The ultimate goal in trading is to have the highest return for the minimum level of risk. Money management is the calculation of risk and reward in any trade, to maximize efficiency. In this article, we explain why money management in Forex trading is truly important to improve your results and what strategies you can adopt. Find out why it’s important to know your risk profile and how you can manage risk vs reward accordingly.
Money Management – The Basics
Every trader is different. As such, the way different traders manage their accounts will vary a lot. However, independently of the type of trader, there are some common principles of money management in Forex trading that apply in every situation.
- Determine how risky is the trade – This one is especially important for risk-averse traders, but also apply to others. Before opening a position, you should always evaluate what are the risks involved. You don’t want to lose all your account in just one trade, so always evaluate the worst case scenario first. There are some trades which are simply not worth the risk since the expected return is relatively low. These trades should be avoided.
- Determine how much risk are you willing to take – Once you assessed the risks of the trade, it’s time to decide if you are willing to take that risk. Some traders prefer to take larger risks in exchange for a higher return. Others prefer to have smaller but safer profits. Understand what type of trader you are, and develop a strategy according to that.
- Check the relation between risk and reward – Finally, after deciding if you are willing or not to bear a higher risk, you should see what’s the expected return for that level of risk. It’s not worth it to trade a pair which has the same reward as another pair but is riskier. Always choose the trade that offers the best risk-reward relationship.
Many traders fail because they do not create a strategy according to their risk profile. When a risk-averse trader tries to use a more aggressive strategy, he will probably let his emotions control his actions. As explained in our article about trader’s mentality, this is because some traders are less willing to bear major drawdowns. They will probably end up closing their positions at the wrong time, which will make the strategy ineffective.
According to your risk profile, you should set up a maximum amount to each trade. In order to protect your capital, it’s highly recommended not to use more than 5% of your account in one single trade. This simple rule can be very helpful in case the trade goes against you. By risking only a maximum of 5%, you can be sure you’re not going to blow off your account in one single trade. Although the 5% is a standard measure, some traders may find it better to establish a lower percentage, like 1% or 2%, which is also fine.
To calculate these values, you can use the FXPro’s calculator. In Stop Loss Take Profit Amount, you can select the pair you want to trade and place the respective levels of Stop-Loss and Take-Profit. The calculator will automatically give you the Drawdown and the Profit according to the lot size.
Managing Risk and Reward
As already mentioned, an efficient trade is the one that maximizes reward to a certain level of risk. But how can you do this? In fact, there are some strategies worth noting to manage risk against reward.
This is a widely known and used ratio to evaluate the relationship between the risk of a trade and its expected return. If you’re trading a pair which is at 0.9 and you place a stop-loss in 0.85, you’re risking 0.05. On the other hand, if you believe the pair is going to 1, your expected return would be 0.1. In this case, the risk/reward ratio is 0.05:0.1 = 1:2. This means that you can make a profit even if just you win more than 33% of the times!
Define your stop-loss before opening a position
Stop-losses are important to set a limit to your losses. The location of your stop-loss may vary according to the amount you’re willing to lose if the trade goes wrong. However, there are some simple techniques to define its location. Generally, stop-losses should be placed a little bit under the closer support. This will guarantee that it will only be triggered if there’s a breakout. If the trend touches the support and rebound, you will benefit from this reversion. You can also know more about the support/resistances indicator here and download it here.
As mentioned above, it’s recommended to define a stop-loss before opening a position. However, to protect your capital while the trade is open, move the Stop-Loss as the trade goes on. If you already have a profit from an open trade, don’t risk to lose it all if the trend reverses. As the trend goes up, establish new SL levels closer to the current price, below the most recent short-term support. In this way, you won’t lose everything in case there is an abrupt reversion.
The Bottom Line
Any successful trader should be aware of how money management in Forex trading is essential to get better results. Traders should know what is their risk profile and define a strategy according to it. Compare the risk of a trade against the return to check its efficiency and guarantee the best reward. Ratios like the Risk/Reward are very useful to do this, as well as defining a Stop-Loss and move it during the trade.