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Can you help me to identify a good career to support myself whilst I commit my youth to training to attempt to become a professional boxer?
I realise this is a really long post, there is a TL, DR at the bottom for those that are not interested in the details of my life.
So firstly, some context about me - if you're interested:
Disclaimer: I'm really sorry if I sound incredibly arrogant here, but the truth is I can't be as 'intelligent' as I think I am if I have made as many mistakes as I have in my past to end up where I currently am - just take it as though I’m selling myself for a job interview. I would consider myself to be the absolute definition of a neurodiverse generalist-specialist - in fact when I was 16 (I'm currently 20) my psychology teacher would always refer to me as the "master of all trades" (and despite as flattering as that was, there was obviously an element of hyperbole there). I am fairly autonomous; however, I am also a neophile (and my theory is that this element of myself is the biggest reason for why I am the way that I am). I am either incredibly hyper focused or completely distracted - however I have been working on developing an element of moderation to these two extremes of my character. Just to clarify though, I don't consider myself 'good at everything' - I'm actually usually the WORST at a lot of things when I first begin, and in all honesty the only thing a lot of people I know would say I'm genuinely naturally 'good at' is learning (which I really, really have come to appreciate over the years) - but I wouldn't say I have any 'innate talents' or any 'elite endowments'. For example: I'm not the best at Maths, I don't have a gift for music, I can't speak multiple languages, and I'm not the fastest or the strongest - BUT, despite whatever disadvantages I have, I have always had the supreme confidence that if I really try, and if I really dedicate myself I can reach the top ~5% of most things. In other words, I can at least do the things that don't require talent that will close the gap between myself and those at the most elite level of a particular discipline. I know this isn't unique to me, however it is something that I have had a good comprehension of since I was very young. However, the super-power I discovered is this: if I can reach the top ~5% of most disciplines, then I have the LARGEST advantage in the most multi-disciplinary subjects. The more versatility, variety, and integration a subject requires - the higher and higher I have noticed my potential to be within it (and I will relate this to boxing soon). To vaguely illustrate the point, I spend A LOT of time researching very high level multi-disciplinary subjects such as Bio-Chemistry and Physiology; Neuroscience and its connections to computation, reality, consciousness, and the practical applications of novel cognitive and neural strategies in sports and the acquisition of new 'abilities/skill'; Data science, artificial intelligence, human history, neurobiology, and systems engineering and how they could shape a society better fit for humans, their needs, desires, and purpose etc. etc. etc. I have been employed since the age of 13 and have grew up in a poor part of inner-city Birmingham, UK, from birth. My parents are 'un-skilled labourers' however have had to care for my disabled brother since before I was born, and their opportunities to progress their material conditions were, and still can be, incredibly limited; for these reasons my parents are unable to give me more support than they already do (I appreciate and love my parents a lot; they give me shelter rent free, and are always supportive of me and my ambitions). I've also always worked 'low-skilled', poor rate of pay jobs that require a lot of time investment in order to change my material circumstances: Hair salon cleaner, Fish and Chip shop, Go-kart track race Marshall, and currently I am an apprentice mechanic (21 months into the 36months required to fully qualify) - I also sold weed for some supplemental income when I was 17/18 but those days are behind me.
The 'problem' though, is this:
Despite my attraction to 'novelty' and my history of what appears to be 'commitment issues' - I've finally settled on a path that I am willing to commit my entire youth towards - but I am unable to support myself financially (and therefore at-all) if I am to make the sacrifices I need to make to be serious about this lifestyle. The main problem is time, and the second is money (go figure!). So essentially, where I'd like to be right now is: spending approximately up to 7 hours a day training (preferably most of that time in the mornings), AND saving enough money to where I have options 5-7 years from now if my efforts unfortunately do not pay off. At this point you can see why I'm having difficulty... I'm pretty sure that it's literally everyone's goal ever to earn enough money to depend on, in a minimal amount of time- however I don't need to earn a lot - just whatever is sustainable for the next 5-7 years... as long as I am able to pay for my abstract needs, with some disposable income I will be happy. THE ONLY OTHER CRITERIA is that it just can't be something monotonous. I'm here because I'd still like to develop a career suited for my skills alongside boxing if possible - but if the best case scenario is that I have to just work a minimum wage job for now, it has to be something that allows me to progress into more meaningful work that is more intellectually stimulating. Basically, a part-time job in a field that I’m interested in, where there is a very real possibility of me attaining more skilled and better paying roles.
