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Image courtesy of DG Burns

Well it’s time.  Time to move on.  Time to get a new i7 computer.  I have a thirst for speed.  This is going to improve my life.  Trades straight through, websites more instantaneous, the crisp high resolution to view my charts.  The promise of good times.

As traders we have a great reliance on computers.  In fact, an industry of retail traders has been born from the accessibility of the markets with high speed portable trading available to everyone over the legal age.

This fortnight has been a very good reminder for me of our vulnerability to technology.  My brand new computer was having blue screens of death at random times throughout the day that are never convenient.

These kinds of issues take an eternity to sort out.  The problems are hard to find, solutions time consuming, help drawn out and intermittent.

For most people we become our own IT department keeping our computers running to do our trading business.

Computers like humans can become sick and broken.  Bad times come into their life span too.

Ask yourself this:       

  • What are you going to do when your computer stops working at an inconvenient time?
  • Do you have a plan in place?
  • Are you prepared?

This experience has reminded and taught me these eight things to reduce the harm from technology failure.

1.       PHONE NUMBER HANDY

Have your broker’s dealer phone number handy at your disposal.  By this I mean printed off on your wall by your computer, or in your wallet for reference from mobile devices.

2.       BACK UP

Have your data backed up on a regular basis, such as weekly and DO IT.

3.       LEASE/LOAN COMPUTER

When purchasing a computer, consider a lease that includes a loan computer.  A lease is where the lease company retains ownership of the computer and you have the right to use it for a monthly fee.  Usually the trader has the option to purchase the computer at the end of the lease period if they choose.

The good thing about a lease is that the non-performance of the machine is the issue of the owner so the contract usually has in place a loan computer that ensures your business is not interrupted.

4.       CHOOSE RELIABILITY

Prioritize buying a reliable computer over features and price.  Some examples may be, don’t be the first to use new software and purchase a reliable brand.

5.       OFFSITE BACK UP STORAGE

Have offsite storage of your backup or backup on the internet.  That way if your house should burn down, at least you have your data and records.  Of course, saving digital photos can be priceless too.

6.       ALTERNATIVE ACCESS TO TRADING ACCOUNTS

Have access to a second computer or another device that can access your trading account.  Many brokers offer mobile trading solutions on mobile phones and iPads.

7.       REHEARSE YOUR RESPONSE

If your trading style is very short term and active you may want to rehearse your response so that you don’t panic in the event of a market access failure.  There’s a reason why schools role play for earthquakes in New Zealand.  By rehearsing you are increasing your chance that your response will be consistent with reducing the impact to you and not just a sheer panic reaction.

8.       USE STOP LOSSES IN THE MARKET

Use stop losses in the market.  Ensure any access failure does not become catastrophic.  A broker isn’t going to cover your trade for these reasons if your trades are of a reasonable amount.

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Infographic

8 Ways A Forex Trader Can Prepare For Computer Failure [Infographic]

Prepare – Just Do It!

It’s great to be prepared for computer failure but I hope it doesn’t happen to you.  In case it does you can certainly reduce the impact it has on you by doing these steps.

Don’t be too casual and think it won’t happen to you.  In this world that’s full of disasters we know that anything can happen and increasingly more often it does.

Have you experienced computer failure?  How did you deal with it?  What was the impact on you?  What lessons did you learn?  Can you add to this list?

Feature image courtesy of DG Burns

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About Rachel Hunter TraderRachAbout the Author: I’m Rachel Hunter, TraderRach, a Forex Trader who helps traders achieve the life they love with forex.  Be strategic and design your trading business for sustainable success and have fun!  That’s my mission.  Join many traders’ gaining the edge with “10 Powerful Lessons for Forex Trading Success” plus other goodies.  Years of precious learning specially packaged up for you.  My background before trading is as a Chartered Accountant and Chief Financial Officer.   I know what it takes to make a trading business rock on.  It would give me great pleasure to make a difference to your success.

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Categories: Risk Management

4 Responses so far.


  1. Hi Rachel
    we don’t know what to do when technology fails…
    Your article reminds several basic things to keep in mind when trading. In my opinion number 8 is one of the most important, every time we trade, even if computer isn’t out of use.

    Have a nice upcoming trading week
    Alain

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Alain

      Thank you for your comment.

      I agree with you. Point number 8, having stop losses in the market, is extremely important for long term survival. Those who don’t do this may ultimately pay a large price.

      Cheers Rach

    • Terry Hodges says:

      I just purchased Windows 8 Pro at a discount. Now I need a computer to run it. My old XP computer will run it, but will also bog down and be slower with it. Any and all advice for practical specifications would be appreciated. I am a full time ForEx trader.

      • Rachel says:

        Hi Terry

        Being one of the first to use new software is always a risk. Often it takes several releases to get rid of the bugs.

        I’m not an expert with computers and if I could rewind the clock I might have made a different choice to avoid the trouble I’m having. Unfortunately my lesson won’t help with Windows 8. I’d suggest you keep your Windows XP computer operational as a back up, just in case.

        Perhaps someone else who sees this post may offer you some advice.

        Cheers Rachel

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