This week’s question comes from Claire, who asks:
Can I start trading Forex with just $100?
There is a big difference between what you can do and what you should do. That applies to trading as much as to life in general.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
Forex brokers have offered something called a micro account for years. The advantage for the beginning trader is that you can open an account and begin trading with $100 or less.
Some brokers even decided that micro wasn’t small enough, so they began offering “nano” accounts.
To those with limited funds, the flexible position sizes and small minimum deposits may seem like the ideal solution.
But just know this–
A Forex broker is not your friend. If they didn’t need your name to open an account they wouldn’t ask, because they simply don’t care.
Their number one priority is getting you to deposit funds. This is precisely why the micro and nano accounts were created. It gave Forex brokers access to clients who are unable to fund a standard account due to financial constraints.
In other words, these unconventional account types were designed to benefit the broker, not you.
I’m not some bitter trader who has it out for these brokers. I’m extremely pleased with my broker and have been for quite some time.
Send me an email if you’d like to know who I use.
But it is important to understand that just because they offer you a way to start with $100 doesn’t mean you should.
In this post, I’ll answer the question of whether you can and should start trading Forex with $100. We’ll discuss the various account types and position sizes and I’ll also share some tips on how to determine the right account size.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this subject because it isn’t the primary focus of this post.
However, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with these terms, particularly if you intend to move forward with a micro or nano account.
For this post’s purposes, there are four common types of Forex accounts. I’m sure there are others, but these are what most Forex brokers will offer.
These three names refer to the number of units you’re allowed to trade. This brings us to the names of various lots or units that you will buy or sell.
|Lot||Number of Units|
As you can see, a nano lot is a 1,000th the size of a standard lot. So if a 1 pip move on the EURUSD equals $10 with a standard lot, it would equal just $0.01 with a nano lot.
If you open a standard account, you will likely still be able to trade mini or micro lots if you so choose. The same does not necessarily apply if you wish to trade standard lots using your mini or micro accounts; the idea with these restrictions is to keep mini, micro and nano accounts from trading standard lots.
With that said, I’ve seen some brokers completely disregard these restrictions which makes me wonder why they have boundaries at all.
But that’s the general idea. So as you can see, the ability to trade lot sizes so small that 1 pip equals $0.01 means it’s possible to begin with just $100.
With the advent of micro and nano accounts at many Forex brokers, you can, in fact, start with as little as $100. Heck, I’ve seen some offer a minimum deposit of just $1.
Many of those brokers also provide up to 1:1,000 leverage. Combine that with a $1 minimum deposit and they have created a ticking time bomb for the unsuspecting trader.
But luckily, the fact that you’re here reading this means you won’t be suckered into one of these schemes.
Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. So if a Forex broker offers a way to start for $100, should you take it?
That depends on several factors, but if it were up to me the answer would always be no.
We’ll get into the specifics a little later, but for now, just know that it comes down to probabilities. What are the odds that you or anyone else will turn that $100 account into $100,000?
Pretty darn slim.
It’s hard enough to turn a $5,000 or $10,000 account into a six figure sum, but doing so with just $100 is as close to impossible as you can get.
Your job as a Forex trader is to stack the odds in your favor. You likely already do this when evaluating trade setups, but it’s just as important, if not more so when deciding the starting size of your account.
Money is a powerful thing. Lose too much of it while trading and you may be put off by the notion of risking money in financial markets altogether.
But there is another side to money and emotions that plagues us traders, and that is a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Let’s assume for a moment that you move forward with your plan to start trading Forex with $100. You make the deposit and a couple of days later the account is ready to go.
At this point, you’re feeling on top of the world. After spending ample time with a demo account (I hope), you’re now ready to start making the big bucks!
On the very first day of your newly funded account, the EURUSD forms a bullish pin bar at a confluence of support. It has all the markings of an “A+” setup.
Without hesitation, you open your account and submit a buy order risking 2% of your account balance which is $2.
After four trading days the pair has hit your 2R profit target, which equals 4% of your account. Excited to see your freshly minted money you open your account and there it is…
A profit of $4.
Now, in a perfect world you would relish the idea that you just pulled out a 4% profit in just four trading days.
Notice I wrote 4% and not $4.
Remember, everything is relative, so any trading performance should be measured by percentages and ratios rather than dollar amounts or pips.
