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Old 12-05-2009, 10:58   #1
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Question FOREX / Trading Aboard

Hi,

I'm not sure if this topic has been covered before (if so, my apologies for the re-post)...

Regarding strategies for income while cruising, has anyone been involved with FOREX trading? For the purposes of this discussion I'd be interested to hear from people who have traded (in any market) to help supplement income while underway.

Clearly their are some challenges and expenses involved....
* Solid computer set up with back up systems, multiple monitors, printer etc.
* Power requirements running all the gear
* Operating the gear in a marine environment
* Dependable Wi-Fi antennae/access
* Creating a secure IT environment
* Locking down all gear (as best as possible) while the boat is unattended

Only certain geographic areas and well equipped ports would allow for this, but the idea would be to drop the hook in such a place and work for N days/weeks to capture your required income/cruising kitty, then unplug and move on until next month etc.

Surely, FOREX or any trading for that matter involves a great deal of risk and is NOT a get rich quick approach... assuming one has the knowledge and experience though, is this a solution to consider?

Thanks in advance to your repsonses!
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Old 12-05-2009, 13:38   #2
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Forex (foreign exchange) is an interesting, exciting market, and while it can be lucrative, the risk that makes it so is sure to scare most people away. In my experience, cruisers are in quest of a more laid-back lifestyle, and jumping into the pool with the ForEx sharks is not for the timid nor uninitiated.

Given the parameters you laid out, though, there is no reason why it couldn't be done. The difficulties associated with securing a rock-solid internet connection would worry me most. Undoubtedly, the connection will only fail at the most critical moment, according to Murphy.

Even the best traders have their cold streaks, of course, so just dropping the hook at, say, St. Barth, picking up a few quick thousand, weighing anchor and moving to say Antigua for Race Week and doing it all over again is not assured. Following a painful set-back, especially if it happened because the critical connection was lost at the most inopportune moment, might make the intrepid trader re-think his chosen lifestyle.

If you've got the testicular fortitude to be a ForEx trader in the first place, though, I don't see why it wouldn't be a pleasant way to "do business."

TaoJones
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Old 12-05-2009, 15:00   #3
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As always, I defer to TaoJones in these matters.
Currency trading looks easy but few succeed.
So I have to wonder, if 90% fail, and you feel compelled to ask, why should you expect to succeed, especially with the limited ability to “stay live”, as a cruiser.?
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Old 12-05-2009, 15:39   #4
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There is significant risk with FOREX trading. It is not a get rich quick endeavor. It requires a comprehensive understanding of both market fundamentals and technical analysis. Equally (if not more importantly), a strategy for trading discipline and money management are paramount to success with this type of activity.

At any rate, I don't want to steer this off topic... FOREX or any type of trading can be analyzed as to its risk/reward ad nauseam.

My general post was to address how practical this could be with requirements listed above. Assuming the goal is to keep the kitty full and not generate a full time income, I personally think it's an option worth considering (for those with the experience and knowledge). Many variables haven't been brought into the topic such as: what exactly is your required kitty dollar amount? Geographical location? Budget for equipment? etc.

Ideally this practice would allow you to make generate enough funds to be comfortable for a while without taking the majority of your time away from what you set out to do in the first place... CRUISE!

Thanks for the responses... keep the coming
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Old 12-05-2009, 16:21   #5
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<snip>
My general post was to address how practical this could be with requirements listed above. Assuming the goal is to keep the kitty full and not generate a full time income, I personally think it's an option worth considering . . .
<snip>
Practical? Well, I don't think I'd call it that, maybe, but "do-able" certainly. Assuming you literally mean it when you state you would anchor out, then I think the reliability issue becomes questionable. Keep in mind: WiFi means you're connected to the web via an RF signal - are you comfortable putting your capital at risk over what is, essentially, a walkie-talkie?

If you would actually take a slip when you needed, or wanted, to trade so that you could have the advantage of a hard-wired connection, that might only be marginally better because you'd be at the mercy of the marina's internet connection and/or the island's ISP. But, it would probably be more reliable . . .

