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Former investment bank FX trader: Risk management part II

Former investment bank FX trader: Risk management part II
Firstly, thanks for the overwhelming comments and feedback. Genuinely really appreciated. I am pleased 500+ of you find it useful.
If you didn't read the first post you can do so here: risk management part I. You'll need to do so in order to make sense of the topic.
As ever please comment/reply below with questions or feedback and I'll do my best to get back to you.
Part II
  • Letting stops breathe
  • When to change a stop
  • Entering and exiting winning positions
  • Risk:reward ratios
  • Risk-adjusted returns

Letting stops breathe

We talked earlier about giving a position enough room to breathe so it is not stopped out in day-to-day noise.
Let’s consider the chart below and imagine you had a trailing stop. It would be super painful to miss out on the wider move just because you left a stop that was too tight.

Imagine being long and stopped out on a meaningless retracement ... ouch!
One simple technique is simply to look at your chosen chart - let’s say daily bars. And then look at previous trends and use the measuring tool. Those generally look something like this and then you just click and drag to measure.
For example if we wanted to bet on a downtrend on the chart above we might look at the biggest retracement on the previous uptrend. That max drawdown was about 100 pips or just under 1%. So you’d want your stop to be able to withstand at least that.
If market conditions have changed - for example if CVIX has risen - and daily ranges are now higher you should incorporate that. If you know a big event is coming up you might think about that, too. The human brain is a remarkable tool and the power of the eye-ball method is not to be dismissed. This is how most discretionary traders do it.
There are also more analytical approaches.
Some look at the Average True Range (ATR). This attempts to capture the volatility of a pair, typically averaged over a number of sessions. It looks at three separate measures and takes the largest reading. Think of this as a moving average of how much a pair moves.
For example, below shows the daily move in EURUSD was around 60 pips before spiking to 140 pips in March. Conditions were clearly far more volatile in March. Accordingly, you would need to leave your stop further away in March and take a correspondingly smaller position size.

ATR is available on pretty much all charting systems
Professional traders tend to use standard deviation as a measure of volatility instead of ATR. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Averages are useful but can be misleading when regimes switch (see above chart).
Once you have chosen a measure of volatility, stop distance can then be back-tested and optimised. For example does 2x ATR work best or 5x ATR for a given style and time horizon?
Discretionary traders may still eye-ball the ATR or standard deviation to get a feeling for how it has changed over time and what ‘normal’ feels like for a chosen study period - daily, weekly, monthly etc.

Reasons to change a stop

As a general rule you should be disciplined and not change your stops. Remember - losers average losers. This is really hard at first and we’re going to look at that in more detail later.
There are some good reasons to modify stops but they are rare.
One reason is if another risk management process demands you stop trading and close positions. We’ll look at this later. In that case just close out your positions at market and take the loss/gains as they are.
Another is event risk. If you have some big upcoming data like Non Farm Payrolls that you know can move the market +/- 150 pips and you have no edge going into the release then many traders will take off or scale down their positions. They’ll go back into the positions when the data is out and the market has quietened down after fifteen minutes or so. This is a matter of some debate - many traders consider it a coin toss and argue you win some and lose some and it all averages out.
Trailing stops can also be used to ‘lock in’ profits. We looked at those before. As the trade moves in your favour (say up if you are long) the stop loss ratchets with it. This means you may well end up ‘stopping out’ at a profit - as per the below example.

The mighty trailing stop loss order
It is perfectly reasonable to have your stop loss move in the direction of PNL. This is not exposing you to more risk than you originally were comfortable with. It is taking less and less risk as the trade moves in your favour. Trend-followers in particular love trailing stops.
One final question traders ask is what they should do if they get stopped out but still like the trade. Should they try the same trade again a day later for the same reasons? Nope. Look for a different trade rather than getting emotionally wed to the original idea.
Let’s say a particular stock looked cheap based on valuation metrics yesterday, you bought, it went down and you got stopped out. Well, it is going to look even better on those same metrics today. Maybe the market just doesn’t respect value at the moment and is driven by momentum. Wait it out.
Otherwise, why even have a stop in the first place?

Entering and exiting winning positions

Take profits are the opposite of stop losses. They are also resting orders, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price.
Imagine I’m long EURUSD at 1.1250. If it hits a previous high of 1.1400 (150 pips higher) I will leave a sell order to take profit and close the position.
The rookie mistake on take profits is to take profit too early. One should start from the assumption that you will win on no more than half of your trades. Therefore you will need to ensure that you win more on the ones that work than you lose on those that don’t.

