I started by losing £15000 on buying shares in a firm called MArconi - around 20 years ago, and thinking "bloody hell, If im going to do this I better know something about it !" AT Xmas I got nearly 3 weeks off and borrowed every book on investing they had in the library. After reading them all way into the wee small hours every day, I knew one thing - None of these people had the slightest idea what it was all about !
I then decided that Indices were less risky than shares and spent the next year spread betting the DOW - getting close to wiping out a 5k account and took a year off work to research and learn and refinanced the account to do so. By this time the internet was starting up but "micro brokers" were no,t so minimum bet on the Dow was £2 a point and daily volatility somewhere around 350 points on occasion. I was trading slightly positive, but spreads were killing me. (That is a big problem with frequent retail trades) so watch the frequency and quality of your trades. Then I picked a point 2 hours before the exact bottom of the huge retracement that happened around then to go short and held it to a loss of £1700 (850 points). At that point I stopped and took theemissus on a three week holidaty to the Carribean ! (cheaper).
When I came back I reviewed all my trades and found that my stops were to cock - "Short stops" "Short stops" "Trailing stops" etc etc are the prevailing cry (from the brokers) get you stopped out all the time - choose the RIGHT place for your stops and remember they WILL "Run the stops" - Get in early when the stops are still short, but have vey good reasons for doing so. I have only been in Forex 2 weeks or so and am hoping the huge volume will prevent this "Stop running" to some extent. I am still paper trading it to "Get the feel"
To be profitable on the Dow I needed to trade only the very best opportunities, with 20 odd point spreads. so £200-£300+ stop losses. On the forex we can trade £10 positions and have apparently 2 pip spreads !
"DIP YER BREAD IN, Say Nowt & Don't buy a Prgramme" Says I
[Edit - fortunately I was also gambling on buying houses at the same time - which paid off - IN SPADES ! - so it's also a good idea to have some kind of hedge ! ]