Elenmirie may be new to the BabyPips community but, with her undeniable charm and upbeat personality, she has become such a positive presence on our forums. In fact, she’s been interacting with the community’s newbies and regulars alike, exchanging supportive messages and insightful experiences.
On her thread “Elenmirie and her Quest for the Holy Pips,” she takes us through her forex trading journey. She shares how she got drawn into forex trading from the completely crazy world of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. She’s been committed to her quest to find the system that would help her grab those holy pips, and we also believe she has what it takes to succeed!
Today, we get to know more about her journey-- her ups and downs, wins and losses, strengths and weaknesses.
1. Tell us something more about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests, etc.?
When I’m not doing my part-time work from home job, or glued to my demo account screens, I fill my time with learning piano, playing a game called nethack, walking along the coast, mining a cryptocurrency called IQCash (which involves solving puzzles), a bit of gardening, and cooking for myself and my other half.
2. What were your first thoughts about forex trading? What about it really got you hooked?
I came to forex trading through a rather convoluted path… I suppose I’m not the only one that has ended up here because of curiosity about cryptocurrency. After doing some work that involved a course on blockchain technology being put on by Oxford University, I noticed that an awful lot of people seemed to be making an awful lot of money issuing various coins in ICOs and such. I spent a few months reading about the technology and how bitcoin and other cryptocurrency works.
A friend who is au fait with bitcoin suggested that I do some trading, which piqued my interest and I started looking for information on that.
To make a long story short, I was eventually directed to the school at BabyPips and while working through it, slowly changed my thinking to orient me more towards the relatively sedate forex pairs rather than the wild-west bucking bronco crypto pairs.
3. Tell us more about the trading strategy that you’re currently implementing. What made you decide that this strategy is the one that fits you?
I’m using a personalised version of Alexander Elder’s Triple Screen system. I got interested in the system when I read it described in his book “Come into My Trading Room.”
I’m a day trader, so my version of triple screen looks like this. I only use it on the GBP/USD pair thus far.
First screen: 60 minute chart with a 22-bar EMA and MACD (default settings.) This chart tells me the direction of the tide, or the prevailing trend. EMA slope positive and MACD histogram positive means there’s an uptrend, and I’m looking for long trades. EMA slope negative and MACD histogram negative means there’s a downtrend, and I’m looking for short trades. Neither of those combinations means no trend or ambiguous, and I’m sitting out for a while.
Second screen: 12 minute chart with a 22-bar EMA and stochastic (default settings). This screen alerts me to trade opportunities. Note that I’m only looking for opportunities if they are allowed by the first screen. A buy opportunity exists when the price is below the EMA and the stochastic is either near and heading for, or in oversold territory. A sell opportunity exists when the price is above the EMA and the stochastic is either near and heading for, or in overbought territory.
Third screen: 12 minute chart with two envelopes centred on 22-bar EMA. The inner envelope is sized to contain approximately 90% of the prices. The outer envelope is sized to contain approximately 99% of the prices. This screen helps me place stops and exits. Generally, I’m placing stops just outside the 99% envelope. Exits are less formulaic, but I’m generally looking for a return to the EMA line or a move to the edge of the 90% channel.
Please note, I’m still testing this system in demo, so please don’t take it as a tried and tested system! Triple screen is tried and tested generally, but my variant on it is not. It may evolve, or get discarded altogether.
4. What do you think is the biggest challenge for a forex newbie?
Yourself, definitely. Trading is a very emotional activity and it’s so easy to allow emotion to run away with you in one way or another. It really is a matter of getting to know yourself, so that you can recognise and manage the inevitable emotional reactions. And even once you recognise them, they are still very powerful!
5. We all know that learning forex isn’t a walk in the park. There are surely dips and challenging times, especially for beginners like you. What keeps you going? What motivates you to continue learning?
I think first and foremost, the challenge of mastering something that is complex and difficult. Secondly, the chance of making a profit. I made myself a plan at the beginning that showed what I believed to be a realistic ten-year plan to grow my account from a small amount to a larger amount. I’ve had to revise that because I’ve tightened up my risk management plan for getting started with live trading, so it’s going to take a bit longer at the beginning. But it’s still a pretty good incentive to keep me going.
