The Risk-Reward Ratio

By | August 27, 2014

Know your Risk: The Risk-Reward Ratio

Risk is a part of trading. Every trade carries a certain level of risk. Every trader must know the amount of risk that is being assumed on each trade. Knowing the amount of risk on each trade is one way to limit it and to protect your trading account. The best way to know your risk is to determine the risk-reward ratio. It is one of the most effective risk management tools used in trading.

The risk-reward ratio is a parameter that helps a trader to determine the level of risk in a trade. It shows how much a trader is risking versus the potential reward (or profit) on a trade. While this may seem simplistic, many traders neglect taking this step and often find that their losses are very large.

How to Determine the Risk-Reward Ratio?

The first step is to determine the amount of risk. This can be determined by the amount of money needed to enter the trade. The cost of the currency multiplied times the number of lots will help the trader to know how much money is actually at risk in the trade. The first number in the ratio is the amount of risk in the trade.

The reward is the gain in the currency price that the trader is hoping to earn from the currency price movement. This gain multiplied times the number of lots traded is the potential reward. The second number in the ratio is the potential reward (or profit) of the trade.


Here are a few examples of the risk-reward ratio:

  • If the risk is 200 and the reward is 400, then the risk-reward ratio is 200:400 or 1:2.
  • If the risk is 500 and the reward it 1,500, then the risk-reward ratio is 500:1500 or 1:3.
  • If the risk is 1,000 and the reward is 500, then the risk-reward ratio is 1000:500 or 2:1.

What is a Good Risk-Reward Ratio?

The minimum risk-reward ratio for a Forex trade is 1:2. However, a larger ratio is better. An acceptable risk-reward ratio for beginning traders is 1:3. Any number below 1:3 is too risky so the trade should be avoided. Never enter a trade in which the risk-reward ratio is 1:1 or the risk outweighs the reward.

Many experienced trader will only enter trades in which the risk-reward ratio is 1:5 or higher. This requires that the trader wait for a trade with this ratio, but the reward is worth it. A higher risk-reward ratio is a good idea in case the currency does not make the anticipated price movement. However, if the trader uses a lower risk-reward ratio, there is very little room for smaller price movements and the amount of risk will increase.

The risk-reward ratio is an important risk management and trading tool. It is important for beginning traders to take the extra time to perform this task because it can help to minimize risk in every trade. Waiting for the right risk-reward ratio can take a long time. However, the benefits of waiting for a higher risk-reward ratio are worth the effort and patience. You will know your risk and know your potential profit. Most importantly, you will know whether the trade is worthy of your money.

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