Raghee Horner was 17 years old when she startedtrading. She has managed to balance private life and work through awell-studied schedule discipline. Involved in the financial marketssince the early 90's, Raghee has seen how Internet changed everythingfor the retail traders: “I think a lot of traders forget thatbefore 1996 we had to draw our charts manually! […] More thananything Internet created a community that we enjoy today, not tomention the knowledge and the information that's available freely.”
Inthis exclusive “Women in Forex” interview, Raghee Hornerexplains to us that teaching is one of her passions because studentspush her to be better. She however admits that putting your ideas andyour trades under public scrutiny “is not for the thin-skinned butthen neither is trading.”
Ragheethinks the market really does not care about her gender, but shenevertheless sees differences between men and women that can affecttheir trading. The routine discipline is more of a female tendency,and that lends itself very well to being a trader. “I will agreehowever that men tend to have higher risk aversion so their winnerswill be bigger as well as their losers.”
How did you start trading?
I started when I was 17 and it was really by accident. My mother had let me get a job in high school but part of the bargain was that I would give her 25% of my weekly checks and she would invest them. Still being a kid and a "know it all" I decided that I would track the price of the mutual fund that she was investing in with the idea in mind that if it began losing money I could say to her "see mom it's not working I don't have to give you 25%..."
Over the course of about 3-4 months it was actually increasing in value so I had put in whatever amount it was and the value of the fund was growing. I realized that this is really going to be something I need to learn more about: my money was making money for me while I slept.
When did you start to trade for a living?
I graduated college in 93 and decided not to attend law school. It was a tough sell to my mother because I had gone to college with that thought in mind. I was somewhat actively trading and investing in college and I really began to fall in love with the whole process and law school became less and less interesting to me.
Being self-employed was something I always wanted to be and being a trader is being an entrepreneur.
How and why did you decided to add Forex into your trading portfolio?
I had actively traded the dollar, Dow, crude oil, gold and how they related back to the Forex market so I added Forex to my overall trading approach but still included futures. What attracted me to Forex initially was the fact that I felt it was a logical extension of the active futures trading.
Also, back in late 1999 to early 2000, the regulations began to take hold here in the US and the Forex market really began to get more of the spotlight.
What about Forex in particular do you find interesting, as opposed to the other markets you trade, like stocks and futures?
Forex is a 24-hour market which obviously offers me a lot of flexibility: the market is open Sunday through Friday versus the futures and stocks markets that open and close daily. I can choose which financial centers to trade. Also news and events are discounted into the market in a more organized and timely manner.
The best edge in my opinion is that Forex offers true risk management. The reason I stay "true" is related to different factors: the continuity in Forex which makes my order execution more effective; the lack of gaps; a smoother price action that comes from a liquid 24-hour market; and a clean technical analysis via indicators. All these aspects represent an edge for me.
Another advantage of Forex is the very high liquidity throughout more of the day as opposed to the other markets I trade.
By starting to trade in the early 90's, you witnessed how Internet modified the entire face of individual investing and trading. How has it transformed your trading?
I think a lot of traders forget that before 1996 we had to draw our charts manually. What most traders did was plot a market on the daily chart by getting the closing price by broker and plotting a momentum or simple moving average study. I believe that traders who were trading before the Internet and before we had the luxury of more complex indicators relied on price predominately - price action, price patterns. It's a very different way of looking at the market than through the interpretation of technical indicators and probably because of that that my reliance on technical indicators is more a secondary confirmation to what I see in price.
With the Internet everything changed - everything from order execution, accessibility, information, and more than anything it created a community that we enjoy today, not to mention the knowledge and the information that's available freely on the Internet. Before the Internet I probably had a half dozen books that I read, most of them written in the early 1900s. I still find those the books that shaped me the most and this may sound off but frankly I'm kind of thankful that I didn't have the Internet when I first started trading.
How have you managed to separate your work from your personal life?
Except for about two years that I spent in a trading office, my entire career has been based out of a spare bedroom which I endearingly called a “home office”. I realize some people do need to get out of the house and trade from somewhere else and I think really it's a matter of knowing yourself.
I kind of liken it to people who are willing to exercise from home and those of us who like to actually go and workout at the gym. It is easier to be distracted or skip the workout from home but once you've gone to the gym there is a certain commitment: you are there and it's time to work. I like to trade from home in the morning and then get out of the house. I go to the gym and workout with my husband who is home with me, I kickbox twice a week with my best friend, I take my ma out to lunch... whatever it is - it shouldn't be trading related.
