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10 Myths About Forex Trading

10 Myths About Forex Trading

With an average turnover in excess of USD 5.3 trillion per day (according to the preliminary global results from the 2013 Triennial Central Bank Survey of Foreign Exchange and OTC Derivatives Markets Activity), forex (FX) is the largest market in the world in terms of volume of trading.

Like any other trade, forex trading isn’t without its fair share of myths. These myths can potentially affect any trader, seasoned or novice; so knowing and steering clear of these myths can save them unnecessary frustrations.

Below, we look into some of the most common myths about forex trading, which will be helpful for those who are thinking about trying their hand at currency trading.

1. Forex trading is easy

This is the most common of the myths about forex trading. “Read a book or two, set up a brokerage account and you are ready to make daily profits in the forex market.” Well, if you are thinking about jumping into trading forex, it takes a lot more than just reading a book or two.

Understand that trading is anything but easy. If you are dreaming about a quick buck trading the forex market, you’re in for a rude awakening! Some might suggest, “Download and set up an Expert Advisor Software and you’re sure to make big money trading FX.”

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Installing a piece of software may be easy, but being able to use the program effectively to for maximum profit requires a certain level of understanding of the market. The successful traders in forex not only put a lot of effort into what they do, they also have acquired years of experience to be able to place winning trades.

2. You need a degree in economics to trade forex

It is true that foreign exchange requires an understanding of world economics to a certain extent and that having a general idea of economic concepts is helpful in trading forex.  Nevertheless, it is not necessary to have an advanced degree in economics and understand every economic principle to be trading currencies.

Many forex traders come from diverse academic backgrounds. To be a successful trader, what you need is a good head for numbers, an intuition to help you guesstimate where the market is heading and the ability to react quickly to market-moving events.

3. You need to predict what is going to happen in order to make money in forex

Since geopolitics has a big influence on the forex market, the traders who make money are the ones who are quick to react to the things happening around the world, rather than the ones making predictions.

Trading predictions can sometimes be made. This may be possible by analyzing the charts and recognizing certain patterns that have occurred in the past and assuming they might occur again. But for the most part, it is rather the quickness of reaction that makes a trader money instead of novice predictions which may or may not come true. A good trader is always alert, reads and interprets the news and is always willing to learn and evolve.

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4. You need a large sum of money to trade in the forex market

There was once a time when only larger international banks and financial institutions could access and trade in the foreign exchange market. Thanks to the advent of electronic trading, those days have come and gone. Instead of launching a full blown and costly brokerage firm or bank, a small organization can simply launch a forex white label and be able to run a forex trading business very economically.

Furthermore, now that the forex market has become accessible to small traders through forex brokerage accounts, anyone with a reliable internet connection and a relatively small amount of money can trade currencies online. Nowadays, a brokerage account can be opened with as little as $25.

Of course, trading with $25 will probably not bring in as much profits as trading with $25,000. Nevertheless, a novice trader can hone his/her trading skills with smaller amounts first.

 5. You need to watch the market 24 hours a day to be successful

The forex market is open 24 hours a day and requires a lot of commitment from traders who want to succeed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to watch the market 24 hours a day to make money.

Some traders even have regular jobs. They manage to allocate a little time from their daily schedules to trading, which allows them to execute some trades at the end of the day – and still make a good income doing so. You don’t really need to sit in front of a computer staring at charts all day long.

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Besides, there are automated software packages available in the market that do a lot of the work for you.

6. Being unconventional improves your chances of success

Being conventional or unconventional does not have much to do with a person’s chances of success trading forex as much as one’s understanding of the FX market, its drivers and the factors that influence foreign exchange rates.

Rather than trying to be unconventional, good traders learn and adapt to the changes in the market, which improves their chances of success.

7. The higher the leverage, the better

Trading forex on margin carries a high level of risk. A good trader knows that the higher the leverage, the higher the level of risk because the multiplicative effect of the trades is higher. Trading with relatively smaller amounts of leverage reduces the possibility of losing all your funds, while trading with high leverage could lead to large losses that even exceed your invested capital.

It is true that you can get lucky and have higher leverage work in your favor, but the reality is that you have an equal chance that it can work against you. Why take that chance?

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8. You can get rich quickly in forex

In Forex, there are quite a few short term speculators who jump into the market hoping to get rich quickly with very little effort. Unfortunately, quick prosperity is rare even in the world’s richest market.

Trading takes a fair amount of effort to master, as well as significant patience and consistency. The impulsive gambler mentality seldom works in the realms of foreign exchange.

9. The more complex the strategy, the better

Complex is not always better. Although complicated trading strategies may sometimes bring you big returns quickly, it rarely ever happens. In fact, complex strategies in trading often prove  much more difficult to execute and earn a profit with.

Good traders often stick to simple strategies; strategies that make them money. In forex, even the best trader wins only a few more times than he loses, making a profit from the difference. Consequently, tweaking strategies to make them more complex may be detrimental and only increase the overall risk.

10. The market is rigged

When too many bad trades are made, some traders often complain that the market is rigged or that the brokers are corrupt. While it is true that a country’s currency can be controlled by governments and central banks to a certain extent, forex, as a market, is not a scam.

The truth is that forex is too liquid and volatile to be rigged. Forex rates change often and disciplined traders are there to take advantage of the fluctuations using winning strategies. If you are making too many losing trades, think about the most likely culprit: that you need to spend more time learning to trade rather than the market is rigged.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

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So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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