Mistakes in a Trading Environment

When it comes to trading, one of the most neglected subjects are those dealing with trading psychology. Most traders spend days, months and even years trying to find the right system. But having a system is just part of the game. Don’t get us wrong, it is very important to have a system that perfectly suits the trader, but it is as important as having a money management plan, or to understand all psychology barriers that may affect the trader decisions and other issues. In order to succeed in this business, there must be equilibrium between all important aspects of trading.

In the trading environment, when you lose a trade, what is the first idea that pops up in your mind? It would probably be, “There must be something wrong with my system”, or “I knew it, I shouldn’t have taken this trade” (even when your system signaled it). But sometimes we need to dig a little deeper in order to see the nature of our mistake, and then work on it accordingly.

When it comes to trading the Forex market as well as other markets, only 5% of traders achieve the ultimate goal: to be consistent in profits. What is interesting though is that there is just a tiny difference between this 5% of traders and the rest of them. The top 5% grow from mistakes; mistakes are a learning experience, they learn an invaluable lesson on every single mistake made. Deep in their minds, a mistake is one more chance to try it harder and do it better the next time, because they know they might not get a chance the next time. And at the end, this tiny difference becomes THE big difference.

Mistakes in the trading environment

Most of us relate a trading mistake to the outcome (in terms of money) of any given trade. The truth is, a mistake has nothing to do with it, mistakes are made when certain guidelines are not followed. When the rules you trade by are violated. Take for instance the following scenarios:

First scenario: The system signals a trade.
1. Signal taken and trade turns out to be a profitable trade.
Outcome of the trade: Positive, made money.
Experience gained: Its good to follow the system, if I do this consistently the odds will turn in my favor. Confidence is gained in both the trader and the system.
Mistake made: None.

2. Signal taken and trade turns out to be a loosing trade.
Outcome of the trade: Negative, lost money.
Experience gained: It is impossible to win every single trade, a loosing trade is just part of the business; our raw material, we know we can’t get them all right. Even with this lost trade, the trader is proud about himself for following the system. Confidence in the trader is gained.
Mistake made: None.

3. Signal not taken and trade turns out to be a profitable trade.
Outcome of the trade: Neutral.
Experience gained: Frustration, the trader always seems to get in trades that turned out to be loosing trades and let the profitable trades go away. Confidence is lost in the trader self.
Mistake made: Not taking a trade when the system signaled it.

4. Signal not taken and trade turns out to be a loosing trade.
Outcome of the trade: Neutral.
Experience gained: The trader will start to think “hey, I’m better than my system”. Even if the trader doesn’t think on it consciously, the trader will rationalize on every signal given by the system because deep in his or her mind, his or her “feeling” is more intelligent than the system itself. From this point on, the trader will try to outguess the system. This mistake has catastrophic effects on our confidence to the system. The confidence on the trader turns into overconfidence.
Mistake made: Not taking a trade when system signaled it

Second Scenario: System does not signal a trade.
1. No trade is taken
Outcome of the trade: Neutral
Experience gained: Good discipline, we only need to take trades when the odds are in our favor, just when the system signals it. Confidence gained in both the trader self and the system.
Mistake made: None

2. A trade is taken, turns out to be a profitable trade.
Outcome of the trade: Positive, made money.
Experience gained: This mistake has the most catastrophic effects in the trader self, the system and most importantly in the trader’s trading career. You will start to think you need no system, you know better from them all. From this point on, you will start to trade based on what you think. Confidence in the system is totally lost. Confidence in the trader self turns into overconfidence.
Mistake made: Take a trade when there was no signal from the system.

3. A trade is taken, turned out to be a loosing trade.
Outcome of the trade: negative, lost money.
Experience gained: The trader will rethink his strategy. The next time, the trader will think it twice before getting in a trade when the system does not signal it. The trader will go “Ok, it is better to get in the market when my system signals it, only those trade have a higher probability of success”. Confidence is gained in the system.
Mistake made: Take a trade when there was no signal from the system

As you can see, there is absolutely no correlation between the outcome of the trade and a mistake. The most catastrophic mistake even has a positive trade outcome, made money, but this could be the beginning of the end of the trader’s career. As we have already stated, mistakes must only be related to the violation of rules a trader trades by.