What makes all of this complicated (sort of):
Due to a lack of personal responsibility, and a past struggle with depression I dropped out of my tertiary education (the step before getting a degree) before I received any qualifications. I do have a very, very exceptional set of secondary education qualifications - but those are only good for FURTHER education and aren't really beneficial when trying to gain employment - at least if I already had some tertiary education qualification(s) it would open up some doors to a set of slightly higher paying jobs that would (with an assumed degree of flexibility) at least enable me to work less hours and be closer to my ideal situation. I'm slightly adverse to going back into education for now, only because it will reduce the amount of time to generate some capital and train at the same time. I actually really would love to go to University (for something like Physiology with Neuroscience), but I don't want to slow down my current progress in Boxing - as time is of the essence and I will reach my biological prime fairly soon. I am fairly certain that whether my boxing career takes off or not, I will almost certainly end up going to university at a later point in my life, just because I genuinely have an interest in attaining a degree, however, as I already stated, I currently do not possess the qualifications to be accepted into University - and gaining those qualifications would also set me back in my boxing progression further. DESPITE THIS, I would be willing to complete a degree apprenticeship (so long as it’s in a field I'd consider a degree in), because I will be able to save money and sort out my finances from now, and only have to slow down my training for the next 3 years (and in all honesty that's at a push) until I'm able to (hopefully) establish a better work-life balance to, again, attain my ideal situation. At this point, I’m expecting to receive replies that will tell me to continue with my apprenticeship - especially because of the fact that I'm more than halfway through - however I will throw some spanners in the works (lol). I am already on a wage that would just about be in that range where I am able to pay for my abstract needs, with some disposable income (which is actually less than NMW here because it's an apprenticeship) - however I have gotten into debt because for the first year I was on an even lower rate of pay that was just not sustainable to meet my needs and therefore I made the sacrifice to accrue some debt, thinking it would be a worthwhile investment. Furthermore I must (and have been) buy(ing) an adequate collection of tools before my apprenticeship ends to retain employment - and tools are not cheap so this further reduces my take home pay (and will continue to do so for the duration of the apprenticeship). Not only that, but once I finish the apprenticeship, I would not like to continue my 40-hour work week - nor would I choose to stay on with my employer. Despite this, there is good potential to be more autonomous and flexible, and earn quite a lot of money by being a self-employed mechanic - but the amount of money I will have to spend to acquire the tools and facilities required to be a profitable mechanic will take me some time, further delaying my progress in boxing. Furthermore, it would be great if I had the knowledge and experience to be a self-employed mechanic, but attaining the qualification is the sole purpose of the apprenticeship - not becoming a good mechanic; I only work on newer models of a certain brand and therefore my exposure to different configurations of mechanisms, and diagnosis and rectification of different issues is limited also, which will make it difficult to have a large enough volume of potential customers to be worthwhile, unless I spend additional time in a 'backstreet' garage. I did have the thought of applying to a 'backstreet' garage and gaining these experiences and knowledge NOW, so that when I do finish, I could potentially have an easier start becoming self-employed - however I have sacrificed the amount of time that I spent being active before and this is what led me to my previous stage of being deeply depressed, and I do not want to make that same mistake again - athletic development really is my self-designated purpose in life. Disclaimer: Obviously I don’t NEED to train extensive hours every day for my mental health - but I DO need to make sure that I do not reach the age of 30/40 with regret wondering what could have been if I was courageous enough to risk it all- that's literally it. I just won't be able to live with myself if I don't at least do everything I can to try to succeed whilst I still have the opportunity. Once I’m beyond my prime, I can deal with spending my time differently, but I wake up with a sense of urgency towards becoming the most athletically developed as I possibly can every morning. I've thought about doing something like Forex or content creation - but I don’t think it's very smart to invest both my plan A and B in risky 'gig economy' style careers. I've also thought about having a career within boxing - however I don't know of any good opportunities other than competing and I'm scared anything else will kill my passion for my desire to compete also. A possibility that I have just recently began playing with though, is to begin creating an online boxing profile for myself on various social media websites - to share high quality videos of my training and performance in the hopes that I may gain a following that will enable me to gain sponsorship(s) of some sort. The only reason I hadn't done this sooner is because I have only just started to attain a level of skill and ability that I feel is 'rare' - I still have so much to work on, and this is my point, that I have no time to waste. A lot of guys will just throw themselves out there too early but, as some of my greatest idols, I follow the philosophy of Mike Tyson and Cus D’Amato - Amateurs should take their time before they start competing (I am only just about to start competing in amateurs, but coronavirus lol) because we want to dominate, and not compete. I know it may seem silly to be so, so, so focused on Boxing as a career - especially when I am not that 'tried and tested' but I know I can't just give up because I haven't yet proved myself to other people. If you've made it this far, I am incredibly impressed by your ability to focus your attention on someone else's self-absorbed first world problems for this long - and I am incredibly thankful that you continued despite my lack of concision and the horrible formatting of this huge boring wall of text. <3 What would your advise be for me?
I have a good history of low-skill employment; (In my opinion) I'm under-qualified for my level of 'intellectual capability' (through no faults other than my own), and I feel like I am already prepared for a higher-skill job - so long as I was given the opportunity to prove my ability - however I am a choosing beggar in the sense that I am trying to create a great work-life balance despite my large demands as to what constitutes 'life'; despite this I'm willing to live frugally for a while in order to make my dream a reality - but do need some disposable income to pay off some debts I have accrued and also to prepare myself financially just in-case I am unable to make my dream of becoming a professional boxer a reality once all is said and done. Therefore, with these circumstances what do you think is the best course of action to reach my ideal situation of: working part-time for (up to) 30 hours a week to begin building a career that will not feel like a form of mental torture due to the monotony of - and one that has good potential to increase earnings without increasing my commitments to work (mainly time) - something that pays me because of the extra value I can provide (funny how hard this seems - not sure if this says something about me hahaha). I have interests in all the sciences (mainly life science, but the STEM and Natural sciences are good too), public health, using tools (as long as they're not as expensive as a mechanic's hahaha), and anything that allows me to be more autonomous and learn about novel things - or at least contribute to the development of knowledge. The only thing I know is that I DO need to make sure that I do not reach the age of 30/40 with regret wondering what could have been if I was courageous enough to risk it all- that's literally it. I just won't be able to live with myself if I don't at least do everything I can to try to succeed whilst I still have the opportunity. Once I’m beyond my prime, I can deal with spending my time differently, but I wake up with a sense of urgency towards becoming one of the best boxers the world has ever seen. Edit: It's funny how one of the first things I mentioned is that I'm a 'generalist-specialist'... and then this whole post is about spreading myself too thin hahaha.
