Do Traders Actually Contribute Anything Meaningful to the World?

At the end of the classic movie Wall Street, Bud Fox’s Father tells him:

“Stop going for the easy buck and start producing something with your life.  Create, instead of living off the buying and selling of others.”

sceneSo that naturally raises the question…do we, as individual retail Forex Traders, actually contribute anything valuable for the world by trading?

If I’m honest, I would say…


We are, in fact, just making money off buying and selling.  Some might say that we are greedy.


Yes, you could argue that we provide liquidity for efficient markets to function…and that would be partially true (at least on a very, very small scale).  But at the end of the day, how does that really help anyone?

We are not curing cancer, saving the rainforest or disarming nuclear weapons.  But should you care?

That is up to you.

However, wouldn’t it be great to make money AND serve a greater good?  That might bother you and could be the deciding factor in why you stick out the learning curve in Forex trading or not.

So, if you are someone who views trading as a completely selfish activity, then consider the following points.  Although I do not think that trading directly contributes anything to the world, I sincerely believe that successful trading can drastically improve your life and the lives of others.

Happy people make the world better

No, I’m not smoking anything as I write this.

Even though entering buy and sell orders will not save a single manatee, it can be some of the most fun you have with your clothes on.  Unless you trade naked, of course.

If you truly enjoy trading (which you should) and get to the point where you consistently make money, then you have the ability to do something that most people only dream of: create financial abundance while doing something fun.

This may not seem like something huge, but I think it is.  You will probably treat people better because you aren’t so stressed about your bills, you may have more free time to do other activities that you love and you can spend more time with your spouse/kids/friends.

What if more people in the world were just a little bit happier?

The more you have, the more you can give

There are some people who go through life being literally appalled by the amount of money others make.  I once heard someone say:

“Why do CEOs have to make so much money? They should just donate it all to charity because there are people who need it more than them.”

That is one if the most retarded things that I have ever heard.  

If they donated all their money to charity, then they would have nothing left to build more wealth, create jobs, produce products the world needs and all that good stuff.  Sure, some CEOs only care about embezzling money for lap dances (ahem, Enron), but I feel that is the exception, rather than the rule.

When you work hard to build a business that makes money consistently (aka trading well), you create a stream of income that you can use to help causes that you believe in…with time, money, or both.

Be the change you want to see.

For example, I donate a portion of the proceeds from this website to Kiva.  They loan money to small businesses in developing areas.  I believe that helping these businesses is a great way to leverage my income to help people become more independent.

If you are interested in how my Kiva loans are doing, you can read the next couple of paragraphs.  If not, just skip down to the next section.

Kiva update: Back in February of last year, I chose Kiva as the charity partner of this website and a portion of all income generated from Trading Heroes goes to them.  Since then, I have made 11 loans.

Two have been completely repaid and the rest are being repaid on time.  I have also made one donation directly to Kiva to support their efforts.  If you would also like to get involved, you can get started here.

You can teach others to create abundance

I wholeheartedly believe that trading is the cleanest and most direct path to wealth manifestation, in the universe.  Well, at least in the world.  You come up with a trading plan, you see an opportunity, you click your mouse.

You don’t have to build website traffic, expose yourself on a live cam, rent a warehouse or make cheesy YouTube videos.

Of course, direct manifestation is a double edged machete.  But the point is: wealth is nothing more than an idea.

That concept alone, properly communicated, can be a powerful mental shift in the lives of many.  It doesn’t have to just be in trading.  Every global company, revolution and useful invention started with a simple idea…that was acted upon.

If you can teach others how to nurture their ideas, test them and act on them…then you can help move people towards creating more abundance in their lives and bringing cool ideas to the world.

What do you think?

So…even though I do not believe that trading itself does any direct good, it can make a huge difference in your life, the lives of people close to you and the people you choose to help.

Now I would like to hear your opinion…

Is trading a completely selfish act or do you think it can really make the world a better place?  Did I miss anything?


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  1. says

    Hey Hugh,

    First of all, awesome blog and post about the topic of whether traders create value. As an aspiring trader/entreprenuer, a huge influence for me making that decision is in essence Self Development. It’s exactly like how you stated, by learning and creating financial abundance/freedom through trading to create a better life for yourself, giving you more choices in life and also allowing you to teach others to do the same. I also say this to people as well “If you can’t help yourself, how can you help others”.

    Awesome post again!
    Stay Awesome!

