Since becoming a member of the BabyPips community in 2010, SimonTemplar has been one of the warm and friendly voices on the forums, helping out other members with the knowledge he’s gained from years of experience. So much time and effort are put into his responses because he wants to share his thoughts and suggestions as best as he can.
It’s truly admirable how his interactions with people are filled with respect, regardless of one’s trading prowess. Although he speaks his mind, he makes it a point to keep his comments calm and civil, so as to motivate other people to take their mistakes and turn them into learning opportunities.
Of course, beyond the forums, SimonTemplar has his own story of success. He lives a fruitful life surrounded by people he loves. Today, we get to know more about his story.
1. Tell us something more about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests, etc.?
I’m British, born in the 1970’s, originally from London. I met my wife at University in the early 1990’s, where we both read Modern Languages. We now have four kids (!), the youngest of whom is five, and have moved to the country, where we both work largely from home. My wife remains with her original, graduate employer. I went into the UK Civil Service from Uni, eventually moving into law enforcement.
In terms of hobbies, I’m a big F1 fan, follow boxing pretty closely, love old houses and old cars (my house is over 200 and my car over 50!), and history in general. When I get time I like escapist gaming – Elite Dangerous and Red Dead Redemption 2 being current favourites – and we both love film and TV. Love Game of Thrones, devastated when Boardwalk Empire finished. Spend a lot of time with the kids – trading means that I get to do all the school runs, not miss concerts etc. I also try a little blues guitar, but I tell myself lack of time is the only reason I’m not the next Buddy Guy. But really it’s all about the kids - we built this life around trying to have them grow up in a beautiful spot with both their parents really engaged. Trading is an important part of that.
2. When and how were you introduced to forex trading? Since then, how would you say has forex changed your life?
My wife was on maternity leave with our second son in 2006, and was mailshotted by a Forex trading training company offering a free course. I worked in a pretty risky area of law enforcement at the time, and we had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t really compatible with a young family, particularly with plans to have more kids. We had talked about me coming out, had plans to build a house overseas, but were conscious that in my early thirties I didn’t just want to retire. So I went along to the course, loved it, and we started taking it more seriously.
2009 was our breakout year – we finished building a house in Portugal, and I then seeded my trading account with a more meaningful amount of money in order to focus on my trading.
Trading has absolutely changed my life – I still get to think, to work, to challenge myself, and to bring some money in, while at the same time taking the kids to school, going to every concert, seeing every play, being at every parents’ evening, Scouts meeting, all of it.
With my wife having the only career job in the household, we can gear our free time around the needs of her career, holiday when it suits her time, which would have been far harder were I also still to have a boss, colleagues, a team under me. Now we both work from home, in a beautiful part of the countryside, we walk together each lunchtime and are always around for the family. I can even trade from the house in Portugal. So our work-life balance – and the kids’ experience of growing up – has been massively transformed.
3. In some of your posts, you’ve mentioned that you take on a methodical/ almost mechanical trading approach. Could you take us through your strategy?
It’s pretty simple, there’s nothing radical in here, but sure.
I don’t restrict myself to one pair. I am a technical trader and have always felt that a chart’s a chart, so I scan across a number of pairs and pick setups which look the cleanest to me. I risk 1% of my account on each trade I place. I never have more than five trades open to risk at one time, so my market exposure is capped at 5%. I might have more than one trade open at a time, as long as the Stops have been trailed to B/E or better on some of them.
I start with a Daily chart, and look for a Pair which is either trending, or ranging, or hitting a key reversal area. I really look for areas of Support & Resistance, so once I see a chart which at a first scan looks promising, I will throw some S&R levels on there, literally draw the lines on my chart. I’ll also put on three EMAs – 50, 100 and 200. It is amazing how often price interacts in a regular, consistent way with an EMA, giving really clear cycles. If I’m seeing cycles I like, I will put on some Fib lines, and look for a confluence between the EMAs, my own S&R lines and the Fib lines. If I see an area which has at least two but preferably all three in agreement, I will add on RSI and see whether that is suggesting a direction Price might move to. If I’m still happy, then I’ll switch TF to check in on both the Weekly and Monthly charts (don’t want to be trading into some all-time level!), and will then also check the 240 and Hourly charts, here for two things: one, to ensure that I am not seeing a Reversal pattern there which disagrees with my potential setup, and secondly to see where Price is in its Cycle, so I can maybe effect a more elegant Entry, a tighter Stop maybe.
