Learn to trade courses
Learning to trade, trading courses, it’s all a bit of a nightmare, right?
How many courses are there out there? About 5 million the last time I counted…
How do you decide how you go about learning to trade and what (if any) trading courses you take?
In this article I’m going to talk you through what you need to be looking out for and what you should be avoiding when seeking your trading education.
Now the critical, or even cynical amongst you may be thinking, “Simon, you provide trading education, you’ve a vested interest here!”
You’re right, so let me start off with something most trade educators aren’t going to tell you. You can get a lot of great content for free online!
That’s right, there is a lot of helpful content out there for free. For example, have a look at the strategies we use on a daily basis all of which we give for free.
Disclaimer: They can’t guarantee a smile like the thumbnails…
However, and you were waiting for this, there is a downside. Whilst there is a lots of great content out there, there is also a lot of rubbish. A huge volume of misleading, false and often fraudulent rubbish that do nothing but harm your chances of successful trading.
Let me explain what I am talking about by breaking down some of the ‘red flags’ you need to look out for when looking at trading education.
Get rich quick trading
Think Instagram posers with Lamborghinis, fake Rolex watches, prop cash, rented Airbnb and the laptop on a beach with a demo MT4 account.
Is there anyone out there who actually thinks this is the reality of trading?
Well, the answer is obviously ‘yes’ given how many ‘Wolves of Instagram’ are out there and continue to pop-up.
Use your brain. If it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is. There’s no way to get rich quickly unless you pick a few numbers and get very lucky on a lottery.
No serious educator will try to tempt you with ‘trading bling’. Even if they legitimately do have expensive possessions (as opposed to renting them, which happens all the time), then they’d still avoid showing them off. Not just because it’s vulgar and undignified, but because any serious trading educator knows the misleading impression that would give.
From my point of view, I don’t want to be teach / mentoring people who think they are going to be trading on a beach in a few months after having become millionaires. That sets the student up for failure straight away. Not that the people who make such a promises care.
There’s lots of money to be made selling people the dream / a solution to their problems.
Learning to trade is hard
Some of you reading this won’t want to hear that. You will be searching for that magic system and for someone to tell you trading is simple and easy – it often links-in with the above ‘get rich quick’.
There are different stages when you can accept this reality. Here are your basic options:
- Right now
- When you trade
A lot of people leave this lesson until they trade. The market will teach you the the reality of how hard trading is. This lesson is often an expensive one, too. I am speaking from personal experience. Ok, I didn’t think I’d ever get rich quick but I thought trading was easier than it was. I also neglected trading psychology (more of which we’ll talk about later) which I eventually discovered was the most essential part to successful trading.
I want you to avoid having to go through the pain and hardship of under-estimating the challenge of trading.
If trading were easy, then why do most people fail at it?
Basically because their expectations and beliefs aren’t inline with the realities of the environment.
Ignore any trading education that suggests trading is quick and easy. If you’re learning to trade from someone then they need to be honest with you. If they are it’s an indication they have your interests first. It’s much easy for the trading educator to promote trading as easy and their educational offerings as a route to quick and easy trading.
There are no secrets
Sure, the proprietary algorithms Goldman Sachs use to take thousands of trades per minute for their institutional trading meet the definition of a ‘secret’, but we’re talking about retail traders trading CFDs or Spreadbets. Retail traders that consist of you and I. That isn’t an insult, but it’s technically what we are.
The label doesn’t matter, we can still make lots of nice profit from trading.
Believe me when I say this; There are no secrets. There is no click-bait ‘Here’s what the pros don’t want you to know’ garbage in reality.
It’s great for marketing. It plays on FOMO (the fear of missing out), but it’s dishonest and it doesn’t help you learn how to trade.
It’s tempting to want to believe there is some magic thing that’ll make your trading dreams come true, but come on, you know better than that. This whole section could essentially be summed up as ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true’.
What you need to learn to trade
So I have spent the first part of this article telling you what to avoid. The obvious question now is, “So what do I need to be looking out for?”
Trading psychology is essential
Psychology, what does that have to do with trading?
It has everything to do with it. It is the thing that will make or break your trading success. For example, you need to know why taking losses is so hard and how to address this. There’s a fair bit of work understanding the psychological theory as to why taking losses is so hard as well as developing the mental skills to be able to take losses. That is one example amongst many.
So why don’t educators mention trading psychology? Simply because there isn’t the interest amongst aspiring traders.
Take this Google trends data:
The blue lines you can hardly see is the search volume for ‘trading psychology’, where as the red line is the search volume for ‘Forex trading’.
Quite a difference, isn’t there?
Put yourself in my shoes. If I am going to spend time doing a trading education course, YouTube content or any other time-consuming content creation, what subject area am I best creating the content about from a pure business point of view?
Obviously something to do with Forex trading. The same applies to other ‘sexy’ areas of trading. Technical indicators, Crypto, day-trading, scalping etc etc. All have far larger search volumes compared to trading psychology.
If search volumes were based on importance rather than anything else, then the data would be the other way around. But it’s not and that means there’s a lot more profit to be made in selling Forex courses.
Now that’s not to say that educators shouldn’t create courses and content around Forex, technical analysis etc, but it’s essential they offer a trading psychology course. Not just some bolt-on to the other courses or passing word. A proper, bespoke course which focuses on the thing that’ll make or break your trading success.
