Trading Success—Not About the Money

08/29/2014 6:00 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Anna Coulling

Professional Trader, Professional Trader

Anna Coulling of AnnaCoulling.com shares a recent question-and-answer between her and a subscriber about the three things to remember before even considering trading for a living. Trading takes time, confidence, and experience.

Question: Hi Anna—I am going to keep an eye on the currencies and see if I can use what I have learned from your book to spot trends and develop strategies. I was just curious to know, is it quite possible to make a living from trading the markets and how long you reckon it would take? Also what platforms should I use to begin trading and for the best up to date/live charts?

Answer: Hi—first of all, many apologies for the delay in replying, but your email ended up in my spam folder and I have only just discovered it as I was clearing it out—so many, many apologies. Thank you so much for investing in my books and thank you too for your very kind comments which are much appreciated, and I will do my best to answer your question if I can—which is an interesting one.

The short answer is yes—there are many traders around the world who trade full time and live comfortably from their efforts, and I guess I am lucky to be one of them too. It is the dream of many, and whilst it is perfectly possible to achieve, it does take time, effort, and discipline to achieve consistency, and herein lies the problem. It is not something that can be achieved quickly—like any other skill—it takes time to develop and build both confidence and experience. Most aspiring traders are sold on the Internet dream of a ‘get rich quick route’ to the life of a full-time trader. The dream of giving up the day job forever. You can, of course, in time, but not at the start. There are many things to learn and many lessons to learn, and some can only be learnt the hard way in losing money. As Everett Klipp (grains traders) said in a book I was reading recently, once you start to enjoy losing money, than you can start winning. And this is certainly true—you have to learn to lose before you can learn how to win.

The biggest problem that most traders face is in the emotional aspects of trading, managing their emotions as positions move in and out of profit and loss. The key to success is consistency, and as I always say, it’s not about the money. After all, if I showed you how to turn $1000 into $1100 this is a 10% return, which is an excellent return but hardly one to set the pulses racing. After all, you have made $100 in a year, and yet this is an excellent return. The key is to set realistic targets which are achievable. The other point I always stress is never to give up the day job too quickly. Trading is stressful and you do not need the additional stress of earning a living from your trading, so my advice is to keep the job for as long as possible whilst you practice and learn.

My final piece of advice is to start trading real money as soon as possible BUT with the smallest contract or lot available. This will then help you to learn and trade with the real emotion of making and losing money. It’s all about consistency. If you can make a few dollars a day, consistently, then you can make a few hundred or a few thousand—and the reason is simple. You have proved to yourself that you have the discipline and skills to produce profits consistently. Thereafter, it’s simply a question of building bigger positions in the market with a larger base of trading capital. Finally, with regard to trading platforms, I would suggest you start with an MT4 platform for spot forex which you can find free with most brokers. Set up your live account but make sure that the broker offers micro lots—these are the smallest contracts available at 10 cents per pip, so a 100 pip move in the day will only result in a $10 move higher or lower in your account (on the EUR/USD for example).This will help you to learn how to trade using real money but in tiny trading size.

By Anna Coulling, Professional Trader & Blogger, AnnaCoulling.com

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