Reflecting on a Life of Independence (The Greatest Luxury)

by | Jul 6, 2020

The market has been incredibly hot lately and many traders are setting record years.

It has never been a better time to be a day trader. Every day, we're reminded of how lucky we are to have a job that allows us to be in full control of our own destinies. We get to work at home, set our own schedules, and control our incomes. It is the ultimate form of independence.

The word "independence" is thrown around quite a bit, but what does it truly mean to live a life of independence?

Of course, we all have our own interpretations, and we all strive for different levels of independence, but we share a lot of commonalities. Most of us can remember some important "independence" milestones in our lives, such as:

  • Getting your first car
  • Getting your first job
  • Moving out of your parent's house
  • Paying for insurance and other "adult" expenses

For some, the list goes on and on as they continue to reach new levels of independence.

So, what exactly is independence and how can you make a concerted effort to become more independent?

On Independence

Merriam Webster defines the word independent as "not subject to control by others."

Independent Definition

That's a great definition.

We live in a free country, but we all have responsibilities that make us accountable to other people. If you work a job, your boss controls your schedule. If you are a student who is financially dependent on your parents, your parents have some control over what you can and cannot do.

Independence is synonymous with freedom and most of us would like to become more independent, so we can become freer.

Day trading is the ultimate pursuit of independence.

  • Day traders have no bosses
  • Day traders can set their own schedules
  • Day traders have uncapped earning potential

If you want to achieve this type of freedom, you need to have the proper mindset.

Independence is an outcome, and like any outcome, it is the result of specific actions.

Today, we are going to discuss five crucial components of true independence.  The first two are prerequisites to the last three.

Let's get to it.

Independent Thought

Free thought is a precursor to independence. If you want to achieve true independence, you need to learn to think for yourself.

The world is full of people giving advice. Societal norms dictate so much of our behavior, and most people's lives are planned before they're even born. It looks something like this:

  1. Go to School
  2. Pursue Higher Education
  3. Get a Job
  4. Start a Family
  5. Retire

There's nothing wrong with this life path. This post is not intended to be some maverick's manifesto that preaches about societal deviance.

Independent thought isn't inherently counter to the norm. It's simply well-processed and deliberate.

For example, going to college because your parents told you to go is not an independent choice, whereas going to college to pursue a degree in a field you've always been fascinated by is. Same outcome, different reasoning.

The point here is simple - get in the habit of thinking for yourself. If you want something more than a "9-to-5," you need to create your own rulebook. Society doesn't pave the path for atypical careers - you do. Challenge norms, think about what you want, and get in the habit of thinking independently.


Independent Process

Independent thought is the first step towards independence, but thought alone will not get you where you want to go. Thought means very little if it is not followed by action.

There are plenty of radical thinkers, but the radical doers are the ones that make it into the history books.

If you want to achieve true independence, you need to have a process.

High achievers are methodical.

Nate and Sang

Look to any exceptional athlete or entrepreneur, and you will see that they all have a unique process that fuels their success. They don't roll out of bed and wing it every day. They follow a routine that is the product of years of obsession with optimizing processes.

How do day traders create their own independent processes?

The first step is focusing on self-sufficiency. If you plan to rely on others to succeed, you have the wrong mindset. Snap out of it now.

You can't expect to copy someone's trades or rely on their insights forever. Use others to learn, but strive for independence.

Ask any successful trader about their process and you will find that it is unique. You will never hear a trader say, "Well I check in with Bill to see what he's trading today, and then I just do the same."

An independent process is crucial to your success. If you are new to trading, make self-sufficiency your goal, and be cautious about becoming reliant on others.

Independent Finances

Now that we've discussed the prerequisites to independence, let's talk about what independence means, and why it is so worthwhile. We'll start with financial independence.

Financial independence is the ultimate freedom.

Whether you like it or not, the world is run by money. Money pays for your food, shelter, and modern-day amenities.

In other words, money = freedom.

Traders have the luxury of being financially independent. They don't rely on anyone to sign their checks each month.

Furthermore, traders have unlimited earning potential. Whereas it may take a decade to double your income a 9-to-5 job, a trader can double their income in a week. The growth potential doesn't stop there - the sky is the limit.

That's the beauty of being a trader - you are in full control of your income.

Of course, this comes at the expense of job security because traders are not guaranteed a paycheck, but most traders wouldn't have it any other way. There's a thrill to the hunt. You come to the market hunting for profits and you eat what you kill. Some days, you come home empty-handed; other days you feast.

