How much money (trading capital) do you need to trade?

Before reading this lesson, you should have previously read through:

The video player is loading...

Not everyone is going to have the same amount of money to start with. The amount of money you have – the size of your trading capital – will determine the position size that you are able to trade with.

The position size is essentially the amount of money you put into the market – in other words the amount that you trade. The larger the position size, the more money you will make if the trade wins. However, this also means you can lose more money. This is why using the correct position size is so important, because you can keep within the correct limits of money management and protect your capital from losing trades.

So how do you determine how much you should risk?

As you know, you should never risk more than 1-2% of your trading account on any single trade, which is why your trading capital will determine how much money you can trade with. However, the size of your stop loss will also determine the size of your position, because whatever your trading capital is, the larger the stop loss, the more you will have to reduce your position size to make sure that you keep within the correct limits of money management.

The different types of position sizes

When trading forex, there are three different types of position sizes that are usually available to you:

Each one requires a different amount to trade, depending on your stop loss. We will first explain the difference between them using an example of a trade with a fixed 20 pip stop loss.

Standard lot

In forex, a standard trading contract equates to 100,000 units of the base currency. This is known as a standard lot. This means that one standard lot has a value of roughly $10 per pip (depending on the currency pair you are trading), so if the market moves 1 pip in your favour, you make $10; if the trade moves against you, then you will lose $10 per pip. If you open a trade and the market moves against you by 10 pips, this equates to $100.

A standard lot equates to 100,000 units of currency. This means that a standard lot has a value of roughly $10 per pip.

In order for a trader to be able to trade a standard lot, you would need a large enough account to withstand a losing trade at $10 per pip.

If you open a trade that has a 20 pip stop loss; this means that a losing trade on a standard lot is $200.

In this case, you must have an account of at least $10,000 – 2% of $10,000 is $200.


Looking for a mentor?


Matthias from our Tradimo Premium team will design a learning plan tailored to you that gives you access to new courses and live webinars every month as well as priority private email support.


Order our Tradimo Premium Service now

Mini lot

Some people do not have a trading capital of $10,000 and so brokers are able to offer a different position size for traders with less capital to start with. They do this by subdividing the standard lot contract into ten; this is known as a mini lot.

A mini lot equates to 10,000 units of the base currency.This means that a mini lot has a value of roughly $1 per pip.

A mini lot is equal to 10,000 units of currency. This means that instead of each trade having a value of $10 per pip, each trade will now have a value of $1 per pip and you can start with less than $10,000.

If you open a trade with a 20 pip stop loss; this means that a losing trade is $20.

In this case, you could trade quite comfortably with an account of $2,000 – 2% of $2,000 is $40.

Micro lot

Some people, however, do not have or do not want to start with a trading capital of $2,000. Brokers have therefore introduced the micro lot that divides the mini lots further by ten.

A micro lot equates to 1,000 units of the base currency. This means that a micro lot has a value of roughly $0.10 per pip.

This means that each contract traded is 1,000 units of currency and gives each pip the value of $0.10.

A trade with a 20 pip stop loss will result in a $2 loss.

In this case, someone can start trading with as little as $500 or even $1502% of $150 is $3.

Determine the maximum position size you want trade with depending on your account

Of course, not every trade is going to have a stop loss of 20 pips and so it is important for you to determine the position size for each trade.

In order to do so, you can apply the following formula that will tell you how much you can trade depending on the size of your trading account and the size of the stop loss:

Position Size in Lots = (Account Size X the % risk per trade) / (Stop Loss in Pips X Loss per Pip per Lot)

Lets say that you have a $5,000 trading account and you have a 15 pip stop loss. You only want to risk 2% of your account. Assuming that you are trading with US dollars, where each standard lot traded means that a pip movement is $10, the position size is calculated as follows:

Position size = ($5,000 x 2%)/ (15 x 10) = 0.66

You always round the result down. This means that you can trade 0.6 lots, or 6 mini lots for this trade.

So, in order to trade comfortably with 6 mini lots, you need an account size of $5,000 to stay within a 2% limit risk.

Be careful when using the formula to make sure that the currency of the numerator and denominator are the same – if not, convert one into the other at the current market price.

Summary

So far, you have learned that ...

  • ... the amount you can trade with depends on the amount of trading capital you have and the size of the stop loss on the trade.
  • ... the different position sizes in the forex market are a standard lot, where each pip moment is worth $10, a mini lot, where each pip movement is worth $1 and a micro lot, where each pip movement is worth $0.1.
  • ... in order to calculate the exact position size you can use the formula:
    Position Size in Lots = (Account Size X the % risk per trade) / (Stop Loss in Pips X Loss per Pip per Lot).

