Traders Ask: What is My One Good Budget?

Sep 18th, 2010 | By | Category: Mike Bellafiore's (Bella's) Blogs, Traders Ask
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My name is (XXXXXXXXXXX) and I just finished “One Good Trade.”  I enjoyed
your book very much and I wanted to send a few comments your way.
Personally I am a full time day trader from home.  Currently I am
concentrating on the SP emini but after reading your book I feel as though I
need to start looking for futures-in-play.  I have two teenage boys and I
want them to learn how to trade but not just yet.  I am going to have them
read “One Good Trade” and maybe in a couple of years I can send the oldest
to NY for the Summer so that he can take the Trading class and maybe do a
little interning for your firm.  We can discuss this later on.

But more about your book, by the time I got to the end I had an empty
feeling that you should have written 2 books.  One on the world and inter
workings of Prop Trading Firms and one on mastering trading.  In these two
books you could have gotten more into the finer details.

For instance, you never went over the pay structure in Prop Trading firms or
even the margin requirements, Why not?  When you were describing the
different trade styles you could have had links to your website that showed
4 -5 charts per different style with more explanations.

Also, toward the end of the book when you were talking about budgets and
saving money you said that you try to keep your expenses to $3000 per month.
How is that possible as I don’t make your kind of money and my expenses with
a wife and two kids is over $6000 per month.  If you are making $4000 –
$5000 per day, $50,000 + per month, you should be driving a Ferrari and
eating out at all the hot spots!  When I read that it still sticks with me.

OK Bella, I want to thank you for the last 2 weeks of reading pleasure, you
are no Hemingway but a great first book!!!!  Hopefully if you are in the Los
Angeles area, I live near the beach in Santa Monica, or maybe even Las Vegas
I can meet you at one of your lectures.

Bella Responds

1. I do not have a wife and kids.  In NYC preschool for your kid can hit 5k a month so my expenses will be very different very soon. The principle is the same: develop a lean budget FOR YOU for all markets.

2. During 2002 I learned the importance of creating a realistic budget.  I went from 15k credit card bills that I paid as is like a cup of coffee to a street vendor to rethinking my spending habits.  There will be difficult markets.  You must create a realistic budget for all trading periods.

3. A Newb proclaimed his expenses were 7k during a recent one-on-one chat.  He was single.  That is spending too much such that you are not placing yourself in the best position to succeed as a retail trader or even as a prop trader.  You give yourself the best chance to succeed the sparser your budget.

4. I am not any happier today than when my VISA bill rang 15k.  I play less golf (actually I play almost not golf- that just got me a little depressed).  I travel less.  I don’t hit Nobu as often (my favorite NYC jaunt).  My dating expenses now consist of just a Friday date night as opposed to foolish things single NYC guys can spend on a female prospect.

5. From Warren Buffet:

Spending: If you buy things you don’t need, you’ll soon sell things you need.

Savings: Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving.

7. Put yourself in the best position to succeed so that you can do pursue your passion- trading. Remember this awesome quote from Charles Schwab:

“The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is not likely to make money nor find much fun in life.”

8. When you have a great month buy yourself something nice (think 65in flat screen TV 🙂

Mike Bellafiore
Author, One Good Trade: Inside the Highly Completive World of Proprietary Trading

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3 comments
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  1. good stuff mike. spartan lifestyle makes the trading slumps less stressful than running credit cards at full throttle when have a hot hand.

  2. what happened to the private planes and yachts?

  3. Bill,
    Season Yankees txts again would b nice 🙂

    Bella