The crypto market’s correlation with traditional markets (by Robert Aron Zawiasa)
https://medium.com/@Zawiasa/the-crypto-markets-correlation-with-traditional-markets-79e8209a6d8 At the time of Corona virus and the — not so related — economic meltdown, many questions the correlation between the virtual economy of cryptocurrencies and the “trad” one. Why is it such an important question? For many years crypto evangelists predicted Bitcoin as a new safe-haven, the “digital gold”. — Oh boy, they were wrong. The correlation is not imaginary, trad market players now have significant capital in cryptocurrency and when they need to pull liquidity to cover fiat liabilities, they just do it. The reason for the steep drop in % terms is because the BTC market is not liquid enough at this point in time. Is it a problem? A heresy of the crypto evangelion? A heresy for sure, but not a problem at all. Let’s be honest and admit it: The crypto community found nothing unusual in the recent price-drops. I, myself even shorted the market, because crypto is still full of promises but lacking adoption.
Okay, so they are correlating and crypto is full of shit and scammy and basically the same, right?
Not so! Do you remember the times when we had to wait days for a transaction? Paying with wire transfer for something in China was insanely expensive? When merchants preferred cash over credit cards, because of high fees? When you had to hire a broker for investing? Those times are gone and yes, not because of crypto solved these problems, but crypto definitely accelerated this transformation, urged the financial world to change rules or die. Now what if I say, this is only the beginning and these are only entry-level benefits of what really crypo promises?
Crypto promises us the “digital America”
Uh, I said it. Crypto is the new land and all the resourceful wants their own pieces of it. The reason behind why so many are thinking about Bitcoin as the digital gold is because the digital America’s gold rush is happening now. We all know deep in our consciousness that the world is heavily changing, the youth is changing, society is being digitalized even if brain-computer interfaces are not a thing yet..
Damn son you are weird and I stopped reading here.
The reason you feel weird about our descendants living online is because you know it will happen, but stay in the present now and I will tell you what crypto is doing to our traditional economy!
What is the “crypto dream”?
Many of the early adopters joined not because they wanted to make money, but because they think the current money system is unfair. Common citizens are paying the highest on almost everything and most of the time they don’t know about it. The financial sector’s practices are so hidden, almost like an occult knowledge. There are a few people who understand it and then there are everyone else, the vulnerable. This makes the first statement of the dream:
Financial systems should be transparent.
One of my biggest frustration as a teenager was I did not see real good opportunities in the world. I read about them, I saw them in historical movies, but in reality workplaces were boring and abusive, investments were only for the rich. Neither the booming housing market or fake forex trading seemed like a good fit for me. I had very little money, but a big passion to forge my fortune.
Opportunities should be there for everyone.
The wolves of Wall Street created our current system in the ideology of “I own what I could acquire” and backfired each other just like everyone did. They have done this, because there is no trust in the traditional world, but trust is heavily needed. But if things are transparent and open, we only need one more thing to wake up from this nightmare:
Cooperations should work without trust.
You read it right, a trustless environment provide uncheatable cooperation. There is no single entity that has authority over the system, and consensus is achieved without participants having to know or trust anything but the system itself.
I don’t eat your utopian bullshit! Your software is written by people I still need to trust.
People tend to be happier to direct trust towards organizations than systems. However, while organizations are made up of people who are easily corruptible, trustless systems can be governed entirely by computer code. All of the source code in crypto should be accessible to everyone. If it is not, then it is not a part of our ecosystem.
The technology behind crypto
Many being confused about the blockchain, thinking it is not a big deal. We had many software far older than Bitcoin, implementing the very same ideas. What Bitcoin had — which made the blockchain a very unique thing — is philosophy. It was intended to use a special way and confronted a very big thing, nobody thought it could be possible to confront. The blockchain is a way to store information. A decentralized, fully transparent one, which is accessible for everyone 7/24. It never stops, It cannot be stopped and people make it doing different things. The first use case its inventor made it doing is persisting transactions, money transfers. He told all of us it is just an experiment, which he didn’t tell is the capabilities of this technology. So fast people realized it is possible to do extraordinary things with it, like running a whole computer on the blockchain, making it behave like a virtual computer instance. No one did things like this before: A global computer which cannot be stopped, which is capable to run all kinds of software on it.
What was the impact?
