Is Forex Trading For Everyone?
By David Stevenson
Successfully trading the market requires you to have the discipline to follow some rules. If you can stay the course and follow your system, regardless of what the market is doing, you can make money trading Forex.
As with most forms of financial investing - stocks, futures, etc., there are risks. There are no crystal balls to show you what is going to happen next, so your exposure to these risks is largely controlled by your money management practices.
Casinos operate, normally with extensive profits, based entirely on risk management. They have learned how to take advantage of probability, which is the same concept traders rely upon, and turn the tables in their favor. They have learned that the longer they can keep a gambler in their facility, the better the odds they will end up with the gambler's money.
Many new or inexperienced traders fall victim to the hype surrounding foreign exchange trading. The electronic trading platforms used by retail traders today, with their ability to display hundreds of indicators and present price data instantly, confuse many traders and actually lure them into making poor trading decisions.
Like futures, trading offers high leverage. The readily available leverage of up to 400:1 has destroyed many potential trading careers. New traders, unaccustomed to the volatile nature of Forex, often fall into the trap of over-leveraged positions, which easily wipe out trading accounts.
Forex generally has some of the most predictable trends of all the markets over the longer term. However, many traders lose sight of the long term picture and try to trade based upon shorter term
price charts. They believe shorter trends offer easy opportunities for profit, when in truth, most seasoned traders won't even look at charts of less than 1 hour.
The volatility of means that a tight stop-loss order will usually result in being stopped-out of many trades. Too many trades ending in this fashion result in your trading account being slowly eroded away. Traders need to keep their real leverage (amount of currency controlled divided by their actual account size) at 3:1 or less. This will allow you to relax your stop-loss settings and enjoy more successful trades.
In the currency market, you don't have to worry (normally) about countries going broke. Typically the prices move in large waves, and if you had deep enough pockets, you could wait for the price to recover to profitable levels. The reality is this process could take years, so money management is again key.
Another benefit of this huge market is it's liquid nature. It's trading volume of approximately 2 trillion dollars per day ensure there can be no insider activities. Even the largest of central banks lack sufficient funds to seriously sway the market. Market moving data is released for all to see at the same time. No one has advance information of pending releases.
In conclusion, trading the currency market is no more difficult than the stocks or futures markets, and in fact has several advantages. To trade profitably in the currency market, you need to stick to leverage of no more than 3% to 5%, and think longer term. The lower leverage will allow you to ride the fluctuations which are common to Forex, while enjoying the benefits of long term trending.
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