By Rob Colville on December 4, 2015 in
Let’s all sound like grizzled, old trading veterans for a moment, and think about some of the best and most valuable forex advice we’ve ever come to discover. You know, what “stuff” do you wish you’d known from the very beginning?
For some, the first thought may be that the now-infamous peg that was once in place for the Swiss franc (CHF) against the euro (EUR) wouldn’t last forever. Some would certainly go back and avoid trading with now-defunct MF Global or Alpari at all costs, and most everyone has at least one trade that got away…but that’s not quite what we’re talking about today.
Instead, think about where you are right now in your trading career, and how you’ve built and advanced your knowledge to this point. For beginners and more experienced traders alike, what do you know now that’s made you a smarter and more informed trader, and if you could, what forex advice would you like to go back and give your younger self that would help you avoid a harsh lesson, or speed up your learning curve? Let’s explore that today…and I’ll even tell you mine first!
Like so many, I devoted my whole self and all of my efforts to learning to trade, and now today, in hindsight, I believe that my passion was a little misguided! You see, I meant well, but as a “newbie,” I was trying to soak up everything I possibly could; every indicator and signal, every pattern and set-up, and every market and time frame as well.
As you can imagine, it quickly became overwhelming, and all that information just ran together, producing cloudy trade signals, confusion, and subpar performance. Now, as a result of my early experiences, I give traders like you the same forex advice I wish I knew back then: That you have to strive to be an expert at one thing, not a student of everything!
As it turned out, my commitment to mastering one basic pattern and set-up was the first major stepping stone in my trading career, and had I been able to give myself that bit of forex advice early on, I surely would have, and could’ve avoided a lot of pain and frustration for it, too!
Plus, there’s a secondary lesson in all this: Dabbling in so many different technical tools and indicators never ultimately helped or made a difference in my career, because I don’t use them, afterall! So while forex advice like “Just keep it simple,” or “Less is more,” sounds so cliché, you may well find (or maybe you already have) that it’s best to only refine your own proven method, not to continually look to add to or even abandon it while chasing those mythical profits that are so easy to imagine just off in the distance!
As the saying goes, “You always see perfectly in hindsight,” meaning after the fact, you can always look back and see the opportunities you may have missed, or see the error in your ways whenever you made a mistake. All of this is part of your experience, though, and whether you have only a few trades under your belt, or many years, you’re no doubt a smarter trader for it. So when considering what forex advice you might give to your younger self, start here, with some of the key lessons and learning experiences that have shaped your career thus far:
What yielded your best trade ever? Think about the market, the technical and/or fundamental nature of the set-up, the time of day, and your state of mind at the time. And besides the market going your way, what were the factors that enabled you to take and manage that trade amidst calm and confidence? Back when you were just starting out, I’ll bet you would’ve loved to know about these good habits and what a successful trade feels like, and you may know that feeling well now!
See related: Do You Know a Great Trade When You See it?
What led to your worst trade? Likewise, what mistake (or series of them) resulted in your most disastrous trading day, and what lessons about trade selection, risk management, and decision making did you take away from it? Sometimes the most valuable forex advice is all about what not to do, and if you’ve ever made mistakes (and we all have) then you know some of those things now, too!
Your #1 market, time frame, and set-up: When just getting started trading, many are continually searching for what to trade, and how to trade it. If you’ve found your niche in the markets already, that’s great, and if you’re still searching, then my best forex advice might be to avoid the often-unfriendly confines of intraday trading and try long-term trading instead. Many traders, myself included, would probably love to be able to get back all of the physical and emotional capital they lost while unknowingly trading the wrong markets or time frames, or sub-par set-ups. If only we would’ve known precisely what works right from the beginning!
Personally, I love to spend time thinking about the present and the future, and also reflecting on the past. In life, as in the markets, we all learn some valuable lessons along the way; and often, it’s things we wish we would’ve known long before. (Like that buying shares of Apple is a great idea, and that drinking tequila never really is, just to name a couple!)
Now, as we’re nearing the end of the year, it’s a great time to reflect a little on where you are in your trading, what you now know that you didn’t before, and what forex advice you’d like to go back and give your younger self, if only you had the chance. In the meantime, here’s to your continued learning and enjoyment, and to plenty of trading success in the months to come!