People go mad about it, especially greedy people who don’t know a bum about the technology but have money to pour in. At one point, the fundraising softwares running on the Ethereum global computer had more impact and volume than the whole VC industry in America. This was only the early rising of crypto, 2017 spring. Later that year, everyone hopped on the train who were brave or stupid enough. Did crypto had a real economy at that point? Was it an industry? Real-world adoption? NOPE It was a bitter funny hype train, challenging everyone inside or outside the community, but it showed us one thing: We have the gold. Not so much people are capable to find and extract gold, to be honest: Most of us are just lurkers, fortune hunters and times could be rough when a mass hype destructs all the mines, but people had keep going, continuing the work.
How the crypto economy relates to the traditional economy now?
It is expanding much faster than any other economy in the world. Our frontiers in adoption are companies like Crypto.com paying hundred millions of dollars ($50 bonus for every new customer) to onboard millions of users, others like Coinbase paying $166 anyone to motivate in learning about cryptocurrencies. Handshake is airdropping hundreds of dollars (on current rates) to open-source developers and these are just a few examples of how generous and prosperous our thriving world is. In comparison: Revolut, a fintech company which is very similar to Crypto.com only paid 10 USD for new card holders and no one would ever pay you to educate yourself about financials. Developers? They historically get a fraction of a fraction of the pie in Silicon Valley. (Sorry Y Combinator, you are a delightful exception) These companies I mentioned are very traditional ones and they are not innovating in software, but keeping our gates open to the new world. I don’t want to credit here any of the thousands of developer teams, all working on the “real deal”. I only leave here a link to the list of all variants of the Bitcoin source code alone. Understanding what blockchain companies are working on is a whole new profession now. The idea of a crypto company is the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization). Which covers trustless, often anonymous and fully transparent organizations with profit sharing and they are aimed to become better alternatives to traditional companies. Most of us in the community have different understanding, proposals and hopes about what a DAO should be, but common sense tell us it is the next big thing to emerge.
Wild West is Happening
We are building railway systems across the land, making connections and interoperations between blockchains. We are attracting a lot of immigrants day-to-day, because we have better paying workplaces, better interest rates and in overall a flourish economy. We are growing a strong identity to support our nation as the blockchain developers, economists, philosophers and investors. Our money is under our control as we own our future and all of us knows: We will soon show the world, what we are capable to achieve. This is my view of the crypto world. This is the manifesto of “digital America”. RAZ contact me at zawiasa.hu
How to get started in Forex - A comprehensive guide for newbies
Almost every day people come to this subreddit asking the same basic questions over and over again. I've put this guide together to point you in the right direction and help you get started on your forex journey. A quick background on me before you ask: My name is Bob, I'm based out of western Canada. I started my forex journey back in January 2018 and am still learning. However I am trading live, not on demo accounts. I also code my own EA's. I not certified, licensed, insured, or even remotely qualified as a professional in the finance industry. Nothing I say constitutes financial advice. Take what I'm saying with a grain of salt, but everything I've outlined below is a synopsis of some tough lessons I've learned over the last year of being in this business. LET'S GET SOME UNPLEASANTNESS OUT OF THE WAY I'm going to call you stupid. I'm also going to call you dumb. I'm going to call you many other things. I do this because odds are, you are stupid, foolish,and just asking to have your money taken away. Welcome to the 95% of retail traders. Perhaps uneducated or uninformed are better phrases, but I've never been a big proponent of being politically correct. Want to get out of the 95% and join the 5% of us who actually make money doing this? Put your grown up pants on, buck up, and don't give me any of this pc "This is hurting my feelings so I'm not going to listen to you" bullshit that the world has been moving towards. Let's rip the bandage off quickly on this point - the world does not give a fuck about you. At one point maybe it did, it was this amazing vision nicknamed the American Dream. It died an agonizing, horrible death at the hand of capitalists and entrepreneurs. The world today revolves around money. Your money, my money, everybody's money. People want to take your money to add it to theirs. They don't give a fuck if it forces you out on the street and your family has to live in cardboard box. The world just stopped caring in general. It sucks, but it's the way the world works now. Welcome to the new world order. It's called Capitalism. And here comes the next hard truth that you will need to accept - Forex is a cruel bitch of a mistress. She will hurt you. She will torment you. She will give you nightmares. She will keep you awake at night. And then she will tease you with a glimmer of hope to lure you into a false sense of security before she then guts you like a fish and shows you what your insides look like. This statement applies to all trading markets - they are cruel, ruthless, and not for the weak minded. The sooner you accept these truths, the sooner you will become profitable. Don't accept it? That's fine. Don't bother reading any further. If I've offended you I don't give a fuck. You can run back home and hide under your bed. The world doesn't care and neither do I. For what it's worth - I am not normally an major condescending asshole like the above paragraphs would suggest. In fact, if you look through my posts on this subreddit you will see I am actually quite helpful most of the time to many people who come here. But I need you to really understand that Forex is not for most people. It will make you cry. And if the markets themselves don't do it, the people in the markets will. LESSON 1 - LEARN THE BASICS Save yourself and everybody here a bunch of time - learn the basics of forex. You can learn the basics for free - BabyPips has one of the best free courses online which explains what exactly forex is, how it works, different strategies and methods of how to approach trading, and many