Trading College Blog
We recently launched a brand new blog for our members, students, non-members, browsers!
Come back each week to read articles about trading, markets, top tips, education, Trading College news and our sought after Trader of The Month feature!
This week we spoke to Lee Sandford about the brand new TRADING COLLEGE LEARNING HUB being launched today!
What is the learning hub?
The Learning Hub is a brand new online interactive course portal that allows members to take courses suited to them, in their own time, on their laptop, desktop, phone or tablet. The Trading College Learning Hub offers a completely flexible way of learning.
What is new about it, compared to existing courses?
The key factor is that this is a fully INTERACTIVE hub; it’s not just a bunch of videos. People can touch the screen, click on charts, drag and drop things. Boxes pop up, there are flip cards; it generally has all the bells and whistles of a fully interactive learning hub.
What inspired you to create it?
Through my years of mentoring traders I have become fascinated by the different ways in which people learn. Some people learn better audibly, some visually and some kinaesthetically (through practical activities). In education, one size does not fit all. The hub allows you to tailor the training to the way you learn best. You can choose a path that has more visuals, or more audio, or more exercises.
Who is it designed for?
Literally everyone. I wanted to create something that everyone could get the best out of, no matter their style of learning, or what stage they are at; the hub has value for beginners through to those who have been trading for years. Also, as our international membership grows, it’s important that we cater for people who aren’t completely fluent in English. This learning portal gives members the option to learn through visual aids that bypass language barriers.
What are the best features of the Learning Hub?
There are so many great, unique learning features, and courses on many different topics, designed for every level from beginners to advanced students. One of the best features of the Learning Hub is the “self-testing” it allows you to do. You can take quizzes and exercises that keep you engaged in the learning process. These features make learning FUN. We all learn better when the process is fun and engaging. I’ve seen plenty of online videos about trading and they can be so boring; they explain how to trade, but most beginners can’t identify with them. The Learning Hub gives you hands-on experience, which will help to keep your interest. When learning is fun and interactive, you are generally more encouraged to stick at it and learn more. When you learn more, you will be more likely to take better trading decisions, potentially leading to more profit.
Can you repeat courses?
Absolutely! That’s another great feature of the hub, you can take whichever courses you need, as many times as you want. There are courses designed for everyone, from beginners right up to advanced mentorship students. We all need to refresh our knowledge sometimes; you can be quite advanced in your trading journey but suddenly find you need to go back and remind yourself of some of the basics. The Learning Hub allows you to do that, in your own time.
How do we access it?
The Learning Hub will be accessed through the Trading College website. You can sign up for the courses you want and they will be instantly accessible to you.
When will it be available?
The Learning Hub goes live today! Monday 27th March. There are many courses already available and we will be adding more in time. The portal is designed to be an ever-evolving learning tool. We welcome members’ feedback, as that will help us design courses for the future.
Finally, Lee, what do you find most exciting about The Learning Hub?
I love that it offers anyone, from beginners to experienced traders, regardless of their background or learning style, the opportunity to learn in a way that suits them at any time, anywhere. You could do the exercises on your commute; it might be a more productive thing to do than reading the daily tabloids over your fellow passenger’s shoulder! Everything you learn helps to shape your future. I subscribe to the motto: “Your life is a reflection of what you have learnt.” There are no more excuses... the faster you learn, the faster you reap the rewards, so let’s go, folks; let’s learn!
Thanks, Lee. The Learning Hub sounds great and shows how Trading College always seems to stay ahead of the game in terms of providing members with best learning tools; we can’t wait to try it!
Just when you thought Trading College couldn’t make learning to trade any easier, we have launched a new online programme that literally holds your hand and takes you step by step through the process of trading using our best available tool. This month, we are very proud and excited to announce the launch of the ULTIMATE TRADING PROGRAMME.
The PTS: The Core of the UTP
At the heart of the UTP (Ultimate Trading Programme) is the PTS (Professional Trading System). This is the tool with which you learn to trade the markets on this online programme. The PTS is a bespoke indicator available from Trading College. We’ve been teaching students how to use the PTS for over five years and it’s so popular we’ve designed our latest online training programme around it. On the UTP, students get all the support training they need for eight weeks while they learn how best to utilise the PTS to scan the market and recognise the signals to act upon.
Clear Entry and Exit Points
What makes the PTS stand out from other indicators is that it will show you the best value to enter or exit the market at. Other indicators, such as the MACD, will give you red and green signals that show you buying and selling opportunities, but they won’t tell you the exact price to enter and exit the market at; they are mostly simply telling you where the market could go next. By comparison, the PTS is a very straightforward, visual system that, in addition to giving you green and red signals to buy and sell, also gives you the best value to enter and exit the market at.
