Everyone is a trader

So many people will quickly judge traders and investors as gamblers. In many families you can’t discuss trading openly without judgmental stares, rolling eyes, and disapproval. The general public does not understand that on a deeper level everyone is a trader in some way. We trade one thing in order to receive another thing. Not many people really judge if they are making a good trade in time, energy, effort, and stress for what they receive in return. Let’s think about this…

Employees get up before their shift begins, get ready for work, and drive to their employer. Then the work begins. It could be an 9am to 5pm job with a lunch or a long day as a salaried employee before being done and then driving back home. Employees must consider not just the time, but the energy and effort that it takes to earn a paycheck, not to mention the opportunity cost. Could you be doing something more profitable with your time? Does the pay from the job make up for the sacrifices? Most never examine if their job is worth it. They just feel they must have one and changing the current one is harder than sticking with it. Some people trade time for a paycheck.

Sometimes people stay in a terrible marriage for too long, stay connected to a dysfunctional family, or hang out with friends that are bad influences. Staying in a situation that makes them miserable is their path of least resistance instead of pursuing a path that could lead to a happier life. They trade a potentially better future for a known and familiar now. They prefer certainty with unhappiness for a different possibility with some life changes. Some trade happiness for security.

Many politicians only end game is votes and being elected. They are more actors than statesman. Their sponsors and donors get returns on their campaign contributions. They do what they must for the sake of success and power not what is right or fair. Some trade principles for politics.

There are people that have principles and then there are people that can be bought for a price. Greed and ego can lead people to do things for money that are illegal of immoral. Some people have morals and other have a price. Some trade ethics for cash.

Then there are financial traders. They trade money to buy things that could go up in value. They trade exposure to risk of their capital for the potential for capital gains. Some people trade risk for profits.

Everyone trades one thing for another, the question is whether the exchange is worth it. Everyone is a trader. The next time you are judged for being a trader with rolling eyes you can ask your judge: “What do you trade your time, money, and energy for?”

By Steve Burns

After a lifelong fascination with financial markets, Steve began investing in 1993 and trading his accounts in 1995. It was love at first trade. After more than 30 successful years in the markets, Steve now dedicates his time to helping traders improve their psychology and profitability. New Trader U offers an extensive blog resource with more than 4,000 original articles, online courses, and best-selling books covering various topics.