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Can You Make a Living Trading Forex?

Last Updated July 29th 2020

Can you make money trading forex? Yes, forex trading offers numerous opportunities that can help traders increase their wealth and make a name for themselves. After all, the forex market is the most liquid financial market in the world, which makes it popular with traders from all walks of life.

The high levels of liquidity, 24-hour availability, and ease of access have made forex trading a popular way to make money. For some investing in forex is a career choice. Simply because the benefits of becoming your own boss and working at convenient times are highly attractive prospects for many people!

Here at Trading Education, it’s our aim to explain the world of trading, so both budding investors and experts will have all the information they need to make informed decisions when trading forex.

We have compiled this short guide to help you understand whether it is possible to make money trading forex. Also, do not hesitate to sign up for our forex trading course to become a pro.

How Does Forex Trading Work and How Can You Make Money Trading Forex?

how does forex trading work

Perhaps you, and many aspiring traders, wonder whether it is possible to make money trading forex. The honest answer to your question is yes! It is possible to make a living trading forex, but first of all, you should understand the basics of forex.

So, what is forex? Forex, as explained above, is the largest and most liquid financial market, which attracts many traders from all over the globe. Traders will buy and sell currencies based on different indicators, analysis data, and market expectations on whether the currencies they are trading will rise or fall in value.

Thanks to the mighty Internet, forex - once controlled by large multinational firms and investment banks - is now open to anyone who wants to trade forex and make a profit.

An in-depth understanding of forex, as mentioned above, is essential to help traders become pros in the industry. Engage in webinars, social media groups, and even open a demo account. Follow the news and learn from the big fish in the world of forex, which will help you build a successful forex trading routine and style - major factors to making money by trading forex.

In fact, all traders have to establish a strong trading style as well as a consistent strategy. That said, whether you decide to explore the secrets of scalping or the opportunities that position trading offers, do not forget that there is always risk involved.

With a wide range of major, minor, exotic, and emerging pairs, every transaction requires traders to predict the value of one currency against another. Note that it is common for some currency pairs, such as EUR/USD, to move between 40 and 100 pips each day, depending on the market conditions on the given day.

Let’s not forget that the term 'pip' refers to the smallest movement of a pair, or the fourth decimal place in it (or the second decimal place when JPY is involved). For example, if the EUR/USD moves from 1.3600 up to 1.3650, that means a trader has made a 50 pip move.

The good news is that you can make money in forex trading by purchasing different lots of the base currency you are trading; standard (100,000 units), mini (10,000 units), micro (1,000 units), and even nano (100 units).

Traders will look at a variety of indicators to decide what pairs and when to trade. After all, from volatility behaviour patterns to economic changes to convenient timing, trading forex is full of unknowns... but also unlimited opportunities.

How Much Capital Is Needed in order to Start Making Money Trading Forex?

how much money do you need to start trading forex

There’s no doubt that you can make money trading forex. If you are interested in forex trading, however, there will always be an initial capital input. The exact amount of money required to start trading forex will depend on how much you are hoping to earn… and also the amount you can afford to lose.

But hey, the forex market requires the lowest levels of investment to get started! There are different types of forex trading accounts, including micro accounts. You can even start with a $1 account! Starting with an account under £1000 might not allow you to leave your full-time job immediately, but gradually, you’ll see your capital pool grow, and you could eventually make a living by trading forex full-time.

That said, if you are wondering if you can make money trading forex, you should understand that investing more will allow you to fully benefit from any large movements in the market. 

Interestingly, many day traders start part-time and use their profits as an extra income, as this requires a lower initial investment. This is a great way to build confidence and an understanding of the forex market. Once the technicalities of trading are understood, a larger sum of money can be invested, which will lead to larger profits and the possibility of earning a full-time income.

To decide how much capital to invest in order to make money trading forex, it is important to calculate how much money you can afford to risk. There is a big difference between using spare capital to trade in an effort to be able to purchase luxury items and risking your life savings to pay your daily bills.

The psychological pressure is extremely high, so you will need to decide how much you can afford to invest until you perfect your trading strategy.

How Do I Develop a Successful Forex Trading Strategy to Make Money Trading Forex?

how to develop a successful day trading strategy

As stated above, though you can make money trading forex, you need to understand the complexities of the forex world and accept the fact that winning and losing are two sides of the same coin.

While some forex traders take advantage of the volatility in the market and large price swings, others use high leverage to benefit from small fluctuations in the short-term.

