Tools for the Backpack Trader

For those of us that can’t track the markets all day long, having access to different tools that allow us to manage our trades from the road is essential. Fortunately, the advancement of technology over the years has made this much easier. I often find myself trading from the road or while out of the office at a meeting. There are a handful of tools that I use on a regular basis that make this doable. Let’s take a look at some of the tools that are a must have if you are not able to be by your computer all day.

Duet Display

Coming from a daytrading background, I got comfortable using multiple monitors to track my trades each day. While on the road or out of the office, it can be difficult to check the markets quickly with only 1 monitor. Sure, we can always make it work but I have found a few tools that allow me to add a second monitor very easily.

The App that I use for this is called Duet Display. This program allows you to attach a mobile device like an ipad or iphone to your computer and use it as a second monitor. I personally use an ipad with this application and it works great. All you need is a mobile device with Duet downloaded on it, a computer with Duet downloaded on it, and a lightning cable to connect the two. A lightning cable comes standard with any Apple phone or tablet (this is the cord that you use to charge your device).

The Duet app can be found at https://www.duetdisplay.com. It can also be downloaded from the app store on your mobile device. The cost is $20 which is a one time charge for lifetime use. In my experience this was the best $20 I have ever spent. If you are on the go quite a bit you will find this app to be a life saver.

Ten One Design Mountie+ Portable Monitor Mount

If you are going to use a tablet for your second monitor, it is essential to have a way to prop up that tablet as a monitor. There are many tablet cases that come with stands attached, which will allow you to stand the tablet up as a monitor.

However, a better route to go is to use the Mountie+ Portable Monitor Mount. It allows you to attach your tablet to your computer to make sure both screens are at the proper heights. This makes it much easier to transfer pages or programs between the two screens as well as making it easier to glance back and forth between the two screens.

You can find this mount on Amazon and it runs around $35.

Team Viewer

One of my biggest frustrations when trying to track the markets while out of the office was that I didn’t have access to my typical setup. I get used to my broker platform and charts being set up a certain way. When out of the office, it was always difficult to trade unless I was willing to drag my computer with me all the time so I could pull up the charts.

That’s until I found the Team Viewer app. This is a program that can be downloaded to any computer or mobile device. It allows you to remotely access your trading computer from a mobile device or even a second computer as long as you have an internet connection.

For example, I have my trading computer on with all the charts loaded everyday whether I’m in the office or not. If I’m going to be out for the day or even on a longer trip, I will just grab my laptop or mobile device and use them to login to my trading computer remotely so I can check the charts. This way I still have my normal workspace setup without dragging everything with me everywhere I go.

It’s also very helpful if I happen to be out of the office and a big market move happens. It allows me to quickly login and see what is going on and take action if needed.

The best part about this app is it can be downloaded for free from https://www.teamviewer.com. It can also be downloaded from the app store on your mobile device.

AOC USB Monitor

A second option when looking for that second monitor to use while traveling is a USB monitor from AOC. These are typically small enough in size to throw in a backpack so you can have that second screen that we are all used to. It connects to your computer or laptop using a USB cable that is included when you purchase the monitor.

I have used these monitors with varying success. They can be fragile, so be careful how you store them while on the road. I broke multiple monitors as a result of things bouncing around in the backpack. I personally like the Duet Display App that we discussed earlier much better. I find it’s an easier solution since I typically have my ipad with me when I’m out of the office.

You can find the AOC monitors on Amazon and they run between $75-$150.

Broker That Supports Mobile Trading

While this might seem like a given these days, not all brokers offer good mobile platforms to trade from. If you are out of the office a lot, then you want to make sure your broker will allow you to place and manage your trades from their mobile platform.

The best one in the industry in my opinion is Thinkorswim (part of TD Ameritrade). They will allow you to login and check the quotes on your watch list of products, place and mange trades, manage price alerts, and also look at charts if needed. I find their platform to be very stable and the integration with the desktop platform makes it very easy to transition between different computers and mobile devices.

If you are a mobile trader, you will want to make sure your broker offers a mobile version of their platform that is stable and that provides the different functionality that is needed to stay active in the markets regardless of where you are located.

Evernote & Google Docs

In our options training, we talk about keeping a trade journal to document all of your trades. This allows you to track your performance on a regular basis, so you can always be aware of what’s working and not working in your trading. I also find it beneficial to keep a To Do List going throughout the day where I can track what is moving and what stocks need close attention that day. I use Evernote to track this To Do List throughout the day. When I come in for one of my 3 check ins during the day, I like to document anything that needs closer attention the rest of the day. This way when I come in later in the day I know where to start when checking my watch list.

Evernote is a program that allows me to organize notes and have those notes shared through the cloud. This way my notes can be accessed from multiple devices from anywhere I have an internet connection. If I created my morning notes on my trading computer and then leave for the rest of the day, I can always access these notes from a mobile device like a phone or tablet. You could also use Google Docs the same way.

The best part about these programs is they can be used for free. Evernote can be found at https://www.evernote.com. You can also find the Evernote app in your devices App Store. They do offer some paid features that might be beneficial for the power users. For most people, the free version will be fine.

Google Docs is also free and can be used by setting up a Google Drive account. They also offer an app that can be downloaded from your devices App Store.

Poweradd Travel Power Adapter Kit

For those of you that travel quite a bit with numerous mobile devices, you know it can be difficult to keep everything charged. You have your phone, tablet, and computer just to name a few. One gadget that can be helpful is the Poweradd Travel Adapter Kit. It will support multiple different adapter types that can be used in many different countries. It can be great for international travel or just in the U.S. as well. This is a nice quick way to keep things charged without having to worry about finding the right outlet or enough outlets.

This kit can be found on Amazon and runs between $15-$30.

Mobile Hotspot

For many of us, using our phone as a mobile hotspot can be great in a pinch when you don’t have access to wifi. Just make sure you have access to enough data of course since trading platforms can zap a lot of data quickly.

Another option that can be used is a device like the Huawei E5770s-320 Mobile Hotspot. It will allow you to purchase a local sim card where you are located and pop it in to have access to data for your devices almost anywhere. This can be a nice way to go if you are uncertain whether you have cell phone service or if traveling overseas. As great as it is to have wifi in many locations these days, there is no worse feeling than being stuck with no data and no ability to check an open trade that you have on.

These can be found on Amazon and run around $160.

A second option which can be used as a backup in case you can’t find a local sim card is to use the Keepgo Global Lifetime 4G LTE Data SIM Card. This route will be more expensive as the price per GB is much higher at $15-$20 per GB. For comparison, a local sim card that we talked about earlier will run around $1-$2 per GB. However, when traveling overseas it can be a nice option to have just in case you need to check any open positions that you might have on.

These Sim Cards can be found on Amazon for around $50.

Conclusion

Whether you are occasionally out of the trading office or on the go quite a bit the tools above can be great to have access to. Setting yourself up with the proper tools is essential to becoming a successful trader. I personally use many of these tools on a daily basis and they allow me to leave the office feeling comfortable that I can stay in complete control of my trading from anywhere. Technology can be a great thing to have especially as traders. Take advantage of these tools that will allow you to break away from the trading office a little more often. Enjoy the freedom!