Foreign exchange or currency trading is offsetting one nation’s currency against another’s. The basic elements in Forex trading are capital, method, money management and discipline. It will take all four of these elements to be a consistent and successful trader. To obtain control over these four elements is going to require practice, practice and more practice.
All traders must have sufficient capital to survive. Enough money will allow a trader to hone his skills and to play the game long enough to become successful. The amount of money will determine how many lots or chunks of currency that can be traded at a single time. A standard lot is $100,000 US, which requires a margin of $800-$1600.
The bulk of a trader’s time, initially, must be put into developing a successful method of trading. There are hundreds of methods and schools of thought on how to best trade Forex. The trader needs to decide, before he risks any money, what is the method to be traded. Is the method to be oscillator trading with stochastics, relative strength index or MACD. Is the method to be trend following using simple or exponential moving averages or channel trading or using a simple trend line. Fibonacci retracement or extensions, and Andrews pitchfork’s are also methods employed by many professional traders. Choose your method that you know works, and then stick with it. Don’t try to change it, just execute it.
You cannot become a successful trader without proper money management. Regardless of what other traders tell you, always, always use a stop loss order. A stop loss order is essential for the trader’s psychological peace of mind. The stop loss is to be placed in a logical place, behind a prior swing high or swing low. This order is intended to cut the traders loss to a small loss and to prevent catastrophe. In an odd way, executing your method precisely also is a money management tool because by executing your method without hesitation will allow the smallest stop loss order.
Millions of dollars will not make you a successful trader if your method is flawed. Having the best method in the world is not sufficient if you do not exercise proper money management. Starting with sufficient capital, a great method and precise money-management are not enough, if you do not have the discipline and attitude to calmly trade correctly.
To put it all together requires one thing and one thing only: practice. At the beginning it is recommended that you use a demo account and not actual money to practice. The demo account gets the trader comfortable with the process. Nothing can prepare the trader for actual real-time, money at risk trading. It takes some people months, some will take years, and some will never get it. Keep practicing if you really want to succeed at Forex trading.