I tried some of the most popular methods to find the best free ways to learn how to trade online. This is what I learned.
From learning how to cook a recipe to reverse engineering an entire website, the world wide web is full of tutorials, “How-to’s” and paid courses. Trading is no exception. If you’ve shown ANY interest in the matter there’s no doubt that you have been targeted for ads made by ‘gurus’ who say they make thousands a day, live a life of luxury, and tell you that you too can “Make It” with X amount of tips.
The catch is you have to buy their course.
And if you’re like the many others who don’t trust the gurus that sell an idealized lifestyle rather than an actual course. You’re probably looking for either legit instructors, or at least a free course.
And while there are people who are serious about teaching you how to trade, for this article we will talk about the free alternatives. Because you might just want to get an idea of what trading is before you actually take the next step.
And so the process of learning trading online for free begins
Just so you get an idea of the methodology used for the research in this article we focused on some of the basics
- Quality of learning content
- The learning process (is there a clear and concise order to the course)
- Tools provided (if any)
And when possible, we did some digging around to see if any people had previous learning experiences with these free methods.
But which courses did we pick? Well.. we ran a quick google search and looked at some of the top-ranking results, as they are probably what people are clicking on the most. That being said, we will review the following:
- Baby pips
- Learning services offered by brokers
- TradeGATEHub – Social Trading
- Searching on the internet and applying the “practice makes perfect” mantra
- The “natural” way – Going off on your own
Before we get knee-deep into the article, keep in mind that you are going to have to learn some of the basics of economics – there is no need to get a degree in that area. You just need to learn the basics, probably to the point where you understand how a country’s economy works if you don’t know already.
Learning about the international market and what makes it move is the first step into trading.
This is usually something that courses won’t offer you, but the good news is that you’re always a few clicks away from discovering all sorts of information (isn’t the internet great?)
Baby Pips does an amazing job of breaking down their lessons through digestible articles. Fun to read, phrases, and vocabulary that is not rigid.
Beginner users of Baby Pips have described it as useful, highly informative and that their use of humor makes learning fun. However, many who continued with the course – as well as others that had previous learning experiences – state that:
“The oversimplification made some ideas contradictory down the road, as they never really dove deep into the details.”
This brings up the notion that in the beginner lessons simplification is ideal, but as the course advances people should not only be encouraged to look for other learning material to form their own trading ideas but also practice with a demo trading account
What does Baby Pips’ educational content like?
Baby pips has over 300 lessons of which some seem repetitive and put together lazily at times. Some of the people who have taken their courses state that there are spelling/grammar errors. In turn, that makes them question the seriousness of the courses.
They don’t offer any tools for their users so it’s a “read the articles” type of situation.
Although it is a free course and being nitpicky about it might not seem justifiable, it is important to remember that people are looking for quality information.
One of the roughest reviews was “Baby Pips inflates your sense of self-confidence, so you feel ready to trade while doing almost nothing to help you develop an actual trading strategy.”
This brings the question: “Can you learn to trade with baby pips”
And the answer is: Sure, you’ll learn a thing or two, especially if you’re starting from 0. But if we take a hard look at what’s being taught. We can say for sure that you won’t necessarily be ready to make profits trading if you take their full course.
OVERALL: Baby Pips is a great starting point. However, there are many things that they cannot teach you, but considering they give you free knowledge it is a great deal.
Learning Services Offered by Brokers
We tested two brokers’ learning services to get a feel of what the industry offered for educational content. The general experience was that most brokers are going to naturally offer their services by talking about them through their content. It’s to be expected, I mean, after all, it’s free content.
Some brokers have quality videos for their educational content. Their first few lessons, however, feel as though they are doing step by step how to create a Demo Account while throwing around some basic forex terms which you can find in a glossary.
To get the most out of these free lessons you should complement what you learn by trading on a demo account meanwhile. At first, you might feel like you are in an abyss from the lack of knowledge, but you will be able to visualize how much you’ve learned. Also learning the terminology will make your life easier when you want to do an accurate ‘How to‘ Google Search.
Are the tools they provide any good?
In most cases, you’ll be prompted to create an account right off the bat. Usually, your new account will come with a Demo. Most Demo accounts will be on the MetaTrader 4 and 5 platforms. If you want to learn the difference check out his article.
One of the key characteristics to look for in a demo account is the delay time. Some brokers’ Demo accounts replicate real-time market data with a 15-minute delay. So while you will still learn you’re not going to have real-time access to market data. Tradeview Markets offers a free demo account with real-time market data.
Finally, look to see if they have a community built around their brand. Social trading is one of the strongest tools you can use. More experienced traders are stockpiled with the knowledge that can give you a headstart. Some brokers have built great communities for their traders to be a part of.
TradeGATEHub is a community for traders. From expert live trading sessions to discussion boards, users get a great look into what professional trading is all about.
Getting a look at their educational content
There are many brokers whose educational content focuses on technical aspects. And yes, it’s quite important to learn how to read chart patterns, but few offer another important lesson. The psychology behind trading.
Risks are a part of trading, that’s just true for all experts and beginner traders. For this reason, being carried away by emotion is easy. That’s why a lesson plan including emotional management through psychological tactics is one of the hidden gems you can find.