Many beginners really struggle to find those entry and exit levels; they panic when the market goes against them and become hesitant to take profits if the markets move in their favour. Because the PTS does all the analysis for you, it relives all the stress of trading; it does the hardest work—working out your targets and stop losses—for you.
When you use the PTS, you can see those levels, the points where you should be entering and exiting the market, very clearly; it takes the decision making out of the process. All you then need to do is follow through and physically enter or exit the trade.
Systematic Trading = Systematic Profits
When you trade using the PTS, you can earn profits in a systematic manner instead of depending on your own judgement, which is all too easily affected by your emotions. Without a system in place, it’s too easy to break the rules. The system literally makes you trade by the rules, as long as you follow it.
We designed the UTP because we wanted to make learning to trade as interactive and straightforward as possible. Many other companies will teach students using only a Power Point presentation. We want you to experience trading first hand using real-time charts. Under the UTP, you get to use the Pro Trading System alongside our trainers and literally trade as they trade, live. If you follow their trades, when they make a profit, you make a profit.
Put simply, the UTP is a fast track for beginners... a fast track to consistent profits. You’re running out of excuses not to trade; we couldn’t have made it easier for you to earn while you learn!
SPOTLIGHT ON THE MARKETS: MARCH
Markets have their idiosyncrasies and distinct features just like the human beings who trade them (perhaps because of the human beings who trade them!) And, as with human personalities, some of these traits are inherent, long-standing ones while others fluctuate depending on external factors over a period of time.
This week we are going to look at the major currency pairs in the forex market and highlight the features of each pair as observed by one of our trainers.
Of all the major currency pairs, the EUR/USD is the most common and liquid market, thus tends to have the smallest spreads. The combination of liquidity and volatility makes the EUR/USD a good place to start if you’re new to forex trading.
The USD/JPY is the second most popular currency pair. When bullish, the USD/JPY tends to go up in small increments, but when it corrects it does so quite quickly, although it tends not to go too deep. Then, when price consolidates it can really slow down. This is all due to the fact that the USD/JPY typically sees relatively stable action throughout the trading day with few peaks and troughs.
The EUR/JPY has traditional patterns, for instance showing bullish and bearish flags. This pair usually behaves in a similar way to the USD/JPY but has been a little less predictable in recent times, presumably (to apply a little fundamental analysis to explain our technical analysis) because of the all uncertainty in Europe at the moment.
This pair—known as cable in the trading world—is typically very volatile, usually showing quite aggressive spikes, moving up and down quickly, and often moving 150 pips in one day.
The USD/CHF is inversely correlated to the EUR/USD, i.e. it moves in the opposite direction. But since this pair has larger margin requirements you might want to avoid it and simply use your observations of it to inform your trades on the EUR/USD (for example if your analysis would suggest you go long on the USD/CHF, you could short the EUR/USD). The USD/CHF also has a correlation to the gold market since the Swiss National Bank is responsible for managing Switzerland’s gold reserves.
The AUS/USD tends to follow the movement of the EUR/USD but makes smaller moves. If you are put off by the volatility of the EUR/USD, the AUS/USD is a good alternative because it doesn’t move as much or as fast. The AUS/USD also has a positive correlation to the gold market. This is because the US Dollar is considered the world’s “safe haven” currency. In periods of global uncertainty and unrest, the big hedge funds will tend to hedge into gold if they perceive a threat to the US Dollar, causing the AUS/USD to rise. However, that in itself carries its own risk. Never forget that there are no safe bets in trading!
The EUR/GBP is one of the slowest markets, so while it can be a good market to cut your teeth on when you’re starting out, because you’re unlikely to get any sudden shocks, it can get a little boring when you become a more experienced trader.
This is an interesting pair to trade because it has a strong correlation with the US Oil market. If you’re trading oil, it’s always worth analysing the USD/CAD at the same time, to see how the two inform each other. The Canadian dollar also has a positive correlation with the Australian dollar since both currencies are built around natural resource/commodity prices.
The AUS/JPY tends to be quite closely correlated to the US Equities Market and typically makes most of its movement during the Asian session.
Obviously these characteristics and correlations do break down occasionally (there are no guarantees in trading) so be aware of them but keep them in perspective. Don’t miss an opportunity by getting bogged down and distracted with analysing the correlations in the markets too closely. You are only taking a snapshot at any one time. Ultimately you should still follow your trading plan, utilise your indicators and enter on multiple confirmations, and maintain a healthy risk-reward ratio because money management is key. Never forget that you are a technical analysis trader; when you see a good set up, pull the trigger and take the trade. Don’t let your observations rule your life; let your indicators do their job!
