Thursday, January 23, 2014

Borman, Forex DeMYSTiFieD

The DeMYSTiFieD series prides itself on making hard stuff easy. David Borman’s Forex DeMYSTiFieD (McGraw-Hill, 2014) goes a step further; as the cover says, it offers the reader the opportunity to “master key forex trading principles painlessly.” Who doesn’t like easy and painless learning? I’m not poking fun at this series. I myself have been known to turn to books in the series for a quick introduction to subjects about which I was woefully ignorant. And I always got at least “a little learning.”

David Borman’s book on Forex covers the basics pretty well. The problem is that it often makes profitable Forex trading seem like, to mix metaphors, a joy ride and a slam dunk. Although the book deals extensively with risk management (sometimes a bit idiosyncratically), it also has an element of hype. Here are a couple of examples. “Traders can make a profit on as little as $250 USD. Even $100 can still reward you with gains and the thrill of participating in a worldwide market.” (p. 68) “Change how you play the market game to fit your rules in day trading. Reduce the risk, raise your enjoyment level, and you may find yourself truly enjoying a new hobby of day trading.” (p. 70) Or referring to times when markets are expected to be subject to wild swings, “Uncertain times like these also give you the opportunity to take some of your profits out of your account and spend them on a much-needed vacation or other enjoyable activity.” (p. 32)

As for risk management, Borman recommends pyramiding. “The best procedure is to know ahead of time the dollar amount you would like to commit to the trade, and then divide by five. This new dollar amount should be the most you spend on that trade. … With this one-fifth entry amount, you will have adequate cash in your margin account to buy-in more when the price moves against you (which it will, no doubt!). Keep buying in as the price gets lower, and even as the price gets higher and your trade gets into the profit point. … To fully round out the idea of Forex pyramiding, sell off the position in the same manner in which it was bought. … The net effect of getting into and out of trades with the pyramiding method can go a long way, acting as a risk management technique that is very easy to manage, control, and execute. A good Forex pyramiding technique will, on average, work to keep the most profits in your account while keeping losses to a minimum.” (pp. 52-53) Except, of course, when currencies trend against you.

Forex traders with some experience can pick and choose their way through this book and undoubtedly come up with a few nuggets. Beginning traders beware.

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