Trading with small account balance

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How to Set Up a FREE $200,000 Paper Trading Account & Create an Effective Practice Plan (Must Read!)

What you will learn in this post:

  • ​The complete step-by-step guide to paper trading
  • Why it’s important to practice before moving to the “real stuff”
  • How to sign up for a $200,000 demo account from TD Ameritrade (thinkorswim)
  • How to add $1,000,000 or more to your trading account
  • Best ways to ‘practice’ trading stocks before making actual investments If this is what you’re looking for in one comprehensive article, read on.

As an up and coming investor, have you ever wondered how to set up a paper trading account ?

Have you had questions swimming around your head so as to why it’s a good idea to set up a paper trading account before seriously getting into investments?

The very reason I put this piece together is to help you, the novice investor, get a little practice before making major, life-changing investment decisions.

I gambled a good deal of my money away and learned the consequences the hard way.

Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in the same predicament.

This article is aimed at showing you clear and simple steps when setting up a paper trading account and why it really pays to do so.

What is Paper Trading & Paper Money?

​To effectively make use of paper trading practices, we’re going to make use of paper money or “fake” money , if you will.

Paper trading is basically the notion of trading with fake or pretend money to see what outcome your investment decisions might lead to.

Paper trading is very useful for a number of reasons.

When you plan to invest any given sum of money, you’d want to see the effect it has before you actually take the plunge with real money.

The benefit lies in the practice of making real trades without real money , because frankly speaking, newbie stock trading can be a scary thing.

Trust me, I’ve been there and don’t want you to be in the same position.

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​Why Should You Practice Stock Trading?

​Before proceeding any further, I just want to quickly share with you how things went from bad to worse for me, simply because I failed to take paper trading seriously.

I started out back in 2020. I was a young and hungry investor at the time, completely new to stock investments.

I had witnessed a lot of my friends and acquaintances taking huge gambles and making thousands almost overnight.

I wanted in – I wanted a taste of that mone y .

However, unbeknownst to me at the time was my sheer lack of knowledge and experience. I started making blind trades without any real strategy.

I was just hungry for seeing investments returns and things, unfortunately, took a turn for the worse; I made the fatal mistake of trading with actual money, rather than practicing with paper stock trading as I should have.

Before I knew it, I was buying and selling stocks with reckless intent.

Eventually, I lost pretty much every cent I had and that was a harrowing experience which I don’t have the words to describe.

I decided it was the stock market’s fault and not the reckless decision-making.

Finally, I stopped playing the blame game and realized that it wasn’t the stock market that was stacked against me. It was me. “I” was the problem .

After all, I didn’t take the time to learn and practice investments through paper trading – I just wanted to be a part of the “get rich quick” business like my friends.

I had very little know-how on how the stock market actually worked.

Well, I finally mustered up the courage to acknowledge my failures and started thinking more along the lines of an investor rather than a gambler .

I perfected my investment strategies and made my money work for me.

​I just want you to know that I’m somewhat proud of the money that I’ve made as a result of real investment education and not gambling.

And I want you to take away from this experience so that you can benefit the same way I did:

  • Through paper trading, you will never have to risk losing hard-earned cash just to test out various stock trading strategies.
  • You get to practice as much as you want without taking any real-world risks whatsoever – I just wanted to reiterate that a bit more in case you missed it!
  • It’s very easy to create a paper trading account, starting a $10,000 balance, $200,000 or even $10 million . I’m going to show you exactly how to do that.

How to Set Up a Paper Trading Account

​Only the smartest investors incorporate certain strategies to make sure no stone is left unturned , before venturing out into the real investment world.

If you’re looking to stay ahead of the stock market curve using highly innovative tools to arm yourself with the right investment strategies, there really is no better way to do that than Thinkorswim PaperMoney .

The art of smart investments lies within educating yourself and while you’re at it, why not do it in a fun and interactive way?

Thinkorswim ® is an advanced virtual trading platform by TD Ameritrade that offers a holistic trading experience to keep you on top of your virtual investments.

