Moment of truth, can you actually make a living off FX?

Hi all from Aussieland,

I am relatively new to the FX scene and am loving it so far. In the last few months I have learnt so much and I am still left wondering…

Can you actually make consistent returns from trading FX enough to live off or to nicely supplement your current income? I am being warned off by some friends saying that it is there for hedging and you cant possibly get consistent returns from being a speculator.

If you could please comment I would be grateful.


i may not be the best person to answer this, since i’m still living with mom and dad, but you can earn a living from forex. i trade in a chat room full of people who make their living from day trading. technical analysis works.

i believe a few guys/gals in the forum trade for a living.


I don’t think it’s any different from being self employed in any other field (as a matter of fact it has advantages over any other field).

Let me put it to you this way:

I had my own business for about fourteen years (computer hardware, software, and fleet management systems) and eventually it just got too much for me. I particularly started loving the part where you had to almost beg people to pay you for your time after the work had been succesfully completed! Then there was the travelling. Then there was the preparation of quote after quote and meeting after meeting which, a lot of the time, would not turn into a deal. Also - to be honest (probably due to the aforementioned reasons) - it just got to a point where I was losing interest in what I was doing. I remember well the first month that I was on my own - when everybody else I knew was getting their salary paid to them on a certain day and for the first time in my life my money was not guaranteed at the end of the month. Anyway - I perservered - and made a very good living in the next fourteen or so years.

What does this have to do with forex trading? Read on.

The fist thing to consider: can you live with the ‘uncertainty’ of not having a ‘fixed’ income? If you can then in my opinion you’re good to go. Again - it’s no different from being self employed in any other field. No matter what field you are in there is no guarantee that from one month to the next you are going to do some good deals or pick up new business. As a matter of fact - at least in forex - there is ALWAYS something going on, the market is ALWAYS open, and there is ALWAYS some or the other opportunity to make money. In other words - there is ALWAYS a deal on the table, there is ALWAYS a client or customer, and once you close a deal - there is no negotiating the terms of YOUR payment - you call your broker - and get your money - no questions asked!

Now don’t get me wrong - it’s not easy either and statistics estimate that only about 10% of traders actually make it in the long run. If you have a look around these forums you will find that up until a point I lost a HUGE amount of money over a period of five months or so mainly because I thought it was easy and quick money and thought that I was the new ‘wonder’ trader on the block. It’s not an easy living and if anybody tells you that it is - then they have no idea what they are talking about. I even know one or two people who actually don’t consider trading as a ‘real’ job and think it is a ‘lazy’ and ‘easy’ way to make money. It can be the most frustrating and lonely job on the planet and it makes you dig deep into your personal resources and pshyce. On the other hand - even although I am only now starting to make consistent profits and am not even close to covering the losses that I made in the past - when you finally start ‘getting ahead’ - when ‘the penny drops’ - there is no better feeling. If you really want more insight into this I strongly suggest that you buy yourself a copy of ‘Mastering The Trade’ by John F. Carter. The sections on the ‘phsychology’ of trading alone make this book worth it.

I do (sort of) agree with your friends though - the part about ‘speculating’ that is. I don’t believe that that is what we are (or should be) doing though. Put it this way - I believe that if you are ‘speculating’ then you are ‘gambling’ and the market WILL feed you your a**e on a plate. I have come to see it more as ‘investing’ or ‘saving’ - just like you would at a bank BUT the returns are FAR greater. Let me add that saving is something I have NEVER been able to do so I’ve had to dig deep once again to understand this. Why do I say this (and play on these words)? Have a look at any currency pair or stock or index or commodity over a long period of time. There is ALWAYS a long term trend in one direction or the other (by long term I mean nothing shorter than a day) and that’s where the money is. Have a look at a five or fifteen minute chart and you’re never quite sure where you are or will be in the next five or fifteen minutes. I started ‘speculating’ expecting quick money on a minute by minute basis - no deal! Once I got out of this mindset things started to turn around. Also - when an indicator has been devised - a ‘period’ almost always refers to a day in my opinion - not a minute - or five minutes. Now that I have started ‘saving’ i.e. saying to myself - I am taking this amount today - and ‘investing’ it for a week or two - things are good. I think one of the biggest pitfalls is that in the beginning - because we have been influenced by other people, movies, media, etc. etc. - we tend to think that you need to be buying or selling every minute of the day and in that way we will be making piles of cash. From my experience - the only people making piles of cash out of that kind of trading are the brokers! While this probably does work for large institutions or brokers - simply because they can buy or sell HUGE quantities - and then only need a small movement to make profits - it can’t work for people like me anyway - with limited resources. Trading longer term also to a large extent protects you from those painful and distorted fluctuations that happen just prior and after a major news event.

