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Is it viable to trade from home as a primary career?

daigo

New Member
I apologize if this sort of post is inappropriate for this section of the forum. If it is, please feel free to re-direct me to the correct lace.

So here is the backstory so far - I will try to provide as much context and information about myself as possible in order to avoid vagueness and obtain the most accurate responses:

I am a 23-year old who just left the 2nd year of a PhD program for (pure) mathematics a couple months ago because my advisor moved to another country and I was unwilling to follow for various reasons, and there are no other schools I would like to move to that will accept me.

Since then I had gotten a job at a supermarket stocking shelves, but recently got fired because I kept zoning out at work - I think about math problems pretty much all day, from the moment I wake up to the hours I cannot fall asleep, so often at work I would just kind of mindlessly stand around or pace thinking about math until someone comes over and snaps me out of it.

So I have moved in with my mom since I have no money saved up nor own anything (but I also have no debt). I have decided to give up on my career goals with math (I wanted to teach/research and eventually become tenured) since it seems out of reach and not too realistic as far as expectations go in the field, and my mom also needs help with sustenance at this immediate time since we come from a below-poverty line family.

I found some books by Paul Wilmott that a professor gave me a while ago while I was an undergrad that I never even opened up, but am now considering trading/investing as a career where I can be my own boss (and not get fired for doing something I love all day) as well as something that is interesting enough to keep my focus and attention on while I wean away from math (well, the areas of math I am specifically fond of). I am willing to spend at least 12-18 hours daily studying what I need to learn (which is about the same amount of time I invested studying math when I was a student) since I am clueless about finance. I would be content with making a stable minimum wage from this, as I am not looking to become wealthy or anything, and it would be enough to support myself and my mom.

Would it be viable to begin trading with barely any initial capital (maybe between my mom and I we can spare $100 or something along those lines, and maybe a couple dozen bucks a month) and maintain at least minimum wage profits? Or does this industry just not offer enough monetary security (or "hedging," is it called? no idea what that means but I see the term thrown around in this context) for someone that doesn't have much money to put down? If this career idea sounds plausible, what should I begin studying to make this happen? If any clarification or more details are necessary, please let me know so I can appropriately make addendums to this post. Thank you for your time
 

zyz

Well-Known Member
Hey, I am not sure what kind of answer you are looking for, but it is very tough to make it work. With several hundred dollars you can start trading FX with huge leverage and make some money, but it probably won't last long...

The only thing that can think of that could work for you is to start coding? There are lots of free sources out there and with reasonable amount of knowledge and network you hopefully will be able to find something.

Anyway, best of luck to you.
 

yetanotherquant

Well-Known Member
I am a 23-year old who just left the 2nd year of a PhD program for (pure) mathematics a couple months ago ... then I had gotten a job at a supermarket stocking shelves,
A very good lesson for those, who wants to waste their time making a a pure math Ph.D.
(which also the case for pure financial math, i.e. making complicated modes that do not work and are not interesting even for peers, let alone practitioners).

Is it viable to trade from home as a primary career?
....
we can spare $100 or something along those lines
...
I would be content with making a stable minimum wage
A short answer is no.

Sorry for being tough but dude, are you really a mathematician?
What is the minimum wage in your country?
Which annual return do you need to make a minimum wage from $100?
(BTW, Warren Buffett make 20% p.a.)

But don't get despaired! Zyz has already given you a good advice, start learning programming.
Your earning from it shall be both bigger and more stable than from private trading.
 

yetanotherquant

Well-Known Member
Ever heard about D.E.Shaw or Two Sigma? There are plenty of pure math Ph.D.'s and they are doing pretty fine...

It's a real wonder that we hear the voices of those that were pushed by dolphins to the shore but it is no surprise that we do not hear those that were pushed into the sea. :)
 

daigo

New Member
The only thing that can think of that could work for you is to start coding? There are lots of free sources out there and with reasonable amount of knowledge and network you hopefully will be able to find something.
But don't get despaired! Zyz has already given you a good advice, start learning programming.
Your earning from it shall be both bigger and more stable than from private trading.
I already know how to program (albeit sans experience/real projects). I am not sure about programming either as I have friends who have degrees in this field yet still can't find a job, and I don't even have one in this area of study.
 

pingu

Well-Known Member
I already know how to program (albeit sans experience/real projects). I am not sure about programming either as I have friends who have degrees in this field yet still can't find a job, and I don't even have one in this area of study.
Which field?
 

Liam

Well-Known Member
but recently got fired because I kept zoning out at work - I think about math problems pretty much all day, from the moment I wake up to the hours I cannot fall asleep, so often at work I would just kind of mindlessly stand around or pace thinking about math until someone comes over and snaps me out of it.

A lot of the comments here are good but to add to this I would suggest once you get into a career in coding and get a network to get career coaching from someone that knows your industry. Even some guy like DomConnor could help. The zoning out is a major concern as, even if you become a coder and use PhD level math, there are certain disciplines and a certain drive that you will need to stay on track. Maybe you won't zone out so much in a math driven job, but all jobs carry some stuff that "isn't you" and can get very much about politics and time management and you sound like you will not develop these aspects properly (like some PhD students I know).

You really, really don't sound cut out for trading. I did minimum wage jobs before going into finance including call center work and bookkeeping and would think a little about math while doing them, but I never zoned out or got fired. In fact with repetitive tasks the only zoning out I did was from getting into the zone of the tasks themselves.

And I'm not even close to the right personality to be a trader. Anybody I know that does it has a personality like Jordan Belfort's and is very dilligent, with a strong attention to detail, zero issues about doing tasks that don't use the degree and able to push people around to get things done. Some tried doing it on their own and the feedback I got was that it was much harder without the support network of a bank. One classmate recently moved into "business development" after having run a hedge fund for 2 years after losing a job as head of derivatives trading at his last bank (10 year's experience) - he liked setting up the fund as little things like managing tax, accounting, legal issues and setting up a trading entity etc seemeed to give him a buzz, but it was never a good long term solution, even though he did it with support. Something tells me it isn't you.
 
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