Forex Trading Vs Traditional Investment

Most people are looking for the perfect way to invest their money. No one will argue against the fact that your money is only going to grow by any reasonable amount if you have invested in some type of market. The first piece of advice usually given is that they should take advantage of whatever is offered by their employer's 401k plan, if that is an option for them. This is good, sound and advice and should be followed if at all possible.

However, many people either don't have the option of investing in a 401k, or they have maxed out their 401k contributions and are looking for a good place to invest their additional funds for maximum growth. For obvious reasons (ie - terrible perfomance), traditional savings accounts and CDs are out of the question. These people are usually advised that investing in mutual funds is the only practical, "safe" alternative to a 401k.

Many people hold the belief that a mutual fund is the only "safe" way for an individual to invest beyond the typical savings accounts and CD's offered by their local bank. This belief is no doubt due to the success enjoyed by mutual funds throughout the 1990's, when all of the stock market benefited from the huge bull market that was driven by the tech sector. Ironically, though, just as mutual funds have soared in popularity, they have also peaked in performance, and over the last few years most have seen an astonishing lack of overall success.

So the intrepid investor goes off in search of the perfect mutual fund, only to find that there is a bewildering array of funds to choose from, and an overwhelming number of factors to consider when making that decision. Some people will forge ahead and make a decision on a mutual fund, while others will decide to go to the next level and start looking for investments that give them more control, and hopefully greater returns.

The next level for most investors is usually the stock market, where they hope to achieve phenomenal returns. But most people are not prepared for the reality of investing in stocks, which presents them with an array of choices that is several orders of magnitude greater than that offered by mutual funds. The natural question is: Which is a good stock to invest in? How do you select the one or two rising stars out of all the thousands of stocks there are to choose from?

So just like in the search for a mutual fund, the investor is stuck with the problem of how to pick which investment is the best place for his funds. At this point many people give up, which is a shame, because there are some other options available to them besides mutual funds and stocks.

The most common option considered besides stocks would be commodities. The lure of commodities is that they are able provide tremendous returns for your investment dollars due to leveraging. Leveraging simply means that for every dollar invested you are able to control more than a dollar's worth of commodity. This can lead to tremendous returns, but unfortunately commodities come with a huge downside. One of the disadvantages of commodities are broker's fees, which can be quite high per trade. Another disadvantage is market liquidity... sometimes the markets being traded don't offer enough buyers and sellers to ensure that your order can be executed in a timely manner. This can lead to unexpected losses during times of extreme market volatility.

Another disadvantage endured by commodities traders is the advantage enjoyed by the floor traders in the exchanges. These traders have a huge advantage over the retail trader because they trade with much lower commissions, and also since they have such an intimate knowledge of their market, they know what are the most likely stop and limit targets that have been set by the retail traders through their brokers. This means that they can "flush out" the retail trader by gunning for their stops and taking small incremental profits from the market. Once the small traders have been flushed out of the markets by having their stops hit, the market can continue to move in its original direction. Sadly, many of the retail traders may have been right in their opinion of the direction the market was headed, but they are now out of the market because their stops have been hit.

An alternative to consider to all of the above investment options is to trade the Forex market. The Forex market is the global, electronic, decentralized trading of the world's major currencies. In the past, only major banks government institutions were able to trade on the Forex. But recently the Forex market was opened up to retail traders who are able to trade through retail brokers.

The advantages of trading the Forex are numerous when compared to all the other investment methods. The most obvious advantage is that, unlike stocks, you don't have to search through thousands of different investment types to find a likely candidate. There are a very limited number of currencies that are traded, and most Forex traders only trade in one of the four major currencies: The British Pound, the Euro, the US Dollar, and the Japanese Yen. Each market gives enough volatility to offer plenty of trade opportunities each day. So while the stock trader is busy looking for which stock to trade, the Forex trader is already busy analyzing the market and setting up his trades.

Another advantage of the Forex is that there is no one single "common place" or exchange where the trades are made. The Forex is an electronic market that is traded globally among a network of computers, and is not centralized to any one location. This means that there are no floor traders to compete with, and no one who can "flush out" the retail trader by gunning for his stops.

Yet another advantage of the Forex market is that it is traded 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. This offers the extraordinary opportunity for traders all over the world to trade when it is convenient for them, and not be confined to trading a market that is only open during hours that would impossible or inconvenient.

One thing the Forex offers is identical to what is offered by the futures markets: leverage. Like commodities traders, the individual trading the Forex market can make fantastic returns compared to stocks, mutual funds. But unlike commodities traders the Forex market trades with much lower commissions. Instead of standard commissions, the Forex trader pays a small spread on each trade.

There are a lot of details about the Forex market, and trading the Forex market, that have been left out of this article. This is just a very quick introduction to some of the problems with traditional investing and to the advantages to be had by trading the Forex.

Be sure to check out our free ebook for more info on getting started with the Forex.