Looking for a Top Broker? Sign up through Tradimo & get extra benefits!

eToro Plus500 Markets.com FXFlat

See all top brokers


  • moneymanagement at its best. Only one thing, "a mini lot, where a pip movement is worth $1,..."
  • Is there anybody who's became a standard lot trader from micro lot? Is it possible?
  • Hi radecks,

    It is possible, it just depends on how long you intend to do it in. Keeping to money management and not taking excessive risks, this could take some time. But it very often depends on the trader and the strategy.
  • Hi,

    As my account is in EUR, do I need to convert that ammont of EUR to USD, to be able to calculate max.position size?
  • Hi brendza
    It depends on which currency pair you are trading. For example EUR/USD contract size is €100,000 but the pip size is measure in USD as that is the "quote" currency. So to use the calculation (account size x 2% / stop loss x loss per pip ) where loss per pip is in USD then you should use the EUR equivalent ammount as your account size in the calculation.
    EUR/GBP will be £10 a pip so convert your equity into GBP for the calculation (in actuality the broker converts your EUR into GBP in order to buy the EUR with GBP )
    I hope this is clear brendza
    Regards
  • Hi Tobester,

    Thank you for your answer. I also thought that if I will use loss per pip in USD, I also need to use equivalent currency in account size. I just want to be sure.
  • you have a typo: the different position sizes in the forex market are a standard lot, where each pip moment is worth $10, a mini lot, where each pip movement is worth $10 and a micro lot, where each pip movement is worth $0.1.

    mini lot should be $1 pip
  • Well spotted we get it fixed,
    cheers
  • This might be a stupid question but I was wondering if the formula also applies to very small accounts.
    If I for instance would have an account with 100$ and I would want to take a risk of 2% and a stop loss of 7 pips (in a trade on low time scale), would i have to invest with (100X0,02) : (7X0,1) = 2,8 lots (rounded down)?
    This seems a bit much to me but because I am not experienced I cant say if it would be logical to invest with this lot number.
    Thank you in advance!
    Wouter
  • Hi wouterzzz,
    Your formula seems fine. All you need to do then is just risk 1% if that is more comfortable for you. Regards.
    Hindsighthero
  • I think this section should be improved. Here one assumes that the account is in USD if you have your account in GBP, EUR or other currency and make a simple mistake in a pip value calculation can have a big impact.... As money management is so important in trader career in-deep explanation is must in this section. So a trader can be efficient and precise when it comes to position sizing.

    This is my opinion.
  • Hi heldercosta,
    Thank you for the feedback, member's opinions are always appreciated. I'll forward it to our editor team. Regards.
    Hindsighthero
  • Hi wouterzzz,
    I was confuse with this one.
    I think "Loss per Pip per Lot" should always equal to 10,
    so 100$ capital with 2% risk and 7 pips stop loss:
    (100 * 0.02) / (7 * 10) = 0.02 (rounded)
  • Hi yhy,
    It depends on the counter currency as pip value is calculated in those. E.g. EURUSD 1 pip/lot is $10 but EURGBP 1 pip/lot is $16 as the GBPUSD stands at ca. 1.6000. Hope that clears it.
    Peter
  • Hi,
    Position Size in Lots = (Account Size X the % risk per trade) / (Stop Loss in Pips X Loss per Pip per Lot).
    What is the meaning of Loss per Pip per Lot?
    Thanks.
  • Hi JHTAN,
    it is the value of pip. The value of pip of 1 lot on EURUSD is $10. Hope that helps.
    Peter
  • i hope and understand the above
    position size formula =(Account Size X the % risk per trade) / (Stop Loss in Pips X Loss per Pip per Lot). what u have mentioned is for forex....
    what is the formula for stocks??
    i use this formula for position size (for stocks- equities) = (Account Size X the % risk on account size per trade)/ ( difference of entry price to stoploss)
  • Hello sidhuxyz,

    Your formula is correct. I would also add fees in your formula. It could be as the following one for example:

    position size formula = (Account Size X the % risk on account size per trade)/ (difference of entry price to stoploss + fees)

    My two cents smile Happy trading!

    Sebastien
  • Hi,

    There are many tools available on internet. You can use Pip/Profit Calculator, where you put your SL, entry price and size of position and you will see how much do you risk and then you can just change your size to fit it to your need. As Sebastien wrote, fees are not included.

    Adam

Register Now - It's free!

By clicking on the "Get instant access" button, you agree that you have read, understood, and accepted the Terms & Conditions.
Or