Is it possible to earn a significant return from a foreign exchange (FX) account? And if so, how are account holders to calculate their returns on a one-year run of outsized returns? Step one is knowing which kind of calculator to use for the job. Fortunately, when figuring year-on-year earnings, a simple compound interest calculator will do quite well.
What’s the general situation people face when they plunk $5,000 into a trading account and work the foreign currency market five days per week?
Let’s take a look at why someone would choose that amount for daily forex trading, how much they could realistically expect to earn from diligent money management, and how they can know ahead of time what total financial rewards to aim for.
It’s imperative to use compound interest calculators to find out how much someone can earn under ideal circumstances over a one-year time span.
Here are the answers to those questions, along with all the pertinent reasoning behind each answer.
Note: There are no guarantees, especially in FX trading. Investors can and do lose money. The following example is meant to serve only as a hypothetical case in which someone manages an account perfectly, avoids impulsive trading, and is able to generate a consistent monthly amount of income from a modest initial account balance.
1. Why Choose a Forex Account?
Forex is a wise market to choose for growing an account balance quickly. Assuming all the conditions are favorable and traders don’t deviate from a structured plan, it’s possible to earn outsized returns if strict money management principles are followed.
2. Why Use a $5,000 Account Balance?
You can open an FX account with as little as $50 at some of the large online brokers, but it’s relatively difficult to build up a significant return on such a small initial amount without using excessively high leverage. Instead, a $5,000 starting balance is a reasonable sum for people who are willing to take some risks and use modest leverage.
3. What Money Management Techniques Work Best?
With a little work, traders can either develop investing strategies of their own or follow lead traders on copy platforms. Additionally, some people subscribe to signal services that guarantee certain win rates for transactions as well as favorable reward-to-risk ratios.
For this hypothetical case, we assume a win rate of 55%, 80 transactions per month, and a reward-to-risk ratio of 1.6:1. In other words, our fictitious investor makes 20 round-trip trades in a given week, with 11 winners and 9 losing trades per week. For every $1 risked, the reward is $1.60.
Stops are carefully set on each position to prevent losing more than 1% of the current account balance, which for the first month of trading is $5,000. After that, we reset the account balance on the first of every month, thus increasing the amount risked per trade.
4. What are Realistic Earnings?
Our investor’s first month of operations includes 80 round-trips, 44 winning trades, and 36 losing trades, with $50, or 1% of the total account balance, risked per trade. The 44 winners net $80 each because the reward-to-risk ratio is 1.6:1. The losers eat away $50 each. After month one, the account is increased by 44 X $80, minus losses of 36 X $50. Thus, (44×80)-(36×50), or $3,520 – $1,800, or $1,720.
That’s a monthly return of 34.4%. We’ll use this key figure as our monthly gain percentage in the compound interest calculator later on.
5. How Can Investors Calculate Estimated Returns?
The above scenario includes a lot of math, but it’s relatively simple to figure out the return on an arrangement like our hypothetical situation. However, it’s critical to remember that our fictitious investor adds each month’s gains to the account balance, thus changing the amount risked on every trade for the following month.
Let’s look at month two’s activity before doing the entire math equation for the whole one-year period.
The account begins with a balance of $6,720 after adding the first month’s gains. Each trade still has a reward-to-risk ratio of 1.6.1 and a stop-loss set at 1% of the account balance, this time $67.20. Losing trades decrease the account by that much, while winners increase it by $67.20 x 1.6, or $107.52. Our trader has the same win-loss record, 44 wins and 36 losses, every month.
Month two adds to the account by more than the first month did. The winning trades brought in $107.52 x 44, or $4,730.88. The losing trades amounted to $67.20 x 36, or $2,419.20. The net result for month two is, $4,730.88 minus $2,419.20, or $2,311.68. That’s a 34.4% gain once again, and as long as we keep all the parameters the same, our investor will earn 34.4% on each successive month’s account balance for the rest of the one-year period.
6. What About Taxes and Trading Fees?
We’re assuming no trading fees or commissions, as many of the top brokers don’t charge them. Instead, they make their money on the spreads between buy and sell prices. To simplify the tax situation, we’ll assume that our trader is putting all the earnings into a retirement account similar to an IRA, which means there are no tax obligations until amounts are withdrawn all at once, several years in the future.
At the end of the calculation, we’ll take estimate the person’s average tax rate at retirement to be a flat 20 percent.
7. What’s the Bottom Line Payout In the Hypothetical Case?
Assuming ideal money management, no impulse trading, no commissions, a beginning balance of $5,000, 80 trades per week, a 55% success rate, one year of trading, reinvestment of each month’s earnings into the account, a 1%-of-balance stop-loss per transaction, and a 1.6 reward-to-risk ratio, the resulting account balance would be:
$173684.57. Note that we used 412.8 as the annual percentage rate because it is the product of the equation 12 x 34.45. Then, after the 20 percent tax payment, the account is worth ($173684.57 x .8), or $138,947.66.
Is it really possible to grow a $5,000 forex account into a sum that large within a single year? Some say no, but given the assumptions above, it is entirely possible to do so.