The risk management. Not every one of those books addressed the topic, and of the ones that did, some of them only briefly. But a few really dig in deep and really lay it out. The different types of risk, methods, etc. I’m lucky in that the topic genuinely interests and excited me. I’m counting on that genuine like of the topic keeping me from having to painfully learn that first lesson almost every new trader has to learn the hard way by blowing out their account. Limit your risk!
Key risk management points that stick out to me:
- Don’t EVER trade without a real stop loss. Mental stop losses are a trap. You’ll always find a reason to move them. Which brings me to my second favorite point…
- Don’t EVER move your stop loss away (ie. Increase the risk after you’ve already set it). The worst thing that could happen is this results in a successful trade, reinforcing this bad habit. It will end with your account being blown out.
- Don’t ever risk more than 2% of your capital in a single position. While this percent is different among traders, some going as high as 6%, most draw the line at 2%. Following this 2% rule makes it essentially impossible to blow out your account. Run the numbers! You could lose 50 times in a row and still have an appreciable amount of capital left to recover with.
- Use a positive risk-to-reward ratio. An inverse risk-to-reward ratio can make it easy to have a high success rate and make you feel good, but long term it is very hard to be profitable, because your losses wipe out all those little victories.
Losses are the cost of doing business in trading, you’ll never eliminate them, but you can limit them by using good risk management. It’s not about how much money you can make in Forex, it’s about how much you can keep, and that’s what risk management is all about.