Sad to say but incredibly common: retail traders often take profits way too early
This is going to be the exact opposite of what your emotions want you to do. We are going to look at that in the Psychology of Trading chapter.
Remember: let winners run. Just like stops you need to know in advance the level where you will close out at a profit. Then let the trade happen. Don’t override yourself and let emotions force you to take a small profit. A classic mistake to avoid.
The trader puts on a trade and it almost stops out before rebounding. As soon as it is slightly in the money they spook and cut out, instead of letting it run to their original take profit. Do not do this.

Entering positions with limit orders

That covers exiting a position but how about getting into one?
Take profits can also be left speculatively to enter a position. Sometimes referred to as “bids” (buy orders) or “offers” (sell orders). Imagine the price is 1.1250 and the recent low is 1.1205.
You might wish to leave a bid around 1.2010 to enter a long position, if the market reaches that price. This way you don’t need to sit at the computer and wait.
Again, typically traders will use tech analysis to identify attractive levels. Again - other traders will cluster with your orders. Just like the stop loss we need to bake that in.
So this time if we know everyone is going to buy around the recent low of 1.1205 we might leave the take profit bit a little bit above there at 1.1210 to ensure it gets done. Sure it costs 5 more pips but how mad would you be if the low was 1.1207 and then it rallied a hundred points and you didn’t have the trade on?!
There are two more methods that traders often use for entering a position.
Scaling in is one such technique. Let’s imagine that you think we are in a long-term bulltrend for AUDUSD but experiencing a brief retracement. You want to take a total position of 500,000 AUD and don’t have a strong view on the current price action.
You might therefore leave a series of five bids of 100,000. As the price moves lower each one gets hit. The nice thing about scaling in is it reduces pressure on you to pick the perfect level. Of course the risk is that not all your orders get hit before the price moves higher and you have to trade at-market.
Pyramiding is the second technique. Pyramiding is for take profits what a trailing stop loss is to regular stops. It is especially common for momentum traders.

Pyramiding into a position means buying more as it goes in your favour
Again let’s imagine we’re bullish AUDUSD and want to take a position of 500,000 AUD.
Here we add 100,000 when our first signal is reached. Then we add subsequent clips of 100,000 when the trade moves in our favour. We are waiting for confirmation that the move is correct.
Obviously this is quite nice as we humans love trading when it goes in our direction. However, the drawback is obvious: we haven’t had the full amount of risk on from the start of the trend.
You can see the attractions and drawbacks of both approaches. It is best to experiment and choose techniques that work for your own personal psychology as these will be the easiest for you to stick with and build a disciplined process around.

Risk:reward and win ratios

Be extremely skeptical of people who claim to win on 80% of trades. Most traders will win on roughly 50% of trades and lose on 50% of trades. This is why risk management is so important!
Once you start keeping a trading journal you’ll be able to see how the win/loss ratio looks for you. Until then, assume you’re typical and that every other trade will lose money.
If that is the case then you need to be sure you make more on the wins than you lose on the losses. You can see the effect of this below.

A combination of win % and risk:reward ratio determine if you are profitable
A typical rule of thumb is that a ratio of 1:3 works well for most traders.
That is, if you are prepared to risk 100 pips on your stop you should be setting a take profit at a level that would return you 300 pips.
One needn’t be religious about these numbers - 11 pips and 28 pips would be perfectly fine - but they are a guideline.
Again - you should still use technical analysis to find meaningful chart levels for both the stop and take profit. Don’t just blindly take your stop distance and do 3x the pips on the other side as your take profit. Use the ratio to set approximate targets and then look for a relevant resistance or support level in that kind of region.