When you state that the goal is to keep the cruising kitty topped up, not generate full-time income, I interpret this to mean that the preponderance of your net worth is safely invested elsewhere, and only a small percentage is in your active trading account. Without a doubt, if this "cruising kitty account" is, say, 10-20% of your net worth, and you have good money management skills, then you aren't exposed to catastrophic loss. That would certainly make what you propose a more comfortable enterprise.

If you can cobble together such a system for trading in your home or office, then there's absolutely no reason you couldn't do the same thing aboard your vessel. The only difference might be that you would want to have the hardware built to military specifications for a marine environment, and then become fully capable of maintaining it yourself, because there would more than likely be times when you would be the only person within 500 miles who would have a clue what was wrong and how to fix it.

TaoJones
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Old 12-05-2009, 16:34   #6
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Tao, Thanks for the thoughtful response. You bring up a serious issue with the reliability of a good Wi-Fi connection (even at the best islands). I guess a slip could improve that IF there's a hard wired connection, but I have yet to see that in the carib. The marine environment concerns me as well... mil specs? I have a background in IT, so I'm comfortable with maintaining the equipment. In the end it could be more of a headache than it's worth... TBD I suppose.

As far as exposure, you are right, I would be reluctant to place anymore than 10% as a conservative approach. Trading (for me at least) is not an investment strategy or part of a portfolio. This is not a means by which to pay the mortgage back home and/or major boat expenses... more of a "cruising kitty replenisher."

I guess I was always curious when in a larger/modern harbor if folks were inside their boats, watching charts, following news and trading a few hours a day... before going for a dip and relaxing with a sundowner
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Old 12-05-2009, 16:45   #7
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I would think you would have to be successful with it on land first, and then add in the variables of very expensive and less than a 100% reliable internet connection out on the water.
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Old 12-05-2009, 19:05   #8
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I would think trading equities would be more forgiving on "on the hook" than FOREX... while I do a lot of trading, I have no experience trading on the hook so what do I know...

Cheers
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Old 12-05-2009, 19:53   #9
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Tradestation has a pretty good set up for day trading. You can have access to any of the major exchanges (including FOREX) and the futures market. I love the programmable features that let you automate your trading strategies.

In any case, you can do trading wirelessly, but I did not use certain strategies that depended on real-time execution when I was not connected to a hardwire. While cruising in US waters, access via wireless was fairly available. While in Bahamas, I did not have access and did not do any short term trading.

My setup does not have multiple monitors, It has one 24" dell flat panel this let me see most of the data I needed for trading. The system was a built in full size computer with UPS, ethernet hardwire and wireless USB modem. This allowed me to have a connection via DSL when I was in a marina, or wireless when I was moving about. I used laptops (2) as my back-up (Both IBM thinkpads where I could interchange hard drives when it was necessary).

The gear is power hungry! I'd guess something on the order of 600 watts with the monitor. I am going to a DC-DC power supply for the built in and I don't have the latest power hungry SLI video cards. This helps a LOT! The DC-DC power supply means my house bank and starting bank gives me a great 800 aH backup source, if necessary.

The system has been VERY reliable. The only issue I have had with it was initially, I did not have a UPS and when I switched from shore power to inverter, the computer would get rebooted. Thus, the UPS, thus the DC-DC power supply. No issues with the marine environment after more than 4 years with this set-up. I am currently putting in water cooling and the DC-DC power supply. I'll give an update in a seperate thread when it is up and running.

I utilize encryption software (shameless plug, SkyLOCK www.ngtservices.com) to secure my files and sensitive data. However, password protection via Windows will keep the non-serious folks out of your system. There are dongles and additional protections you can take, but I doubt you'll need any of the more serious solutions. All the major trading systems utilize SSL encryption protocols so you don't have to worry about transmission.

