When most investors hear the word Forex, the words that flash through their brain are “risky,” “complicated,” and “tiny profit margins.” This is because the information on currency trading isn’t as available and easy to access as the stock market. A stock investor just needs to pick up the Wall Street Journal or turn on CNBC to instantly see what’s new and exciting. When you’re a stock investor, you can talk to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers about what you’re buying, share tips, and brag about your profits. Everyone is familiar with the stock market. Forex is a different beast. To find information, you have to turn to the internet or privately run newsletters. You can’t talk about forex with anyone in your everyday life because they won’t understand the lingo and will have no idea what you’re talking about. It’s a shame, because our game has some major advantages over stock trading. Maybe if forex information was more public, the average investor would realize the following 5 things to be true.
One thing that most people doesn’t realize is that there is no trading commission involved in currency trading. When you’re trading stocks frequently, even if it’s done online at $20 a pop, the fees start eating into your profits. If you’re trading options, you’re not only paying a commission on the trade, but you’re also paying additional fees per contract. Fortunately for forex investors, the only retail transaction cost is the bid/ask spread which is usually less than 5 pips (0.05%).
Secondly, the currency market is open 24 hours a day, 5 days per week. Unlike the stock exchange, which is only active between the opening and closing bells, you can trade forex first thing in the morning or in the wee hours of the night. There are people all around the world trading at all hours, so a trader can take advantage of any market condition at any time.
Another big benefit to the foreign exchange is the huge leverage opportunity. Leverage, also called margin, is when you borrow your broker’s money and add it to your own capital in order to make a larger investment. In the stock market, you have to pass your brokers strict guidelines to be approved for a margin account, and if you do, you’ll get a maximum of 2:1 (which means if you invest $10,000, you can borrow $10,000). In forex, a ratio of up to 400 is considered normal. If you use that massive amount of leverage properly and hit some big winners, you can make substantial money in short periods of time. Of course, the opposite is true as well. You can lose substantial money very quickly also. But you can’t get a better opportunity to use other people’s money.
A fourth advantage to currency trading is it’s size. Because the forex market is so huge and has so many traders active at all times, no single investor can corner the market. In the stock market, each equity issue has a finite amount of outstanding shares. For many small cap companies, a large investor could amass a large percentage of those outstanding shares, and because of the low liquidity, their choice to buy, sell, or hold will have drastic effects on the price of that particular stock. With currency, no single investor, not even a central bank, can accumulate a controlling amount of something like the dollar, pound, or franc.
The last great characteristic of the forex that we’ll discuss in this article is the never ending bull market. Forex is a zero sum game. A gain is only made when one currency rises in value in relation to another currency. So this means that if one currency is going down, another is going up. In the stock market, when a bear market hits, the vast majority of stocks are all going down. If Microsoft drops 5 points, that certainly doesn’t mean that GE went up 5 points. Sure, you can short stocks in a declining market, but the average investor isn’t too keen on the unlimited downside risk and probably doesn’t even have the margin to be able to make the trade. Just remember that something is always guaranteed to go up in the currency market.
There are dozens of other reasons why the forex is one of the best playing fields in the investment world. If you are an investor, do some research and see for yourself. Open up a demo trading account at one of the several online forex brokers and see how you do. You might just find that it blows the stock market out of the water.
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