The Forex market is one of the largest, most liquid and most volatile markets in the world. Open 24 hours a day, the forex market is a flexible option for traders wanting to trade.
With the rise of the Internet and more powerful computers, the forex market has become accessible to a wider audience. This means it’s not only the playground of investment banks, multinational companies, and hedge funds.
It’s not all good news for would-be traders though. One of the more depressing statistics for beginner traders in Contracts for Difference (CFD) is the fact that 82% of private traders lose money. If you’re new to trading, you might well wonder if it’s really possible to make a living from currency trading, given that the overwhelming majority of small traders do not.
The short answer?
it’s definitely possible to make a consistent income from Forex trading.
So, what are your chances of becoming a successful Forex trader, and how much can you make?
Let’s jump right in.
Becoming a professional trader is possible
The issue with many beginner traders is that they underestimate the level of commitment required to really succeed. They’re not ready to do what it takes to become a real trader.
They don’t spend enough time and energy to develop their patience and discipline, to build a winning attitude with a realistic mindset, or acquire the trading skills and knowledge that will allow them to make consistently profitable trades.
They often give up at the slightest mistake or challenge, or make undisciplined, wild trades which frequently leads them to lose their entire trading capital.
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To be able to build a career as a full-time Forex trader, there are many things you’ll have to do right over the long-term.
“The goal of a successful trader is to make the best trades. Money is secondary”, Alexander Elder
Whether you’re a part-time or full-time independent trader, your main goal should primarily be to be a good trader. The money will follow.
Create your trading routine
For that, you need to act like a professional trader, and create the same kind of trading environment and routine that a professional trader would follow.
If you think about it, most professionals follow some kind of a routine, whether that be singers, athletes, or doctors. It helps them maintain a certain level of discipline in their process.
For traders, a routine is useful, because it allows them to follow a certain path when they plan their trades and trade their plans. This minimises positive outcomes and negates trading mistakes.
Don’t worry, creating a trading routine is easy – you just need to remain motivated and committed over time. The most important thing is to develop your own trading routine, one which fits your trading style and daily life.
To achieve that goal and boost your performance while continually progressing, you’ll need to:
- Honestly assess your understanding of trading, know yourself very well, and recognise the things about yourself that affect your discipline, patience, focus, and follow-through
- Have sound knowledge of how trading and the currency market work
- Keep in mind your end goal
- Create and follow a profitable trading system with a solid risk management (risk-reward ratio, win rate, stop-loss and take-profit orders)
- Know how to adapt yourself and your trading strategy to changing market conditions over-time
- Track your progress with a trading journal, and monitor your track-record
- Develop winning habits and adopt a positive mindset to be able to get over the obstacles of Forex trading, as well as overcome your own unhelpful tendencies (over-trading, trading out of boredom, trading impulsively, and cognitive biases such as anchoring, recency, confirmation, addiction, loss-aversion, etc)
- Keep learning to optimise and improve your personal skills and your trading practices.
How much trading capital should you start with as a Forex trader?
Nowadays, you can start trading with as low as $100, but don’t expect to make a living with such a small amount of initial capital.
Part-time vs. Full-time traders
Obviously, starting as a part-time trader requires less trading capital than starting as a full-time trader.
It’s also easier to start small in order to test your trading strategy, to learn how to follow your trading plan no matter what, and to build confidence in order to become a good trader, while earning extra money to complement your salary.
You’ll also have less pressure and emotional attachment than if you had to trade for a living straight away, because you still have the benefit of income from your job. You can then focus on becoming a good trader that makes profits each month. If you can make winning trades and constant profits with a small/medium trading account, then you can do the same with a bigger account.
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Don’t be undercapitalised
Example: Let’s say you’re starting as a part-time Forex trader to test your trading strategy starting with around US$5,000 to $US10,000. A reasonable goal to target would be around 2% return each month with an annual growth goal of around 20%.
Of course, you will use a certain level of leverage to increase your returns.
With 30:1 leverage, your US$10,000 account will allow you to invest up to US$300,000. To open one “lot” on a currency pair, the required margin linked to 30:1 leverage will be about 3.33%.
Expert Tip: If you want to succeed, you should follow best practises: always stick to your trading plan and control your risk to protect your capital. For instance, only risk 1% of your money on each trade. With an account size of US$ 10,000 you should then only risk US$100 on each trade.
Of course, if you want to make a living from Forex trading, you need to start with enough trading capital.
