Part 3 Creating the first forex strategy – 5 common mistakes when creating strategy

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Part 9: Common Forex trading mistakes and traps

Common Forex trading mistakes and traps

There are common mistakes and ‘traps’ that give nearly all traders trouble at some point in their trading careers. So, let’s cover the most common mistakes that traders make which keep them from making money in the markets:

• Analysis-paralysis

There is a virtually unlimited amount of Forex news variables that can distract a trader, as well as tons and tons of trading systems and trading software. You’ll need to sift through all of these variables and forge a trading strategy that is simple yet effective, warning; this can be a very a difficult task for beginner traders.

The reason why, is that most traders seem to think that ‘more is better’, when in reality ‘more’ is actually worse, as it relates to Forex trading. There really is no need to sit in front of your computer for hours on end analyzing Forex news reports or numerous indicators. My trading philosophy is that all variables that affect a market’s price movement are reflected via the price action on a price chart. So, spending your time and money on trading software, systems, or analyzing news variables is simply a waste. Furthermore, many traders get analysis-paralysis, this occurs when a trader tries to analyze so many market variables that they exhaust themselves to the point of making silly emotional trading mistakes.

• Over-trading

Most traders do not make money in the markets over the long-run for one simple reason: they trade way too much. One curious fact of trading is that most traders do very well on demo accounts, but then when they start trading real money they do horribly. The reason for this is that in demo trading there is virtually no emotion involved since your real money is not on the line. So, this goes to show that emotion is the #1 destroyer of trading success. Traders who over-trade are operating purely on emotion.

Trading when your pre-defined trading edge is not actually present is over-trading. Trading if you have no trading plan or have not mastered a trading edge yet is over-trading. Essentially, you need to know EXACTLY what you’re looking for in the market and then ONLY trade when your edge is present. Trading too much causes you to rack up transaction costs (spreads or commissions), and it also causes you to lose money a lot faster since you are purely gambling in the market. You need to take a calm and calculated approached to the market, not a drunken-gamblers approach…which seems to be the favored approach of many traders.

• Not applying risk reward and money management correctly

Risk management is critical to achieving success in the markets. Risk management involves controlling your risk per trade to a level that is tolerable for you. Most traders ignore the fact that they COULD lose on ANY TRADE. If you know and accept that you could lose on any trade…why would you EVER risk more than you were comfortable with losing. Yet traders make this mistake time and time again…the mistake of risking too much money per trade. It only takes one over-leveraged trade that goes against you to set off a chain of emotional trading errors that wipes out your trading account a lot faster than you think. Check out this cool article on Forex money management for more.

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• No trading plan and no routine or discipline

Not having a Forex trading plan is perhaps the most prevalent trading mistake the Forex traders make. Many traders seem to think that they will create a trading plan “later on” or after they start making money or that they simply don’t need one or can just keep it “in their heads”. All of these rationalizations are simply keeping traders from achieving the success they so badly desire. If you don’t have a Forex trading plan that details all of your actions in the market as well as your overall trading approach and strategy, you will be far more likely to operate emotionally and from a gambling mindset. Beginner traders especially need a Forex trading plan to solidify their trading strategy and to create a guide that they use to trade the market from, and you can’t keep it in your head…you need to physically write out your trading plan and read it every day you trade.

• Trading real money too soon or gambling it

The urge to jump into the market and start trading real money is often too much for most traders to withstand. However, the truth is that until you have mastered an effective Forex trading strategy like price action trading, you really should not be trading real money. By “mastering” the strategy, I mean you should be consistently successful with it on a demo account for a period of 3 to 6 months or more, prior to going live. However, you don’t want to use demo account trading as a crutch…trading a real account is different due to the real emotions involved, so just be sure you switch to real-money trading after you have achieved success on demo…don’t be afraid of trading real money, because eventually you will need to make the switch to real money trading.

