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Nial Fuller

Professional Trader, Author & Coach

5 Essential Tools All Serious Traders Need

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By in Forex Trading Tools October 11th, 2016 | 38 Comments

swissarmyknife1Don’t fool yourself; as a trader, you are going into ‘combat’ in the market, so you need to be prepared just as any soldier is as they head into the battlefield. In addition to essential items like guns, ammunition and uniforms, a combat solider needs a Swiss Army Knife; a single tool that has many uses, even potentially life-saving uses.

In today’s lesson, I am going to provide you with a checklist of sorts, that all traders need if they want to be properly prepared as they head into the market’s battlefield. Make no mistake about it, you are going into ‘combat’ each day when you look for trades in the market, and you NEED to be prepared. Here are the 5 essential tools you need, sort of like a trader’s ‘Swiss Army Knife’…

Trading platform and charts

The first tool a trader needs is a trading platform and charts. Not just any charts however, you need the correct charts. This means you need New York close 5-day charts, which you can get here. This is a critical tool that you need in your toolbox because if you aren’t looking at the right charts you aren’t getting the most accurate or clearest view of what’s actually happening in a market.

Now, once you get these charts, don’t put any messy indicators or “EAs” on them; I just want you to use the trading platform with stripped-down ‘naked’ charts. That is all you need to properly and effectively analyze and trade the price action in any market.

A solid laptop –

The next tool you need to be sure to have in your trading arsenal is a high-quality laptop. I recommend an Ultra-book because they are very portable and have a long battery life, this is a must if you want to live the coffee shop trader’s life, check out the one similar to what I use here.

You don’t need a 3-stack monitor or super computer. Think mobile, be mobile. I’m mobile and I travel a lot, I love it; I can trade from anywhere in the world at any time I want. There is no computer desk or office that I’m ‘chained’ to.

Now, whilst I don’t endorse mobile phone trading, I know some of you don’t have the financial means to afford the latest laptops or iPads. So, you could perform your analysis and trade off a smart phone by the MetaTrader 4 trading platform app, but I just want to be clear that I don’t encourage people to sit there all day on their phones, because the phone view is a distorted view of the charts and I personally don’t like it. An iPad would be better than trading off a phone for example. Phone trading is the last case option if you really have no other means.

Another tool that goes along with the a laptop is a good Wi-Fi connection or mobile connection through your phone service provider. Obviously, for me, because I live such a mobile life I have a mobile data pack on my phone.

Trading journal and spreadsheet

The next tool you need is a trading journal and spreadsheet to track your trading performance. This is a critical tool that I have found many traders don’t think they need or don’t use after a while, and these are grave mistakes.

The reason a trading journal and spreadsheet is so important is because you need something to keep yourself accountable to and keep yourself honest. Trading is a lone-wolf type of profession; it’s just you and the computer screen / charts. Without forcing yourself to be honest and keep records of your trading performance, it really is only a matter of time before you veer of course and start making trading mistakes. Trading mistakes tend to snowball and lead to more and more mistakes, which eventually results in you blowing out your account. The trading journal / spreadsheet is like a wall you put up between yourself and all those trading mistakes.

Risk Capital

You’ll need a bankroll. This may not seem obvious, but your money is a tool and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not. Without it, you have no chance of attaining success or teaching yourself real-world trading. You need to look after it at all costs, no pun intended.

There are several factors that tie in with your risk capital:

You need to learn how to manage your risk capital, in other words, you need a money management trading plan and the things that go hand-in-hand with that are (click links to read about each topic):

It’s a good idea to look at this amount (your risk capital) as a quarterly or yearly trading budget as opposed to putting all of your money in from the get go. Don’t say to yourself, “Hey, I’ve got 10 grand and that’s it”. If you’re worth 10k you aren’t going to put 10k in. Treat it like a hedge fund; don’t put ALL of the money you have into your trading account. Try to budget it on a yearly basis. Because it’s a tool and you want the tool to be there when you need it most (like when a super obvious trade sets up). Make sure you budget your risk capital on a quarterly or yearly basis so you always have it there. What most people do is put it all in there and then soon it’s all gone. The only way to make sure the money tool is always there is to moderate its distribution.

Trading strategies ‘tool box’

Personally, for me, I have 3 or 4 main trading strategies or entry signals that I use. This would be considered a non-physical tool as it’s all in my head, but it’s no less important than any of the other more tangible tools we discussed already. Obviously, my job here is to help you learn a set of trading strategies and to help you develop your edge to trade the market successfully.

I want to help you learn to trade the market successfully by teaching you the same trading strategies and ideas that I have used for years and continue to use to this day. It’s not easy to learn the proper way to trade because there are so many differing opinions and methods out there. That’s why I spend so much time helping traders learn what has worked for me over the years and made my trading course and traders community accessible to everyone.