It’s also a pain from an educators point of view. I spent hundreds of hours researching and writing over 50,000 words for our 7-part trading psychology course. It was worth the effort as I know how helpful it has been to the traders we’ve educated.
Trading strategies are essential
So psychology is fundamentally important. You also need the other component. Great trading strategies.
A trading edge
You can’t make money unless you have an ‘edge’. What is an edge? An edge is an advantage in the markets that will make money over a series of a trades.
Basically if you take 100 trades and your trading system makes money you have an edge.
Trading strategies should be quite simple. Now obviously this is subjective and my opinion, but the traders I’ve seen stay in the game for the long-term have kept things simple.
They don’t overload their charts with indicators. They don’t use too much information to make their trading decisions (analysis paralysis). They don’t fall into the trap of feeling they need to over-complicate things to feel as if their trading is legitimate.
You may agree with that, you may not. It doesn’t matter as it takes lots of different opinions to move a market so it is OK to disagree. I think I make quite a convincing case with the strategy videos at the top of the article.
Different strategies for different conditions
One thing that isn’t debatable is that you need trading strategies that work in different market conditions. The market will change throughout the year, regardless of what instrument / markets you choose to trade.
For example, take the Forex pair GBP/USD:
The trading strategies that work in the trending market are different from ones that work in sideways markets. Of course there are many more varying market conditions than trending and sideways. This incudes increased / decreased volatility, the ranges of the markets, varying volatility depending on the time of day, changes in news, global macroeconomic factors, factors specific to each instrument / market etc.
Timeframes that suit
There’s also the added dimension of different trading time frames. Do you want to trade longer-term swing trades or do you want to scalp on a one and five minute time frame?
The tools in a tool box analogy is often used. You don’t just want a hammer in your toolbox. You need lots of other tools to be prepared for different scenarios. The same for strategies and different market scenarios.
The risk of only being taught one or two strategies (which is often the case) is that you will try to use these strategies even when the market conditions don’t support them.
The strategies your educator is looking to teach you have to work with your own circumstances. It’s no good trying to employ scalping strategies (as featured in one of the videos above) if you’re working a 9-5 and only have your mobile phone to trade from. The idea of being a ‘day trader’ may appeal to you, but if you’re not in front of trading screens all day this isn’t realistic and you shouldn’t force it.
Best trades to learn
So what are the best trades to learn? Obviously highly profitable ones are a good start. Here’s a few of those if you fancy watching them:
But let’s get into a little bit more detail here and talk about why we like some of the above trades.
Again, this is subjective and naturally I like the trading styles and strategies that make me profit, but I’ll add a little more weight to my views. I have worked with thousands of traders over the last 7 years. I keep in touch with a fair few of the ones who went on to trade full time and professionally and they will talk to me about what trades they consider to be the best trades to learn.
Throughout a trading year the markets you are looking at are likely to move a fair bit. They are going to increase and decrease in price / value. Let’s have a look at a few examples:
The above is the Dow Jones 30 (one of the American stock markets) in 2017. The market saw a large rally (it went up over a sustained period). Index (stock / equity) markets go up more than they go down so the some of the best trades to learn are trend trading ones if you’re wanting to trade these.
The strategy we use to capture these moves are usually breakouts. This is where the market enters a new trading range and often doesn’t look back. Check out the 1000 point trade video above as a prime example.
These trades don’t happen every day which leads me to a slight tangent. Don’t focus too much on short-term trading targets. I have lots of traders asking me questions like, “How many points / pips do you make in a day?” This questions shows a lack of understanding about how professional traders make profit and how they approach their trading.
Basically, professionals are not focusing on day-to-day outcomes. They are looking at performance over months, quarters and years.
So to arrive at the point, if you too adopt a longer-term perspective with your performance then you can open your mind to trades that will come around every now and again. The whales, the monsters. The 1000 point trades. A couple of those a year can make a significant difference to your P&L.
If you get stuck in the mindset of trying to make X points / pips per day then it becomes harder to see the potential monsters that don’t come around as often.
Learn trades that work for you
I spoke of different circumstances earlier i.e. don’t try and day trade if you’re working 9-5.
Another aspect to this is that we all have different trading personalities. There are many variables with this and here are a few:
- Which instruments suit your trading personality
- Which strategies suit your trading personality
- What risk appetite you have towards trading
- How frequently you want to trade
- How long you want to be in trades for
- Whether you’re happy to hold overnight and over weekends
Learn to trade seminar
Did someone say ‘trade seminar’? Those things where you attend a second-rate hotel and have some salesman tell you about how you can earn millions from Forex trading?
Forget those. Like trading, education is now done online. We’re talking about trade webinars. A webinars is online training and in today’s world, there’s no excuse not to do it. People do not need to leave their homes to learn to trade. We believe that learning in the environment you are going to trade in is the best way forward.
You also shouldn’t have to be paying for a physical space / office. Those expenses are not in your interest.
We do all our courses and training either live online or have them pre-recorded, ready and waiting for someone
If you want to learn more about our Master Trader Course, our Trading Psychology Course and everything else we also offer, then click here.
There are quite a few considerations when learning to trade and finding a course to help you. Remember the things that trading and trading courses aren’t:
- There is no ‘get rich quick’ with trading
- Learning to trade is hard
- There are no secrets
A course has to provide the following:
- A foundation in trading psychology
- Profitable trading strategies