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Emotions and Forex Trading Don't Mix

The key to making money in the currency exchange market is to avoid emotional decisions and to follow a carefully thought out strategy that takes the current market and history into account. Going with your gut is not the way to go in the Forex market. Going with your gut could cost you money. Forex trading is a highly volatile market where emotions tend to run high. Emotions can influence your trading decisions, unless you have a strategy planned in advance, and stick to it, no matter what you think you're seeing at the moment. The keys to success in Forex are system, analysis and perseverance.

Most experienced traders tell novice traders that they need to develop a system — and stick to it no matter what. Letting your emotions rule your decisions can hurt your trading in a number of ways. The system tells you when to buy, what to buy, when to trade and what to trade for. By sticking to your system you'll maximize your profits. A system based on technical analysis of historical market trends is one of the most potent tools that you can utilize if you're just getting started in Forex trading. Many traders, with years of experience, continue to use this system to keep the profits rolling in. Many traders will tell you that when their gut instinct and their system collide, the system is almost always right.

Using a mechanical system takes the emotion out of your trading, eliminating one of the reasons people fail. Your system doesn't sway with emotions. It sticks to a tried and true course. To be effective, your system — whether you develop your own or adopt one created by someone else — should identify the entry and exit point of your trade, mitigating factors, and an exit strategy. In general terms this is as follows:

Under what conditions should I acquire a currency?

For instance, you may have a buy order for when a particular currency drops more than 5 pips because your analysis tells you that that's likely to be as low as it goes.

When should I trade one currency for another and for which one?

There are two reasons to exit — to maximize your profit, or minimize your loss. That means you have a set stop-loss order and a set take-profit order at which point you cash out your trade.

What factors will I allow to change that decision?

While the money market moves in predictable patterns, there are always individual variations of a trend within those patterns. If you've taken those variations into account, it will be far easier to decide when a factor really does make a difference, and when it's just wishful thinking. If you're not careful however this is where emotion could come into play and sour deals for you.

How will I trade out of a currency?

Your exit strategy may be as simple as a stop-loss order when my loss hits 5% or a take-profit order when I make 40% profit'.

Another key is perseverance. Analysis of trends in the market will show you that the market moves in dips and spurts within overall patterns that are predictable. No trend moves smoothly in an up or down line — there are inevitable periods of time when values suddenly spiral up or down based on some outside factor. These are the times when emotion can hurt your portfolio. When a currency that you're holding takes a sudden dip south, it's tempting to succumb to panic trading, cut your losses and run even if your system tells you to hold on. On the other hand, it's easy to catch the rising excitement as a trade starts increasing in value and scramble to buy more of the same. These are exactly the times to rely most heavily on your trading system. It will tell you exactly when to trade for maximum profit.

If you control your emotions and stick to the system you'll maximize your profits and all should be smooth sailing.

by David Mclauchlan

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