Dolomite DEX Launches Limit Order Margin Trading for All ...
Using Limit Orders When Buying or Selling Stocks
Online Margin Trading - Margin Order Features & Procedure ...
Limit Order Market Order and Margin Trading
@loopringorg : RT @fortmatic: It's the season of shipping and integrations! 🔥 Limit & market order margin trading up to 5x leverage is now live on @Dolomite_io (https://t.co/XvzHRwINsp) - a #DEX powered by @loopringorg and @dydxprotocol! 📈 https://t.co/ynvlO3r5gJ
If I want to short sell a stock on webull, do I just click trade > sell/limit/qty > preview order ? I have a margin account. Just started using webull after using RH for quite some time so still trying to figure this out. Thanks
I've been looking a lot at brokerage web APIs. I've gone through the following. What I want to know is for people that use these APIs, or chose not to use them, why? If you're using one, and you want to move to the other, what's the moat -- ACATS stops you for a week. If you were to build a better API, what would it look like. I definitely have some ideas in mind. For one, I would strongly consider using something like GRPC / Protobuf or at least OpenAPI v3 for clients. My goal is to eventually come up with some kind of common denominator of what people want / use from APIs, and then build a backtester platform that exposes a broker-like API. In real systems, networks fail, orders get delayed, and systems go down. As I'm building my trading software, I've found some interesting failure modes that weren't obvious. How does your trading software respond?:
Supported: Responds to email. Answers questions about the API. No official clients. Has Data: Good, Realtime with agreement Requirements: Brokerage account with funding Dev environment: Full, with papertrading, and sandbox. Streaming: Yes
Supported: Maybe? I haven't been able to get access yet because somehow I got locked out of their accounting system. Has Data: Unknown Requirements: Brokerage account with $100k+ Dev environment: Simulated environment? Streaming: Yes
Supported: Kind of. They respond to email. It still uses OAuth1, and references TradeKings. The platform that Ally acquired to build their brokerage. Has Data: Yes, but if you want to do anything creative, it's delayed Requirements: Brokerage account Dev environment: No Streaming: Yes I know this isn't an exhaustive list, but it's the list I've put together so far. The folks at Medved have a pretty good list of what's possible. Maybe we should turn this into a wiki article. Yes, I know I didn't include IKBR. They're a totally different beast.
Hi guys, I have been using reddit for years in my personal life (not trading!) and wanted to give something back in an area where i am an expert. I worked at an investment bank for seven years and joined them as a graduate FX trader so have lots of professional experience, by which i mean I was trained and paid by a big institution to trade on their behalf. This is very different to being a full-time home trader, although that is not to discredit those guys, who can accumulate a good amount of experience/wisdom through self learning. When I get time I'm going to write a mid-length posts on each topic for you guys along the lines of how i was trained. I guess there would be 15-20 topics in total so about 50-60 posts. Feel free to comment or ask questions. The first topic is Risk Management and we'll cover it in three parts Part I
Why it matters
Using stops sensibly
Picking a clear level
Why it matters
The first rule of making money through trading is to ensure you do not lose money. Look at any serious hedge fund’s website and they’ll talk about their first priority being “preservation of investor capital.” You have to keep it before you grow it. Strangely, if you look at retail trading websites, for every one article on risk management there are probably fifty on trade selection. This is completely the wrong way around. The great news is that this stuff is pretty simple and process-driven. Anyone can learn and follow best practices. Seriously, avoiding mistakes is one of the most important things: there's not some holy grail system for finding winning trades, rather a routine and fairly boring set of processes that ensure that you are profitable, despite having plenty of losing trades alongside the winners.
Capital and position sizing
The first thing you have to know is how much capital you are working with. Let’s say you have $100,000 deposited. This is your maximum trading capital. Your trading capital is not the leveraged amount. It is the amount of money you have deposited and can withdraw or lose. Position sizing is what ensures that a losing streak does not take you out of the market. A rule of thumb is that one should risk no more than 2% of one’s account balance on an individual trade and no more than 8% of one’s account balance on a specific theme. We’ll look at why that’s a rule of thumb later. For now let’s just accept those numbers and look at examples. So we have $100,000 in our account. And we wish to buy EURUSD. We should therefore not be risking more than 2% which $2,000. We look at a technical chart and decide to leave a stop below the monthly low, which is 55 pips below market. We’ll come back to this in a bit. So what should our position size be? We go to the calculator page, select Position Size and enter our details. There are many such calculators online - just google "Pip calculator". https://preview.redd.it/y38zb666e5h51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=26e4fe569dc5c1f43ce4c746230c49b138691d14 So the appropriate size is a buy position of 363,636 EURUSD. If it reaches our stop level we know we’ll lose precisely $2,000 or 2% of our capital. You should be using this calculator (or something similar) on every single trade so that you know your risk. Now imagine that we have similar bets on EURJPY and EURGBP, which have also broken above moving averages. Clearly this EUR-momentum is a theme. If it works all three bets are likely to pay off. But if it goes wrong we are likely to lose on all three at once. We are going to look at this concept of correlation in more detail later. The total amount of risk in our portfolio - if all of the trades on this EUR-momentum theme were to hit their stops - should not exceed $8,000 or 8% of total capital. This allows us to go big on themes we like without going bust when the theme does not work. As we’ll see later, many traders only win on 40-60% of trades. So you have to accept losing trades will be common and ensure you size trades so they cannot ruin you. Similarly, like poker players, we should risk more on trades we feel confident about and less on trades that seem less compelling. However, this should always be subject to overall position sizing constraints. For example before you put on each trade you might rate the strength of your conviction in the trade and allocate a position size accordingly: https://preview.redd.it/q2ea6rgae5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=4332cb8d0bbbc3d8db972c1f28e8189105393e5b To keep yourself disciplined you should try to ensure that no more than one in twenty trades are graded exceptional and allocated 5% of account balance risk. It really should be a rare moment when all the stars align for you. Notice that the nice thing about dealing in percentages is that it scales. Say you start out with $100,000 but end the year up 50% at $150,000. Now a 1% bet will risk $1,500 rather than $1,000. That makes sense as your capital has grown. It is extremely common for retail accounts to blow-up by making only 4-5 losing trades because they are leveraged at 50:1 and have taken on far too large a position, relative to their account balance. Consider that GBPUSD tends to move 1% each day. If you have an account balance of $10k then it would be crazy to take a position of $500k (50:1 leveraged). A 1% move on $500k is $5k. Two perfectly regular down days in a row — or a single day’s move of 2% — and you will receive a margin call from the broker, have the account closed out, and have lost all your money. Do not let this happen to you. Use position sizing discipline to protect yourself.
If you’re wondering - why “about 2%” per trade? - that’s a fair question. Why not 0.5% or 10% or any other number? The Kelly Criterion is a formula that was adapted for use in casinos. If you know the odds of winning and the expected pay-off, it tells you how much you should bet in each round. This is harder than it sounds. Let’s say you could bet on a weighted coin flip, where it lands on heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time. The payout is $2 per $1 bet. Well, absolutely you should bet. The odds are in your favour. But if you have, say, $100 it is less obvious how much you should bet to avoid ruin. Say you bet $50, the odds that it could land on tails twice in a row are 16%. You could easily be out after the first two flips. Equally, betting $1 is not going to maximise your advantage. The odds are 60/40 in your favour so only betting $1 is likely too conservative. The Kelly Criterion is a formula that produces the long-run optimal bet size, given the odds. Applying the formula to forex trading looks like this: Position size % = Winning trade % - ( (1- Winning trade %) / Risk-reward ratio If you have recorded hundreds of trades in your journal - see next chapter - you can calculate what this outputs for you specifically. If you don't have hundreds of trades then let’s assume some realistic defaults of Winning trade % being 30% and Risk-reward ratio being 3. The 3 implies your TP is 3x the distance of your stop from entry e.g. 300 pips take profit and 100 pips stop loss. So that’s 0.3 - (1 - 0.3) / 3 = 6.6%. Hold on a second. 6.6% of your account probably feels like a LOT to risk per trade.This is the main observation people have on Kelly: whilst it may optimise the long-run results it doesn’t take into account the pain of drawdowns. It is better thought of as the rational maximum limit. You needn’t go right up to the limit! With a 30% winning trade ratio, the odds of you losing on four trades in a row is nearly one in four. That would result in a drawdown of nearly a quarter of your starting account balance. Could you really stomach that and put on the fifth trade, cool as ice? Most of us could not. Accordingly people tend to reduce the bet size. For example, let’s say you know you would feel emotionally affected by losing 25% of your account. Well, the simplest way is to divide the Kelly output by four. You have effectively hidden 75% of your account balance from Kelly and it is now optimised to avoid a total wipeout of just the 25% it can see. This gives 6.6% / 4 = 1.65%. Of course different trading approaches and different risk appetites will provide different optimal bet sizes but as a rule of thumb something between 1-2% is appropriate for the style and risk appetite of most retail traders. Incidentally be very wary of systems or traders who claim high winning trade % like 80%. Invariably these don’t pass a basic sense-check:
How many live trades have you done? Often they’ll have done only a handful of real trades and the rest are simulated backtests, which are overfitted. The model will soon die.
What is your risk-reward ratio on each trade? If you have a take profit $3 away and a stop loss $100 away, of course most trades will be winners. You will not be making money, however! In general most traders should trade smaller position sizes and less frequently than they do. If you are going to bias one way or the other, far better to start off too small.
