Forex Walkthrough


Trading Rules - Never Let a Winner Turn Into a Loser

Repeat: Protect your profits. Protect your profits. Protect your profits. There is nothing worse than watching your trade be up 30 points one minute, only to see it completely reverse a short while later and take out your stop 40 points lower. If you haven't already experienced this feeling firsthand, consider yourself lucky - it's a woe most traders face more often than you can imagine and is a perfect example of poor money management.

Managing Your Capital
The FX markets can move fast, with gains turning into losses in a matter of minutes, making it critical to properly manage your capital. One of the cardinal rules of trading is to protect your profits - even if it means banking only 15 pips at a time. To some, 15 pips may seem like chump change; but if you take 10 trades 15 pips at a time, that adds up to a respectable 150 points of profits. Sure, this approach may seem like trading like penny-pinching grandmothers, but the main point of trading is to minimize your losses and, along with that, to make money as often as possible.

The bottom line is that this is your money. Even if it is money that you are willing to lose, commonly referred to as risk capital, you need to look at it as "you versus the market". Like a soldier on the battlefield, you need to protect yourself first and foremost.

There are two easy ways to never let a winner turn into a loser. The first method is to trail your stop. The second is a derivative of the first, which is to trade more than one lot.

Trailing Your Stops
Trailing stops requires work but is probably one of the best ways to lock in profits. The key to trailing stops is to set a near-term profit target. For example, if your "near-term target" is 15 pips, then as soon as you are 15 pips in the money, move your stop to breakeven. If it moves lower and takes out your stop, that is fine, since you can consider your trade a scratch and you end up with no profits or losses. If it moves higher, with each 5-pip increment you boost up your stop from breakeven by 5 pips, slowly cashing in gains. Just imagine it like a blackjack game, where every time you take in $100, you move $25 to your "do not touch" pile. (For more on this, see Trailing Stop Techniques.)

Trading In Lots
The second method of locking in gains involves trading more than one lot. If you trade two lots, for example, you can have two separate profit targets. The first target would be placed at a more conservative level, closer to your entry price, say 15 or 20 pips, while the second lot is much further away, through which you are looking to bank a much larger reward-to-risk ratio. Once the first target level is reached, you would move your stop to breakeven, which in essence embodies the first rule: "Never let a winner turn into a loser".

Of course, 15 pips is hardly a rule written in stone. How much profit you bank and by how much you trail the stop is dependent upon your trading style and the time frame in which you choose to trade. Longer term traders may want to use a wider first target such as 50 or 100 pips , while shorter term traders may prefer to use the 15-pip target. Managing each individual trade is always more art than science. However, trading in general still requires putting your money at risk, so we encourage you to think in terms of protecting profits first and swinging for the fences second. Successful trading is simply the art of accumulating more winners than stops.

Logic Wins; Impulse Kills
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Time to Bring Active Back into a Portfolio?

    While stocks have rallied since the economic recovery in 2009, many active portfolio managers have struggled to deliver investor returns in excess.
  2. Chart Advisor

    ChartAdvisor for November 27 2015

    Weekly technical summary of the major U.S. indexes.
  3. Economics

    Investing Opportunities as Central Banks Diverge

    After the Paris attacks investors are focusing on central bank policy and its potential for divergence: tightened by the Fed while the ECB pursues easing.
  4. Chart Advisor

    Pay Attention To These Stock Patterns Playing Out

    The stocks are all moving different types of patterns. A breakout could signal a major price move in the trending direction, or it could reverse the trend.
  5. Chart Advisor

    Now Could Be The Time To Buy IPOs

    There has been lots of hype around the IPO market lately. We'll take a look at whether now is the time to buy.
  6. Stock Analysis

    The Biggest Risks of Investing in Pfizer Stock

    Learn the biggest potential risks that may affect the price of Pfizer's stock, complete with a fundamental analysis and review of other external factors.
  7. Stock Analysis

    Why did Wal-Mart's Stock Take a Fall in 2015?

    Wal-Mart is the largest company in the world, with a sterling track-record of profits and dividends. So why has its stock fallen sharply in 2015?
  8. Investing News

    Should You Invest in Disney Stock Before Star Wars?

    The force is strong with Disney stock, as it continues to make gains going into the launch of EP7. But is this pricey stock a good buy at these levels?
  9. Investing

    10 Cheap Vacations for the Ultimate Foodie

    If you are a foodie then explore one of these destinations in 2016.
  10. Investing News

    Silicon Valley Startups Fly into Space

    Space enthusiasts are in for an exciting time as Silicon Valley startups take on the lucrative but expensive final frontier.
  1. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, ...
  2. Currency

    Currency is a generally accepted form of money, including coins ...
  3. Hedge

    Making an investment to reduce the risk of adverse price movements ...
  4. Confirmation

    The use of an additional indicator or indicators to substantiate ...
  5. Qualitative Analysis

    Securities analysis that uses subjective judgment based on nonquantifiable ...
  6. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based ...
  1. Can hedge funds trade penny stocks?

    Hedge funds can trade penny stocks. In fact, hedge funds can trade in just about any type of security, including medium- ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How liquid are Vanguard mutual funds?

    The Vanguard mutual fund family is one of the largest and most well-recognized fund family in the financial industry. Its ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do mutual funds work in India?

    Mutual funds in India work in much the same way as mutual funds in the United States. Like their American counterparts, Indian ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are UTMA accounts escheatable?

    Like most financial assets held by institutions such as banks and investment firms, UTMA accounts can be escheated by state ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the dormancy and escheatment rules for stock accounts?

    While the specific dormancy and escheatment rules for stock accounts vary by state, all states provide for the escheatment ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Does mutual fund manager tenure matter?

    Mutual fund investors have numerous items to consider when selecting a fund, including investment style, sector focus, operating ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Flier

    The slang term for a decision to invest in highly speculative investments.
  2. Bar Chart

    A style of chart used by some technical analysts, on which, as illustrated below, the top of the vertical line indicates ...
  3. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  4. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  5. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  6. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
Trading Center