What Makes Runaway Trading Possible?
My idea for the
Runaway Trader was a long time in coming. I originally dreamed of
running away more than 20 years ago after reading a book called
Work Your Way Around the World by Susan Griffith. Trouble is,
I wasn't really keen on working—especially
at the sort of mundane temp jobs this book suggests to those who
are short on cash but long on motivation. So, although I wasn't
interested in working my way around the globe, the idea
for traveling around the world stuck with me.
a unique set of
technologies has come together for the first time, and my
idiosyncratic version of Runaway Trader is possible. The Internet
and a burgeoning crop of related products and services not only
make it possible for ANYONE to run away, but you can also keep on
going. You don't have to come back, and you don't have
to wash dishes on some ocean liner to make it happen.
The Internet is
the Biggest Piece of the Runaway Trading Puzzle
foremost, of course, was the creation, “invention” if you will, of
World Wide Web, the Internet, that network of networks that
spans the global cyberspace.
the Web is a worldwide, publicly accessible network of
networks that transmit
using the standard
Protocol (IP). Whew! That’s a
mouthful. And even if Al Gore didn’t invent it, the Internet has
given us access to more information and services than we
could use in a hundred lifetimes. Perhaps two hundred.
There are now more than a billion people who use the
internet, and millions of Web sites (URLs) to serve them. Lead by
Asia and Europe, the U.S. still has more users than Latin America,
the Middle East, or Oceania. What’s important for the Runaway
Trader, though, is what the Internet has meant for stock traders.
Wall Street has long been the monopoly of elite trading firms that
could capitalize on instant access to important trading
information and to rapid, low-cost order executions. That was
before the Internet. Now everybody who has access to a
computer has access to the same info and instant trading menus as
the big guys. In fact, I can electronically sell my stocks
directly TO the big guys and they to me. Now, individual traders
and investors can play the game on a more level playing field and
can earn (and lose, of course), as much money as their skills and
knowledge (or lack thereof) will let them.
And millions play the stock trading game.
After e-mail, online stock trading is the
fastest growing consumer use of
than 2 million stock trades are placed online each day.
More than 50
million folks like you and me now have online brokerage accounts.
In fact, stock trading has become the career choice for millions
of entrepreneurs who earn handsome rewards and take total control
over their lives and working conditions.
But when I say
"working conditions," I mean getting away from it all to enjoy
exotic new countries, and difference cultures to match.
Major Advances in Computer Technology
My first computer was an IBM PC. It was a machine of amazing
capability at the time. It had no hard drive, of course. And the
software it used had to be loaded (and reloaded) every time you
used it. Program size was limited to the 128K but I later upgraded
to 256K RAM. Wow! Big deal.
In the meantime, I’ve gone through about three or four newer
computers and the unit on which I’m pecking out this missive has a
224 gigabyte hard drive. That’s thousands of times more
powerful than my original computer and it was thousands of
dollars cheaper to buy. (That IBM and its software set me back
But the real breakthroughs have been the laptop, the netbook and
the smartphone. With these gadgets I can take my online trading to
anywhere on the globe that offers Internet access, either
hard-wired or wireless, or anywhere that you can find a phone
The meaning is clear: I don’t have to stay at home, glued to a
desktop all day and suffer claustrophobic episodes as the walls
begin to close in, no matter how festooned they are with art,
posters and photos.
Moreover, nobody has to stay at home. I happen to trade
stocks but you could just as easily buy stuff from all over the
world and sell it—as
you go—on EBay. Or you
shack up anywhere on the
globe and write for a living, or remotely run some online business
and sell anything from advice to zebras. Get the picture?
OK. So I’ve got the Internet, a snazzy laptop, some stock trading
experience, and the yen to
travel. There’s one other item that I can’t do without:
Have Plastic Will Travel
And of course, I mean debit or credit cards.
Through the miracle of the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network,
brokers can download dollars into its bank account, then to the
ACH which dispatches those bucks to your bank, and then into your
personal account. You can just as easily access those bucks with that plastic card I previously
Virtually all of the major stock brokerages today offer the
ability to download cash through ACH. In fact,
brokerages associated with major banks allow you to use a debit
card to withdraw directly from your trading account.
In simple terms, you can place an online stock trade from some exotic location, earn
money on the trade, download that extra cash to your bank, and
then immediately spend it, on anything your heart's desire:
Charter a scuba diving boat in Indonesia; a helicopter tour of Tanzania's Serengeti, or
enjoy a quiet dinner for two at
Café de Paris in Monaco.
Now what could be slicker than
that? I can place a trade this morning and be spending my profits
the same day. It’s Rube Goldberg’s answer to the new millennium.
And that’s what Runaway Trader is all about. Savvy stock traders
who use the power and sophistication of the Internet, the ease and
mobility of the laptop computer and its related gadgetry, and the
ready availability of cash and buying power through bank debit cards, to leave cares and
woes behind and travel the globe.
The same triad can be used by entrepreneurs with derring-do to ply
their skills buying and selling on
Ebay, or trading any kind of commodity anywhere in the world.
The new technologies
have made it all possible. My thanks to you all,
who made this new age bonanza possible.
good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.