How to use stop losses sensibly
Stop losses have a bad reputation amongst the retail community but are absolutely essential to risk management. No serious discretionary trader can operate without them. A stop loss is a resting order, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. For a recap on the various order types visit this chapter. The valid concern with stop losses is that disreputable brokers look for a concentration of stops and then, when the market is close, whipsaw the price through the stop levels so that the clients ‘stop out’ and sell to the broker at a low rate before the market naturally comes back higher. This is referred to as ‘stop hunting’. This would be extremely immoral behaviour and the way to guard against it is to use a highly reputable top-tier broker in a well regulated region such as the UK. Why are stop losses so important? Well, there is no other way to manage risk with certainty. You should always have a pre-determined stop loss before you put on a trade. Not having one is a recipe for disaster: you will find yourself emotionally attached to the trade as it goes against you and it will be extremely hard to cut the loss. This is a well known behavioural bias that we’ll explore in a later chapter. Learning to take a loss and move on rationally is a key lesson for new traders. A common mistake is to think of the market as a personal nemesis. The market, of course, is totally impersonal; it doesn’t care whether you make money or not. Bruce Kovner, founder of the hedge fund Caxton Associates There is an old saying amongst bank traders which is “losers average losers”. It is tempting, having bought EURUSD and seeing it go lower, to buy more. Your average price will improve if you keep buying as it goes lower. If it was cheap before it must be a bargain now, right? Wrong. Where does that end? Always have a pre-determined cut-off point which limits your risk. A level where you know the reason for the trade was proved ‘wrong’ ... and stick to it strictly. If you trade using discretion, use stops.
Picking a clear level
Where you leave your stop loss is key. Typically traders will leave them at big technical levels such as recent highs or lows. For example if EURUSD is trading at 1.1250 and the recent month’s low is 1.1205 then leaving it just below at 1.1200 seems sensible. If you were going long, just below the double bottom support zone seems like a sensible area to leave a stop You want to give it a bit of breathing room as we know support zones often get challenged before the price rallies. This is because lots of traders identify the same zones. You won’t be the only one selling around 1.1200. The “weak hands” who leave their sell stop order at exactly the level are likely to get taken out as the market tests the support. Those who leave it ten or fifteen pips below the level have more breathing room and will survive a quick test of the level before a resumed run-up. Your timeframe and trading style clearly play a part. Here’s a candlestick chart (one candle is one day) for GBPUSD. https://preview.redd.it/moyngdy4f5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=91af88da00dd3a09e202880d8029b0ddf04fb802 If you are putting on a trend-following trade you expect to hold for weeks then you need to have a stop loss that can withstand the daily noise. Look at the downtrend on the chart. There were plenty of days in which the price rallied 60 pips or more during the wider downtrend. So having a really tight stop of, say, 25 pips that gets chopped up in noisy short-term moves is not going to work for this kind of trade. You need to use a wider stop and take a smaller position size, determined by the stop level. There are several tools you can use to help you estimate what is a safe distance and we’ll look at those in the next section. There are of course exceptions. For example, if you are doing range-break style trading you might have a really tight stop, set just below the previous range high. https://preview.redd.it/ygy0tko7f5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=34af49da61c911befdc0db26af66f6c313556c81 Clearly then where you set stops will depend on your trading style as well as your holding horizons and the volatility of each instrument. Here are some guidelines that can help:
Use technical analysis to pick important levels (support, resistance, previous high/lows, moving averages etc.) as these provide clear exit and entry points on a trade.
Ensure that the stop gives your trade enough room to breathe and reflects your timeframe and typical volatility of each pair. See next section.
Always pick your stop level first. Then use a calculator to determine the appropriate lot size for the position, based on the % of your account balance you wish to risk on the trade.
So far we have talked about price-based stops. There is another sort which is more of a fundamental stop, used alongside - not instead of - price stops. If either breaks you’re out. For example if you stop understanding why a product is going up or down and your fundamental thesis has been confirmed wrong, get out. For example, if you are long because you think the central bank is turning hawkish and AUDUSD is going to play catch up with rates … then you hear dovish noises from the central bank and the bond yields retrace lower and back in line with the currency - close your AUDUSD position. You already know your thesis was wrong. No need to give away more money to the market.
Coming up in part II
EDIT: part II here Letting stops breathe When to change a stop Entering and exiting winning positions Risk:reward ratios Risk-adjusted returns
Coming up in part III
Squeezes and other risks Market positioning Bet correlation Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits *** Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
I made this post yesterday, but I wasn't happy with the details so I quickly deleted it in the interest of taking more time on it. For disclosure, I am short on UBER. This post could apply to other gig services, but I am focused on Uber. As most of us are aware, Uber has not been successful at all in a traditional business sense - that is that they do not make money and have spent the last decade burning investor cash. How bad is it? Let's look at a few fundamentals, sourced from E-Trade: TTM Net Profit Margin (-50.72%) Overall, UBER lost 150.72% of the revenue that they collected, meaning that for every $100 they made, $150.72 was spent to "gain" it. Their TTM Operating Margin was -48.90% which indicates to me that it is the main contributer to such a negative bottom line. For the past decade Uber has been fine operating on this loss in order to gain market share - but how long can this unsustainable model be propped up? TTM Price/Sales (3.77x) Currently, Uber is trading at a price almost 4 times its sales which result in a negative income anyway. This is a money pit. TTM Return on Investment Capital (-29.62%) Need I say more? This is okay for a startup, but is 10 years and global operations still a "startup"? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So those are bad, but why do I think the slide is imminent? Mostly related to their ongoing and especially current legal issues. On the first of this year, California's Assembly Bill 5 went into effect. It's a law so there is a ton to it, but the context we care about is the "gig economy worker" part which have to do with classifying gig workers as employees which come with other costs and benefits that Uber (and other Transportation Network Companies, or "TNCs") have been able to get around and limit further losses since their inception, to the dismay of taxis and other traditional permitted transportation operators. This is America, so Uber has not complied with this. As a consumer, I've noticed drops in availability on their platform lately so I suspect they are now metering workers to some degree to limit full-time employment but that's just anecdotal speculation. 10 days ago, a California judge granted a preliminary injunction essentially saying enough is enough and that these TNCs and other gig companies must comply. There was a 10-day period for the potential to grant an appeal as filed by Uber, which expires at the end of today. Please correct me if I've interpreted this incorrectly but it seems that if TNCs do not receive injunctive relief by the end of today, 08/20, they will cease operating in the State of California as of 08/21.This seems to have been indicated by Uber and Lyft as well. If it is not easy to see, California is one of Uber's largest markets. I don't know the exact numbers, but I've read that most of Uber's business comes from 5 US cities, two of which are Los Angeles and San Francisco. I would guess that California probably accounts for at least 25% of Uber's revenue. It gets more dangerous than this. Other states have already started to draft their own legislation regarding gig economy workers, especially Illiinois, New Jersey, and New York. For all of these reasons, I see an imminent drop coming for Uber. What do you think? Edit: as of roughly 0930 PT Lyft has indicated it will suspend service at midnight tonight. Edit: as of roughly 1145 PT an emergency stay has been granted meaning the services will continue for now out of compliance with the law
Margin Isn't Dangerous & Why I'd Still Use It If I Had Less Than $25,000
Cash vs. Margin
TL;DR- Use Margin if you're trading securities and either above or below 25k. If you know how to size positions, it won't matter if you move $4,000 into a trade or $4,000,000. As long as you sized the position correctly. If you're limited to 3 trades, then take 3 PERFECT trades: https://imgur.com/a/SpPOERQ I see lots of people discussing contrasting ideas although they attempt to justify using both. Here are some things I see said and written frequently from people that doesn't add up for me:
"Use a cash account to avoid PDT" - (Totally fine, in some cases such as certain options traders. Not if you're trading securities.)
"Risk 1% of your account" - (So if your account is at $25,500, I risk ~$255 and if I lose 2R I'm below PDT. Doesn't sound too great to me if I were to lose the first 2 straight trades.)
"Margin is a double-edged sword" - (It's only dangerous if you don't set hard stops or size your positions correctly.)
"Never take on a trade that is worth more than your account" - (I can agree if you were swing trading but in terms of IntraDay trading, this is hindering your ability to grow your account. If you're risking $100 on a trade that costs less than your account value.. then $25 on a trade because of your account value.. then you're adding unneeded variables. Remember: "Consistency.")
If I were to go back to when I was below $25,000 some years ago. I'd still use a margin account while being limited to 3 trades per week. Here's why:
Formulas you have to know: Position size formula = Risk ÷ Stop Size Stop Size Formula = Entry - StopLoss
Stock ABC, Entry = $10.00 StopLoss = $9.90 StopSize = 10¢ Risk = $100 In Live Trading: $100 ÷ $0.10 = 1000 Shares 1,000 shares at $10.00 = $10,000 position
Stock XYZ, Entry = $385 StopLoss = $383.00 StopSize = $2.00 Risk = $100 In Live Trading: $100 ÷ $2.00 = 50 Shares 50 shares at $385 = $19,250 position. *$10,000 CASH account: CANNOT trade Stock XYZ and must wait 3 days for his entire account to settle after trading Stock ABC. If it was a margin account, they'd still be able to take 2 more trades this week. *$10,000 MARGIN account: CAN trade Stock XYZ and can trade both scenarios while still able to trade 1 more time in a 5 day rolling period.
