Lessons from a
veteran floor trader.
Words by Nicole Sherrod
Managing Director, Trader
Group at TD Ameritrade
rooms as well. You just have to click on
the “watch” and “listen” buttons in order
to trigger the audio and visual streams.
Here are a couple of my favs.
Chat it Up!
Does trading make you lonely?
Come to the thinkorswim
• Once upon a time (circa late ’90s), I
decided I wanted to leave the rat race of
Wall Street and become … wait for it … a
day-trader. I set up multiple flat-screen
monitors. I installed a state-of-the-art,
high-speed (56k) Internet connection. Yup,
the early days were glamorous. I’d trade
the market open, pop into Bergdorfs for
some intra-day doldrums shopping, and
then bounce back for the close. But then,
things started to change.
Maybe it was the sweatpants I was
wearing seven days a week. Or maybe it
was the bright orange Cheetos residue on
my keyboard that was calling for me to get
a life. I had let myself go. Why? Trading
was lonely. Back then, there was no means
of interaction with other traders. The only
stimulation was the endless amounts of
real-time data flowing through the screen
in spurts of green and red.
Each day that the market is open, we have
veteran traders who share market insights
as well as platform education for hours on
end each trading day. So while you’re trading, you can also be learning how to
sharpen your skills. These traders expose
their trading desktop in the chat so you
can see how they’ve configured their layouts and what tools and features they use
to trade the market. They also talk about
things to look out for and what pending
news might really cause ripples or more
major reverberations in the market. Best of
all, there’s no price of entry for this valuable education. Your swim Lessons are
contained in this
article is not
intended to be
and is for educational purposes
only. Clients must
consider all relevant risk factors,
including their own
trading. Past performance does not
any claims, comparisons, statistics
or other technical
data, will be supplied upon request.
volume and system
access and trade
GLOBAL NEWS SQUAWK
I love this one and often have it running in
the background while I’m at work. It’s
completely silent as long as there is no
major news but the instant something
major happens, the audio springs to life so
I’m always in the know.
Ben Lichtenstein is
a veteran trader and
he stands in the
S&P futures pit in
Chicago and talks to
our clients through
the feed to articu-
late what he’s see-
ing. Best of all, it
sounds like the
audio call of a horse
race (my other great
passion), so it’s
music to my ears.
The value in this
content is immense.
It’s one thing to
look at streaming
data to try to figure out what’s happening.
It’s quite another to hear Ben issue a cautionary warning to clients that a big-time
buyer has just walked into the pits and
could mean things are about to really
move. Those are the things you can’t see in
the data on your screen.
NOW, I’M NOT KIDDING WHEN I SAY
that we spend a small fortune making these
cutting edge features available because we
want you to have
the tools that may
give you informa-
tion for a more
It’s how we roll.
And since they’re
free, we just ask
that you use them!
FINDING FRIENDS BEYOND A DOG
Thankfully, things have changed since
the early days. Today, with the online cha-trooms in the thinkorswim platform (
Figure 1), I can connect and bond with
fellow traders who actually understand
that a vertical spread is not a condiment.
Nice. But being able to bounce ideas off
one another is just the start. What many
of our clients don’t realize is there are
also visual and audio feeds in the chat-
FIGURE 1: Swim Lessons. It's not a replacement for a productive social life, but connecting with other traders in the thinkorswim Chat Rooms is one way to share information and
feel, well, less alone.