8 Stupid Conversations When You Tell Someone You’re a Day Trader

When you’re mingling at social occasions like weddings or birthday parties, a typical question when you meet new people is “What’s your job?” And as a day trader, a whole lot of conversations can ensue just from that, almost all of them unenjoyable.

I wish there were more enjoyable ones. That reminds me, I have to share with you this really cheesy passage from Victor’s book.

You are at a local bar drinking with your buddies and cannot take your eyes off its prettiest patron. You approach confidently and start working this lovely young woman. After leading with some of your best material she asks, “So what do you do?”

You smile, pause and answer coolly, with a George Clooney-esque twinkle in your eye, “I am a trader.” The young woman flips her hair, unconscientiously wets her lips, and now focuses her eyes squarely on you, “Really?”

The evening ends at worst with this young woman’s phone number in your iPhone, all in full view of your drinking pals.

Two Good Positions

Imagine that: a woman so captivated by your identity as a trader, to the point where she’s smitten and wants to be taken out.

Keep imagining it because it doesn’t happen. That whole book was written as propaganda for MBC Securities, to lure naive idiots like me to move to NYC.

Anyway… so let’s say someone asks me what I do for living.

Because I don’t like to lie or obfuscate with some psuedo-witty answer1“I make many small investment decisions a day”, “I’m a freelance financial artist” “I engage in high-speed financial exchanges.” etc)that makes me sound like a jackass, I just tell them, plain and simple, that I’m a day trader.

Now 80% of the time, people aren’t particularly interested, and the conversation naturally fizzles out. There might be a follow-up question or two, like “What’s that like?” or “Which market do you focus on?” That’s a good opportunity for me to offer some generic, boring respones. Then it’s my turn to ask about their work, giving them the chance to babble on about their job.

But the other 20% of the time, the conversation goes deeper because certain people feel they have to get something off their chest as soon as you say you’re a day trader–some deeply held opinion or some shared experience they think you’ll relate to.

Here are 8 stupid conversations that can happen when you tell people you’re a day trader.

1. The Skeptic

The Skeptic owns all the books you would expect–The Intelligent Investor, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Rich Dad/Poor Dad. He has an automatic monthly transfer to his brokerage account to invest in Vangaurd index funds. He’s been a 7 year member of the Boglehead investment forum.

Find yourself in a conversation with The Skeptic and you can tell he is appalled by your existence. You are a heretic against the church of personal finance truthisms. Another delusional day trading gambler who thinks he can beat the market. He’ll lecture you. He’ll argue with you. You may try to show him proof of success and he will attribute it to luck.

There was a time when I argued passionately against Skeptics… I was in my mid 20’s, I had a chip on my shoulder, and I knew all the typical arguments (seen above) could be easily debunked. I had these conversations with a friend of a friend, who refused to believe day trading could be a successful long-term venture. I insisted on a bet where if I beat the S&P 500 across 5 years, he’d pay me $10k2(and if I couldn’t do it, I’d pay him obviously). He wouldn’t take it, thinking even 5 years could be a fluke. I practically had steam coming out of my ears in every conversation. Fuck this guy!

Now in my 30’s, I just don’t care. I last had a whiff of a skeptic type while at a home poker game and he said something along the lines of “I have never met anyone who won long-term through daytrading.” It was a good spot to say something witty like “you’re looking at him” but I knew better at this point to open that can of worms. So I said “Check or bet bro?” and we moved on.

2. The Freeloader

The Freeloader is on the complete opposite of the spectrum from the Skeptic. He does not care about rigorous academic arguments, he just wants to get rich quickly. Mention that you’re a day trader and it’s like Pavlov’s bell–OMG, this guy might have some hot stock tips! They see you as a meal ticket to riches.

Sometimes I wonder how there can be so many self-proclaimed gurus and trading experts on Instragram, TikTok, and Youtube, all hocking their wares for more subscription and chatroom fees. Then you meet a few Freeloader types—those who don’t even ask to verify whether you’re profitable, but only whether you’ll hand out stock tips or take their money. It quickly becomes clear why there’s an endless supply customers for the guru types.

Personally, I never want to feel responsible for someone losing money on one of my calls so ironically, I end up role-playing as the Skeptic in these conversations. “It’s incredibly hard to beat the market, you should just put your money in index funds.”

3. The One with PTSD

When you mention to an older person that you’re a stock market trader, you may notice a shift in their gaze—like the resurfacing of distant, forgotten memories. He takes out a pack of cigarettes. He has tales of battle to share, and they’re far from glamorous. Having both won and lost several fortunes in the market, the scars was so profound that he vowed… never again.

I actually find these conversations fun because you get a little snippet of market history from someone with skin in the game at that time. It’s a reminder that human emotion often drives the most volatile market cycles.

4. La Revolutionary

The Revolutionaries are highly political–almost always on the left side of the political spectrum. Anything that whiffs of pure capitalism is considered highly immoral and “part of the problem”. To them, speculation is just a parasitic economic activity that generates no tangible value. No buildings or bridges get built from trading stocks.

When you make money in the stock market, isn’t that money that could go towards helping the poor and less fortunate?!