Then the next point made is, "Just won't trade anything above $20".
Ok. great rebuttal, but why? Let's remember this: StopSizes aren't always directly correlated to the price of a stock. YES you're more likely to have a wider StopSize on a higher priced stock and a tighter StopSize on a lower priced stock. But remember this: 1¢ of slippage on 1,000 shares is 10% of his risk ($10)... It will be even more slippage if his stop loss market order is hit. Even a Sell-StopLimit order will have slippage within the amount you allow for when you enter a position. Stock XYZ would have to be slipped 20¢ just to equate the amount of slippage on Stock ABC.Highly liquid and available stocks such as AAPL, AMD, NVDA etc don't have 20¢ spreads. Not even 10¢. Rarely 5¢. Most of the time. Just a couple cents. Of course there could be more right out of the open but the spread in my years of experience is tightened within 2 minutes of the open. Yes, these small amounts in pennies do hold lots of merit if you're looking at having any longevity in this business, it WILL add up over the years.
Both trades have the same risk [in perfect world theory].
If both stop market orders were hit (StopLoss). Both traders would exit with a $100 loss on each. Although 1 trade required $10,000 in capital and the other trade required $19,250 in capital. Use margin. If I had to go back to when I had less than $25,000 in my account, I'd still do it the same way I did it with margin. I highly suggest using margin even if you’re limited to 3 trades per week. I get asked all the time when I began trading. If you watched my last video, I showed my first ever deposit with Scottrade (Old brokerage that was bought out by TDA a few years ago) in 2015 although I don't consider that's when I started trading because I didn't treat it the way I do today. I really consider myself starting as a trader in 2017 when I: •Wrote a business plan •Understood statistics •How to research. All this being said, slowly over time I noticed that I am taking less and less trades and increasing my risk size. Why? EV: Expected Value. - Margin has zero negative effect if you're sizing your positions the same every time. Margin allows you to take on more expensive positions that are showing your edge. Bonus: Being limited to 3 trades a week isn't fun, I remember that feeling from years ago. Just remember to take 3 perfect trades a week. Sometimes "Perfect Trades" don't work out in your favor while some subpar situations hit target. Some weeks you might take your 3 "Perfect Trades" by Tuesday. Some weeks you might take only 1 "perfect trade". If you follow my watchlists on Twitter (Same handle as my Reddit), I keep my Day Trading Buying Power transparent. Not always is it growing perfectly linear. And not always am I posting every single day because sometimes, my edge isn't there. Just because the market is open doesn't mean you HAVE to trade. My watchlists aren't littered with 15+ tickers. Rarely do they have more than 7. That may work for other traders, but for me, I demand quality. It's either there or it isn't. No reason to force a trade. I'd rather focus heavily on a few tickers rather than spread myself thin across multiple. Trading isn't supposed to be exhilarating or an adrenaline rush. It can be boring. I said that in the post I wrote back in April. Also if you make money, even if its just $20 in a month. Take that money out and buy something. Shrine it. Cherish it. You ripped that money out of WallStreet. Be proud of it. It takes a lot of courage to do this business. Realize that the P/L is real money. Sometimes even just buying a tank of gas or a book will help you realize that. Spend it from time to time. Get something out of your trading account. You may or not be trading for long, get something that is tangible to always remember the experience in case you don't last. Make it your trophy. That's all I've got for right now. Maybe I'll make another post or 2 before the year ends. I hit my 1 year full-time mark in September. Best wishes! -CJT2013
Why sell iron condor when you can sell just two separate credit spreads?
I sold/am selling my first few iron condors this morning. Previously, when I played with any 2-legged option trades, I also set limit right at mid point with just a slight offset in MM's favor (e.g by $0.01), and I don't remember having trouble getting filled. But I have a couple iron condor orders sitting there this morning not getting filled even though the limit ($1.05 per contract) drops $0.02 below Mid from time to time. This makes me wonder, what benefit does it offer to place an iron condor trade than two separate credit spreads? The only thing I can think of is the order input with the platforms saved me a few clicks. There is absolutely no P/L impact, correct? Of course, ignore the price change due to those few seconds taken for those clicks to take place. That can be controlled by limit orders to replicate the same max profit. BTW, for anyone interested. As an experiments, I placed two sets of the same iron condor limit orders on both TD (ToS) and Fidelity (ATP) almost at the same time. All my three orders are already filled by Fidelity. On TD, one got filled after an hour, and one is still sitting open. Not sure really what that says about the two platforms. Just thought to point out. P.S. With the comparison mentioned in my post, I don't want to give off the wrong impression. In terms of usability for option trading, ToS is HEAD and SHOULDER above ATP! ATP simply does not have the same DNA (using a certain intelligent lady's words). Despite its quick fill and maybe better fill (does it matter with limit?), I'm seriously thinking about migrating all 4 accounts I manage that are not tied to workplace over to ToS now.
The Great Unwinding: Why WSB Will Keep Losing Their Tendies
I. The Death of Modern Portfolio Theory, The Loss of Risk Parity, & The Liquidity Crunch SPY 1 Y1 Day Modern portfolio theory has been based on the foundational idea for the past 3 decades that both equities and bonds are inversely correlated. However, as some people have realized, both stocks and bonds are both increasing in value and decreasing in value at the same time. This approach to investing is used pretty much in everyone's 401K, target date retirement plans, or other forms of passive investing. If both bonds and equities are losing value, what will happen to firms implementing these strategies on a more generalized basis known as risk-parity? Firms such as Bridgewater, Bluecrest, and H2O assets have been blowing up. [2,3] Liquidity has been drying up in the markets for the past two weeks. The liquidity crisis has been in the making since the 2008 financial crisis, after the passage of Dodd-Frank and Basel III. Regulations intended to regulate the financial industry have instead created the one of the largest backstops to Fed intervention as the Fed tried to pump liquidity into the market through repo operations. What is a repo?
A repo is a secured loan contract that is collateralized by a security. A repo transaction facilitates the sale and future repurchase of the security that serves as collateral between the two parties: (1) the borrower who owns a security and seeks cash and (2) the lender who receives the security as collateral when lending the cash. The cash borrower sells securities to the cash lender with the agreement to repurchase them at the maturity date. Over the course of the transaction, the cash borrower retains the ownership of the security. On the maturity date, the borrower returns the cash with interest to the lender and the collateral is returned from the lender to the borrower.
Banks like Bank of New York Mellon and JP Morgan Chase act as a clearing bank to provide this liquidity to other lenders through a triparty agreement. In short, existing regulations make it unfavorable to take on additional repos due to capital reserve requirement ratios, creating a liquidity crunch.[7,8,9] What has the Fed done to address this in light of these facts?
In light of the shift to an ample reserves regime, the Board has reduced reserve requirement ratios to zero percent effective on March 26, the beginning of the next reserve maintenance period.
