1. Lack of Experience
Forex trading – like any new initiative – has a learning curve. However, unlike learning a new skill such as learning to play guitar for instance, you are not risking your entire savings while discovering the difference between a major and minor chord. Learning about the currency markets and basic trading principles solely on a trial and error basis is not a recommended approach for gaining the skills necessary to be a successful forex trader.
Most online forex brokers offer a practice version of their trading platform that offers the very same experience as a live trading application. Typically, once you create a practice account, you are free to trade and deal as you wish risking only the “play” money used to seed your account.
With a practice account, you can see how the market reacts to economic forces including news events without actually risking your investment capital. However, you must treat this account seriously if you expect to learn from the experience. If you simply shrug off a loss without understanding why the loss occurred, then you are wasting your time and setting yourself up for disappointment. Take advantage of this unique forex market training tool before committing your money to a real trading account.
2. Unreasonable Expectations
First off, stop believing all the “get-rich quick” hype still perpetrated by some forex dealers. Yes, there are those that do get rich trading forex but some people also get rich selling houses. In either case, it does not happen overnight and it might take years to gain the experience and insight to turn forex trading into a full-time, successful occupation.
As a new trader, if you manage to stay in the game without losing all your money in the first few months as is all-too-common – then you may be able to learn what is required to be profitable. In other words, don’t quit your day job just yet.
Absence of a Sound Trading Plan
Next to having unreasonable expectations with regards to the risks associated with forex trading and the amount of time required to be successful, a common mistake made by new traders is the lack of a trading plan. In reality, there are two aspects to this plan; an overall objective for your trading activities and a plan for each trade you make.
Your overall objective should include the currencies that you intend to deal in, the amount of leverage you will use, and the amount of time you intend to devote to your trading activities. Your plan must also include a realistic rate of return you expect to achieve. In addition to your overall objectives plan, you also need an exit strategy plan for each trade you make that includes the upper and lower boundaries of the trade.
In other words, you must identify the level at which you will close positions and take your profits (take-profit order) or in the case of a losing trade, the level at which you are prepared to go before you get out of the trade thus limiting your losses (limit order). We’ll talk more about stop-loss and take-profit instructions later.
4. Lack of Discipline
A plan is only of value if you actually have the patience and the discipline to follow it. While this can be difficult, it is necessary if you expect to be successful, and it is this very reason why developing a plan prior to the trade is so fundamental. As rates fluctuate, you can easily get caught up in the market and it is only human nature that you will begin to second-guess your actions.