Saturday, August 30, 2008

Part Time Currency Trader

As I've written before it is quite easy to become a currency trader. The harder part is being a currency trader that doesn't lose money. You see, according to the scuttlebutt on the forums, about 90% of new traders end up losing their money to the market.

Are you thinking about trying your hand?

I'm not here to talk you out of it. I myself am a part time currency trader. By day I work at my office job and by night I fight crime with a mask and cape. Wait, no, that's not right. By night I trade online when family duties allow me to squander a chunk of time.

Trading part time has it's challenges. You will see endless market movements that you did not participate in. You will miss opportunities to open or close a position even though your ideas about what would happen next were proven right. In fact, a very large part of trading well involves being able to deal with the psychological aspects of trading, whether part time or not.

If you read other posts in my blog, such as this one on trading philosophy, you'll see that I recommend working with very small trades. If you take larger trades, relative to your available capital, you'll find the emotional stress greatly magnified. It is very difficult to make good decisions as you watch your capital evaporate before your eyes.

Nothing will drive you from the market quicker than watching your capital shrink, panicking and saving what little you can, and then watching the market reverse leaving you without a stake. Or, perhaps worse, you do get back in after seeing a healthy rise, only to watch the market reverse yet again and wreak havoc on your capital once again.

It happens. I'm sure it happens a lot.

Did I mention that I'm not trying to talk you out of becoming a currency trader? It certainly isn't impossible to trade successfully but you really have to understand that there are many different ways to be unsuccessful. One very easy way to fail is to enter the market during a period in which it is easy to understand market behavior, think that trading is quite easy, and then have the market turn upside down and brutally fleece you.

Let's see. Yes, another painful lesson is developing the discipline to set stops and then have them tripped trivially, while the market does in fact go in the direction that you expected. Of course, this sets you up for the opposite, hanging on to a trade endlessly expecting to go as you expected, while it sucks up more and more capital.

My advice, do become a currency trader. Take your time. Learn with a practice account. Eventually, switch to a micro or nano account and trade with very small amounts of money. Continue to play with very small capitalizations until you have blown up your account once or twice -- this happens when you get a margin call and all your funds (except active margin) are forfeited.

Take the long view. There is always going to be another opportunity. No currency pair moves only up or only down. When trading part time you must either make accurate predictions or tread softly enough that the market can't move far enough to cause a margin call.

Anyway, to get into some information you can act on, if you are totally new to the game you'll want to know the following:
  • Most, if not all, companies that offer online foreign exchange trading provide free forex demo accounts. These practice accounts are the same as live accounts except of course that you don't trade real money.

  • A currency trading platform is simply a fancy name for what is usually branded currency trading software. This software will let you view charts for various currency pairs, add indicators and execute trades

  • Forex trading is global. You can trade starting on Monday moring in Asia until Friday night in New York. Trading is 24 hours a day during this period though each trading session will offer differing market volume and behavior.

  • If you are looking for a place to open your first forex demo account I'd suggest Oanda. To ensure that you don't think I'm compensated to say that I'll ask you to search Google to find them. They are a reputable company that allows you to trade with very small amounts -- which is great for starting out.
Good luck my friend, I wish you every success.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your postings. I've just started forex trading & needed views from forex bloggers. Found your blog by googling. Like yourself, I recommend my broker but not benefiting in any way. I'm at and post my profit/loss at Will continue to read your postings.
Safe Trading !


FOREX Rookie said...

Dave, thanks for leaving a note.

I know that when I was just starting out things seemed pretty complex. I want to make sure anyone reading my blog takes things seriously... and then wades in!

Anonymous said...

Hi from germany,
I have been tired of working like a slave for somebody. been trying to free myself but need the right info. your blog is very encouraging. as soon as am back in uk, i will buy those books and kick off. Thanks