Risk-adjusted returns

Not all returns are equal. Suppose you are examining the track record of two traders. Now, both have produced a return of 14% over the year. Not bad!
The first trader, however, made hundreds of small bets throughout the year and his cumulative PNL looked like the left image below.
The second trader made just one bet — he sold CADJPY at the start of the year — and his PNL looked like the right image below with lots of large drawdowns and volatility.
Would you rather have the first trading record or the second?
If you were investing money and betting on who would do well next year which would you choose? Of course all sensible people would choose the first trader. Yet if you look only at returns one cannot distinguish between the two. Both are up 14% at that point in time. This is where the Sharpe ratio helps .
A high Sharpe ratio indicates that a portfolio has better risk-adjusted performance. One cannot sensibly compare returns without considering the risk taken to earn that return.
If I can earn 80% of the return of another investor at only 50% of the risk then a rational investor should simply leverage me at 2x and enjoy 160% of the return at the same level of risk.
This is very important in the context of Execution Advisor algorithms (EAs) that are popular in the retail community. You must evaluate historic performance by its risk-adjusted return — not just the nominal return. Incidentally look at the Sharpe ratio of ones that have been live for a year or more ...
Otherwise an EA developer could produce two EAs: the first simply buys at 1000:1 leverage on January 1st ; and the second sells in the same manner. At the end of the year, one of them will be discarded and the other will look incredible. Its risk-adjusted return, however, would be abysmal and the odds of repeated success are similarly poor.

Sharpe ratio

The Sharpe ratio works like this:
  • It takes the average returns of your strategy;
  • It deducts from these the risk-free rate of return i.e. the rate anyone could have got by investing in US government bonds with very little risk;
  • It then divides this total return by its own volatility - the more smooth the return the higher and better the Sharpe, the more volatile the lower and worse the Sharpe.
For example, say the return last year was 15% with a volatility of 10% and US bonds are trading at 2%. That gives (15-2)/10 or a Sharpe ratio of 1.3. As a rule of thumb a Sharpe ratio of above 0.5 would be considered decent for a discretionary retail trader. Above 1 is excellent.
You don’t really need to know how to calculate Sharpe ratios. Good trading software will do this for you. It will either be available in the system by default or you can add a plug-in.

VAR

VAR is another useful measure to help with drawdowns. It stands for Value at Risk. Normally people will use 99% VAR (conservative) or 95% VAR (aggressive). Let’s say you’re long EURUSD and using 95% VAR. The system will look at the historic movement of EURUSD. It might spit out a number of -1.2%.

A 5% VAR of -1.2% tells you you should expect to lose 1.2% on 5% of days, whilst 95% of days should be better than that
This means it is expected that on 5 days out of 100 (hence the 95%) the portfolio will lose 1.2% or more. This can help you manage your capital by taking appropriately sized positions. Typically you would look at VAR across your portfolio of trades rather than trade by trade.
Sharpe ratios and VAR don’t give you the whole picture, though. Legendary fund manager, Howard Marks of Oaktree, notes that, while tools like VAR and Sharpe ratios are helpful and absolutely necessary, the best investors will also overlay their own judgment.
Investors can calculate risk metrics like VaR and Sharpe ratios (we use them at Oaktree; they’re the best tools we have), but they shouldn’t put too much faith in them. The bottom line for me is that risk management should be the responsibility of every participant in the investment process, applying experience, judgment and knowledge of the underlying investments.Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital
What he’s saying is don’t misplace your common sense. Do use these tools as they are helpful. However, you cannot fully rely on them. Both assume a normal distribution of returns. Whereas in real life you get “black swans” - events that should supposedly happen only once every thousand years but which actually seem to happen fairly often.
These outlier events are often referred to as “tail risk”. Don’t make the mistake of saying “well, the model said…” - overlay what the model is telling you with your own common sense and good judgment.

Coming up in part III

Available here
Squeezes and other risks
Market positioning
Bet correlation
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits

***
Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
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The Last Time I Write Another One of These Cringey Things (I hope...): Part 2892, The Worst Sequel and Wall of Text, ever

Hiya, folks...! It's another wall of text from some random person who could be doing just about anything else except for this... Who's ready for some paragraphs from some stranger?
I know you'd rather be doing anything else, or maybe not haha.. But it does mean a lot if you do take the time to try to attempt to accurately type me... I will DEFINITELY NOT overthink it this time, and take your consideration FULLY to heart, and stop overthinking my MBTI type and live happily ever after! (Hahahahhaha...! ... ...)
...
Ok, let's begin!

