apologize for it being long winded. This email is still a tiny fraction of the true cross currents of thinking and hypothizing and philosophying that go in my tiny little brain.

Thanks guys.
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:40 AM   #2
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Destiny, welcome to the forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by destiny75 View Post
(1) Do I have enough to leave my day job and start day-trading?
No.
Quote:
Originally Posted by destiny75 View Post
Could i live off my net worth for say 65 years out?
Not unless you change your career plans.
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Originally Posted by destiny75 View Post
What allocations would you suggest if I were to quit my job and start day trading full time? And within what time frame should i execute those?
I'd strongly recommend buying SPIA's from several different insurers with virtually all your $4.5M. Do it immediately. That way you'll have less available to risk at day trading.
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I have an option to even relocate to the suburbs where my expenses will reduce from 50k to 40k (renting an apt) and if I do that I would then have my current condo netting me a net after tax income of approx $20-25k (so my net expenses would then be 15-20k only). Is this a game changer? Would I even need to do that? Am I just thinking too much?
With a portfolio of $4.5M and an annual income of $500K, this appears to be chump change. Why lower your standard of living when you'll be making big bucks in the market.
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So my questions:
Before you get upset at my responses, remember, you asked.
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In case you aren't aware, the above response is tongue-in-cheek...well, some of it is. If you've been reading this board for a while then you shouldn't be surprised at the "what the hell are you thinking?" responses you will likely get from your post. We tend to be a somewhat financially conservative group and view terms like "day trading" and "forex" as synonymous with "crack cocaine" and "heroin".

My recommendation: move to a lower cost of living area, retire, find some affordable hobbies and enjoy life. If you aren't ready to do that, then don't quit your day job.
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:12 AM   #3
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Welcome Destiny:

You are already rich. Do you need to be richer? If the answer is "yes", ask yourself why. For what is money a substitute? Because, by any objective standard, you don't need more.

With liquid assets exceeding $4.5 million (over $5.5 million if you sell the apartment and move someplace with normal housing costs) and annual expenses of only $50k, it would seem that you can easily retire, invest all your money in TIPS and live happily ever after. Unless, of course, you manage to "get poor quick" by day trading. Could you have as much fun trading, say, $500k (about 10% of your nest egg)? Then set aside $5 million in conservative investments to support your life and $500k play money to trade. You'll have to quit trading when you run out though (and you probably will at some point).
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:30 AM   #4
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I'm with Gumby here. Frankly, I wouldn't even day trade at all, not with the risk of losing too much money. It seems to me that $4.5M could generate $90,000 a year, adjusted for inflation, using a very conservative 2% withdrawal rate. And if you only needed $50,000, that requires only slightly more than a 1% withdrawal rate which would allow a conservative asset allocation such as 40/60 or 50/50 (quite conservative for a 35-year-old but more than enough to generate a 1-2% safe withdrawal rate using history as a guide). Heck, with kind of seed money, I'd even consider SPIAs with a portion of it just to guarantee a modest lifetime income stream -- keep some of it away from the temptation of "get rich quick" streams (especially when someone is already rather wealthy). So why take unnecessary risks with most of your money?

If you're just attracted to the "thrill" of day trading, you have enough to firewall $4 million or more into safer investments you don't touch, and use the rest as "Vegas money" to play the market for fun.

And one more thing here: You mention that you have " Health insurance from my wife's employer shoud I quit". How secure is that job of hers? And are you sure she won't be resentful if she needs to keep working for health insurance even as you start living a more leisurely lifestyle?

Personally, if I had even half of what you have, I'd be outta there so fast it would make your head spin -- with $2M I'd be taking out $50K per year at a 2.5% withdrawal rate and using something like a 50/50 or 60/40 asset allocation -- and not look back.
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:42 AM   #5
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Hi Destiny, welcome from a fellow New Yorker who also works in the industry.


You won't find much support for day trading on this forum, as you've no doubt already gathered. Having said that, FIRECalc definitely believes you can make it 65 years on a 4.5MM nest egg taking out 50k per year, and that includes adjusting your withdrawal rate for inflation.