If you’re wondering what the exact amount of capital is – there is no direct answer, as it depends on you, your trading system, how much you’re ready to risk, as well as how much you plan on potentially earning
Determine the right amount of capital for you
To know how much capital you should use to start trading, it’s important to take into consideration firstly how you’re going to be educated, and how you’re going to approach the Forex market.
Receiving a stellar trading education is absolutely essential if you want to be successful. At My Trading Skills we offer a stellar online financial trading education. See the features of the course here.
It’s risky to start using real money before you understand how trading works. Invest in yourself by improving your trading knowledge, so you avoid making costly mistakes that take you out of the game before you’ve even got started.
Once you learn more about these trading practices, you can determine the way you approach the market.
- How available are you to trade?
- Are you going to use technical or fundamental analysis?
- Are you going to develop automated trading strategies, or rather use discretionary trading techniques?
Thinking about trading approaches, you’ll come to realise that what your Forex broker provides for analysis isn’t enough. Your trading system may require purchasing additional software, trading tools, or powerful news feeds, for instance.
Once you know how much trading education you need, and if you’re going to require additional tools to properly trade, remember that you will need to trade large enough trading positions to be able to make money to sustain a healthy income. You will also need to make sure you’re not placing excessive risk on one single position.
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How much money do Forex traders make?
We’ve all heard of stories of Forex traders that made millions in the markets in the short term. You can get inspired by these stories, but don’t compare yourself to these people – their situation is completely different. You have different starting capital, risk tolerance, trading method, risk and money management rules, trading experience, etc.
Despite these stories, trading isn’t a “get rich quick scheme” – it’s a business, one that requires work and dedication to grow over time.
Knowing exactly how much money Forex traders earn every month or every year is impossible. No one really knows. But there are some elements you can take into consideration to get a good estimation of how much money you can make from FX trading.
Key elements to consider:
- What is the size of your trading account?
- How many trades will you do per year?
- What is your expected return for every dollar you risk (trading expectancy)?
- How much you will risk per trade?
- Will you withdraw your profits, or not?
Let’s return to our previous example of a US$10,000 account. Let’s say that you plan to place 150 trades per year, and for every dollar you invest, you target an expected return of 20% over the long term, while risking only 1% of your trading capital, or US$100, each time. You will not withdraw anything, so you can compound the returns in your account.
If you multiply your trading expectancy, your trading frequency and the size of your investment on each position, you can calculate your potential profits. With the above conditions, you can expect to make on average $3,000 a year, or 30% on a US$10,000 account.
Obviously, the more you trade, the more money you can potentially make. The same applies to your bet size – the more you risk per trade, the more you can make on average. And of course, regardless of your trading strategy, the more trading capital you start with, the more money you can make.
In any case, the odds of you building a successful trading career are good if you start acting like a professional trader, with realistic goals set in place and a sound trading strategy with a positive expectancy.
Find inspiration and motivation in other famous Forex traders’ path to create your own success
Like any other kind of job, Forex trading requires that you learn the right trading skills and techniques. Learning from (or better yet, with) mentors who are successful and experienced Forex traders is probably the easiest and most effective way to receive the required trading knowledge and practice to forge your trading career.
Reading the stories of profitable Forex traders’ road to success can also give you ideas on what to do, as well as which mistakes to avoid, without sacrificing any of your trading capital.
So, who are the best Forex traders in the world you can read about?
George Soros, Bill Lipschutz, Paul Tudor Jones, Stanley Druckenmiller, Andrew Krieger are frequently listed amongst the best Forex traders. They all have a story to tell, not only of their successes, but also their mistakes. All of them have a lot to teach you on how to profit and make money with Forex.
So, consider this …
As Sun Tzu once said:
“Every battle is won or lost before it’s ever fought”.
Entering trades is like a battle – if you want to win it, you need to be ready and prepare for it. Markets are unpredictable, and you can’t predict every possible scenario, but what you can control is yourself.
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CHAPTER QUICK LINKS
- 2.Why is Forex Popular?
- 3.Why Forex is (or isn’t) for You
- 4.How Does Forex Work?
- 5.Popular Traded Currencies
- 6.History of Forex Market
- 7.FX cash, CFD or Spread Bet?
- 8.How Margin Trading Works
- 9.Best Time of Day to Trade
- 10.Forex Regulation And Protection
- 11.Forex Trading Examples
- 13.Mind, Money, Method
- 14.Forex Risk Management Strategies
- 15.Winning Forex Strategies
- 16.Technical vs. Fundamental Analysis
- 17.New Forex Trader Mistakes
- 18.Dangers of Forex Trading
- 19.Next steps