Is it possible to do Forex trading for a living? (2024)

18 November 2023

Trading Forex for a living is very challenging and it is associated with many risks. It can be challenging even for the most serious and well-prepared traders on the market. However, this does not mean that it is impossible - not by a long shot.

Some of the most successful full-time Forex traders suggest taking things very slow and following the trading process step by step.To turn forex trading from a side hustle to a primary source of income, acquiring general knowledge is an integral first step.

These traders also develop a specific mindset which helps them realize that success doesn’t come in an instant. They tend to mix working hours with trading, gradually increasing their forex trading budget.

This is the initial stage that many full-time traders go through when they begin their careers. They realize that the first couple of years of learning and acquiring experience won’t allow them to pursue full-time Forex trading right away.

Making a living from Forex trading is challenging

When people hear Forex success stories from their friends or family members or read them on the Internet, they usually get the impression that trading FX for a living is very easy and doesn’t require much knowledge or experience. They tend to believe that it doesn’t take much effort or financial commitment to start Forex trading as a full-time job.

But oftentimes, the reality behind such stories is less exciting. Sure, buying currencies at one point of time and selling them at another while getting large payouts might seem easy, but it most certainly is not. There are so many factors to consider before one becomes a successful Forex trader and starts generating sufficient income from it.

Now, it’s not to say that trading Forex for a living is impossible; it is certainly attainable, but it usually requires getting knowledge and experience, as well as opening huge accounts with hundreds of thousands of dollars in size.

Is it possible to do Forex trading for a living? (1)

Popular misconceptions about trading FX for a living

Before we get into what it takes to become a successful full-time Forex trader, it’s worth taking a look at some of the common misconceptions behind the Forex failure stories because, again, these are the expectations that many people have when wondering if anyone can trade Forex for a living. Here are some of the most popular mistakes new traders make:

  • They believe success will come to them even if they have no experience;
  • They think the payout they’ll get at the initial stage will be sufficient for their expenses;
  • They fail to recognize the fact even if they have the experience, Forex trading is still risky and when someone succeeds, others usually fail;

and in general:

  • They don’t have experience/knowledge;
  • They don’t have realistic expectations.

Success doesn’t come knocking on your door

The first misconception is associated with the above-mentioned success stories that people hear. But what they fail to realize is that those successful Forex traders have also been beginners at some point and that they have made mistakes - and likely a lot of them.

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And believing in sudden success usually has a bad effect when people start trading Forex for a living. Either they make a deposit of a couple-hundred dollars and expect to get a fortune out of it, or deposit thousands of dollars and lose it shortly afterward.

Smaller positions don’t bring large payouts

Another misconception that we mentioned earlier is the belief that traders can turn Forex trading into a full-time job right away. But the reality is different. In the initial stages of trading, people tend to get smaller payouts.

And what is more, if they want to actually make a career in Forex, they usually take a very small amount of that payout for everyday expenses. This means that when they suddenly switch from full-time jobs to full-time Forex trading, they can find themselves in an unfavorable financial situation.

Even experienced traders can lose

This next mistake is associated with the safety of Forex trading. Many beginners think that if they acquire enough knowledge and experience, the risks will suddenly disappear.

But with that belief, it becomes easy to make bad financial decisions. For example, a relatively experienced trader who thinks that their knowledge won’t allow them to make mistakes, might put large funds into trading and with a sudden change in currency prices, lose most of their account balance.

Recommended reading for Forex traders considering going full-time

For traders that are considering going full-time, reading up on some notable works based on day-trading and full-time trading can go a long way in creating a solid basis on which to build upon.

One such book that is highly recommended for full-time Forex traders is Dr Alexander Elder’s book “Trading for a Living”, which touches upon the many aspects of full-time trading, what to look out for, how to structure your trades and, most importantly, how to keep a leveled head while trading.

In the book, Dr Elder discusses the importance of trading psychology, technical analysis, and system development in order to make the daily trading experience more manageable.

Some of the key points discussed in the book include:

  • How to manage emotions on the success of trades and effects on decision making
  • The concept of “Triple Screen”, which involves analyzing trades through multiple screens or filters, such as trend-following indicators, oscillators, volume indicators and timeframes
  • The importance of risk management by placing stop-losses and managing position sizes effectively
  • Technical analysis, chart patterns and indicators and how to use them to make informed decisions
  • A range of practical examples to illustrate the theoretical concepts laid out in the book
  • A holistic approach that unites the different psychological and technical factors that affect the success of traders

Additionally, the book emphasizes the importance of self-discipline, emotional control, and a well-defined trading plan. It is often argued that the mental part of trading is half the work to achieve success and the book certainly reinforces this notion.

The importance of clear expectations and risk tolerance also cannot be understated and give traders the ability to take a moment and review their prior performance to evaluate their results and identify possible weak points in their strategies.

How much capital do you need to trade Forex for a living?

So, these common mistakes and misconceptions are making it hard for beginner traders to actually switch to full-time Forex trading. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that one cannot avoid them and become a professional Forex trader in the future. This next section will cover the most popular suggestions that successful full-time traders offer beginners.

