It's possible to trade profitably on the Forex, the nearly $2 trillion worldwide currency exchange market. But the odds are against you, even more so if you don't prepare and plan your trades. According to a 2014 Bloomberg report, several analyses of retail Forex trading, including one by the National Futures Association (NFA), the industry's regulatory body, concluded that more than two out of three Forex traders lose money. This suggests that self-education and caution are recommended. Here are some approaches that may improve your odds of taking a profit. Prepare Before You Begin Trading Because the Forex market is highly leveraged -- as much as 50 to 1 -- it can have the same appeal as buying a lottery ticket: some small chance of making a killing. This, however, isn't trading; it's gambling, with the odds long against you. A better way of entering the Forex market is to carefully prepare. Beginning with a practice account is helpful and risk-free. While you're trading in your practice account, read the most frequently recommended Forex trading books, among them Currency Forecasting: A Guide to Fundamental and Technical Models of Exchange Rate Determination, by Michael R. Rosenberg is short, not too sweet and highly admired introduction to the Forex market. Forex Strategies: Best Forex Strategies for High Profits and Reduced Risk, by Matthew Maybury is an excellent introduction to Forex trading. The Little Book of Currency Trading: How to Make Big Profits in the World of Forex, by Kathy Lien is another concise introduction that has stood the test of time. All three are available on Amazon. Rosenberg's book, unfortunately, is pricey, but it's widely available in public libraries. "Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude," by Mark Douglas is another good book that's available on Amazon, and, again, somewhat pricey, although the Kindle edition is not. Use the information gained from your reading to plan your trades before plunging in. The more you change your plan, the more you end up in trouble and the less likely that elusive forex profit will end up in your pocket. Diversify and Limit Your Risks Two strategies that belong in every trader's arsenal are: Diversification: Traders who execute many small traders, particularly in different markets where the correlation between markets is low, have a better chance of making a profit. Putting all your money in one big trade is always a bad idea. Familiarize yourself with ways guaranteeing a profit on an already profitable order, such as a trailing stop, and of limiting losses using stop and limit orders. These strategies and more are covered in the recommended books. Novice traders often make the mistake of concentrating on how to win; it's even more important to understand how to limit your losses. Be Patient Forex traders, particularly beginners, are prone to getting nervous if a trade does not go their way immediately, or if the trade goes into a little profit they get itchy to pull the plug and walk away with a small profit that could have been a significant profit with little downside risk using appropriate risk reduction strategies. In "On Any Given Sunday," Al Pacino reminds us that "football is a game of inches." That's a winning attitude in the Forex market as well. Remember that you are going to win some trades and lose others. Take satisfaction in the accumulation of a few more wins than losses. Over time, that could make you rich!

Hearty Beef & Barley Soup

Hearty Beef & Barley Soup
Yield: 8 servings Prep: 15 minutes Cook: Stovetop- 1.5 hr, Crockpot- 4-6 hrs

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs stewing beef
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2-3 medium potatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp corn starch & ¼ cup water (optional)
Instructions for Dutch Oven:
Dice all vegetables to desired size.
  1. In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Season beef generously with salt and pepper. In small batches, brown the beef cubes on all sides (this is so that the beef stays tender in the stew). When all the beef is browned set it aside. Put the diced onions in the pot and another tbsp of oil if the pot is dry. Allow the onion to cook down and caramelize (a sprinkle of salt helps this process along). After the onions have softened, add in the tomato paste to cook out as well, stirring continually for 3 minutes. Finally, add the cubed beef back into the pot along with the beef stock. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot and lift any brown bits that are stuck down there to add even more flavour. Cover the pot and allow the beef to cook in the broth for 20 minutes. Add the vegetables, barley, Worcestershire, soy, garlic, thyme, and parsley. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. If the end results are not a thick as you’d like (I like it thicker) combine the water and cornstarch and add it to the soup. Cook uncovered for 15 more minutes. Enjoy!

Instructions for Slow Cooker: 
Dice all vegetables to desired size.
  1. In a pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper. In small batches, brown the beef cubes on all sides (this is so that the beef stays tender in the stew). Add the beef stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire, soya, onion, garlic, thyme, and parsley into the slow cooker and whisk to combine. Add in the beef, barley, and vegetables. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Combine the water and cornstarch and add it to the soup. Cook uncovered for 30 more minutes on high. Enjoy!


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