Trading Forex for a Living: What We Can Really Expect


This week I have been teaching the Online Trading Academy Professional Forex Trader class, live in the UK. As usual, expectations are high among the new students of Online Trading Academy as they take their very first steps into the world of Professional Forex Trading. My job as instructor and guide is to show them how to gain consistency and profits in the markets through the use of disciplined risk management techniques, thorough trade planning and objective analysis of the markets to help them find only the lowest risk and highest probability opportunities available. Trading consistently and safely requires patience and skill and before any individual takes their hard-earned cash to the market, they need to fully understand the necessity of sticking to a plan and fundamental rules.

Let's be honest, emotions can get the better of us all and when actual money is on the line, we can all be victims of poor decisions and reckless behavior. The rules we define as traders are there to help us remove emotions like fear and greed, thus providing us with a controlled environment to execute our trades. In my opinion, without the correct education, a novice trader has the odds for success stacked firmly against them from day one, but even after taking the right steps to get the education they so badly need, there is still a danger of breaking the rules from time to time. Once a trader learns to trust their rules and begins to flawlessly execute their plan in the market, things start to pick up, but we have to realize that following our rules rather than following our heart is the real key to success in the end. All of us need to remember that the professional trader trades what they see, rather than what they think. If you learn to trade from technical reasons rather than simply for the money, you are most definitely on the right track to making things work in your trading.

After the novice trader recognizes this simple fact, they then tend to ask the same million dollar question: "When can I expect to be able to trade for a living?" Understand this, each of us has our own pace of learning, making the answer to this all-important question different for each individual; however, to some extent, there are guidelines we can reference to give a general idea of what to expect. Before I share a distinct analogy with you, let me define the key differences between the novice and the professional trader:

  1. The Novice Trader: Knows the Rules but does not follow them
  2. The Professional Trader: Knows the Rules, understands the Rules and follows them

As I explained before, the rules are there to take the emotion out of trading, and when a trader has clearly defined these rules and decides to stick to them, they will make progress. It can just take time to develop the mental fortitude to adhere to the guidelines. The more we implement the rules, the more they become hard-wired into our psyche, allowing us to achieve consistent profits in the face of adversity.

So what level of success can the newly educated trader expect from their speculative activities, assuming that they are disciplined enough to follow the plan and stick to the rules? Well, let's compare this to another equally challenging pastime, golf. There are many amateur golfers in the world who love to play the game, but struggle with consistency and form, resulting in much frustration and many broken clubs! Just like anything else, the way to get consistent at golf is to first, seek the education needed to play the game properly in the first place. It would be absurd to think that you could simply buy a book about golf and then turn up at the course and play a successful round. The only way to take the first steps to actually learning the game properly is to actually get out there and play, ideally starting with lessons and instruction from a professional golfer who can show you the way to hold a club, maintain the swing and strike the ball. Once you have been shown the technique, you then need to go out and practice. The more you practice, the greater chance you have of getting into a routine of hitting the ball consistently without actually thinking about it too much. You actually begin to develop muscle memory as such. With a little time and playing reasonably regularly, you can then develop a respectable handicap, getting you around the course in a relaxed fashion and maybe allowing you to win the odd local tournament with friends. Trading is not so unlike this. With a little practice and self discovery, we can all get into a routine of sticking to a plan and making successful trades. The winnings may not be enough to live off full-time, but they will steadily build the account and even perhaps subsidize the monthly bills.

Again, like golf, moving into the world of becoming a consistent professional is going to take further commitment and investment. The professional golfer will seek the best mentors available to help with their game and spend the vast majority of their spare time hitting balls at the range and playing rounds out on the course. They achieve the scratch handicap eventually, entering bigger regional tournaments with decent prize money and get paid to instruct other novice golfers at their local golf club, if they choose to do so. They play the game they love and get paid to do it, earning full-time living in the process and enjoying a great quality of life. We can see many parallels with the professional golfer and the professional trader who also trades full-time for a living, enjoying a flexible lifestyle and the freedom to call their own shots. The pro trader worked that extra bit harder to become as consistent as possible, following the rules to the nail, knowing what it takes to be disciplined and consistent. The rules are respected and not broken and as a result, this trader gets paid for the effort they put in and dedication they show to their ongoing education within the market.

Is this analogy unlike any other? Becoming a professional in any arena is possible with the right guidance and commitment. It takes both financial and time investment to succeed and trading is no different in this respect. My advice to any new trader wishing to do this for a living is to simply get the right education from the start from someone who is actually doing it in the first place. Find your style, define a plan and get consistency. Allow time to do its work, don't put pressure on yourself, just allow time to do its work. Trading is not a get rich scheme by any means. Manage yourself and manage your expectations from the start and who knows the rewards you may eventually reap in time.

Wishing you a great week,

Sam Evans


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