Taking baby steps and not expecting instant payouts

First things first, traders at the beginning of their careers tend to take things slowly and learn new trading skills along the way. This means they’re reading books and guides, watching educational videos that explain how Forex trading works and how to improve your chances of success.

Gaining knowledge from experienced professionals can help traders have realistic expectations when it comes to trading and the possible revenue they can generate from it.

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Combining Forex trading with an existing full-time job

Beginner traders tend to ask: “Can you really trade Forex for a living?”- While in the initial stages, the answer to that question is likely to be negative Some traders try to combine Forex trading with their existing jobs. This way, they get the idea about how easy it is for them to actually trade and get real payouts. And their jobs are still there to provide financial stability while they test themselves in the new field.

Now, this combination of Forex trading and a full-time job depends on many things. For example, if you don’t have sufficient experience in trading, it might be a good idea to use all the spare time that you have for Forex while still maintaining a full-time job. As you notice improvements in your trading returns, you can choose the right balance between your full-time job and Forex trading. For instance, you could allocate 90% of your available time for work and the remaining to Forex until you feel comfortable enough to shift your focus more towards trading.

Gradually increase the budget

One of the main points that is very important to keep in mind is that when trading Forex, the majority of funds on the account stay there. Usually, a trader can withdraw 1% to 3% of their funds from their accounts for everyday expenses. The rest of it is used to buy and sell currency pairs.

So, this means that the initial stages don’t usually allow Forex traders to support themselves financially. That’s because to trade Forex for a living, smaller deposits and position sizes are almost never sufficient. That’s why it is usually a good idea to maintain the existing job and gradually switch from it to Forex.

Is it possible to trade FX for a living? - It depends

Forex trading, just like any other field of occupation, is not for everyone. Some people are naturally good with numbers, statistics, and financial trends and find trading more or less easy. But there are also those who cannot do that.

But even those with an affinity to technical fields usually need experience and knowledge, as well as a proper mindset in Forex in order to be successful. As we looked at the common misconceptions regarding how to make a living trading FX, beginner traders tend to think that trading is really easy and large payouts come without hard work; some of them believe that small deposits are sufficient for full-time Forex trading; while some fail to recognize that usually, out of 100 people, 90 traders lose money and even the experienced ones aren’t totally protected.

So, to avoid such mistakes and really make efforts to switch to Forex trading, successful traders tend to take smaller steps and gain knowledge along the way; combine existing jobs with trading, and start with smaller deposits and slowly increase them to finally get enough payouts for regular expenses.

In conclusion, it is definitely possible to do full-time Forex trading by replacing existing jobs. However, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication from traders.

FAQ on whether Forex trading for a living is possible or not

Is it possible to trade FX for a living without investment?

A successful Forex trading process, the one that allows traders to get sufficient income from it, is associated with big deposits and massive purchases of currency pairs. That’s usually the case because only a fraction of the actual account size, somewhere around 1-3%, can be withdrawn for regular expenses.

Other than that, there are actually some ways in which traders can still earn money by not making financial commitments. One of the methods is called a no deposit bonus. This method is offered by some service providers and it allows traders to open accounts, get initial deposit bonuses from the provider to the tune of $100, and if they fulfill some deadlines and goals, they can get whatever payout they have generated as a result.

Can you make a living trading Forex?

Making a living trading Forex and generating payouts is the main reason why people engage in this field of financial activity. And there are certain things that need to be taken into account if a person wants to get real payouts from it.

Many successful traders suggest that people who are serious about Forex get sufficient education about the subject first, learn the basic elements and mechanisms of Forex trading and then implement this knowledge in practice. This way, they won’t make as many mistakes that would put them in a bad financial situation.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that trading Forex for a considerable size of payout requires large account sizes as well. For instance, if a trader wants to get around $2,000 a month from trading, they would probably need to open up an account of around $200,000-$500,000. That’s because, usually, traders can withdraw about 1%-3% from their accounts to actually spend the funds.

And finally, taking things slow, increasing the trading size step by step, tends to be a sustainable strategy towards successful Forex trading.

How safe is Forex trading?

Forex trading, along with other types of trading, is a very risky job and requires a lot of attention from traders. And there are various reasons why this is the case.

First of all, currency prices can be quite volatile, meaning they can go up and down very quickly and by large margins. Any forex trade carries a degree of risk that is derived from the volatility of currency pairs.

Another risky element that is necessary to understand when trading FX for a living is leverage. Many service providers offer leverages to increase buying power and payouts received from trades and it can be quite useful for traders as well. However, the use of leverage also amplifies the potential losses for traders. Therefore, leverage is a tool that needs to be used safely.

How much do professional Forex traders make?

In the Forex trading industry, it is common knowledge that traders can withdraw about 1-3% of their funds that they can actually spend, while the rest of the profits generated are reinvested into the trading account.

Based on this information, one can get a pretty good idea of how much capital they need to put into the Forex market to actually get a decent monthly payout. And when it comes to professional Forex traders, they usually open accounts that are no smaller than hundreds of thousands of dollars in size.

The more traders increase their account balance, the more layouts they can receive in dollar terms, which comes at a tradeoff of the risk of larger losses in absolute terms.

Is it possible to do Forex trading for a living? (2024)
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