As an aspiring day trader, the odds are stacked against me on a daily basis. There are so many things that can go wrong in any given moment that you often ask yourself, “why am I doing this?” Although the answer to this question is clear – the absolute potential for unlimited income, you definitely want to try to anticipate and have a contingency plan for as many obstacles that can jeopardize your success. Today was one of those days for me…
It all started last night, I had gone out to run some errands and when I returned I noticed that my trading PC was on, but all of my monitors were black. An almost immediate panic set in (luckily I did not have any open trades to worry about) and I went into damage control mode.
Now to give a little context about my background, as one of my many hobbies I build my own PC’s. I have tools that allow me to test various components and I am familiar enough with every component on my systems to figure out with relative ease where the fail point is. After my initial analysis, I hypothesized that my power supply had failed. I was subconsciously expecting this to happen at some point, just not this soon. The reason I say this is that my motherboard has diagnostic software built into it and it shuts itself down when it detects surges from the power supply in order to protect itself. Recently I have been experiencing random shutdowns and on inspection of the logs, had seen indications that my power supply may be showing some signs of failure. I assumed, incorrectly of course, that I had plenty of time to address this, and I probably should have taken the signs a little more serious than I did, because sure enough the power supply failed. A little frustrated with myself, I decided to try to get a good night’s sleep and deal with it in the morning.
You Said Something About A Contingency Plan?
Yes, I’m getting to that.
When I began this journey to become a day trader I found this great group, Apex Investing Institute (tons of education, great support, I highly recommend them for new and experienced traders), one of the topics they cover as part of the whole process of getting set up is the option of trading in the cloud. Here is where my contingency planning kicks in, but first more background context…
Back when I first opened my live account, I experienced something that for a newby trader was very traumatic – internet failure right in the middle of an active trade. Lucky for me, I had followed the suggestions of the Apex team and I had the trade desk phone number programmed into my phone. I made a quick phone call informing them that I had experienced internet failure and that I wanted to close out all open trades. I was fortunate enough to exit with a small profit on my positions, but the experience was nonetheless traumatic. At this point I remembered the brief mention of trading in the cloud by Apex and feverishly began to research it, and after doing so determined this is what I needed to do for my own peace of mind. This was my contingency plan.
I set up a virtual desktop in the cloud using Amazon Workspaces. It is like having a dedicated Windows PC running remotely and the reason this appealed to me (especially after experiencing an ISP failure) was that they offered mobile apps that allow you to connect to the workspace, giving me the option of connecting from my smartphone. I had a backup for any ISP failures going forward.
So, getting back to today’s failure…
Oh yes, my power supply failure (do you see how easily I can go off on a tangent?), as luck would have it I did not have a power supply on hand that was of the appropriate wattage and now I have to order a new one before I can get my PC up and running again. That being said, having my actual trading software running on my virtual desktop on Amazon AWS, getting myself ready to trade today was as easy as grabbing my laptop, connecting and configuring it to work with all of my monitors, opening up the AWS application on it and connecting to my workspace. It took me all of 15 minutes to get it to where I was at before the failure, well in time for the U.S. session open at 9:30 am EST.
What this did for me was to allow me to avoid a protracted period of downtime, having to reinstall my trading software on another machine, and spending time setting up the software for my trading comfort. Not this guy…All I had to do was connect from another machine and start trading. Now that is a contingency plan!
As you can see from the image below, the setup is far from pretty but it is functional until I my new power supply arrives and I get it installed. Situations like these are not always anticipated, but we have to prepare for them or unfortunately suffer the consequences. Lucky for me, I am savvy enough on a technical level to get through this with minimal expense and downtime.
For those of you out there that may be reading this, are you prepared for an equipment failure? What is your contingency plan? Feel free to share your plans in the comment section below. I can’t possibly anticipate everything and would love to hear about situations you may have found yourself in as a day trader that could have prevented you from trading.
Thanks for reading.