II. Signs of Exhaustion & The Upcoming Bounce is a Trap, We Have Far More to Go A simple indicator to use is the relative strength index (RSI) that a lot of WSB is familiar with. RSI is not the be all and end all. There's tons of indicators that also are indicating we are at a very oversold point. SPY 1 Y1 Day RSI Given selling waves, there are areas of key support and resistance. For reference, I have not changed key lines since my original charts except for the colors. You can check in my previous posts. 247.94 has been critically an area that has been contested many times, as seen in the figure below. For those that bought calls during the witching day, RIP my fellow autists. The rejection of 247.94 and the continued selling below 233.86 signals to me more downside, albeit, it's getting exhausted. Thus, I expect the next area in which we start rallying is 213. SPY 10 Day/30 min Another contrarian indicator for buying calls is that notable people in finance have also closed their shorts. These include Jeffery Gundlach, Kevin Muir, and Raoul Pal.[11,12,13] III. The Dollar, Gold, and Oil As previously stated, cash is being hoarded by not only primary banks, but central banks around the world. This in turn has created a boom in the dollar's strength, despite limitless injections of cash (if you think 1 trillion of Repo is the ceiling, think again) by the Fed. DXY Despite being in a deflationary environment, the DXY has not achieved such levels since 2003. Given the dollar shortage around the world, it is not inconceivable that we reach levels of around 105-107. For disclosure, I have taken a long position in UUP. However, with all parabolic moves, they end in a large drop. To summarize, the Fed needs to take action on its own currency due to the havoc it's causing globally, and will need to crush the value of the dollar, which will likely coincide with the time that we near 180. If we are indeed headed towards 180, then gold will keep selling off. WSB literally screams bloody guhhhhhh when gold sells off. However, gold has been having an amazing run and has broken out of its long term channel. In times of distress and with margin calls, heavy selling of equities selling off of gold in order to raise cash. As previously noted, in this deflationary environment, everything is selling off from stocks, to bonds, to gold. /GC Futures Contracts 5 Y1 Wk What about oil? Given the fall out of the risk parity structure, I'm no longer using TLT inflows/outflows as an indicator. I've realized that energy is the economy. Closely following commodities such as light crude which follow supply and demand more closely have provided a much better leading indicator as to what will happen in equities. Given that, oil will also most likely hit a relief rally. But ultimately, we have seen it reach as low $19/barrel during intraday trading. /CL Futures Contracts 1 Y1 D IV. The Next 5 Years In short, the recovery from this deflationary environment will take years to recover from. The trend down will not be without large bumps. We cannot compare this on the scale of the 2008 financial crisis. This is on the order of 1929. Once we hit near 180, the Fed crushes the dollar, we are in a high likelihood of hitting increased inflation, or stagflation. At this point the Fed will be backed into a corner and forced to raise rates. My targets for gold are around 1250-1300. It may possibly go near to 1000. Oil could conceivably go as low as $15-17/barrel, so don't go all in on the recovery bounce. No matter what, the current rise in gold will be a trap. The continued selling in the S&P is a trap, will bounce, forming another trap, before continuing our painful downtrend. I haven't even mentioned coronavirus and unemployment until now. I've stated previously we are on track to hit around at least 10,000 coronavirus cases by the end of this month. It's looking closer to now 20-30,000. Next month we are looking to at least 100,000 by the end of the April. We might hit 1,000,000 by May or June. Comparison of the 2020 Decline to 1929 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Chart courtesy of Moon_buzz tl;dr We're going to have a major reflexive rally starting around 213, all the way back to at least to 250, and possibly 270. WSB is going to lose their minds holding their puts, and then load up on calls, declaring we've reached a bottom in the stock market. The next move will be put in place for the next leg down to 182, where certain actors will steal all your tendies on the way down. Also Monday might be another circuit breaker. tl;dr of tl;dr Big bounce incoming. Bear trap starting 213. Then bull trap up around 250-270. We're going down to around 182. tl;dr of tl;dr of tl;dr WSB will be screwed both left and right before they can say guh. Hint: If you want to get a Bloomberg article for free, hit esc repeatedly before the popup appears. If it doesn't work, refresh the article, and keep hitting esc. Remember, do not dance. We are on the cusp of a generational change. Use the money you earn to protect yourselves and others. Financial literacy and knowledge is the key to empowerment and self-change. Some good DD posts: u/bigd0g111 -https://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/fmshcv/when_market_bounce_inevitably_comesdont_scream/ u/scarvesandsuspenders - https://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/fmzu51/incoming_bounce_vix_puts/ Update 1 3/22/2020 - Limit down 3 minutes of futures. Likely hit -7% circuit breaker on the cash open on Monday at 213 as stated previously. Do not think we will hit the 2nd circuit breaker at 199.06. Thinking we bounce, not too much, but stabilize at least around 202.97. Update 2 3/23/20 9:08 - Watching the vote before making any moves. 9:40 - sold 25% of my SPY puts and 50% of my VXX calls 9:45 - sold another 50% of SPY puts 9:50 - just holding 25% SPY puts now and waiting for the vote/other developments 11:50 - Selling all puts. Starting my long position. 11:55 - Sold USO puts. 12:00 - Purchased VXX puts to vega hedge. 2:45 - Might sell calls EOD. Looks like a lot of positioning for another leg down before going back up. It's pretty common to shake things out in order to make people to sell positions. Just FYI, I do intraday trading. If you can't, just wait for EOD for the next positioning. 3:05 - Seeing a massive short on gold. Large amounts of calls on treasuries. And extremely large positioning for more shorts on SPY/SPX. Will flip into puts. Lot of people keep DM'ing me. I'm only going to do this once. https://preview.redd.it/uvs5tkje1ho41.png?width=2470&format=png&auto=webp&s=c6b632556ca04a26e4e08fb2c9223bfcb84e0901 That said, I'm going back into puts. Just goes to show how tricky the game is. 3:45 - As more shorts cover, going to sell the calls and then flip into puts around the last few min of close. Hope you guys made some money on the cover and got some puts. I'll write a short update later explaining how they set up tomorrow, especially with the VIX dropping so much. 3/24/20 - So the rally begins. Unfortunately misread the options volume. The clearest signal was the VIX dropping the past few days even though we kept swinging lower, which suggested that large gap downs were mostly over and the rally is getting started. Going to hold my puts since they are longer dated. Going to get a few short term calls to ride this wave. 10:20 - VIX still falling, possibility of a major short squeeze coming in if SPY breaks out over 238-239. 10:45 - Opened a small GLD short, late April expiration. 10:50 - Sold calls, just waiting, not sure if we break 238. If we go above 240, going back into calls. See room going to 247 or 269. Otherwise, going to start adding to my puts. https://preview.redd.it/ag5s0hccxmo41.png?width=2032&format=png&auto=webp&s=aad730db4164720483a8b60056243d6e4a8a0cab 11:10 - Averaging a little on my puts here. Again, difficult to time the entries. Do not recommend going all in at a single time. Still watching around 240 closely. 11:50 - Looks like it's closing. Still going to wait a little bit. 12:10 - Averaged down more puts. Have a little powder left, we'll see what happens for the rest of today and tomorrow. 2:40 - Closed positions, sitting on cash. Waiting to see what EOD holds. Really hard trading days. 3:00 - Last update. What I'm trying to do here posting some thoughts is for you guys to take a look at things and make some hypotheses before trading. Getting a lot of comments and replies complaining. If you're tailing, yes there is risk involved. I've mentioned sizing appropriately, and locking in profits. Those will help you get consistent gains. https://preview.redd.it/yktrcoazjpo41.png?width=1210&format=png&auto=webp&s=2d6f0272712a2d17d45e033273a369bc164e2477 Bounced off 10 year trendline at around 246, pretty close to 247. Unless we break through that the rally is over. Given that, could still see us going to 270. 3/25/20 - I wouldn't read too much into the early moves. Be careful of the shakeouts. Still long. Price target, 269. When does the month end? Why is that important? 12:45 - out calls. 12:50 - adding a tranche of SPY puts. Adding GLD puts. 1:00 est - saving rest of my dry powder to average if we still continue to 270. Think we drop off a cliff after the end of the quarter. Just a little humor... hedge funds and other market makers right now. 2:00pm - Keep an eye on TLT and VXX... 3:50pm - Retrace to the 10 yr trend line. Question is if we continue going down or bounce. So I'm going to explain again, haven't changed these lines. Check the charts from earlier. https://preview.redd.it/9qiqyndtivo41.png?width=1210&format=png&auto=webp&s=55cf84f2b9f5a8099adf8368d9f3034b0e3c4ae4 3/26/20 - Another retest of the 10 yr trendline. If it can go over and hold, can see us moving higher. 9:30 - Probably going to buy calls close to the open. Not too sure, seems like another trap setting up. Might instead load up on more puts later today. In terms of unemployment, was expecting close to double. Data doesn't seem to line up. That's why we're bouncing. California reported 1 million yesterday alone, and unemployment estimates were 1.6 million? Sure. Waiting a little to see the price action first. Treasuries increasing and oil going down? 9:47 - Added more to GLD puts. 10:11 - Adding more SPY puts and IWM puts. 10:21 - Adding more puts. 11:37 - Relax guys, this move has been expected. Take care of yourselves. Eat something, take a walk. Play some video games. Don't stare at a chart all day. If you have some family or close friends, advise them not to buy into this rally. I've had my immediate family cash out or switch today into Treasury bonds/TIPS. 2:55pm - https://youtu.be/S74rvpc6W60?t=9 3:12pm - Hedge funds and their algos right now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF_nUm982vI 4:00pm - Don't doubt your vibe. For those that keep asking about my vibe... yes, we could hit 270. I literally said we could hit 270 when we were at 218. There was a lot of doubt. Just sort by best and look at the comments. Can we go to 180 from 270? Yes. I mentioned that EOM is important. Here's another prediction. VIX will hit ATH again. 2:55pm EST - For DM's chat is not working now. Will try to get back later tonight. Stream today for those who missed it, 2:20-4:25 - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/576598992 Thanks again to WallStreetBooyah and all the others for making this possible. 9:10pm EST Twitter handles (updated) https://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/fmhz1p/the_great_unwinding_why_wsb_will_keep_losing/floyrbf/?context=3, thanks blind_guy Not an exhaustive list. Just to get started. Follow the people they follow. Dark pool and gamma exposure - https://squeezemetrics.com/monitodix Wyckoff - https://school.stockcharts.com/doku.php?id=market_analysis:the_wyckoff_method MacroVoices Investopedia for a lot. Also links above in my post. lol... love you guys. Please be super respectful on FinTwit. These guys are incredibly helpful and intelligent, and could easily just stop posting content.
You may have heard about off-shore tax havens of questionable legality where wealthy people invest their money in legal "grey zones" and don't pay any tax, as featured for example, in Netflix's drama, The Laundromat. The reality is that the Government of Canada offers 100% tax-free investing throughout your life, with unlimited withdrawals of your contributions and profits, and no limits on how much you can make tax-free. There is also nothing to report to the Canada Revenue Agency. Although Britain has a comparable program, Canada is the only country in the world that offers tax-free investing with this level of power and flexibility. Thank you fellow Redditors for the wonderful Gold Award and Today I Learned Award! (Unrelated but Important Note: I put a link at the bottom for my margin account explainer. Many people are interested in margin trading but don't understand the math behind margin accounts and cannot find an explanation. If you want to do margin, but don't know how, click on the link.) As a Gen-Xer, I wrote this post with Millennials in mind, many of whom are getting interested in investing in ETFs, individual stocks, and also my personal favourite, options. Your generation is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this extremely powerful program at a relatively young age. But whether you're in your 20's or your 90's, read on! Are TFSAs important? In 2020 Canadians have almost 1 trillion dollars saved up in their TFSAs, so if that doesn't prove that pennies add up to dollars, I don't know what does. The TFSA truly is the Great Canadian Tax Shelter. I will periodically be checking this and adding issues as they arise, to this post. I really appreciate that people are finding this useful. As this post is now fairly complete from a basic mechanics point of view, and some questions are already answered in this post, please be advised that at this stage I cannot respond to questions that are already covered here. If I do not respond to your post, check this post as I may have added the answer to the FAQs at the bottom.