I’ve personally been using Thinkorswim ® for years to stay well ahead of the curve and tell me tell you this isn’t just your everyday run-of-the-mill trading platform.

You’re getting innovative technology and cutting-edge features right at your fingertips.

You can empower yourself to analyze, devise strategies and trade like never before.

​How to Get a Free Thinkorswim Paper Trading Account with a $200,000 balance

​Signing up for an account on Thinkorswim® is quite simple. You can follow 7 steps below to get your free account:

​Step 1: Visit the Thinkorswim website and simply click “register here for paperMoney”

Step 2: Register for a paper trading account

​If you’ve already opened a real trading account from TD Ameritrade, you don’t need to register a demo trading account.

You can use your existing account to login to the Thinkorswim® trading platform.

If you haven’t created an account yet, simply click “No” to fill out a few on-screen details before choosing a user ID and password.

Step 3: Fill in your information

Now it’s time to fill in your information and choose your login username and password:

​Sometimes, what happens is TD Ameritrade may not let you create a demo trading account because you may be registering from a “restricted country or region”.

If this is the case, you can go ahead and use fake or made up information.

Since this is just a demo trading account, using fake information does not violate any terms or conditions. After all, you’re only creating an account to practice so it isn’t a big deal.

You can also go to, select your country as “United States” and click generate:

​This site will create fake personal information for you. You can use this information to sign up for a demo trading account.

You should use this site for personal purposes though make sure you read their terms of service carefully:

​Simply use the generated information to sign up for a demo trading account using the step above and you’re good to go.

Step 4: Review your information and create an account

​It’s now time to review all the information you entered on the Thinkorswim® registration page:

Step 5: Download the thinkorswim trading platform

​After clicking on the “Register” button you need to download the Thinkorswim® trading platform:

​The trading software is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Simply download and install the applicable version:

Step 6: Activate your paper trade account

​The next step is to activate your account. TD Ameritrade will send you a confirmation email; click on the link and then log in to your account to activate it:

​All set! Now you are good to go.

Step 7: Install the trading software and enjoy your free trading account

​After installing the software, simply log in to the Thinkorswim® trading platform with your registered account.

Make sure you select “Paper Money”:

​After logging in successfully, you will see this screen – this is what’s inside the trading platform:

​You’ll instantly have $200,000 “paper money” to practice trading stocks with, options and ETFs, as well as $10,000 for Forex trading.

Use this account to practice until you get familiar with the stock market. Once you gain enough skills and knowledge, you can start trading with a real account.

​How to Add $1,000,000 to Your TD Ameritrade Paper Money Account

​If you want to add more cash to your demo trading account, here’s how you do it.

First of all, you’ll need to buy a random stock. So let’s say, I buy 100 shares of Apple, as follows:

(right click and open the image in new tab to view a bigger image)

​Next, you need to “Adjust Cash” . Go back to the Monitor Tab and you’ll see the 100 shares we’ve just bought.

Right click and select “Adjust Cash” as follows:

(right click and open the image in new tab to view a bigger image)

​Now you can add $1,000,000 or more to your paper trading account:

​We now have over $1,000,000 to practice paper trading:

​How To Use Thinkorswim to Practice Trading Stocks

​Even though you might want to add a million dollars to your paper trading account, I would not recommend that because:

  • It’s better to practice with small accounts.
  • When you trade with a lot of money, it’s difficult to manage your profits and losses.
  • You will not have a sense of what’s going on with the market and you will not care much if you are losing your money (believe me, I’ve been there).
  • Our main purpose of using paper money is to do real world investing with “free” money, which we shouldn’t lose sight of.

To make paper trading more realistic :

  • You should start with a small account.
  • Adjust the cash balance based on your actual financial capacity ; for example, you plan to start investing with $10,000, so make sure you will use a $10,000 account to practice with.
  • Try to grow that money – if you can turn $10,000 into $20k or even $100k, you are good to start trading with a real account.
  • Practice until you can make a profit , until you understand exactly what you’re doing, and until you are confident about the investment decision you made.
  • The above should give you a fairly good idea so as to starting small and very gradually building up.

