7 Steps to Getting Started In Forex Trading
Last Updated : Sunday 11th September 2016
Written By Tim Baudin
Forex Trading Instructor
Forex trading can be a serious career or business opportunity.
You can make decent full time or part time income working online from the comfort of your home and being your own boss!
But like any other thing in life, there are many things to learn before you start seeing positive results.
Taking some time to educating yourself can help you in preventing big mistakes in future.
Don't rush but try to make a slow steady progress with your trading journey. Initially, your focus should be improving knowledge and money will follow later on.
I suggest following 7 steps to getting started. Though we have covered many things on this site for educating traders, I am presenting here a step by step guide for beginners.
Understanding Forex Basics
You must have a solid grasp on Forex basics before you learn advanced trading strategies or open your account with any broker.
We have tried to cover most of the important basics topics here in Forex trading basics course for beginners. Going through it thoroughly will help to create a solid base.
Having a professional trader as a mentor or being part of any forex traders community can really help you move faster than learning just your own.
Start With Demo Trading
Like most other things in life, the best way to learn is by practicing and getting stuck in!
Fortunately with forex trading, you don't need to risk your hard earned real money for that.
Start with demo trading with a good reliable Forex broker.
Purposes of Forex Demo Account:
There are several purposes of opening a demo account.
- Practices trading without risking any real money before you start real trading
- Know about the trading platform provided by your broker
- Developing new trading strategies and backtest them
- Measure the performance of different trading strategies to choose the best one among them
- Practice trading in different time frames to know which suits you most
Most of the forex brokers offer a free demo account, but some of these demo accounts are usable for a limited time. There are some forex brokers who offer an unlimited demo account.
First, just learnmechanical execution aspects of trading (don't think about if you winning or losing at this time). Just try executing trades without making errors. Understand trading platform environment.
You can demo trade for 1 or 2 weeks but if you do it for too long then it can kill your mood. Better move trade with a micro account as soon as you feel comfortable.
It'll help you to learn about psychological effects of winning and losing as you are trading with your real money. But as same time if you blow your micro account and it's not as damaging as blowing a real account with big money in it.
eToro's social trading network is a one of the great ways to start for any beginners.
It's free to join and in addition to demo trading, it also allow you to be part of large community of Forex traders.
You can read opinions of other traders and also discuss with them which can provide you first-hand knowledge of their strategies, trading style, and experience.
You can actively participate in learning by asking questions or reading questions asked by others.
- You can learn more about social trading by reading our complete guide How to Trade Forex with Power of Social Trading Platform
Learn Advanced Concepts and Strategies
- Combining both of them to develop your own strategy can be a good way to start
You can also read books and articles written by expert traders and try to learn from their trading style.
Finding Your Trading Style
Now it's time to fine trading style. It can be based on various things like your behavioral, emotional and personality traits.
It also depends upon your lifestyle!
So for example, if you are doing
You must have tested various strategies on demo or micro account by now. So look into what appeals to you so far and what fits in with your trading personality as well as current lifestyle.
If you still not sure then read a very this very good book Market Wizards. This book has many interviews with successful professional traders with various trading style.
Once you decided your trading style, find everything you could on it through books, Google, Youtube etc. You can also follow try to find and follow other successful traders on twitter who are trading with your style.
Different trading styles are as follows,
- Day Trading
- Swing Trading
- Position Trading or Long Term Trading
If you like excitement and want quick profits then, this trading style will be suitable for you. This is a profitable trading style for those who are impatient, and can think and react faster than many other traders. Scalpers aim to make small profits (1 to 2%) every day.
In this way, they gather reasonable profit in few days or a week.
- Higher accuracy or winning rate.
- Capable of generating faster profits than any other trading styles.
- Require a high level of experience and understanding about Forex market.
- A trader should be active and focused for several hours.
- Any mechanical error such as internet interruption, slow execution might lead the investment to a large drawdown.
Day traders do not hold any position to the next day. If you are afraid of holding an overnight position and not a scalper then you should try this trading style.
In this trading style a trader open and close positions anytime before the end of the trading day.
- Lower trades per day
- Less trading commissions
- No overnight position
- Less trading stress
- Neither very short term, nor long term
- A trader should have sound knowledge and wide understanding about technical analysis.
- A trader needs to monitor the market whole day.
Swing trading is a longer term trading style than day trading. Swing trading is suitable for those who do not have time to trade or monitor the market whole day but can spend some time every day to analyze the market.
The holding period in this style may vary from a couple of hours to a couple of days. This trading style requires patience and larger stop loss level.
