Saturday, September 1, 2007

How To Become A Currency Trader

If you are anything like me, you probably imagine that it is difficult to become a foreign currency trader. Perhaps there are rules, regulations and other hoops that have to be jumped through. Maybe you need large amounts of cash in order to get started.


Becoming a Forex currency trader is incredibly simple!

Get A Demo Account
As I beginner I'd suggest you sign up with Oanda. Not only do they have a good reputation but they offer other advantages for a beginning trader as well:
  • You can sign up for a live account with very little initial capital.

  • You can execute trades of just about any arbitrary (small) size.
Of course, you can start with a free demo account before getting a live account. Just about everyone will recommend you do so, including me. However, at some point you need to trade with real money to learn about the psychological aspects of trading.

So, that's what I did. I started with $100 in my account and was off to the markets. Sweet, I'm a forex trader!

Learning To Trade Foreign Exchange
If you have a demo account, enter some trades. See what happens. Then, after the results come in, search for information about what happened. You'll find some helpful advice in blogs, such as mine, as well as various tutorial and forum sites. I would suggest that you buy a book or two on forex trading, technical analysis and perhaps something concerning the attributes of successful traders. I've listed some books that I found helpful on this blog post about getting a forex education.

Trading With Real Money
Don't rush to trade with real money. One of the most important things to realize is that there is always another opportunity -- there is no need to let the fear of missing out intrude on your good sense. In fact, the issue of psychology is immensely important in trading and once you move to real money trading you'll realize this very quickly.

Frankly, though I counsel otherwise, I wasn't be able to trade realistically while not actually risking my own money, so I started trading with a tiny account, funded with $100, almost immediately. Personally, with a few dollars on the table, I found that my interest level, formality and trading style were all upped a notch.

Trading Sessions
Except for weekends the markets are open all the time. However, different periods of time often have different characteristics. This is because trading in currencies generally follows the business day around the world from timezone to timezone.

Account Safety
Oh, I should mention, these days Forex trading with a reputable company (such as Oanda) is quite safe. While there are large risks and large rewards, my risks are essentially limited to the capital that I have put into my account. With wise strategies I can limit risks further, but as a beginner it is comforting to know that I can't lose more than I let sit in my account no matter how foolish a beginner mistake I might make.

I should stress that you could lose all the capital you put in your account, so do not start out with a large account with the idea that you will only conduct small trades. At the very least, create some sub-accounts and keep the majority of your capital out of harms way until you have blown up your play money account, learned a few lessons, and know how to protect your capital.

What You'll Learn
Above and beyond the simple mechanics of opening an account and executing trades there are tons of things you'll need to study to become a successful trader. These include:
  • Reading candlestick charts.
  • Interpreting indicators.
  • Support and resistance levels.
  • Fundamental economic analysis.
  • National economic news events.
Each of these issues can span multiple chapters or perhaps an entire text depending on the depth of information being presented.

I also invite you to read my blog. I started out from scratch and can address issues in a way that can be helpful for a beginner. Please feel free to ask questions and I'll do my best to point you to useful information if I can't give you a good answer myself.

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