Six Things to Look for in a Trading Course
Have you come across trading courses that promise you the world? The ones that tell you in one short easy course you’ll learn how to trade like a pro or increase your investment by 100s of per cent? If you’re looking for a trading course to teach you about the markets or to advance your learning, you would have come across a lot of advertising making all kinds of unrealistic promises. A little common sense will help you separate the con artists from the real thing. Why would learning to trade be any easier or faster than learning how to do anything else? If that were the case then everyone would be making their millions trading. Courses that over-promise on results are essentially playing on people’s greed and should be given a wide berth.
So what should you look for when choosing a trading course? Below are six things to find out about the course you are considering to take.
- Your expectations
It all begins with you! What is it that you want to gain from a trading course? Do you want to learn the basics of trading the financial markets or are you ready for more advanced learning? Which markets do you want to learn – currencies (fx), commodities, shares, bonds? Do you plan to dedicate a substantial amount of your time to trading or will it be a side hobby done when you have some spare time? And finally, are you realistic in your expectations of how much time you’ll need to learn and practice and how much money you’re willing to invest or hope to get a return on? Once you have the answers to your own questions it will help you assess the different courses on offer – what level of course, how much you’re willing to pay for it and how much time will it take.
- Finding a proven and trusted trading course/academy
There are literally hundreds of courses, online webinars, seminars and books. What separates one from the other? One of the key things to figure out in a company offering trader training is their validity and trustworthiness. Here are some questions to ask: Do they have a real presence with a physical location or are they only online? How long have they been around? Who are the instructors and what are their backgrounds as both traders and educators? Are they certified by industry-recognised financial associations like The International Federation of Technical Analysts (IFTA) and the British Society of Technical Analysts (STA)? How long have they been teaching for? Not every good trader makes a good communicator or teacher, in the same way as not every good football player makes a good coach. Do they have any ‘real’ people testimonials on their site (check if they have names of people and companies they work for – this is something you can verify and ensure the truth of their statements).
- Teaching techniques
Not everyone learns in the same way or at the same rate. How much does the course mix-up its teaching techniques to cover the different types of learning styles? You should look for a good mix of theory and practical learning. Theory can give you a good macro understanding of the markets to better understand how they behave, whereas practical learning where you practice actual trading will give you a more intuitive sense of what can happen when you’re trading live. It’s also important to find out what support they offer, not just during the course but before and after. Do they just come in, offer some information and disappear or do you have access to ask questions after the course? Sometimes what you learn can take a while to sink in and you remember all the questions you wished you’d asked after the course is over.
- Time and duration of course
A two hour course is not going to teach you how to trade. It will introduce you to the concepts of trading but you are not going to walk away with any real insights. Look for courses that span over a few days and are placed close together. Instead of choosing courses that are spread out, maybe one a week, look for courses which are taught over a number of days together. Intensive learning is more conducive to retaining what you learn. Another thing to consider is how much time you have to give and if you are able to travel to attend the right course? Does the training institute offer you alternative solutions – live training, online, phone/skype?
- Giving you the tools you need to succeed
The markets don’t always behave in a predictable fashion. Actually, they rarely do that which is why you want to learn as many market scenarios during your trader training so when you are out on your own you can handle the different situations. A good course will teach you how to trade markets that are moving upwards, downwards or are sideways ranging and even how to handle volatile markets – when to take advantage of the opportunities and when to sit out and let things calm down. An excellent course will go even further and offer you the tools professionals use to trade these different scenarios. While you need to understand the foundations of what moves the markets, both fundamentally and technically, there are some great charting tools that do a lot of the grind work for you. Does your training course offer the use and training of these tools?
- Solid money management
No trader wins all the time. In fact, you can learn more from your losses. What you want to do is minimise loss and to make the most out of the times you are winning. Any course worth its mettle will teach you how to develop a trading plan to stick to. The plan should cover your risk/profit strategy and appetite to ensure you don’t wipe out all your funds in just a few (or even one) trade. It’s ok to lose, the trick is to minimise loss so you still have funds to trade another day. Aim for success but plan for some failures. Trust the courses that don’t over promise and make you aware of the risks inherent in trading.
Take the time to find the right course for you. One that suits your style of learning, the time you have and your expectations. Trading is not easy but you can learn it. Use your common sense and in the immortal words of many successful people over the centuries, “Aim for the moon, even if you miss it, you will still land among the stars”.