I hope this lesson has helped you learn 5 of the most important tools every trader needs as they head out onto the virtual battlefield that is the market. Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions or concerns you may have, and remember to leave a comment below.

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Nial Fuller

About Nial Fuller

is a Professional Trader, Investor & Author who is considered ‘The Authority’ on Price Action Trading. His blog is read by over 200,000+ followers and he has taught 25,000+ students since 2008. In 2016, Nial won the Million Dollar Trader Competition. Checkout Nial's Professional Trading Course here.
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  1. Rido99fx

    Sir Niall, hw do I trade in a small time frame

    • Noble

      Very nice! Thank you sir. I want to get more.

  2. Roland

    Valuable information indeed. Thank you so much.

    “I still use the 8 and 21 ema’s on the daily chart sometimes. They are good to quickly identify trend and to find dynamic support / resistance areas or value areas to look to buy or sell from”.

    Question: The 8 and 21 ema’s you use on the daily chart, how reliable on 4hr time frame?

    Thank you.

  3. Kelvin

    Thanks for the lesson, is very important for every trader

  4. Kurt

    Such a fantastic article! I’ve learned a lot of this post. Very informative and explained well. I will share it with my friends too!

  5. Stephen Donkor

    I think this is a good beginning for a successful trader with Nail.
    Very interesting,seem not critical but preparing beginners for the battlefield

    Stephen Donkor

  6. mukudzei


  7. Demola

    Hello Nial, it’s another insightful lesson, a roadmap to to boost a professional mindset. Adhering to this will take one a long way.

  8. Yaakob

    Thank you Nial.

  9. inderjeet singh

    hello nail sir i really happy because i saw your site and i read your all strategy and some articles i learn lot of about trading only because of you and i am 99% I WILL BE IN PROFITABLE TRADER because of you you are my master you are very very very good person may i pray to god you always be happyyyyyyyyyyyyyy in you life

  10. Rutendo

    Thank you. A worthy reminder

  11. Sthembiso

    Good one as always. Thanks Nial. My trading has changed since I started reading your material, it`s very helpful and practical.

  12. Sanele

    Great Article Nial, no one else could have said it better!

  13. John black

    Thanks for this great write up, may God bless you but I will be happy if you can provide something like video tutor

  14. amir

    what is the most suitable period for trading journal?should it be weekly or monthly?

    by the way thanks for the article

  15. inderjeet

    yes i also use 8,21 ema its very good for me also

  16. Mafalatsi Mpemi

    Thank you

  17. edubliss

    great article as always. your articles have transform me into a better trader. thanks my

  18. Mahleu Monongoaha

    Top guy, thanks Nial

  19. Thandeka

    Thanks Nial


    Thank you for this article.

  21. Nondumiso

    Wow what an informative article

  22. Uche

    Thanks Nial.

  23. anton

    thanx for Ur valuable ideas about trading. and i used to read Ur article everyday repeatedly. it is very big help me for my trading thanx once again. but according to this article, that i have no any ideas about trading journal. and I’m not understand how it is important for the trading. so please if u can explain about that than this.

  24. David A Davies

    Thanks this was very helpful

  25. Zephania Omondi Kungu

    Thanks a lot Sir for your unbiased information. I appreciate every articles of yours, they’ve really improved my understanding of the market. I understand you travel a lot, plan one time to travel to Kenya. I’ll be more than willing to receive you.

  26. Evgeniy

    Thank you. Good post.

  27. Jo

    Ive learned a lot from your articles including this one. But i still need to discipline myself for not being in the market always. Thank you so much, Coach. God bless.

  28. peter miller

    Another very good and useful lesson.
    I take it you no longer use the 8/21 ema’s is that correct?
    As a member I can honestly say your web is the best value for money anywhere and the most intelligent and logical and simple method.
    So thanks again

    • Nial Fuller

      I still use the 8 and 21 ema’s on the daily chart sometimes. They are good to quickly identify trend and to find dynamic support / resistance areas or value areas to look to buy or sell from.

  29. Imraan

    Thanks Nial! another great article……..

  30. vin


  31. Caramia1

    Good advice! Thank you

  32. Khyati verdhan

    Thanks sir for giving us this valuable information

  33. Issa Maluf

    Hey Nial.

    I’ve been diligently following your methodology and making sure to always have these 5 tools with me every day I hit the charts. And that has been drastically changing my trading for better.

    Just one thing though, is there any difference between the trading journal and the spreadsheet? I used the template you provided us to design my own on Excel.

    Thanks once more for the insightful post.


  34. marco

    nice article