I am a freshly 23 year old male that likes to do average Redditor bullcrap. Video games, memes, music, making my finger go up and down endlessly while staring at a glass LED screen with pixels on it while feeling like I've accomplished nothing. Just average stuff, I suppose. I'm not really that interesting tbh...
I work at home and I am just "vibing", as the kids say. I have some long term projects planned, but I'm at least trying to rest up from a really shitty 7 years that I've had back to back to back so... Nothing really insightful to write here haha..
Likely several... I had a very traumatic childhood that I constantly gaslight myself about like saying things like "it wasn't that bad, people have it worse" and much worse..
I disassociate from reality every 2.5 seconds, can't focus, have terrible insomnia, EXTREMELY low energy, mood swings, brain fog, random body pains 24/7, seventeen billion repressed emotions which don't help out anything else that I'm dealing with, memory problems, and I need caffeine to do the bare minimum of just about anything on most days, but some of that could be average American problems.
I've suspected I have some form as Aspergers, and probably A TON of mental illnesses, such as OCD, anxiety, depression, and maybe a personality disorder.
My upbringing is a very mixed bag overall. I would not say I had a typically "tragic" childhood (there goes me gaslighting myself LOL) because people have DEFINITELY had it worse than me. But I can't sit here and pretend everything I went through was "normal". To attempt to sum it up, I basically was a "gifted" kid who got good grades throughout school and maintained my image of being this perfect kid, but meanwhile in the shadows, I was just slowly dying inside and suffering from a lot of imposter syndrome (amongst other things), which I'd definitely would say is warranted because I was NOT cut out for anything in school and it showed. I basically faked my way through school, got burnt out EARLY but got mega burnt out by senior year, and basically started college with no plan but somehow still managed to graduate (barely) and just kinda end up where I am now.
As far as a religious upbringing is concerned, I definitely was heavily influenced by religion, in kind of a negative way (?) Religion and I have a VERY weird relationship. On the one hand, I guess I love my religious friends, the lessons I learned from it, and a lot of what it says, but on the other hand I can not ever be a part of one mostly because of some of the dogmatic thinking and extremely toxic aspects to it that people use to justify hate and violence, and that's not really my type of thing. Also, I used to be really kinda "uppity" or arrogant about my religion, and now I DESPISE seeing the same type of "holier than thou" attitude projected. It kinda irks me on the inside.
Looking back, my response to it all was a major polarity shift from one extreme, to the other, and now where I'm at, I can look back at both sides and take the good from both. What do I mean by that? Welllllll... I mentioned earlier how I can't stand the "holier than thou" type, and for a while, that was DEFINITELY me. I was REALLY into it and took it extremely serious. I wouldn't mind being called "lame" or "whack" for having my faith, but looking back, it really made my quality of life kinda worse because I did have those strong beliefs and those off-putting characteristics that ostracized me from my peers and some potentially great experiences. I grew out of this and then became an EXTREME atheist, and for a while, it felt freeing. I felt better, smarter, edgier, and just superior, but looking back, I was just cynical and a total asshole, and arguably worse than the "holier than thou douche persona" that I had growing up. Luckily, my extreme atheism phase kinda fizzled out after some other trauma that happened around the time I became an atheist, and now, I can respect religion and be open to it, the ideas, and the amazing things that come from it while also maintaining my independent thinking but not to the point of being "hur dur be skeptical and point out everything wrong with religion all the time and be an asshole for no reason to religious people", if that makes any sense.
As far as my relationship to the structure in my life.. It's kind of a mixed bag. I had a pretty suffocated childhood, and I wasn't allowed certain things, but I guess it wasn't really all that bad in the end, or at least as it could've been. Most of this was just protection from a single parent who just didn't want anything to me and wanted me to be the best I could be in life, and I can respect this and look back on some parts of my structured childhood with fondness. But I most certainly got sick of it all by the time I was almost finished with highschool and in a lot of my college career. I basically used to be Mr. Structured. I had everything organized, I was neat, clean, got everything done at the right time, all the good stuff. But my brain just got tired of maintaining that forever, because I was already pretty much bad at life, but I was forced to just continue faking everything until something happened. So, by the end of high school, I lost all of those characteristics and became extremely sloppy. But I really do blame that on being physically tired. Being as organized as I was was TAXING because of how I overdid it. And now, thinking back, a lot of my structuredness was just on the surface level, and it was me trying to live up to everyone's standards and be just on top of everything, all the time, at a VERY unhealthy level, and that's probably what burnt me out too. I was addicted to the image of being this extremely put together person who has their shit together, while not having absolutely any shit to get together because I was withering away inside faster than fresh cotton candy from the fair melts in your mouth when your mouth is dry.