But let me ask - how realistic is 50k in Manhattan? Are you assuming your wife's income covers a lot of expenses besides her own play money? Also, if you're planning out to 100 you'll have to assume your wife retires at some point and then you'll both need to buy healthcare and anything else you assumed would be covered by her.


Again, welcome to the board.
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:59 AM   #6
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The $50K per year expense piece doesn't jive with me, for Manhattan. Did I miss a decimal point? What are the taxes and insurance alone on a > 1mm home? How do you get to work? Car? Insurance and parking or maintenance. Just going to dinner and a move or a game is a quick couple of hundred.

The whole scenario somehow doesn't feel realistic to me. But if it is, you can set aside $1.5mm and live off that forever, leaving $3mm to invest in whatever way you want.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:43 AM   #7
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I agree with Gumby, but I' skeptical like Rich. Not only can I not imagine living expenses in NYC being just $50,000, but I'm having trouble seeing how destiny75 could have amassed so much cash by age 35 - presumably in the financial industry - while apparently not having an idea how to invest it. The whole story just doesn't ring true, unless there's an inheritance involved. But I am keeping an open mind and am willing to be proven wrong. And, by the way, $50,000 a year would be conservative spending even in my neck of the woods if there are children!
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:48 AM   #8
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The $50K per year expense piece doesn't jive with me, for Manhattan. Did I miss a decimal point? What are the taxes and insurance alone on a > 1mm home? How do you get to work? Car? Insurance and parking or maintenance. Just going to dinner and a move or a game is a quick couple of hundred.
....
I don't own an apt. but live on just under $40K in a high rent central part of a left coast city, my SO contributes nothing to my finances, I buy my own insurance coverage, and don't own a car. Dinner and a movie? About $25 each tops at local ethic places, less than $10 for the movie, $40 each is a splurge for dinner; we went out last Monday to a Spanish/Mexican place, turned out to be $5.00 night, total tab for two was $29.00.

We have $11 tickets for New Years Eve Charlie Chaplin movies with live organ music at a cathedral on the hill. We'll have a $15.00 cafe dinner beforehand and will get around on free (New Year's Eve) transit or maybe a $10 cab ride, may stop in somewhere for an expensive drink and tour the nearby first class hotel lobbies to check out their decorations.

My budget allows a lot of space for expensive theater, opera, symphony, etc. tickets because I have no travel/car expenses at the moment. Day outings don't cost much, a lot of it is free, walking, exploring the city, free days at museums, we've just taken up no-cost geocaching and eat at home a lot.

But I also see Rich_in_Tampa and Meadbh's point. If I had ever had a $500K income, I wouldn't have developed these kinds of habits. Welcome, Destiny75 I'd be very interested to hear about your expense breakdown. If you spend most of your time at a computer, where is the time to spend? Just kidding. btw, a lot of the financially savvy posters here are gals!
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:25 PM   #9
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That's impressive, Cuppa. Don't know if you've been to Manhattan recently, but wonder if it would be the same cost there.

OTOH you're doing great on a reasonable budget so maybe I'm way off on estimates for the OP.
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:36 PM   #10
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... I'm having trouble seeing how destiny75 could have amassed so much cash by age 35 - presumably in the financial industry - while apparently not having an idea how to invest it...
I know plenty of folks like that. Someone might make lots of money trading interest rate futures or structured credit products (for example) but has no exposure whatsoever to retail investing. Plus, many in those shoes would be heavily inclined to market timing and wouldn't know who Jack Bogle or William Bernstein were. In fact, a few years ago I gave out copies of 'Intelligent Asset Allocator' to my staff (purchased at my expense) along with their bonus letters.

Destiny - I'm not implying any of the above applies to you, just letting the OP know that such a type is pretty common.
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:36 PM   #11
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That is a lot of money in "savings and CDs" for someone who wants to be a day trader. It doesn't sound like the investment choices of someone with high risk appetite (which I ascribe to traders). Will you not trade your own $$?