​To adjust the cash balance, you can also follow the guide above.

In addition, I’d strongly recommend that rather than adding money to your $200,000 account, you should subtract the cash balance by $190,000, like so:

And once you do:

​The Bottom Line

​As we’ve just seen, practice makes perfect .

Even though you can really invest huge amounts of money and take big risks just to get a taste of how things work in the real stock market, I really would reiterate the importance of starting small, in order to get a gist of how things work.

As long as you consistently practice, I promise that you’ll master the art of making sound real-life investment decisions through paper trading.

The more you practice, the more you learn. Continue learning, and the more you’ll earn!

You no longer need to sift through web page after web page trying to understand how to set up a paper trading account.

All you need to know is right here in this guide. Congratulations, your investment journey has now begun! Good luck and keep at it.

Now​ you have it – a detailed guide on how to practice trading stocks with paper money.

Leave a comment below and let me know what your trading goal is and how much paper money you will start practicing with.

Trading a Small Account with Patience

As a new trader, I had enough money stored away to make a decent-sized trading account. But as my newness and ignorance took control, I quickly had a small account. I blew all of my money learning. At that point, I knew how to not lose. But I didn’t have any money to continue.

I spent several years of my trading learning experience taking small amounts of cash from my day job and trading with it. Consequently, I got pretty good at trading a small account. Trading a small account takes different skills than trading a large account. Most of these skills involve risk management. We’ll take a look at those in this class.

What is a Small Account?

Let’s start by defining a small account. A small account has different definitions depending upon your trading instrument. I’m going to draw a line in the sand here and say that a small account is less than 10,000 times the smallest per pip (tick) increment of the instrument you’re trading. I’ll go into a bit more detail regarding that in a moment, but a small account is one in which you cannot properly use all the money management tools in your toolbox because you don’t have enough margin in your account to handle it.

To calculate my definition of a small account. Let’s look at the EUR/USD for a moment. In general, on the MT4 platform, the minimum trade size is 0.01 standard lots – a microlot – or 100th of a standard lot, 1000 Euros. The value per pip in USD (I know not everyone enumerates their account in USD. I will, however, use USD for all of the examples in this class) is $0.10.

Roughly multiply that by 10,000 (=$1000) to get an idea of what I consider large enough to easily maintain your risk parameters (for EUR/USD trading). Anything smaller than that, I would consider a small account. I know that $1000 is a pretty small account, but you should be able to use proper risk management in an account of that size.

Of course, if you’re trading, for example, Mini-Dow Futures (YM), the smallest tick is $5 per contract. So, multiplied by 10,000, you will need $50000 minimum to maintain your risk properly. For the YM, I would consider anything less than that to be a small account.

Another example might be the eMini S&P (ES), with a $10 per contract minimum. So, you should have at least $100,000 to consider this a large account. And, of course, you are stuck with a minimum of $25,000 in the US for stock day trading minimum capital.

Risk Management is what makes it tough trading small account

That’s not to say that you can’t trade these instruments with smaller accounts. I think you can easily trade the futures with accounts as small as $10,000. To do so, you will need strategies that allow for the fact that you can’t have 1/10th size increments for building, reducing positions, and so on.

For the purposes of this class, we will only be discussing forex.

Patience is an important factor when trading a small account

PATIENCE! Since you cannot size your account down as much (relatively) with a small account, you have to be sure you can get the best entries possible. Getting the best entries requires patience, patience, and more patience. That is how to grow a small trading account.

If you have a larger account, you can enter experimental positions with, say, 1/10th of your normal size to see how it does. Your profit will be smaller, but so will your loss. With a small account, you don’t have that option. Unless you have a broker who allows it, but more on that later.

