This week’s question comes from Bode, who asks:
Can a Forex trader with initial capital of $500 trade on the daily time frame successfully?
This is one of the more common questions I receive each month. There is this misconception that to trade the daily time frame you need a large account.
Thanks to micro accounts, this is no longer the case. But just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
In today’s post we’ll discuss the use of micro accounts, but more importantly, we’ll focus on other psychological factors that come into play when deciding how much money you need.
The Advent of Micro Accounts
There are three common types of accounts in the Forex market. The first is a standard account which is usually reserved for larger traders. The second is called a mini account and is for intermediate traders.
The third is a micro account. As the name suggests, this is the smallest of the three where each contract is just 1,000 units of the base currency.
The name of each corresponds to the size of the “lots” that are commonly used. Let’s break down each account type now before we move on.
- Standard lot – One contract equals 100,000 units of the base currency
- Mini lot – One contract equals 10,000 units of the base currency
- Micro lot – One contract equals 1,000 units of the base currency
From the information above, you can see that a micro lot is 1/100th the size of a standard lot. Because of this, you can trade the daily time frame with a 100 or even 200 pip stop loss without needing a lot of money.
For example, let’s say you want to short the NZDUSD with your micro account. When selling 1,000 units, the value of 1 pip is just 10 cents ($0.10). So even with a 70 pip stop loss, you’re only risking $7.
So the question above was whether or not a trader can start with $500 on the daily time frame. As you can see, the answer is an unequivocal yes.
Now, whether you can do it successfully – as stated in the question above – is another matter entirely. But you can certainly trade a higher time frame with a $500 account and still maintain proper risk control.
Before we move on, feel free to post your preferred micro account broker in the comments below. It’d be nice to get a list going for those looking for their first Forex broker or perhaps making the transition to a new one.
How Much Do YOU Need?
So now that you know you don’t need $10,000 to trade the daily charts, the question is no longer how much does someone need?
It’s how much do YOU need to trade the daily time frame?
You see, every person is different and therefore has various needs, expectations, etc. For some, starting with just a few hundred bucks may be enough. For others, a more substantial amount may be necessary.
To help you find the answer, let me pose a hypothetical scenario.
Let’s say that after reading this post you decide to open a micro account with a broker. You deposit $500 and begin looking for your first trade.
The very next day you come across a bullish pin bar that has formed on the USDJPY daily chart. It’s with the trend, at key support and offers a two to one profit to loss ratio, so you decide to pull the trigger.
Three days later the pair hits your target, and you’re out with your very first profit using the daily chart.
Overcome with excitement you head over to your trading platform to check out your newly minted money.
But that excitement doesn’t last long. Because you risked 2% of your account balance, it means that your profit, which was twice your risk, is just $20.
In a perfect world, you should be 100% content with that. After all, you just added 4% to your account. Most traders would be thrilled to make that in a month much less a few days.
Also, as I always say, you should focus on the process of becoming successful rather than the profits. Consistent profits in any financial market are just the byproduct of a well-established process.
But let’s face it, we’re all human. No matter how hard you try, there will be an irresistible temptation to make money, especially if you’re relatively new to trading.
While that may seem like a harmless notion, if you’re only making $10 to $20 per profitable trade, it’s going to be particularly challenging for you to control the temptation to overtrade.
In other words, if the profit from a “good” trade is not psychologically meaningful to you, you’re at a greater risk of forcing trades in the near-future. And ask any trader who has been down that path, and they’ll tell you that it never ends well.
To drive this point home, let’s run through the same example only this time we’ll use a $10,000 account.
A 4% gain on $10,000 is $400. While it won’t buy you a Ferrari, it’s safe to say that you would be more than satisfied to see that kind of profit post to your account.
It’s the same 4% gain as before, but psychologically it has greater value.
You can probably see where I’m going with this.
The trader who makes $20 is arguably more likely to want to trade right away as opposed to the trader who makes $400 from a single trade. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules here and it’s all relative, but that $400 is more likely to keep you satisfied for a longer period than the $20 gain.
At the end of the day, there is no single correct answer to how much money you need to trade the daily time frame. It’s a question that only you can answer as it’s relative to your individual needs and current financial situation.
The most important thing when deciding is to consider your risk tolerance as well as the amount you deem to be psychologically meaningful. That goes for both profits and losses.
No Risk Capital, No Trading
Before making any decisions about what size account you need, you should ask yourself this one question.
How much can I afford to lose?
I don’t mean how much you can lose on a single trade; I’m talking about losing the entire account.
Any money you deposit into a Forex trading account needs to be 100% disposable. If it isn’t, you’re likely to get yourself in a lot of trouble.