How to Invest in Stocks
A lot of people get really excited - for good reason - when they discover that the TFSA allows you to invest in stocks, tax free. I get questions about which stocks to buy. I have made some comments about that throughout this post, however; I can't comprehensively answer that question. Having said that, though, if you're interested in picking your own stocks and want to learn how, I recommmend starting with the following videos: The first is by Peter Lynch, a famous American investor in the 80's who wrote some well-respected books for the general public, like "One Up on Wall Street." The advice he gives is always valid, always works, and that never changes, even with 2020's technology, companies and AI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRMpgaBv-U4&t=2256s The second is a recording of a university lecture given by investment legend Warren Buffett, who expounds on the same principles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MHIcabnjrA Please note that I have no connection to whomever posted the videos.
TFSAs were introduced in 2009 by Stephen Harper's government, to encourage Canadians to save. The effect of the TFSA is that ordinary Canadians don't pay any income or capital gains tax on their securities investments. Initial uptake was slow as the contribution rules take some getting used to, but over time the program became a smash hit with Canadians. There are about 20 million Canadians with TFSAs, so the uptake is about 70%- 80% (as you have to be the age of majority in your province/territory to open a TFSA).
Eligibility to Open a TFSA
You must be a Canadian resident with a valid Social Insurance Number to open a TFSA. You must be at the voting age in the province in which you reside in order to open a TFSA, however contribution room begins to accumulate from the year in which you turned 18. You do not have to file a tax return to open a TFSA. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen to open and contribute to a TFSA. No minimum balance is required to open a TFSA.
Where you Can Open a TFSA
There are hundreds of financial institutions in Canada that offer the TFSA. There is only one kind of TFSA; however, different institutions offer a different range of financial products. Here are some examples:
The Canadian big 5 bank branches and most other financial institutions offer a TFSA that allows you to buy mutual funds, hold cash, GICs, term deposits, and possibly ETFs. This is a good choice if you want guaranteed returns or diversified investing.
There are a number of on-line banks such as Tangerine, Simplii Financial, Oaken Financial, and many more that offer the TFSA.
The discount DIY brokerage arms of the big 5 banks give you more choices, including stocks, warrants, bonds and options. There are also standalone brokers like IBKR Canada, Questrade, Qtrade, and Virtual Brokers, among others, that offer this.
Some brokerages and financial advisors also offer TFSAs that give you these investment choices, in different formats such as:
Traditional brokerage, where a stockbroker invests your money (BMO Nesbitt Burns, RBC Dominion Securities and others)
Financial advisor who will invest your money according to a plan you put together with the advisor (TSI Network and many others)
"Robo" advisors such as Wealthsimple, RBC InvestEase, BMO SmartFolio, or Wealthbar
BMO's AdviceDirect, which is a semi-directed hybrid between standalone DIY investing and fully-advised investing, where you operate on a DIY basis but have access to a registered investment advisor (a live person) who can give you suggetions and advice.
Your TFSA may be covered by either CIFP or CDIC insuranceor both. Ask your bank or broker for details.
What You Can Trade and Invest In
You can trade the following:
GICS, mutual funds, term deposits
individual common and preferred stocks listed on an "approved exchange" which is the TSX, TSX-V, NASDAQ, NYSE, and about 20 other exchanges worldwide, but not the US OTC pink sheets. Many examples, such as Suncor, Linamar, Apple, any of the big banks, and many thousands of others, when you want to buy into an individual company
stock-like securities like REITS, ETFs and ETNs, including 2x and 3x leveraged
gold and silver certificates
cash of many countries (CAD/USD/EUGBP/AUD/NZD/JPY/CHF and many others)
government bills and bonds of most countries, subsovereigns like Canadian provincial bills and bonds, and most corporations
options that trade on the Montreal Exchange or various options exchanges in the USA and the rest of the word (see FAQ for details)
gold, silver bullion certificates
shares in certain private companies -- but consult your tax advisor on this
What You Cannot Trade
You cannot trade:
commodity futures contracts
option spread positions (see FAQ for details)
anything that requires a margin account, meaning, a special kind of account that allows you to borrow money directly from the broker against the assets you have in your account and the assets you intend to buy.
crypto (although there exist crypto ETNs that you can buy)
Again, if it requires a margin account, it's out. You cannot buy on margin in a TFSA. Nothing stopping you from borrowing money from other sources as long as you stay within your contribution limits, but you can't trade on margin in a TFSA. You can of course trade long puts and calls which give you leverage.
Rules for Contribution Room
Starting at 18 you get a certain amount of contribution room. According to the CRA: You will accumulate TFSA contribution room for each year even if you do not file an Income Tax and Benefit Return or open a TFSA. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2009 to2012 was $5,000. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2013 and 2014 was $5,500. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the year 2015 was $10,000. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2016 to 2018 was $5,500. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the year 2019 is $6,000. The TFSA annual room limit will be indexed to inflation and rounded to the nearest $500. Investment income earned by, and changes in the value of TFSA investments will not affect your TFSA contribution room for the current or future years. https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/tax-free-savings-account/contributions.html If you don't use the room, it accumulates indefinitely. Trades you make in a TFSA are truly tax free. But you cannot claim the dividend tax credit and you cannot claim losses in a TFSA against capital gains whether inside or outside of the TFSA. So do make money and don't lose money in a TFSA. You are stuck with the 15% withholding tax on U.S. dividend distributions unlike the RRSP, due to U.S. tax rules, but you do not pay any capital gains on sale of U.S. shares. You can withdraw *both* contributions *and* capital gains, no matter how much, at any time, without penalty. The amount of the withdrawal (contributions+gains) converts into contribution room in the *next* calendar year. So if you put the withdrawn funds back in the same calendar year you take them out, that burns up your total accumulated contribution room to the extent of the amount that you re-contribute in the same calendar year.
E.g. Say you turned 18 in 2016 in Alberta where the age of majority is 18. It is now sometime in 2020. You have never contributed to a TFSA. You now have $5,500+$5,500+$5,500+$6,000+$6,000 = $28,500 of room in 2020. In 2020 you manage to put $20,000 in to your TFSA and you buy Canadian Megacorp common shares. You now have $8,500 of room remaining in 2020. Sometime in 2021 - it doesn't matter when in 2021 - your shares go to $100K due to the success of the Canadian Megacorp. You also have $6,000 worth of room for 2021 as set by the government. You therefore have $8,500 carried over from 2020+$6,000 = $14,500 of room in 2021. In 2021 you sell the shares and pull out the $100K. This amount is tax-free and does not even have to be reported. You can do whatever you want with it. But: if you put it back in 2021 you will over-contribute by $100,000 - $14,500 = $85,500 and incur a penalty. But if you wait until 2022 you will have $14,500 unused contribution room carried forward from 2021, another $6,000 for 2022, and $100,000 carried forward from the withdrawal 2021, so in 2022 you will have $14,500+$6,000+$100,000 = $120,500 of contribution room. This means that if you choose, you can put the $100,000 back in in 2022 tax-free and still have $20,500 left over. If you do not put the money back in 2021, then in 2022 you will have $120,500+$6,000 = $126,500 of contribution room. There is no age limit on how old you can be to contribute, no limit on how much money you can make in the TFSA, and if you do not use the room it keeps carrying forward forever. Just remember the following formula: This year's contribution room = (A) unused contribution room carried forward from last year + (B) contribution room provided by the government for this year + (C) total withdrawals from last year. EXAMPLE 1: Say in 2020 you never contributed to a TFSA but you were 18 in 2009. You have $69,500 of unused room (see above) in 2020 which accumulated from 2009-2020. In 2020 you contribute $50,000, leaving $19,500 contribution room unused for 2020. You buy $50,000 worth of stock. The next day, also in 2020, the stock doubles and it's worth $100,000. Also in 2020 you sell the stock and withdraw $100,000, tax-free. You continue to trade stocks within your TFSA, and hopefully grow your TFSA in 2020, but you make no further contributions or withdrawals in 2020. The question is, How much room will you have in 2021? Answer: In the year 2021, the following applies: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2020: $19,500 (B) Contribution room provided by government for this year, 2021: $6,000 (C) Total withdrawals from last year, 2020: $100,000 Total contribution room for 2021 = $19,500+6,000+100,000 = $125,500. EXAMPLE 2: Say between 2020 and 2021 you decided to buy a tax-free car (well you're still stuck with the GST/PST/HST/QST but you get the picture) so you went to the dealer and spent $25,000 of the $100,000 you withdrew in 2020. You now have a car and $75,000 still burning a hole in your pocket. Say in early 2021 you re-contribute the $75,000 you still have left over, to your TFSA. However, in mid-2021 you suddenly need $75,000 because of an emergency so you pull the $75,000 back out. But then a few weeks later, it turns out that for whatever reason you don't need it after all so you decide to put the $75,000 back into the TFSA, also in 2021. You continue to trade inside your TFSA but make no further withdrawals or contributions. How much room will you have in 2022? Answer: In the year 2022, the following applies: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2021: $125,500 - $75,000 - $75,000 = -$24,500. Already you have a problem. You have over-contributed in 2021. You will be assessed a penalty on the over-contribution! (penalty = 1% a month). But if you waited until 2022 to re-contribute the $75,000 you pulled out for the emergency..... In the year 2022, the following would apply: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2021: $125,500 -$75,000 =$50,500. (B) Contribution room provided by government for this year, 2022: $6,000 (C) Total withdrawals from last year, 2020: $75,000 Total contribution room for 2022 = $50,500 + $6,000 + $75,000 = $131,500. ...And...re-contributing that $75,000 that was left over from your 2021 emergency that didn't materialize, you still have $131,500-$75,000 = $56,500 of contribution room left in 2022. For a more comprehensive discussion, please see the CRA info link below.
