How to become a self-taught trader

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Trading was once something that took place in stock exchanges or crowded, noisy offices. It was done over the phone, via fax, via email, and almost always involving a broker who would advise and execute trades on behalf of the trader. But in recent years, and thanks to the wider adoption of smartphones and the internet, trading has become more accessible to all.

As a result, there has been an emergence of self-taught traders taking the market by storm. Again, thanks to the internet and technology, they have been able to educate themselves, and open trading accounts. From there, many have gone on to have successful experiences in trading on a variety of markets such as forex, commodities, cryptocurrency, and stocks and shares.

The popularity of forex trading

Forex trading has become one of the most popular methods of trading in the world. With a daily trading volume exceeding $6.6 trillion, and a 300% increase in new account holders in the last year, it is a vertical that has experienced the most growth recently. For those interested in forex trading, namely understanding what it is and how it works, there are plenty of resources out there.

The best online forex trading platforms will offer FAQs, how-to guides, and information on different kinds of terminology such as liquid market, low spreads, and leverage. This helps to educate the trader before they start executing real trades. 

Once they feel they are more confident in their knowledge of the forex sector, typically they will open a demo account. These are special accounts that allow self-taught and regular traders to experience strategies, trades, and generally getting to understand the platform. 

They place trades with imaginary money, and should they win, unfortunately, there is no withdrawal function! But once they are confident with the demo account, they can easily upgrade to a regular account and execute forex or other trades with real money.

Other ways to learn online

But there are other ways to help yourself become a self-taught trader. Typically, these should be done in conjunction with reading in-depth information on forex trading and trying out demo accounts.

One of the most popular is watching videos on YouTube or following a podcast. This is great for those that need to bolster their learning with video and audio content. You can watch professionals trade, pick up tips, and follow step-by-step guides for in-depth support.

You should also stay up to date with all the relevant news. If you are trading forex, you need to be on top of political and economic news from the countries whose currency you want to trade. If you are interested in stocks, stay on top of forex news and business news. It’s also worth joining some forums and groups on social media that can shoehorn you into discussions on current market conditions and forecasts with more experienced traders. 

If you want to be a self-taught trader, there are a wealth of resources out there for you. Be sure you do the maximum to educate yourself and to be confident before you start making trades with real money. 

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Professional clients can lose more than they deposit. All trading involves risk.

The value of shares, ETFs and ETCs bought through a share dealing account, a stocks and shares ISA or a SIPP can fall as well as rise, which could mean getting back less than you originally put in. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.