The single most significant issue for us to understand once first starting to trade is risk management. Of course we all need to trade to aquire money. So the main thing we need to understand is not to lose it. Of course you will experience losing trades, we all do, it is part of trading, it is inevitable. But learn to survive those losses and subsequently endeavour to minimise and keep on minimising them.
With this in mind I confess to being intrigued by the wildly distinctive approaches proposed by various people. Some will tell you to swing trade so that you can capture whichever significant swings that occur throughout the day. Their argument is that by doing this they will not lose out on any major movements that take place. They benefit from sizeable stop losses to allow the trade a chance to breathe, as they say. This way they can permit the trade run and run for a decent long while and gather in a nice high profit. They do not need to stay chained to a laptop all day long and are comfortable in the knowledge that a large stop loss allows them to trade in this way. And various traders do precisely this.
Let us consider the amount they are risking. Suppose for example the pound is falling against the euro and the chart shows the price bouncing down and up against say the 40 daily moving average. Let us imagine that our stop loss is trailing slightly above the 40dma.There might well be a difference between the price and the stop loss of say 2-400 pips. That is one heck of a lot of risk! You need very deep pockets for this method.
Another method that the risk adverse beginner might want to consider is somewhat different. Imagine the chart described above instead of being a daily chart is a 10-minute chart although we will presume its outline is much the same. Because the price variations are smaller the risk is much smaller. Being a smaller time frame it will need closer monitoring than a swing trade but this is a balance that needs to be struck.
It often amazes me that certain traders will let a trade rise to its summit and subsequently let it retrace in the hope that it will take off again to a higher peak. This it might or might not achieve. When a price reaches its high point it is surely wise to exit the trade at the earliest obvious sign of a reversal and to re-enter later on. By following such an approach the stop loss, instead of being placed on a moving average can be placed at say the low of the preceding bar. As a consequence the risk is reduced to a very low level and fulfils one of the criteria outlined at the start of this article. In order to continue to reduce the risk element you might find you can reduce the stop loss to a portion of the proceeding bar so instead of having a 200 pip stop loss you can perhaps get away with say 20. Now that is low risk.