Most people’s first experience of market trading will have been seeing it on the television, often in the shape of many frantic people in brightly colored blazers waving their arms and looking exasperated. At that point, most of us decide that either we want in, or we want nothing to do with it ever again. For the ones who want nothing to do with it, the idea of being in such a pressurised and noisy environment is a real turn-off. However, this is the 21st Century, and being a market trader on the spot no longer means getting yourself to the stock exchange, wearing a blazer and looking exasperated.
With the Internet now being as powerful a tool as the world has ever seen, we can do an awful lot with a couple of clicks of a mouse. Among these are ways of making a market profit without having to go through the chaos that many of the traders of the past once had to. You can sign up online for virtual trading accounts, and even find and choose a broker. You can add and withdraw money, and all of this without leaving the comfort of your chair. The 21st Century has been kind to us in a number of ways.
Many traders will argue that they prefer the situation on the market floor, where they can pick up tips and judge moods a lot better. But this does make it easier to get sucked in by false information and mess things up for yourself. Virtual trading allows you to make judgements based on a wider range of information, and for the considered trader it is an indispensable option.
If there is one piece of advice that should be issued to every potential Forex trader before they go anywhere near the trading floor (virtual or otherwise) it is this: “You may well arrive at the conclusion that you are always right. Get that idea out of your head now before it is proved to be dead wrong.”
The fact of the matter is that even the most experienced traders, and the most successful of those, have made mistakes in the past. In fact, the ones who have continued to trade for years and made a lot of money will very often be the ones who didn’t get overconfident. There is only one thing that can come from absolute confidence, and that is a rude awakening. Allow yourself to consider the phrase “the only thing that I truly know is that I know nothing”. Although it may not be quite true, it at least allows you to keep reasonable expectations.
The simple truth is that a bit of confidence is always worthwhile – it pushes you to make decisions that can be risky but are manageable. Too much confidence however is always bad. It does not allow you to keep an open mind. Without an open mind you will not be able to play the market successfully, as it will often be too late to react and make quick profits. The race, as corny as it sounds, is only against yourself, so take the time to learn its course and you will benefit.
The world in which we live is constantly changing. Physically, morally, financially, things which we held to be true ten years ago have in many instances ceased to be the case. However, this does not mean that we cannot learn from the past. After all, a wise man once said these words, or something close: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it”. In other words, unless you learn from your mistakes you stand an excellent chance of making the same mistakes again. In fact, one could go further and say that you should also learn from the mistakes of other people. It is true that you can learn much more from a mistake than you can from something flawless.
It is, then, an excellent idea to keep a watch for the same data cropping up time and again in the Forex market. Where before you might have been led to believe that a certain market was going a certain way, and followed what the data suggested, you may well have found that that action was ill-advised. When the conditions reoccur you should be highly cautious of reacting in the same way – the potential drawbacks for you could be just as negative, if not more so.
It is much better for you to do your research and be initially cautious when it comes to trading on the market. After a while of intelligent conduct you may well have earned yourself enough money to put by for security, and let your instincts dictate your actions for a while to see if they make you as much money as you expect.
There have been some extremely successful traders in the history of the various markets, people who have made so much money in fact that they have been able to retire before the age of thirty in some cases. Whether the idea of being retired before you are even half way to the legally-mandated retirement age thrills or terrifies you, it has to be said that there is a real upside to having the opportunity. If we could all do what those super traders have done, we would surely do it, giving us more time to spend with loved ones. It probably comes as no surprise that such a way of operating is impossible.
As impressive as the idea of making billions and quitting before the market has the chance to take it back may be, we cannot just ape the actions of past successful traders and expect that to work for us. The market is constantly changing, and things that were true yesterday, a month ago or before we were even born are not necessarily so now. You need to find your own way, and this is as true of market trading as it is for anything else. As much as any other reason, this is true because sometimes you need to react instinctively. If you have been following someone else’s strategy, then you’ll be sunk because you do not have their instincts. Play it your way – learned through years of effort if needs be – and you will have a much greater chance of making a fortune.
When trading on any stock market it is easy to look at early positive results and think yourself bullet-proof. In fact, the world’s impression of stock traders in many cases tends to picture them as extremely sure of themselves and convinced that they alone hold the secrets that create wealth. This is due in no small part to the fact that, not all that long ago, that was exactly how the typical market trader behaved. It would be easy to sneer at people for behaving in that way, but the stakes involved in the world’s big markets create that kind of attitude. If your every decision can mean several figures of profit or loss, you need to at least appear confident.
There is a fine line between self-assurance and over-confidence. There is an equally small space between the relatively self-assured confidence of a trader who has just had a moderate success and the complete blind panic of someone who has just seen their positions tumble. As far as possible, you have to remain constant in your emotions when trades are live. Most traders will set stop-loss and take-profit positions on their trades, which enable them to get out while there is still time to protect some money, or to cash out before a rising stock hits difficulties. These are cautionary steps, and can be very worthwhile.
Never assume that you alone hold all the secrets. It only takes one thread to be pulled for the whole thing to come apart, and make you look very stupid. It is better to be cautious and have a house, than be impulsive and homeless.