Also, be sure you are not just gambling your money away. Doing the things we discussed above; over-trading, over-leveraging, not having a trading plan, etc, these are all things that gambling traders do. Traders who don’t gamble in the markets are calm and calculating…they have a trading plan, a trading journal, and they know exactly what their trading edge is and when to trade it.

Creating strategy for Forex trading

Forex Educational Series – Part 3

by Hans Stam – A Forex trader

Creating a strategy

We left off in the previous chapter talking about creating a strategy of your own.

It’s obvious you do not want to lose money, your aim is to be right on your trading as much as possible to make a profit.

So how can you create a strategy that will work for you?

I mention specifically it has to work for you because many will sell trading signals on their analyses, but once you try to implement the signals, your timing could be off and totally miss the trade.

Then again, who knows if that signal is very successful and why would you trust other traders signals?

Of course, that’s a personal choice to make, but once you would decide to create your own strategy, here are some tips.

Demo testing before creating a strategy

While creating a strategy that works for you, you obviously do not want to spend a lot of money so you will use virtual money using a demo account.

Once you have set up your demo account, you can start trading as if it was real money, but more importantly, you get to know the trading station you will be using later on.

You see all kinds of options, and most will not apply to you so you will have to figure out what you will use or not.
For instance, the chart used.

If you like to open a demo account, you can do so by clicking here .

Charts

Most will stick to candlestick charts but there are many other types of charts to choose from.

Also, there are timeframes you can choose from.

In this example, we’ll stay with candlesticks but many other types of charts will have similar info.

A candle represents what the price did in a specific timeframe.

If you pick an hourly chart, it shows candlesticks and the info of the price in an hour.

Main info a candlestick is giving you the Opening Price at the beginning of that hour, the highest price, the lowest price and the closing price of that hour.

The next candle would start its opening price where the previous candle ended its closing price.

(If that is not the case we speaks of having a gap, but that’s not common)

If you would change your hourly chart to a 5-minute chart, it would give you a lot more information whereas the hourly would give you the bigger picture.

It’s for you to decide what you do with that information and how you would apply that in your strategy or not to apply it at all.

Indicators

Using charts you will also have indicators. For example, you can use a curving line which follows the Simple Moving Average of the price known as SMA.

Others are MACD or RSI to name a few. There are countless indicators, and it’s up to you to use some of them or to ignore them.

Every indicator you would use has its own specific purpose and shows you the result of what that indicator is designed for.

We can’t go through all of them, so if you choose to apply you can do some research on a specific indicator.

Most commonly are MACD, RSI, Moving averages, often in combination with trendlines, Channels which form, Support/Resistance, Fibonacci or Elliott Waves, etc.

It’s up to you what you want to use or go a completely different way in your trading.

Often when patterns emerge from the charts it shows a direction to where the price is heading.

If you see a clear direction you could translate that to yourself as seeing a trend.

As we talked about previously, we would like to figure out what most other traders would do and seeing a trend could be useful.

If you build your strategy, you could make up some rules for yourself to test and see what result that gives you, one of them could be catching those trends.

The beauty of trying that out on a demo is, it will be virtual money, so even if you lose, no harm is done. But it is very useful while creating a strategy.

Stick to what works

While trying out your strategy starting from scratch, you will notice some things work, others don’t.

Try to figure out what causes losses, and eliminate those reason by altering your strategy to where that won’t happen again.

Then go test it again on your demo.

You decide when you think your strategy is working properly, then you can try to trade real money and go make a profit.

As soon as you notice it’s not working, stop trading and go back to demo trading, see what caused it to fail, and alter the strategy.

Rules

When you look at how others trade, they often have rules. Institutions also have rules which you cannot break if you want to work there.

The big advantage we have as private traders is that there are no rules at all.

We can make up our own rules. It’s our money, our strategy and whatever anyone else says, you can choose what to apply or not.

The broker you work with could have some rules, but other brokers might not have those rules at all.

Choosing a broker may be of importance when you want to trade your strategy.

It really takes some creativity and patience to create your own style, but once you have done that, the rewards will be all yours.