Actually - while I am typing this up - I have just reminded myself of a favourite joke of mine - which I think sums up really nicely what I am trying to say (or at least seems to work for me):

The young calf and the old bull were standing at the top of a hill looking down at a whole lot of cows feeding in the valley. The young calf said (excitedly) to the old bull “let’s run down the hill and fk [I]one[/I] of those cows". The old (and wiser) bull replied "why don’t we just walk down the hill and fk [I]all[/I] of those cows”. Not quite the eloquent explanation you would find in a trading book but do you get the picture? (I’m from South Africa and I figure with you being an Aussie you’ll appreciate and get the joke).

And one other thing (I always have to dodge the arrows coming at me when I make this statement): don’t think that because you have been demo trading for an extended period of time and you are making a profit that this means that you will be successful. It doesn’t! Demo and live trading are two different animals for two main reasons: because it’s not real money you are trading with you are inclined to take bigger risks which for some obscure reason on demo trading almost ALWAYS pay off AND demo accounts are no reflection of the real world. There are many messages on this and other messages boards addressing the subject and from what I have read almost everyone (myself included) made a fortune on demo trading and wiped out account after account once live trading. Open a small live account and trade small lots and learn that way. A good example is this: I (now) ONLY trade the indices (mainly the DAX 30). The DAX closes at 17h00 NY time and reopens at 02h00 NY time. If you have placed a stop order between the closing and opening times (remember your broker is ALWAYS open) the order only gets filled at the market opening price i.e. the price ‘slips’ in relation to the market opening price when executed. In demo trading the price is not ‘slipped’ and the order is filled at the exact price at which you placed it. Also - because of the volatility of this index - market orders are always requoted BUT in demo trading - the order is always filled instantaneously at your price. These are just two examples but there are many ‘subtle’ differences that are not explained to you and all of these differences add up to losses in the end if you don’t know about them. On the other hand - if you can’t cut it demo trading - that’s a no brainer!

I can also tell you that because of trading I have learned more about the world that I live in in the past six or seven months than I had learned in just over forty three years! It is an ongoing education and there is something new to be discovered around each and every corner!

I believe it’s like anything in life: if you put in enough effort, dedication, and time, do the ground work and research - and above all - are captivated with what you are doing - you will succeed.

(I suppose you can tell that it is Sunday morning and the markets are closed and I have nothing better to do than subject everyone to my inain drivel. On the other hand I have not posted for a while so I don’t feel too bad)!



Hey buddy,
Which chat room you go in to which has full of people. mind sharing so i can see.

Thanks dpaterso for your time in replying, that must have taken a while! :eek:

From what i have been studying(and that is alot!) and trading FX it seems that it is possible although not an easy task like the brokers make it out to be. As you, I think with enough education and self-awareness(it seems psychology is pretty much the biggest part of trading successfully!) you can actually trade FX and make quite a nice return on your capital.

I just wanted to see how many traders are out there that make money consistantly(say in a year as it does vary even month to month). This is going to take a large portion of my time to learn and has already and I was wondering if it is all worth the time and effort given that some of my friends say its a complete waste of time.

Thankyou again for your replies and hopefully my mind can be put at rest knowing that i am not wasting my time.


For a minute I thought to myself ‘NO WAY AM I READING THAT LONG POST’. Its a Sunday and it takes a while for the grey matter to warm up. Finally after having read it through it just felt like a copy to whats happened to me.

Good advise from dpaterso and kudos for taking the time to contribute. I won’t repeat whats been already said, I will just say that the curve has just been laid bare for you.

Making a living from forex is possible but if only you look at it as a long time investment. Take the average of a long period and the returns should be good.

Don’t forget there is no guaranteed money in forex and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Consistency and discipline is what makes you ‘successful’

GCT the question you ask is a good one… and if you haven’t seen this post take a moment and read through The Five Levels. 301 Moved Permanently

The responses above are very good as well…just remember the road to success is a long one and most never achieve the success you are asking about.


right now i make a part time living off forex, buy next year i will be doing it fulltime.

to answer your question, it is the leveragefx community. the website is ran by chris donnell, who trades in the room often. they use their own charting package which uses e signal data, it looks pretty good. some traders call out trades, just learn which traders are good or not.

leveragefx is the website: Forex Trading Software and Currency Broker

chat room is usually in here: Forex Training Room
password is: temp107

password sumtimes changes, sign up for a new one here: Forex Trading Strategy Course

Hahahahahaha…that’s great, colors eh! And as for the rest I’m pretty much on ur side, trading will teach you things about yourself as well as the world. Great to hear from u again Dale, have a good one eh! And best trading to all!

Good morning, and thanks for the compliments (actually I was looking for one of those ‘star’ things that everybody else gets from time to time) :cool: !