If you want to reach this level of independence, you need to be smart from the start. Financial independence is a product of financial responsibility. If you are just starting to grow your capital, you need to be disciplined. Follow some basic rules that will set you up for success in the long run:

  • The goal is to be rich, not look rich (leave your ego at the door)
  • Live within your means
  • Don't trade with money you can't afford to lose
  • Don't compare yourself to others
  • Don't take unnecessary risks (capital preservation is your #1 goal)
  • Don't blow your cash on frivolous items
  • Start building a financial safety net so you can weather the setbacks

The majority of people who are financially independent (or rich), practiced financial discipline at one point in their lives. Do the same.

Independent Relationships

We all have people we'd prefer not to deal with.

Fortunately, as traders, our exposure to undesirable relationships is minimized.

Sure, we all have encounters we could live without, but we don't have bosses and coworkers that we are forced to be around every day. We can choose our circles.

There's a lot of power in being able to choose your "circle." Your circle is more than just a group of associations and daily encounters. It shapes your entire life. If you hang around a bunch of negative people, you're likely to become a negative person. If you hang around a bunch of ambitious optimists, you're likely to become ambitiously optimistic.

Obviously, you can't fully control your circle (especially if you are financially dependent on a certain job). That said, by consciously analyzing your circle, you can begin to take some steps in the right direction. You are not forced to be around anyone (outside of work).

Choose your relationships wisely and make sure they empower you to achieve your broader goals.

T4AC Group

Independent Lifestyle

Last, but most certainly not least, we're going to discuss the independent lifestyle.

An independent lifestyle is the outcome of all of the other points we just discussed. It is one of the most worthwhile pursuits.

Having an independent lifestyle means you get to live life on your own terms. We all have different visions of the ideal life, but I think we would all agree that freedom is the ultimate luxury. Freedom allows us to:

  • Travel whenever you want
  • Buy whatever you want
  • Sleep as late as you want
  • Create your own work schedule
  • Have the ability to say "no"
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Take on new hobbies
  • Increase leisure time

The list could go on and on.

Successful traders get to live an independent lifestyle. They control their incomes, schedules, and routines.

Independent Lifestyle

To be clear, when I reference an "independent lifestyle," I'm not referring to the materialistic lifestyle you may see on Instagram. The "day trader lifestyle" often gets overhyped by marketers and influencers. You've probably seen marketers share pictures from private jets, exotic islands, and garages filled with overpriced cars.

Materialism can actually be counter to independence, as you rack up more expenses that you need to work to pay off.

It's okay to strive for the finer things in life, but an independent lifestyle does not need to be lavish. Independence is defined by autonomy, and an independent lifestyle can be as simple as setting your own schedule, spending quality time with people you love, and controlling your own fate.

Nate Freedom

Regardless of what an independent lifestyle means to you, if you want to live if you want to achieve this freedom, you need to put in the work. Keep your eye on the prize, but remember there's going to be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears along the way. Nothing worth pursuing comes easy, and an independent lifestyle must be earned.

What Do You Think?

What does independence mean to you? Let's start a discussion!

Leave a comment below so we can hear from you.

Here are some potential talking points:

  1. What does true independence mean to you?
  2. What does your independent lifestyle look like?
  3. What are you doing now to help you achieve an independent lifestyle?


  1. I would like to but I volunteer 4 mornings a week till 1 which is the prime time to trade. Any advice for me. I'm 61 and semi retired but do trade early in the morning and in the afternoon and after hours when i get home. I'm in California so am 3 hrs behind NY.

  2. That's some motivating shit right there!

  3. Brought up a lot of great points in this article. Yes the financial independence is nice, but I realized that more than that, the lifestyle independence was much more appealing to me as I've started the study of trading.

    It's just money. But time is something that can't be bought back. The experiences, the great times with friends and family, the life opportunities that are often put second to a work schedule are what encourage me to keep studying it while figuring out a plan to become successful in this business.

    Great article!

    • Thanks Nate, another great post. To me, this independence is about TIME with family... "9-5's" aren't 9-5 anymore, at least not in my world, it's more like 6-6 and it's exhausting, and I miss critical moments in my kids lives. The picture of you and your daughter on beach had me tear up ... That picture defines independence to me ... I hope to have the same picture with my kids, soon... Thanks again for everything you do.