Mentor

If you think to yourself, it’s hard to do all that work, can’t I just get a mentor?

Well, that may be harder than you think.

Often when people look for a mentor they end up in a strategy which can be incredibly difficult to follow.

The alternative is to just let some robot trade which is programmed by these “companies”

Real mentors will learn you how to think for yourself, and if what they have tried and tested makes sense.

The reason why a mentor is very valuable to you

…is that you will have to make your own decisions in the future.

You can’t rely on anyone else to make all the decisions for you, because what would happen to you when that mentor decides to just quit?

Or what would happen when that mentor starts to charge you $1.000 a month just to follow instructions?

If that would happen, the information may or may not be that valuable, but you would still have to make more to end up with a profit.

A good mentor will take you by the hand and walk you through all your questions, pointing out the stones on the road so you can find your way in the dark.

I once met a man who had sold over a thousand courses for the price of $300.

So he made over $300.000 just by selling his course and in addition, he lets his students pay an additional $30 a month just to get access to “Hindsight Trading” on YouTube.

When I talked to him, he did know a lot about indicators, etc. but frankly, I thought he didn’t know what he was talking about as he was guessing just as we would too.

He’s a great salesman, but that is not a guarantee you will get value for your money.

In the end, results count and you will be the judge if it is worth your money or go look for another mentor if you would need one in the first place.

If you like me to cover a specific item regarding trading, just let me know by sending me an email , and I’ll try to clear that up in coming articles.

Forex and CFD Trading

We receive a lot of questions, such as: “Where can I trade Forex (CFD)?” or “What is the difference between binary options and forex?” To help you answer these questions, we have set up this category to share the most relevant information with you.

Although you are on a page dedicated to binary options, I assume that you have heard the term forex, too. What exactly does it mean and what opportunities and options forex offers is something you can read on this page dedicated primarily to beginners. Don’t be afraid; everything will be explained, no previous knowledge is necessary.

What is Forex

Forex (sometimes abbreviated as FX) is a market where currencies are traded. The need to exchange currencies is the primary reason for the establishment of a global foreign exchange market. The word Forex stands for two words: foreign and exchange. So the market is characteristic with the trading of foreign currencies (such as EURO or US dollar).

To keep things simple, imagine that you come to a foreign exchange bureau to buy 20 EUR for 18 GBP. Shortly, the value of EUR falls (meaning that the exchange rate declines to, let’s say, 1 EUR per pound). You go back to the foreign exchange bureau and sell the euro to cash in the 20 EUR for 20 GBP. You in fact made money.

If you had exchanged one million euros, your profit would have bene one million pounds. This is the principle of Forex trading. To keep things simple, we excluded fees paid to the exchange bureau and the difference between sell and buy exchange rate (called spread)

Sometimes the word Forex is (incorrectly) used as a global term for the whole world of CFD trading . What is then the difference between CFD and Forex? It’s simple: Trading CFD may include shares, futures, commodities and currency pairs. This is just a type of trading. As opposed to Forex, which denotes currency pairs only.

For more information read: What is CFD

Basic information about Forex:

  • Each day, more than 5 trillion US dollars is traded on the Forex market, which is why the market is so liquid (There is enough people who sell and buy, making the prices move every single second).
  • Forex is completely constructed on the principle of supply and demand. This means that while you are selling, someone else is buying
  • Forex is open for 24 hours a day 5 days a week, i.e. on business days usually non-stop
  • The most popular currency pair traded globally is EUR/USD
  • Forex enables you to start trading with a few dollars in your pocket via a program or trading platform installed in your PC. So, all you need is a couple of dollars, PC and internet access.
  • Profit (same as loss) is not limited (…or limited by a trading account in case of loss) . This is the biggest strength (as well as weakness) compared with binary options (more about binary options in the article below).

Where to trade Forex

Forex trades are executed through a broker such as AdmiralMarkets, XTB, or plus500. Forex trading is also offered by some binary options brokers e.g. IQ Option.

