We’re capping off the month of May with another exciting feature.
He’s been an active member of the community since 2013 and continues to be one of our highly engaging contributors. Being a full-time music teacher in Scotland did not stop him from constantly gaining new forex trading knowledge and experiences that he shares on our forums. A couple of his most popular threads are Why we need more (good) female traders and USD/TRY: an incredible pair.
We’ve done an interview with him 4 years ago. (PipMeHappy: The Full-time Music Teacher) Hopefully, this feature will allow us to see how his trading style and strategy has evolved throughout the years!
Without further ado, this is PipMeHappy!
1. Let’s go back to discussing the thinking behind this account, shall we? How did you discover the USD/TRY pair and what made you decide to trade it?
After the October 2016 GBP flash-crash when I lost all my trading capital, I started looking at pairs with high volatility and eventually came to appreciate that there were more opportunities to develop the long-term trading style that I had talked about in 2014 and in many of my 2015-2016 videos on my FreeFX YouTube channel.
Eventually, I saw an opportunity in making a lot of big runs on UsdTry but between November (2016) and February (2017) my 5k demo account at the time was swinging from a high of 7k to a low of 3k; forum user BobBillBrown (now just Bob) said that it was clearly my money management that was out of whack, which was indeed the case.
When I started trading the account that I am still trading now, back in Feb. 2017, I developed a system for UsdTry with a lot of rules and sub-rules, but what I did not know then was that UsdTry was going through an extended pullback/pause from the solid uptrend that it had been experiencing, and its restricted range and slightly choppier intraday movements meant that I was not making much progress: from Feb. 2017 to September 2017 I only managed to raise the new account’s initial 50k deposit to the 58000s level but thereafter, given my frustration with this pair, I tried ramping up the size of my trades: within two months I had slashed the account down to the 10000s level, and in November 2017 I set out to start rebuilding it slowly.
What I did or could not know then was that from the September 2017 low the pair would start an almost straight rally for the following eight months, taking it up by fifteen thousand pips… Had I just opened an even modestly large buy order I would have been able to apply the long-term approach to this and save myself a lot of losses.
Instead, I was piling on hundreds of trades each month, trying to adapt to what seemed to be a reversal but was not truly showing the same momentum as the previous uptrend.
At the same time I started zoning out toward other more volatile pairs, experimenting with Usd/Cnh, then discovering Usd/Zar, Usd/Sek, and Usd/Mxn, some of which had daily ATRs in the 1000s.
2. What motivated you to share this trading journey with the BP community? (Thanks for that btw! We really appreciate it!)
As in my FreeFX videos, I always wanted to share my trading online with others; on Babypips, having been a long-standing member, I felt the same need to share the journey that I had undertaken since blowing up my account in October 2016, something that I also shared on the forums: My 5000th post: a video on dealing with margin call and blowing up an account
By sharing something, the pain is easier to manage and there is a public record that one can be held accountable to, for one’s own future direction and also to refer back to when things improve or not.
3. Seeing that there were members who have expressed their concerns regarding this pair, what made you decide to still pursue this trade?
I had to make my own journey and just allow my own mistakes to take place because that is the only way to learn for me.
4. Trading this incredible pair for more than a year now, what was your initial strategy? How has this strategy evolved?
As I mentioned further up, I went from taking many trades each day - sometimes twenty, thirty, etc. - for short-term profits, to gradually trying to lengthen my horizon again, just like I was doing with my long-term trading through GBP/NZD, to which I dedicated a very long series of posts on Yohec’s thread in 2015-2016, until the flash-crash.
5. In your opinion, what are the most important things to remember when trading volatile pairs?
Pairs like UsdMxn and UsdZar can achieve daily ranges of several thousands of pips, something that could take a pair like EurUsd several weeks or months to achieve; however, their per-pip value is very small in comparison, so those large moves are worth much less given the same position size as one opened on a Major pair.
What this means is that one must leverage up in order to get the same pip value, but the maintenance margin required for these trades is also quite high, so a higher-leverage trade in exotics means that you may use up a lot of your margin just on that one floating trade; this made me reduce the number of trades to one or two.
Another thing is rollover/swap: since the start of this year I have started trading less and less in both directions for each pair on my watchlist, choosing only to trade in the direction that offers positive rollover; for this reason I am betting on EurTry with a long-term short, accruing one of the highest rollovers available to retail fx traders through ordinary brokers.
6. It’s been 4 years since you talked about cryptocurrencies on our last interview, has your opinion of it change since then?
I was re-reading that interview and I must say that, having listened to the IQ2US debate on Bitcoin I am still unsure what to believe: is it really going to be better than in the days of fiat currencies and central banks?
I do not have absolute trust in technology, and the fact that fiat currencies are backed by central banks makes me lean toward them more than cryptos in terms of trustworthiness. I would not say no to trading them, however there are lots of opportunities in exotic currency pairs so I do not feel the need to shift to cryptocurrencies.
7. You are the holder of one of the longest-running threads on Why we need good female traders. As a male trader, what motivates you to discuss this particular issue?
My fading hope was that more women would come forward and populate the thread, and that I could pass it on to one of them, so that there may be a true ‘women’s club’ gravitating around it. However, this has not happened, and while a few female traders have posted on it from time to time, I can count them on the fingers of two hands.
I think that diversity - and this is the point of my postings on the thread - makes a huge difference to society and business, therefore it is almost a personal sense of urgency to promote gender diversity, especially in a stereotypically male sector such as finance/trading.
I cannot call myself ‘feminist’ but I have spent hours and hours trying to understand why we have such hard-to-shift attitudes to gender roles and careers, and what can be done to change or challenge them. The female traders thread on BP is my own way to contribute to this cause.
8. What is one important lesson you’ve learned from your stay in the BabyPips community?
I have made some good friends, some of whom I have written regularly away from the site, and one of whom I managed to meet this year in the city where I now live. The social element of the forums is as important as the subject matter that is being discussed, because trading from home is not pit-trading or trading at an institution, and is incredibly lonely, especially when your own partner does not want to hear about it (which is still the case for me).
One thing that always remains hard is to not take comments or insults personally when on a forum, and starting a war is so very easy, too easy. Patience, in life as in teaching and in trading, is the ultimate virtue.
9. Non-forex related questions! What would you say to your President if you ran into him randomly?
The president of my country (Italy) or the prime minister of the country where I live (UK)?
To the former I would say: “Thank you for trying hard with the formation of a new government”; to the latter I would say: “I am so sorry for what you are going through, it is a terrible leadership deal that you were handed from Mr. Cameron”.
10 What’s the kindest thing anyone has done for you?
From a stranger… Stranded for hours in a no-money
nightmare scenario at a train station, through the night, and
finally being allowed to go through with a special note, free of
charge, and return home. I was nearly in tears.