How to Develop a Winning Forex Strategy

By: Aaron Stokes

More than funds are at stake when trading currencies, you are putting your reputation as a well informed decision maker on the line. Credibility is without a doubt your most valuable asset, so how does one secure credibility in the Forex market? By developing a winning strategy and sticking to it. Let's explore how we can accomplish this task, we'll simplify it by breaking things down into 3 easy steps in this easy to read article.

A trading system is a simple way of saying, how does a forex trader decide when to enter or exit the market and how much leverage should he use on each trade. Each trading system is made essentially of 3 key components. The trade entry timing, trade exit timing and deciding on the proper leverage. These three elements alone are what we look at when assessing the quality of a Forex trading system.

1 - When to enter the market

The quality of your system is going to be reflected by the amount of time you as a professional Forex trader are willing to commit to trading your system. For instance, if you are generally available during the hours of 8am to 4pm then it would not be logical to develop a system which enters during the hours of 2am to 6am. Deciding on which hours you are willing to commit towards trading Forex will determine the quality of trades you make on a regular basis. The quality of your every day life is going to be influenced by this as well. Needless to say there are countless traders who spend nearly 24 hours a day watching their monitors in fear that they will miss the next big move. This is not how I would describe a high "quality of life" and this is definitely not the path towards becoming a reputable trader. If you have experienced chart gazing for more than 10 hours straight then you know what I say is true. Your lifestyle should be one where you are able to enjoy the pleasures of living a full and abundant life without having to constantly look at the clock.

2 - Exiting the market

Once you have entered a trade you should already have an exit strategy in place. This strategy on when to exit can include variables such as duration: I will exit position after 10 hours whether in profit or loss. Your exit strategy may also be price based: I will close this position out when a certain value of profit or loss is achieved. A combination of the above two mentioned criteria can be used. A number of other exit strategies including the use of technical and fundamental indicators can also be used, however the important thing to keep in mind is that an exit strategy must be in place before ever entering into a trade. This is not improvisational trading and your goal is not to constantly invent and reinvent the proverbial "traders wheel" so to speak. If your goal is to become a reputable Forex trader you need to make a plan before you enter the market and dedicate yourself towards sticking to it. If you do this you will be well on your way to achieving your goal.

3 - Use proper leverage

No table can stand on 2 legs alone, leverage is undoubtedly the essential 3rd leg to any successful trading system. As a Forex trader knowing how much leverage to use on any given trade can be the life or death of your account. On any given trade you should have firmly established criteria which will determine how many lots you will use. A dangerous place to find yourself might be adding lots to a losing position in the hopes that it will turn into a winning trade, or compulsively closing out half of your position before your target is met. These two actions when carefully planed ahead of time may be sound in strategy, however it is essential that your trading rules are written before your trade is placed. Please do not under estimate the power of emotions. You will not meet a single successful trader who hasn't learned to seperate his emotions from his trading to some degree. Emotional trading will cause you to increase or decrease your leverage based on how you feel in the moment, and in that moment your emotions will trick you into throwing your entire trade plan out the window. By creating a plan which includes when to enter, when to exit and how much leverage to use you will become free to execute your trades without the fear that your emotions will get in the way. Professional fund managers use these techniques to make million dollar decisions every day.

The joy of mastering your emotions allows you to experience them without the fear that they may end up controling you, this is a large part of becoming a professional investor. Emotions are not your enemy, they only become your enemy when you allow them to influence your strategy. A reputable Forex trader is not a zombie, or a machine that turns out trades without thinking or blinking; the goal of every Forex trader is to create a lifestyle which promotes an inner sense of accomplishment. Putting these 3 keys into practice will evolve your trading style and help you to achieve the level of success which a few international elite traders enjoy on a daily basis.

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