And no, it isn’t a walk in the park, my journey from clueless noob to fledgling trader went something like this.
My first month, which was spent reading random things on the internet and trying to trade BTC/USD on a demo account, was a chaotic mess. I would read some idea, a candle pattern or whatever, convince myself that I saw one of those that I just read about on the current chart, make a trade (with no risk management, or at least no coherent risk management) and then watch the market go the other way. This felt like, and in fact was, more akin to gambling than trading.
My second month was spent doing the BabyPips school, with still the occasional dabble into bad trading, but this tailed off as I started to absorb the lessons. (This was actually a couple of months because of taking a holiday in the middle of it.)
My third month was spent demo-trading (on a new account) using the Cowabunga system with decent risk management. Although I was doing better than the previous attempts, I still seemed to have a good knack for getting on all the crummy trades and missing out all the good ones. A lot of that had to do with emotions leading me to not follow the system or to try to second-guess the system. During this time I also read “Come into My Trading Room” by Alexander Elder, and started a trading journal on BabyPips. Both of those were positive steps.
I’m now in my fourth month, and using the trading system I described above, which is based on a system described by Dr Elder in the book. Also, I’m using more developed and thought-through risk management. It’s early days yet, but so far it is going much better. Time will tell, but I am hopeful that I’ll continue to improve.
6. What is your message to other beginners who are currently just getting to know more about the forex market?
Don’t expect any easy answers. I guess we all want to find a magical shortcut, but if such a thing existed, everyone would be making a fortune in this market.
Paying someone for a trading system is a bad idea… if they had a great, failsafe trading system that could be fully automated, don’t you think they’d be using it for themselves and their friends and family, and not flogging it on the internet?
Conversely, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the huge volume of information available from other traders and experts. You can spend all day long reading other people’s ideas of what the next big trade is going to be, their idea of the perfect system, etc., etc., and not be much better off than you were when you started. In order to keep yourself on track, just pick a system (preferably a simple one that you understand) and demo-trade it for a month or so. You’ll find out more about yourself as a trader doing that than reading hundreds of good (and maybe not-so-good) ideas from other people.
Oh, and do what it says in the Babypips school… stick with one pair to start with. Study the economies of the two countries involved. Get really familiar with your chosen pair. Get your news sources organised… if there’s a sudden unexpected move, where do you look to find out if there’s any breaking news that’s driving it? Observe the market patterns as different exchanges open and close. Observe the patterns on different days of the week. Etc. etc.
7. Why do you think we have fewer female forex traders? What could be holding women back from trading?
What a great question. I think it’s relevant in many ways. As usual, I’m going to bang on at great length.
I’m going to start from two points that have nothing to do with trading. The first is about music composition.
I just recently started reading a book about women composers throughout history, which is titled “Sounds and Sweet Airs” by Anna Beer. I’ve only just started reading it. But one of the most devastating quotes from it, is from Clara Schumann.
For those not musically inclined, Clara Schumann is sort of THE female composer that everyone knows about. She was great, probably greater than her husband Robert, who is an acknowledged great composer and made some wonderful music that we still enjoy today.
But she had this to say: “I once thought that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up on this idea; a woman must not desire to compose. Not one has been able to do it, and why should I expect to?”
She was wrong. Many before her actually had done it, and done it in the face of the world telling them that they should not. In fact, in the face of the world throwing rocks at them when they attempted it. They had been silenced and erased, so she did not know about them. (Anna Beer’s book documents some of them.)
The second example I have is from today’s news headlines, and it is about science.
It is this: “First woman Physics Nobel winner in 55 years”. Yay! Well done, and all congratulations to Donna Strickland from Canada. Her reaction to being awarded this highly prestigious prize was gracious and inspiring.
I have a dream… that dream is that one day, the headline would be about the science, rather than about the gender of the scientist.
Why on this green earth should it matter whether the scientist who achieves this great honour has a Y chromosome or not? Why is that even news? Surely the fact that they (three scientists shared this prize) made a way of picking things up with tweezers made out of light matters more than the details of their anatomy!
It was certainly not considered worthy of comment that two men shared the Nobel prize in physics with one other who was not male.