other amazing topics. You can access the BabyPips course by clicking this link: https://www.babypips.com/learn/forex Do EVERY course in the School of Pipsology. It's free, it's comprehensive, and it will save you from a lot of trouble. It also has the added benefit of preventing you from looking foolish and uneducated when you come here asking for help if you already know this stuff. If you still have questions about how forex works, please see the FREE RESOURCES links on the /Forex FAQ which can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/Forex/wiki/index Quiz Time Answer these questions truthfully to yourself: -What is the difference between a market order, a stop order, and a limit order? -How do you draw a support/resistance line? (Demonstrate it to yourself) -What is the difference between MACD, RSI, and Stochastic indicators? -What is fundamental analysis and how does it differ from technical analysis and price action trading? -True or False: It's better to have a broker who gives you 500:1 margin instead of 50:1 margin. Be able to justify your reasoning. If you don't know to answer to any of these questions, then you aren't ready to move on. Go back to the School of Pipsology linked above and do it all again. If you can answer these questions without having to refer to any kind of reference then congratulations, you are ready to move past being a forex newbie and are ready to dive into the wonderful world of currency trading! Move onto Lesson 2 below. LESSON 2 - RANDOM STRANGERS ARE NOT GOING TO HELP YOU GET RICH IN FOREX This may come as a bit of a shock to you, but that random stranger on instagram who is posting about how he is killing it on forex is not trying to insprire you to greatness. He's also not trying to help you. He's also not trying to teach you how to attain financial freedom. 99.99999% of people posting about wanting to help you become rich in forex are LYING TO YOU. Why would such nice, polite people do such a thing? Because THEY ARE TRYING TO PROFIT FROM YOUR STUPIDITY. Plain and simple. Here's just a few ways these "experts" and "gurus" profit from you:
Referral Links - If they require you to click a specific link to signup for something, it means they are an affiliate. They get a commission from whatever the third party is that they are sending you to. I don't care if it's a brokerage, training program, hell even an Amazon link to a book - if they insist you have to click their super exclusive, can't-get-this-deal-any-other-way-but-clicking-my-link type bullshit, it's an affiliate link. There is nothing inherently wrong with affiliate programs, but you are literally generating money for some stranger because they convinced you to buy something. Some brokers such as ICMarkets have affiliate programs that payout a percentage of the commission you generate - this is a really clever system - whether you profit or blow your entire account, the person who referred you to the broker makes a profit off you. Clever eh?
Signal Services, Education & Training Programs, Courses - If somebody is telling you they are making a killing with a signal service and are trying to convince you to join it, I guarantee they are getting a piece of your monthly fee. And better still, these signal services often work...for about a week. Just long enough to suck a bunch of poor fools into it. You see people making money, you want in so you agree to pay the $200+/month subscription fee. You follow the signals and it looks like it's making money for a few days or weeks. Then it turns sideways, you start losing money hand over fist. Pretty soon you have lost most of your trading account because you blindly followed a signal service. And better still - when you go screaming at the person running the signal service they will be very quick to point you to their No Refunds policy. To add insult to injury, the buttfucker that referred you to the signal service in the past will likely listen to you getting mad, and then come back with something like "Sorry it didn't work out, but I just joined this other amazing service and it's working great, you should come join it to earn your money back. Here's my link..." You get the point here right?
Multi-Level Marketing (MLMs) - These people are scum. They are going to offer you training and education, signals, access to forex experts and gurus, and all kinds of other shit with the promise that you will live the dream and become financially free. They are also loading you into a pyrmaid scheme where you will be hounded to recruit other people and make money off them just like you got roped into it. A really prime example here is iMarkets Live (or IML for short). Don't touch this shit with a 10 foot pole. I don't care what they are claiming, you will lose everything using them.
Fund Managers - These people make my skin crawl. It's a classic scam and it works like this - somebody will post online about how much money they are making trading forex/commodities/stocks/whatever. Most of the time they won't explicitly post they are offering a trading service, rather they just put the message out there and wait for the ignorant masses (that's you) to contact them. They will charm you. They will lie to you. They will promise you the moon if you simply wire them some money or give them API access to your trading account. Care to guess what happens next? If you send a wire transfer (or Western Union...hell any kind of payment to them) they will vanish. Happens usually after they take a bunch of suckers for the ride. You sent them $2,000 and so do 9 other suckers. They just made $20,000 and are gone. With API access to your account, you will find your account gets blown super fast or worse - possibly leaving you open to persecution by the broker you are using.
These are just a few examples. The reality is that very few people make it big in forex or any kind of trading. If somebody is trying to sell you the dream, they are essentially a magician - making you look the other way while they snatch your wallet and clean you out. Additionally, on the topic of fund managers - legitimate fund managers will be certified, licensed, and insured. Ask them for proof of those 3 things. What they typically look like are:
Certified - This varies from country to country, in the US it's FINRA (http://www.finra.org). They need to have their Series 7 certification minimum. You can make the case that other FINRA certifications are acceptable in lieu of Series 7, but the 7 is the gold standard.
Licensed - They need to have a valid business license issued by the government. It must clearly state they are an investment company, preferrably a hedge fund because they have some super strict requirements to operate (and often require $25,000+ in fees just to get their business license, so you know they at least have some skin in the game).