All these mistakes were directly related to the signals given by a system, but the same is applied when getting out of a trade. There are also mistakes related to following a trading plan. For example, risking more money on a given trade than the amount the trader should have risked and many more.

Most mistakes can be avoided by first having a trading plan. A trading plan includes the system: the criteria we use to get in and out the market, the money management plan: how much we will risk on any given trade, and many other points. Secondly, and most important, we need to have the discipline to follow strictly our plan. We created our plan when no trade was placed on, thus no psychology barriers were up front. So, the only thing we are certain about is that if we follow our plan, the decision taken is on our best interests, and in the long run, these decisions will help us have better results. We don’t have to worry about isolated events, or trades that could had give us better results at first, but then they could have catastrophic results in our trading career.
How to deal with mistakes

There are many possible ways to properly manage mistakes. We will suggest the one that works better for us.

Step one: Belief change.
Every mistake is a learning experience. They all have something valuable to offer. Try to counteract the natural tendency of feeling frustrated and approach mistakes in a positive manner. Instead of yelling to everyone around and feeling disappointed, say to yourself “ok, I did something wrong, what happened? What is it?

Step two: Identify the mistake made.
Define the mistake, find out what caused the mistake, and try as hard as you can to effectively see the nature of that mistake. Finding the mistake nature will prevent you from making the same mistake again. More than often you will find the answer where you less expected. Take for instance a trader that doesn’t follow the system. The reason behind this could be that the trader is afraid of loosing. But then, why is he or she afraid? It could be that the trader is using a system that does not fit him or her, and finds difficult to follow every signal. In this case, as you can see, the nature of the mistake is not in the surface. You need to try as hard as you can to find the real reason of the given mistake.

Step three: Measure the consequences of the mistake.
List the consequences of making that particular mistake, both good and bad. Good consequences are those that make us better traders after dealing with the mistake. Think on all possible reasons you can learn from what happened. For the same example above, what are the consequences of making that mistake? Well, if you don’t follow the system, you will gradually loose confidence in it, and this at the end will put you into trades you don’t really want to be, and out of trades you should be in.

Step four: Take action.
Taking proper action is the last and most important step. In order to learn, you need to change your behavior. Make sure that whatever you do, you become “this-mistake-proof”. By taking action we turn every single mistake into a small part of success in our trading career. Continuing with the same example, redefining the system would be the trader’s final step. The trader would put a system that perfectly fits him or her, so the trader doesn’t find any trouble following it in future signals.
Understanding the fact that the outcome of any trade has nothing to do with a mistake will open your mind to other possibilities, where you will be able to understand the nature of every mistake made. This at the same time will open the doors for your trading career as you work and take proper action on every mistake made.

The process of success is slow, and plenty of times it is attributed to repeated mistakes made and the constant struggle to get past these mistakes, working on them accordingly. How we deal with them will shape our future as a trader, and most importantly as a person.

Things To Consider Before You Invest In Forex

There are several things to consider before you invest in the stock market or Forex.

Your Personal Situation: Your age, the state of your health, the number of dependents you support, the kind of job you have, whether you are a man or a woman, what kind of goals you have set for yourself all these, and more, are factors which will bear on your decision whether or not to invest.

There is no rule, no prescription governing these factors, either singly or in combination. Again, the decision is yours. It is well to wonder, however, whether your personal situation contains any elements which might conflict with your freedom, need, or desire to invest.

There is, for instance, no age more appropriate than another for investment. But it is conceivable that a young man might find family obligations, such as a new house, absorbing all his resources, that a middle-aged man might prefer to invest surplus funds in his business, and that an elderly man might feel he is too far along for the amount he is able to invest to bring him any significant return.

On the other hand, a young man, if he is able to invest at all regularly, can look forward to a fairly considerable estate in 30 or 40 years. A middle-aged man who finds the premiums for a new insurance policy higher than he feels like paying might decide that investments might help cushion the requirements of the years past 60. And an elderly man, with family responsibilities and obligations behind him, might decide that a sturdy stock returning a comfortable 5 or 6 per cent is better than the interest rate he can get at a savings bank.

As these, examples indicate, age—or any other single factor—immediately involves other considerations.

