Sunday, November 07, 2010

Has Altucher Gone Off The Deep End?

James Altucher is angry and down on day trading. He recently wrote a scathing article explaining his 8 reasons not to daytrade. Let me premise this piece by stating that James is a friend of mine and I find many of his market insights to be brilliant. In addition, his "How To Trade Like A Hedge Fund" book is a classic in the field with real practical advice that actually works in the market.

With this said, Is his latest anti day trading rant simply a publicity stunt for his new website; or has he gone off the deep end in a clever design of self destruction?

Well, let's first take a look at each of his points to see if what he says even makes sense.

1. Suicide: James seems to believe that losing money forces folks to commit suicide. What? Perhaps, if you are predisposed to suicide in the first place, taking a loss in the market will push you over the edge. However, anything will if you are predisposed. That guy who cut you off in traffic, getting a divorce, just about anything can push the predisposed to suicide. James, with all due respect, this is a moronic claim.

2. You'll overeat: This is another absolutely non correlated statement. Overeating has nothing to do with trading. For someone that has made a living from finding correlations in the market, to make this kind of statement is truly bizarre. Overeaters will find reasons to overeat trading related or not.

3. Your eyes go bad:
This is more of an effect of age than of looking at screens to day trade. If your eyes are going bad, go see an eye doctor, don't quit trading.

4. Social life: James seems to believe that if you trade, you can't have a social life. This is another ridiculous statement. Many traders socialize during and after the trading day. Yes, day trading attracts its fair share of hermit types. However, they are hermits prior to day trading. If you like to socialize, trading simply adds to your social life, it does not take away from it

5. Blood pressure: I guess if you don't have the right psychological make up to handle losses, day trading may increase your blood pressure. However, any stress will raise your blood pressure if you can't handle it. This has nothing to do with trading. If you have high blood pressure, see a doctor.

6. Nothing Productive:
This could be said about anything. He intimates that building a website is a productive endeavor. How is this anymore productive than trading? It can be argued that many jobs are not productive in the traditional sense. This statement is off the mark.

7. No career:
Another ridiculous claim. Day trading is a much of a career than anything else. Sure you need to be able to adapt to survive, but that goes for most all other jobs. Can your edge end? Sure, it probably will, however you need to be able to create new edges to truly make day trading a career. Many survive in the business, you can be one of them.

8. It's Impossible: What James? If I recall, you made a nice living with trading both for your own account and for others via your fund. It's difficult, particularly in this market, but it isn’t impossible. You know this, James!

The truth is day trading is changing. You need to be able change and adapt to survive. Yes, it's a difficult way to make a living but it’s the perfect career choice if you possess the internal fortitude to make it work. My bet is Althucher's rant is simply a publicity stunt for his web site. He is simply too bright to actually believe what he has written. Come on James, your book and insights have helped many day traders succeed. Accept your contributions, don't try to destroy others dreams.

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