- Easy to understand and easy to follow for beginners.
- Profits are larger so the lower winning ratio is not a problem.
- Flexible trading style and a trader get some time to think before entering into a trade.
- The lower number of trades so lower trading commissions.
- Required larger stop loss.
- Chance of overnight positions.
- Profitability is lower than scalping and day trading.
Position Trading/Long Term Trading:
Position trading or long term trading is suitable for those traders, who have the patience to hold the positions for a long term. A position trader might hold a position for a couple weeks to months.
Position traders use long term charts such as daily, weekly or monthly charts. Position trading requires patience and calmness. Position traders often focus on fundamentals as long-term trends are a reflection of fundamental impacts.
- Very low transaction cost as only a few trades per week or month.
- Profits are large enough to cover up many small losses.
- Highly flexible and carries less trading stress.
- Require a high level of patience.
- Low profitability in the short term.
- Stop losses are larger.
Every trading style has both advantages and disadvantages. A trader should know advantages and disadvantages of these trading styles before choosing one.
Developing Your Trading Plan
Now it's time to make a plan and follow it. Plan your trade, trade your plan.
As human beings, we are prone to emotions. We trade on hope and fear.
Having a trading plan helps to eliminate at least some of the emotions that are inherent in a risky activity like trading. Logical traders who plan their trades are successful traders.
- Trading is nothing but a set of guidelines or a structure that defines your trading
So, how to develop a good trading plan? It can be based on following factors
- You must know time frame (lower time frames like 5 mins. or higher time frames like 4hr or daily) & markets you'll be trading
- You must know what % of your account you are putting on risk for each trade
- You must know exact market condition requires to put a trade and how exactly you will enter a trade
- You must know how exactly you'll exit a trade in case of either you are right or wrong. At which point on a chart you exit if you are losing? If you winning, would you trail your stops or set a profit target ahead of time? Are you going to book partial profit or full ?
Each trading plan should include 3 main parts: A way to enter the market, a way to Limit your risk and a way to take profits once you’re in a winning trade.
Part 1 of any trading plan is the entry
The first part of any trading plan involves the entry. You should know exactly when you should get in a trade. Have you entry criteria written on a post-it note and slap that note on your monitor so that you can always keep an eye on it.
In addition to this, you should know your reasons for the entry, why you enter a particular trade.
Part 2 – Define your risk
The first thing you should do after you enter any trade is to limit your risk. You do this by having pre-planned exit criteria and knowing beforehand where to put your stoploss. Once the stoploss is set, don’t move it to allow “more room for the trade to breathe”.
Only move the stoploss if a trade goes in your favor to lock in profits. Moving the stoploss to allow more room is one of the biggest trading mistakes that newer traders make.
Always keep the stoploss where your trading plan says that it should be.
Limiting the risk is probably one of the most important distinctions between loser and winner traders. Losing traders trade without a trading plan or a stop loss and they HOPE that price stops and reverses once they’re in a losing position.
Winning traders know beforehand when they will get out of a losing trade.
Part 3 – Have a predefined way to take profits
The last part that any trading plan should include a defined way to take profits once you’re in a winning position. This doesn’t mean that you should always have a set take profit order that limits your upside potential.
You can use stop losses to lock in profits instead. The exit, not the entry is where the money is being made so you should always know in advance when to cash in those wins.
Executing & Recording Your Trading Plan
Once your trading plan is ready it's good to forward test it in the live markets. Back testing generally doesn't provide you a very clear picture.
You can forward test on either demo or small live account.
I suggest you trading withmicro account as it help can you understand how psychology of winning or losing affects your trading behavior.
This is where your discipline will be tested to stick with your training setups.
- Just executing your trades is not enough. All trades must be recorded to collect relevant statistical data. It can be easily done with excel sheet by recording all relevant metrics.
This helps you make an objective conclusion on performance of your trading plan.
Reviewing Your Trading Plan
After collecting sample size of 100 trades, it's time to review statistics to see how your trading plan performing.
Sadly, there is no one size fits all as different trades faces different issues. It's your duty to find out issues with your trading plan and fix it.
Once you come up with solution, just repeat entire process over again
Develop >> Execute >> Record >> Review
As a novice trader, some of the facts you must know are : "over trading" and "over leveraging" are two fastest ways to lose all your funds.
Simple forex trading strategies are the best to follow and removing of emotional trading is necessary to succeed in currency trading.
You should have a clear idea about proper ways to deal with your losses as you can't be winning 100% of your trades.
It's better to take a break from trading for a while if you feeling too stressed from series of loses.