A Typical Day in the Life of a Forex Trader
There seems to be two widely differing views as to what a typical Forex Trader gets up to all day. The first has him (or her!) slaving away 24/7 in front of a bank of computer monitors in a darkened room, pale faced and wide eyed, frantically clicking on buy and sell buttons, thousands of dollars, yen and francs being made and lost every few seconds. The second has him (or her!) spending a few minutes a day, calmly adjusting a couple of trades before setting off for the golf course or ski slopes only to return later to count up the day’s profits. The first thing to point out is that there is probably is no such thing as a “typical” trader, we’re all different – different characters, different lifestyles, morning people, night time people etc.
I’ve been trading successfully now for over 30 years and I get asked all the time – “Ian, could you perhaps tell me a little about your typical day?” – so here goes –
– 6.30am GMT (that’s 7.30am on mainland Europe) I open my computer, input the password, & open the programmes I use – forex.tradingcharts.com, dailyfx.com, Sharescope, which I update right away to account for my being in bed long before the FX market closed the night before for my time zone! and finally open my trading platform.
– once up and running, I have breakfast. I like to open up the “shop” before sitting down to eat.
– 7am GMT (8am on mainland Europe ) back to my computer First thing I do is look at the charts on forex.tradingcharts.com on the 5 minute timescale, to see if there are any nice potential setups (bearing in mind that I rarely take 5 minute trades myself – I too seldom have time to keep checking as often as these require – but if I do decide to trade, I never take more than two at a time). I look in the following sequence: USDCAD, USDJPY, USDCHF, EURCHF, EURJPY, EURGBP, EURUSD, GBPUSD, GBPJPY, GBPCHF, AUDUSD, AUDJPY.
– Next I check at forexfactory.com to see if there are any “major” announcements likely that day – eg USA “non farm payrolls” and I bear that in mind as the day progresses. (“announcements” don’t influence my own trading decisions because sometimes they will take you out for a loss but other times they’ll give you a great profit. However, if they “worry” you then “stand aside” would be the best advice.)
– If I have seen a couple of charts – eg the very first two – USDCAD and USDJPY- that look OK, I then look only at EURGBP as well, out of personal financial interest!
– order 5 minute trades if appropriate (but as above, a rare occurrence)
– Look at the “bigger picture” – ie “end of day” and order a trade/move stop loss positions as appropriate – ie manage my own end of day positions via my trading platform. Generally I look both on forex.tradingcharts.com (it gives me today’s prices, updated continually) but then I look on Sharescope to get a much “nicer looking” overview, albeit with yesterday’s price except on a Saturday.
– Time for coffee!
– double check on any 5 minute trades ordered or open and manage as necessary.
– At this point of the morning, having opened/closed/managed my trades, I do some admin – usually there’s rather a lot of email!
– I spend what’s left of the morning generally running my business – answering mentoring questions received from students from my various courses, look for stuff for video updates etc. I also trade indices, stocks & commodities as well as FX so there’s plenty to keep me busy!
– Lunch! Something light, outside on the terrace in the fresh mountain air – or in a mountain café on the ski slopes in winter, if I have decided to finish work at lunchtime.
– usually I take a couple of hours’ break in the early afternoon and very strongly recommend that idea to everyone. Otherwise you’ll do your head in! If I have any 5 minute trades running I look for decent stop loss positions and let things get on with it.
– late afternoon it can be back to the grindstone to check what’s been going on – mainly just a glance is needed. I also answer any mentoring emails that have come in up until around 7 pm GMT, when I update Sharescope as regards European stockmarkets, check the weather forecast and shut up shop for the night.
That’s the essence of my typical working day but it’s by no means “every day”! A couple of things to remember – as well as actual Forex trading I also trade indices, stocks & commodities and run various trading courses, all of which take up a fair amount of time (someone who only trades Forex wouldn’t have any of this and if that’s the case I strongly recommend spending no more than three hours a day in front of the screen at the very most.)
But even with this workload I find plenty of time to fish, ski and travel………..there’s plenty to save me from getting bored!
And if I’m doing other things in the morning, then the “day” begins after lunch..
Would I recommend the life of a Forex Trader ?
– You have no boss
– You have no staff
– You manufacture nothing
– You sell nothing
– You have no customers
– You don’t need to travel to work
– Your equipment is minimal
– You can work from anywhere
Sounds good? Try it!
Article Author: Ian T Williams