Good health helps guarantee steadiness of income. Poor health suggests the need for a larger-than-usual emergency cash reserve. A number of dependents may mean that there is nothing left over for investment, or that the surplus should be invested more conservatively than in stocks, or that the surplus, with reinvested dividends, could provide a college fund in 15 years.

The kind of job you have is important only in so far as it relates to steadiness of income. If you operate on a system of incentives, bonuses, and options of one sort or another, you may wish for more stability than stocks offer, in the kind of investment you undertake. If you have a year-in, year-out salary level, stocks may be just the thing to give you that wished-for extra edge.

Or it may be just the opposite. As a bonus man you may have learned to live comfortably with the prospect that one week may be up and the next one down. And, as a steady Joe, you may find it more alarming than it’s worth to have the price and value of your holdings vary.

Whether you are a man or a woman will not have much to do with your readiness to invest. For, surprising as it may seem, the Stock Exchange survey referred to earlier showed that there are more women shareholders than men. Out of the 12.5 million total, nearly 6.4 million, or 52.5 per cent, are women. For many, investment has become a normal and acceptable way to put money to work. There is no telling, either, how many women, having inherited stocks, have since taken a lively interest in investment as part of the responsibility of preserving their capital. Certainly brokers will tell you that women customers are no longer the rarity they once were.

The kind of goals you have will very often be bound up in just such things as whether you are young or old, in business or retired, childless or the chief of a tribe; and the achievement of many of them will require money. If that is so, investment is worth serious consideration. Some people, of course, may prefer to invest in books, or paintings, or travel, and for them the attention that must be paid to investment, or the attractiveness of the financial reward may just not be worth their while.

The story is told of the two salesmen who met in the club car on the train. “How’s business?” asked the first. “Oh, very good,” said the second, “and yours?” “Fine, fine,” said the first. “Got orders for a thousand gross last week. I sell buttons.”

“Really,” said the second. “I’ve had one order in the last three years.” “You call that good?” said the first. “Well,” answered the other, “you see, I sell suspension bridges.”
Like the salesmen, the investor must have a clear notion of his goals and expectations, must realize that what is normal and acceptable to someone else might not be what he would choose for himself.

The Kind of Person You Are: Consideration of your goals and their relation to investment brings up the final point of personal evaluation: yourself. For your goals are necessarily a reflection of your temperament and personality.

Go beyond your goals and see if you can pin down the traits and characteristics they stem from. Are your goals— and you—realistic? How do you regard money, and how do you handle it? Are you easy-come, easy-go? Or do you count the pennies? Are decisions involving money difficult for you to make? Are you on top of your budget, or always running to keep up?

When investing in the stock market, long term commitment is usually more successful and more money will be needed, but with Forex a smaller pool of money can be used for good results.

Forex is more speculative so you will need to be prepared for more risks and swings in your profit and losses.

Using good Forex software will help to limit your losses on Forex.

Acquiring a good knowledge of Forex

Trading has been in existence for many years. It’s been there ever since man has learned to make a way of living. Before, people traded goods for other goods; or goods for services and vice versa. All of these things are necessary for survival. But now, trading is not mainly about goods or services, it is much more than that.

Forex trading is not new in the market; in fact, it has been there for many, many years now. A lot of people find forex trading as a worthwhile and lucrative venture.

Forex trading basically involves the buying and/or selling of different foreign currencies in the global market, often referred to as the FX market. Having a portfolio filled largely with bonds, mutual funds, and stocks is simply not enough. Why not include different foreign currencies in your portfolio, this way you can have money in all its different aspects.

The financial market operates twenty four hours a day. The usual trading day starts in Sydney, Australia, and other markets around the globe follows. New York is the last market that opens.

You can find a lot of different currencies in the world. Almost every country has its own currency, but with regards to forex trading, the trading of currencies is only done with what is popularly called the majors. These currencies are highly regarded as majors because they are economically stable compared to other foreign currencies.

The major currencies that are traded in the FX market are Euro, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, American Dollar, Australian Dollar, Japanese Yen, and Swiss Franc.

People who don’t know anything about forex trading may find the business a bit strange, because typically, currencies are used to buy goods and services, and not currencies. May be its time for you to familiarize yourself with forex trading and engage in one yourself. Besides, it is a shame if you don’t know what this particular business means.

