It’s no secret that the world of financial trading is more competitive than maybe any other industry on the planet. Moderately experienced traders like myself wanting consistent success will need to be doing EVERYTHING possible to gain even the smallest edge and advantage over the competition and over the market itself. I need to look at technology to fill the gaps that veteran traders call instinct.
I’ve learned that there is power in leveraging the latest tools and technology to help me maintain the highest level of trading efficiency, relying on technology whenever possible to handle the heavy lifting for me and to make my decisions not only more effective but a lot faster as well.
Like a lot of financial traders (and other professionals that rely on their office set up) I’ve been meticulous about designing the perfect workspace.
My desk is my financial headquarters, my trading clearinghouse, my war room, and I need to make sure that everything (EVERYTHING) that exists on my desk makes my life easier no matter what.
Start with the Desk
You’d be amazed at the amount of financial investors and traders I know – as well as a myriad of other professionals – that buy their perfect computer or laptop, fiddle with all kinds of techno gizmos and gadgets, and then pop down to the local big box store and purchase whatever desk they have laying around afterwards to get everything set up.
Probably not the best approach for something you will be spending a lot of time on. Instead, the best approach is to invest in a top-quality desk right out of the gate.
A lot of people can get away with your run-of-the-mill, big box store, “off-the-shelf” kind of flatpack desk that you can slap together in about 30 minutes – for at least a little while – but most professionals understand that an investment in their desk is going to pay off dividends for years and years to come, particularly if it is a performance focused purchase.
To Stand or Not To Stand?
I don’t know about you, but when I first heard about standing desks I thought they were little more than a funny fad pushed by those in Silicon Valley and startup communities around the world just so that they could look new, different, and hip.
I thought that the promised benefits stand up desks were supposed to bring to the table were little more than marketing mumbo-jumbo, that these pieces of furniture were going to be the next example of modern-day snake oil peddled by less than ethical marketers just looking to cash in on a trend that hipsters were latching onto all over the world.
And then I tried a stand up desk for the first time.
I can’t imagine ever going back to a regular desk again.
My stand up desk can flip between a “regular” desk set up and then be lifted electronically/hydraulically into position, with me in complete and total control of how high it goes every step of the way.
Not only has my overall effectiveness at the office improved thanks to this new way of working, but I’m also more energized throughout the day. I’ve read studies published by medical experts that say sitting down for 8+ hours every day at the office is just as dangerous to your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes every single day, and while I can’t really speak to the veracity of those claims I can tell you that I feel light years better now that I’ve been standing at my desk for a couple hours each day than I ever did before.
My Tools of the Trade
After getting my desk sorted it came time to invest in tools and technology that could help me achieve the kind of financial trading success I was shooting for.
I knew that I was going to want to actively monitor (in real-time) all different kinds of trading data, financial signals, and charts for the traditional investment, the crypto, and the Forex worlds. That meant that I needed a real monster of a monitor that would let me see everything at a glance.
A graphic designer friend of mine that is also a pretty passionate PC gamer told me that I absolutely HAD to get my hands on the ASUS ROG Strix XG49VQ 49” Monitor and make it a real cornerstone of my technology hub. In the past, I have been using dual screens (that was working reasonably well), but this ultra-wide monitor is even wider than that dual monitor setup was – and I can’t imagine ever going back.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG49VQ renders colour beautifully, the curved screen provides me instant access to all my data without having to move my chair, and I have plenty of screen real estate to find position whatever it is I want to prioritize without feeling like I’m sacrificing room or something else.
The XG49VQ is a gigantic monitor. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of room on your desk to accommodate it for sure. My current standing desk is only 140cm wide, and this screen occupies most of it.
For my PC I had considered moving forward with a custom option but together for me, but because I planned on using this for business only I wasn’t interested in dropping a mountain of money on components I wouldn’t use all that often – like a gigantic video card, for example.
This pushed me to move forward with the Intel Baby Canyon NUC NUC7i5BNK, a pretty compact but blazing fast set up that I really fallen in love with. The motherboard is pretty run-of-the-mill (though it has extra USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth 4.2 wireless, and plenty of room for expandability) but I loaded up on SSD hard drives – with more than 2 TB ready to rock and roll throughout.
I doubled up on the RAM and maxed it out completely at 32GB. The entire rig takes up next to no extra space on my desk it connects perfectly to my monitor via HDMI.
