When you get a job straight out of college it is important to find the right mix of salary, benefits and experience to launch your career. And if you can find a company with a 401K plan, that is even better. You want to make sure that your employer will match your 401K contribution and you want to max out your contribution in order to get to that match. Get as much money from the company as you can. That is free money. You can’t do better than free money.
When you take the match from your 401K, you are growing the base of the account that is going to grow and grow and grow and provide you with real money in your golden years. And when you get enough money in your 401K, you can start trading it on your own. As long as you roll it into your own IRA style account. Or even if you want, you can trade your own stocks in the 401K that you own. You just might lose the match.
So you have to make your own decisions about how you want to manage your 401K. You can take the passive investor approach, where you let your company’s 401K plan administrator manage all the money. And you check it quarterly. Or you can take a more active approach and go on your own.
But the most lucrative and smart approach may be to create your own brokerage account on the side and start day trading. That way you keep your day job, contribute to a 401K and learn how to day trade on the side. If you put in a lot of effort and learn the right strategies and techniques, you can become a profitable day trader. You just have to take the online classes and stuff your head full of the terminology. It is helpful to be able to spend a lot of time in front of screens, learning the trends and patterns.
Day traders are hunters of volatility. You are always on the lookout for more stocks making big moves throughout the day. You need to have the right plan to be able to take advantage of these opportunities. The best way to do that is to learn risk management. Have a plan for each and every trade that you make and make sure that you have a stop-loss on each trade. So that if a trade goes south, you have a built in mechanism to sell the shares before you lose a lot.
The best way to get good is to start paper trading. That means practicing in a simulated trading environment where you are trading virtual currency. That gives you a chance to learn on the job without risking your real money. You can practice trading and learn risk management in a simulator that trades at the speed of the regular market. It is invaluable experience.
So that is your choice. Take the passive approach, get a good job and keep giving to your 401K. Or do that, and get yourself a day trading gig on the side.