FAQs That Have Arisen in the Discussion and Other Potential Questions:
Equity and ETF/ETN Options in a TFSA: can I get leverage? Yes. You can buy puts and calls in your TFSA and you only need to have the cash to pay the premium and broker commissions. Example: if XYZ is trading at $70, and you want to buy the $90 call with 6 months to expiration, and the call is trading at $2.50, you only need to have $250 in your account, per option contract, and if you are dealing with BMO IL for example you need $9.95 + $1.25/contract which is what they charge in commission. Of course, any profits on closing your position are tax-free. You only need the full value of the strike in your account if you want to exercise your option instead of selling it. Please note: this is not meant to be an options tutorial; see the Montreal Exchange's Equity Options Reference Manual if you have questions on how options work.
Equity and ETF/ETN Options in a TFSA: what is ok and not ok? Long puts and calls are allowed. Covered calls are allowed, but cash-secured puts are not allowed. All other option trades are also not allowed. Basically the rule is, if the trade is not a covered call and it either requires being short an option or short the stock, you can't do it in a TFSA.
Live in a province where the voting age is 19 so I can't open a TFSA until I'm 19, when does my contribution room begin? Your contribution room begins to accumulate at 18, so if you live in province where the age of majority is 19, you'll get the room carried forward from the year you turned 18.
If I turn 18 on December 31, do I get the contribution room just for that day or for the whole year? The whole year.
Do commissions paid on share transactions count as withdrawals? Unfortunately, no. If you contribute $2,000 cash and you buy $1,975 worth of stock and pay $25 in commission, the $25 does not count as a withdrawal. It is the same as if you lost money in the TFSA.
How much room do I have? If your broker records are complete, you can do a spreadsheet. The other thing you can do is call the CRA and they will tell you.
TFSATFSA direct transfer from one institution to another: this has no impact on your contributions or withdrawals as it counts as neither.
More than 1 TFSA: you can have as many as you want but your total contribution room does not increase or decrease depending on how many accounts you have.
Withdrawals that convert into contribution room in the next year. Do they carry forward indefinitely if not used in the next year? Answer :yes.
Do I have to declare my profits, withdrawals and contributions? No. Your bank or broker interfaces directly with the CRA on this. There are no declarations to make.
Risky investments - smart? In a TFSA you want always to make money, because you pay no tax, and you want never to lose money, because you cannot claim the loss against your income from your job. If in year X you have $5,000 of contribution room and put it into a TFSA and buy Canadian Speculative Corp. and due to the failure of the Canadian Speculative Corp. it goes to zero, two things happen. One, you burn up that contribution room and you have to wait until next year for the government to give you more room. Two, you can't claim the $5,000 loss against your employment income or investment income or capital gains like you could in a non-registered account. So remember Buffett's rule #1: Do not lose money. Rule #2 being don't forget the first rule. TFSA's are absolutely tailor-made for Graham-Buffett value investing or for diversified ETF or mutual fund investing, but you don't want to buy a lot of small specs because you don't get the tax loss.
Moving to/from Canada/residency. You must be a resident of Canada and 18 years old with a valid SIN to open a TFSA. Consult your tax advisor on whether your circumstances make you a resident for tax purposes. Since 2009, your TFSA contribution room accumulates every year, if at any time in the calendar year you are 18 years of age or older and a resident of Canada. Note: If you move to another country, you can STILL trade your TFSA online from your other country and keep making money within the account tax-free. You can withdraw money and Canada will not tax you. But you have to get tax advice in your country as to what they do. There restrictions on contributions for non-residents. See "non residents of Canada:" https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pub/rc4466/rc4466-19e.pdf
The U.S. withholding tax. Dividends paid by U.S.-domiciled companies are subject to a 15% U.S. withholding tax. Your broker does this automatically at the time of the dividend payment. So if your stock pays a $100 USD dividend, you only get $85 USD in your broker account and in your statement the broker will have a note saying 15% U.S. withholding tax. I do not know under what circumstances if any it is possible to get the withheld amount. Normally it is not, but consult a tax professional.
The U.S. withholding tax does not apply to capital gains. So if you buy $5,000 USD worth of Apple and sell it for $7,000 USD, you get the full $2,000 USD gain automatically.
Tax-Free Leverage. Leverage in the TFSA is effectively equal to your tax rate * the capital gains inclusion rate because you're not paying tax. So if you're paying 25% on average in income tax, and the capital gains contribution rate is 50%, the TFSA is like having 12.5%, no margin call leverage costing you 0% and that also doesn't magnify your losses.
Margin accounts. These accounts allow you to borrow money from your broker to buy stocks. TFSAs are not margin accounts. Nothing stopping you from borrowing from other sources (such as borrowing cash against your stocks in an actual margin account, or borrowing cash against your house in a HELOC or borrowing cash against your promise to pay it back as in a personal LOC) to fund a TFSA if that is your decision, bearing in mind the risks, but a TFSA is not a margin account. Consider options if you want leverage that you can use in a TFSA, without borrowing money.
Dividend Tax Credit on Canadian Companies. Remember, dividends paid into the TFSA are not eligible to be claimed for the credit, on the rationale that you already got a tax break.
FX risk. The CRA allows you to contribute and withdraw foreign currency from the TFSA but the contribution/withdrawal accounting is done in CAD. So if you contribute $10,000 USD into your TFSA and withdraw $15,000 USD, and the CAD is trading at 70 cents USD when you contribute and $80 cents USD when you withdraw, the CRA will treat it as if you contributed $14,285.71 CAD and withdrew $18,75.00 CAD.
OTC (over-the-counter stocks). You can only buy stocks if they are listed on an approved exchange ("approved exchange" = TSX, TSX-V, NYSE, NASDAQ and about 25 or so others). The U.S. pink sheets "over-the-counter" market is an example of a place where you can buy stocks, that is not an approved exchange, therefore you can't buy these penny stocks. I have however read that the CRA make an exception for a stock traded over the counter if it has a dual listing on an approved exchange. You should check that with a tax lawyer or accountant though.
The RRSP. This is another great tax shelter. Tax shelters in Canada are either deferrals or in a few cases - such as the TFSA - outright tax breaks, The RRSP is an example of a deferral. The RRSP allows you to deduct your contributions from your income, which the TFSA does not allow. This deduction is a huge advantage if you earn a lot of money. The RRSP has tax consequences for withdrawing money whereas the TFSA does not. Withdrawals from the RRSP are taxable whereas they are obviously not in a TFSA. You probably want to start out with a TFSA and maintain and grow that all your life. It is a good idea to start contributing to an RRSP when you start working because you get the tax deduction, and then you can use the amount of the deduction to contribute to your TFSA. There are certain rules that claw back your annual contribution room into an RRSP if you contribute to a pension. See your tax advisor.
Pensions. If I contribute to a pension does that claw back my TFSA contribution room or otherwise affect my TFSA in any way? Answer: No.
The $10K contribution limit for 2015. This was PM Harper's pledge. In 2015 the Conservative government changed the rules to make the annual government allowance $10,000 per year forever. Note: withdrawals still converted into contribution room in the following year - that did not change. When the Liberals came into power they switched the program back for 2016 to the original Harper rules and have kept the original Harper rules since then. That is why there is the $10,000 anomaly of 2015. The original Harper rules (which, again, are in effect now) called for $500 increments to the annual government allowance as and when required to keep up with inflation, based on the BofC's Consumer Price Index (CPI). Under the new Harper rules, it would have been $10,000 flat forever. Which you prefer depends on your politics but the TFSA program is massively popular with Canadians. Assuming 1.6% annual CPI inflation then the annual contribution room will hit $10,000 in 2052 under the present rules. Note: the Bank of Canada does an excellent and informative job of explaining inflation and the CPI at their website.
Losses in a TFSA - you cannot claim a loss in a TFSA against income. So in a TFSA you always want to make money and never want to lose money. A few ppl here have asked if you are losing money on your position in a TFSA can you transfer it in-kind to a cash account and claim the loss. I would expect no as I cannot see how in view of the fact that TFSA losses can't be claimed, that the adjusted cost base would somehow be the cost paid in the TFSA. But I'm not a tax lawyeaccountant. You should consult a tax professional.