Small Account Strategies

Develop your strategies so you maximize entries, reduce risks, and help grow a small forex account. For example, holding out until the last second on a reversal trade serves two purposes:

  1. You will get a better price before the reversal occurs.
  2. You will reduce your loss if the price doesn’t reverse.

As you know, I use the bullet strategy on reversal trades. For example, if I’m trading a small account, I have limited options for sizing the trade. I can only go in half-size (my normal position size is 0.02 lots). If I want to increase my subsequent bullet size, my only option is to double the size, which approaches gambling (doubling down). The result of doubling increases the risk dramatically and can cause relatively huge losses if price action doesn’t reverse in due time.

The rules I use for the momentum trade are designed for a small account. With a larger account, I would enter a position using a market order when we get our momentum signal and all criteria are met (the Momentum Strategy Checklist). I would use a smaller size (½-¾).

If the price never pulled back to the 20 SMA, we would have some profit from the trade. Then we would have capitalized on the impulsive move. If it did pull back to the 20 SMA, I would add a larger size (say 20-25% increase over “normal” size) and let the trade run using the loss exit and take profit plans worked well. That way, we get profit if it doesn’t pull back and we get more profit if it does pull back. The sizing of the positions would ensure we minimize our loss in the case that it never goes our way.

Since our account size doesn’t allow us to manipulate the trade sizes that way (remember our minimum size is 0.01 lots), we have to use the best possible scenario – the pullback to the 20 SMA. Even if it means we will miss some trades because the price never pulled back to there.

Missed Trades is the penalty for Patience

The penalty for patience is missed trades. Yes, we will miss a few trades, but the ones we get into will have a greater possibility for reward and smaller risk if the price goes against us.

The reversal rules are also optimized for small accounts. Our “Reversal Min” number ensures price has moved sufficiently for a reversal. My interpretation of the H4 move is also designed to ensure an imminent reversal. Lastly, the experimental 15 min RSI(8) divergence is also designed so we can be sure to get our reversal without adding additional positions.

Learn to Read Price Action Indicators

In addition to our trade rules, you should be particularly conscious of the price action. Watch for stalling and reversal signals to get in or out of trades at the right time. Recognizing these price action signals requires time and experience. Plus, if you’re going to trade using price action signals, be sure you know yourself. Don’t allow yourself to back out of positions just because the price might be going against you. Be sure that you are seeing real price action signals. This includes pin bars, rejection wicks, price movement as it approaches the support, resistance zones, among others).

Trading a large account is MUCH easier than trading a small account. That may seem obvious, but it’s not for obvious reasons. When you trade a large account, your trade size is larger and can be split easier incrementally. For example, if your normal trade size is 0.02 lots, you can split it in half, and that’s it. But if your normal trade size is 0.20 lots, you can split it 20 ways. You can enter a trade ½ size and add 10% for each additional position. Or you can enter ¼ size and add 20% for each additional position.

In either of these cases, you will not be up to your full size for many positions. If you want to be able to do that and you don’t have enough trading money, you can open a small account with the broker Oanda. Oanda will allow you to trade in increments of one unit of currency. That’s 1000th of a micro lot.

Some Brokers Allow Smaller Trade Increments

The downside of trading with Oanda is limited leverage. US accounts will only get 50-1 leverage (I have 1000-1 with Trader’s Way). Non-US accounts get 100-1 leverage. 100-1 is better, but still tough to put on many positions. BUT, if you use my arbitrary 10,000 multipliers, you will find that you only need $1.00 to have a “large” account with Oanda (1 unit of EUR/USD is $0.0001 per pip).

While I was floundering in my trading, I was able to trade with Oanda and gauge my learning using $100 trading accounts. Of course, making $0.02 on a trade seemed counterproductive, but it was more real than trading a demo account. However, I was happy to do forex trading with 100 dollars.

If you want to use MT4 with Oanda, you’re still relegated to a minimum of 1 micro lot. But Oanda now includes TradingView charting, so you can trade directly from nice charts and use single unit trade sizes.

These are just a few things to remember when you are trading a small account. The most important thing to remember is that patience is key when trading forex.

Thank you for reading!

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions about Trading a Small Account!

