/ Trading

Retail Forex traders are fools, and cannot possible trade full-time. Right?

It is Sunday, and I am angry. There is nothing about those seven words that sits well with me.

Why am I angry? Because a Google search dropped an article into my retinas that riled me more than watching a Clinton vs Trump election debate.

Well that, and I had to deal with this dilemma this morning:

What is the article?

You too can be a forex trader but be warned, it's a gamble

It is this one by Marcus Padley in Australia's largest read newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald.

Written in 2012, Marcus tees off on the concept that a private currency trader could possibly make money playing against the "big boys". That there was no way a private trader could possibly trade alongside the institutional trader and make money.

There are some gems like this one:

What could you possibly know about the future direction of the forex markets? What edge could you possibly have on the whole currency trading world? Where could you have possibly got this wisdom from? I'll tell you. You ripped it out of your a@#*, because that's the only possible place your complete guesswork, seat-of-the-pants, mean-reversion, media-fed instinct could possibly have come from.

And this:

But do you really think you can find an edge trading with borrowed money that has you leveraged into a much bigger position than your capital would otherwise allow, while you pack four kids off to school and hold down a proper job?

Hey Marcus, I have and many others I know have are doing it, and have been for over a decade (conservative estimate).

Granted I only did it with two kids (any more kids than you have hands and you deserve all you get).

Now there is a point to be said that first-time traders go into the markets on elevated dreams and shaky foundations.

That is not exclusive to trading. That happens inside the grey cubicles, on the wedding alter, on the sporting field, in the shower.

But why the disdain towards the currency market trader?

That article, behind the premise of "telling it like it is" describes every trader, of every instrument, in every market, ever.

Including the share market which Padley sells his subscription based newsletter for.

Now Marcus may be a really nice guy and a fantastic trader. In fact he is a current Black Belt in Shukokai Karate, so that is exactly what I will tell him to his face.

And the article is from 2012, so perhaps things have changed with things like execution, spreads and regulation to a point Marcus has changed his mind.

But take out the word "forex" and "currency" and in essence this is what you have.

So The S&P/ASX 200 goes through 5500, in the other direction this time, and again every Tom, Dick and Harry is suddenly a trading expert.

The same thing happened when it first rose through 5500 in April 2014. It's as if the index hitting the big figure miraculously releases a market-predicting hormone that empowers everyone with the skill to predict the future.

But the idea that you can suddenly speculate on the markets and make money, just because it's through 5500, is ridiculous. What could you possibly know about the future direction of the market? What edge could you possibly have on the whole trading world? Where could you have possibly got this wisdom from?

I'll tell you. You ripped it out of your a@#*, because that's the only possible place your complete guesswork, seat-of-the-pants, mean-reversion, media-fed instinct could possibly have come from. There are thousands of professional traders throwing themselves on the rocks every day trying to forecast market prices, but no, we're going to beat them from the comfort of our own home - sure.

No, you cannot be a trader from your own home. No, the average trader does not earn $100,000 to $2 million a year starting with as little as $10,000 in their trading accounts. The average home dealer puts $10,000 in someone else's bank account with the slenderest understanding and blows the lot in a month, three if they are lucky, and the reason you don't hear about it is because they are too embarrassed to tell anybody. They only market the winners.

You can dress it up as sophisticated investment, you can credit yourself with brains when you make money doing it, but the truth is that no one knows where the market is going in the short term or long term and any forecasts, amateur or professional, are fanciful guesswork rather than a researched likelihood.

Trading for retail investors is now a massive business, not because people make money, but because people love to gamble - the only difference is that trading the markets sounds smarter than gambling. But the outcome is the same.

Re-written from this article.

Stocks, Options, Currencies, Equities, CFD's or metals, it is all the same.

By the way, our edge as a retail trader is not being faster, smarter or more informed on direction.

It is being agile (not faster, just more nimble) and only needing to move small amounts to support ourselves, not large, multi-facet, regulated positions to support bottom lines, commission rates and fees.

We can be bottom feeders and still make a damn good living.

I know the Forex trader is still looked down upon from many in the more "traditional" speculative markets.

But Marcus. mate. That’s a threp in’t steans. [1]

Ok. I'm off to practice my Shukokai Karate in case Marcus reads this and heads up the Australian coast a little. Which means I will look something like this:


  1. Yorkshire saying for "that’s a blow to the .... well ... the balls." ↩︎