OVERALL: As with baby pips, you should understand that this type of free learning offers a limited experience. In most cases, it’s a marketing strategy to get more sign-ups. That’s not to say there isn’t some good quality content out there.
TGH – TradeGATEHub
TradeGATEHub, a community for traders. TradeGATEHub offers a different kind of learning, learning directly from professionals in real-time. With live trading sessions, real-time stock analysis, and expert guest interviews. Your learning experience will be more hands-on. Just make sure you’re also learning the basics and understand the lingo.
TradeGATEHub presents educational content through a more dynamic learning system. Reflection and real-life examples are the key players, and being part of the community is not limited to beginner, intermediate or advanced learners. Anyone with any or zero training experience can benefit from joining the community.
One of the most interesting things about TradeGATEHub is the multiple live streams done every week where experts give their take on the market through their very own analysis. All this while in the comments section traders from different backgrounds share their experiences, their wins, and their losses.
If you’d like to look at the TradeGATEHub community, the sign-up is free. And you can get instant access to one of the most complete free educational sources out there.
The Online Community (The Internet)
As of late, I’ve personally taken a liking to the community of Redditors. Sure there are trolls and people who half the time have no idea what they’re talking about. But hey, we all know people like this.
For those who have limited knowledge of the internet, or have never heard of Reddit before. Reddit is a great space where you can find like-minded individuals. So instead of mentioning another course, we decided to see what recommendations the Reddit community had to offer.
What kind of trading knowledge can you gather from the internet?
For the most part, the advice one can get on Reddit is guided towards books and tips on how to learn. You can find anything from recommendations telling people to learn to play poker and blackjack to master emotions, all the way to actual literature intended to teach you about the industry and how trading works.
In addition to being a place of learning, Reddit offers people a guided DIY, which for some is more beneficial.
Even if you do decide to take a course (free or paid) you should always try to learn and do research on your own. No matter how good a course is there are always gaps to fill, and no one – I mean no one – knows everything. So, branching off and exploring your own knowledge is key.
The internet is full of information. Unfortunately, most of it is unfiltered. so you’re going to have to double, triple, maybe even quadruple-check the information you get. But if you take the time to learn you’ll start to come across helpful information and trustworthy sources that will help you out in your trading journey.
Some trustworthy sources that you access include; Bloomberg, CNBC, Barron’s, Market Watch, and The Wall Street Journal. The analysis offered by these outlets is trusted by many professionals around the world.
The Tools offered on the Internet
The internet has an infinite list of trading tools available. Again, like with the information you gather, you’ll get many recommendations. So it’s all up to you. I personally prefer third-party charts over those offered by MT4 and MT5 and Tradeview’s Live Demo Account. But don’t take my word for it, try out what you think will work best for you and choose on your own.
There are some pointers that you should keep in mind when looking for trading tools
- Accuracy – of charts and Demo account. You’ll ideally want to get a demo account that gives you free access to live trading data
- Ease of use – you don’t want to overly complicate your life, you just want a Demo account that can help you learn
- Possibility of creating a real Live account with them – If you want to learn to trade, odds are you are going to open a live account. Choosing a platform to demo should be one that you’d consider doing business with.
Life – Making mistakes on your own, the ultimate learning experience.
They say that life gives you the ultimate learning experience. And with trading, there’s no doubt about that. You can spend all your days taking courses and practicing on a Demo Account. Once you get out there the real learning begins.
No matter how you choose to trade you will make a mistake or two, and that’s ok. If you are not risking more than you can afford to lose, mistakes – like in life – are just a part of trading.
Anytime you want to get started looking into a trading strategy make sure you’re not “trigger happy”. Educate yourself, learn to predict the markets, get your hands on a Demo Account. Mistakes on a demo account are free, unlike in real life.
OVERALL: Some people are self-starters; they pave their own way in life and that includes learning. Joining forums like Reddit that host communities is a pretty good idea in general, it gives you an idea of what others are thinking about and maybe you’ll get a different POV on certain events. However, if you want to learn how to trade on forums, you must be careful because you will most likely get a world of contradicting answers. No 2 people think the same so just keep that in mind when you look for others’ experiences. This takes us to my last thoughts.
As much as I would have loved (sarcasm intended) to try and review every single free trading course the internet has to offer, I simply cannot. This review is a small sample size of all the ways you can learn to trade online for free. One main lesson is that trading isn’t the same for everyone, therefore learning to trade isn’t the same for everyone. You can purchase a course or go about learning on your own as long as you make sure you’re taught the basic and most important elements of trading:
- What the market is and how it reacts to current events.
- In basic Macroeconomics, you need to understand how a given country’s economy works.
- Fundamental vs Technical Analysis
- Reading charts will help you make price predictions
- How to manage your emotions, this really can’t be taught but you can certainly receive tips on how to manage them and some exercises to practice.
You should always look to enjoy what you do. Many get caught up with emotions while trading. People starting out tend to be too eager to plan for the long haul. Learn from your mistakes and learn continuously. Trading isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme so look for a way to enjoy the process.