Here we should note that there different strategies that forex traders can explore; day trading, scalping, swing trading, position trading, and arbitrage are some of the methods to use to make money trading forex. Interestingly, you can also trade forex on news releases and M&A activities. No matter what strategy you choose, you should be consistent and self-disciplined to make money trading forex. 

In general, a successful forex day trading strategy will take into account different indicators, including risk-reward ratio and win rate. For example, if you trade successfully 60 out of 100 trades, your win rate will be 60%, which can be profitable.

Interestingly, the reward/risk notion in forex takes into consideration the investment which needs to be risked in order to make money trading forex. If a trader has a win rate of 50%, losing 10 pips on unsuccessful trades while gaining 15 pips on winning trades, then they can make money by trading forex.

The most successful traders aim for a high win rate percentage, as this provides greater reward-risk flexibility. It is advisable to always keep the risk levels as low as possible, with most traders aiming for an investment risk of 1%. This means that if your account holds £4,000, you would never lose more than £40 when carrying out a trade.

How Much Money Can I Make Trading Forex?

Can you make money trading forex? Yes! But how much? This is often the first question novice traders ask when researching a career as a full-time forex trader. In truth, there is no such thing as 'easy money'. 

Yet, in the trading world, there are ways to make it easier to achieve large profits, which will make it possible to earn a living trading forex.

As explained above, to make money in forex in the long-term, one has to consider numerous factors, such as investing in forex trading education, keeping track of news releases, establishing a consistent strategy, and aiming for a high win rate. The experience and knowledge a trader holds greatly assist in their success in forex.

That said, there is no way to predict how much money you can make trading forex. No matter how brilliant your trading abilities are, there are economic changes, political issues, and many other factors to account for. The size of your account, lot sizes, and currency pairs types should be considered as well.

Although it is possible to attain returns of up to 20% each month, in reality, this is difficult. But with dedication and a well-executed strategy, it is entirely possible to make profits of between 5% and 15% every month.

Eventually, you can become a millionaire trading forex but that requires a lot of time, patience, and consistency.

Still, If I Can Make Money Trading Forex, How Do I Calculate Potential Earnings?

can you make living trading forex, calculate potential earnings

Though nobody can predict how much you can make trading forex, you can estimate your potential earnings. The potential earnings when trading forex can be calculated based on three factors: your capital investment, your win rate, and the amount you are willing to risk per trade.

For example, a trader who holds $5,000 with a win rate of 55% could decide to risk only 1% of their capital. In this scenario, the investor could place a stop-loss order 5 pips away from their entry order, with a target of 8 pips away. This would provide the trader with a reward of 1.6 points greater than the risk.

On the other hand, we have to consider how much leverage is applied. In the US, for instance, a forex broker can provide leverage of up to 50:1. If a trader has $5,000 available and the broker provides leverage of 30:1, the trader can hold positions of up to $150, with limited risks.

Based on the examples above, it is possible to calculate the profit potential over a month of forex trading. If $50 is risked on each trade, with a pip movement worth $10 and a 6-pip stop, the winning trade would be worth $80. Over a month, it is achievable to carry out 100 trades, which includes 20 days of forex trading. If the desired win rate of 55% is achieved, that means there are 55 successful trades which have produced $80 each, with a total income of $4,400.

However, in our scenario, 45 trades would have been unsuccessful, with $50 lost on each, totalling $2,250. Assuming there are no commissions to pay to a broker, in the end, a gross profit of $2,150 over the course of a month would be achieved.

Is It Possible to Predict the Market’s Volatility and Potential Risks in order to Make More Money Trading Forex?

what is the risk in trading forex

There are many ways you can make money trading forex and one of them is by predicting the market’s volatility and potential risks. That said, though many forex traders aim to make a profit, predicting the market is never a certainty.

For example, in January 2015 the Swiss National Bank removed the Swiss franc's cap against the euro, which had been in place for three years. Thus, in just one day, the Swiss franc soared to a high point of 41% against the euro and 38% against the U.S. dollar. That surprise move by the Swiss government impacted innumerable forex traders, helping some to make huge profits while leaving others, including brokers, on the verge of bankruptcy. It is worth remembering that these sudden periods of volatility are not that common, so traders can also make a lot of money trading forex.

After all, as with all types of investments, there will always be a risk. We should note that one of the most significant factors that a trader needs to take into account when evaluating possible risks is slippage. In fast-moving markets such as forex, it is common for changes and losses to occur surprisingly quickly, even when a stop-loss order is in place.

