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This week’s question comes from Kishon, who asks:
How long does it take to become a profitable Forex trader?
One year? Three years? Maybe five years or more?
It’s a question everyone wants answered. I get that.
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Who wants to devote time and effort to something without having some idea of how long it might take to see results?
Not anyone I know. But the truth is, it’s an incredibly subjective topic.
You see, the amount of time it takes you to become a profitable Forex trader depends on several factors. Some of those you can control, and others you can’t.
However, the good news is that there are things you can do to speed up the process. In other words, you can learn from my mistakes—and I’ve made plenty.
If you want to learn some methods for fast-tracking your Forex journey, you’re in the right place.
I’m also going to share a few questions you need to ask yourself along the way. Some may be difficult or even uncomfortable to face, but it’s important that you do.
Let’s jump right in!
The determining factors for how long it will take you to become a consistently profitable Forex trader fall into two categories.
Which do you think has more influence on how long it will take you to succeed?
If you said number two, I’d agree.
There’s no doubt that some individuals are wired to learn how to trade Forex faster than others. Given that it took me nearly a decade to get it right, I’ll assume I’m not one of them.
That proves my point though. Successful traders aren’t born with it. Even those with natural ability have to put in the time and effort to get to the top.
So, natural talent aside, what factors determine how quickly you can become a profitable Forex trader? Let’s take a look.
This happens to be a topic I deal with on a daily basis. One of the most common questions I receive is how much money can I make trading Forex?
You can see how this question ties in nicely with the subject of today’s post.
I don’t mean to scare you away, but unless you absolutely love trading, you’re going to find the journey to consistent profits to be an incredibly painful one.
Not many people are going to tell you that, but it’s true. I didn’t choose trading as a career because of the money I can make. I chose it because I love watching how the market ebbs and flows, regardless of whether I stand to make money or not.
It’s a game for me, but one I take very seriously because it’s also my business.
Passion is the only thing that will get you through the tough times. Not a desire for money, exotic cars or fancy watches.
The amount of time you commit to Forex has a direct impact on the amount of time it will take you to become profitable.
That may go without saying, but it’s surprising how often we forget the simple truths.
All else being equal, the trader who commits four hours per day to studying the markets is going to develop faster than the trader who only devotes one hour per day.
The notion is simple enough. The more time you spend studying something, the faster you absorb the content. You can also cover more ground by studying for four hours per day versus the trader who spends one hour per day.
However, there’s also an x-factor here called your subconscious mind.
If there’s one truth I’ve learned during my own Forex journey it’s that the subconscious mind plays a much greater role than you may realize.
Learning about pin bars and channels is great, but nothing helps more than spending time in front of your charts. Not necessarily trading, just observing and documenting market behavior.
That’s why I’m a fan of journaling. It’s a great way to train your subconscious mind. The more time you spend studying your charts each day and journaling your observations, the sooner you’ll achieve consistent profits.
The biggest difference between trading and just about any other profession is the education and qualification process.
Allow me to explain…
Whether you want to be a teacher or a brain surgeon, there’s a process you must follow.
A school isn’t going to hire you without some form of a degree to prove you’re qualified. Similarly, no hospital will hire you as a brain surgeon without the prerequisite degrees and hands-on training—at least I hope not.
Forex, on the other hand, requires no degrees, training or even experience on a demo account. If you have a pulse and identification, you can open an account with a broker and have it funded in 24 hours or less.
Think about that for a moment. Just about every other professional career requires years of schooling and often tens—if not hundreds—of thousands of dollars in education.
Yet here we are as traders, getting the green light to begin trading with real money in 24 hours or less. Talk about a recipe for disaster.
If you want to know why becoming a profitable Forex trader is so difficult, you just read one of the top reasons.
The bottom line is that trading the Forex market is a career. That means you have to spend the time and money educating yourself as you would with just about any career path.
Now that we’ve covered some of the broader topics that affect how fast you become a profitable trader, let’s discuss some specifics.
Below are a few ways you can fast-track your success. These are things that have helped me immensely throughout my Forex journey that began in 2007.
Do you need the money in your trading account to pay bills or put food on the table?