So if you begin with $500, just be sure you don’t need that money for rent, food or any other necessities in life. It should be money you can afford to lose.
If you don’t have any disposable income right now, my suggestion is to stay with a demo account. Attempting to trade a real account with money you need to survive is one of the quickest ways to blow the entire sum.
The same goes for the trader who begins with $10,000. While the goal is to build the account into $20,000, $30,000 and so on, that shouldn’t be your base case.
As traders, we need to be on the defensive at all times. That goes for everything from choosing your starting account size to the position size of a single trade.
It all begins and ends with a defensive mindset.
The advent of the micro Forex account makes it possible to trade the daily time frame with just a few hundred dollars.
However, one of the most important questions when choosing a starting balance is how much money do YOU need? What is a meaningful amount to you?
Even more significant than that is how much can you afford to lose if the entire account gets wiped out?
Every dollar you deposit into a Forex account should be 100% disposable and therefore not needed to pay for any of life’s expenses.
Otherwise, you’ll expose yourself to levels of stress and anxiety too great to overcome. So stay defensive and only trade with money you can afford to lose.
Your Turn: Ask Justin Anything
I’d love for this new weekly Q&A to be successful and provide an invaluable repository of answers to common Forex questions.
To do that, I need your help.
Here’s what you can do to get involved and have your question answered in next week’s post:
- Ask questions. Post them in the comments below or Tweet them to me @JustinBennettFX
- Help me answer questions. If I missed something or if you have something to add, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
For a good trading experience on daily time frame, we need a 50000$ account, with 4% risk / trade and 1 or 2 signals / month and above 70% win rate. Everything under this amount is gambling. Purpose of trading is to become a full time trader and to make a good income from that activity. After all trading is an economic activity based on profit like any other business.
I’ll have to disagree. Win rate isn’t that important if you know how to manage risk and only take 2R+ trades. And there is no one-size-fits-all percentage to risk per trade. It all depends on several factors unique to each individual, including personality.
Thank you Justin for another grate comment, I’m still learning to be trader for 3 years, I have had lots of demo accounts I have wipe off, I have also have a few I almost double every months, now I’m trading real money and doing what you are teaching, concentrating on the quality of trades with very decent successes, yes it is the size you trade to be able to trade and stay in positive outcome. I absolutely agree that we should only trade with money we are prepared to loose. (not as we want to) Than you for all you articles, always very educational.
You’re welcome, Roman. Glad I could help.
I use Pepperstone. They offer micro, mini and standard accounts.
Thanks for sharing, Paul!
For me, I do not use that forex rule of 2%I decide,how much I spend for luxury in a day,and then risk that.if I can spend 50 USD in a day without feeling emotional,I risk that one.
Hi Paul, I only use 2% for example purposes. I don’t advocate using a fixed percentage. Instead, I use a blend of a percentage and dollar amount.
sir my broker says that there is no need of stoploss for any position, if you buy any pair and it goes against you then wait until it will come again to give you profit. is it correct ?
If your broker is telling you that then, a) I’d love to know who it is, and b) you should probably find yourself a new broker.
“you should probably find yourself a new broker.” LoL
Trading without a stop loss is very dangerous and it’s one of the ways leading to blown accounts.
I agree, Mateye.
in the uk tradefair will trade from 15p thats £0.15 per pip on some major forex pairs
Ivor, thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the article, it’s very helpful !
I have another question. Do you trading in Monday? I mean when do you setting orders after the weekend? Between Friday and Monday there is a huge time gap and often leads to different price levels.
Excellent question, Tomek. I’ll certainly consider this one for the next Q&A segment. Cheers.
“Tradersway” has been good to me…..
Thanks, Cam. Here is the link for anyone interested in learning more about this broker: https://www.tradersway.com.
Full disclosure, I know nothing about Trader’s Way, so this is not an endorsement from me.
When trading the weekly time frame, should one seek volatility and liquidity? One or the other? Any other tips?
Norm, thanks for the question, I’ve added it to the list. Cheers.
I did not understand the difference of account types. I use micro and a friend use standard but our pip value are the same. Please do explain the advantage of micro with small capital. Any example of pip value I can give is fiber with 0.01 lot size with pip value of $0.01. Does levarage affect pip value?
Hi Bernard, I’ll consider writing a post explaining the details. In the meantime, here is a brief explanation: http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/06/leverageandpipvalue.asp
Hi Justin, l am a newbie to fx and would like to learn more. Would you mind to guide on where to start. I have been doing self study and would like to know more in a structured form.