Don’t be left out, now you can even do forex trading in your home. You don’t need to go to the actual FX market, as long as you have an internet connection. Choose from among the many software programs available in the market. You can instantly get alerts about the market condition, the prices, and other important information. This software can even tell you when to buy and/or sell and get an instant profit.

There are a lot of things to consider when you start trading. It would be best if you can do a little research and learn what the business is all about; you must understand the whole process to avoid major losses. Forex trading may be a great way to make money, but when done in the wrong way, it can get very expensive.

Forex currency trading is risky compared to stocks and bonds. But it is also a lucrative business because you can actually gain a lot within a split of a second or a few minutes.

If you’re an ordinary individual, you can also take part in forex trading. Don’t think that only large organizations or banks take part in this huge financial market. People from all walks of life can be involved in forex trading as long as they know how to properly do it.

The next thing to do is to find the right system that works best for you. Again, do a bit of research; and you can take advantage of trial versions which are free of charge. Look for customer testimonials; and after carefully considering all the factors involved, you can choose one system that you can make use in your trade.

Another thing is to get a good broker who can effectively help you in your currency trading and together you can devise a strategy. And who knows, you might be the next person to earn a lot of money in the FX market.

If you think you can make it big in the forex market, make sure that you use all the available resources around you to be able to learn about the business. After you have gained knowledge about forex trading, and were able to devise an effective strategy, you are free to start currency trading as soon as possible.

Accepting losses with grace

The lack of a proper trading plan which includes precise rules for entering and exiting a trade will most certainly guarantee failure over the long term. Beginners usually suffer from the same common ailments. They abandon trading plans purely on impulse because things are not going exactly as how they had envisioned. Repeatedly they use unreliable methods that fail to produce a profit. Many traders hold on to losing positions telling themselves “it is going to turn” when every indicator says otherwise because they cannot bear the thought of a loss.

Why do they torture themselves? Why don’t they just identify what’s going wrong and make a change? For some people recognizing that a trade or even a trading method is not working and making a change is easy, but for others it’s very difficult. They have to look at their limitations admit that they have made a mistake and that’s hard because it hurts our ego. Psychologically it’s risky, it’s often easier to fool ourselves. Just keep going, living in a state of denial until your account is depleted. If you recognize any of these traits in yourself you must stop trading immediately.

Take a good look at what has been happening, try and identify the problem. If you look close enough you may see a pattern. This is why it is vital to record every trade and as much information about it as possible. You have to break out of old patterns and see things in a new light.

You will never be a successful trader if you continue to live in a state of denial. What can be done to return to reality? There is a lot you can do. First of all make sure you are not trading under stress. When stressed out you can’t see clearly, you become rigid and unable to see alternative views. One of the easiest solutions is to trade smaller. The smaller the trade the less the stress, especially for the beginner. If you are experienced and in a loosing streak reduce your contracts until you get your confidence returns. Some people need to take a break altogether. Get away from it all. Take your mind off the trading.

The second thing you can do is to make sure you have a life. Trading can be addictive especially when you are winning. Do not put all your emotional eggs in the trading basket. You need to have other roles that give your life meaning and purpose. By defining your identity in a variety of ways, you will not place un-natural importance on trading events. Therefore, you will be able to take losses in stride and look at your trading more objectively.

Finally, radical acceptance is a key mental strategy for coping with market uncertainty. Many traders make the mistake of thinking they can control the markets. Nobody can control the markets. We must learn to accept anything that comes our way and to trade accordingly. Adopt the attitude that trading is a journey and that all we can do is go where the markets take us.

To succeed on this journey you cannot afford to lose too much. Manage risk and just accept what you get and enjoy the ride. This way you will trade more freely and creatively. Don’t live your life in denial. Accept your limitations, work around them, and become a winning trader. Write out your trading plan with precise entry and exit points. Most important set your stops and mentally decide you will not break them. Test your system on paper and when confident test in real time with the minimum contract size. You will have losing trades, accept them with grace and go on to the next trade.

