Day Trading From Eastern Europe

Last Updated on April 18, 2023

In December 2010 I moved permanently to Latvia. Now I am the lucky owner of a very nice house and garden just outside Riga for 1/5 of the price compared to Oslo (where I moved from), and I can enjoy the very nice summers in the garden or in Jurmala.  (I admit that the winters are better in Norway, though). Why did I end up in a tiny country with a declining population and financial crisis?

For one simple reason: because my fiancee is Latvian and she works in Riga. However, I had been thinking about moving a long time before that, but family and friends held me back. Looking back, I should have moved earlier. Therefore my advice to independent traders with a well-funded bank account: go out and explore the world! There are so many advantages and things to learn.

I always wonder why not more traders move to Eastern Europe (EE) from Western Europe (WE). Of course, one can just as well move to Asia or South America, but EE is just 1-3 hours away on a plane.

For example, to spend some years in a cheap country, EE is perfect for someone trying to learn how to trade. Daytrading requires a lot of experience, and if you are willing to spend 2-3 years learning with no estimated income and live where most things are cheaper, I recommend EE. There are so many advantages:

  •  To make for example 3000 USD in Norway you will have a comparatively low salary compared to the average. Do you have that salary in Latvia or Ukraine for example, you are way above the average. Let’s face it: It is a lot easier to make 3000 USD than 10 000 USD. The possibility of survival is higher. The clue is to get past the learning stage
  • To spend some years abroad and go traveling in the weekends. A great way to learn the culture.
  • The cost of living is perhaps 1/4 of Norway, perhaps even lower.
  • Taxation is also substantially lower (my experience is that EE traders don’t pay taxes at all. By all means, I declare all my income in Latvia and Norway). This topic might be tricky and I will cover it in another article later.
  • Learn another language
  • Good and cheap flight connection to Western Europe
  • Not as unsafe as you read in the papers. My experience is that Riga is a lot safer than Oslo, for example, based on my own experiences, not hard facts
  • Interesting other business opportunities
  • Norway, for example, has a very good reputation in Latvia. It is a good asset to hold a Norwegian passport in EE
  • More sunshine and less rain than Norway. Even Latvia has 12% more sunshine and 15% less rain than Oslo, according to Wikipedia.
  • If you need to hire someone for programming, assistance etc, the costs are 1/7 compared to Norway (perhaps even lower).
  • If you trade prop you can get someone to trade your capital, the cut off to the hired can be lower than i WE.

The negatives are:

  • Away from friends and family
  • Corruption is widespread
  • Less rule of law. That can also be an advantage. Personally, I feel much more “free” in Latvia than in Norway. I am not an anarchist but the government has a lot less influence here.
  • In case you need a job, prepare for low income…..
  • Most likely worse healthcare system

I guess others have other suggestions and/or commentaries? Please post in the comments section.

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  • The language barrier is another draw-down. Those under 30 speak English (and like to practice their English). Since my friends are in this age group, I do not use the native language on a daily basis.
    But it would, of course, be beneficial to learn the native language, Latvian. On the other hand, all Latvians speak Russian but they prefer not. Should I learn Russian, which is spoken by 250 million people or Latvian which only has 2 million speakers?

    • Valid points, however, my experience is that most people automatically switch to russian if they feel that the latvian speaker is unsecure or not very good. Personally I’m learning russian, but both my fiancee and kid speaks russian as mother tongue so I guess I have to. A very tough language to learn 🙂

    • Today I handed in my car for repair. The guys in the shop spoke english just as bad as my russian. We still managed to communicate, I think they understood what was wrong with the car. We’ll see tomorrow when I pick it up 🙂 Anyway, it’s surprising how one can communicate without speaking the same language. And the price for the work is very low compared to norwegian standards: labor cost will be around 40 USD for several hours work.

  • Don’t forget Internet infrastructure. Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Bulgaria are some of the world’s best connected countries. If you need very, very fast executions then you should also take into account PING time. If you live in Singapore and trade on NYSE then it doesn’t help you that Singapore has a good connection. The light signals need some time to travel half the world (half a second or so), and this puts you in a real disadvantage.

      • I inspired by your trading success. I live in Moscow, tried to day trade for 1.5 years but capital may be too small (32k) or psychology problems… my deposit fell down to 25k and daytrading feature was closed by broker. I transfered remaining money to bank deposit… I’ve learned different strategies (intraday, scalping, news intraday trading, tape reading), but without real trading success. What do you think – may be is it better to get job and do not think about trading? How much money does stock trading require at the beginning to not think about margin call? I’ve traded 1-2 lots, but after profitable days I lost all profits next day…

        • 1,5 years is pretty much. Unless you don’t make money, no reason to deposit more. Are you trading based on numbers? But for example a prop firm like Nevis trading requires a lot less in deposit. I think a lot of Russians trade there. Do a search.

          • I’ve traded by some “intuitive” rules based for example on combination of chart analysis and tape+Level2 reading. Prop firms is not very legal as I can understand, and the money isn’t insured. That is why I’ve used official broker Lightspeed. But may be you are right and I should try some props…