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10:43 pm: Day trading.

I read an article about day trading today. I had thought that day trading was dead, but apparently the get rich quick crowd is still into it. It was interesting to note that every trader they could find to interview had found a way to monetize the activity itself (subscriptions to webcasts or blogs or whatnots) rather than relying on making money on their trading in and of itself. That should tell you something right there.

As technolope opines: “You should realize that any day trader that actually makes money day-trading won’t need to sell subscriptions.”

I’ve never traded stocks for the short term. I used to think that it was a rubes game – merely dumb. I’m coming to think that it’s immoral. “Immoral,” is a slippery term for someone who doesn’t believe in an externally enforced morality – but bear with me. I’m going somewhere here.

I’ve come to believe that the best way to understand money, from the perspective of a lowly working man, is as frozen time. If “time is money,” then money is also time. I trade my time for my salary. There is some function of my skills, other people’s desires, the overall economy, and my intrinsic interests that lead to certain rates of exchange for my time. I’ve simplified it down to a point where I don’t mind what I do for a living. I’ve got a pretty unique set of skills – and within that domain of “there are only a few people who can do what I do,” I set my price high – and I turn down work all the time. That tells me that I’m doing it right. If I get hungry, or if I want to impress redmed with some sparkly and rare rock – I find some time efficiencies like packing lunches and taking mass transit – and I do them over periods of time. Or else I lower my standards a little – trading time that might be spent on Judo or gardening for more of that “money” stuff.

Day trading is an example of an activity that has no inherent value to anyone. The only reason that day traders exist is to suck money out of the economy. technolope disagrees with me on this – seeing it as an analog to gambling. However, here’s the difference, the stock market – tax laws – and retirement system all encourage American citizens to put a lot of their money into Wall Street. Without the high speed profit seeking – that made sense. Now, we’re just being pushed up to the casino table whether we want to play or not.

Here’s the core: There is no way to make more time. You have a set amount – and you spend your life as you choose. Most of us spend most of it doing stuff for other people and a little doing stuff that we want to do. Some of us are lucky and have a relatively rare skill. I’m super lucky. I know that.

Day trading is stealing other people’s time, out of their retirement accounts.

This is why, writ large, I favor execution for the wall street fucks who took bonuses of hundreds of millions of dollars after they broke the economy. They stole people’s retirements – that’s time, not money – and bought themselves new yachts on their backs. They should be shot.

Originally published at chris.dwan.org. You can comment here or there.



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