Also, please give this strategy a 5 star if you enjoyed it!

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Trading with small account balance

Hey hey, what’s up my friends!

In today’s lesson, you’ll discover how to trade with a small forex trading account.

We are going to do this without blowing up your trading account or without taking huge risks

If you follow the tips I’m about to share with you…

You can even take a small trading account of yours and grow it to 6 figures and beyond.

Then let’s begin…

Find the right broker

The first tip I want to share with you is you must find the right broker when you are trading with a small Forex account.

You must find a broker that lets you trade micro lots or even nano lots.

You may ask, what is micro or nano lots?

Here’s what they mean:

Standard lot (1.0) = 100,000 units

Mini lot (0.10) = 10,000 units

Micro lot (0.01) = 1,000 units

Nano lot (0.001) = 100 units

You want to find a broker that allows you to trade 1000 units and below.

This way, it allows you to better manage your risks.

If you want to find a broker that lets you trade 1000 units or less, you must find a broker that adopts a market maker business model.

Only if the broker adopts a market maker business model can you such size.

I know what you’re thinking…

“But Rayner, market maker hunts my stop loss blah blah blah.”

No, it’s not true.

I’ve done a lesson that explains why a market maker broker is simply a business model and doesn’t have the incentive to hunt your stop loss.

They’ll be out of business pretty soon.

Now, let me explain why you must find such broker…

Broker with a minimum of mini lot per trade

Let’s say you have a $500 trading account and you have a maximum risk of $5 if your trade hits your stop loss (1% risk per trade).

If you have a broker that lets you trade a minimum of 10,000 units (Mini lot), 1 pip move against you will cost you $1

What can you conclude?

You can conclude that the maximum size of your stop loss on a trade can only be 5 pips!

Chances are you’re going to get stopped out of the trade immediately because your stop loss is way too tight.

This is the problem trading with brokers that offer a minimum of 1 mini lot.

Your stop loss is too tight and your trade doesn’t have room to breathe.

On the other hand…

Let’s say you have a broker that offers you micro lot.

What’s the difference?

Broker with a minimum of micro lot per trade

This time, 1 pip against you is now $0.10

Which means, if you are risking 1% of your $500 account ($5), then you can have a maximum stop loss of 50 pips per trade!

You now have 50 pips of buffer to place your stop loss.

Your stop loss can now be wider.

This is the difference between trading with a broker that offers 0.1 lot (Mini lot), and a broker that offers 0.01 lot (Micro lot).

This is important because you want to adopt proper risk management.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re trading on $500 or a $50,000 trading account.

Your risk management is paramount.

If you don’t apply proper risk management on a small account…

Those habits will be brought forth when you’re trading a larger account.

And that’s when things go really wrong on a larger scale.

Add Fund Regularly To Your Trading Account

The next tip I have for you is that you want to add funds regularly to your trading account, especially when you know your trading results are already consistent.

Don’t have the mindset thinking, “Oh I’m going to take a few hundred dollars and turn it into millions in a matter of a few years.”

Trust me, it’s not going to happen.

For every success story you hear, there’s another 99.99% of failure stories you don’t hear.

That is why news media wants to sensationalize how you can easily get rich in trading.

These headlines suck in new trades to come in and try and then lose money along the way.

Bear this in mind, okay?

Don’t wish or hope to take a small account and ramp it up to 6 or 7 figures instantly.

For example, you have a $500 trading account again and you grew it for 20 years with a return of 20% a year.

You would have about $19,000:

If you ask me, that’s not really a lot.

If you work full-time, you can probably make more than $19,000 after 20 years.

What if you start to add funds regularly to your trading account?

Maybe you have a full-time job and you put in extra money every month into your trading account.

You have a starting capital of $500 and you add $200 every month ($2,400 a year) with a return

How much would that be after 20 years?

More than half a million dollars just by saving the additional $200 a month and funding it to your trading account.

Can you see the huge difference between not adding funds to your account and adding funds to your account?

The difference is a lot.

So if you have a small account, it’s not the end of the world!