Insured - They need to be backed by an insurance company. I'm not talking general insurance for shit like their office burning down. I'm talking about a government-implemented protection insurance program - in the US I believe that is issued by the Securities Investment Protection Corporation (https://www.sipc.org/).
If you are talking to a fund manager and they are insisting they have all of these, get a copy of their verification documents and lookup their licenses on the directories of the issuers to verify they are valid. If they are, then at least you are talking to somebody who seems to have their shit together and is doing investment management and trading as a professional and you are at least partially protected when the shit hits the fan. LESSON 3 - UNDERSTAND YOUR RISK Many people jump into Forex, drop $2000 into a broker account and start trading 1 lot orders because they signed up with a broker thinking they will get rich because they were given 500:1 margin and can risk it all on each trade. Worst-case scenario you lose your account, best case scenario you become a millionaire very quickly. Seems like a pretty good gamble right? You are dead wrong. As a new trader, you should never risk more than 1% of your account balance on a trade. If you have some experience and are confident and doing well, then it's perfectly natural to risk 2-3% of your account per trade. Anybody who risks more than 4-5% of their account on a single trade deserves to blow their account. At that point you aren't trading, you are gambling. Don't pretend you are a trader when really you are just putting everything on red and hoping the roulette ball lands in the right spot. It's stupid and reckless and going to screw you very quickly. Let's do some math here: You put $2,000 into your trading account. Risking 1% means you are willing to lose $20 per trade. That means you are going to be trading micro lots, or 0.01 lots most likely ($0.10/pip). At that level you can have a trade stop loss at -200 pips and only lose $20. It's the best starting point for anybody. Additionally, if you SL 20 trades in a row you are only down $200 (or 10% of your account) which isn't that difficult to recover from. Risking 3% means you are willing to lose $60 per trade. You could do mini lots at this point, which is 0.1 lots (or $1/pip). Let's say you SL on 20 trades in a row. You've just lost $1,200 or 60% of your account. Even veteran traders will go through periods of repeat SL'ing, you are not a special snowflake and are not immune to periods of major drawdown. Risking 5% means you are willing to lose $100 per trade. SL 20 trades in a row, your account is blown. As Red Foreman would call it - Good job dumbass. Never risk more than 1% of your account on any trade until you can show that you are either consistently breaking even or making a profit. By consistently, I mean 200 trades minimum. You do 200 trades over a period of time and either break-even or make a profit, then you should be alright to increase your risk. Unfortunately, this is where many retail traders get greedy and blow it. They will do 10 trades and hit their profit target on 9 of them. They will start seeing huge piles of money in their future and get greedy. They will start taking more risk on their trades than their account can handle. 200 trades of break-even or profitable performance risking 1% per trade. Don't even think about increasing your risk tolerance until you do it. When you get to this point, increase you risk to 2%. Do 1,000 trades at this level and show break-even or profit. If you blow your account, go back down to 1% until you can figure out what the hell you did differently or wrong, fix your strategy, and try again. Once you clear 1,000 trades at 2%, it's really up to you if you want to increase your risk. I don't recommend it. Even 2% is bordering on gambling to be honest. LESSON 4 - THE 500 PIP DRAWDOWN RULE This is a rule I created for myself and it's a great way to help protect your account from blowing. Sometimes the market goes insane. Like really insane. Insane to the point that your broker can't keep up and they can't hold your orders to the SL and TP levels you specified. They will try, but during a flash crash like we had at the start of January 2019 the rules can sometimes go flying out the window on account of the trading servers being unable to keep up with all the shit that's hitting the fan. Because of this I live by a rule I call the 500 Pip Drawdown Rule and it's really quite simple - Have enough funds in your account to cover a 500 pip drawdown on your largest open trade. I don't care if you set a SL of -50 pips. During a flash crash that shit sometimes just breaks. So let's use an example - you open a 0.1 lot short order on USDCAD and set the SL to 50 pips (so you'd only lose $50 if you hit stoploss). An hour later Trump makes some absurd announcement which causes a massive fundamental event on the market. A flash crash happens and over the course of the next few minutes USDCAD spikes up 500 pips, your broker is struggling to keep shit under control and your order slips through the cracks. By the time your broker is able to clear the backlog of orders and activity, your order closes out at 500 pips in the red. You just lost $500 when you intended initially to only risk $50. It gets kinda scary if you are dealing with whole lot orders. A single order with a 500 pip drawdown is $5,000 gone in an instant. That will decimate many trader accounts. Remember my statements above about Forex being a cruel bitch of a mistress? I wasn't kidding. Granted - the above scenario is very rare to actually happen. But glitches to happen from time to time. Broker servers go offline. Weird shit happens which sets off a fundamental shift. Lots of stuff can break your account very quickly if you aren't using proper risk management. LESSON 5 - UNDERSTAND DIFFERENT TRADING METHODOLOGIES Generally speaking, there are 3 trading methodologies that traders employ. It's important to figure out what method you intend to use before asking for help. Each has their pros and cons, and you can combine them in a somewhat hybrid methodology but that introduces challenges as well. In a nutshell:
Price Action Trading (Sometimes called Naked Trading) is very effective at identifying when trends will start and finish. This gives you the advantage of staying ahead of the market and predicting when a change in trend direction will occur. It has the disadvantage of being really easy to screw it up if you don't plot your support and resistance lines properly and interpret the chart wrong. Because you can identify a change in trend direction, you'll generally make more profit on a new trend than a technical strategy will.