That's a healthy nest egg, at any rate. Good luck with whatever you choose to do, because IMHO you can choose to do anything.
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:16 PM   #12
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That's impressive, Cuppa. Don't know if you've been to Manhattan recently, but wonder if it would be the same cost there...
I wonder about the cost differences, too. My area is very compact which could explain, in part, why it is affordable for me; I also do the thing of "living like a resident rather than a tourist" which, of course, can be a lot cheaper. Rent control helps but my apt. is still very expensive compared to those in a smaller city or rural area. I'd like to hear from NYC or other expensive city residents about their expenses; I know some of you live near me. My family and most of my friends have always been seriously into LBYM and I never really stopped "living like a student" which still seems comfortable.

The lines here in quotes come from Paul Terhorst's ideas which I swear by and haven't seen elsewhere. His book didn't change my ways, it just validated them and encouraged me to continue on and retire as early as possible.
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:17 PM   #13
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Original Poster of this thread here guys. Thank you for the responses so far. I appreciate it and would like to address them.

Rewahoo - No I am not upset with your responses. On the contrary grateful that you took some time to respond to my questions. I could think of a million other things you could have done instead and so thank you. I understand your skepticism on day trading and the facts on it support you. To me daytrading is like laying your cash on the ground, putting kerosene on it and lighting a match stick just above it I think I have made solid progress on money management on the trades I put on and still learning. Hopefully over time I will master not to drop the lighted match stick or at the very least warding it off in midair away from my cash Also retirement doesnt mean anything to me if I dont trade. I dont really have any other plans or major interests. If I dont get to day trade I might as well just hang on to my job.

Gumby - Thanks for your response. I agree with you I am not after more money. Infact my goal from day trading is not even to make loads of money. If I can make just enough to pay all or even the majority of my bills I will be pretty happy. It is the process of being in the markets that I love. I think $500k to day trade is a lot. I usually trade index futures and forex and $200K is more than enough. (The goal initially is to make approx. $350 per day). But you raise a scary point. What if I leave my job and trade and lose $200k over 1-2 years, lose another $200k if I continue and then another. When do I just quit day-trading then and if I quit what will I do then? Get back in the job market I guess as I dont have any other interests to puruse that needs my full time attention. I haven't thought much about failing but all my focus is on very strong money management on my trades. I dont want to sound as if I think failing is not an option but at the same time dont want the fear of failing stop me from pursuing the life style/career I want.

Ziggy29 - I think a lot of what I posted above applies to responding to you too. Thanks for your response. My wife just started working in a six figure paying job and while I would not want to consider her salary as a part of our nest egg I do assume that we depend on her work's health insurance. If she loses her job and decides to never work again (very unlikely as she hates sitting at home) then I guess I am out of pocket by approx. $1,500 a month or so right (approx. 18k a year). That would increase my annual expenses from approx. 50k to 70k or so. Looks like my current assets could still support it but of course the pressure is greater. Lets see what magic Mr President does with his health care reforms

Maurice & Rich in Tampa - Thank you for your responses. Both of you express concerns about 50k not being enough in Manhattan. Actually with my lifestyle it works. I like to trade more than get drunk. I hardly eat out and I dont enjoy broadway shows or live sporting events . A breakdown of my monthly expenses

Condo manintenance/tax/insurance = $2300
Utilities/Gym = $410
Food/Grocery etc = $840
Sundries/Other basics = $300
Budgeted Discretionary = $700

The above is approx. $4550 per month or approx. 54,600 per year. Assuming tax deductibility on property taxes I coud recoup approx. $2500-$3500 back. So we are in the 50k vicinity give or take. Now if I have to pay health insurance I will be at the 68-70k vicinity.


Meadbh and Maurice - The 50K is explained above. Now regards to Meadbh's question as to how I amassed all this cash without knowing how to invest it. Maurice pretty much summed it well in his response. I was into event driven arbitrage at my job and mainly a market timer with my personal investments. I dont recall holding anything for more than a couple of days. Even solid investments I would make for long term in stocks would be sold into the market upon some appreciation. I have been unable to stick to anything I buy. The trading mentality has consumed me I guess. But now I have to get back to the core investment principles if I need my money to work for me and grant me financial independence so I could quit and pursue my passion. Ultimately market timing never works I understand. But I guess I need to invest most of my assets in a conventional approach so that I get the flexibility to quit my job and day trade and market time a small pot of my assets for life. (sounding messed up huh?)