My only issue with the NUC7i5BNK was some pixelation on walls of text. This was more related to the Intel graphics chipset used coupled with HDMI as I experienced the same issue with other devices running the same chipset. However, only an issue with the 49″ screen, it was crystal clear on my 27″ monitor.
Every now and again I’ll need to print something out, especially if I want to make sure that I have historical data and charts I can rifle through quickly without having to eat away at any of my valuable screen real estate.
I’ve been pretty loyal to Epson printers ever since I started in the financial trading game, and the latest Epson Expression® Premium ET-7700 Printer has been my printer of choice ever since it was first released.
The ET-7700 offered lightning fast printing while printing in full colour. Likewise, the convenience of being able to print from my computer, iPhone, or my tablets over wireless or Bluetooth connectivity is something that I’ve really appreciated.
Keyboard & Mouse
Rounding things out on my desk is the Logitech MK540 Advanced Keyboard/Mouse combo unit. It’s really perfectly designed for my daily use. There are a couple of programmable buttons at the top that allow me to hotlink different trading platforms, different online bookmarks, and other resources so that I can bring them up with a single tap of a button and I really appreciated this feature, too.
The mouse fits perfectly in my hand, something that can’t be said about a lot of other mice on the market today. Many of the options in the wireless space are a lot smaller or extra-large for one reason or another and they just don’t “feel right”.
This thing feels like an extension of my hand, and because it connects via wireless it offers a secure and lightning fast response time that is just as good as a wired connection – without having to clutter up my desk with wires all over the place!
Honestly, these Logitech MX Sound speakers are probably a little bit overkill but they are right up there with the best in the business – especially as far as wireless and Bluetooth speakers are concerned – and the fidelity is good enough that when I’m done for the day and just want to relax with little bit of music from Spotify they do the job perfectly!
Rounding Out My Tech Set Up
There are a couple of other tools that I lean on throughout the day that help me execute trades, help me build and grow my income and my wealth, and that I use in other ways as well – but they are quite a bit more “behind-the-scenes” and not quite as central to what I’m trying to do as the options I highlighted above.
Obviously, anytime I’m looking to connect to the internet I need to know that I’m going to get:
- Blazing fast speeds (which can be a headache here in Australia)
- A stable connection that isn’t going to drop any of the trades or transactions I process out of the blue
- A secure connection that I know I can trust 100%
For these reasons (and so many more) I invested in the D-Link D-Fend AC2600 Wi-Fi Router to handle all of my network heavy lifting. This router was simple and straightforward to set up right out of the box (which isn’t always a given) and provides me instant access to a lightning fast and secure Wi-Fi connection – with plenty of “headspace” for all of my wireless devices – but also allows for wired ethernet connections, too.
To keep my Huawei P30 Pro charged up I use the EFM® 15W Wireless Charge Pad, a wireless charge pad that works perfectly with my smartphone. It gives me more than enough “juice” in a hurry to keep my phone rocking and rolling throughout the day, it never overheats my device the way that some of the other charging pads on the market today can, and it is “always on” with a level of consistency I just haven’t been able to find with some of the other options I’ve tried in the past.
I do keep a physical charge cable on hand to make sure that my phone has plenty of juice on the go as well, and for that, I depend on the Belkin DuraTek™ Plus cable. It’s a little bit more durable, a little bit more “overbuilt”, and a little bit more in line with the overall aesthetics of my setup.
At the end of the day, you are going to have to kind of experiment a little bit to find what works perfectly on your desk – your tools of the trade that help you gain a competitive advantage over the rest of the pack.
I can’t recommend highly enough the tech I have highlighted above, but I also want to make sure that you really understand the benefits you can get out of a standing desk as well.
There are so many different options out there (at every budget and price point imaginable) that finding the right one for your specific needs won’t be that difficult. But make sure you put in the time to really research your options, because some of these desks are – and I don’t mean this flippantly – absolutely life-changing.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re getting up from your chair after a couple of hours feeling tired, worn out, and worse for wear when you did nothing but sit on your backside all day. With a standing desk, you’re able to relieve a lot of that stress, a lot of that tension, and re-energise yourself from top to bottom – making it well worth the money it’ll set you back initially.
Combine that with all the other cool tools and toys I highlighted above and you’re looking at a pretty top-notch setup.