Choosing a Trading Seminar
Trading seminars can be a very good way of learning how to trade, but choosing the right trading seminar can be as difficult as choosing the right trading system. There are many different seminars available, and there are several factors that need to be considered when choosing a trading seminar.
Professional Trader Or Professional Teacher?
One of the most important criteria for a quality trading seminar is the experience level of the instructor.
There are many trading seminars where the instructor is a professional teacher rather than a professional trader (i.e. their primary source of income is giving seminars rather than trading). There are subjects that can be taught by teachers, but due to the nature of trading, trading seminars need to be given by professional traders.
It may be difficult to determine whether a particular seminar is being given by a teacher or a trader, as even the worst seminars usually advertise that they are being given by a professional trader. However, one way of determining if the instructor is a teacher or a trader is to look at the frequency of the seminars. A professional trader only needs to give a small number of seminars (perhaps 3 or 4 per year), but an instructor that makes their living from seminars will need to give many more seminars (such as every month or even more frequently).
Some trading seminars are designed for complete beginners, some are designed for experienced traders, and some are designed for professional traders.
If you are a new trader, you will want a seminar that will start with the basics of trading, and take you through to some of the more advanced topics. Experienced and professional traders will want a seminar that will cover the specific topics that they are interested in (such as an options strategy seminar).
Ideally, a trading seminar for beginning traders would include everything necessary to go from being a complete beginner to trading live (or at least trading in simulation). If a seminar does not include everything necessary for this, it is likely that additional seminars will be required (at additional cost) to complete the training. If you are considering a seminar that does not include all of the necessary topics (e.g. it does not include a trading system), make sure that you include the cost of any additional seminars when you are comparing different seminar choices.
Residential or Non-Residential
Trading seminars that last more than one day, can be either residential (where overnight accommodation is used) or non-residential (where everybody goes away each day). Residential seminars are usually given at hotels (or conference facilities near hotels), whereas non-residential seminars are usually given in classrooms or business offices. One of the advantages of residential seminars is that the participants usually have access to the instructor and each other in the evenings, so any questions that remain from the day's instruction can easily be resolved (for example, you could ask the instructor a question over breakfast).
The geographical location of a trading seminar does not really affect the quality of the seminar, but it does affect who can attend the seminar. Seminars that are held in locations that are easy to travel to (such as larger cities or towns) will have more travel options (planes, trains, and automobiles) and therefore be more convenient. In addition, seminars that are held in nice locations can often be combined with a holiday, such as two days learning to trade, and two days sightseeing.
The type of location of a trading seminar (classroom, hotel, etc.) can be used as an indication of the quality of a seminar. Seminars that are held in classrooms or offices specifically designed for the purpose are often run by professional seminar companies. Professional traders do not have their own classrooms, so their seminars are usually held at hotels.
One of the biggest considerations that people have to make when choosing a trading seminar is the price of the seminar. The price of trading seminars varies dramatically from a few hundred to several thousand, and comparing differently price seminars can be difficult. When you are comparing the cost of different seminars, make sure that you take everything into account. For example, a low priced seminar may require that you buy their software before you can start trading, and an apparently high priced seminar might include overnight accommodations.
As an example, I would expect a three-day residential seminar for new traders to cost from $1,500 to $2,000 if it is held in the US, or from €1,200 to €1,800 if it is held in Europe (this is not based upon the EURUSD exchange rate).
There are some trading seminars that are advertised as free seminars (particularly in the UK), but in reality these are some of the most expensive seminars available. These so called free seminars are actually just an advertising medium for several additional paid seminars which cost upwards of £3,000 each.
Seminars With Trading Systems
In general, trading seminars that are designed for new traders will (and should) include a trading system, but the quality of the trading system can vary dramatically. When a seminar includes a trading system, the seminar should cover the trading system thoroughly. This means that every trade for a specific amount of time should be included, rather then only showing a few trades that were specifically selected (e.g. because they were profitable trades).
Including every trade not only makes sure that everybody understands that trading system, but also gives confidence in the trading system, which is absolutely necessary for trading the system successfully. If you are considering a particular seminar, try and find out how any trading systems will be presented, and be skeptical if only a few trades will be shown.
If you have attended a trading seminar and would like to comment on it, please leave a comment in the trading site's blog, as this will assist other traders in choosing a trading seminar.