What is Forex?: Complete Beginners’ Guide

Imagine you’re on a global treasure hunt, but instead of dusty antiques, you’re searching for hidden value in different countries’ currencies! That’s the essence of forex trading. People buy currencies hoping they’ll become more valuable, just like you might snag a rare record at a garage sale. (Though hopefully without any angry curses attached!)

Remember that time you vacationed abroad and exchanged your cash at the airport? Forex trading is that system on steroids. Traders are like super-tourists, constantly swapping currencies and trying to predict which ones will rise in value.  Guess right, and you make a profit – kind of like scoring a priceless painting for a song!

Fast forward to you landing in South Africa.  You head to the currency exchange booth, a whirlwind of flags and flashing numbers.  Don’t worry, those numbers are your friends! They’re called exchange rates, telling you how much one currency is worth compared to another.  Suddenly, you see that one US dollar gets you a whopping 19 South African Rand! “Whoa!” you think, “I’m practically a millionaire!”

Congratulations, you’ve just dipped your toe into the exciting world of forex trading!  While it’s not quite an instant path to riches (sorry!), it’s a fascinating financial market with a lot to offer.  Consider this your first adventure – stay tuned, because there’s a whole world of forex exploration waiting for you!

Course Bundle

Up To 50% Off

Access all courses with a once-off purchase.


Access To All Courses
Chat support or guidance
Achieve more in Trading
Life Time Access
Master Smart Money Trading

Trading Terminology: Forex Trading Notes for Beginners

This guide will equip you with the most common terms you’ll encounter in forex trading:

1. Spot Forex

Spot Forex trading is like going to a currency exchange booth in a foreign country. Let’s say you’re traveling from Europe to the UK, so you have euros but need British pounds. At the exchange booth, you exchange your euros for pounds at the current exchange rate.

Now, in Spot Forex trading, instead of physically going to a booth, you do it electronically through a broker. You buy one currency and sell another at the current exchange rate. For example, you might buy euros with dollars, hoping the euro’s value will increase relative to the dollar. Then, when the euro does increase in value, you can sell them back for more dollars, making a profit.

It’s like betting on whether one currency will become more valuable compared to another. Just like at the exchange booth, you’re hoping to buy low and sell high, making money on the difference.

2. CFDs (Contracts for Difference)

Let’s break down CFDs (Contracts for Difference). Imagine you’re interested in trading currencies, but you don’t want to buy and sell large amounts of actual currency. Instead, you can use CFDs.

Here’s how it works: A CFD is a contract between you and a broker. It mirrors the price movements of financial assets, like currencies, without you owning them. It’s like making a bet on whether the value of a currency will go up or down.

For example, let’s say you believe the value of the euro will rise against the dollar. With a CFD, you don’t need to buy euros. Instead, you enter into a contract with your broker. If the euro’s value increases as you predicted, you make money. If it decreases, you lose money.

It’s like betting on the outcome of a sports game without actually owning the players or the stadium. You’re simply speculating on the price movement, hoping to profit from it. So, CFDs offer a way to trade currencies without physically owning them, making them more accessible and potentially less complex for beginners.

3. Pip

pips :What is Forex

Imagine you’re buying groceries and the price of apples is listed as $1.99. In this case, ’99’ is the pip. In forex trading, currencies are traded in pairs, like EURUSD (Euro vs US Dollar). The pip is the smallest change in price for a currency pair. For most currency pairs, a pip is like the ’99’ cents in the apple price – it’s the smallest movement the price can make. There’s an exception for Japanese Yen (JPY) pairs where the pip is much smaller, like tenths of a cent.

4. Spread

Imagine you’re at a market, and you want to buy something. The price at which you can buy it is slightly higher than the price at which you can sell it back.

In Forex, this price difference between buying and selling is called the spread. It’s like a fee you pay to the market for the opportunity to trade. The spread exists because the market needs to make money too.

Think of it like this: You want to buy a currency pair, let’s say euros for dollars. The price you see to buy euros is a little higher than the price at which you can sell them back. The difference between these two prices is the spread.

Now, for your trade to make a profit, the value of the currency pair needs to move more than the spread. It’s like needing more coins than the price tag to buy something at the market. So, when trading Forex, you have to consider the spread as part of the cost of doing business in the market.

5. Margin

Imagine you want to buy a new bike but don’t have enough saved up. A friend might lend you some money so you can buy the bike now. The margin in forex trading is similar. The broker lends you money to control a larger trade than your initial investment allows.

This can be helpful if you think the currency price will go up, but be careful! Just like borrowing from a friend, if the price goes down, you still owe the money back to the broker, and you might lose more than you initially invested.

6. Leverage

Think of it as a tool that gives you extra power to make bigger moves in the market.

