Setting Up Your Home Office

As a Forex or Financial Futures Trader, you may find you spend as much as ten hours each day in front of your screens. As a result, it is of vital importance that your home office is set up effectively because your working environment has a direct influence on your mindset and of course your mindset has a huge impact on your trading performance.

I receive many questions about my home setup so I thought I would share it with you. You can see a picture of it above.

Perhaps the most important piece of furniture that you need to consider is your desk chair. You do not want to be spending extended periods of time in a chair that is uncomfortable or, worse, actually causes you back pain. Chairs are a very personal thing; what one person finds comfortable another may not. When I took the picture above, I was using a basic office chair but I have recently purchased the Herman Miller Aeron Remastered.

When it comes to my desk, I try to keep it free of clutter and only have what I need in front of me, for the day ahead, at any one time.

People often comment on the strip lighting that I have installed around the desk. I saw it in a home office setup when browsing YouTube and thought it looked good so I decided to try it myself.

I purchased my PC and the multiple monitor array from Multiple Monitors.

It is an “Ultra Multi Screen PC” with six 24″ monitors that are supported by one stand. The basic PC specs are – i5 3.4GHz CPU | 16GB RAM | 120 GB SSD |1 TB Second Hard Drive

Since taking the picture above, I have ditched aesthetics in favour of practicality and now use a wired keyboard. This ensures that I can mitigate the frustrating and sometimes extremely costly experience of running out of batteries mid trade.

The object that looks like a game console controller is actually a headset that I use for communicating online.

Charting

I use MT4 for my swing trading strategy. This is provided for free by FxPro – a broker I once traded with.

FxPro is not my broker nowadays but the charting offered by MT4 is superior to that provided by my broker. I use MT4 to chart spot Forex, including all the majors, some selected crosses, spot Gold and Silver and equity indices.

A question I often get asked is, do the prices quoted by FxPro line up with the broker I trade? The answer is yes, they are very close. Any differences are usually measured in pipettes and I consider them negligible for the swing trading I am doing.

For short term time frame trading in the Bund, I use InvestorRT for charting. The reason for using different charting is I use specific tools including Market Profile and Footprint charts that are not available from MT4. I find they provide me with an edge in deciding where and when to do business on the lower time frames.

I have the core package with InvestorRT and have also added the Profile and Volume Analysis Package.

I then use DTNIQ, a third-party data provider, to power the charting and a plugin from AMS Trading Group that allows me to see a footprint chart.

Broker:

CMC Markets is my primary broker for my swing strategy. I have been with them for many years and recommend them. I spread bet as here in the UK, gains are tax-free.

My broker for short term time frame trading in the Bund is Stage Five.

News

Currently, I use Newsquawk which is an audio feed for traders, squawking up-to-the-second market news, which I highly recommend. These days it’s in vogue to “ignore news” and concentrate on price but I think that’s a mistake since news moves markets. I personally don’t trade the figures anymore but there are still many opportunities to profit from a timely squawk.

I also use TweetDeck which enables me to keep track of who I follow on Twitter. I have heard people say they find Twitter to be a distraction and it certainly can be if you follow large numbers of people who are all vying for your attention during the trading day. The advantage of TweetDeck is that it allows you to build columns which you can then populate with specific tweeters. As an example, you could have a column called “news” that only contains sources of market-moving breaking news. I find this very useful to effectively organise the information I receive during the day.

Journal

I use EdgeWonk to record my trades and analyse my performance.

Statistics

I use Excel for statistics.