Do not lose your shirt with a margin account

The key to the FOREX market for the average investor is the margin. Without margin trading currency trading would be beyond most investors. I will explain what the margin is and how it works.
When you have a margin account you are able to control large amounts of currency with a relatively small cash deposit. When you have a margin account with a broker you are in effect borrowing money from the broker to control a larger lot of currency. Currency is normally sold in lots with a value of $100,000. A common term used when discussing margin accounts is leverage. Leverage is how much you can control with a certain amount of money. The leverage is usually displayed as a ration such as 1:100. That would allow you to control currency worth 100 times the amount of money you have invested.
To better explain this in a FOREX exchange with a 1% margin account you could control $100,000 worth of a currency while only investing $1000. Margin accounts can allow you to greatly increase your profit; they also allow you to increase your risk. With a margin account it is possible for a trader to lose more than their initial investment. With a little prudence though losses can be minimized. Most brokers will terminate a trade before the losses exceed the original deposit.

Benefits
As discussed before a margin account allows you to buy more with the money you have which can greatly increase your profit on successful trades. By controlling a $100,000 worth of currency for only $1000 the potential gain is greater. When dealing with large lots of currency even small changes can produce significant results.
Currency on the FOREX market is traded in far more precise units than actual cash is. As an example the American dollar is traded down to four decimal points. So when you were to quote the dollar against another currency you will see a price like $1.7834 instead of $1.78. A PIP is the smallest unit when trading currencies, when dealing with $100,000 lots then each pip is worth about $10.
If the price of the American dollar changes from $1.7834 to $1.7934, you have a net difference of 100 pips. If you have a lot of $100,000 then that 100 pips will translate to $1000 where as if you were not using the margin your original $1000 would only show a profit of $10. Hardly what most would consider a highly profitable trade?
In short the primary benefit of using a margin account is that it can greatly increase the profit margin of a trade.

Risks
Since there is such a significant increase in profit potential when using a margin account it only stands to reason that there is also an increase. In fact it is quite possible to have your entire margin account wiped out fairly quickly. When using a 1% margin account a shift in the currency of a single penny will cost you $1000.
The FOREX exchange has many safety features to help you reduce the risk of this happening. One example is a stop loss order. A stop loss order will automatically close out your position in a currency if the price crosses the point you have set. This allows you to limit your losses while still having the opportunity to realize a profit.
Another risk that many people overlook is that if the price nears the point where your losses are close to being equal to the value of your margin account your broker may close out your position. If you were trying to rid out a temporary downturn that you expect to turn around soon you could find that your broker has closed it causing you to lose your entire balance and have no option to make a profit if the price moves up again.

This is a basic introduction to margin accounts and how they work.

 

 

Can You Afford To Invest In Forex?

An important question for all investors is: Can I afford to invest?

America always has been a land of promise. Whatever the course of our economy in the years immediately ahead, it is likely that opportunities for investment will be both numerous and attractive. Energetic new companies will emerge, looking for venture capital. Solid old companies will come forth with exciting new products. One industry or another will enjoy a boom period relative to the rest. And, of course, there will be casualties, too. There inevitably are.

For the observant investor this activity, properly evaluated and properly timed, will bring rewards. There will be chances to buy stocks before they have called attention to themselves and begun to rise, or to buy a Blue Chip, temporarily out of favor, at a depressed price. There will be stock splits, dividend increases, new issues, mergers, spin-offs, as well as the tidal rise and fall of stock prices all of this characteristic of the restless life of the market as a reflection of American business.

If you have never invested before, you are bound to be tempted.

Whether or not you yield will depend on your answer to the first hard question about investing: Can you afford it?

It is a lonely question and only you can answer it, for it involves not only how much money you feel able to invest, but what kind of person you are. Actually, it is several questions wrapped into one. You are asking, first, whether your financial condition permits you to invest; second, whether you can assume the risk implicit in stock investment; and, third, whether the market is a safe place for you to be.

Let’s take them one at a time.

Your Financial Position: One point should be made clear at the outset: you don’t have to be wealthy to invest. Among outsiders you can hear it said that stock ownership is a rich man’s game. This can mean any of several things: that the market is too complicated for the little man, that brokers aren’t interested in small orders, that only the person who can lose a bundle without feeling it should invest. However persuasive these arguments, they are all untrue.

The fact is—according to a recent New York Stock Exchange Survey—that almost half of all shareowners are in the $5,000—$10,000 a year income bracket. The median income of the 3,860,000 people who have become stockholders since 1956 is $6,900.