Here’s how it works: Normally, when you trade Forex, you need to put down a certain amount of money called margin. But with leverage, it’s like your broker is lending you extra funds to control a larger trade size than what you could afford with just your own money.

Now, this can be exciting because it means you can potentially make bigger profits. It’s like having a magnifying glass that enlarges the rewards of your successful trades.

However, it’s important to remember that just as leverage can boost your profits, it can also magnify your losses. So, it’s crucial to use it wisely and be aware of the risks involved. Think of it like a skilled treasure hunter who knows that while the bigger the treasure, the greater the reward, there’s also a higher chance of encountering danger. So, approach leverage cautiously and always have a strategy to manage your risks effectively.

7. Bear Market

A bear market is when the market is feeling bearish, meaning currency values are generally falling. Imagine a grumpy bear guarding its treasure!

8. Bull Market

The opposite of a bear market! A bull market sees currency values generally rising, like a happy bull charging forward.

9. Beta

Beta is a metric that compares a stock’s price movement to the overall market movement.  If a stock has a beta of 1.5, it means that when the market moves 1 point, the stock moves 1.5 points in the same direction.

10. Broker

Imagine you’re planning a trip to a bustling marketplace where people trade currencies instead of goods. Now, in this marketplace, you need someone to guide you and provide you with a space to make your trades—that’s your broker.

Your broker acts as your guide in the Forex marketplace. They give you access to a platform, like a special area within the marketplace, where you can buy and sell currencies. This platform is like your trading desk, where you can see all the currency prices and make your trades.

Now, just like in a real marketplace where you might need to pay a small fee to enter or use certain facilities, your broker also takes a commission for their services. This commission is like a toll you pay for using their platform and expertise.

So, think of your broker as your trusted guide in the Forex market, providing you with the tools and space you need to trade currencies effectively, while taking a small fee for their services, just like a toll you pay to use a marketplace.

11. Bid & Ask

Imagine you’re at a flea market trying to buy a cool hat. This is kind of like the haggling that happens in forex trading, but instead of hats, people are buying and selling currencies.

  • The bid price is like your opening offer. You say, “I’ll give you $5 for that hat.” This is the price someone (a forex trader) is willing to buy a certain currency for.
  • The asking price is like the seller’s starting price. The seller might say, “No way, this hat is worth at least $10!” This is the price someone is willing to sell the same currency for.

The difference between these two prices is called the spread. It’s like the fee you pay to play the game. You can’t buy or sell at the exact price you want, there’s always a little gap.

So, the goal is to buy low (like getting the hat for $5) and sell high (like eventually selling it for more than $10), all while keeping the spread (the flea market fee) in mind.

12. Exchange

This is the grand marketplace itself, like the NASDAQ or the NYSE. Here’s where all the buying and selling happens.

13. Close

This refers to the time at which an exchange closes and trading stops.  Regular trading hours for major exchanges often run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

14. Day Trading

Day trading is like a quick shopping trip. You buy and sell currencies within a day, aiming to make rapid profits.

15. Dividend (This term applies to share trading, not forex)

A dividend is a bonus some companies give to their shareholders, like a gift from the marketplace for being a loyal customer.

16. Blue Chip Stocks (This term applies to share trading, not forex)

These are the established, reliable companies of the trading world. Think of them as well-known, trustworthy vendors in the marketplace.

Types of Markets

Forex is traded primarily via spot, forward, and futures markets.

  • Spot Market: This is the biggest marketplace, where currencies are bought and sold based on current prices.
  • Forwards Market: This is a private agreement between two parties to buy a currency at a specific future date and price.

Futures Market: This is a standardized agreement traded on an exchange, where you agree to buy or sell a currency at a specific future date and price.

Forex Trading Strategies: Your Roadmap to Success

Just like a treasure hunter needs a map, a Forex trader needs a strategy. A trading strategy is a set of rules and guidelines you follow to decide when to buy or sell a currency pair. These strategies are based on analysis (technical or fundamental) and can range from simple to complex.

Why Use a Strategy?

A well-defined Forex strategy helps you:

  • Make informed decisions: Avoid impulsive trades based on emotions.
  • Manage risk: Set clear stop-loss and take-profit levels to protect your capital.
  • Improve consistency: Increase your chances of success over the long term.

Recommendation: Ghosttraders Smart Money Trading Course

For those interested in learning highly effective trading strategies based on smart money principles (how institutional traders operate), the Ghosttraders’ courses are a popular option. They focus on reading the market like a professional, identifying key levels, and understanding market manipulation tactics.

Your Forex Journey Begins!

Remember, Forex trading requires knowledge, discipline, and a solid strategy. By learning from experienced traders and developing your plan, you’ll be well on your way to navigating the exciting world of currency trading and potentially uncovering your own Forex treasure!

Spread the love
Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top