When choosing the right Forex broker, same as when looking for the binary options broker, you should concentrate on a few aspects such as …:

  • Spread (the bigger, the least profitable)
  • Leverage: For more information read: What is leverage? (article coming soon)
  • Minimum deposit, minimum size of trade
  • Language/s offered by the broker’s platform and customer support

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How much can I earn on Forex

Average earnings generated on Forex depend on the invested capital and the risk you are willing to take for each won position. Once you learn how to invest and trade, you should be able to increase your initial capital by around 10-20% on a monthly basis. Translated into concrete numbers, if you start with 100 000 USD, you should be able to make 15 000 per month.

All the figures vary significantly depending on your time and experience. Honestly, 20% on a monthly basis is an aggressive target. Conservative traders will be happy if they earn much lower amounts.
Forex trading can become a serious resource of your second income next to your full-time job. As a Forex trader, you are speculating on the changing prices of foreign currencies or, better foreign currency pairs. In the USA, tens of thousands of ordinary Americans use this method for increasing their living standard.
If this article about Forex attracted your attention, don’t hesitate to continue reading our series about Forex to get a more in-depth understanding.

Articles about Forex and CFD Trading

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How to Build a Trading Strategy

When trading in markets, it is often beneficial to have a strategic approach. While the concept of trading on hunches and whims – and being profitable doing so, may sound attractive; in practice it is much more difficult and far less likely than if one had a formulaic approach with which they look to speculate in markets.

There are many ways of doing this. This article will walk through the primary areas that traders want to look to when building their strategies.

Before the strategy is ever created, the trader first needs to decide which market condition they are looking take advantage of. In the first part of our How to Build a Strategy series , we looked at this topic in detail. And as we saw, markets will display 3 primary conditions: Trend, Range, and Breakout (as shown in the illustration below).

Created with Marketscope/Trading Station

Each of these market conditions can exhibit markedly different tones. Ranges can commonly take place during quiet markets. The support and/or resistance that define ranges become broken when price breaks out, often from some form of news or stimuli.

Breakouts can be fast and furious, running quickly to a traders stop or limit. Breakouts can be extremely volatile, and as such, these strategies need to be built differently than range or trend strategies in regards to money, and risk management.

Once a bias has begun to set in the market, longer-term trends can develop. Once again, this is a unique condition that necessitates an approach different than range or trending markets.

Once a trader has decided which market condition they want to build their strategy for, they then need to decide which timeframes they want to analyze and execute their trades on. In The Time Frames of Trading , we explored the more common intervals that traders may want to investigate based on desired holding times.

We went further to explore the concept of Multiple Time Frame Analysis , in which traders can use a longer-term chart to gauge the general trends or sentiment that may exist in a currency pair; and then using a shorter-term chart to get a more granular look as they enter the trade.

Multiple Time Frame Analysis Intervals; prepared by James Stanley

Entering the Trade

The next step in building a strategy is to begin to design how the trader will be entering trades. As we looked at in Grading Market Conditions , support and resistance can define ranges, thereby defining breakouts while also offering quite a bit of assistance with risk management in trend-based strategies.

As such, it can often benefit the trader by having multiple mechanisms for pointing out which of these levels may or may not be pertinent. In How to Build a Strategy, Part 3: Support and Resistance , we looked at Price Action , Psychological Whole Numbers , Fibonacci , and Pivot Points .

EURUSD interacting with the 1.30 level/Created with Marketscope/Trading Station

After a trader has decided on the mannerisms of support and resistance to be utilized in the strategy, they then need to find a way to grade the strength of price moves. In How to Build a Strategy, Part 4: Grading Trends , we tied together some of the earlier concepts of price action, multiple time frame analysis, and market conditions to help traders see that they can grade how ‘strong’ a trend has been.

(Created with Trading Station 2.0/Marketscope)

In How to Build a Strategy, Part 5: Risk Management , we looked at what many traders consider to be the most important part of creating, trading, and maintaining a trading approach; and that is the manner in which traders are managing risk.