  2. Doug says

    Have you tried to sell a house lately? What? No offers? Bank wouldn’t loan buyer? Welcome to low to no liquidity. How’s it feel? Now, how would you feel if you tried to sell stock in your IRA account once you retired to have money to live on, and there were no buyers? You realy think traders don’t do any good? They provide liquidity and an active market so people don’t get stuck trying to sell something, like a house.

    • says

      Hi Doug,

      Yeah, you make a good point that trading touches more areas of our lives than most people realize. It might be a little more indirect (like a house), but we are all affected nonetheless. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  3. tutu says

    I would love to trade for autism and for education. My ultimate dream is to trade for a cause. Nice post.

  4. says

    I tried to explain that ” liquidity for efficient markets” to a friend of mine once… it didn’t go over well.

    I think the best thing as far as contributing to society is that trading (when I get to the point it’s my full-time gig) will allow me more time to create and serve in other areas of my life.

    But toward other traders & investors – my being there to buy your shares when you get too scared or greedy keeps you from losing more money, and that has to be worth something too.

  5. says

    Great to hear you want to push on with supporting causes as well. And the great thing about microfinance especially is the way you can snowball it to keep helping people. Taking a long-term approach is much better then just giving a one-off donation I think.

    Thanks for stopping by at my blog too, maybe one day my writing can reach the standard of yours 😀

  6. says

    Awesome post Hugh. I was talking about this very thing with some friends a couple of months ago. You’ve hit the nail on the head saying it “improves your life and the life of others”. In my sheet of motivations in my own trading folder one of my key points is I am motivated to trade to provide for family and friends how I want to. And another thing is being able to run my own mini social enterprise one day (which makes it wicked to see you are partnering with Kiva, I hope to in the near future do a similar thing). I have read recently a book by Richard Branson titled ‘Screw Business as Usual’ and the things he has been able to do have been incredible. I highly recommend it if you are in to social enterprise. And it has affirmed my beliefs about helping support new and small businesses who are trying to tackle the worlds issues, but in a sustainable way by making it a business, not like these charities who ask for monthly donations and are just an endless money pit yet are not actually solving the problems.
    So in your response to your question at the end of the post; yes trading is actually selfish because of the very nature of it. But by some traders earning a good living that is obviously beneficial to the economies which benefits everyone. And a good income also enables some traders to achieve what they want to in other arenas such as charities. And of course the traders family and friends will benefit to. So the knock-on effect can be powerful and I believe we can play a part in improving the world.

    • says

      Thanks Chris, I’m glad that you also have the goal of helping others through social enterprise. Yeah, Branson is one of my favorites too. I would like to eventually transition TH from just supporting one cause to being able to facilitate the support of whatever cause you guys believe in.

      But that is down the line stuff.

      I appreciate your feedback and you make a great point that when people start making money, they boost the economies around them.

      Looks like your blog is off to a great start!


  7. says

    Great post and I’m sure a topic every serious trader ponders over at some point. By serious trader I mean a trader that has struggled, or is struggling, through the barriers to consistent profit. The major obstacle, in my opinion, to success is adhering to sound risk management. A maturing trading psychology plays a huge part in developing the required intuitive function necessary to succeed. Therefore, in order to become successful intuitive traders we have no choice but to develop psychologically; overcome ego, develop / maintain current awareness, be aware of our limitations and strengths, keep calm under pressure and employ methods to reduce anxiety, combat fear and greed, be accountable for our actions, patience and so on.
    Enhancing ourselves in the above areas as traders can only result in these qualities spilling over into our personal lives. I can honestly say that trading has made me a better person.
    I think you lose the arcade feeling after doing it for a while and each individual trade becomes insignificant. You win some, you lose some. Personally, I will never be bored as there are many peripheral trading activities to keep me occupied (analysis, algo software development and so on). I can imagine that for some truly successful traders trading for consistent profit must become quite mundane. So if you trade full time you definitely need to have other activities in your life that you find fulfilling. Shawn

    • says

      I would add that trading should be conducted as a business and it should be undertaken for the love of trading. If you go into trading purely focused on money, I’m not sure you will succeed. It would be interesting to poll successful traders who got into trading purely for the money, but don’t actually enjoy trading. Not sure that you will find any. So if we conclude that trading is a business we can then be compared to successful entrepreneurs. I don’t find it coincidence that many successful entrepreneurs evolve into philanthropists. They want to make the world a better place and have the means to do so. There is no reason why we as traders cannot so the same.