Practice makes perfect they say, but if you asked most forex traders, they might have a different perspective of the statement.
Although most traders have an excellent record in practice or demo account trading, most of them fail to live to similar experiences when trading with a real account.
A trader’s performance on a practice account is, in most cases, very different from trading with a real account.
So, is that to mean that practice accounts are manipulated and are not real? Or is it that brokers try to lure folks to trade forex with this “easy” demo accounts?
Most traders have had that experience, and like them, you may want to understand whether the demo accounts are indeed realistic.
To start with, a demo account and a real account have their own differences that you must first understand to help you ascertain the reality with demo accounts.
Differences Between Real and Demo Accounts
Like in a real account, a demo account also has a similar trading platform comprising of all the critical features. Automated trading, as well as the installation of various kinds of indicators, is also possible in a practice account platform.
Therefore, as far as technical differences are concerned, there’s no difference at the primary level between the two account types.
The difference between the two happens with the currency rates, which may not match, especially with those of a live account platform.
In a practice account, the spread continues to remain stable even when there’re significant news impacts, while in real accounts, during high volatility, the spread widens as liquidity starts to evaporate.
Therefore, the profit garnered in a demo account during news announcements may not be the same as the one in a real account. Moreover, in a live account, during the volatile sessions, a pair can move in a spiral or erratic fashion, and a sharp spike may take out a trader’s stop-loss order.
In a demo account, the scenario doesn’t happen; hence, live accounts are susceptible to the unexpected early exits resulting in low profits, which could have been garnered in a practice account.
Another thing that makes the demo accounts so much good is the fact that slippage is not their vocabulary. A trader in a demo account gets as many lots as they require at the very best last quoted price without difficulty.
On the contrary, in a live account, the price that a trader is offered is subject to change regularly in the fast-moving forex market.
Because of the requotes, traders in live accounts may not be able to get the targeted price during selling and buying. There’s even partial filling of the order whereby a trader gets on 3 out of 10 lots.
Also, another difference is that with a live account, if you choose a market execution rather than a pending order, it’s not guaranteed that the price on the screen will be the transaction price.
For the MT4 order window, they show “Attention! The trade will be executed at market conditions; the difference with the requested price may be significant.” Therefore, you either get a negative or positive slippage. However, in a practice account, such an issue doesn’t exist.
Furthermore, sometimes, in a real account, a trader could waste money and time resolving errors related to the broker, while in a demo account, such worries are absent, making it ideal.
Therefore, as much a trading platform is similar in both cases, requotes, liquidity, slippage, and spread work differently and could affect immensely the outcome of a live account trader.
Discipline and Risk Management
A demo account has got virtual money, and a trader losing big don’t feel anything. In a demo account, risk management and discipline are thrown out of the window.
When that similar attitude is carried into a real account, traders end up losing money, and possibly the account being wiped clean as the initial capital is not huge, as is the case with a practice account.
In forex trading, emotions play a vital role. Even the experienced traders bear a nerve-cracking moment during trading.
However, in a demo account, since virtual money is involved, emotions don’t impact significantly on the performance.
Unlike a demo account whereby a trader can watch the price movements and end up even gaining profit in a trade that a while before was showing excessive losses, in a live account it’s either a stop-loss to trigger or in cases of big slippage, a trader dilutes the position at prevailing market price.
The Bottom Line
The primary purpose of a demo account is basically to fine-tune a given strategy and for a trader to feel the trading platform.
Demo accounts don’t suffer from such issues as spread change, low liquidity, and slippage and are even funded with virtual money that is unrealistic. Moreover, emotions don’t play a part in demo accounts like they do in live accounts.
Therefore, looking at a demo account from a performance point of view, they’re not realistic. However, they are the best for a trader to get a good understanding of what to expect in live forex trading.