So, basically to sum it all up, I was a really clean cut religious smart "gifted" kid who wasn't really that, at all (AND I still don't know who I am now tbh haha) and I got tired of putting on that image all the time and turned to a dirty neckbeard atheist cynic for a short time, and then balanced out to whatever the fuck I am now because I wear 238234 different masks for each and every occasion, but THAT'S a different story haha.. I look back at both equally cringey and horrible chapters of my life with some scorn for myself and the times, but overall a much more understand a balanced perspective, because I had to go through it all to be me, and I'm just glad I can be here now. I'd say I definitely liked moments from those chapters, but overall, I'm much happier where I'm at now, which is not nearly as anally obsessive at the concept of being structured and not nearly as hyper-faithful to my religion or just a total asshole piece of shit atheist.
Right now, I'm sorta half employed. I do trade a bit on the Forex markets from signals groups and make enough to help out my family, and buy myself things here and there. I'm only really doing this because I went through a really shitty 7 years and I just need time to myself to kind of figure out, A LOT (clearly, as you can see by reading this HORRIBLE reddit post LOL) and rest. I just like the amount of freedom I have, and the money. I really like the idea of me having money saved and ready for any emergency, or family member or friend. I just need money to help out, stay safe, and to have time for myself to rest and take care of my health, or just pursue all the hobbies I missed out on, and I'm totally fine doing this the rest of my life. I don't really need or want that much in life, and I've always kind of been like this. I just want things to be peaceful and simple, so that my mind can be at ease and to just have free time for myself and a solution for any random chaotic emergency that happens because my mind always thinks of the worst that can happen by catastrophizing literally everything ever in the world. So my "career" is just a means to an end, like I'm sure a lot of people's careers are, unless you happen to have a passion or something, which is also amazing.
I do like writing, and I do wanna finish my book. I daydream a lot about it, and sometimes that's much more fun than actually writing it, but I do wanna finish it, but I also want it to be absolutely perfect and plothole free, and much more. I also wanna do YouTube and Twitch, but I feel like I have a lot to do as a person before I can freely be on those sites as a full person/"influencer" (I have so many mixed feelings about having a full time career as an influencer and having my life under that much pressure and scrutiny, BUTTTTT that's a different discussion...), so I might pursue those slowly or just freestyle it for fun. Those were my big dreams as a kid, but growing up, I see that writing a good book is damned hard (worth it, but hard) and being a Youtubesocial media star is a different world entirely, and I don't know how I feel about it. Like, I know I'd never be a Shane Dawson (YIKES) or Cryaotic (EWWWWW) but to even just disappoint one person, or have any sort of fuckup, or.. I don't know where I'm going with this... Basically, everything I suffer from now would only be amplified by having a YouTube career, my people pleasing tendencies, my over obsession with being perfect for others/myself, my workaholic tendencies, my being hard on myself, my fear of fucking anything up, and my imposter syndrome, those would all go BRRRRRR if I got any decent success on YouTube, so... *Phew*
That's my weird relationship with my life, and where I wanna go with it. To be honest, I'd be happy where I'm at right now, because at the end of the day, as long as I'm healthy and my family is happy, I'm ok, but a part of me also wants to live out those big dreams like having my book be a thing and animated, and being a good YouTuber, meme maker, Twitch streamer, all the above at the same time but my insecurities are like "BWAHAHAHAHA", so I'm just like: -_- But I'll figure it out! Hopefully..
Hm... Interesting question. Honestly, I'd never feel lonely on weekends by myself. Even when my friends are doing better things or aren't around, I don't really feel lonely I guess. Most of the time I have weekends alone, I feel pretty refreshed I suppose. It's kinda hard to tell haha.. This feels more like a circumstantial question where a myriad of things that are going on during the hypothetical week or just in my life/mind would determine this answer. Sometimes I just need that weekend to recharge and be alone and in my thoughts, or watching Netflix or being an absolute video game degenerate while dancing alone in my room and eating junk food. And sometimes, I like to be out and about with my friends, or just doing stuff. I probably lean more towards refreshed though, overall in a general sense.
