Hundreds of people come through the doors of Learn to Trade every month looking to learn to trade, we recently spoke to Henry Ward, an FX and indices market trader and mentor at Learn to Trade, about being a trader and the characteristics that make a good one.
How did you get into trading?
Six years ago I sat where our students and clients are today, in the Learn to Trade trading centre in London, being shown different strategies for reading the market and taking my first steps to becoming a trader. Fast forward to today and I’m now both a regular trader and spend my day looking at other people’s trades, the strategies they have used, and understanding where things are working or not going so well, alongside the reasons why.
What time is the best time to trade?
I start by looking at the markets at the European open, seeing what has happened overnight in Asia, and then setting up my trades for the day. I usually favour trades where I can see trends over at least six months, right now that is Nasdaq100, S&P500 or Euro/Turkish Lira. Other people chose different times of the day to fit around their lifestyles, and different timeframes. There’s no real right time, just as long as you’re making informed decisions and using the right strategies.
What are the common mistakes you see traders starting out make?
Time and time again we see people thinking that they can beat the market or there is a secret to trading foreign exchange. No one can predict the market, and it won’t always go where we want it to, but what we can do is stick to a strategy and the guiding principles that are out there for any trader to use.
We know many trading decisions are influenced by emotions, how can people go about managing this?
It’s natural for people to be guided by their emotions, but it’s important to remember people rarely make informed decisions when influenced by how they are feeling, or worse, how the market has made them feel. Other key points are to only trade with money you can afford to lose, and to understand how psychology can affect trading. We cover this in all our courses and there are some great books out there on it too.
What does it take to be a successful trader?
There are number of traits that make a good trader, adapting to what you see in front of you, being flexible with the changing market, and not trying to beat the market, but above all else, it is someone who learns the rules of trading and sticks to them.
What tips would you give to someone starting out trading?
We often find people starting to trade and assuming there is one answer they need to find. Novices should learn about the market from everywhere they can, get the right education, read books on it, and come to it with an open mind. Trading is ultimately like learning a new language, it takes time to understand and learn; but anyone who wants to learn, can start trading.
What tips do you have for a more experienced trader?
Quite simply, try to not make silly mistakes or experiment with too many strategies. It’s always best to pick one or two strategies and stick with them.
Can everyone learn to trade?
Yes, absolutely anyone. But you need to understand the importance of learning about the market, and how to read it.
How has trading changed over the past 10 years?
20 years ago the only people trading where found in large trading rooms, and it was for rich people who had the right connections and access. These days, anyone who has a WiFi connection and a laptop can trade.
Is it possible to always get your trades right?
You can give yourself the best chance of getting it right, but no, any trader that tells you they win 100% is simply not telling the truth, simple as that.
All trading involves risk. Losses may exceed deposits.
The information here has been prepared by Learn to Trade. It is offered as an opinion and should not be considered an offer or solicitation to invest. Whilst the information provided is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, no guarantee is offered on the accuracy or completeness of the information given. Learn to Trade accepts no responsibility for the information and comments. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. For a full risk disclaimer go to Learn to Trade – Risk Warning.