My First Trade

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My First Trade

First please answer the following question….Have you ever been the only female in a group of men? If you haven’t, just use your imagination! Being the only girl in a group of boys, one of the followings may happen to you:

1. You are treated like the princess you deserve to be

2. All the guys hit on you and you get frustrated

3. Guys start fighting over you and you feel important

4. Guys start punching each other because of you and you get annoyed

5. All the guys around you are too shy to talk to you and you feel ignored

So…maybe you guessed it but in my case, the latter was the case. I went to Japan on a Japanese government scholarship to study Electrical Engineering and was both the only girl in my class and the only foreigner. And at that time, I didn’t even speak the language very well.

As for my classmates…

First think engineering students: Known for being studious… but not necessarily the life and soul of the party. Then think Japanese guys: Known for being respectful…but not necessarily the smooth talking Romeos. Now combine “male engineering student” and “Japanese guy”, and put yourself in my shoes… As the only girl in a group of them.

Not so much fun and I was competing with computers…and losing as potential girlfriend material! And forget about trying to get my classmate to solve my math problems just because I was a cute girl.

Yes, I could have given up due to the stereotype that engineering is for men, but I’m happy that I did not. I also could have found a sugar daddy to marry me so that I won’t have to ever study or work if I wanted to. Maybe I’ll do that one day! But for now it’s time to reach my full potential as a woman.

Engineering and forex trading have at least one thing in common: They are both male dominated industries.

I first started forex trading while I was a college student. It was mid-September 2008, exactly when the Lehman Brothers shocked the world with their collapse. To that point, I had never even heard the name of Lehman Brothers and didn’t know the meaning of a “financial crisis,” neither in Japanese, nor in English. But I could hear people saying that the Japanese yen was strengthening because of it, and that now it’s a good time to buy dollars.

So, my mind started working overtime thinking that I have to take advantage of all the things that is going on in the world. I began checking the Japanese yen currency rates against the US dollar on my neighborhood ATM machine, and noticed that in fact, the prices are changing every day. The dollar’s price against the yen went from 110 to 105, 103, 100, 99, 98…! This seemed AMAZING! I should start selling my yens before the prices go back up again! But wait a minute, maybe I should trade only a small part of my money first and wait for the market reaction, so that if the prices continued to drop, I would still have some yen to sell.

I started to get addicted to checking the prices on the ATM machine on my way to work (and later on my way to school after the internship was over,) during lunch time, and on my way back. I would buy more dollars using my yens as the dollar’s price continued to down against the yen, and would get more upset for the yens that I had sold the day before that for a cheaper price. I could more or less sense that the prices are going to drop even further, but didn’t want to risk an opportunity or danger of the prices going back up. If only there was a system that I could set a point to buy my dollars at…

I just out of nowhere started talking about this to my “Japanese mom,” a lady who with her family had taken responsibility of my emotional support in Japan… “I’m thinking of exchanging my yens into dollars because I think I’m moving to the United States soon, and I want to get the timing right. I think now is a good time because dollar is getting cheaper and cheaper against the yen, but I don’t know when it is going to hit its lowest point? I don’t have time to check the prices all the time because I’m at school… I wish I could hire someone or write a computer program that can do this for me automatically while I’m not by my computer!…Do you think there is a way?”

Guess what? There IS a way!

-“Open a forex account and not only you can set stops and limits for your trades, but also you can multiply your gains to up to 50 times because of the leverage!”

Now I had no idea what leverage is, but it all sounded very cool!

I transferred $10,000 worth of yen to a forex account right away at the exchange rate of 100. That was an exchange of about 1 million yen. Leverage -which is something you will learn about in the next chapter- was available below 50:1 with the Japanese broker that I had opened my account. I chose 14:1, which made my position $140,000, an equivalent to 14 million JPY! Now that was an outrageous leverage for a beginner, but I was young and rebellious. I would never advise such a high leverage to forex beginners. But the wise thing I did, was setting my stop and limit carefully:

I set my stop at USD/JPY=93, which would enable my account to automatically close with profit when the price of dollar against yen goes down to 93. I set my limit at USD/JPY=102, to prevent extreme losses in case the prices started to move against my favor.

Less than one month later…The prices did fall all the way to 93, and even further more to 91 and so. The rest is history. My account was automatically closed while I was sleeping, at the exchange rate of 93 which I had originally set the stop.

I made $10,528 in less than a month.

I wasn’t able to take advantage of the further declines that followed in the market, but the bottom line is that, I more than doubled my money in less than a month in October 2008, with the leverage of 14:1 that I had fearlessly set at the beginning.

I opened an account worth 1,000,000 yen at the USD/JPY exchange rate of 100 -10,000 +1,000,000
I set the leverage at 14:1 -140,000(1) +14,000,000
Less than a month later, USD/JPY hit the exchange rate 93. +150,528(2)
Profit 10,528(3)
Total money in my account 20,528(4)

Now, who says that just because I am a woman, I cannot dominate the wonderful world of forex trading?

(1) 10,000 × 14 = 140,000

(2) a. 1,000,000/93=~ 10,752

b. 10,752 × 14 = 150,528

(3) 150,528 – 140,000 = 10,528

(4) 10,528 + 10,000 = 20,528

By Kiana Danial