In situations of economic uncertainty like we are facing right now, the best defense for your hard earned dollars is to be as well-informed and educated as you possibly can. Following the news that impact the markets, researching companies and following the markets should be a full-time job (unless you want to risk your money... you are probably better of at a roulette table).
Since the market is made by each of the participating banks providing offers and bids for a particular currency, the market pricing mechanism is based on supply and demand. Because there are such large trade flows within the system, it is difficult for rogue traders to influence the price of a currency. This system helps create transparency in the market for investors with access to interbank dealing.
Both types of contracts are binding and are typically settled for cash for the exchange in question upon expiry, although contracts can also be bought and sold before they expire. The forwards and futures markets can offer protection against risk when trading currencies. Usually, big international corporations use these markets in order to hedge against future exchange rate fluctuations, but speculators take part in these markets as well.
Rob Booker is a forex seminar entertainer, a forex "systems" marketer and he is not a successful trader. I can say this from plenty of personal experience: I attended two of his seminars, co-taught another one with him in Canada, and am mentioned in his book. Once Rob held a contest to see who could submit the most profitable system. A guy wrote an elaborate description of a "winning system" and submitted it, knowing full well that it was a system that was a guaranteed loser. Rob awarded him first place, lol, and never tested the system! Rob makes nearly all of his (big) money from selling systems-of-the-month (stuff you can easily find online.) He has not been seen on FF since professional trader Phil McGrew (look him up here--his posts are gold) made him his "buddy" and would speak the truth whenever Rob would post. Stay far away from this clown.
A spot market deal is for immediate delivery, which is defined as two business days for most currency pairs. The major exception is the purchase or sale of USD/CAD, which is settled in one business day. The business day calculation excludes Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays in either currency of the traded pair. During the Christmas and Easter season, some spot trades can take as long as six days to settle. Funds are exchanged on the settlement date, not the transaction date.
These articles, on the other hand, discuss currency trading as buying and selling currency on the foreign exchange (or "Forex") market with the intent to make money, often called "speculative forex trading". XE does not offer speculative forex trading, nor do we recommend any firms that offer this service. These articles are provided for general information only.