My husband and I left the US in 2019 largely because we were tired of working all the time just to make ends meet. Our daughter was in daycare and I felt like we were missing out on her. Because we were.
We decided to go abroad and ended up heading to China. This allowed me to stay at home with our daughter and we were able to actually save money all on one income.
So, imagine my surprise when I found myself pregnant with our second and on vacation in Japan when Covid-19 hit the news and Shanghai started locking down. We decided to head to Korea instead of risking going back home to China. Korea was a short-term fix so in March of 2020, we had to head back to the US. I’m still very bitter about the whole thing. We lost all of our things with the exception of what we took on our vacation to Japan.
Discovering Day Trading
While waiting it out in Korea at my parents’ house, I discovered the stock market. My dad had been reading about trading and was talking about it all the time. Several years earlier, I had opened a brokerage account because it seemed like a thing that people should do. I had it set up to auto deposit $50 a month so I just happened to have a funded account when I started talking to my dad about trading. Looking back, I find it funny that I opened a brokerage account and no idea what the purpose of that account was.
I knew people could invest in stocks, but I had no idea that anyone could just trade stocks daily from an online account. When I realized I could trade directly from my brokerage account, I decided to give it a try. The market opens at 9:30am ET so in Korea, show time was 10:30pm. This worked well for me because I could get my daughter in bed and the house was quiet.
My first trade was February 4, 2020 from my cell phone in the middle of the night while everyone slept. I had absolutely no idea where to begin but I knew that a company working on vaccines would probably be a good place to start. I typed VAX into the search bar and found Vaxart $VXRT. Without knowing a single thing about this company other than the fact that its name and ticker sounded related to vaccines, I bought 10 shares. It was surprisingly easy to buy stock! You just type in the ticker, add how shares you want, and click buy!
I got really nervous and immediately sold my ten shares of VXRT. I never looked at a chart, never read about the company, had no idea that limit orders were even a thing, and it just so happened that I bought in during a run up. My account was up $2. I bought in again, this time 20 shares. I immediately got nervous again and sold them. I made $4 on the second trade.
I set my phone down and called it quits. I just made $6 from my bed on the floor in Korea in just five minutes. What gold mine did I stumble into?!
Trading without Learning is Just Gambling
When I got up the next morning, I excitedly told my husband and my dad that I had made $6 in the stock market the previous night. I was quickly labeled “a degenerate gambler” (in the most endearing way) by my dad who had been studying day trading for months without taking a single trade.
I eagerly waited for 10:30 to hit every night so I could go back in and trade. I would win a little and lose a little. I never really got anywhere.
I finally started creating watch lists. I was focused on penny stocks because they were cheap and volatile. I still wasn’t getting anywhere. Then, news of the cruise ships with coronavirus outbreaks came out. I decided to buy Carnival after its stock tanked and it ended up being a $225 win for me.
I knew there was money to be made, but I also began to realize I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and wasn’t going to get anywhere by placing almost random market orders from my phone.
Back in the States
We flew back to the US in early March and trading was put on hold during the turmoil of coming back pregnant with a two-year-old and no place to call home. We didn’t even own a car. I hadn’t seen a doctor and was more than halfway through my pregnancy. Things were just weird. We had to get on our feet before I could return to the market.
When I did start trying to trade again, I found it difficult because I had to do it while my toddler was up and needing breakfast. The mornings are always hectic because everyone is hungry and there’s a list of things to do before I can get my daughter to go play. I spent a couple weeks doing little to no trading.
The Arrival of Baby #2
Oddly enough, after my second was born and my husband went back to work, I found the time to start trading again. Now my mornings look like this:
- Wake up at 5:00am to feed the new baby and check the premarket activity. If I have any shares I’m swinging, I’ll enter a sell order if those stocks are doing well enough premarket.
- Go back to sleep until 8:00am when it’s time to feed the baby again. Check on my orders from earlier and celebrate any gains I’ve made before the official market open. (I’ve been having success swinging TSLA and selling premarket lately)
- Get both kids up and dressed. Have the toddler use the potty before breakfast so I’m not dealing with an accident while I have an open position.
- Have breakfast ready just before 9:30 so the toddler is locked in her high chair when the market opens.
- Get the baby latched for a 20-minute feed right at market open. (Yes, most of my trades happen while I’m breastfeeding now.)
- Open up my Webull account and make sure the stocks I’m watching are in my watch list.
- I follow a chat room that gives alerts so I open that up as well. I rarely trade off of alerts, but if I’m not finding anything on my own, I watch the alerts and try to figure out how and why the trade was alerted. It’s my method of learning at the moment.
- I try to only trade once or twice in the morning as it’s all I can get in comfortably while both kids are eating.
- I’m always done with morning trades by 10:15-10:30. I’m only taking long positions, and things settle down or dip after 10:00-10:30 every morning.
Current Trading Success
I switched from a cash account to a margin account to keep myself from entering too many trades without a plan. Now that I’m limited to three day trades a week (PDT rule), I’m really careful about what and how I trade. In the last three weeks I’ve made a total of seven day trades and ten swing trades. I lost on three and the rest have been green. In general, I take profits too early still. I watched UVXY run up a whole dollar after I took a .10 profit on my shares today. Happens all the time.
Never Going Back to Work
My goal with trading is to first get to a level of consistency with small trades risking under $200 a trade. When I’ve been able to do that for a few months, the next step is building my account. Once I’m clear of the PDT rule, I aim to bring in a livable income. I want to be with my kids and I’d like my husband to do the same. The world is too big to be able to show it to our kids and work traditional full-time jobs.
My favorite platform for day trading has been Webull so far. I’ve tried Robinhood, Public.com, Interactive Brokers, Charles Schwab, and Fidelity. The only two I’ve dropped completely are Robinhood and Public.com while Webull and Schwab remain as ones I use almost daily.