Rule #1: Always invest with money that you can afford to lose.
Rule #2: Withdraw 50% of your profits every month, until you make back your initial investment.
Rule #3: Trade conservatively! “It’s better to go slow and safe then fast and risky”.
Rule #4: Always back test and forward test your strategy on a demo account before trading it on a live account.
WHAT IS FOREX?
Forex is a commonly used abbreviation for “foreign exchange”. It typically describes the buying and selling of currency in the foreign exchange market, especially by investors and speculators. The familiar expression, “buy low and sell high,” certainly applies to currency trading. A forex trader purchases currencies that are undervalued and sells currencies that are overvalued; just as stock trader purchases stock that is undervalued and sells stock that is overvalued.
The foreign exchange or ‘Forex Market’ is the world’s largest financial market. It is a non-stop cash market where currencies of nations are traded off-exchange through brokers.
It is estimated that, on average, $3.6 trillion is traded each day in the world Forex markets. The vast majority of Forex trading does not occur on any one centralized or organized exchange but through brokers on the interbank currency market. The interbank currency market is a twenty four hour market that follows the sun around the world. Opening in Australia and closing in the U.S. Whilst the market exists for organizations with exchange risk, speculators also participate in the Forex markets in an effort to profit from their expectations regarding shifts in exchange rates.
WHO TRADES FOREX?
In the early part, the Forex market was used by institutional investors that transacted large amounts for commercial and investment purposes. Today however, importers and exporters, international portfolio managers, multinational corporations, speculators, day traders, long term holders and hedge funds all use the Forex market to pay for goods and services, transact in financial assets and speculate or to reduce the risk of currency movements by hedging their exposure or increasing their exposure through speculation.
In today’s information age the Forex market is no longer solely for institutional investors. The last 10 years have seen an increase in non-institutional traders accessing the Forex market and the benefits it offers. Trading platforms such as MetaQuotes MetaTrader have been developed specifically for the private investor. Forex automated trading systems or Experts Advisors (EA’s) with Managed Accounts have now become available to the average trader. These have all added to the attractiveness of the Forex market for the private investors.
HOW DO YOU READ A QUOTE?
Because you are always comparing one currency to another, forex is quoted in pairs. This may seem confusing at first, but it is actually pretty straightforward. For example, the EUR/USD at 1.4022 shows how much one euro (EUR) is worth in us dollars (USD).
WHAT IS A LOT?
A lot is the smallest trade size available. FXCM accounts have a standard lot size of 1,000 units of currency. Account holders can however place trades of different sizes, so long as they are in increments of 1,000 units like, 2,000, 3,000, 15,000, 112,000 etc.
WHAT IS A PIP?
A pip is the unit you count profit or loss in. Most currency pairs, except Japanese yen pairs, are quoted to four decimal places. This fourth spot after the decimal point (at one 100th of a cent) is typically what one watches to count “pips”. Every point that place in the quote moves is 1 pip of movement. For example, if the EUR/USD rises from 1.4022 to 1.4027, the EUR/USD has risen 5 pips.
WHAT IS LEVERAGE/MARGIN?
As mentioned before, all trades are executed using borrowed money. This allows you to take advantage of leverage. Leverage of 200:1 allows you to trade with $1,000 in the market by setting aside only $5 as a security deposit. This means that you can take advantage of even the smallest movements in currencies by controlling more money in the market than you have in your account. On the other hand, leverage can significantly increase your losses. Trading foreign exchange with any level of leverage may not be suitable for all investors.
The specific amount that you are required to put aside to hold a position is referred to as your margin requirement. Margin can be thought of as a good faith deposit required to maintain open positions. This is not a fee or a transaction cost, it is simply a portion of your account equity set aside and allocated as a margin deposit.
FOREX NEVER SLEEPS
Trading goes on all around the world during different countries’ business hours. You can, therefore, trade major currencies at any time, 24 hours per day. Since there are no set exchange hours, it means that there is also something happening at almost any time of the day or night.1
GO LONG OR SHORT
Unlike many other financial markets, where it can be difficult to sell short, there are no limitations on shorting currencies. If you think a currency will go up, buy it. If you think it will fall, sell it. This means there is no such thing as a “bear market” in forex – you can make (or lose) money any time.
LOW TRADING COSTS
Most forex accounts trade without a commission and there are no expensive exchange fees or data licences. The cost of trading is the spread between the buy price and the sell price, which is always displayed on your trading screen.
Because forex is a $5 trillion a day market, with most trading concentrated in only a few currencies, there are always a lot of people trading. This makes it typically very easy to get in to and out of trades at any time, even in large sizes.
Because of the deep liquidity available in the forex market, you can trade forex with considerable leverage (typically 200:1). This can allow you to take advantage of even the smallest moves in the market. Leverage is a double-edged sword, of course, as it can significantly increase your losses as well as your gains.
As the world becomes more and more global, investors hunt for opportunities anywhere they can. If you want to take a broad opinion and invest in another country (or sell it short!), forex is an easy way to gain exposure while avoiding vagaries such as foreign securities laws and financial statements in other languages.
For more extensive and highly interactive Forex education, we highly recommend the School of Pipsology