Much of this part of the series was based around the research performed by DailyFX in the Traits of Successful Traders research study.

In the DailyFX Traits of Successful Traders series, actual results from real traders on over 12 million trades were analyzed in an effort to find what had worked best, and how traders could work towards those results.

We looked at the fact that while many traders may win more often than they lose (with a winning percentage greater than 50%), it was the amount of their gains and/or losses that would often predicate their success or failure in markets. We then went on to talk about using risk-to-reward ratios in which the trader stands to make more if they are right than they could lose if they are wrong. The picture below will show a 1-to-2 risk-to-reward ratio:

1-to-2 Risk-to-Reward Ratio

We then went on to investigate the concept of leverage, as outlined in How Much Capital Should I Trade Forex With , by Jeremy Wagner. This was the 4 th and final installment of the Traits of Successful Traders series , and provides some very insightful information.

From the graph, we can see that traders with larger balances (between $5,000 and $9,999) used lower levels of leverage (shown on the bottom of the graph); and these lower levels of leverage allowed for greater profitability.

Traders using leverage of 5:1 were profitable 37.37% of the time, while traders with balances below $1,000 were using, on average, 26:1 leverage – and were only profitable 20.91% of the time. This is a massive deviation, as traders using a moderate 5:1 leverage ratio were profitable 78% more frequently than traders using 26:1 leverage.

suggests that ‘ traders should look to use an effective leverage of 10-to-1 or less .’

When to Execute Your Strategy

Up to this point, we have covered many of the areas that traders would want to look to when building their strategies. Perhaps as important, if not more so – is when we will actually be trading the strategy that we are creating.

One of the key differentiators of the FX Market is the fact that it doesn’t close. We discussed this topic in detail in the article ‘ Trading the World .’

Charting the 24-hour nature of the FX Market; from Trading the World , by James Stanley

Although the market is open 24 hours a day, price action can take on markedly different ‘tones’ based on what time of the day it is, and where liquidity is being offered from.

For instance, the Asian session is generally considered to offer slower price action, with stronger adherence to support and resistance and less potential for ‘big moves.’ Because of this, traders looking to execute range-based strategies may be better served by focusing their entries on the Asian session.

At 3AM ET, liquidity begins coming in from London , which many traders consider to be the ‘heart’ of the FX Market. London is the largest market center, brings in the most liquidity, and shortly after the open –large moves can often be witnessed on the major currency pairs. Traders that were previously executing range strategies in the Asian session would want to be cautious here, as support and resistance can be broken much more easily with the onslaught of liquidity coming from London. Traders executing breakout strategies can often find the fast and volatile markets they are looking for after the London Open.

At 8AM, as the United States opens for business even more liquidity flows into the FX Market. This period is considered the ‘overlap,’ when both London and New York market centers are trading; and this is often the most voluminous period of the day in the FX market. Fast moves can be abundant, volatility extremely high, as the potential for reversals can denigrate even the strongest range strategies.

After London closes for the day, the flavor of the US Session can change quite a bit. Average hourly moves can decrease, and price action can begin to wane. The US Session may take on overtones of what is generally exhibited in the Asian session: slow price moves accented by a greater degree of respect for previously defined support and resistance levels.

Tradesessions custom indicator for Trading Station

Forex Strategy FAQs

When are the best times to tade forex when implementing a volatility focused strategy?

Major currency pairs tend to exhibit greater volatility when two trading sessions overlap. The reason for this is because there are more participants trading forex, meaning greater volume of trade and more volatility. For a better understanding of when trading sessions overlap, read our FX 24 Hours a Day article.

I don’t know what type of trader I am, how can I find out?

Whether you are New to FX or a seasoned veteran, traders will have different styles and preferences. These often vary based on how long you spend in the market, how you analyse the market ( technical vs fundamental analysis ) and whether you place trades your self or make use of automatic trading. If you are usure what type of trader you are, we suggest you read Trader Styles and Flavors .

