I am going to give you my insight into some of the key things that helped me start making money in the forex market. It may not be exactly what you want to hear, because it’s not necessarily going to be ‘fun’ or ‘entertaining’, but if you actually put in the effort and start implementing some of these ideas, I am certain you will notice major changes in both your trading mindset and your trading decisions. Sadly 80% of people who start reading an article never finish it, so for your own sake please make sure you’re one of the 20% who finish articles they start reading , this one is important :)
You have to do what you need to do to make money trading, not what you want to do, and these are often two very different things. Keep your mind on the end-goal and make sure you continue seeing the ‘forest for the trees’ so that you don’t get off-track and fall back into the same trading traps that have caused you to lose money.
What follows are the key things that I did or changed which allowed me to move from losing to winning in the market…
Use wider stop losses
You might be ‘choking’ your trades to death by using a stop loss that is too tight and sits inside the daily range of the market. You have to give your trades room to breathe; don’t suffocate them. Most novice traders place stops inside the markets daily range and that is the equivalent of giving your money away. Check out my article on how to use the average true range as well as this article on how to place stop losses; they will give you some ideas on how to place your stop losses strategically whilst still giving your trades room to breathe.
Of course, there is a ‘catch’ here, if you want to call it that. It’s that with wider stop losses, comes the fact that you need to reduce your position sizes. But, this shouldn’t be thought of as a ‘bad’ thing. On the contrary, placing your stop loss properly, means that you are trading properly and respecting the market; it means you are behaving logically, not emotionally. If you trade this way for long enough, you will make money and you will build a track record that reflects that. Traders with respectable live account track records over a one-year period, don’t have trouble finding funding or getting more funds to trade.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can trade lower time frames and get a tighter stop. Sure, as you get better you can catch trades on the 4 hour or 1 hour charts that don’t require as wide of a stop, but you won’t be able to do this successfully over a long period of time if you don’t already know how to trade the daily chart profitably and understand proper stop loss placement on that time frame.
Don’t view wider stops as a handicap, instead, view a properly placed (probably wider than what you might like) stop loss as part of proper trading and proper trading habits that will ultimately lead to you becoming a consistently profitable trader much faster than if you place your stops emotionally, based on greed.
Take fewer trades and hold them longer
Holding fewer trades for longer can result in much more profit, much faster than ducking in out of the market all the time and entering many trades. Big money is made in the market by catching big moves and holding them, trading this way is also a lot easier than high frequency trading and it also means you don’t need a high winning percentage to be profitable, because one big winner can pay for many losers.
The more often you trade, the more spreads or commissions you pay to your broker. Over the course of a year, these fees add up, eating into any profit you may have had. When you take fewer trades but hold them longer; you are not paying nearly as many of these broker fees and you’re still giving yourself the chance to take advantage of strong market moves.
Trading less means less emotional trading mistakes like over-trading / over-leveraging your account. One big reason why so many traders end the year unprofitable, is because they gave back all their profits after a nice winning streak. You have to protect your trading capital and be very picky about which trades you take if you want to make big money; thus take fewer trades and hold them longer.
Holding trades longer gives you the opportunity to catch big moves in the market and that means you’re riding the market and taking advantage of its power. Granted, big directional moves and strong trends don’t happen all the time, but they happen enough and if you know how to trade them they can make you a lot of money with very little involvement on your part.
One way to take advantage of these big moves and to really pull a lot of money out of them, is by pyramiding your positions. This is essentially where you scale into a trend as it moves in your favour, building a bigger position size whilst trailing your stop loss as the trade becomes more and more profitable. To learn more, check out my article on pyramiding for profits here.
At the end of the day, just remember that one good trade per month or even every two months, that you hold for weeks or months, can make you more money and result in a much higher % return, with far less work and stress than ducking in and out of the market all month.