So, to your original question. Why are there not more women in forex trading? I am only a beginner, so you have to take my answers with that in mind.
First, it is only recently that one can trade without being physically engaged with some pretty intimidating characters in the trading pit. I’m reading a book by Buzzy Schwarz called “Pit Bull”, in which he made his fortune during the time that I was negotiating late high school and early university, that is, in the early 1980s.
Wow. I am quite likely in possession of more raw intelligence than he had, but I don’t have more chutzpah. I’m absolutely sure I could not do what he did.
I also have a friend who is an oil trader, and certainly see some similarities between him and Buzzy. Risk loving. Gambling tendency.
Personally, I hate gambling. Buzzy spends a lot of his book describing how he learned gambling at an early age. My friend the oil trader ploughs most of his profits into formula three motor racing; he loves the speed and risk.
Modern trading does not require this. By “modern”, I mean something that has really developed in the last 20 years or so. In the early 1990s, I made an attempt at trading, but was thwarted by some stuff which can be summarised as: if you want to trade, you have to spend serious money on your kit, for level two quotes and so forth. This is no longer the case.
Buzzy also speaks of his experiences with bringing his wife as his assistant (yep) into a trading environment, and how the others did not respect her. That’s WITH her high-powered trading husband by her side. What would it be like for a woman on her own? They weren’t there because it would have been horrible.
In recent years, things have changed. You don’t have to be in the pit to trade. You can do it from home, with minimal investment in equipment and software. This is an environment much more conducive to those who would not survive in the pit. Women, introverts of any gender, nerds, etc.
But trading has a reputation… yes it does. That’s why I came late to it. I thought you had to wear a blue smock and sharpen your elbows to do it! And live in New York or London.
Not any more. And… women can do it. Women have done it. We are no longer in Victorian times, no longer do we have to say, with Clara Schumann, “Not one [woman] has been able to do it, why should I expect to?”
We can do it now, without physical contests or misogynistic environments.
And time will tell… there will be more women coming into it.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a Y-chromosome or not. Get in there, you can and will succeed if you put in the hard work. That is the only thing that matters.
8. How did you discover BabyPips.com? What was your first impression of the site and the community?
I was reading a one-page “How to Trade Bitcoin” guide on 99bitcoins.com, and they mentioned BabyPips.com as a very good site to learn about currency trading generally. That led me there, and when I saw the school I said, this is exactly what I need! Finding something that didn’t purport to tell you all you need to know in a page or two was great.
I joined the community while I was doing the school… just reading at first, and it seemed a mostly friendly and supportive place, so I took the plunge and started my trading journal. That’s turned out to be a really positive thing, since I now have a place that I can record my evolution of thought for myself and others to read later, and also getting feedback from people who follow my journal. I was pleasantly surprised that anyone did! The whole thing does a lot to keeping me motivated and focused.
9. If you were to write a few sentences to convince young people to try forex trading, what would you say?
I wish I’d started learning trading earlier in life. You will be well-served to develop the skills early, and if you take it seriously, it might just lead you to greater freedom later. Don’t expect miracles, but you can do well if you take the time to develop the skills.
10. What do you think of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies?
I think they are hugely exciting! It’s early days so it’s very difficult to tell how it will all play out. I don’t think it will go away, but it will probably morph into something that is not yet anticipated today.
There’s a thing called the Gartner Hype Curve, which is the technology consultancy Gartner’s model of how new technology develops. Different aspects of cryptocurrency and blockchain are on different parts of the curve. I think Bitcoin itself hit the Peak of Inflated Expectation at the end of last year, and is now in the Trough of Disappointment. But we still have the Plateau of Productivity to look forward to, after the Slope of Enlightenment, so there’s no reason to believe any of the many reports of the demise of Bitcoin.
11. Non-forex related question! If you could have personally witnessed anything, what would you want to have seen?
The first performance of Don Giovanni, conducted by Mozart, in Prague in 1787. It is known as being particularly chaotic, with a huge scrum to get in, the ink barely dry on the music parts, lead singers just out of their teens, and with an atmosphere more like a modern music festival than a night at the opera.
That would be fun to see!
12. Just for fun, which would you choose: Ugly and live forever or look attractive and die in a year?
Ugly and live forever, definitely.