Become a Successful Trader

May 4, 2011

How to Create a Home Trading Office for Under $1000

The trick to a designing a top notch trading office is creating a million dollar atmosphere, here’s how you can do just that!

First off, if you trade from home, your trading office needs to be in a completely separate room designated for trading purposes only. This helps cut down distractions and creates an engaging, fully functional atmosphere for trading.

Building Your Personal Trading Office, Things to Include…

1. Nature

Before choosing a room in your house or renting office space for your trading office, consider a space with a window (or windows). Natural light with views of greenery and water have been proven to lift both self-esteem and mood.

I have my office positioned with my monitors along the south wall, windows to the east and north. This assures I won’t have a strong glare in the morning when the sun is coming up. Nothing could be worse than picking out a prime office location with lots of natural light only to find out after everything is setup that you have to close the blinds due to massive glare issues.

2. Desk

Office Desk

After having picked out a location, you’ll then need to select a desk for your office. No need to break the bank, but here are some things to think about….

  • The width of your desk should be large enough to accommodate multiple monitors.
  • A tiered desk raises the monitor up to a comfortable eye level and opens up more space for notebooks.
  • Keep it clean, a clean desk yields a clean mind; don’t clutter your desk up with doodads, pencil holders, and unproductive items.

3. Office Chair

Office Chair

Once you have decided on a desk for your trading office you need to pick out an office chair. This is where the fun begins. There are some really creative office chairs on the market. One option (and the “chair” I chose to go with) is the exercise ball. That’s right, those big round colored balls you see in the gym.

Exercise Ball
This type of “chair” has multiple benefits…
  • Strengthens core
  • Improves circulation
  • Forces proper spine alignment
  • Improves balance
  • And most importantly, burns more calories!

I know it may seem silly, but I challenge you to give it a try for one week and see how you like it. I’d love to hear your comments after you’ve given it a try. You can leave them below.

4. Hardware

HP Slimline ComputerNow it’s time to get into the finer details of the trading office, your computer setup. There are infinite possibilities to how you can go about setting up your computer hardware, but the most important thing (aside from data connection) is your RAM and processor speed. These two components essentially dictate how fast the computer will run.

Nowadays, you can get a computer with a dual core processor and 2GB of ram for well under $500. This is more than adequate for an at home trader managing an account of stock, options, and futures using charting packages and multiple order execution platforms.

Multiple monitors is a must. While I do know of traders who trade off one single 16″ laptop screen, having two monitors will dramatically boost your efficiency in both trading, and operating other tasks.

One suggested configuration…
  • Dual core processor
  • 2GB + RAM
  • Graphics card w/ 2 outputs (for 2 monitors)
  • 2  – 19” flat screen monitors
Current deals…

5. Software

ThinkorswimInfinity Futures

Internet Connection

Last, but certainly not least is your internet connection. This is where you want to spend the extra money. A DSL internet connection may suffice for some, but a high speed cable internet connection is my recommendation.

In the Chicago-land area Comcast business class internet is one of the options for high speed cable internet. You can check with your local Best Buy or TV/Computer big box retailer for the options in your area.

Expect to pay between $50-$100/mo for a reliable high speed internet connection (this gets deducted as a business expense if you have an entity setup for your trading business).

Charting Packages

There are certainly a lot of charting packages to choose from. The two I use are Thinkorswim and Infinity Futures. There are no monthly fees to use these packages. I’ve made my other trading resources available as well.

My Trading Office

My Trading Office

Other tips

  • Staring at a computer screen for long periods of time can really strain the eyes. Get up every so often and go for a short 5-10 min walk (outside preferably)
  • Staying hydrated can help prevent headaches. Another trick is to cup your hands over your eyes (while open) for a few seconds to let them readjust.
  • Instead of using glasses without lids around the computer and risking the inevitable spillage, try water bottles. You reduce the risk of destroying your notes and electronics.
  • Keep a separate computer for personal use, email, and surfing the web. This cuts down the risk of getting a virus on your trading computer.

Getting Started – Shopping List

Total: $896


Do you have a killer trading office? I’d love to see it, you can share a link to your trading office photo below.

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About Tim Racette
Tim Racette is a day trader of 15+ years in the E-mini futures and swing trader of stocks. Mountain biker, lover of the outdoors, and explorer. Tim is an ASU Sun Devil and a Chicagoland Native now living in sunny Scottsdale, AZ.
  1. Do you have anything unique or obscure in your trading office? You can share it here.

  2. Hi Tim,

    Great ideas all around and found, by accident, I built my office almost to a T to your recommendations.
    I did try the ball thing, but found my inherintly horrible posture proved more of a distraction (and pain after a while). So I went to a used office furniture store and bagged a $1100 Italian leather high back exec chair chair for $250.
    Used office furniture stores offer incerdible deals. Might want to add that to your list for those needing furniture.
    Good Trading!

  3. Hi Tim, hope you doing great. I’m a forex trader. Kindly give me some technical assistance in setting up my personal trade station. I intend having four to six “21” inch screens. Though am not a tech expert to know how to set this up and what computer hardware and software I need to purchase. I need your kind and urgent assistance. Thanks!

    May the pips be with you…

    • Hi Jerry, I was using a 3 monitor setup with an external graphics card, but I know there are some computer companies out there that cater to traders running multiple monitors. I’ve since scaled back my monitors to simplify things a bit, but my recommendation would be to check out companies like http://tradingcomputers.com/ if you want to go big. You might also check with your local computer shop or Best Buy for a smaller to mid range setup.

  4. I was wondering if using a projector with a big screen would be suitable?

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