Another reason why novice traders often fail is that they do not realise when they have gained a slight edge on the market, such as a small pip profit, which can quickly translate into quite substantial returns. If a trader enters the market with a small sum and does not realise when they have achieved an edge, they are likely to make trades with high levels of risk in search of a quick profit. When a successful edge is combined with the sound principles of forex trading, a trader’s profit levels can increase as the capital levels grow. This will ideally lead to high trade returns in the long-term.

Therefore, to make money trading forex and minimise risks, you should first gain a deep understanding of the industry and create a consistent trading strategy. The key to success is in your hands!

Can I Make Money Trading Forex without a Broker?

how to choose a forex broker

There’s no doubt that you can make money trading forex. In the forex market, a trader will usually go through a forex broker to start trading and making money. The forex broker is considered a middleman in the exciting world of forex trading, characterised by its decentralised nature. As there is no central clearing process and rules governing the transactions, it is important to choose a reputable and reliable forex broker.

Some forex brokers can charge a commission and increase the spread between the offer and the bid. Note that the bid price is the price you will receive if you choose to sell your currency, while the ask price is the price you will need to pay to buy the currency you are interested in.

Forex brokers can also offer a fixed or variable spread. If you are a trader with a variable spread during a major period of volatility in the market, the spread could adjust and you could make a lot of money trading forex, more money than previously anticipated. Yet, the volatility of the market could also be unfavourable to your trade.

To make money trading forex, you have to choose a reliable broker you can trust. Checking a broker’s credibility is essential. Other factors to consider are the ease to withdraw your money, the usability of the online platform the broker uses, and the level of customer service.

What Is a Typical Day like for a Day Trader who Makes Money Trading Forex?

Although it is possible to make money trading forex, it is also important to consider whether the working day of a forex trader is something that appeals to you. 

Here we should note there are institutional traders and retail traders. To provide an example, institutional traders who make money trading forex are employed by a large institution. This provides them with access to large amounts of capital, extensive analytical software, and a direct line to a trading desk. These traders usually follow news events and arbitrage opportunities to capitalise on low-risk events before an individual day trader can react.

An individual trader, on the other hand, will usually trade their own capital but can also manage other people's investments. In most cases, they will not have access to a trading desk but use their strong ties to their broker to gain an insight into the market. Most individual traders will analyse the market themselves and use different strategies to make money trading forex part- or full-time.

Both individual and institutional day traders will use multiple news sources to gain valuable insights and in-depth information on a daily basis. Note that news releases are among the most valuable commodities in the world of forex trading. In fact, access to information has always been a major driving force in our world.

The majority of day traders will use a software platform provided by their broker, while those with technical experience could build their own trading system. The best platforms will provide data feeds and real-time news updates, which will allow you to find profitable trends and time frames for successful trading strategies.

All traders require a high-speed internet connection and a professional software platform. To make it easier to view multiple charts and technical indicators, it is advisable to invest in a powerful desktop computer with multiple monitors.

On top of that, forex traders must establish not only a powerful trading style but a successful trading routine. Balancing work and a healthy lifestyle, as well as social life, can be crucial to forex trading success.

What Personality Traits Do I Need to Become a Good Trader and Start Making Money Trading Forex?

personality traits of a good trader

Though establishing a forex trading routine and a consistent strategy is important, you can make money trading forex only when you realise the importance of forex trading psychology. Any effective strategy needs to be supported by a strong sense of discipline and emotional self-control.

There are many day traders who end up losing money because they decide to trade out of greed or revenge. Usually, this happens when a trader gets caught in the moment or has already lost money and is trying to quickly gain it back. There is a well-known motto in the trading world: 'Plan the trade and trade the plan', as profitable trading is impossible without discipline.

A very important aspect of forex trading is the psychological stress it can cause. The key to trading with discipline is to remain unemotional about your trading steps. Of course, when your trade moves are successful, your stress levels are low. But you will need to find ways to cope with stress caused by any potential changes and losses in the market.

Controlling your emotions when trading forex is vital to help you make money.

Key Points

  • You can make money trading forex only when you understand the basics of forex trading. Good trading education is crucial to success.
  • Forex is accessible, so you can start with a small account and trade part-time before you actually start making money by trading forex full-time.
  • There are different forex trading strategies that can be profitable. The key to success is simply consistency!
  • Though nobody can predict their potential gains, making a lot of money trading forex is possible over time.
  • Choosing a reliable broker is also important to help you make a living trading forex.
  • A good routine and self-control are crucial to forex success.

We are here to help you to become better trader. Simply sign up for our forex trading course to become a pro. Additionally, if you would like to find out more about how you can make a living trading forex, explore our website or contact our knowledgeable team.

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