— Written by James B. Stanley

You can follow James on Twitter @JStanleyFX.

Part 11: How to Make a Forex Trading Plan

How to Make a Forex Trading Plan

Having a Forex trading plan is one of the key elements to becoming a successful Forex trader. Many traders never even make a trading plan, let alone use one regularly. It’s very important that you do both; make a trading plan and use the one you make…don’t just make one and then never look at it like many traders do. Here are some important points to consider regarding Forex trading plans:

• Follow a plan, have a journal, log trades

You need to do three essential things to become and remain an organized and disciplined Forex trader. These things are the following: 1) Create a Forex trading plan, 2) Create (or use an existing) Forex trading journal, 3) ACTUALLY use BOTH of them.

The process of creating a Forex trading plan around an effective trading strategy like price action trading, will work to solidify your understanding of the trading strategy and will also provide you with a blueprint for what you need to do each time you interact with the market. Having this market blueprint is essential for developing the type of ice-cold discipline that it takes to succeed in the Forex currency market over the long-term.

Logging your trades in a trading journal is critical to your success because it allows you to have a visual representation of your ability (or lack thereof) to trade the markets, it also creates a track record for you that you can use which will show you how your trading edge plays out over time, this will allow you to ‘tweak’ and adjust your trading strategy as you see fit.

• Trading plans contain a routine and check list

To put it simply, you NEED to have a routine in your trading activities; otherwise you will just end up running and gunning the seat of your pants. I have a trading philosophy that revolves around trading Forex like a sniper and not a machine gunner, if you want to trade like a sniper you have to have a routine that you follow, and you have to be disciplined…a sniper in the military is an extremely disciplined individual, and you need to think of the Forex market like it’s a war, and you are a sniper trying to take only the ‘easiest prey’; your ‘prey’ in the markets consists of only the most obvious trade setups.

Your trading plan should include a checklist that you follow; this will include things that you look for in the market and what you want to see before entering a trade. If you can tick all the boxes then you enter the trade, if not then you hold off until your trading edge appears again. You can actually formulate your whole trading plan as a checklist; this will make it a smooth format that allows you to quickly decide if any potential trade setup is worth taking.

• Trading plans contain written guidelines of what a trader will do and look for as well as images of trade setups

Your trading plan should contain a written description of what you will do in the markets. This includes things like what your trading edge is, how you trade it, when you trade it, what time frames you trade (I prefer daily Forex chart trading), your strategy for risk management and profit taking, and your overall goals as a trader. You should also include images of your trading edge setups, so that you are constantly reminded of what an “ideal” setup looks like. Eventually, after you follow your written guidelines and “ideal” trade setup images long enough, you will burn them into your brain to the point of knowing exactly what you are looking for in the market, which will work to build your confidence as a trader.

• Trades planned in advance and ‘anticipated’ work best

One of the main reasons to create a Forex trading plan is because pre-planning your trades and pre-determining what you are looking for in the markets is the best way to profit over the long-run. You will never be more objective and calm then when you are NOT in the market, so if you can plan out all your trades when you are not in the markets, you will be totally uninfluenced by market variables when you are in a trade, and this will work to protect you from becoming an emotional Forex trader.

• Be patient and wait for the conditions of a plan to unfold – don’t force the issue

Patience is perhaps the most important virtue that a Forex trader can possess. When you are a patient trader it means you know what you are looking for in the markets and you wait for your trading edge to appear before you execute a trade. Trading in this manner eliminates many losing trades that are the result of trading emotionally…or without patience. A large part of trading, and perhaps the largest part, is simply waiting for an “ideal” price action setup or other trade setup to form in the market. Traders who don’t wait for an ideal setup to form, end up losing their money quickly because they negate their trading edge and are simply gambling instead. Make sure you stress the importance of patience in your trading plan, this way you will be reminded every time you read it why being a patient trader is so important to making money in the Forex market.

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