This time last year, I knew what my immediate future held. I was a single guy with no responsibilities. I had enough disposable income to do pretty much what I wanted to within reason, no one to answer to, no debt and a plan to just keep doing what I was doing. Now, I have a mortgage, other people to think about, fiscal responsibilities, a joint bank account, DIY to perform (though I'll probably pay someone else to do it!), in-laws to placate and a whole raft of future plans that need to be set in motion.
Reading all that back, I know it may seem as though I'd like my old life back but I can assure you, nothing is further from the truth. I would rather be there for the birth of my first child than backpacking across Peru - there's no contest! My single days are done and I'm happier than I've ever been in my entire life. Much of that is down to the success I've had with trading. Without the money I have from trading, I would never have been able to afford to get married or to have supported a family. But now I have to weigh up what the best move is going to be for me as well as my family - and that's a huge weight on my shoulders, I don't mind admitting.
I can't tell you the amount of respect I have for people who trade for a living who have a family too. I always knew I was lucky getting into trading whilst I was still single and had no responsibilities but now I truly understand the added pressures involved. My advice for you singletons out there is this: start learning how to trade NOW - don't leave it till you have REAL responsibilities!
I have to say that one thing I will not miss if I retire from trading is the Australian swing. Four weeks on Antipodean time means two weeks struggling to stay awake from midnight through to around 8am (sometimes longer) and another two weeks after the swing struggling to get my body-clock back on European time. But for those two weeks in the middle, encompassing the Australian Open itself, I actually find them a very enjoyable experience. It's probably my favourite Grand Slam, despite being the most low-profile of the 4. This is because it never gets rained off like the other 3 (2 of which don't even have roofs on any court), the crowds are the most vocal, colourful and "footballesque" by a long way, with most nationalities represented and the tennis itself I find tends to be of a higher quality because it's at the start of the season and players tend to be fitter and more eager. Also, it's the Slam that history shows tends to throw up more surprise finalists and semi-finalists than any other. So it really is well worth trading despite the obvious inconvenience of the time difference. I also find working in the peaceful calm of the early morning, very therapeutic.
I'm always quite surprised at how strong liquidity is even around the 4-5am mark, when you might think it would tail off dramatically. I'm always well acclimatised to those hours after two weeks of trading Australian tournaments, so this also helps to make the tournament enjoyable. That is the biggest advice I can give if you want to trade the first slam of the year: try to stay awake till the very early hours for at least a couple of days before the tournament starts, so your body gets used to it. If you dive in and try to trade past your usual bed-time on day one, you will struggle for the first few days and the worst thing you can do is trade when tired - never, ever fails to destroy your decision making skills and in turn, your bank!
Good luck with your Antipodean trading and I'll see you bleary eyed on the other side in a few weeks. I'll leave you with a great tennis joke I heard recently (even though it's 18 months old) from one of my favourite stand up comedians, Scotland's Kevin Bridges. It's right at the end of the video, from 6:13 (begin from 5.11 for a football joke too!). Start the year as you mean to go on - with a laugh!