4 Step guide to the perfect trading setup
Every trader wants the best, most expensive, ‘800 monitor’ setup possible… but is it really necessary? Is it really worth it? Do you really need it to become a consistent full time trader?
First of all you need to take a step back and understand what type of trader you are, we’ve worked with traders from all kinds of backgrounds and trading styles. From people that love to spend all day at the screens – treating trading like a normal 9-5 job and we’ve also worked with traders that prefer to spend as little time at the screens as possible so they can enjoy the freedom and lifestyle that trading can offer.
At The Social Traders we prefer the latter. A lifestyle that allows you to still bank some sweet sweet pips whilst also having the freedom and ability to go explore, travel and have additional hobbies. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t spend a lot of time at the charts, we still have to forecast, backtest and most importantly execute are planned positions. To do this we need to have the best tools at our disposal. So let’s jump straight into it, we have some great tips to set up a killer trading setup.
1) PC/Laptop and other accessories
Now a PC and laptop is arguably the most important tool for a trader. Like how a plumber would have a toolbox to store his work tools, a trader will treat his laptop like his work ‘toolbox’.
Now at The Social Traders we believe there are key components to a PC/Laptop setup that will be very helpful when trading.
Firstly, it sounds silly, but a good mouse/trackpad has been vital for us. This gives you the ability to scale/descale your Tradingview platform easily, allowing you to see the larger picture. This becomes even more useful when you are doing tasks like backtesting when you have to see the bigger picture and swap between multiple documents at once, potentially across multiple screens (covered later in the article). At the end of the day speed and ease of view is going to massively help your trading, like a hairdresser will have sharp scissors or a woodchopper will sharpen his axe – a trader will require the fastest and easiest way of navigating the charts and other programs.
Apple’s magic mouse has been an amazing trading tool for us. It’s sleek bluetooth design keeps your desk decluttered whilst also allowing the user the ability to swipe left and right, not just up and down like a traditional mouse. This is so useful as essentially this acts as your x axis scroller for Tradingview. With multiple hand gesture abilities it can also allow you to zoom and expand the charts with ease. You can pick up some excellent deals here:
What laptop should I get?
Laptops or PCs will be at the core of your trading setup however it can be quite difficult to decide which one to go for. When it comes to actual computing power there are a few options for a trader but there are some key options to look out for.
First up we have physical processing power.
Bigger processors and larger RAM is naturally going to help with running trading programs. As mentioned previously, a trader will be doing multiple tasks at once, whether that be entering a trade and entering the setup into a trade tracker on a separate program. Or editing a video they’re looking to upload into a community while simultaneously chatting to different traders. Processors and RAM will give you a laptop the firepower to tackle the best tasks whilst also giving you a seamless user experience on programs such as Tradingview.
Apple Macbook pro 2019 onwards:
The macbook is fairly infamous amongst PC users for many reasons but in our opinion as an overall package it is the best all in one of the shelf Laptop for a trader. Starting from over £1500, the Macbooks are definitely some of more pricey laptops on the market but I think if you get the right model you’re onto a winner, a powerful laptop you can keep for years. Yes that price point might be a bit steep but remember, your PC/laptop setup is comparable to a workman’s toolbox. If you can, you definitely want to wait and get the best one possible.
In our opinion the clean retina display and powerful graphic card across most Macbooks runs Tradingview very easily with no distortion, we haven’t had any problems here.
We also like Macbooks because their trackpad is by far the best on any laptop on the market. They have the largest, most high quality trackpad that features the most functionality. Think of this as the Apple magic mouse added into a laptop, very useful for traders who want to work on the move.
* Top tip: all macbooks running from 2015 up to the 2019 model will have the ‘butterfly keyboard’ fitted to them. Be careful with these as they are notorious for going wrong and sticking. We recommend sticking to Macbooks built after the 16” macbook pro was introduced late in 2019. These feature a revised keyboard which is one of the best in the industry whilst also improving other small features like smaller screen bezels, better cooling systems and faster processing. *
What to look out for:
RAM above 16GBs: RAM stores the information your computer is actively using so that it can be accessed quickly. The more programs your system is running, the more memory you’ll need. So for example, if you are using Tradingview and iMovie to film and edit an awesome market breakdown video, with high RAM your computer should run smoothly with little problem.
Most Windows laptops allow you to manually upgrade the RAM, which usually costs around £60 from Amazon. If you are happy with your laptop but just want to squeeze out a little more performance this is definitely the way to go, there are many Youtube tutorials out there to do this.
Good computer processors (CPU):
The CPU, Central Processing Unit, or simply processor, is the main chip in a computer responsible for carrying out all tasks. It’s responsible for telling all the other components in a computer what to do. To get the most out of your laptop make sure that the processor is in date! Anything above an i5 processor will be enough to handle basic trading programs while running other software such as iMovie, Excel and potentially another display monitor.