Transfers in-kind to the TFSA and the the superficial loss rule. You can transfer securities (shares etc.) "in-kind," meaning, directly, from an unregistered account to the TFSA. If you do that, the CRA considers that you "disposed" of, meaning, equivalent to having sold, the shares in the unregistered account and then re-purchased them at the same price in the TFSA. The CRA considers that you did this even though the broker transfers the shares directly in the the TFSA. The superficial loss rule, which means that you cannot claim a loss for a security re-purchased within 30 days of sale, applies. So if you buy something for $20 in your unregistered account, and it's trading for $25 when you transfer it in-kind into the TFSA, then you have a deemed disposition with a capital gain of $5. But it doesn't work the other way around due to the superficial loss rule. If you buy it for $20 in the unregistered account, and it's trading at $15 when you transfer it in-kind into the TFSA, the superficial loss rule prevents you from claiming the loss because it is treated as having been sold in the unregistered account and immediately bought back in the TFSA.
Day trading/swing trading. It is possible for the CRA to try to tax your TFSA on the basis of "advantage." The one reported decision I'm aware of (emphasis on I'm aware of) is from B.C. where a woman was doing "swap transactions" in her TFSA which were not explicitly disallowed but the court rules that they were an "advantage" in certain years and liable to taxation. Swaps were subsequently banned. I'm not sure what a swap is exactly but it's not that someone who is simply making contributions according to the above rules would run afoul of. The CRA from what I understand doesn't care how much money you make in the TFSA, they care how you made it. So if you're logged on to your broker 40 hours a week and trading all day every day they might take the position that you found a way to work a job 40 hours a week and not pay any tax on the money you make, which they would argue is an "advantage," although there are arguments against that. This is not legal advice, just information.
The U.S. Roth IRA. This is a U.S. retirement savings tax shelter that is superficially similar to the TFSA but it has a number of limitations, including lack of cumulative contribution room, no ability for withdrawals to convert into contribution room in the following year, complex rules on who is eligible to contribute, limits on how much you can invest based on your income, income cutoffs on whether you can even use the Roth IRA at all, age limits that govern when and to what extent you can use it, and strict restrictions on reasons to withdraw funds prior to retirement (withdrawals prior to retirement can only be used to pay for private medical insurance, unpaid medical bills, adoption/childbirth expenses, certain educational expenses). The TFSA is totally unlike the Roth IRA in that it has none of these restrictions, therefore, the Roth IRA is not in any reasonable sense a valid comparison. The TFSA was modeled after the U.K. Investment Savings Account, which is the only comparable program to the TFSA.
The UK Investment Savings Account. This is what the TFSA was based off of. Main difference is that the UK uses a 20,000 pound annual contribution allowance, use-it-or-lose-it. There are several different flavours of ISA, and some do have a limited recontribution feature but not to the extent of the TFSA.
Is it smart to overcontribute to buy a really hot stock and just pay the 1% a month overcontribution penalty? If the CRA believes you made the overcontribution deliberately the penalty is 100% of the gains on the overcontribution, meaning, you can keep the overcontribution, or the loss, but the CRA takes the profit.
Speculative stocks-- are they ok? There is no such thing as a "speculative stock." That term is not used by the CRA. Either the stock trades on an approved exchange or it doesn't. So if a really blue chip stock, the most stable company in the world, trades on an exchange that is not approved, you can't buy it in a TFSA. If a really speculative gold mining stock in Busang, Indonesia that has gone through the roof due to reports of enormous amounts of gold, but their geologist somehow just mysteriously fell out of a helicopter into the jungle and maybe there's no gold there at all, but it trades on an approved exchange, it is fine to buy it in a TFSA. Of course the risk of whether it turns out to be a good investment or not, is on you.
Remember, you're working for your money anyway, so if you can get free money from the government -- you should take it! Follow the rules because Canadians have ended up with a tax bill for not understanding the TFSA rules. Appreciate the feedback everyone. Glad this basic post has been useful for many. The CRA does a good job of explaining TFSAs in detail at https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pub/rc4466/rc4466-19e.pdf
Unrelated but of Interest: The Margin Account
Note: if you are interested in how margin accounts work, I refer you to my post on margin accounts, where I use a straightforward explanation of the math behind margin accounts to try and give readers the confidence that they understand this powerful leveraging tool.
What has Trump actually done? I've done some research...
A little about myself: I have always been a right-leaning financially conservative liberal. Meaning I'm all for newer technologies. I want solar energy, electric cars, auto-driving technologies (Love Musk). I do care about our environment. I do believe LGBT relationships/marriage is awesome. I'm all for Black people having their fair style of policing as well. I hate Nazis, hate Communists, hate racism, sexism, abuse, etc. I hate hate. I love LOVE! I want our government to be LESS controlling and want less taxes. I do NOT believe we should be handing out welfare checks unless IF needed (you just lost a job, sure). If you are sitting on welfare for 10 years....that becomes a problem. I look at BOTH SIDES. I've signed up for newsletters/emails/facebook/twitter groups from both sides. However I've seen that the left has become a socialist groupthink mindset, for example omitting the word God in a few speeches....It's not a BIG deal but small unnoticed details may lead to big overhauls. The censorships of channels, the media attacking conservatives, people getting fired for just having a different political opinion...are you kidding me?? The media turning a blind eye to destruction yet talk about Coronavirus numbers and criminals that are resisting arrest get shot as the cop's fault...however we do need more police training. Cops are aggressive here (I do agree with my liberal friends on that). The double standard: letting people protest for BLM but when the Conservatives tried to protest to go back to work, at the beginning in March/April, they were at fault. Or how CA Gov Newsom stated "You're allowed to protest, but not allowed to have social gatherings"....isn't a protest a type of social gathering. I don't like to be biased, but holy crap how much I've found what Trump has done for the past 3.5 years is insane!! My point is I look at both sides for politics. Anyways, I decided to do a full day's work with the help of some people to compile a list:
Trump recently signed 3 bills to benefit Native people. One gives compensation to the Spokane tribe for loss of their lands in the mid-1900s, one funds Native language programs, and the third gives federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana.
Trump finalized the creation of Space Force as our 6th Military branch.
Trump signed a law to make cruelty to animals a federal felony so that animal abusers face tougher consequences.
Violent crime has fallen every year he’s been in office after rising during the 2 years before he was elected.
Trump signed a bill making CBD and Hemp legal.
Trump’s EPA gave $100 million to fix the water infrastructure problem in Flint, Michigan.
Under Trump’s leadership, in 2018 the U.S. surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil.
Trump signed a law ending the gag orders on Pharmacists that prevented them from sharing money-saving information.
Trump signed the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (FOSTA), which includes the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act” (SESTA) which both give law enforcement and victims new tools to fight sex trafficking.
Trump signed a bill to require airports to provide spaces for breastfeeding Moms.
The 25% lowest-paid Americans enjoyed a 4.5% income boost in November 2019, which outpaces a 2.9% gain in earnings for the country's highest-paid workers.
Low-wage workers are benefiting from higher minimum wages and from corporations that are increasing entry-level pay.
Trump signed the biggest wilderness protection & conservation bill in a decade and designated 375,000 acres as protected land.
Trump signed the Save our Seas Act which funds $10 million per year to clean tons of plastic & garbage from the ocean.
He signed a bill this year allowing some drug imports from Canada so that prescription prices would go down.
Trump signed an executive order this year that forces all healthcare providers to disclose the cost of their services so that Americans can comparison shop and know how much less providers charge insurance companies.
When signing that bill he said no American should be blindsided by bills for medical services they never agreed to in advance.
Hospitals will now be required to post their standard charges for services, which include the discounted price a hospital is willing to accept.
In the eight years prior to President Trump’s inauguration, prescription drug prices increased by an average of 3.6% per year. Under Trump, drug prices have seen year-over-year declines in nine of the last ten months, with a 1.1% drop as of the most recent month.
He created a White House VA Hotline to help veterans and principally staffed it with veterans and direct family members of veterans.
VA employees are being held accountable for poor performance, with more than 4,000 VA employees removed, demoted, and suspended so far.
Issued an executive order requiring the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs to submit a joint plan to provide veterans access to access to mental health treatment as they transition to civilian life.
Because of a bill signed and championed by Trump, In 2020, most federal employees will see their pay increase by an average of 3.1% — the largest raise in more than 10 years.
Trump signed into a law up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for millions of federal workers.
Trump administration will provide HIV prevention drugs for free to 200,000 uninsured patients per year for 11 years.
All-time record sales during the 2019 holidays.
Trump signed an order allowing small businesses to group together when buying insurance to get a better price
President Trump signed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act that provides funding for states to develop maternal mortality reviews to better understand maternal complications and identify solutions & largely focuses on reducing the higher mortality rates for Black Americans.
In 2018, President Trump signed the groundbreaking First Step Act, a criminal justice bill which enacted reforms that make our justice system fairer and help former inmates successfully return to society.
The First Step Act’s reforms addressed inequities in sentencing laws that disproportionately harmed Black Americans and reformed mandatory minimums that created unfair outcomes.
The First Step Act expanded judicial discretion in sentencing of non-violent crimes.
Over 90% of those benefitting from the retroactive sentencing reductions in the First Step Act are Black Americans.
The First Step Act provides rehabilitative programs to inmates, helping them successfully rejoin society and not return to crime.
Trump increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by more than 14%.
Trump signed legislation forgiving Hurricane Katrina debt that threatened HBCUs.
