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!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Light & fluffy, perfectly moist Red Velvet Cupcakes topped with tangy cream cheese frosting. The only red velvet recipe you need!

For the Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups cake flour*
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
1 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring liquid or gel
1/2 cup buttermilk**
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled vinegar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
8 oz cream cheese room temperature, 8 oz
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch optional

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a muffin pan with muffin papers.
In a large bowl sift together the cake flour, cocoa and salt. Whisk gently.
In a separate large bowl beat the butter until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Then beat in the sugar until creamy (about 1-2 more minutes).
Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
In a liquid measuring cup whisk together the buttermilk and red food coloring.
Beat the dry ingredients (flour mixture) into the butter mixture about 1/3 at a time, alternating with about 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
In a small bowl or cup dissolve the baking soda into the vinegar. Quickly beat it into the cupcake batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin papers, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, before removing from the pan and continuing to cool on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until fluffy.
Mix in the cream cheese until evenly combined. Then add in the vanilla and salt.
In a separate bowl sift together the powdered sugar and cornstarch (if using).
Beat the powdered sugar into the butter and cream cheese mixture about 1 cup at a time, starting with the mixer on low and turning it up to medium speed as the sugar incorporates.
Frost the cooled cupcakes using a piping bag and tip (I used a 1M) or a knife. 

Recipe Notes

*If you don't have cake flour, measure 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour. Remove 3 tablespoons, and add in 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift the mixture together 3 times.

**If you don't have buttermilk, add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup milk (I recommend 1%, 2% or whole milk). Let it sit for 5 minutes to sour before using.

***Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 8 hours, or in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove the cupcakes from the fridge 1 hour before enjoying.


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