Which Is More Profitable: Trading or Your Day Job?

Here is an interesting question I ran across today while browsing a binary options discussion forum:

For those of you who are doing or have done both, which has been more profitable for you—your binary options trading or your day job?  Right now, my binary options trading is far less profitable than my day job, but I hope that someday I can turn that around.

Profitable vs. Valuable

I think this question is intriguing, because there are two definitions I can find for the word “profitable.”  The first definition is very specific, which is “yielding financial gain.”  The second definition is very vague: “beneficial, useful.”  If you look up the definition for “value,” you will find, “worth a great deal of money.”  This actually is a pretty narrow definition, though.  In terms of daily use, I notice that when we talk about value, what we are actually talking about is worth measured against input.  When we discuss “the best value for the money,” for example, we are talking about a product which provides the most benefit for the least amount of cash.  We could also talk about “value” in terms of time.  What gives you the highest benefit—the highest profitability—for your current input of time and effort?

What Benefit Does a Day Job Give You?

Anyone who is reading this most likely has some kind of a day job right now, whether it is full time or part time.  Balancing trading with a day job is notoriously difficult, but almost everyone has to do it.  I believe though that many trades overlook the true value of their day jobs, in light of the fact that the day job is not currently all that profitable according to the first definition.  In other words, the day job does not pay you all that much (probably).  You get paid at an hourly rate which is unlikely ever to change.  That rate is flat, not exponential.  You probably will never get rich doing it.

But your day job offers immeasurable benefits, and you should not think about giving up those benefits until you no longer need them.  By the second definition, your day job is therefore incredibly profitable.  And it has great value, because it gives you the ability to put in a finite amount of time and effort to pursue something which can provide you with an unlimited yield.

What is that thing?  Trading, of course.

Trading does not require a finite amount of time or effort.  You are daring to strive for unlimited wealth, which means that you are undertaking a project that forces you to face life’s uncertainty.  There is no boss setting hours for you and promising you a set amount of money in return for your time.  You do not know how long it will take you to start making a reasonable return (or a great return), measured against when you begin.  For a long time, you could put in a great deal of effort and receive no income at all from trading.  So when you are a beginner, trading is not as profitable as your day job.

But you could argue it is every bit as valuable, because over time, the yield can far exceed that of your day job.

A Day Job is a Pre-requisite for Binary Trading

One thing which I have figured out over the years about trading is that it does not happen in a vacuum.  It is wonderful to think that you have found your calling and life and that you can now quit your dull, tedious, time-wasting 9-5 job and start doing what you are meant to do, but life does not work that way.  Your dull, tedious 9-5 may feel like a waste of time, but it is also what enables you to start trading at all.  What will you live off of if you do not have any income outside of trading?  Even if you are achieving amazing success on your trading account, that success will never compound if you have to keep withdrawing funds to pay your rent.

So will your day job ever pay you more money than it does now?  Not directly.  But since that seemingly unprofitable flat rate allows you to pursue riches through trading after work, it actually is very profitable.  Without it, you would be unlikely to ever succeed, unless you were starting out with a ton of money to begin with.

And that is why I do not suggest quitting your day job, or trying to measure profitability in black-and-white terms.  Your day job and your trading are connected.  They are not completely separate entities.  If you are struggling with how to schedule your trading and manage your time around a full time job, read this article.  Do not quit your day job until you are reliably and consistently earning enough money to easily pay your bills and grow your account simultaneously.  If you do not have a day job, but you also do not have enough money to build up your trading account, I suggest getting one.