Forty million results are returned in little more than half a second when performing a simple Google search for “currency trading.” Indeed, it’s truly amazing how much information is right there at our fingertips on the Internet and in the media. So much, in fact, that new and aspiring traders are really left to wonder, with everything that’s readily available out there, what’s fact and what’s fiction?
From clever marketing pieces, to the talking heads on TV, and even broker-sponsored content and communications, it seems everyone is talking about currency trading; just not everyone is “telling it like it is.”
So if ever someone calls currency trading a playground for scam artists or a “game” that small, retail traders can’t win, well, that’s not true. And if ever a strategy or methodology sounds too good to be true, well, maybe it is! Now here’s some other straight talk about currency trading, including a couple truths you can believe in, along with a popular misconception that you really shouldn’t.
Have you ever seen a chart overlaid with so many trend lines, waves, and indicators that it’s hard to even find price anymore? Indeed, indicators and specialized trading methods are more prevalent than ever, and it seems like there’s always a “hot, new” indicator or method that’s all the rage. Simplicity, however, never goes out of style, and it’s important to keep in mind when choosing a strategy that multiple indicators and moving parts only add variables to your trading, and likely won’t improve results. In fact, pure price-action trading, which relies on little more than trend lines and simple moving averages (SMAs), is every bit as effective as any of the more complex methods out there for currency trading.
So why overcomplicate things or rely on unproven technologies, mysterious black box systems, or proprietary methods that won’t—or can’t—tell you why or even how they work? Use fewer indicators, and don’t feel a need to try many at once. Instead, start out using only price as your guide, and you’re more likely to speed up your learning curve, develop more knowledge and confidence, and find some early success in currency trading. That’s a much different fate than often finds those who toil away from the start while trying to make sense of multiple, conflicting indicators.
Besides the biggest motivator, which is obviously profit potential, freedom, flexibility, and autonomy create much of the allure behind currency trading. Traders get to “be their own boss” and work most anytime they want, and while those items are well-known and expected by new traders, there are some “surprise” facets of currency trading that many discover only after they get started. Many wish they would’ve known about them from the start, though:
Especially when swing trading on higher time frames like the daily and weekly, there’s a lot more waiting around and sitting idle in currency trading than many initially expected. This proves problematic for some, who may force trades out of boredom or struggle to stay alert and engaged amidst the day-to-day monotony.
Currency trading is typically a solitary activity, and traders must police themselves, remain disciplined, and hold themselves accountable for any plan divergence or broken rules. Many rely on a mentor, join groups, or engage a spouse, friend, or trading partner to help promote more healthy interaction and accountability with respect to their currency trading.
World currency markets are open more than any others: essentially 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, and unbeknownst to many traders, there’s a “sweet spot,” and specific days/times when their unique strategy will perform best. Finding it is entirely up to them, as there’s really no need or benefit to staying glued to the screens all day or even for long stretches. We trade for as little as ten minutes a day, for example, and favor end-of-day trading to limit risk without sacrificing results and still maximizing trading opportunities.
There’s long been an idea that retail currency traders stand little chance when going up against the “big guys,” the banks, professionals, and institutional traders who compete alongside us in the markets. It’s been thought that those parties enjoyed a unique competitive edge, but if ever that was true, it’s likely less true now than in years past. In fact, while the pros do trade larger size, the important regulatory strides and growth of currency trading technology has done much to empower retail traders and level the playing field. Professionals do, however, have experience and discipline working in their favor, and we believe it’s that, not insider information and top-secret technology, that separates retail traders from the pros.
Professional traders work confidently and consistently operate within the confines of their own, proven trading strategies, while retail traders typically vary, try new methods and indicators, and fail to isolate their true niche in the markets. It’s not due to a knowledge or technology gap, and it may not even be that the pros have better strategies at their disposal. Instead, it’s all in the way that successful traders apply their methods, so as a retail trader, whenever you think about emulating the pros, don’t think about trading huge size and complex strategies; think about extreme discipline and patience, the tightest risk management, and having full confidence in your own methods.