How Long Does It Take To Learn To Trade Forex?

This is one of the most common questions educators have to address when offering programs to help newer traders improve. It is also one of the most difficult questions to answer. Usually the answer you get is, “Well, it’s different for everybody. That is a nice and easy way out. You can actually answer this questions yourself by examining three important areas.

1. How much work are you willing to put in.

If you are new to forex and trading in general, and you want to be up and running in the quickest amount of time, then you are going to have to focus on this full time. This is not realistic for many people. So you need to find a source of information that is going to allow you to make the best use of your study time, even if it’s a couple of hours a day. Finding the right information is no easy task. I wrote about this in a recent article here. The biggest mistake you can make here is to think you can figure out how to trade by casual observation, trial and error and reading some online forums. This doesn’t only lead to confusion, it also takes many years to get a handle on what information carries any value here.

2. How flexible are you?

Trading is not about intelligence, it is more about being a good listener and behavior control. If you overestimate your abilities, and have an ego to narrow your view even further, you will not be happy with your results. The more flexible and open minded you are, the faster you will attain the skills and structure to operate in uncertain financial markets like forex.

3. How much money are you willing to invest in yourself?

To me, this is the most important determinant of learning curve length. I know this from my own experience. Early in my learning, I refused to seek out professional traders that had any credibility and instead chose to spend my time learning from free resources. I compare this experience to a colleague of mine who spent and continues to spend thousands on continually educating himself. The lesson I learned here is if you want quality, you have to pay. If you’re hesitant to pay, then be prepared to spend years and thousands on losing trades. The more you carefully invest in your education, the shorter time it will take to make significant progress in my opinion. Do your research and find an educator that has a strong reputation and connect with this person for further judgement. You don’t jump into the first thing you see. After you develop a relationship and a level of trust, then you will know when you are ready to move forward in this area. As you gain experience, this process gets easier. For example, sometimes you will find confirmation in the strangest places.

It is true the learning curve for trading any instrument varies depending on the individual. It mostly depends on you and how important trading is for you. If you’re the part time casual trader, then most likely it will take longer, perhaps a year or more. If you are focused and intend to make this your profession, then you should be motivated to find the right program which can transform you into at least a break-even trader in less than a year. It’s all up to you.

“When seeking an educator, sometimes the answer is right in front of you. This picture was taken by a fan of SMB who has been researching our firm. Thanks for the pic!”

Marc Principato, CMT

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