Disclaimer: Although my degree is in Financial Planning, I am not a financial advisor (GOD willing one day though), accountant, attorney, or tax advisor. These blogs are for informational use and all advice is based on my personal research, my experiences, and my opinions. You have to do your own research and I do not take responsibility for any losses or gains that come with my advice. Everyone has unique circumstances and consulting a professional is always the best option.
In the past year, I have seen more forex, investing, and options trading posts than I’ve ever seen in my life, which is incredible. It’s amazing to see the interests that people have gained in making money and investing for future goals and generations. It’s also needed and I truly hope it continues. But with good also comes bad. The one thing that has bothered me with the increased interest in markets is the rise in frauds and scams. Hopefully these 5 points about trading will help you in evaluating investment opportunities that come your way and to help you think differently when it comes to new investment opportunities.
1. There is no secret to the forex or stock market. This is the most important thing to know when considering the countless opportunities that will be presented to you. The closest thing to a secret is to regularly invest, stay invested, and let compounding do it’s magic uninterrupted which Keturah has mentioned in her Money blog series, check them out!
If someone had a real secret to the markets, why would they sell it? Or better yet, why offer a special price for you to join their trading group? If they had a secret, they might as well trade their money and multiply it forever.
Also, if they truly had a secret, it would be better for them to actually manage your money themselves and get paid a small portion of that rather than teach their secret to everyone.
One way to think about it is: If someone wins the lottery and starts a lottery-buying group to teach people how to become rich by playing the lottery, would you join? Same goes for Forex or trading. A person can make a lot of money with a single investment or trade, but it doesn’t mean they can do it again or teach others how to do so. So much skill and honestly, luck, go into investing than people realize.
2. Understand the investment and do your own research
We’ve all heard this statement - there’s no such thing as a dumb question. If someone approaches you with an opportunity to invest or learn the “secrets” of the market, ask as many questions as you want. Don’t feel like you can't or shouldn't, and if they don’t answer your questions or they talk to you in circles, it’s probably not a good investment for you. Here are a few questions you can ask:
How do you get paid? / How are you benefitting from this?
Are you a fiduciary? (A fiduciary is when a person is obligated to do what’s best for the client, not themselves or their company)
How does your product or investment work?
How much money can I lose?
And my favorite question - Can you explain this to me like I’m 5 years old?
If you find out an opportunity is not right for you, that’s okay! Don’t let anyone pressure or make you feel terrible about your choice. If they criticize your decision to not sign up, it’s probably a sign that they're only looking out for themselves and not you. Seriously, I’ve seen countless posts criticizing people for not taking advantage of forex or stock trading. That’s not someone looking out for you, that’s someone trying to make a sale by making you feel terrible. A person who cares will listen, educate, and be patient with all the questions you have rather than rushing you. Shout out to KOtheComp!
3. Risk is necessary ...but please understand the risk you’re taking and what impact it could have on your future.
There’s risk in every investment, some more than others. It’s important for you to understand the risks of your investment and match those risks with your goals. Some of these opportunities marketed don’t explain the risks involved with their investments. Majority of the social media posts I see show gains and never losses. This is simply unrealistic. I don’t expect people to show their losses but please be careful not to get lured by what you see others posting. There’s more to it than meets the eye.
For example, some trading strategies involve leverage (borrowing money to invest). Leveraging can magnify your wins but also magnify your losses. Simply put, you can win more than you invested OR lose more than you invested. The losing side is rarely ever shown and can cost you more than you can imagine.
Take the time to understand your risk tolerance (how much risk you're willing to take), how long you plan to be invested, and your personal goals. Then, you can use this information to understand which investments are worth the risk. Not all risks are worth it.
*Major Key* Use a demo account (fake money) to get your feet wet. The demo is helpful but nothing will fully prepare you for the feeling of real money on the line, whether your money is up 50% or down 50% it’s completely different psychology that comes into play. The demo websites I recommend include:
Market Watch - I’ve used this site a few times and even got beat by KO in a year long stock market game.
Investopedia - This site is great for learning anything money related but can also be used to try out your trading strategies without real money.
MetaTrader 4 - I am least familiar with this site but I have been told that it’s a good app for demo trading forex.
4. Being in the largest financial market, means nothing in terms of making money.
I think I’ve heard the line “Forex is the largest financial market in the world” in almost every Instagram reel or post regarding forex. Being in the largest financial market will not help you make more money. If anything, you’re probably more prone to deception in such a market if you don’t do your research.
The largest financial market is referring to volume: the number or value of shares sold or bought each day. If Keturah sells me 100 shares of Apple and I sell her 100 shares of Tesla, the volume for that day would be 200 shares. So, when you hear that Forex is the largest financial market in the world, it means that an average of $6.6 trillion is being traded on average each day. For comparison, the Nasdaq Index (one of the major US stock indexes) is at about $230 billion per day on average. As you can see, Forex is way bigger than the US stock market.
Trading in the forex market because it’s a bigger market doesn't mean that you’ll make more money. That’s like saying that fishing in the ocean means you’ll catch more fish than being in a lake. The same goes for the Forex market, just because it’s a bigger market doesn't mean it’s easier to make money. What will make the difference is your skill and experience level, just like it does when fishing in the ocean.
5. Forex is not a scam - I probably don’t need to tell you this because you’ve heard it from every Instagram forex trader.
Recently I watched Earn Your Leisure on the truth about Forex and one of my takeaways was that most of what you see on Instagram or Twitter is network marketing (a business model that depends on person-to-person sales by independent representatives) and most of these people are making money from RECRUITING not actual trading or forex.
On a serious note, forex like any other market in itself is not a scam. But forex is susceptible to scams just like any other industry or market and this is due to bad actors and fraud. I can’t tell you what service or product is a scam but please be aware that people will try to take advantage of you and it’s up to you to decide who’s truly in your corner and working in your best interest and who’s just trying to make a sale for themselves.
Because the 5 points above don't even begin to scratch the surface of everything you and I need to know about investing, here are a few books for you to consider reading that will hopefully help you gain more insights on money.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich - Ramit Sethi
This is more of a beginners book on personal finance but very simple and practical.
The Psychology of Money - Morgan Housel
This book centers around behavioral finance and has powerful stories to conceptualize how people think about money.
The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J Stanley & William D Danko
This recommendation is from Keturah and she loves it because “it discusses how millionaires aren’t the people we would guess and the way millionaires live is much more different than we imagine.”
My goal with this blog was not to discourage you from Forex, but instead to help people make the right decisions for themselves and one that their future self will be thankful for. I hope the few tips above help you when the next investment opportunity, financial freedom mentor, or even a scammer comes your way.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and a HUGE THANK YOU to Keturah for letting me be a part of her Money Series. It’s incredible how she is using her platform to bring awareness to such important topics.