  4. More time with my family! This year i was working every birthday to my loved ones! Have the ability to work when I want and schedule my own work week and not be financial independent on others, when COVID-19 came I really started thinking about how much depend I am to my boss. Scary!
    Now I am gong through all video recap you have done this year and starting to get more healthy to get my mind right. It’s a start! Have been in and out of the market since 2016, it hurts into the soul not to be active when the market is like this! Very good post and thanks for what you do!

  5. Independence is my life long goal. I've been in love with the stock market for more than 30 years. I was actually a broker at Merrill Lynch years ago. When I was hired and mentioned that I wanted to be a trader, I was told "That's not what we do here". Fast forward 30 years and I discovered Tim Sykes, Tim Bohen, and Underground Investors. You guys are the first people in this industry, that I've communicated with, who were actually willing to show how it's done. I'm truly grateful for all of your efforts. Thank you!

  6. Independence means Financial Freedom for me, without having to deal with the control of others. I’m working on looking at trading as my own business (I do have a 9-5 that I balance with kids, trading and all), while I trying to find my edge. I wish I have more time to study...

  7. Can’t wait to finally fund my account with some capital. My demo account has been looking great these last couple weeks. Finally taking another shot at the futures market. BTW thank you! This read was spot on with trying to get off on the right foot 💪🏻👊🏻

  8. Great article. Simple and clear. I'm from Argentina and here we have rough movements almost every day, so it is fun to trade here.

    About what you wrote, i think it is all about discipline, responsability and correct planning. You should stick to the plan, do not fall on FOMOs, plan an objective and try to achieve it. With all social media around, you see succesful people and think that you are not that good. But that kind of things are half true/half lie, so the important thing is to be happy with your life.

    Best Regards!

    • Nate , right on point ! My trading journey has just begun. It is alot of work , discipline ,focus. The potential rewards of freedom are motivation alone . Thank you for all the time and energy you spend to help traders.

  9. independence comes in many forms we all long for financial stability. what i like to see is when everyone gets a slice of the of the american dream. my hope is to be able to help where i can and trading gives me the chance to think outside the box. thanks for sharing all your work. i look forward to meeting more of traders i have been online with.keep up the good work and stay safe

  10. the pic of guy with the screens , now thats committment....

  11. Solid article brother!
    Keep up the phenomenal work!
    God Bless! 🙂

  12. Nate, I recalled you saying some weeks ago, how valuable it felt to have the ability to simply be able to give when you felt like it. Massive tips or donations or simply being able to make somebody's day by being able to share something which we all need to live.

    I come from another community which is very much hurting right now. We're a group of enthusiasts who've lost our gathering spots, our camaraderie, and many of our members over the years to a variety of circumstances. There's a lot of parallels in the idea of self growth, discipline, and independence between this community and trading. Initially, I was interested in pursuing trading because it seemed like a powerful, incredibly satisfying skill to learn. But for me, the independence I aim to gain from it has gone beyond simply being able to work solely for myself. It's to provide for my community in a way that those before me have failed or had to step out. To pursue that which others tell me is impossible.

    4am mornings and earlier? Double shifts? Staring at screens until my eyes bleed? I don't mind any of that, I embrace it. Trading has become one of my keystone habits, and I feel that my life has improved all the more for it. Regular meditation, workouts, and reading and discipline all branched from the beginning of this pursuit, while only a year ago I felt that my life wasn't going anywhere.

    Independence, to me, is to be able to do what I want, when I want, not chained by the constraints of what others think I need to be doing: it's what I believe I need to be doing. And that, to me, is doing whatever it takes to reach success, so I can provide further opportunities for those who come after me, in avenues that I never had the opportunity for myself. Trading is my freedom to provide.

    • Independence for me would be to make enough money so that my wife could have the choice to be a stay at home mom.

  13. Independence for me means doing a job I loved (though can be frustrating) while providing financially for my family. It means being able to set my own schedule and having the means to do what I want when I want to. An independent lifestyle would be one in which I could work around the people I love and mean the world to me, and once I become profitable, I can give my wife the ability to not have to work, to just enjoy life.

    I reading books on TA and mindset to help me achieve these goals. I soaking up a ton of free content, thank IU, and others, which maybe a bit of a mistake as I might be overloading my system here. But I so want to be successful I know skies the limit, but I'd be happy with hilltop right now. Thanks, Nate.


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