2) Trading monitors?
Now this goes back to the classic argument of trading – how many monitors do you really need to be a trader? The truth is, none! Technically a trader can trade anywhere, anytime as long as he/she has access to a device and the internet.
However, The Social Traders definitely recommends having at least 1 monitor in your home trading setup. A separate monitor is a screen that can plug into your laptop or PC to provide another output. For example, you could have your Tradingview charts on one monitor and your Slack community or chat room on the other, allowing you to seamlessly usatlise the two at once. Most modern laptops will allow you to do this (but do check it has either an HDMI output or USB C adapters).
Having the ability to run at least two programs at once is vital for any trader. If you’re running a laptop/monitor setup – we like to have the charts on monitor then the additional task on the laptop. This is because you always want the charts on the largest screen available so that you have the clearest, most ‘blown up’ view of the charts at all times.
Which monitor is best?
There are thousands of different monitors on the market so it can be super confusing to know which one to buy. However in this article we have broken it down to just one monitor, the one we use.
We recommend the HP 27fw Full HD 27″ IPS LCD Monitor
For its price point we believe the HP 27” LCD Monitor is the best in its class. Its frameless, large LCD display looks timeless and fits most office settings. It comes in 21.5”, 24” and 27” but we do recommend the 27” for the best trading setup.
This monitor will connect straight from HDMI to your laptop and can be set up within 5 minutes. A multi monitor setup will recommend checking the capabilities of your laptop. Certain laptops especially Apple laptops can be tricky to link to multi monitor displays, this can require software and additional hardware to trick Mac OS.
3) Trading desk etiquette
Now that you have your monitor, mouse and laptop setup it’s time to arrange your trading desk and create a natural, inviting environment.
In this section of the Blog we’re going to be talking a lot about ‘trading psychology’ as reasoning behind our thought process. In our opinion trading psychology accounts for 90% of a traders consistency so if our desk etiquette will help this, it is 100% something worth doing.
So what is trading desk etiquette?
Imagine walking into your office, having old plates of food, yesterday’s coffee mugs, paper and dust everywhere. It wouldn’t be a very inviting place to work in and would most likely, straightaway put your psychology on edge – before you have even loaded the charts!
At The Social Traders we teach traders to keep their charts clean with little to no clutter or unnecessary analysis. In our opinion it is just as important to do the same thing with your office desk. Make a list of what you really need, everything else on the table/floor can be removed to clear the space.
Let’s give you an example. Our trading setup features only our monitor, laptop, notepad, pen, lamp and mouse. Everything else, including our printer, pictures and additional small items has been removed. You have probably seen this type of setup on social media but there is a reason traders do this. They are protecting their psychology before starting a week, day or hour of trading.
We definitely recommend checking out our blog on a desk setup:
Now as a trader you’re probably thinking why on earth would I need audio to trade? And to be honest, you are right you don’t. However, it can be incredibly beneficial to have a good audio setup as a trader.
Now in our blog we touch upon ‘mental psychology’, audio’s main role for a trading is to keep everything below the belt. Whether that be in the form of an audio book or just listening to your favourite album in the background. Clear crisp audio can keep you engaged whilst also keeping out all the distractions resulting in you becoming a more focused, ‘hawkeye’ trader.
So what do we recommend?
Wireless speaker – JBL Flip 5 Portable Bluetooth Speaker – Black
Now for casual speakers with great audio quality we highly recommend the JBL flip 5 speaker. This is an all in one wireless speaker that packs a huge punch.
The speaker has a really simple yet effective ergonomics – It’s 5 button control panel, makes it super easy to use and tidy looking when sitting on your desk.
The flip 5 has an excellent price point at just under £100 and is readily available across multiple retailers.
Now the apple airpods have been around for a while now, having said that they are the king of bluetooth audio for a reason. Their combination of features and conveniences still make them the daddy and in our opinion – they are the go to all-in-one bluetooth earbuds. While some people say they have problems fitting them to their ears, for the lucky few that can use the Apple AirPods, you’re in for a real treat.
The Social Traders has its own run club called – The Social Runners. Within this community you’ll find some of our most dedicated runners use the Apple Air pods when on longer runs and there are multiple reasons for this.
Snap them out of their case and they automatically connect to any paired Apple device all thanks to the Airpods W1 or H1 chip (depending on which generation you go for). The battery life should last around 5+ hours but pair this with the battery case provided and you have a package that can run 16+ hours of music in one stint. The seamless integration to any tech ecosystem makes it a must for any trader’s setup. You just don’t know what you’re missing until you try them.
To summarise we think it’s important to reiterate that technically a trader doesn’t need any of the products listed above, as long as you have a device that can run Tradingview and a live internet connection you are good to go! However, having worked with a simple, basic laptop setup to a setup that contains all of the features above – the difference really is night and day and one we highly recommend trying if you’re serious about trading.