Technical Analytics (or TA) uses math and statistics to try and identify where the market is headed or confirm/reject whether a trend is happening. It has the advantage of being very math and stat driven which is hard to refute the numbers, but it has the disadvantage of being late to the party when it comes to identifying trends (hence why people call TA a lagging strategy). When people fail using TA, it's not because of the math - it's because you misinterpreted what the math is telling you.
Fundamental Analysis (or FA) uses news and macro scale events to predict what is going on. A really good example right now is Brexit, what a clusterfuck that is. Every time some major brexit news breaks it causes all sorts of choas in almost every currency pair. Fundamental trading has the highest potential profitability per trade but it also has the highest potential drawdown per trade.
Now you may be thinking that you want to be a a price action trader - you should still learn the principles and concepts behind TA and FA. Same if you are planning to be a technical trader - you should learn about price action and fundamental analysis. More knowledge is better, always. With regards to technical analysis, you need to really understand what the different indicators are tell you. It's very easy to misinterpret what an indicator is telling you, which causes you to make a bad trade and lose money. It's also important to understand that every indicator can be tuned to your personal preferences. You might find, for example, that using Bollinger Bands with the normal 20 period SMA close, 2 standard deviation is not effective for how you look at the chart, but changing that to say a 20 period EMA average price, 1 standard deviation bollinger band indicator could give you significantly more insight. LESSON 6 - TIMEFRAMES MATTER Understanding the differences in which timeframes you trade on will make or break your chosen strategy. Some strategies work really well on Daily timeframes (i.e. Ichimoku) but they fall flat on their face if you use them on 1H timeframes, for example. There is no right or wrong answer on what timeframe is best to trade on. Generally speaking however, there are 2 things to consider:
Speed - If you are scalping (trading on the really fast candles like 1M, 5M, 15M, etc) odds are your trades are very short lived. Maybe 10 minutes to an hour tops. For the most part, scalping strategies will produce little profit per trade but make up for it in the sheer volume of trades. Whereas swing trading may only make a few trades but each one could be worth a significant amount of money.
Spread (the fee you pay to the broker when you trade) - If you are a scalper, the spread is your worst enemy because you have to overcome it very fast to make a profit on your order. Whereas swing trading the spread hardly impacts you at all.
If you are a total newbie to forex, I suggest you don't trade on anything shorter than the 1H timeframe when you are first learning. Trading on higher timeframes tends to be much more forgiving and profitable per trade. Scalping is a delicate art and requires finesse and can be very challenging when you are first starting out. LESSON 7 - AUTOBOTS...ROLL OUT! Yeah...I'm a geek and grew up with the Transformers franchise decades before Michael Bay came along. Deal with it. Forex bots are called EA's (Expert Advisors). They can be wonderous and devastating at the same time. /Forex is not really the best place to get help with them. That is what /algotrading is useful for. However some of us that lurk on /Forex code EA's and will try to assist when we can. Anybody can learn to code an EA. But just like how 95% of retail traders fail, I would estimate the same is true for forex bots. Either the strategy doesn't work, the code is buggy, or many other reasons can cause EA's to fail. Because EA's can often times run up hundreds of orders in a very quick period of time, it's critical that you test them repeatedly before letting them lose on a live trading account so they don't blow your account to pieces. You have been warned. If you want to learn how to code an EA, I suggest you start with MQL. It's a programming language which can be directly interpretted by Meta Trader. The Meta Trader terminal client even gives you a built in IDE for coding EA's in MQL. The downside is it can be buggy and glitchy and caused many frustrating hours of work to figure out what is wrong. If you don't want to learn MQL, you can code an EA up in just about any programming language. Python is really popular for forex bots for some reason. But that doesn't mean you couldn't do it in something like C++ or Java or hell even something more unusual like JQuery if you really wanted. I'm not going to get into the finer details of how to code EA's, there are some amazing guides out there. Just be careful with them. They can be your best friend and at the same time also your worst enemy when it comes to forex. One final note on EA's - don't buy them. Ever. Let me put this into perspective - I create an EA which is literally producing money for me automatically 24/5. If it really is a good EA which is profitable, there is no way in hell I'm selling it. I'm keeping it to myself to make a fortune off of. EA's that are for sale will not work, will blow your account, and the developer who coded it will tell you that's too darn bad but no refunds. Don't ever buy an EA from anybody. LESSON 8 - BRING ON THE HATERS You are going to find that this subreddit is frequented by trolls. Some of them will get really nasty. Some of them will threaten you. Some of them will just make you miserable. It's the price you pay for admission to the /Forex club. If you can't handle it, then I suggest you don't post here. Find a more newbie-friendly site. It sucks, but it's reality. We often refer to trolls on this subreddit as shitcunts. That's your word of the day. Learn it, love it. Shitcunts. YOU MADE IT, WELCOME TO FOREX! If you've made it through all of the above and aren't cringing or getting scared, then welcome aboard the forex train! You will fit in nicely here. Ask your questions and the non-shitcunts of our little corner of reddit will try to help you. Assuming this post doesn't get nuked and I don't get banned for it, I'll add more lessons to this post over time. Lessons I intend to add in the future:
