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+ Risks & Rewards

What is a Risk Reward Ratio?

The risk reward ratio is simply a calculation of how much you are willing to risk in a trade, versus how much you plan to aim for as a profit target. To keep it simple, if you were making a trade and you only wanted to set your stop loss at 5 pips and set your take profit at 20 pips, your risk reward ratio would be 5:20 or 1:4. You are risking 5 pips for the chance to gain 20 pips.

How to use a risk reward ratio in forex trading

The basic theory for risk reward ratio is to look for opportunities where the reward outweighs the risk. The greater the possible rewards, the more failed trades your account can with stand at a time. Think of it this way, if you were to use the example above and have a successful trade, it would buffer you against 4 losing trades with the same ratio. The idea of using a good risk reward ratio is to put the odds in your favor. If you consistently did the 5:20 ratio, you could lose on half of your trades, and still make a decent profit.

What types of risk reward ratio should a trader use?

The type of risk reward ratio that traders should use really depends on the type of trader you are, and the market conditions. It would be ideal if you could always find trades that had high rewards and low risk, but what you might find in reality could be very different.

It's generally frowned on to have a risk that is larger than the reward, but if markets are volatile, it might make sense. The point of having a stop loss is not only to protect capital, but also to stop your trade once it no longer makes sense. Sometimes the point where the trade stops making any sense is much farther from the opening market price than the safe exit.

When it comes down to it, it is up to you as a trader to figure out what type of risk reward ratio you want to use. You should try to avoid having your risk be bigger than your reward, particularly if you are a beginner, but there is no particular ratio that works for all traders. The important thing is that you use a ratio that makes sense for your trading style and for market conditions.

RISK WARNING: Trading in the foreign exchange markets on margin carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all individuals. The high degree of leverage offered in the Forex markets can work against you as well as for you. Before deciding to trade in the foreign exchange markets you should carefully consider your investment objectives, you level of experience, and your risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your equity and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. Only true excess disposable cash should be used in trading. You should make yourself aware of all the risks associated with foreign exchange trading and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any questions or concerns as to how a loss would affect your lifestyle. Past performance does not guarantee in any way future results.

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