Learn Technical Analysis and Trade Your Way to Success

I have been trading the markets, both the stock market and foreign exchange for about 10 years now. The one question I am always asked is, what is the best (easiest) way to learn technical analysis. The second most common question after this is, how long does it take to consistently make money? I'm going to do my best to describe both to you here.

First off, the best way to learn how to trade, whether it be the stock market, foreign exchange or any other market, is practice. Yep, like anything else in life the best way to get good at trading and making money in the financial markets is first hand experience. The great thing about learning how to trade is that there is a plethora of free information on the web for the beginner all the way up to the more advanced traders.

The answer to the second question, how long does it take to consistently make money?, is a much harder one to answer. In fact, it would be unfair to anyone reading this for me to give an answer. You can probably figure out that the answer to this question is very subjective as it relies on many different factors including, time available to devote to learning, risk tolerance, financial situation and your ability to stick to your strategy, among others. This will greatly depend on how passionate you are about trading and of course, taking control of your financial future.

Now, let's outline a few steps that you can follow when first starting to learn how to trade.

(*) Get yourself a notebook so you can document your trading journey. You will want to document everything from the trades you take (ticker symbol, price, stop loss, take profit, etc.) As strange as it may sound, you will also want to document your feelings throughout the trade. This will ensure you keep your emotions in check from the time you make the trade, to the time you exit the trade.

(*) Find a good broker. You can use this website to read reviews on many different brokerage firms. It's important to find a broker that offers a paper trading account, also called a demo account. I can't think of any large brokerages that don't offer this type of account nowadays. Starting off with a good, quality broker is essential!

(*) Open a paper trading account. This is where that practice comes into play! Most brokers will allow you to set whatever amount you want to practice with. The great thing about this type of account is that it uses the same feed as a live account, so it simulates real market conditions.

(*) Read everything you can get your hands on! But remember, take everything with a grain of salt and validate everything you read. While there are many good traders out there who know what they're talking about, there are just as many who don't.

(*) Practice, practice, practice! Only until you are consistently making money and feeling comfortable with your trades should you put real money on the line. Even then, trading with real money is a whole new ballgame compared to trading on a demo account. I demo traded for almost a year before I went "live" and started trading real money. As previously stated this time can vary from person to person, but I haven't known anyone who demo traded for less than 6 months before putting their hard earned money on the line.

(*) Open a live account and try to duplicate what you've been practicing. Remember to keep your journal up to date and leave emotions at the door. It's easier said than done but it's essential to trade well.