Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a student with some extra cash or you just want to get started trading, you need to make sure you have the right equipment to succeed. Trading is not easy, and you don’t need your technology failing on you. Plus, certain aspects of trading may demand different things of a workplace than a traditional job require.
Rather than give yourself a disadvantage in the world of trading, learn how to maximize efficiency and function for your trading. Here is some advice on how to set up the perfect at-home trading station.
Day trading is about working quickly, which means your equipment has to work quickly too. There are conflicting suggestions about what kind of computer to get – some recommend a Mac Pro for its spectacular specs, while others decry all Apple products as fundamentally incapable of meeting a day trader’s requirements. Obviously, opinions differ.
What is important, however, is that your computer can boot up Windows 7 or 10. Apple’s OS is incompatible with most critical day trading tools.
Your computer is going to need some impressive stats. A fast processor is a must, as is enough memory and RAM to avoid lag. Experts recommend a minimum 1 gig of RAM, and a 40 GB hard drive to start. A laptop is not going to cut it for this task. Go for a desktop.
Multiple monitors can be a valuable tool for daytrading, and worth investing money in. Between three and four monitors is common, but some investors have reported seeing traders using 12 monitors at a time. This is unnecessary; if you’re using 12 monitors, you probably need to get rid of a few.
When you set up your monitors, take the time to adjust brightness settings to avoid straining your eyes throughout the day.
You’re going to need a lot of data and platforms to ge started in day trading. One highly-recommended option is Bloomberg Anywhere, which turns your browser into a complete Bloomberg Terminal.
You’ll need a broker. Speedtrader is highly recommended, and suitable for day trading, but Suretrader and Lightspeed are both excellent brokers as well. You will need to evaluate the brokers based on your individual needs, goals and plans.
Stock scanners are also critical tools for day trading, as they enable you to scan and analyze stock behaviors quickly. Trade Ideas is highly recommended for this job.
Charting software will also help you observe patterns over short- and long-term periods. Stockcharts.com is a free online tool that allows you to track stock changes. There are many online options that can accomplish this, often for free.
Finally, stocks, Forex and other investments are often affected by news, particularly on a day-to-day basis. A breaking news provider like Benzinga Pro can help you react to news within your stocks quickly.
Your internet connection needs to be stable and strong in order to day trade successfully. Don’t skimp on your internet provider, and go for a high-speed connection. If you’re unlucky enough to be in an area with poor WiFi, consider a signal booster to increase your reception. When checking your internet, you want to make sure that pages can load immediately and you don’t experience any lag in data.
A surge protector is also important for a station; the last thing you need is your technology getting fried.
A backup computer and backup internet access are both important ways to prepare in case of disaster. If you are planning on taking day trading seriously, an internet outage cannot stop you from trading. Make sure you have a plan should an outage occur. A smart phone with mobile data makes a satisfactory backup for short-term use.
When you’re getting your at-home trading station ready, make sure you’ve done all your research. Double check that you know what software is compatible with what hardware, and that everything you own works to its full capacity. Replace computer parts that need replacing, make sure your screens are comfortable, have a good chair.
Although you’re working from home, you’re dealing with the professional world, and you need professional tools.
Featured photo credit: Robert Freiberger via flickr.com