Then if I am still happy I will often enter the trade via an order – I will scan late at night (UK time), and place an order to enter ahead of the current bar, with a Stop protected a few pips behind a close level of S/R, off the other end of the bar. These will generally trigger overnight. If they don’t, then I will either cancel the order, or if the setup is still valid I will leave it and look in the next evening. If I fancy day trading (moving back to that this past year now that our youngest has started school), then I will start with the same scan so I can get a feel for things, but drill down to the Hourly chart for my Entry. Occasionally will do some 1:1 trading off the five minute but only when I have a clear few hours during the day.
For EOD trading I will trade any Pair happily – for Intraday then I leave the more exotic Pairs alone. If a setup doesn’t give me at least four or five reasons to take it, then I leave it alone, every time.
4. What’s your most memorable trading experience so far?
Early on in my trading career, I was doing my evening scan and saw a beautiful trend on the USD-SGD Daily chart. It was almost too perfect to believe, and passed all my checks. I backed it with my usual 1% risk, and a few days later had put 7% on my account. It was textbook stuff, and the first moment where I really believed ‘this might actually work!!’ The initial scan had taken me 15 minutes, and checking in on the trade each evening took a further five. Changed my belief in the whole thing.
5. If you could thank one person who contributed positively in your trading, who would you thank?
I would have to say my wife, Claire, as she gave me the first prompt to try this, then agreed to bankroll our family on her own while I made it work, and provided all of the right words of encouragement at all of the right moments – she didn’t get over-excited when I had a win, and didn’t let me get overly morose when I took some hits. I literally would not be doing this without her. (If I were allowed more than one person, I would cite my mentor – it is unpopular on here but yes, I did take a training course and yes, it did work for me, and the mentoring that provided was an invaluable resource for me early on. Formal training isn’t for all, but coming to it as a total rookie it worked for me.)
6. If you were to teach a class of newbie traders, what would be the very first thing you’d tell them about forex trading?
Don’t start with Indicators. Just pull up a plain Price chart and stare at it.
Then stare at it some more.
Then look through a lot of different charts for a lot of different pairs, and try to get a feel for how a chart moves, how patterns play out, and how a pair can move over time. The second thing I would teach them is find your preferred lane and trade like that, don’t just trade all the hours with no focus. EOD trading via orders is my staple – it’s what I enjoy and it works. My Intraday trading is secondary.
Someone else will disagree entirely. But as long as we each know and understand why we are trading the way we are trading, then we’re both right.
7. Have you ever thought of ending your trading career and pursuing a different path? If you have, what made you change your mind?
Trading sort of is my second career. It is also so flexible that it can work around other careers, so I see myself as a trader for life. My wife and I have diversified, though, buying, restoring and selling on old houses, and building a few holiday homes, which we both use and rent out. Trading can be quite solitary so it is good, in my view, to do something else alongside, even if it is not a financial necessity. But I principally stick with trading as I enjoy it and it enables me to have so much more time for my family than any other career I could realistically pursue.
8. Which threads on the BabyPips forums would you suggest noob traders to subscribe to?
I wouldn’t recommend specific threads, as different threads will appeal to different trading approaches, so will work for some and not for others. However, I would advise people not to neglect the Trading Psychology section, as while the mechanics of trading are not complicated, the execution is very nuanced and can be a psychological minefield. I also like PipMeHappy’s ‘Why We Need More (Good) Female Traders’ thread, as it gives a great feel for context, plus I always like the Trading Discussion: Currencies section – Happypip’s old ‘Happy Corner’ section was a great reminder that there are regular and fruitful opportunities outside of the big four Pairs. But generally I am to be found just drifting around the trend/technical/PA threads, reading and posting.
9. Non-forex related question! If you were to wake up tomorrow in the body of somebody else, who would you pick and what would you do?
It would be a dead heat between Chris Isaak (I’d play a concert!) and Fernando Alonso (I’d go out and win a Grand Prix!).
10. What is the habit you are proudest of or want to break?
I tend to waffle on. I like to help people, and answer questions as honestly and fully as I can, but I tend to use 50 words when five would do. So I apologise to BP for the extra server space required to hold my posts, and thank all of you who manage to get through to the end. This post is a case in point! I do have dreams of writing succinct sentences. One day.