Anyway - I was doing some more reading last night - and one thing that I forgot to mention - is if I can recommend some more reading - get yourself a copy of ‘Trading Chaos’ and ‘Trading Chaos Second Edition’ by Bill Williams.

Both of these books also address the pshycology of trading in detail and even if you never trade the ideas expressed by Bill Williams have the potential to change your life I can tell you.

If the truth be told - the only reason I’m starting to make a little bit of money now (consistently) - is because I have ‘standardised’ on Bill Williams’ Profitunity (Chaos) Trading System. If you’re not familiar with Bill Williams he is the one that devised a lot of the indicators that we have seen or used at some or the other time i.e. Awesome Oscillator, Alligator, Acceleration / Deceleration Oscillator, Market Facilitation Index, Williams %R, etc. etc. etc. Need I say more. Put it this way - after trying to do it all on my own - I figured - hang on a minute - why go through the stress and agony - take advice from someone who has been around pretty much from the start - he should know what he’s talking about! Turns out - he does!

What I found is that even just using some of his indicators on their own - you can still make money - the trick is to ‘stick’ with them - not make a little - lose once or twice - and then decide that they don’t work (which I did on several majestic occasions in the past)! The Profitunity (Chaos) Trading System takes the use of these indicators to new levels.

Now there are probably one or two people out there who may say that ‘systems’ do not exist or work. As a matter of fact John F. Carter is quite adament about it. In my humble opinion - I’m not quite sure that I agree - because this one does work. Maybe it’s not so much a ‘system’ but more of an ‘understanding’ of the market that it teaches - maybe that’s why it works.

I also know that there are people that would not follow any system - saying that it takes the ‘fun’ and ‘personal touch’ out of trading. While I would really like to think that I am the new ‘wunderkind’ trader on the block - I’m really not trading to make a monument to myself or prove a point to others - I’m doing this to have a quality of life and - above all - to make money - so if following someone elses system accomplishes both of these things for me - and makes me a boring ‘sheep’ - then so be it (see how humble I’ve become)!

To quote from Bill Williams:

“No, I am not interested in the truth; I am much more interested in lies that work”.

Another good read is ‘New Concepts In Technical Trading Systems’ by J. Welles Wilder (as you can see I have tracked down the ‘pioneers’ in the field)! Although this book was published a long time ago (when they did not have computers and drew graphs on graph paper and used calculators - can you imagine) it’s was nice to see how things started and does give you some insight into how this thing called ‘the market’ started out. Very detailed descriptions are given about J. Welles Wilders’ Parabolic SAR, Directional Movement Index, Volatility Index, Relative Strength Index, and Commodity Channel Index.

One word of warning though: John F. Carter does not agree with using indicators of any kind - the theory being is that they are lagging - and by the time an indicator gives a signal - you’ve missed the move. I do agree. Bill Williams’ Profitunity (Chaos) Trading System (second edition) addresses this issue and combines it with his indicators - kind of like ‘the best of both worlds’.

Just by the way - I am not personal friends with any of these people (wish I was - I could borrow some money from them) - and do not belong to their organisations - nor do I receive any payment or ‘brownie points’ from them for punting their work - what I taken from these books just works for me.

Anyway - have a good day - and may ‘the penny drop’ - before you’re a couple of thousand USD down!




Just thought I’d add some more information to this thread for those of you who would like to make $$$ - information that I received from Bill Williams’ daughter (who co-wrote the book) - YES - from her - can you believe that. These people are celebrities man - and they reply to you if you have questions - try and find somebody else who would do that!!!

Anyway - just for the record - ‘Trading Chaos’ (Second Edition) replaces all previous ‘versions’ of the Profitunity Trading System i.e. in the second edition the ‘system’ has been simplified and has some new additions so you don’t need to get the first edition BUT even although this is what they (she) told me I would still strongly suggest that you get the first edition as well - simply because there is a lot of instruction regarding the use of Elliot Waves (including how and where to find which wave you are in - something which I could never get right) not to mention the fact that there is a pile of other important and useful information regarding entry and exit points and a whole host of extremely useful templates and ideas.

And - no - I still don’t work for them!!!



u can get a PHD in displine if u are succeessful. =)

Thanks Dale for your replies, your a wealth of knowledge.

When you first find out about FX trading, it seems like its easy money! Which I thought it would be (all the media hype!) and found out I was dead wrong. Like you said Dale, it is an education. Now i think of it as a degree, you dont start designing building structures just because your in your 1st semester of uni. That is how im going about it now, learn and immerse myself in FX and trading in generel while using a mini account to experiment(not even bothering about practice accounts…no $ = no emotions!). Definitely a bigger picture now and not a get rich quick sentiment. FX is not to be taken lightly thats for sure.

Anywho, thanks for your replies. Have to check out Trading Choas