But here’s the thing…
You’re human just like everyone else. This means the excitement from your first real profit will fade when you realize it’s only $4. Not only that, but it took four trading days or almost 100 hours to do it.
That alone can lead to overtrading and overleveraging the account because that $4 isn’t going to keep you satisfied for long.
The reason I shy away from telling someone to begin trading live with $100 has to do with financial security.
I obviously don’t know Claire’s situation or anyone who asks this question. But when someone hints at the idea of starting with a hundred bucks, I get a bit nervous for them.
Whatever amount you deposit into a Forex trading account should be 100% disposable. That means you can afford to lose the entire amount without it affecting your day to day life. You can still pay all your bills, provide for your family, etc.
So if you tell me that you only have $100 of disposable funds, that makes me nervous. It tells me that your financial situation might not be as secure as it should be to be able to support the risks involved with trading.
Now, I could be completely wrong. For all I know, the person asking this question could have $100,000 in the bank and zero debt.
But my experience tells me otherwise.
My point here is that you should only consider trading Forex – or any market for that matter – once you can afford to lose money.
If you can’t, my suggestion is to work on getting your finances in order and then save up for a live trading account. We’ll get to how much you might need for that in the next section.
If you want to win at trading, you can’t be afraid to lose.
In the last section I examined whether you should take a broker’s offer to start with just $100.
Well, I have a better way of asking that question…
Do you have $100 of disposable money?
In other words, if you take $100 out of your bank account or wherever you keep your money, can you still pay the bills and put food on the table?
The loss of that money should not adversely affect your living situation.
If you answered no to the two questions above, you should not pursue that offer to start with $100. In fact, for the moment you probably shouldn’t be trading with real money at all.
Instead, spend some time demo trading and saving up enough money to get started. We’ll get to how much you might need shortly.
Now, if you answered yes to two questions above, here’s my next question for you.
Do you have $500 of disposable money to begin trading Forex?
Same rules apply here. If you answered no, you may want to stick with a demo account and work on stabilizing your financial situation first.
If you answered yes, you could entertain opening a live account with that amount of money but only after you’ve built up some confidence through your demo account.
Although you can begin with $500, the minimum amount I recommend is $1,000. Not because you need that much to open an account, but because it shows you’re serious. It also suggests that you’ve been trading demo for a while and are now ready for the big leagues.
Moreover, if you have $1,000 that you can afford to lose, it means you’re less likely to make emotional decisions. Nobody wants to lose $1,000, but if you do it won’t adversely affect your life.
Remember, scared money isn’t an option here. You should be prepared to lose whatever amount you deposit into a Forex account.
That doesn’t mean you will lose it. But if you go in knowing you can’t lose it, your emotions are sure to get the best of you. In other words, you’re putting yourself in a no-win situation.
The most important question here is, what amount of money is meaningful to you?
In other words, what amount will give you the best odds of success without breaking the bank if you lose it all?
As with most aspects of trading, the amount of money you start with is a personal decision. Only you can decide how much you need.
But keep in mind that it’s usually harder to build a $100 account than it is to build one that starts with $1,000. The reason is that a profitable trade on the lesser amount will leave you feeling unsatisfied. This can lead to overtrading and overleveraging the account.
That trader starting with $1,000 is also less likely to make emotional decisions because they can afford to lose it. There are exceptions to the rule, but I’ve found that tends to be the case more often than not.
In a perfect world, a beginning trader would judge his or her performance on percentages and ratios rather than dollar amount.
But we’re all human. This means that your starting amount will influence your decisions to some degree, so be sure to choose an amount that makes sense and resonates with you on a personal level.
With the advent of micro, mini and nano lot sizes it is certainly possible to open a Forex account with just $100. Many brokers accept amounts as low as $10 and in extreme cases just $1 will get the job done.
But there is a big difference between whether you can start trading Forex with $100 and whether you should. And just because many Forex brokers allow you to start with that amount or even less doesn’t mean you should accept the offer.
Remember, these brokers are not your friend. Their only job is to get you to deposit your hard-earned money. That’s it!
So the next time you see one of these offers, stop and ask yourself: is this in my best interest, or my broker’s?
Starting with $100 sounds great until you realize that it puts you at a disadvantage compared to those beginning with $1,000 or more. Becoming a consistently profitable Forex trader is hard enough without the pressure of starting with insufficient capital.
Above all, be sure to choose an amount that you’re 100% comfortable with. Remember: never trade with scared money.
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: