4 Guidelines for Forex Trading I Follow

Monday, December 15, 2008
Forex trading may become a much easier activity if you follow your own or someone else’s well-formulated guidelines. I’ve based my guidelines on my past Forex trading experience and knowledge gained listening to some of the best stock and Forex traders. What’s important is that the guidelines are not the laws and rules — they are not the only way to success, they just help the traders in their endeavor. Here’s the list of my four Forex trading guidelines:
  • Risk only 3% of the total trading capital with each trade. Generally it’s quite hard to come up with the comfortable risk percentage value for your trades if you want to keep a good money management and still let your funds grow at a nice rate. For me 3% is the optimal level — safe enough to save and high enough to gain.
  • Reward-to-risk ratio should be no lower than 1. Many currency traders prefer trading with the ratio not less than 2 or even higher. That’s a problem of risk/gain balance too. For me the opportunities with the ratio above 2 are very rare — maybe, because I prefer high accuracy trades. If your accuracy rate is far from 90% than sticking to reward-to-risk ratio of 2 would probably be a better decision.
  • Don’t leave the positions open through the weekend. The weekly opening gap can be a killer. Don’t underestimate it. As a swing trader, I prefer to open my positions in the beginning of the week and I always close them before trading ends on Friday. The gap in the price rates that usually occurs after a weekend can make your stop-loss trigger far from the levels you planned it to.
  • Wait before opening a new order after you’ve just traded. If you jump into another position right after you closed or opened a previous order is a straight road to overtrading and an empty balance. I always wait some time analyzing opportunities and resting from the Forex market before setting up my next order. Maybe, for the extreme scalpers this isn’t a best decision, but for the absolute majority of the medium-term Forex traders it is.

Forex: Tools of Trade

Monday, December 1, 2008
Although, the success in the Forex trading is largely associated with the trading strategies and systems that can be usually bought for money, those are not the real tools of the Forex trader. They can only be considered as the «shortcuts to the riches». Every professional should employ his own tools of trade and the Forex traders should have them too. Independent on the professionalism level of the trader, these tools help to analyze the markets and to calculate all the necessary numbers for money management and position taking:

MetaTrader 4 platform — perhaps the most important of the tools, a successful Forex trader should have. Even if you don’t trade with MetaTrader broker you should still download this free platform and use it for charts and technical analysis. With MetaTrader you can browse charts and the past history of almost all currency pairs, you can apply dozens of standard indicators and use the custom user-tailored indicators, you can back-test strategies using their strategy tester and forward-test your systems and expert advisors on the free demo servers. MetaTrader is your number one tool if you want to go beyond the beginner’s level in Forex.

Risk and reward calculator — a helpful tool if you prefer to know your reward-to-risk ratio before opening a real money position and manage your risks correctly. This risk-to-reward calculator will only for the chart patterns with the distinctive local peak and bottom. It’s based on the Fibonacci retracements.

Pip value calculator — it’s not a trivial task to calculate the value of a pip if you trade exotic currency pairs and/or have your trading account in some exotic currency. Understanding the value of the pip is important to accurately calculate your profits and losses. The on-line pip value calculator tool will help you to determine the pip value with the minimum efforts from your side.

Pivot points calculator — this tool will be useful to you only if you prefer to trade using technical pivot levels. There are many types of pivot calculators available — floor pivots, Tom Demark’s pivots, Camarilla pivots, Woodie’s pivots, etc. I suggest you using the on-line pivot point calculator, which combines the calculation of all the possible pivot point types.

Fibonacci calculator — if you trade via the MetaTrader platform you don’t need a separate Fibonacci calculator because you can use the standard indicator to build Fibonacci retracement levels. But if you use some web-based or some other inferior platform, you’ll enjoy calculating the Fibo levels with the on-line Fibonacci calculator.