1. Tell us little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do full-time? What are your hobbies?
My name is James, I'm 24 and from the UK. I currently trade full time with the addition of a weekend job. I specialize in GBP/USD only; with a growing interest in Gold, Silver and Oil. I will openly say that I am not a pro at economics, mathematics or any other nice sounding area of study. I am however a realist, I believe you do not even have to know a thing about these topics to be able to trade on a short term basis, i.e. Intraday. In fact I go as far to trade charts without prices. If I sound like a fool to you then fine. I am a Technical trader using Technical Analysis - the study of charts, not the study of prices, global economic policies or government intervention.
I am a statition (a collector of statistics - relative numbers), and I analyze these to find where a trading edge can be maintained. Trading to me, on a personal level, is a puzzle derived from numbers and these numbers can be 'played with' to illustrate certain patterns and probabilities. I guess you could say there are two types of people who use technical analysis. The first use the charts available as visual information, the second take the data which builds the charts and make their own observations - akin to myself.
2. When/why did you start trading forex? What resources did you use to learn how to trade (websites, books, apps, mentors, etc.)?
I first found out about retail forex trading in early 2008, which was accidental. I used to work behind a bar part time after graduating from college, and the remaining days were spent part time at an accountant. A lot of the customers who came into our bar were regular sports gamblers, and so I got to know them quite well. One of the people I got to know wrote columns in the 'Racing Post' (A big UK sports newspaper for horse racing), and eventually our conversation turned towards spread betting - a term which I had absolutely no knowledge of at the time! I was told that you can spread bet on sport, and actually if you take it seriously you can formulate an edge; as it's not as black and white as fixed odd sports betting.
I liked the sound of this, and got around to searching for it online...
After a few online searches I stumbled across something called "Forex Spread Betting", again I was clueless. However I also liked the look of this, and signed up to a leading UK spread betting broker who sent me educational material, worked examples and provided one-to-one trade demonstrations. I was hooked, somehow the original interest of sports spread betting was no longer interesting, and I was the one now trying to convert our hardcore sports speculators towards that of forex - It did not work too well!
Anyway, to cut a long story short. I left my two part time jobs at the accountants and ****tail bar to go to university and study a finance degree. I did not go to university for the degree, I went because I knew it would give me three years to learn and progress with forex trading while not having to work as income would be subsidized by a loan. Also, having a degree is a nice backup plan to fall on should it be required later down the line. I very quickly moved away from spread betting, and opened a margined FX account, which has now progressed into an ECN account.
Five years later and I now trade FX full time from home... talk about falling into a random career by just talking to a passing customer. I take trading very seriously, and have done a lot of work over the past years refining my knowledge and practical experience. As much as I would like trading to be a profitable venture, I'm 24 years of age, and i think had I been any older I would have not chosen this as a career. When you're young you can recover from a bad decision, when you're older with possible family it can't be so easy. I still work at weekends to bring in additional income as I don't intend to withdraw any money from my trading accounts for the next 18-24 months. Unfortunately when you’re my age and you've just graduated from a university, you have to settle with an account of a few thousand USD, and not a dime more. (Unless of course you are fortunate enough to be wealthy in the first place).
3. What do your friends and family think about you trading currencies?
My friends and family are fine with me trading currencies, and often ask how "it's going".
Forex trading, like that of any type of trading, is not easy to explain to the uneducated trader. My friends have now refined the question which they have asked me over the past few years, knowing that the response from me will just confuse them. Now they just ask "profitable month or not?" knowing that I can only answer yes or no!
Trading was never really an issue, it was something I wanted to do, regardless of other people’s thoughts.
4. What were your first strategies in forex trading? How are they different from your strategies today?
My first strategy in forex trading consisted of looking at highly correlated currency pairs with the use of an RSI indicator for divergence. It sounded good, worked for about three months, and then turned to ****. I was glued in front of my screen 24/7, not even leaving to answer the phone. From an outsider’s point of view I must have looked like I was on drugs.
Newbie traders, including myself at the time, need to realize that indicators really should not be used for entering trades all the time. Just because something says overbought, there is no reason why it can’t move to even more overbought.
Now my trading methods do not use any indicators, just a plain chart with occasional fib levels. I check my charts the last five minutes of each hour and go about my day at home.
5. Describe your current daily or weekly trading routine. What do you do before you trade?
I have my charts open and active for potential trades from (UK Time) 7am - 6pm Monday to Thursday, and from 7am - 1pm on Fridays. Since I use chosen levels to trade from, I set these up on the charts the previous day, usually at New York Close. My PC turns on automatically, and providing I'm happy with the current days European Open Price Action I will make no changes. Should something drastic have had happened over night I will make amendments, common knowledge really.
6. What are some of your most unforgettable trades and trading moments?
I suppose mistakes are the moments which stick with you for the longest period of time. Entering trades with say four standard lots rather than 0.4 standard lots would top my list.
7. Forex trading is not an easy business. What motivates you to continue trading when in a trading slump?
I have the mentality whereby I like to prove people wrong, and nothing motivates me more than doing so. When being told "you can’t do that", I always went ahead and did it.
8. Do you trade during the summer months? If you don’t, how do you usually spend your summers?
I trade through the summer period, although it was a concern at first. The only months I do not trade are December and January when I like to go away and catch up with friends - usually the best time for gatherings as people are in the party spirit.
9. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most important, how important is it to practice flexibility and adaptability in your trades?
Without a shadow of doubt practice is the most important. I spent nearly two years on a demo account - a period of time with which many critics will almost laugh at. I remember going to a seminar in London which was hosted by a well-known author of a trading book, and I told him this. His reply was less than helpful. Now I often send him my stats and we have an ongoing joke about that very moment in time. People are all different, and there is obviously no right or wrong answer.
10. Do you have any advice for trading newbies out there?
I am a heavy believer of testing, and more testing. This can include back and forward testing, but make sure you collect statistics from each and every potential trade. This way you can make comparisons, filters, and observations. All my trading is based on statistical analysis, but not from price as we see it on the charts. Rather it is from how price has reacted in the past, and the deviations which provide the highest probability trades.
Not much has changed during this time, apart from my attitude from being a young naive 'know it all', as clearly shown in the above which was posted eight years ago.
I suppose the biggest learning curve that I have been hitting time and time again is that simplicity really is key in producing constant, reliable, repeatable results. I suppose it's acceptable to produce a trading plan which is built on many complex individual elements as long as you simplify the answer at the end.
Personally though, I suspect we are [as retail traders] going to have a tough time in the near future with new regulations and even account opening limitations. It's already being spoke of, and looks like the end of FX trading is in sight - although a lot can happen between then and now.
Hi James, thanks for replying.
Unfortunately I have to agree with your final paragraph although, perhaps more in hope than anything else, a post-Brexit UK may permit FX retail trading longer than Europe if only to provide some jobs for the City-based boys, many of whom are already looking at the exit doors towards Dublin and Frankfurt