If so, you’re going to find it incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to control your emotions. Uncontrolled emotions are what lead to mistakes like overtrading and risking too much per trade.
Of course you’re free to do as you wish, but if you’re in this position I urge you to stop. Get yourself to a better place financially first, and then think about funding a trading account.
The good news here is that just because you don’t have disposable income doesn’t mean you can’t learn. In fact, there’s no better time to spend studying your charts and training your subconscious mind to recognize various patterns.
This site is called Daily Price Action for a reason.
Some think it’s because I release price action setups daily. And while that may be true, I named it that because most of what I do revolves around the daily time frame.
Since 2002 when I started with equities, I’ve tried every time frame available. I’ve used the 5-minute time frame, the 1-hour time frame and everything in between.
There was even a time when I was attempting to use the 1-minute chart. My thinking was that the lower time frames produce more setups, and more setups equal more profits.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
What I didn’t know at the time was that quality trumps quantity. When I think back on it, what I do today is the exact opposite of what I used to do on the 1-minute chart.
Back then I had a “more is more” mindset. Now I know that less is more. The less I trade each month, the more I often earn.
I’ve now taken this approach to the extreme. Instead of taking five to ten setups each month, I’m down to two to five per month. In fact, in the last seven weeks, I’ve taken a total of four entries on just two currency pairs.
But here’s the thing…
I just booked nearly 300 pips on one pair and I’m sitting on a total of more than 1,000 pips on the other. If it reaches my target, which seems increasingly likely, I’ll net more than 2,000 aggregate pips from a single trade idea.
Trading from the daily time frame won’t be for everyone, but I can tell you that it has done wonders for my trading and helped thousands of my members and visitors alike.
I truly believe that the daily time frame helps level the playing field. It brings us retail traders eye level with the institutions that would otherwise control the game.
In addition to trading from the daily time frame, using price action is what turned my trading around many years ago.
There are too many Forex traders focusing on the wrong thing. Most spend their time searching for various strategies and indicator combinations.
After a while, their screen is so cluttered with indicators that the actual chart has all but disappeared.
I remember the first time I removed all indicators from my charts. It was a moment of clarity but a little frustrating at the same time.
I had spent so many years focusing on indicators, and all I had accomplished was covering up the answer to my problems.
Don’t make the same mistake. I’m not saying all indicators are bad as even I use the 10 and 20 EMAs.
However, in my opinion it’s best to start with no indicators at all. Learn how to use the various candlestick patterns and chart formations I teach on this site.
Only once you’ve mastered those should you even think about adding an indicator or two, and only if they add value.
Becoming a profitable trader is a process. There is no end result because you’re always learning and improving.
Even after more than a decade I’m still learning every week. The mere act of analyzing charts for the daily and weekly setups I publish is a learning process for me. That’s what keeps it fun.
I bring this up because I see far too many traders focusing on the end result. They see images on social media of fancy cars and expensive watches and think that’s the end game.
So what do they do? They rush the process and cut corners which inevitably leads to a blown trading account, not to mention all of the bad habits these traders develop along the way.
Whatever you do, be sure to take some time each week to enjoy the journey. Trading Forex can be incredibly rewarding financially, but I’m here to tell you that your personal achievements are the true reward, not expensive cars or fancy watches.
There is no universal answer to how long it takes to become a profitable Forex trader. It depends on your natural ability as well as on the decisions you make along the way.
The best advice I can give you is to enjoy the journey at every turn. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on the end result, because there isn’t one.
Becoming a profitable trader is a process. After more than a decade I’m still learning and improving every single week.
And you know what? I wouldn’t trade it for the world (no pun intended).
I can all but guarantee that if you focus on the process of good trading and stop trying to make money, you will achieve success. And learning to enjoy the process is the best way to ensure you stay on track.
I’d love for this 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:
Justin Bennett is an internationally recognized Forex trader with 10+ years of experience. He's been interviewed by Stocks & Commodities Magazine as a featured trader for the month and is mentioned weekly by Forex Factory next to publications from CNN and Bloomberg. Justin created Daily Price Action in 2014 and has since grown the monthly readership to over 100,000 Forex traders and has personally mentored more than 3,000 students.Read more...
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