BIG YIKES. I feel like a non human that doesn't belong on this planet or universe 99% of the time. I'm VERY slow, awkward movements, jittery, sometimes it looks like I was born yesterday with my grasp on physical reality, but yet, I do interestingly enough find myself loving to sweat and workout. I don't really have the coordination for any type of real sport, but I do like walks and I would run if I lived in an area where I could have a private or peaceful run where I would not be interrupted or seen by anyone because I look HIDEOUS running. I won't say I could never get into running at a professional or serious level, like with a group, but I'd just say it's more unlikely, for now. It sounds really exciting and interesting to be good at something physical, and I have always admired people who could do really sick stuff in sports, and I've always wanted to do it. But, right now, my uncoordinated ass will stick to just riding my exercise bike occasionally to burn off some restlessness and help me sleep betteperform better because working out makes my brain feel oddly stable lol. (I guess that's why I have such a fascination with physical stuff even though I am absolutely hopeless in most of it in the grand scheme of things)
I don't know if I'd say I'm curious, I guess I just think a lot. Like, I'll see something or watch something and daydream about it all the time, making new ideas out of it in my head or creating something new with it, trying to take it a new level or understand it at a different level, if that makes sense. Like, I'll sort of mentally digest something and that's what gives me inspiration, or ideas. I take in everything as I go and make up new shit with it later on (LOL this sounds like regular human being talk, because everyone does this).
I would say I have a lot of ideas on everything. I daydream about random chapters in my book a lot, like full on scenes. I'll daydream about a new melody for a song I've never heard with lyrics, and I'll try to make lyrics in my head and extend the melody. I'll daydream about my interactions in life, and just how I could have responded differently, or maybe what the other person is thinking, or feeling, or stuff like I wonder if they're okay. I'll daydream about new memes I can make, or me in an interview (OMG MEGA CRINGE ROFL). I pretty much daydream about... Everything. And then I'll daydream about what I'm daydreaming about, and why I'm doing it, and it gets too meta at that point. (this could very well just be maladaptive daydreaming and NOT indicative of any cognitive function ROFL)
Nope, nuh uh. I am too much of a people pleaser and pushover. I'd be dead or betrayed before my first week is over. The thing about me is that generally, I feel like I'd be a terrible leader because I can overthink a lot, all the time, and I'd be slow to action and prone to analysis paralysis and extreme people pleasing tendencies. I can also be conflict avoidant, and just want people to be happy, so I'd let a lot of stuff slide that I maybe should not. Now, don't get me wrong, I can be firm and tough when needed, but eventually that'd be too much for me to bear, and I couldn't be in a position like that for long. I genuinely hope I never become a leader, because even when I'm looking back to five minutes ago, I can say that "ew, that's cringe bro", so I clearly have a lot of work to do before I have something that serious on my plate.
HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHA. Funny question. But.. Yeahhhhhhh... No. I am NOT coordinated. I can barely walk in my kitchen without the fear of me accidentally turning wrong or moving incorrectly and just breaking something or knocking over everything in the kitchen. SOMETIMES I'm in James Bond mode, and it feels like I can do anything physical, and I feel aware of everything, my body, my surroundings, and I can actually move like a human being, but that usually doesn't last long. I can do just the bare minimum that an average human can do, but MUCH MUCH worse and at a greater cost of my energy, and my mental energy trying not to fuck anything up because I have literally just been sitting at times and barely move and knock over EVERYTHING somehow, because that's just how much my body was not meant to be on planet earth and I maybe should have been incarnated as a slug, idk.
I'd describe myself as artistic, even if I haven't drawn in years LOL. But let me explain... I do still have a love for it, I just haven't really been able to practice. In general, my art is just aiming for whatever is in my brain, and I don't have a solid style. I'm just going for whatever I'm going for in the moment. I prefer a mix of realism with some "quirks", if that makes sense. While I haven't drawn in a while, this is how I'd imagine I'd want my art to look nowadays. Pretty realistic with perfect everything, perfect features, perfect environment or whatever I'm illustrating or going for (perfect features on a person, all the hair strands drawn individually, etc), with a mix of my own little "spice", if that makes sense. Back in the day, my art was just trying to copy classic anime, and while I have no problem with that style, I just wanna kinda make my own style, even if that is hard to verbalize lmao.
Alright guys.. I would write more, but I'm sleepy and some of this is getting dumb/boring (as if it wasn't already LOL). I'm glad you made it this far, and thank you for reading and putting up with this actual garbage fire of a post. Please take care of yourselves during these crazy weird times, and I hope you are doing well. I look forward to reading you guys responses (if I get any LOL).
Stay amazing, and stay healthy :3
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Forex Trading in Kenya.