Our Trader of the Month for March is Steve Smith, one of the most courageous and committed traders you’ll ever meet. You won’t meet many people who have taken a bigger roller-coaster ride in their trading journey than Steve.
After 22 years in the same industry, Steve had worked his way up from the warehouse floor to European Sales Director. He was making an impressive six-figure salary and travelling the world, but was never seeing his wife and four children. He was ready for a major change. “I was working 18-hour days and was often out of the country for significant stretches of time. On a material level, we had a nice lifestyle, but what was the point when I never got to see the people I loved the most in the world?”
Steve’s first introduction to trading was a BBC programme that his son encouraged him to watch. He was sceptical, and when he went to a seminar offered by a broker, his scepticism was confirmed. “I saw right through it. The broker was selling the dream, but I could see exactly how they were lining their pockets by signing people up in huge numbers, people who would probably never learn to trade properly.”
The idea of trading became a family topic of discussion. Finally, Steve’s wife discovered Trading College and persuaded Steve to attend an introductory weekend with his son.
“I don’t buy into concepts; I buy into people,” says Steve. “And I immediately bought into Lee. He was a straight-up guy who called a spade a spade. Everything he said resonated with me. I knew he wasn’t selling a “get rich quick” dream. He was so obviously an educator, not a broker. He told us from the get-go, if you’re not prepared to put in the hard work you’ll never succeed.”
Steve was surprised by how many people had already tried and failed at trading, that people had risked a fortune without getting an education first. “I couldn’t understand it. If I’m going into a new profession, I don’t try and fail; I get an education first. I want to learn everything I can before I start. I was shocked to see that people were prepared to risk and lose thousands rather than invest that money in an education. I wouldn’t try to fly a helicopter before taking an intensive training course, and I felt the same way about the idea of risking my livelihood.”
By the end of the weekend Steve was ready to sign up. However, he says, “When I start something new in life, I want to give it 100%, so I handed in my notice and told Lee I would start the one-year mentorship in January 2016, with the ambition of making a living from trading within the first six months. Even Lee was a little nervous for me when he heard that I was going “all in” and looking to become reliant on trading within such a short period of time, but I’ve never believed in back-up plans in life. If you have an easier Plan B, you will default to it, it’s human nature to take the path of least resistance, so trading full time was my Plan A and only plan.”
Steve hit the fast track, completing about six months’ worth of training in the first two months of his mentorship. But, he soon hit a wall. ‘‘I wasn’t winning nearly enough trades. I was demoralised. Suddenly my charts were just squiggles on the screen and I was losing faith. After a consultation with Fed we decided I should just focus on three basic strategies—Attack, Attack; Free Money and Divergence—instead of trying to master them all.”
That moment marked Steve’s turning point. “This month I’m up 155% on my capital and I’m confident that this trend will continue as I finally feel like I’ve got a strong handle on my trading.”
Steve’s bounce back, after feeling like his world was imploding, has been truly inspiring to watch. He is finally living the life he dreamed of. “I’m up at 6am every day. I go down to the gym to swim and then I’m at my computer ready to trade by 7.30am. I’m done by 9am. I like to get my trades set up before all the day’s volatility kicks in. I love having the rest of the day free to enjoy time with my family. I am currently happier than I’ve ever been in my life.”
We wish Steve continued success and thank him for sharing his inspirational story with us.
At Trading College we make sure we teach strategies that give our students the most flexibility and freedom. The majority of people, when they first start trading, don’t have the luxury of being able to trade full time; many of them are working in full-time jobs as well as juggling many other commitments. Indeed, most people want to become successful traders in order to free up more time in their lives. But before they start making the kind of profits that will allow them to quit their jobs, students usually have to experience a big learning curve. One of the biggest lessons a lot of people end up learning (sometimes the hard way!) is that trading doesn’t have to be complicated; there are strategies and processes that can keep trading as simple as you want it to be.
FREE MONEY & BOOMERANG STRATEGIES
Two of our most popular strategies we teach at Trading College are Free Money and Boomerang. These were the strategies we focused on during our recent Forex Mastery Retreat in Lanzarote. These strategies are the most straightforward of all the strategies we teach, and it’s easy to manage your trades when you use them because you can set alerts on your phone or use “set and forget” to automate your trades. Both strategies involve looking for trending directional markets. Once you’ve identified the trades you want to take, you can either set your phone to alert you when the price is at the right point or programme your software to enter and exit your chosen trades at specified levels.
