Five Tips For Successful Forex Money Management

September 02, 2021 17:05 UTC

Forex money management is something that many people are guilty of overlooking in their trading. Whether it is through lack of awareness or idleness, traders who ignore money management in Forex do so to their detriment. In fact, good money management is one of the factors that often distinguishes a successful trader from an unsuccessful one.

But what is it exactly? Why is it so important? And how can you make sure you use it in your trading? In this article, we will provide answers to all these questions and more.

What Is Forex Money Management?

Simply put, Forex money management is a set of self-imposed rules successful traders follow in order to manage their money effectively; minimising losses, maximising profits and growing the size of their trading account.

Forex money management is often, and understandably, confused with risk management, as they are fairly similar concepts. Risk management is more about identifying, analysing and quantifying all the risks associated with trading in order to manage them effectively and, in doing so, protect yourself from the downsides of trading. Money management just focuses on protecting your money.

An old trading adage helps to sum up the purpose of money management "cut your losses short and let your winners run". In other words, minimise loss, maximise gains and hopefully, by doing so, become a successful, profitable Forex trader.

Tips For Successful Money Management in Forex

We know that, especially as a new trader, there is a lot to take in and learn when it comes to the Forex markets. Therefore, in order to make things easier for you, we have compiled a list of our top tips in order to help you come up with a successful Forex money management plan.

Only Trade What You Can Afford to Lose

Our first Forex money management tip, and probably the most important for any trader, is to only trade what you can afford to lose. As a beginner trader, you should only deposit what you can afford to trade with into your trading account and no more.

You might want to set yourself a maximum acceptable loss per month and if you hit that loss, stop trading immediately. The idea is that you are only risking capital that will not drastically change your life if you lose it. Do not ever trade with the money you need for essentials; rent, mortgage payments, food, travel to work, etc.

Forex trading is not a guaranteed money maker. Some people will end their Forex trading career only having made losses. Do not risk what you cannot afford.

Quantify Your Risk per Trade

Once you have decided on an amount of money you are happy to trade with, the next step in creating your Forex money management plan is to establish how much you are going to risk per trade and how you are going to measure this. This will help determine where you will place your stop loss each time you enter the market.

There are two common ways of quantifying your risk, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

1. A Fixed Sum

Some traders set their maximum risk per trade as a fixed monetary amount. For example, a trader may deposit £10,000 into their trading account and establish that they will risk £500 per trade.

This is a very easy rule to follow. For each trade, regardless of what it is, you know exactly how much you are going to risk. If you make 10 trades a day, you know without doing much calculation, that your total risk will be £5,000.

The disadvantage with this strategy is that it does not take into account any changes in your trading balance. If you go on a series of wins and grow your account substantially, but still stick to the same risk per trade, you could be missing out on greater returns.

On the other side of things, if you lose a lot of trades but your risk per trade remains £500, you are risking a higher proportion of your account, which could lead to your balance depreciating a lot more quickly.

2. A Fixed Percentage

The most common approach is to risk a fixed percentage of your account balance on each trade. Therefore, if a trader has an account balance of £10,000 and they decide they want to risk 2% of their capital per trade, the first trade would risk £200.

The benefit of utilising this method within your Forex money management system is that, unlike using a fixed sum, your risk per trade will fluctuate along with your account balance. In theory, if it is stuck to, you could never blow your account balance and when you are on a winning streak, your risk is increased in order to take advantage of the higher amount of capital at your disposal.

The disadvantage here is that, if you do sustain a series of losses, your risk per trade will get smaller and smaller along with your balance. This means that, if, and when, you start to win trades, it will take you longer to make your money back.

Establish Your Risk to Reward Ratio

Now you know how much you intend to risk per trade, establish how much you are aiming to profit from that risk and use this to help place a take profit for your trades.

This choice will be dependent on your strategy and your trading profile, specifically your appetite for risk. A risk to reward ratio of 1:1 would mean, for example, that if your maximum acceptable loss is $100 your profit target would also be $100. A ratio of 1:3, however, for the same amount of risk would give a target profit of $300.

It is generally accepted that a risk to reward ratio should be higher than 1:1. This is because, if you won three trades in a row and then lost three trades in a row, and your risk to reward ratio was 1:1, you would have made a total profit of £0.

Whereas, if you were trading with a risk to reward ratio of 1:2, and you had three wins followed by three losses, because your profit was higher than the losses of each trade, you would still be in profit.

Depicted: Admirals (formerly Admiral Markets) MetaTrader 5 - GBPUSD Daily Chart. Date Range: 24 May 2021 - 2 September 2021. Date Captured: 2 September 2021. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

Respect Leverage

Leverage allows Forex traders to open larger positions than their capital would otherwise allow. Essentially, the trader is borrowing money from their broker in order to open a leveraged position. For example, if a trader has leverage of 1:20, they could open a position worth £10,000 with just £500 in their account.

This sounds like a great deal and, if used correctly, it can be incredibly helpful in becoming a profitable trader. By allowing you to access a larger position with less money, leverage has the potential to amplify profits on your winning trades.

However, and this is important, leverage is a double edged sword. Those magnified profits on winning trades become magnified losses on losing trades. Therefore, it is important to use leverage with respect and care.

Withdraw Profit

Something that many traders are guilty of is never withdrawing their profit, or not doing it regularly enough.

If you start to make a sizeable return in your trading account - withdraw some of it, enjoy it, do something worthwhile with the money.

As we said at the beginning, part of Forex money management is maximising your profit. In order to do this, you need to look after your profit when there is one. The longer the money sits in your trading account, the more likely you are to trade with it and possibly lose it.

Final Thoughts

These five tips for successful Forex money management should stand you in good stead when starting up as a trader. Remember to stick to your rules once you have established exactly what they are. For example, as part of your overall trading plan, you may choose to incorporate the following Forex money management system:

  • I will not risk more than 3% of my account balance on any one trade
  • My preferred risk to reward ratio is 1:2 per trade
  • My accumulated losses for the week will not exceed £2,000. If I reach this target, I will stop trading for the week

If you are interested in learning more about Forex trading, check out our Forex trading for beginners guide!

As with anything in life, the best way to perfect your money management in Forex trading is by practicing. With Admirals, you can do this on a demo account, absolutely free.

Trade on a Risk-Free Demo Account

A demo trading account is the ideal place for beginner traders to perfect their trading and refine their Forex money management plan! Practice trading with virtual currency in real-market conditions before you head to the live market! Click the banner below in order to open a demo account today:

About Admirals

Admirals is a multi-award winning, globally regulated Forex and CFD broker, offering trading on over 8,000 financial instruments via the world's most popular trading platforms: MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. Start trading today!

This material does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice, investment recommendations, an offer of or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments. Please note that such trading analysis is not a reliable indicator for any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decisions, you should seek advice from independent financial advisors to ensure you understand the risks.

Roberto Rivero
Roberto Rivero Financial Writer, Admirals, London

Roberto spent 11 years designing trading and decision-making systems for traders and fund managers and a further 13 years at S&P, working with professional investors. He has a BSc in Economics and an MBA and has been an active investor since the mid-1990s