Help Center
Help Center /

A Guide to Calculating Risk per Trade in Financial Trading

Risk management is a fundamental aspect of successful financial trading. One essential component of risk management is calculating the risk per trade, which involves determining the amount of capital you are willing to risk on each trade. By understanding how to calculate risk per trade, traders can protect their account balance, manage potential losses, and maintain a disciplined approach to trading. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to help you calculate the risk per trade effectively.

  1. Determine Your Risk Tolerance

Before calculating the risk per trade, it’s crucial to assess your risk tolerance. Risk tolerance refers to your ability and willingness to withstand potential losses. Consider your financial situation, investment goals, and personal comfort level when it comes to taking risks. This self-assessment will provide a foundation for determining an appropriate risk percentage for each trade.

  1. Set a Risk Percentage

Once you have evaluated your risk tolerance, it’s time to establish a risk percentage for each trade. A common rule of thumb is to risk no more than 1-2% of your trading capital on any single trade. This percentage ensures that a string of losses does not deplete your account excessively and allows for better risk management over the long term. However, you can adjust this percentage based on your risk appetite and trading strategy.

  1. Determine Your Stop Loss Level

A stop loss is an order placed to automatically exit a trade if it reaches a predefined price level, limiting potential losses. To calculate the risk per trade, you need to determine the appropriate stop loss level for each trade. This level should be based on technical analysis, support and resistance levels, or any other indicators that guide your trading decisions. The stop loss level helps define the maximum loss you are willing to tolerate on a particular trade.

  1. Calculate Position Size

Once you have established the risk percentage and determined the stop loss level, you can calculate the position size—the number of units or shares you will trade. The position size is calculated by dividing the risk per trade (based on your risk percentage) by the difference between the entry price and the stop loss level. This calculation ensures that if the stop loss is triggered, the loss incurred will be within your predefined risk tolerance.

Position Size = (Risk Percentage × Trading Capital) / (Entry Price – Stop Loss Level)

  1. Adapt Position Size to Account for Leverage

If you are trading with leverage, it’s essential to adjust your position size accordingly. Leverage allows you to control a larger position with a smaller amount of capital, but it also amplifies both profits and losses. Determine the leverage ratio provided by your broker and adjust the position size calculation accordingly. Ensure that the calculated position size aligns with your risk per trade and risk tolerance, considering the impact of leverage.

  1. Regularly Review and Adjust

Risk per trade is not a fixed parameter and should be reviewed regularly to account for changes in market conditions, account balance, or trading strategy. As your trading account grows or shrinks, you may need to adjust the risk percentage and position size accordingly. Continuously monitor your trades and reassess the risk per trade to ensure it remains within your predefined limits.


Calculating the risk per trade is a vital aspect of effective risk management in financial trading. By determining your risk tolerance, setting a risk percentage, establishing stop loss levels, calculating position sizes, and adapting for leverage, you can ensure that you are protecting your trading capital and managing potential losses in a disciplined manner. Remember that risk management is a dynamic process, requiring regular review and adjustment. Implementing a robust risk-per-trade calculation methodology will contribute to your long-term success as a trader.

Knowledge is POWER
Never miss an opportunity to learn and grow as a trader. Join the ZFX Academy mailing list to be the first to know about our next webinar, article or guide.
Contact Us