This would seem to suggest that an understanding of market operations is not too difficult to acquire, and that an attentive, interested broker is not too hard to find. It can also be assumed that these are shareowners with a fair appreciation of the value of a dollar and in no position to laugh off losses.

The goals a small investor can hope to achieve and the pattern of investment possible within the limits of a modest income will be outlined further on. The conclusion to be reached here is that investment is not a matter of enlarging a fortune you already possess, but of making available some money, however small the amount, to start with.

Regardless of your salary or income level, investment is possible if three conditions can be met:

1. If you are assured of a steady income.

2. If you are meeting your current running expenses and obligations.

3. If you have a cash reserve with which to meet unforeseen emergencies.

These conditions are, first of all, safeguards made necessary by the inescapable fact that stock prices fluctuate. Your judgment of when to buy, when to sell, and how long to hold should never be dictated by outside circumstances. Investment should be undertaken only with funds you can honestly and legitimately earmark as extra. With a regular income and your monthly bills paid, you know where you

stand and what amount can be put aside, in reserve, for any investment opportunity that arises. Or, of course, for emergencies. A sudden demand for ready cash—to pay a hospital bill, an insurance premium, or your income tax—should come, if possible, from your reserve, not from cashing in your investments. Whether your stocks are up or down, you are likely to take a loss—on the downswing because you may be selling at less than you paid, on the upswing because you may be selling at less than the potential.

A reserve also enables you to pick and choose. The fact that you have a few hundred dollars lying idle does not automatically mean the time is ripe to buy stocks. There’s no hurry. As the professionals say, “The market is always there.” If the trend of the market isn’t to your liking, or the price of a stock is higher than you want to pay, a reserve allows you the luxury of waiting for a more favorable situation.

Finally, a reserve permits investment over a period of time rather than all at once. As you learn more about the market, you will hear both sides of this argument. Some experts feel you should back what seems to be a good situation with all the investment funds at your command. Others will warn against getting greedy, and advise partial investment here and there, at different times, to spread the risk. This is not the place to discuss the merits of these techniques. The point is to give yourself the flexibility of moving either way your judgment dictates.

Remember: your income need not be large, so long as it is regular and enables you to put aside a surplus after you have taken care of your bills and the possibility of trouble. The surplus need not be large, either. Saving, as has been said many times, is a matter of regularity. No one considers $5 too small an amount to put into a savings bank; don’t worry if that’s all you can save each week for your accumulating investment reserve. In most markets, brokers usually can suggest a number of sound, solid stocks, offering liberal yields, that sell for less than $20 per share.

There is no rule about the number of shares an investor must buy. If you can afford a single share (plus commissions), a broker will get it for you. As a matter of fact, through the Monthly Investment Plan you can buy a fraction of a share, although the Plan requires a minimum investment every month.

To invest in the Forex, you will probably need a float of around $400 and invest from $1 to $10 per pip to start with, then reinvest your profits.

So there is a much smaller outlay required to invest in Forex, although it is more speculative.

Good Forex software will help to reduce the risks involved and this you’ll find here in our shop.

Benefits Of Using Forex Software

As the Internet grows in popularity, more and more individuals are learning about the benefits of trading currencies on the Forex market. In recent years, Forex trading has become known as a great way of investing money. But if you do decide that you want part of the action, you should do some quick research on the Forex software packages on the market. They can help you trade easily and from the comfort of your home and office.

One great benefit about Forex software is that it can perform many tasks for you, and keep you up-to-date on the values of the currencies you are trading. If you had to do these tasks manually, you would have to spend many hours fiddling with newspaper reports, charts and graphs. But with the push of a button, you can know how and when to trade. With a general knowledge of where the currency is heading, you can allow your trades to run, or stop them as your position reverses.

But not only does Forex trading software allow you to manage your funds, it also provides you with the opportunity to withdraw or deposit money into your Forex account when you need to. This means you can leave your money in an interest bearing account until you are ready to trade. This way, you earn interest on your money and avoid having extra money sitting idly in your trading account.

Also if you want you can set up the Forex software so when the currency drops to a certain level or has reached a specified value, then it will automatically sell it for you. By doing this you are not only minimizing your risks, but it also means that you do not need to keep a constant watch and control over your profits.