To these types I’ll say … yeah, so what? You’re best off just changing the subject with Les Revolutionaries, because chances are, 1) they’re financially illiterate and 2) they want you in a guillotine.

5. The Conspiracy Theorist

The Conspiracy Theorist hates the market not because he hates capitalism but because he hates the fact that it is so clearly rigged. According to him, regular people will never make money or beat the market because Wall Street and all their cronies in Congress just won’t allow it! Damn them!

Here’s a list of common things a Conspiracy Theorist will rag on about3(and some of them may be true or valid to some extent, sure, but these types will believe ALL the conspiracy theories to the most extreme and be obsessed with them), the moment you start a conversation about the stock market:

  • The Federal Reserve props up the market by printing unlimited money!
  • Only corrupt insiders make money off the market, like Nancy Pelosi!
  • GME would have gone to $1000 in the mother of all squeezes had it not been RIGGED by grubby Stevie Cohen and evil Citadel and useless Robin Hood! They didn’t want the little guy to win!
  • George Soros manipulates governments and destroys the fabric of society just so his positions can make money!

If you’re a Conspiracy Theorist, I have one piece of advice–if it’s so clearly manipulated and rigged, just follow the direction of the rigging and make money.

6. The Cult Member

The Cult Member has dedicated a good chunk of his life to one singular obsession–the stock that he is most invested in. He’s a true believer and his mission is to spread the faith to the lucky ones like you. This is the greatest opportunity in the stock market and you are truly blessed to discover it.

The Cult Member may very well be invested in a piece of shit or a pump and dump. But DO NOT TELL HIM THAT, or he won’t see you as human anymore–just an unworthy non-believer. Everything good that happens to the stock is part of ‘the righteous way’4(confirmation bias). It’s supposed to happen. Everything bad that happens to the stock is not actually bad, it’s good… it’s opportunity for him to buy more and display his unshaken faith.

To the Cult Member, the primary enemy is the usually the short seller. How dare these evil shorts bash the stock to send the price down? Many Cultists also double as Conspiracy Theorists as they believe short sellers are manipulating the price of their devoted security with lies, deceit, and fear.

7. The TradFi-Guy

The TradFi Guy is someone who works in traditional sectors like investment banking, private equity, or asset management. They may even be a trader themselves. They vaguely know a little bit about day trading but to them, you might as well be a barbarian from a foreign country–you’re human just like they are but with entirely different language and norms. It’s weirdly amusing and fascinating to them that a “click trader” or “manual trader” like you can still exist in the age of quants and HFT. Tell them you don’t trade them off a model or an algo and their reaction is along the lines of…

“Haha silly barbarian day trader does simple things because he does not know modernity!”

8. The DeFiGuy

The conversation started online. Some guy’s post made you chuckle a bit so you send him a DM, seeing if he wants to chat about trading. Unfortunately, you did not message a normal person, you have instead encountered the DeFi Guy and boy is he fucking weird… he could be 15 and still live in his mom’s basement or he could be 35… and still live in his mom’s basement.

The DeFi Guy suffers from being terminally online and the result of this is that he’s even more of a filthy degenerate than you are. He’s invested in all the things that disgust normal people–like racist meme coins and anime porn NFTs. He spends all his time on /WallStreetBets and his dozens of discords and telegrams, creating irony-poisoned wojak memes that only his own mentally-ill kindred spirits can truly understand.

You’re not sure if the DeFi Guy actually believes in the value of his positions or if he’s only buying it ironically–fully knowing that the dumber something is, the better an investment it will be, at least in his own inner circle of “highly regarded” types.

An unexpected encounter with the DeFi Guy does offer some unique perspective–when you find yourself questioning your identity, where you really are in this world as a day trader trading amongst the institutions and the higher powers that be… just remember, at least you’re not this annoying little shitbag.

Be thankful for your trading friends who get it.

Now time to dive back into writing Part III, which I’ve procrastinated on enough.

3 thoughts on “8 Stupid Conversations When You Tell Someone You’re a Day Trader

  1. Went home (home country) for the first time in about 5-6 years,
    an old friend – what do you do for a living?
    me – I trade stocks
    old friend – teach me.
    me – I can tell you 2-3 books, if you find it interesting, then we can continue the conversation.
    told him to read few of the classics, like the Complete turtle trader, How to make money in stocks, Reminiscences of a stock operator.
    2 years passed, visiting home again, met his brother
    the brother – oh, you know, my brother read all the books you told him, he even got more books, he is really focused on trading Crypto now, but I think he lost all his money.

    guy decided to invest in shitcoins.

  2. Well done! As a full time trader for 28 years I have had all of these conversations more that once. Thanks for the laughs!

    1. Hahahahahahahahahahhahaha
      I feel as if I’m reading my thoughts said by someone else. Absolute gold you’ve written along with the lit meme game.

      Please keep these up. I see you’re a trader who keeps it light and comical, the way it should be. Reading this reminded how I’ve encountered each and every type of person you’ve described.

      I’m in India and currently we’re going through our possibly first vertical only equities boom so it feels so real. It took me quite a time to find your handle but I had you added to my list. Thank you for this

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