Someone posted on here a few days ago asking about forex and forex trading in Kenya, I have gone through the responses and clearly, most people don’t have an idea. It is 3am in the morning and am in a good mood so let me make this post. This will be a comprehensive and lengthy post so grab a pen and paper and sit down. We’ll be here a while.
FIRST OF ALL, who am I..?
I am a forex trader, in Nairobi, Kenya..i have been actively involved in forex since I found out about it in Feb 2016 when I somehow ended up in a wealth creation seminar (lol) in pride inn Westlands, the one close to Mpaka Rd. Luckily for me, it was not one of those AIM global meetings or I’d be on Facebook selling God knows what those guys sell. I did not take it seriously till August of the same year and I have been active ever since.
I don’t teach, mentor or sell a course or signals, I trade my own money. I am also posting from a throwaway account because I don’t want KRA on my ass.
What the fuck is forex and forex trading.
In simple plain English, forex is like the stock market but for currencies. Stock Market = Shares, forex = currencies. If you want more in-depth explanation, google is your friend.
These currencies are pegged on specific countries, united states- dollar, UK- pound, euro zone- euro, Switzerland- Swiss franc, Kenya- Kenya shilling.. you get the point. Now, there are specific events and happenings between these economies that affect the movement and values of the currencies, driving their value (purchasing power up and down). Forex trading exploits these movements to make money. When the value is going up, we buy and vice versa (down –sell)
Is forex trading illegal in Kenya? Is it a scam?
Illegal, no. scam, no. All the banks in the world do it (KCB made about 4 billion from trading forex in 2019)
Have there been scams involving forex in Kenya?
Yes. Here is one that happened recently. This one is the most infamous one yet. Best believe that this is not the end of these type of scams because the stupidity, greed and gullibility of human beings is unfathomable.
However, by the end of this post, I hope you won’t fall for such silliness.
What next how do I make it work..?
Am glad you asked. Generally, there are two ways to go about it. One, you teach yourself. This is the equivalent of stealing our dad’s car and hoping that the pedal you hit is the brake and not the accelerator. It is the route I took, it is the most rewarding and a huge ego boost when you finally make it on your own. Typically, this involves scouring the internet for hours upon hours going down rabbit holes, thinking you have made it telling all your friends how you will be a millionaire then losing all your money. Some people do not have the stomach for that.
The second route is more practical, structured and smarter.
First Learn the basics. There is a free online forex course at www.babypips.com/learn/forex this is merely an introductory course. Basically it is learning the parts of a car before they let you inside the car.
Second, start building your strategy. By the time you are done with the babypips, you will have a feel of what the forex market is, what interests you, etc. Tip..Babypips has a lot of garbage. It is good for introductory purposes but not good for much else, pick whatever stick to you or jumps at you the first time. Nonsense like indicators should be ignored.
The next step is now the most important. Developing the skill and building your strategy. As a beginner, you want to exhaust your naivety before jumping into the more advanced stuff. Eg can you identify a trend, what is a pair, what is position sizing, what is metatrader 4 and how to operate it, what news is good for a currency, when can I trade, what are the different trading sessions, what is technical analysis, what is market sentiment, what are bullish conditions what is emotion management, how does my psychology affect my trading (more on this later) an I a swing, scalper or day trader etc
Mentors and forex courses.. you have probably seen people advertising how they can teach and mentor you on how to trade forex and charging so much money for it. Somehow it seems that these people are focused on the teaching than the trading. Weird, right..? Truth is trading is hard, teaching not quite. A common saying in the industry is “Those who can’t trade, teach” you want to avoid all these gurus on Facebook and Instagram, some are legit but most are not. Sifting the wheat from the chaff is hard but I did that for you. The info is available online on YouTube, telegram channels etc. am not saying not to spend money on a course, if you find a mentor whose style resonates with you and the course is reasonably priced, please, go ahead and buy..it will cut your learning curve in half. People are different. What worked for me might not work for you.
Here are some nice YouTube channels to watch. These guys are legit..
  1. Sam sieden
  2. Cuebanks
  3. TheCoinFx
  4. The trading channel
  5. Astro
  6. Forex family
  7. Wicksdontlie
Advanced stuff
  1. ICT
After a short period of time, you will be able to sniff out bs teachers with relative ease. You will also discover some of your own and expand the list. Two tips, start with the oldest videos first and whichever of these resonates with you, stick with till the wheels fall off.
How long will it take until things start making sense
