Have you backtested a fantastic system over hundreds or even thousands of trades, and achieved a high win percentage and otherwise excellent statistics? If so, you may be tempted to go live. Some traders struggle to bring themselves to actually take their Forex systems live, but for others it is impatience and not trepidation which is the enemy. If you are thinking of taking this great system which you’ve backtested live without demo testing, think again. Backtesting and trading in real life are completely different, and you may have quite a bit of work ahead of you to achieve the same kind of results in real time as you did backtesting.
The first thing a lot of us discover while demo testing is that we completely forgot that in real life we do stuff like work, eat, and sleep. Something which worked fine in backtesting may be impossible to fit into our real life schedules, or take some very serious workarounds. You may need to learn to trade using a cell phone if you are at work during trading hours for example. Or what if your Forex trades tend to fall in the dead of night? You’ll need to trade in your sleep, and that means setting a lot of price alerts. Those alerts will have to wake you up at useful times though, and even figuring that out can be like designing an entirely new system. The wrong system of alerts can cause you to lose the same trades you’d have won while demo testing!
Another difference you’ll discover quickly is the role which time plays in your trading psychology. When you move the Forex charts forward a candle at a time and make trading decisions in a few seconds or minutes while backtesting, you don’t have a lot of time to second guess yourself. The same trades though, spread out over a time period of hours, days, or even weeks, can cause a lot of traders to experience a wide range of conflicting emotions. Many times we ask ourselves “What decision would I have made backtesting?” only to discover that we don’t know anymore! It takes a lot of practice to find out how timing is impacting your trading. You may find you need to trade on a different timeframe, or just get a grip on your emotions.
While all this may again sound simple in theory, most traders discover Forex demo testing presents a lot of unexpected situations which need resolution before they can go live. We highly recommend that you demo test until you are profitable for at least 2-4 consecutive months before you go live with your system. There is no reason for you to lose a dime in this business unnecessarily since you can demo test for as long as it takes for you to master your trading, completely free! Your drawdown live should reflect your backtesting figures, but it won’t unless you invest some time and effort demo testing and finding out how to integrate trading into your real life first.