6.2.7. What is your income expectation.

This is the golden rule of investment and speculative business:

We have been brainwashed to set our profit return so high. Many trading gurus and fund managers claim that they can give you profit at least 5-10% a month. So we also set our goal according to what they say. If my neighbor can make 10% a month, then I should be able to make more than that. We do not stop and think whether it is possible or not. We do not think how they generate that kind of return and how big the risk is. We do not think what is supposed to be a reasonable target return.

Be very careful and be skeptical if somebody is offering you his trading system, trading signal, trading indicator, trading robot, or trading black box and claiming that their system are be able to predict more than 50% or make a double digit return a month. Let’s do some math.

If an average person can save and start trading with USD 35,000, with 10% return a month he can make about USD 1,000,000 in just three years and in five years he can make USD 10 millions. Do you think he wants to sell you his secret? I don’t think so.

 Year Month ROI/month Profit Balance 0 35,000 1 10% 3,500 38,500 2 10% 3,850 42,350 3 10% 4,235 46,585 4 10% 4,659 51,244 5 10% 5,124 56,368 6 10% 5,637 62,005 7 10% 6,200 68,205 8 10% 6,821 75,026 9 10% 7,503 82,528 10 10% 8,253 90,781 11 10% 9,078 99,859 1 12 10% 9,986 109,845 1 10% 10,984 120,829 2 10% 12,083 132,912 3 10% 13,291 146,204 4 10% 14,620 160,824 5 10% 16,082 176,906 6 10% 17,691 194,597 7 10% 19,460 214,057 8 10% 21,406 235,462 9 10% 23,546 259,009 10 10% 25,901 284,910 11 10% 28,491 313,401 2 12 10% 31,340 344,741 1 10% 34,474 379,215 2 10% 37,921 417,136 3 10% 41,714 458,850 4 10% 45,885 504,735 5 10% 50,473 555,208 6 10% 55,521 610,729 7 10% 61,073 671,802 8 10% 67,180 738,982 9 10% 73,898 812,880 10 10% 81,288 894,168 11 10% 89,417 983,585 3 12 10% 98,359 1,081,944 1 10% 108,194 1,190,138 2 10% 119,014 1,309,152 3 10% 130,915 1,440,067 4 10% 144,007 1,584,074 5 10% 158,407 1,742,481 6 10% 174,248 1,916,729 7 10% 191,673 2,108,402 8 10% 210,840 2,319,243 9 10% 231,924 2,551,167 10 10% 255,117 2,806,284 11 10% 280,628 3,086,912 4 12 10% 308,691 3,395,603 1 10% 339,560 3,735,164 2 10% 373,516 4,108,680 3 10% 410,868 4,519,548 4 10% 451,955 4,971,503 5 10% 497,150 5,468,653 6 10% 546,865 6,015,518 7 10% 601,552 6,617,070 8 10% 661,707 7,278,777 9 10% 727,878 8,006,655 10 10% 800,665 8,807,320 11 10% 880,732 9,688,052 5 12 10% 968,805 10,656,857

In trading Forex, the only way to generate high return is to use high leverage. If you set your profit return so high, then you are forced to use high leverage trading system; and believe me, you will not last long in this business.

Then, you will have a new totally different trading system. You will approach the market with caution; you will put safety first, and the profit will follow automatically.

So, what is a reasonable return then? In order to answer this, you need a benchmark. You need to compare with other business opportunities. If the max profit return you can come out with your very safe Forex Trading system is less than other business opportunities, then you should consider to stop trading Forex and to pursue other businesses instead.

If we talk about profit return, usually we will talk about ROI for one year (Return on Investment). I am going to use ROI to compare the return of Forex Trading business with other businesses’ return. Let me explain what ROI is and how to calculate it.

According to this site, http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/returnoninvestment.asp, ROI is “A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. To calculate ROI, the benefit (return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment; the result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio” and the formula is ROI = (Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment. Beware for a business owner; if you own a store or a warehouse property, you need to add this also to your Cost of Investment. Basically, it is all your cost, capital and other investment you put to run the business; that is the Cost of Investment.

For example, you are a business owner, after deducting all business cost, you get \$50,000 net profit for that year, your capital investment is \$1,000,000 (\$400,000 store real estate, \$500,000 inventory, and \$100,000 for misc.); then your ROI for that year is 5% (\$50,000/\$1,000,000).

Let see what other opportunities’ ROI are:

• Saving account or Bank Deposit. Nowadays (2014) you are lucky to get 1%-3% interest rate a year. In Indonesia interest rate is about 8% (2014), but after deducting tax and other fees, you will get about 5% a year interest rate.
• Big and establish businesses will be very grateful to achieve 5-10% ROI a year.
• Business Franchise will give you around 15% ROI a year.
• Real estate has an average 6%-10% ROI a year.
• Over the past 50 years S&P will give you 9.5% ROI a year.

You see that you have several choices to put your investment, and most of them are below 10% ROI per year, so why do you have to put a very high target and unrealistic ROI for yourself in trading Forex?

Your first Target Profit of 10% ROI a year is enough. Not 10% ROI per month, not 10% in days. If you change your perception that 10% ROI a year is enough, it will ultimately change how you trade; you will trade with low leverage, low risk and will get a consistent result. I don’t say that you can not achieve more than 10%; yes you can, but prove it to yourself first that you can make a consistent 10% ROI a year, then after you have enough experience you can get more by using proper leverage.

With 10% ROI per year, you also have beaten the inflation rate. Average Inflation rate for USA and UK is 2-5% a year; for Indonesia is 5-10%. For Indonesian, you need to know that since your account balance is in other currencies, you are subject to that currency inflation. If you invest in Rupiahs, then your ROI should be 15%-20% a year to beat the inflation and still have excess money to save.

Good resources can be found in these sites:

http://www.bi.go.id/web/id/Moneter/Inflasi/Data+Inflasi/

http://www.bi.go.id/web/id/Moneter/Inflasi/Bank+Indonesia+dan+Inflasi/penetapan.htm

http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/

http://usinflation.org/us-inflation-rate/

http://www.rateinflation.com/inflation-rate/uk-historical-inflation-rate

http://www.whatsthecost.com/historic.cpi.aspx

You will have two kind of targets in a trading system. One is Target Profit per trade and the other one is Target Profit for a year, which is ROI a year.

Your Target Profit per trade should be large enough to offset the transaction costs (I will talk more about transaction costs later). When you design your trading system, try to set your target profit as big as possible so that your transaction cost will be a small portion of it. Every pair has its own characteristic; back test and find your Target Profit sweet spot is. If your Target Profit is too big, then it will be more difficult and need longer time to achieve; if it is too small, then you will not maximize your return.

In summary, new traders should always try to achieve 10% ROI a year first. The more experiences and the more confident they get, and then they can set a higher ROI target.