The question is how do I begin to invest 4.5 million when all these years I have only been in and out of the market. Stocks look expensive, bonds look expensive, gold and oil too....hell everything looks too expensive. I have to curb this mindset of trying to catch a bottom and begin. Over what timeline would you guys invest this 4.5 million ? The stock market is just in a quandry (still 30% cheap from oct 2007 but 60% more expensive from March 2009 sheeshhhhh.....)

Cuppa Joe - I am not surprised most of the savvy posters here are gals. They tend to be less impulsive with minimal market timing aspirations. I have given a breakdown of my expenses above . Thanks for your reply.
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:43 PM   #14
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Yes you can live in an expensive metropolitan area without spending a bundle. I live in the same area as CuppaJoe, and even with SUBSTANTIAL extras in my budget that Cuppa doesn't have (sinking account for a car I never drive, house cleaning service, eating out a lot, loans/ gifts to family, very high property taxes and a large travel budget), net of mortgage P&I I spend about $70K a year. I could get it to about $55K without noticing, lower if I consciously looked for dining, entertainment and travel options that were cheaper.
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:45 PM   #15
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Welcome , I can see living on a low budget in Manhattan ( and $50,000 is a low budget )when you are 35 with no children but since you want to have children why not just move somewhere less expensive take a portion of your savings and keep it safe . Take another portion and day trade . You will learn pretty quickly if day trading is for you .
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:47 PM   #16
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To me daytrading is like laying your cash on the ground, putting kerosene on it and lighting a match stick just above it I think I have made solid progress on money management on the trades I put on and still learning. Hopefully over time I will master not to drop the lighted match stick or at the very least warding it off in midair away from my cash Also retirement doesnt mean anything to me if I dont trade. I dont really have any other plans or major interests. If I dont get to day trade I might as well just hang on to my job.
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When do I just quit day-trading then and if I quit what will I do then? Get back in the job market I guess as I dont have any other interests to puruse that needs my full time attention.
I would recommend reading the above two quotes taken from your last post, over and over at least 25 times. Does anything about what you said bother you at all?

It bothers me. First, there is the part about having no other plans or interests than day-trading. This is despite the fact that you regard it as simply burning up your money. I do not mean to be negative or critical, but honestly my recommendation is to forget retirement until you have developed some less self-destructive, less addictive interests. Which is not to say that day-trading is like that for everyone, but you are saying (in the above quotes) that you respond to day-trading in this way.
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:48 PM   #17
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Destiny75, thanks for the added details. I understand you much better now!

It seems to me that you have been both skilled and lucky in building up such a great portfolio by age 35. You have taken risks and prospered. To paraphrase Moshe Milevsky (whose work I recommend) you have used your human capital to generate financial capital. What's important now is to preserve that capital going forward.

Day trading is inherently volatile and risky. You admit that you don't expect to make a lot of money on it. On the other hand, you could lose your shirt. So don't bet the farm on it. You've got wealth, now you need wealth preservation. I agree with Gumby that you should allocate no more than 5-10% of your portfolio to day trading, and invest the rest in a mix of less volatile asset classes. Finding the right mix for you is a whole discussion. But if the priority is to preserve your capital, a good chunk of fixed income is probably appropriate. Also, think outside the financial instruments box and consider alternative investments such as commodities and property (Calmloki is one of our resident experts in that area and I am building a nice property portfolio myself).

I learnt today that it's possible to attain specialist expertise in arbitrage without a sound knowledge of general finance. I'm just a physician, but I have been educating myself for some time, at this Forum and others, and by taking courses. I do have an MBA (no finance specialization) which got me hooked on finance, and subsequently I chose to take the (self study) Canadian Securities Course, which has made me a much more savvy investor. I've also audited their course on wealth management. There must be similar courses available in the US or even at your workplace. You would breeze through them.
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:26 PM   #18
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What W2R said. You're at the edge of the map and need to heed those "Here be dragons" signs.
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:34 PM   #19
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What W2R said, again. I don't mean to sound patronizing, but I think that for the good of your health and your future you need to get a life outside of trading. There are so many wonderful things to do that don't involve sitting at a computer 16 hours a day frenziedly trading securities. And many of them are free.
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:42 PM   #20
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Yep...you could spend 16 hours a day on this forum....

By the way, welcome.
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