Interview with Jody Samuels of FX Traders EDGE

I could tell the first minute I heard her voice; here was a quick, agile mind. It’s what you would expect from a currency trader who had traded over fourteen years with one of the world’s most prestigious Investment banks. One thing I notice about keen observers is their ability to listen with intensity. Jody was a keen observer and her answers to my questions were clear and concise but without arrogance. She is a professional.
Jody SamuelsAfter graduating from the famous Wharton School of Business with a degree in Economics in 1979, she took her first job as an assistant currency trader with JP Morgan. Even though she hadn’t received any courses specific to trading currencies, she learned quickly with the company’s mentor-mentee on the job training program. Within a year or so, she adapted so quickly, that she became the first female interbank British Pound trader and was known as the “queen of the pound”. During her subsequent trading years with JP Morgan (which lasted almost 15 years), she also received her Masters degree in Finance from NYU.

Married and mother of two teenage girls, Jody has become a highly successful FOREX trading teacher and coach through her company, The FX Trader’s EDGE, an online FX training provider.

LEN: Welcome, Ms. Samuels. To get right into it, could you tell us why you decided to become a currency trader?

J.S.: I didn’t. Currency trading chose me. The summer after I graduated Wharton, I had the opportunity to work as an intern in the currency department of a Norwegian Bank in Norway and it just went on from there. All my professional life has been trading currencies, commodities and some stocks although I prefer investments with a lot of volatility – like currencies.

LEN: Even though you are a trainer and coach, do you still actively trade?

 J.S.: Yes.

LEN: So you would still consider yourself a professional trader?

 J.S.: Absolutely. Each work day, I teach, make trade recommendations, moderate a trader’s online trading room and trade my own account.

LEN: Can you remember what you bought or sold on your first trade?

J.S.: I can’t remember the first trade I took, but I can tell you I traded the GBPUSD (British Pound-US dollar pair) in the interbank market from 2.45 down to 1.05 and back up to 1.50 over a 5-year period.

LEN: Do you consider yourself a fundamentalist or technician?

J.S.: I combine both. I believe that at some point both the technicals and the fundamentals line up and that is when I have my most successful trades. However, I will not take a trade unless it is supported by the technicals.

LEN: What are the hardest markets you’ve ever traded?

J.S.: I’ve been trading since 1980 so I’ve experienced a lot of volatility. The hardest markets (in terms of the 15 currency pairs I normally trade) are the ones with the least amount of volatility (when the market is range bound).

LEN: What is your longest losing streak?

J.S.: In the late 80’s, I was given a customer position which suffered a large one day loss which was a function of the lack of market liquidity. It took me several long and difficult months to make back the loss. I bounced back by getting a lot of support from senior traders in the company.

LEN: Besides currencies, what other financial instruments do you trade?

J.S.: I traded 20 different commodities over a period of 2 years. Now, I only focus on the currencies but I am aware of what is going on in the other related markets since currencies are part of the global market.

LEN: Could you tell us about your trading system?

 J.S.: I use the Elliott Wave theory in my analysis to help give me a picture of where the market is going. Then, I use a combination of indicators for entries and exits. I have developed a three position trading plan which I’ve named the Three Profiteers Trading Plan, which I use for entering and exiting my positions. I teach an Elliott Wave course and have developed a few tools for trade alerts, money management and trade management. Moreover, I spent the last two years developing the FX Trader’s EDGETM Program to teach traders entrepreneurial skills and habits which I also attribute my success as a trader.

LEN: What is the funniest moment you’ve ever experienced while trading?

J.S.: Markets aren’t funny, people are.

LEN: How do you cope with the stress of trading?

J.S.: I also have a mentor or life coach who helps keep me on track in my life; how I am in my life is how I am in my trading. If I am focused and not stressed in my daily life, my trading reflects that. If I suddenly get “out of balance” in my life, that shows up in my trading, too. I also do yoga and meditate.

LEN: There seems to be a stereotype out there that traders live life in the “fast lane”. Is that true?

J.S.: For sure, when I lived in New York City, things were fast and furious but that was a time when I was single and just out of college with no family responsibilities. I’ve noticed over the years that traders-probably like most of us-change their priorities. I know mine did and now my ideal trading life includes a well-balanced life. I take a holistic approach to trading and don’t let it monopolize my time.

LEN: What is your advice to a person who is starting out in trading?

 J.S.: For new traders, I urge you to:

  1. Commit to your trading education and find a trading coach. I can say that in my own experience, having a mentor really elevated my abilities as a trader in a short period of time. It cost me a lot of lost opportunities to “re-invent” the wheel.
  2. Avoid the technical traders trap, which is trying to find the “Holy Grail” of finding the perfect trading system by jumping from system to system, website to website, etc. There is no such thing as the “Holy Grail” of trading. In my FX Trader’s EDGETMcoaching program I teach new traders entrepreneurial skills and habits which include:
  3. Approaching their trading as a business;
  4. Developing clear trading strategies with a clear trading plan; and
  5. Tracking their performance with a set of metrics.