There have been loads of articles written about how to make money and what strategy to use and the psychological edge required to trade successfully, but do you actually know what you need to trade full time for a living?

I’ve been trading forex for 28 years and the first 20 was easy because I worked for a number of big banks like Citibank. You get trained professionally over a 2-3 year period to begin with, you’re given all the trading tools and resources you need and you’re paid a large salary. There is pressure to make money but getting paid a lot makes it easier to live.

The past 8 years I’ve been trading for myself and really honed my skills to isolate the best trading opportunities. But having the right tools, the right frame of mind, a basket of strategies and the right account balance is all part of making trading for a living an easy process.

The Right Trading Tools

You’re definitely going to need access to live ‘real-time’ news. For me the best product out there is Metastock Xenith. It’s extremely cheap on a monthly subscription ($99) and is exactly what all the bankers use. So not only do you have access to real time economic data releases, professional analysis and technical tools, but you’re actually using the same tools as the bankers. And that’s exactly what you need. You’re looking at the market like a professional.

Additional execution tools and greatly enhance your execution and save you spending endless hours in front of the screens. 

The Right Frame of Mind

Trading full time for a living is an extremely relaxed affair, so you have to mentally get in the groove and understand you’re not necessarily trading every day. Sure you’re looking at the market and analyzing it every day, but if the set up isn’t there then you’re not trading and that’s the first thing you have to get into your head. Just because you’re in front of the screens doesn’t mean you’re going to be trading.

Professional traders usually trade with a larger trade size and that also means they do less trades. They isolate the best opportunities and understanding the market is critical for this. You’re confidence to relax and wait comes from your knowledge and understanding of the market.

If you find you’re lacking confidence to me that means you’re lacking knowledge. So if that’s the case, go out and find some training that works for you.

A Basket of Strategies

The forex market is extremely dynamic which means you need a dynamic range of strategies to take advantage of different market set ups. The more you know about the market and the wider the range of strategies you have, the greater the chance of success.

So keep an open mind and always consider other potential strategies. I have a broad range of strategies that I can use but it doesn’t stop me from looking at new methods and strategies. Being a “Learn it all’ is absolutely critical to continually developing your skills.

The Right Account Balance

Ok this is a tricky one but for me I would say having at least a $25K trading account is important. It enables you to get solid leverage when you need it and allows you to trade with a ‘trade size’ that will enable you to make $1K+ per potential trade without totally stressing your account out.

The majority of traders are under-capitalized and that’s their biggest problem. They have to leverage up and that puts huge pressure on the account balance when you experience a loss.

If you do have this cash in your trading account then you can slow yourself down and apply yourself to the market. You’ll be able to wait for the best trades and when you do nail them you’ll be making enough money that covers all of your personal lifestyle costs.

If you don’t have the $25K trading account there are other potential opportunities for you. We have a funded trader program that enables traders without the capital, who know how to trade, a stepping stone towards becoming a full time trader. The best thing is it won’t tie up any of your cash.

Get Prepared and Set Yourself Up for Success from the Beginning

Don’t under-estimate how important these factors are to become a full time trader. Most traders continually chop and change strategies every day of the week when the first thing you should be doing is getting yourself set up as a professional.

Once you have your trade station set up, your account balance at the right level and your news service in place, you are ready to try anything. Then you can start fishing for trade ideas, new strategies and the like. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, give me a call and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction & help you where I can.

The risk of loss in Forex trading can be substantial. You should, therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in the light of your financial condition. The high degree of leverage that is often obtainable in Forex trading can work against you as well as for you. The use of leverage can lead to large losses as well as gains. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

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