What Effect Does Living Frugally Play in The Success of A Trader?

BellaMike Bellafiore's (Bella's) Blogs4 Comments

We had a recognized trading psychologist (name not mentioned for compliance reasons) visit SMB yesterday.  One of traders pro-actively sent this coach a question about his development progress.

Dear Dr. (Well-known trading coach),

I would like to thank you very much for your talk at SMB Capital. It was a real privilege to have met you in real live after reading your books. Your point about being a pro active person really hit home for me and i will be looking to implement this habit in my daily life.

Just to give you a brief background about myself. I’m a 29 years old male from Thailand and I have been learning how to trade over the last 2 and half years. I day traded the Thai index futures for 1 year with a prop firm in Thailand and I was managing only to cover the transaction costs. So i decided to (edited for compliance reasons) train with SMB to speed up my learning curve. I have been here since October 2012.

Over the last 2 years since I’ve been involved in the market, I have had very few interactions with activities outside the market. I have not kept in contact with my friends and have shied away from social functions because I primarily wanted to save as much money as possible so that I can financially keep going/learning for as long as I can until I’m a consistently profitable trader.

My daily routine during week days here at SMB has been to arrive at 6.45AM – 7.00AM, prepare for the day, trade then do my reviews at the end of the day. I leave around 6PM – 6.30PM to run for an hour before going home to sleep by 9.30PM so that I’ll be fresh for the next day. My weekends consists of running and going through charts and other resources to prepare for the coming week.

What I took away most from your talk was your last point about having something else to fall back on if the market doesn’t treat you well. And also your point on doing something that’s puts you in a giving mindset. I look forward to each new day so that I can learn and improve my skills. To me, it is the process of trying to achieve mastery and doing whatever it takes that keeps me going. So my question is, given the resources currently available to me, do you think I am implementing the right strategy to maximize my chance of success in the market and life in general? If you have any suggestions or comments on things I can do to improve I would very much appreciate your help.

Thank you very much for being very open and sharing your ideas (edit).


So this well-known trading coach responded to our trainee, which I will leave between them.  However I would like to take a shot at answering his question.

A big part of learning is getting in more reps.
A huge advantage of being at SMB (or any prop desk) is talking trading, talking to a mentor, talking to partners.
The act of talking about your trading and listening to others talk about trading is you getting more reps.
Don’t be shy 🙂

Staying in the game is very important for the new intraday trader.  Many of our guys live together in places like Hoboken and the Lower East Side to save on expenses.  I overheard some newbs talking about dollar drafts and burgers at one particular hot spot.  I wrote in One Good Trade that I spend almost no money.  I started this habit after the end of the bull market, when I was just a trader.   A chapter that I chopped from The PlayBook talked about the importance of having a good support system when you start.  In the case of this deleted chapter it was about a newb who had a very supportive father, which was very helpful for the progress of this new trader.  (Maybe I will release this chapter one day in some form.)

You may notice that SMB pounds the table on the right career path so you hit the ground running, our college training program.  I scolded another firm head the other day for having sales staff pitch, “Oh you have a background in finance, so you will probably start very quickly and make a lot of money out of the gates.”  No he won’t.  It takes time to get good.  What the heck does being in fiance have to do with developing your trading skills and a series of setups that you must execute in real-time?   You must be patient and have the means to be patient when you start your career as a trader.

Nothing makes more angry than firms that “sell the dream”.  SMBU would make so much more money if it utilized this sales strategy.   Not interested in running my firm that way. Trading is a skill-based sport that takes years to become proficient.  Along the way you can pay some bills, but to make this a career that pays well takes a good two years.  Plan for this.

Mike Bellafiore

One Good Trade

4 Comments on “What Effect Does Living Frugally Play in The Success of A Trader?”

  1. I don’t suppose you could find out the name of the Thai prop trading shop from him by any chance? I have a friend looking for a prop shop there. Thanks.

  2. Lifestyle is one of the most important factors in trading success and failure. I have seen more guys blow themselves up pursuing an unrealistic leveraged life than anything else.

    Most traders don’t realize yet (starting out) that being able to “afford” something actually means little. It’s what you can afford to maintain that counts; and when you think you are a higher roller than you are, the scale of maintenance can eventually create a mentally debilitating outcome that leads to many trading mishaps.

  3. Brian, from what I know there’s no prop firm in Thailand. Only a prop division within the major brokers. Your friend can try to contact them e.g. Philip securities and Kimeng securities.

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