SET & FORGET
With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to be a mobile trader. Let’s say you do your analysis and identify a trending market; you see the volatility, which means the market is moving, but the price is not yet at the level you want to enter the trade at. With set and forget, you set your orders with the broker at the levels you choose and everything happens automatically. You decide on your desired price to enter the market, and at what levels you want to exit the trade, and then you can forget about it. For example, say the market is trading at $100.20 but you don’t want to enter the trade until it reaches $99.00. You simply set your order at $99.00; you tell your broker that this is the price you want to buy at. You can then set your target for that trade, say $110, so that you exit that trade if and when the price reaches $110. You would also set your stop loss, say at $97.00 so that you don’t lose any more money if the price drops below this. This is a fully automated way of trading.
If you want a little more control over your trades, you can set your phone to alert you when the price approaches the level you want to enter the trade at. Then you can open your account and manually enter the trade when you are happy to do so. This obviously requires a little more commitment than “set and forget” but it still means that you don’t have to sit at the computer watching the market move, or repeatedly check where the price is at, because your phone will alert you when it’s nearly time to trade.
Either system, when you are using simple and straightforward strategies, means that busy people can trade on the go. These tools will become your best friends and allow you to be a truly mobile trader! There are no more excuses, you really can trade from anywhere at any time.
SPOTLIGHT ON FED
This week we spoke to our head coach, Federico Bustos. We asked him about his background, what brought him to Trading College and what his future aspirations are.
Fed is a hugely popular member of the Trading College team, not just for his expert teaching but also for his wonderful, warm personality. His people skills must have been honed in the 11 years he spent travelling the world working in hotel management. “I loved working in hospitality because it took me to so many interesting place,” says Fed. “I was born and raised in Argentina, but through my work I’ve lived in Florida, Milan and Barcelona. I moved to London six yeas ago to improve my English.”
Although his career gave him plenty of travelling opportunities, Fed craved even more freedom. “I always wanted to be my own boss, and to find a way to earn an income from anywhere in the world.”
Researching ways of making a second income that he could build into a main income, Fed considered property investing and multi-level marketing before settling on trading as the best way to achieve his goals. But when he started talking to trading education companies he found that, in most cases, he was talking to sales people who seemed more interested in taking his money than in showing him evidence of their trading success. When he found Trading College, he was immediately impressed. “Lee was the only guy I found who was giving real trading examples, showing the real trades he took. His introductory webinars were open to everyone. He was completely transparent.”
Since becoming a student of Trading College four years ago, Fed has never looked back. Using the PTS (Pro-Trading System), he has made consistent profits. Fed attributes his success to one important factor. “I simply follow the rules that Lee teaches. Nothing more complicated than that. I have never met a trader who loses money by following the rules. The only people I see losing money are the ones who break the rules.”
Within only a few months of joining Trading College, Lee offered Fed the opportunity to teach students at weekends. Last year, Fed quit his job in the hotel industry in order to trade and teach trading full time. He loves the freedom his new life gives him. “I’ve been on six holidays in the past four months. I’ve spent time in Argentina, Lyon, Valencia, Bali and Lanzarote (at the recent Forex Mastery Retreat). For me, the motivation has never been material things or money alone, it’s always been about the freedom to travel, and the ability to make money while I’m enjoying the outdoor pursuits I love, such as snowboarding and kitesurfing. Only recently, during a trip to Argentina, I returned from a day out hiking in Patagonia to discover I’d made over £700 on a trade I had set up. That pretty much paid for my holiday!”
So why does Fed work at Trading College when he could afford to live off his trading profits and travel full time? “I love people and I’m passionate about teaching trading. I want to share my knowledge with others, to help them achieve their goals. I like exploring the world but I also love meeting new people. I get to meet so many interesting people through Trading College, and it’s like a family. Members become part of our community. The recent retreat in Lanzarote was so much fun. I would never want to give up great experiences like that. I’m very happy with my life.”
And what are Fed’s goals for the future? “I want to continue learning about trading and passing on my knowledge to my students. One day, of course, I hope to have a family. But I couldn’t be one of those fathers who never see their children. I want to be a present father, always involved with my kids’ daily lives. Trading will give me the ability to do that.” As chat-up lines, go, Fed, that’s not a bad one!
He is only 33 and already Fed has more freedom than most people will have in their working lives. That’s impressive and inspirational. We feel lucky to have him as a valued member of the Trading College team.