Monday, August 17, 2009

Following a Risk Management Plan

One of the essentials of trading in any investment market is establishing a risk management plan. New traders often jump into the market head first with no real pre-determined trading plan. The outcome can be disastrous in a short period time. The Forex market, just like other investment markets such as the stock market and futures market, require a trading plan that’s free of emotion and heavy on discipline. Only then can a trader’s hard earned money and valuable time translate into respectable profits.
The risk-reward ratio
The risk-reward ratio is basically the risk you’re willing to take to make a certain profit. Any risk management plan that’s worth its money has a decent risk-reward ratio of at least 1:3. What exactly does a 1:3 ratio mean? It means that for every unit of risk you take, you’ll reap three times that amount in reward. A 1:4 ratio means that for every unit of risk you take, you’ll earn four times that amount. The larger the ratio is, the greater reward you make. However, with higher risk-ratios, you’ll have to wait longer to make that trade. You might end up missing some lucrative trades in the interim, and your “ideal” trade might never show up.
Here’s how it works
Let’s say you risk 50 pips (units) to make a deal worth 100 pips. You’re risk-reward ratio is 50/100, or 1:2. If your risk management plan limits your trades of at least a 1:3 ratio, then you shouldn’t make the trade. However, if you risk 50 pips for a potential 150-pip gain (50/150 or 1:3), then it’s worth it.
What about risking more than you can make?
Some investors don’t mind risking more than they can make on a deal. Is this real good advice to follow though? If you’re a real risk taker, then take the chance. But if you’re in the market to make a real profit over the long run, then don’t do it. It is just not sound risk management planning.
Suppose you want to risk 100 pips to make a potential 50 pips. Your risk-ratio is 100:50, or 2:1. That means that you’re willing to give up more than you can make on the deal – not the best logic. True, you can make 50 pips, but you’re risking more than you can even make on the trade.

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