Why you will blow your first account and what to do when it happens
Trading Psychology (this will be a beefy one and will take a while to put together)
Exotics vs Majors and which you should focus on as a newbie (aka how to blow your account in a single trade with exotics)
I feel like with all the cheating and drama going on with spot fx we should at the very least have a dedicated section on the right for guidance on futures contracts. The shady Cypriot brokers and ones on other random islands are lying and selling a dream so let's take a look at the reality of spot fx... Currency markets are the most liquid and active markets of any sector. However, there is also a great deal of misinformation, slick advertising, and even outright deception regarding this $2 Trillion Dollar a Day marketplace. For starters, a large percentage of that $2 Trillion is traded through what is referred to as the interbank market. The interbank market is the top-level foreign exchange market where banks exchange different currencies. This trading between banks is not accessible to retail traders and is estimated to account for the vast majority of the Trillion Dollar liquidity factor that attracts so many retail traders in the first place. Here are a few of the reasons to trade futures: -Level playing field for all participants -Deep liquidity on major currency contracts -Safety and security of central clearing If your Forex brokerage firm uses a dealing desk, your buy and sell orders never actually reach the true Forex market. In other words, you do not have access to the inter-bank market. Instead you are buying and selling at prices set, and potentially manipulated by the dealing desk. This is known as conflict of interest. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange guarantees each transaction. Futures contracts are legally binding! This means that if you go long a currency futures contract and your speculation was correct, you will walk away from the trade with your profit even if the person that took the other side of the trade fails to pay. This is what we call counterparty risk. Take a moment, have a break and take a look at all the horror stories on forex factory, for instance. Whether you are a large institution or an individual trader, everyone is on equal footing when it comes to pricing currency futures. EVERYBODY gets the same price regardless of who you are (individual or mega bank). Best price wins, it is as simple as that — something that is not always the case in the fragmented OTC FX market. The spreads are also very tight if you trade liquid future contracts. Spot fx brokers also control their price feeds. They can widen the spreads as they see fit and they can really screw you over if they want to. Believe me when I say that most fx brokers don't want you to win! Even the ones that claim to have liquidity providers... Those are nothing but price feeds. Quotes. Nothing more.... And Forex firms offering a "fixed" 3-5 point spread may not be charging traders commission outright, or even in a form that shows up on an account statement, but there are significant costs built into the synthetic market that they provide to you. No middle man, no market maker. Yes, Forex is an electronic market, but your order still ends up on a "dealing desk" where a human handles your order. Or an algorithm... Basically, a Market Maker. He could make you or break you. With E-mini Futures you have a level playing field. You trade on a centralised and CFTC regulated exchange. Whether you're Goldman Sachs or Joe from Idaho, you get equal treatment! If you're worried about Liquidity - 1.5-3m contracts trade hands everyday on the S&P 500 E-mini Futures Contract. If you want in or out of a position, there is almost always someone waiting and willing to take the other side of your trade (24/5) just 1 tick away. This simply isn't true for all Forex Pairs. Low Cost of Doing Business - Commissions on a self directed SP500 E-mini Trade (ES) should be no more than $3.00 per side or $6.00 per round turn. While many Forex Brokers tout "Zero Commission", we all know there's no free lunch. Forex Brokers don't need to charge a commission because they make money off of the bid/ask spread "they create" and then take the other side of your trade. Run the numbers... for every $100 in profits or loss, you will spend a larger % in "cost of doing business" in the Forex Market than you will in the S&P E-mini Market. Don't take my word for it... go take some real trades and you'll quickly see the truth. Zero Interest - If you you trade the ES intraday, expect to put up $500 per contract as a "bond" for lack of a better term. That's it. No hidden cost. Forex however, has a "cost of carry" associated which means interest may be charged or paid on positions taken. Fiduciary Responsibility - Even regulated US Forex firms are not required to segregate customer funds. If a regulated firm goes under, you do not have the protection of the CFTC and the NFA as you do in the Futures Markets. Turn ON The Volume Please - In Forex, since there is no centralised exchange, it is impossible to get a true read on volume. Not so with the S&P 500 "ES" E-mini. Simply turn on the volume indicator and you have exact numbers for Volume Analysis. GS and CITI have huge research departments with hundreds of employees, but they know nothing about volume that you don't know via a free indicator on your direct access trading platform. Just one more example of the level playing field we constantly speak of. Centralised Clearing - All trades are cleared via the CME - Chicago Mercantile Exchange. All trades, including time and sales, are public information and posted in real time. Edit: By the way, if you're worried about discrepancies, currency futures charts look almost exactly the same as their spot fx siblings! So you can easily apply your current strategy to this market, too! A great example would be "M6E" vs "EUUSD" SO GUYS, LET'S ACCEPT REALITY AND LET'S DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. DO YOU AGREE? Source: cfrn.net
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