Hi Goitse, the free site has a ton of information, but I also offer a paid course and community. All of the details are here: https://dailypriceaction.com/forex-price-action-course-sale
hello Mr Justin, thanks for the lesson on pin bars it really opened my eyes, just one question, as you mentioned that trading pin bars works best on daily charts, my question is do we have to analyse the upcoming news events on market calendar or they don’t have much impact…
Hi Sifiso, thanks for the question. I’ve added it to the list for upcoming Q&A posts. Cheers.
Question: If a trader using the daily on standard lots and achieving $1k, then panic sets in. What can a trader do to secure this trade and account with as little pain as possible, rather than close the whole trade, gaining nothing. This question is really about “Mind Set”.
Hi Carol, thanks for the question. I’ve added it to the list for future Q&A segments. Cheers.
Firstly, thanks a ton for all the useful info and weekly forex forecast e-mails.
I trade a mini account with AXITRADER here in Australia on the east coast the platform I use is Metatrader 4 is free to download and no fancy subs. They are excellent and have a helpdesk here in North Sydney, very contactable.
I started with a $500.00 account and now am up to $890.00 after 2 years of me trading my strategies and implementing my trades from my education both prior and with your posts.
I analyse and trade 4 currencies pairs at present all against USD- AUD/NZD/GBP/EUR sometimes I look at the CHF. I have 2/3 hours a week to analyse and trade as I have full time job. I found that cleaning up my charts and looking at fundamental announcements, for my situation is best done on Sunday evening Aust eastern time, as the markets are closed and start running when NZD open up in the morning.
I would like to make a sustainable living and trade for a living, but need to have a couple more years in my trading apprenticeship to start trading bigger lots based on my learnt strategies.
However every trade I execute I remind myself that I am a pip collector and capital preserver even though I have a $500.00 account. It is the same principle big all small. In closing the most important thing for me is placing my stop loss on every trade I commit to.
Hopefully this will help somebody who is is new or just starting out like me.
Best wishes and thanks once again
Mike Miller Gold Coast Australaia
Hi Mike, thanks for sharing. You’re absolutely correct that the size of the account is irrelevant. As Paul Tudor Jones once said, it gets back to whether you’re making 100% rate of return on $10,000 or $100 million. It doesn’t make any difference.
I love this write up
Pleased to hear it, Taiwo.
Which broker do you work with? What can you recommend?
Alex, I don’t necessarily recommend brokers, but I’m with Oanda.
My question to you Justin is let’s say am using 4 hrs time frame,does it mean that am must wait 4 hrs for one candlestick to close in order to find out if is the right time to enter the markets, if it doesn’t am must wait another 4 Hrs? Can you please help.
I,m very grateful for your help Mr justin Bennett, I have learned something cool and very important in this. Pls I want you to advice me on what to do concerning my account , my $500 had reduce to $8 because of my careless trading. My question now is is there a way I can build my account back with the $8?
Samson everything which is in human capacity is possible under the sun. You can start with $8 and get back your lost $492. Only follow the key principles of Forex trading, particularly money management, trading psychology (be patient and wait only for good trade signals such a nice pin bar formation – do not rush in trading)
Myself I had left with $6.8 in my trading account after being reduced from $115 due to the same reason as yours (careless trading! After following trading advice from Justin and other online resources, I have managed to raise my capital from $6.8 to $56 within about 10 days (am not saying that you do the same in 10 days,no!) but am sure if you trade responsibly you can do it.
As Justin said, the amount of capital does not matter a lot in successful trading if you do not follow the rules of the game. It is like in playing football or others games if you don’t follow the rules of the game it is obvious that you will be thrown out!
i think you should save up a decent amount of money and then start with that.
I need £10000,dollars to start a motor business in Nigeria.
Good Day Justin, Thank you for the teachings you share and the knowledge, You by far the best mentor I’ve ever had, do you have a video on swing trading by any chance?
You’re welcome. That’s great to hear. Thanks for sharing.
You can check out this lesson on swing trading:
Hello Justin, you are really really good Mentor. My question is when you have 9-5 Job and you want to leave your Job as fast as you can, is then trading the right business?
Because when I start with a 1000$ account, I’m that there is impossible to make every month 200% return to leave then the Job.
As you have said there is a profit per month about 3-5% that means, that you can start Trading when you have no worry of money, but all people want to leave there Job and become a full trader – that means when you start with 1000$ Account it can takes year until you can start to leave your Job right?
Hello Justin . Thanks for this great article.. you are straight up real man.. Am interested in day trading . Been reading about Ed Seykota and love what he does.
I think I like to teach myself trading.. what I want to know is .. Am living in the UK.. what is the best trading platform I can use to practice with demo account .
Can I use ones from the USA..
I was even thinking that I would love to master trading so I do it as a business and live off of it .. love to hear your opinion
Best regards Andre