However the best way of ensuring the software you are buying is right for your needs is to test it before you start investing your hard earn money. A good Forex software package will allow you to practice with the software using play money while you learn. Then once you are comfortable with trading, you can deposit some of your money into a trading account and start trading. It is best if you practice as much as possible before. This way you will be ready for any losses that may occur in the beginning. From the start it is best if you only invest small amounts of money when trading until you feel more confident with the software.

Forex software comes either as a desktop or Internet based package. The Internet software systems have several advantages over the desktop versions. One of these advantages is that you
do not need to deal with maintenance issues. The software seller often looks after these technical goings-on. Security is another issue you don’t have to concern yourself with.

The seller will already have in place more security measures than you can afford on a desktop version. The systems offer data encryption on a secure server and will therefore protect you for hackers and thieves. Plus, Internet based systems offer you more convenience than a desktop model. You can check your account no matter where you are in the world. All you need to do is key in your login and password information. You can then view your currency trading account in a secured environment.

Basic Introduction To Forex Trading

If you were wondering; forex trading is nothing more than direct access trading of different types of foreign currencies. A few years ago, foreign exchange trading was mostly limited to large banks and institutional traders however; today technological advancements have made it so that small traders can also take advantage of the many benefits of forex trading just by using the various online trading platforms to trade.

The currencies of the world are on a floating exchange rate, and they are always traded in pairs Euro/Dollar, Dollar/Yen, etc. About 85 percent of all daily transactions involve trading of the major currencies.

Four major currency pairs are usually used for investment purposes. They are: Euro against US dollar, US dollar against Japanese yen, British pound against US dollar, and US dollar against Swiss franc. Right now I will show you how they look in the trading market: EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, and USD/CHF. As a note you should know that no dividends are paid on currencies.

If you think one currency will appreciate against another, you may exchange that second currency for the first one and be able to stay in it. In case everything goes as you plan it, eventually you may be able to make the opposite deal in that you may exchange this first currency back for that other and then collect profits from it.

Transactions on the FOREX market are performed by dealers at major banks or FOREX brokerage companies. FOREX is a necessary part of the world wide market, so when you are sleeping in the comfort of your bed, the dealers in Europe are trading currencies with their Japanese counterparts.

Therefore, it is reasonable for you to believe that the FOREX market is active 24 hours a day and dealers at major institutions are working 24/7 in three different shifts. Clients may place take-profit and stop-loss orders with brokers for overnight execution.

Price movements on the FOREX market are very smooth and without the gaps that you face almost every morning on the stock market. The daily turnover on the FOREX market is somewhere around $1.2 trillion, so a new investor can enter and exit positions without any problems.

The fact is that the FOREX market never stops, even on September 11, 2001 you could still get your hands on two-side quotes on currencies. The currency market is the largest and oldest financial market in the world. It is also called the foreign exchange market, FX market for short. It is the biggest and most liquid market in the world, and it is traded mostly through the 24 hour-a-day inter-bank currency market.

When you compare them, you will see that the currency futures market is only one per cent as big. Unlike the futures and stock markets, trading currencies is not centered on an exchange. Trading moves from major banking centers of the U.S. to Australia and New Zealand, to the Far East, to Europe and finally back to the U.S. it is truly a full circle trading game.

In the past, the forex inter-bank market was not available to small speculators because of the large minimum transaction sizes and strict financial requirements.

Banks, major currency dealers and sometimes even very large speculator were the principal dealers. Only they were able to take advantage of the currency market’s fantastic liquidity and strong trending nature of many of the world’s primary currency exchange rates.

Today, foreign exchange market brokers are able to break down the larger sized inter-bank units, and offer small traders like you and me the opportunity to buy or sell any number of these smaller units. These brokers give any size trader, including individual speculators or smaller companies, the option to trade at the same rates and price movements as the big players who once dominated the market.

As you can see, the foreign exchange market has come a long way. Being successful at it can be intimidating and difficult when you are new to the game. So if you want to step into this market, first thing you do is get the right knowledge and educate yourself until you feel ready to jump in.

