How to Become a Forex Trader – The Simple Three Step Guide

Forex is one of the most volatile type of investment markets and one of the most exhilarating experiences in the world. Forex, in it’s nebulous form, is simply trading currencies-buying and selling, betting for and against the various currencies of nations. With great liquidity and immense margins, it is one of the most effective ways to make money in a market, and easily the quickest way to throw money away.

Still interested? Here is a simple, three-step guide on how to start trading forex.

Step 1, understand how currencies are traded

First, you have to understand how currencies are traded. There are three critical terms to learn: “Exchange rate or quote,” “pairs,” “pips,” and “spread.” For starters, let’s look at a forex quote:

EUR/USD 1.3325 BUY / 1.3315 SELL

Each quote is composed of two parts, the pair and the rate. Pairs are the “items” traded on the markets, e.g., EUR/USD, USD/JPY, EUR/GBP. Each pair signifies two different currencies.

EUR/USD means “Dollars for Euro;” EUR/GBP, likewise, equals “Pounds for Euro.” The rate is what you can buy or sell the pair for. 1.3325 BUY means you can buy 1.3325 dollars for each euro, and 1.3315 SELL means you can sell 1.3315 dollars for each euro.

The second major term is “pip“. This word represents the basic unit of profit in forex so it’s crucial to understand it. A pip is the smallest increment of a pair. For the EUR/USD or any other pair it’s 1/10,000th. The yen is an exception, where the pip is 1/100th.

A final term: you might have noticed that the BUY/SELL rate wasn’t the same. That is called the “spread“. All forex markets of any liquidity have a spread of some sort, and oftentimes a broker will widen them slightly to make a profit. This is equivalent to a stock broker charging per-trade. So in order to be profitable, you will need to recoup the spread.

Step 2, practice

The second key to start forex trading is practice, practice, practice. Most forex brokers offer a $50,000 practice account. Set one up, and mess around-watch your money evaporate. After you have played around for a couple days, open another practice account, but this time develop or use a specific trading strategy. Pick a method and stick to it. You may or may not make money this time, but you will start to have a fuller understanding of the inner workings of the market. After a few weeks, try another strategy and get good at two or maybe three.

Step 3, start small

The third key is to start small. This is where most beginning traders lose the most money. After you have practiced for several months, take the strategy you know best and some money you can afford to lose. It is certainly best to chose a broker based on a comparison list or based on reputable reviews. Open a micro account, start really small, use a disciplined method, and start trading forex. Know your own psychology and resist the temptation to be driven by greed or fear.

Now we recommend the beginner to read this guide to start trading.

Or you can learn more about the forex market in this infographic.

Risk Statement: Trading Foreign Exchange on margin carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. The possibility exists that you could lose more than your initial deposit. The high degree of leverage can work against you as well as for you.