If you have proper risk management, you add your funds regularly, and you trade with an edge…

You can still grow that small account into something substantial.

Now, you want to do this only when your results are getting some consistency.

If you’re still losing consistently and you add more funds then you are only adding fuel to the fire.

Think in Terms of R

Let’s say that you’re trading $500 and at the end of the year…

You only made $100 out of the $500 account, and you think that it looks pathetic!

You’re probably thinking, “Rayner I spent so much time and effort learning how to trade and I make a measly hundred dollars!”

I know how you feel.

This is why I say that you must think in terms of R and not the dollar amount that you make.

R is basically the return you make relative to the risk that you’ve taken.

Let’s say for you risk $10 on a trade and you make $100.

Take your total gain and divide it by your initial risk.

You have a gain of 10R, otherwise known as a 1:10 risk to reward ratio.

This is how you calculate your R multiple.

Similarly, let’s say you risk $10,000 on a trade and you only made $1,000 on that trade.

What is your R multiple?

Again, take the gain and divide it by your initial risk.

= 0.1R

Now you realize that you only gained 0.1R

So, who is a better trader?

The trader who achieved 10R or the trader who achieved 0.1R

Well, if you ask me…

The trader who achieved a 10R gain on the trade definitely has a better performance than a trader who just made 0.1 even though he made more money.

This is what I mean by thinking in terms of R.

Even though your account is small…

Don’t think how many dollars or how many cents you’re making, think in terms of R or think in terms of average returns per month or per year.

Profit From Your Mistakes

The final tip that I want to share with you is that when you’re trading a small account as a beginner, you want to learn and profit from your mistakes.

Because when you’re trading a small account, that’s when the mistakes are not so costly.

Blowing up a $500 account with mistakes is better than blowing up a $500,000 account.

As you start with a small capital, expect to make all the mistakes a trader goes through.

You couldn’t be as bad as you are when you get started in trading as long as you profit from mistakes.

Eventually, those will be the same mistakes that you can avoid by the time you will be trading a large account.

So let me ask you 3 questions:

1. What is your mistake?

The mistake could be clicking buy instead of clicking sell.

You basically, messed up your order as you didn’t know that you clicked on buy instead of sell.

Another mistake is that instead of risking 1% on the trade, you risked 10%

2. Why do you make it?

Maybe it’s because you’re new to the platform, your cat went into your computer, you were in a rush, etc.

Also, you may have risked 10% because you’re manually calculating the size of your position and there’s an error in your calculation.

3. How will you prevent it?

Quite simply, if you want to prevent yourself from making such silly mistakes, open up a demo account, lock yourself in a room where your cat won’t get in, and take your time making trading decisions.

One way to also avoid making errors in position sizing is to use a position sizing calculator.

That’s how you can actually learn and profit from your mistakes!

Trading With Small Account Sizes

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I’d like to share daily forex analysis from Followme, hope this information helps your trading.
Today, Let’s focus on AUD and NZD.
AUDUSD is trading at 0.6761; the instrument is moving below Ichimoku Cloud, thus indicating a descending tendency. The markets could indicate that the price may test the cloud’s downside border at 0.6765 and then resume moving downwards to reach 0.6635. Another signal to confirm further descending movement is the price’s rebounding from the descending channel’s upside border. However, the scenario that implies further decline may be canceled if the price breaks the cloud’s upside border and fixes above 0.6825. In this case, the pair may continue growing towards 0.6905.

NZDUSD is trading at 0.6447; the instrument is moving below Ichimoku Cloud, thus indicating a descending tendency. The markets could indicate that the price may test the cloud’s downside border at 0.6455 and then resume moving downwards to reach 0.6315. Another signal to confirm further descending movement is the price’s rebounding from the resistance level. However, the scenario that implies further decline may be canceled if the price breaks the cloud’s upside border and fixes above 0.6525. In this case, the pair may continue growing towards 0.6645.


By analyst75
Started August 18, 2020

By freetrading
Started Monday at 04:26 PM

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