Avoiding Forex-Related Frauds and Scams

A lot of people have been ‘burnt’ from scam operations on the Internet. Their sites may look so perfectly legitimate that you doubt whether they would have gone through all that trouble building a trading platform just to steal your money. Beware.

The first thing I look for is the geographical location of the broker. If I find that they are based in a country where the financial industry is, in my opinion, relatively unregulated and under-developed, I quickly forgo signing up. This is terrible news for honest brokers in those countries, but your job as a trader is to protect your capital. If you lose that, then you cannot trade. The onus is on them to convince you that they will do the right thing by you as an investor.

I started out with an Australian broker. Currently I am using an American one. I have not tried UK-based brokers but the British financial industry is one of the best. Companies that are based in countries such as Japan , Germany and France are probably just as good too, if their website speaks your language.

Notice any license numbers that they may have registered with regulatory bodies that act like government watchdogs who oversee the finance and investments industries. These are organisations that impose strict rules to safeguard your investment. Some of these rules may include the requirement that brokers segregate all customer funds from the operational funds of the business. Your money is required to be put in highly-reputable banks and the funds are only withdrawn from these accounts upon specific withdrawal requests.

Take note that there are some fake regulatory bodies being thrown around in cyber-space as well. Take a look at how long they have been operating for. Try and search out any reviews or comments made about them. See if you can find forums where traders have discussions about their brokers.

Below is a list of things to keep in mind to help you avoid being a victim of a scam:

• Stay Away From Opportunities That Sound Too Good To Be True

There are people who may have just acquired a large amount of money just and recently are the same and are shopping around for safe investment vehicles. These may include retirees who have access to their retirement funds. It is understandable why retirees would be drawn to ‘high-return, low-risk investments’. This is also what makes them very vulnerable. If you identify yourself to be one of these people, be careful. A lot of deceitful characters are after your money. Furthermore, only allocate a tiny amount of your money to trading until you can start growing it. Not all people can trade successfully, so it is a venture you should take on haphazardly. It is your life savings at risk.

• Avoid Individuals Or Organizations Who Claim To Predict Or Guarantee Large Profits

Any form of trading is hard. Trading currencies is no different. Be wary of statements that make it sound easy. Statements like:

• “Whether the market moves up or down, in the currency market you will make a profit”;

• “Make $1000 per week, every week”;

• “We are out-performing 90% of domestic investments”;

• “You’ll make returns of 70% a year”;

• “Here is a no-risk strategy”.

If they could make such returns, why would they even bother letting you know about it.

• Be Wary Of Companies Who Downplay Investment Risks

Hold your wallet tight and zip up your purse when companies say that written risk disclosure agreements are routine formalities imposed by the government. Watch out for statements like:

• “With a $10,000 deposit, the maximum you can lose is $200 to $250 per day”;

• “ We promise to recover any losses you have ”.

• Be Wary Of Companies That Claim To Trade In The ‘Interbank Market’

Do not believe it when some people say that they have access to the ‘Interbank market’ or that they can give you access to trade in that market because that’s where bargain prices can be obtained. This is not true. The ‘interbank market’ is not a place, it is not a physical building. It is simply a loose network of currency transactions that are negotiated between big financial institutions and other large companies.

• Ethnic Minorities Are Often Targeted

Ethnic newspapers and television ‘infomercials’ are sometimes used to attract Russian, Chinese and Indian minorities. Sometimes these ads offer so-called ‘job opportunities for account executives to trade foreign currencies’, whereby the recruited ‘account executive’ is expected to use his own money to trade currencies and would often times be encouraged to recruit members like their friends and family to do the same.

• Seek Out The Company’s Background

Check any information you receive to be sure that the company is who they claim to be. If at all possible, try and get the background of the people operating the company. Do not rely solely on oral statements and promises made by the company’s employees.

• If You Are In Doubt, It Is Not Worth Risking Your Money

If after trying to solicit information and at the end of it all, you are still in doubt about the credentials of a particular company, my suggestion is to start looking elsewhere.

You may find further information by contacting government ‘watchdogs’ because they keep up to date with trends and reports regarding scams and other fraudulent activities. Please check the resource section of this site for the information of organizations that regulate the securities industry, sorted by country. There is also a list of brokers that you may want to look at.

This is an excerpt, modified from the book: The Part-Time Currency Trader.