Give yourself time to grow and learn. This is all new to you and you are allowed to make mistakes, to fail and discover yourself. Realistically, depending on the effort you put in, you will not start seeing results until after 6 months. Could take longeshorter so there is no guarantee.
Social media, Mentality, Psychology and Books
Online, forex trading might not have the best reputation online because it takes hard work and scammers and gurus give it a bad name. However, try to not get sucked into the Instagram trader lifestyle as it is nowhere close to what the reality is. You will not make millions tomorrow or the day after, you might never even make it in this market. But that is the reality of life. Nothing is promised, nothing is guaranteed.
Your mentality, beliefs and ego will be challenged in this market. You will learn things that will make you blood boil, you will ask yourself daily, how is this possible, why don’t they teach this in school..bla bla bla..it will be hard but growth is painful, if it wasn’t we’d all be billionaires. Take a break, take a walk, drink a glass of whatever you like or roll one..detox. Chill with your girl (or man) Gradually you will develop mental toughness that will set you up for life. Personally, I sorta ditched religion and picked up stoicism. Whatever works for you.
Psychology, this is unfortunately one of the most neglected aspects of your personal development in this journey. Do you believe in yourself? Can you stand by your convictions when everyone is against you? Can you get up every day uncertain of the future? There will be moments where you will question yourself, am I even doing the right thing? the right way? It is normal and essential for your growth. People who played competitive sports have a natural advantage here. Remember the game is first won in your head then on the pitch.
Books: ironically, books that helped me the most were the mindset books, Think and grow rich, trading for a living, 4 hour work week, the monk who sold his Ferrari..just google mindset and psychology books, most trading books are garbage. Watch and listen to people who have made it in the investing business. Ray Dalio, warren, Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn.
This is turning out to be lengthier than I anticipated so I’ll try to be brief for the remaining parts.
Brokers
You will need to open up an account with a broker. Get a broker who is regulated. Australian ones (IC Market and Pepperstone) are both legit, reliable and regulated. Do your research. I’d avoid local ones because I’ve heard stories of wide spreads and liquidity problems. International brokers have never failed me. There are plenty brokers, there is no one size fits all recommendation. If it ain’t broke..don’t fix it.
Money transfer.
All brokers accept wire transfers, you might need to call your bank to authorize that, avoid Equity bank. Stanchart and Stanbic are alright. Large withdrawals $10k+ you will have to call them prior. Get Skrill and Neteller if you don’t like banks like me, set up a Bitcoin wallet for faster withdrawals, (Payoneer and Paypal are accepted by some brokers, just check with them.)
How much money can I make..?
I hate this question because people have perceived ceilings of income in their minds, eg 1 million ksh is too much to make per month or 10,000ksh is too little. Instead, work backwards. What % return did I make this month/ on this trade. Safaricom made 19.5% last year, if you make 20% you have outperformed them. If you reach of consistency where you can make x% per month on whatever money you have, then there are no limits to how much you can make.
How much money do I need to start with..?
Zero. You have all the resources above, go forth. There are brokers who provide free bonuses and withdraw-able profits. However, to make a fulltime income you will need some serious cash. Generally, 50,000 kes. You can start lower or higher but if you need say 20k to live comfortably and that is a 10% return per month, then you can do the math on how big your account should be. Of course things like compound interest come into play but that is dependent on your skill level. I have seen people do spectacular things with very little funds.
Taxes..?
Talk to a lawyer or an accountant. I am neither.
Family? Friends?
Unfortunately, people will not understand why you spend hundreds of hours watching strangers on the internet so it is best to keep it from them. Eventually you will make it work and they will come to your corner talking about how they always knew you’d make it.
The journey will be lonely, make some trading buddies along the way. You’d be surprised at how easy it is when people are united by their circumstances (and stupidity) I have guys who are my bros from South Africa and Lebanon who I have never met but we came up together and are now homies. Join forums, ask questions and grow. That is the only way to learn. Ideally, a group of 5-10 friends committed to learning and growth is the best model. Pushing each other to grow and discovering together.
Forex is real and you can do amazing things with it. It is not a get rich quick scheme. If you want a quick guaranteed income, get a job.
And now it is 5am, fuck.
This is oversimplified and leaves out many many aspects.
Happy to answer any questions.
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