As you know, trading strategies can, and does, fill books. It is a decent way to get some additional $$$ while cruising, BUT DON'T count on it. Having to make a certain $$$$ drives you to more and more risky trades. This is where you'll loose! A strategy where you're looking to make $2k or so a month with a $100k trading fund is probably sustainable over an extended period of time and works well with the uncertainty of the connectivity in the cruising life!
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Old 12-05-2009, 20:18   #10
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I am planning to trade FOREX when I leave as I am now. All on my laptop.

I have a dedicated server set up with http://www.swps.com ($18.00/mth) which eliminates connectivity issues. You just need to set-up your remote server with Metatrader 4 - the trading platform which is available free with any broker, set up a broker account - I use Alpari UK ( best service and pip spread that I've found), deposit to your account and away you go.

I also use a robot http://www.fapturbo.com as well as making trades on my own for just the reason that I don't have years in the business and need all the help I can get.

Have I made a ton of money yet? No
Is it possible/plausible? Yes
All you will need to do is check in with your server any chance you get whilst underway to see how your account is doing and make your own trades when you see fit.

Yes 90% of inexperienced traders fail for some very obvious reasons. Not enough knowledge, greed and grandiose expectations to name a few. On the other hand I wonder how many small businesses fail too?

I've spent the last six months researching FOREX trading - I don't expect it to make me rich, but I will continue learning http://www.babypips.com and believe it or not, YouTube have excellent training) and trading to supplement my kitty.

Hope that offers something. Good luck!
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Old 13-05-2009, 02:02   #11
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... Yes 90% of inexperienced traders fail for some very obvious reasons. Not enough knowledge, greed and grandiose expectations to name a few. On the other hand I wonder how many small businesses fail too?...
As a general rule of thumb, new employer businesses have a 50/50 chance of surviving for five years or more.

The latest statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration show that "two-thirds of new employer* businesses survive at lease two years, and 44 percent survive at least four years."

* An employer business employs people other than the owner.
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Old 13-05-2009, 03:01   #12
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I'm an ex-forex trader. The only way to make money day-trading the forex market is (i) have access to insider info on who is moving the market (piggy-backing is a perfectly legal strategy in forex, unlike stocks) and (ii) be prepared to leverage your position via margin trading to the extent that it could bankrupt you in a day.

I could write a book on this stuff, for now I'll keep it short and scary.

BWS
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Old 13-05-2009, 06:53   #13
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I'm an ex-forex trader. The only way to make money day-trading the forex market is (i) have access to insider info on who is moving the market (piggy-backing is a perfectly legal strategy in forex, unlike stocks) and (ii) be prepared to leverage your position via margin trading to the extent that it could bankrupt you in a day.


BWS

Thus the $100k trading fund! This $100k should be money that you CAN lose and not go bankrupt, sell kids, kill self.... etc. The $2k return means you're not going to take overly agressive positions You're not going to stay in a position overnight... You make your $400 for the day, you get out. you close out your positions before the end of the day, hopefully with little or no loss... You post a liquidation order right after you buy, both Upside and Downside! You can make as much, or more money in a falling market as a rising market. (Short selling is not a four letter word and didn't cause the crash!) But, hey, it's your money. Just don't forget the cruising!

Fair winds,

Keith
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Old 16-05-2009, 02:13   #14
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I use ThinkOrSwim personally. The software is amazing and its also available for Mobile devices. There was nothing cooler than making a few trades and checking out my watchlists while at the movie theater waiting for the previews to start the other day.

You can check out ThinkOrSwim here: Link
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Old 16-05-2009, 09:17   #15
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Only certain geographic areas and well equipped ports would allow for this, but the idea would be to drop the hook in such a place and work for N days/weeks to capture your required income/cruising kitty, then unplug and move on until next month etc.

Surely, FOREX or any trading for that matter involves a great deal of risk and is NOT a get rich quick approach... assuming one has the knowledge and experience though, is this a solution to consider?
My sense is you would be best served by having excellent money management discipline, a rigorously tested strategy which is in line with your risk limits and have it autotraded through a broker.

Either that or have a superior trader manage the money for you.
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