Obviously trading is an avenue for homeworking, as would be investing. But I think a lot of people underestimate how hard this is to do for a living and the fact that it's easy to be interrupted at home and those interruptions can cost you a lot of money. To me trading is about freedom: I think there are plenty of ways to make a living that might be easier and more stable than trading...
What would be your advice for a private trader to find success in Forex and at the same time a good quality of life?
I love this question because it's what I have been striving for probably for the last 5-6 years. A trading day for Forex trader virtually becomes Sunday evening to Friday evening as it's a 24h market! I personally soon realized I had to focus myself on the markets during times where I've felt it was the best and highest likelihood for price movement.
The Autochartist power stats tool allows me to analyze the last six, three or one month of price action and determine the volatility and when it will increase and decrease. I have learned that my primetime trading hours are from 8 a.m. to noon Eastern Time and I can walk away from the market between noon and 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Essentially that turns into winding down my morning trading session when London closes and if I choose to trade Asia I'll begin when Sydney and Tokyo overlap.
For me the quality of life comes from the understanding of when I should and should not be at my desk when it's going to be what I call a doldrum time.
Trading is a lonely profession... How do you feel about this lack of human contact during the day?
I like that I don't really communicate that much with other traders during the day but I think being human we need friendship and that feeling that we're not alone especially after a bad day. That's where for me teaching fills that emotional gap: it wasn't that I needed necessarily more things to do in the day but I felt like I needed to talk to other like-minded traders about this career that I loved. The communication is something we desire as long as we can turn it on and off.
You've said that the teaching is a “win-win” relationship. Why?
It's a simple answer really: teaching and being public makes you walk your talk because you put yourself out there in many ways for other people to learn from and to judge. It can be hard on the ego to have your ideas and your trades held for public scrutiny. It's not for the thin-skinned but then again neither is trading.
Students push me to be better and I want to be better for them - so I push them to learn they push me to teach more clearly, to have effective strategies... so in that whole process we make each other better.
After teaching so many students, have you noticed difference in how men and women trade and analyze the Forex Market?
The first difference I see between men and women in any environment (not only trading), and I will say a stereotype, but men tend to be Cowboys and want to blaze their own trails. Women, if they trust the source or the teacher, they will follow direction much better than men. I think this is hardwired into men and women. Men are the explorers, right? And women are perceived as homemakers. While this is no longer the case in this day and age, there is a certain routine discipline that is required to be a homemaker and that lends itself very well to being a trader.
I will agree however that men tend to have higher risk aversion so their winners will be bigger as well as their losers. I myself find I am more gun shy than trigger happy.
I've never really thought of myself as a "women trader". I think I happen to be a woman that trades and furthermore I think that the market doesn't care that I'm a woman, young, or old... it's a more level playing field where a man is seeing the same price that I am.
The “three R’s” rule is part of your teaching. Can you explain it?
My 3Rs began as a sticky note on my desktop to remind me that the process of trading was to recognize, react and repeat.
"Recognize" is my trading setup: What is the wave angle? What time is it? What are the economic indicators that may be released soon? Is there chart pattern? These are many of the setup cues that I would be looking for.
“React” comes from when I have enough confidence in what I have seen -- or recognized! -- to want to set the trade up. Reacting and confidence are a product of recognition, recognition is a product of study and time.
Finally “repeat”: when you find something that works, keep doing it as often as you can recognize it. To me that's key to success for anything.
Besides coaching, you are now working for Interbank FX. How did you get the job?
I do work with a number of brokerages through my work with Autochartist as their Chief Market Analyst where I write daily about index, futures, forex, stocks... but earlier this year InterbankFX did offer me the Chief Currency Analyst position and that was a huge honor and something I was hoping to do later in my career. I had worked with them for five or six years and I really believed in their philosophy of business and the tools they offer to their clients and their emphasis on education.
So even though the position is formalized now with the title I feel that I've been working with them for some time.
What is your function there?
My job is to educate - and these are my words - and show some transparency in my setups. In other words, I teach how I view the market.
What do you find fulfilling in your job at IBFX compared to your private coaching and trading?
I enjoy the position with InterbankFX because it's something different than my normal teaching and mentoring. It's probably as fulfilling because I get to reach such a huge - and this is the key for me - actively trading audience.
My private coaching is actually going to wind down this year by September which is the other reason I accepted the Interbank FX offer: I'm going to be doing much more writing, conducting webinars, and traveling on behalf of interbank FX. The position with interbank FX also lets me go back to something I've been missing since 2003 that is to simply close my office door and trade. I don't want to compare three different aspects of my career (trader, teacher and chief currency/market Analyst) because they came to me at the right time and reflect my need for challenging myself.
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