There is plenty of risk involved in trading on just about any market. Hostile conditions can leave you high and dry if you do not have the knowledge required to get out of a risky position at the right time. On the other hand, over-reaction to a temporary situation can put you in an equally tough situation, so it is worth keeping some things in mind
- Firstly, remember that you are trading with borrowed money. Before you make your first real trades, open a demo account and use that to test your instincts. Once you are making profits consistently you can switch to trading real money – and will be much less likely to lose it. If you have encouraging early results, do not be tempted to jump right in – this is not the time for high risks.
- Be consistent. It is easy to get carried away if you feel that a position is destined to bring you a profit. You may think inwardly that you have a stop-loss point of no return, but when the currency hits that price you flinch and convince yourself that it is coming back up. You might as well not have set the limit in the first place, then. Have realistic targets and stick to them.
- Choose your broker wisely. There are some Forex brokers who use legally or morally questionable tactics to guarantee a profit and there is no-one they will not sell out – yourself included. Ask around for tips, and follow the advice that keeps coming up.
Forex is a complicated system which still often confounds people with years of trading experience. Knowing how a situation usually resolves itself does not mean that you will be able to correctly predict how it will resolve itself every time. The market data is an excellent way of judging what the situation is at any given time. It is also as good a way as you will find of predicting future market behavior. Nonetheless, it is not a guaranteed predictor and consequently even the most experienced traders sometimes make a mess of things.
The less experience you have – in anything – the more likely you are to have the wrong reaction to a given situation. If this is in a golf match, then all that rests on your mistake is a little personal pride. On the Forex market, it can end up costing you real money. It is therefore massively important that you have as much knowledge to back up your every decision as you possibly can. One way of accruing knowledge without making costly mistakes and potentially bankrupting yourself is to start by playing online Forex games. These are a kind of simulator which closely reflects the real-life market and tells you how good your instincts are – without ruining you if you make a mistake.
There are Forex games available on the Internet which run entirely free of charge. There is obviously some variation in quality, and you should ensure that you check out more than a couple before committing to one. The more experience you gather before playing for real, the better your chances of making real money in the future.
Starting fresh in anything is going to have its problems, due to the lack of experience one has to draw on. As much of a natural talent as you may have for something, you will from time to time be faced with problems that you feel you are unable to deal with. One has only to look at the world of sport to see how often brilliantly talented youths are beaten by less talented experienced professionals, who know how to use a situation to their advantage on account of having faced that situation, analysed it and developed a way to deal with it. This is mirrored in life, and in situations such as the Forex market.
One thing that separates novices from experienced traders is how they react to occasionally confusing market data. When confronted with results that one does not expect, it is easy to take an inaccurate or imperfect interpretation of that data and act based on that. When you face a situation for the first time, you are in a position where you have to rely on your own impression, with nothing concrete to base it on beyond what you hear from others. It would be naïve to expect other people to always steer you the right way in an environment that rewards you more if fewer people get it right.
For this reason it is always best to have a “dry run” at Forex or any other market – whether by a “Fantasy Forex” game or with a small initial stake. This way you learn from your mistakes without having to pay too much for them.
Of all the different trading markets available in the world, there are some which are highly specialised and only attract the real niche experts, and others which attract a broad range from occasional traders to people who do it for a living. Of these two categories, the Forex market falls very much into the latter, and there are a number of ways that you can get a good grounding in the ways of the market without risking any of your own money. There is a dizzying amount of money spent on the market in any given day – upwards of three trillion dollars – and money traded on the market makes a big difference in the world of finance.
While its seriousness as a market ensures that the more experienced traders will keep a close eye on the Forex, it is also seen as an accessible way to get involved in trading for people who have never tried, or have tried but found other markets to be way too complicated. With the Forex, everyone knows what they are trading – “Dollars” and “Euros” are not exactly obscure brand names – and this allows them to understand it more before they get deeply involved.
The truth is that anyone can play the Forex market, although it goes without saying that the more skilled and more experienced you are as a trader, the more money you can stand to make. It is certainly a trading market that is easier to understand than many, and this has its blessings and its drawbacks.
Being able to read the comprehensive and constantly-updating information that flashes across the screen in any investment banking firm or hedge fund is tantamount to forgetting the English language and learning to speak it all over again, from scratch. There is so much complicated information on the screen at any given time that it can be rather daunting for a novice or even for someone who feels that they know quite a lot about private finance.
Learning to decipher the data in the forms in which it comes to you can be a test for anyone. It is important to find, first of all, something that makes sense to you in its present form. From that it is often possible to extrapolate a little bit more information. Before really throwing yourself into Forex trading though, it is hugely important to read everything you can find on all the different ways of collating data, how to arrange the information and what parts of that information to set the most store by.
Some charts will tell you how the market has been changing over the last day, and sometimes it will also include information on how the price has trended over a period of five, ten, even twenty days. There is data that allows you to predict when a market will stabilise or fall, or even rise, and how to arrange your investments in reference to that information. Knowing how to read all this information won’t make you a billionaire, but it will help you to get a head start.