New single-family home sales are up 31.6% in October 2019 compared to just one year ago.
Made HBCUs a priority by creating the position of executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs.
Trump received the Bipartisan Justice Award at a historically black college for his criminal justice reform accomplishments.
The poverty rate fell to a 17-year low of 11.8% under the Trump administration as a result of a jobs-rich environment.
Poverty rates for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have reached their lowest levels since the U.S. began collecting such data.
President Trump signed a bill that creates five national monuments, expands several national parks, adds 1.3 million acres of wilderness, and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Trump’s USDA committed $124 Million to rebuild rural water infrastructure.
Consumer confidence & small business confidence is at an all-time high.
More than 7 million jobs created since election.
More Americans are now employed than ever recorded before in our history.
More than 400,000 manufacturing jobs created since his election.
Trump appointed 5 openly gay ambassadors.
Trump ordered Ric Grenell, his openly gay ambassador to Germany, to lead a global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality across the globe.
Through Trump’s Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) initiative, Federal law enforcement more than doubled convictions of human traffickers and increased the number of defendants charged by 75% in ACTeam districts.
In 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismantled an organization that was the internet’s leading source of prostitution-related advertisements resulting in sex trafficking.
Trump’s OMB published new anti-trafficking guidance for government procurement officials to more effectively combat human trafficking.
Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations arrested 1,588 criminals associated with Human Trafficking.
Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services provided funding to support the National Human Trafficking Hotline to identify perpetrators and give victims the help they need.
The hotline identified 16,862 potential human trafficking cases.
Trump’s DOJ provided grants to organizations that support human trafficking victims – serving nearly 9,000 cases from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018.
The Department of Homeland Security has hired more victim assistance specialists, helping victims get resources and support.
President Trump has called on Congress to pass school choice legislation so that no child is trapped in a failing school because of his or her zip code.
The President signed funding legislation in September 2018 that increased funding for school choice by $42 million.
The tax cuts signed into law by President Trump promote school choice by allowing families to use 529 college savings plans for elementary and secondary education.
Under his leadership ISIS has lost most of their territory and been largely dismantled.
ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed.
Signed the first Perkins CTE reauthorization since 2006, authorizing more than $1 billion for states each year to fund vocational and career education programs.
Executive order expanding apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers.
Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting the U.S. government from discriminating against Christians or punishing expressions of faith.
Signed an executive order that allows the government to withhold money from college campuses deemed to be anti-Semitic and who fail to combat anti-Semitism.
President Trump ordered a halt to U.S. tax money going to international organizations that fund or perform abortions.
Trump imposed sanctions on the socialists in Venezuela who have killed their citizens.
Finalized new trade agreement with South Korea.
Made a deal with the European Union to increase U.S. energy exports to Europe.
Withdrew the U.S. from the job killing TPP deal.
Secured $250 billion in new trade and investment deals in China and $12 billion in Vietnam.
Okay’ d up to $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by unfair trade retaliation.
Has had over a dozen US hostages freed, including those Obama could not get freed.
Trump signed the Music Modernization Act, the biggest change to copyright law in decades.
Trump secured Billions that will fund the building of a wall at our southern border.
The Trump Administration is promoting second chance hiring to give former inmates the opportunity to live crime-free lives and find meaningful employment.
Trump’s DOJ and the Board Of Prisons launched a new “Ready to Work Initiative” to help connect employers directly with former prisoners.
President Trump’s historic tax cut legislation included new Opportunity Zone Incentives to promote investment in low-income communities across the country.
8,764 communities across the country have been designated as Opportunity Zones.
Opportunity Zones are expected to spur $100 billion in long-term private capital investment in economically distressed communities across the country.
Trump directed the Education Secretary to end Common Core.
Trump signed the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund into law.
Trump signed measure funding prevention programs for Veteran suicide.
Companies have brought back over a TRILLION dollars from overseas because of the TCJA bill that Trump signed.
Manufacturing jobs are growing at the fastest rate in more than 30 years.
Stock Market has reached record highs.
Median household income has hit highest level ever recorded.
African-American unemployment is at an all-time low.(was until Covid bullshit)
Hispanic-American unemployment is at an all-time low.
Asian-American unemployment is at an all-time low.
Women’s unemployment rate is at a 65-year low.
Youth unemployment is at a 50-year low.
We have the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded.
The Pledge to America’s Workers has resulted in employers committing to train more than 4 million Americans.
95 percent of U.S. manufacturers are optimistic about the future— the highest ever.
As a result of the Republican tax bill, small businesses will have the lowest top marginal tax rate in more than 80 years.
Record number of regulations eliminated that hurt small businesses.
Signed welfare reform requiring able-bodied adults who don’t have children to work or look for work if they’re on welfare.
Under Trump, the FDA approved more affordable generic drugs than ever before in history.
Reformed Medicare program to stop hospitals from overcharging low-income seniors on their drugs—saving seniors 100’s of millions of $$$ this year alone.
Signed Right-To-Try legislation allowing terminally ill patients to try experimental treatment that wasn’t allowed before.
Secured $6 billion in new funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
Signed VA Choice Act and VA Accountability Act, expanded VA telehealth services, walk-in-clinics, and same-day urgent primary and mental health care.
U.S. oil production recently reached all-time high so we are less dependent on oil from the Middle East.
The U.S. is a net natural gas exporter for the first time since 1957.
NATO allies increased their defense spending because of his pressure campaign.
Withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord in 2017 and that same year the U.S. still led the world by having the largest reduction in Carbon emissions.
Has his circuit court judge nominees being confirmed faster than any other new administration.
Had his Supreme Court Justice’s Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh confirmed.
Moved U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Agreed to a new trade deal with Mexico & Canada that will increase jobs here and $$$ coming in.
Reached a breakthrough agreement with the E.U. to increase U.S. exports.
Imposed tariffs on China in response to China’s forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, and their chronically abusive trade practices, has agreed to a Part One trade deal with China.
Signed legislation to improve the National Suicide Hotline.
Signed the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation ever into law, which will advance childhood cancer research and improve treatments.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by Trump doubled the maximum amount of the child tax credit available to parents and lifted the income limits so more people could claim it.
It also created a new tax credit for other dependents.
In 2018, President Trump signed into law a $2.4 billion funding increase for the Child Care and Development Fund, providing a total of $8.1 billion to States to fund child care for low-income families.
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) signed into law by Trump provides a tax credit equal to 20-35% of child care expenses, $3,000 per child & $6,000 per family + Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allow you to set aside up to $5,000 in pre-tax $ to use for child care.
In 2019 President Donald Trump signed the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act (CARES) into law which allocates $1.8 billion in funding over the next five years to help people with autism spectrum disorder and to help their families.
In 2019 President Trump signed into law two funding packages providing nearly $19 million in new funding for Lupus specific research and education programs, as well an additional $41.7 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the most Lupus funding EVER.
Another upcoming accomplishment to add: In the next week or two Trump will be signing the first major anti-robocall law in decades called the TRACED Act (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence.) Once it’s the law, the TRACED Act will extend the period of time the FCC has to catch & punish those who intentionally break telemarketing restrictions. The bill also requires voice service providers to develop a framework to verify calls are legitimate before they reach your phone.
Israel-UAE peace. More Muslim countries (Countries such as Oman, Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon) said they may follow. Last time Israel and a Muslim country normalized ties was 26 years ago.
US stock market continually hits all-time record highs.
Note: I would like to also add that this list will obviously be very similar to other lists if not the same, since these are facts and not really opinions. I may have missed some stuff or duplicated a few things. Sorry about that. Please let me know if you have anything to add. Thanks for reading!
The importance of crosshair placement, why you're doing it wrong, and how to fix it.
Valorant and the importance of crosshair placement.
Introduction Hey guys, I'm Twix, and I'm back with another informative post, this time concerning the aspect of crosshair placement. Through this post I will be discussing the importance of crosshair placement within the tac shooter genre, going over the most common mistakes I see people make in my experience as a coach, and offering structured routines to remedy the majority of these mistakes. If you haven't read through any of my posts before ( I wouldn't they're too long ) I am an FPS player which mainly played CS:GO competitively, with around 7k hours and multiple level 10 faceit accounts and LAN wins in the past 5 years, who transitioned towards the end of my CS:GO days into being an FPS coach, I mainly worked with people trying to gain a competitive edge in CS, but later moved to coaching Apex players, and following the closed beta release of Valorant, I have been coaching Valorant players for the past few months, with unanimously positive feedback. If you haven't read my first post which is a comprehensive general guide for players looking to improve in Valorant, I highly recommend you look at it here before continuing on to this post. In relation to other qualifications / achievements, I have hit top 30 as hitscan DPS in Overwatch, maintained top 500 ranking in Apex ( PC ) for a couple of seasons, and hold numerous 1% rankings on various Kovaak's FPS Aim Trainer maps. My main goal in creating these posts is to contribute to the Valorant community by sharing my knowledge gained over 10k collective hours of FPS experience ( mainly Tactical fps ) and hopefully help the people reading my posts improve and gain that competitive edge they need to progress into their desired ranking. For those of you interested in learning more about my coaching service, or looking for a community of Valorant players looking to improve, I will link my Discord server at the end of this post.
Why is crosshair placement important?
If I was asked about the importance of consistent crosshair placement in games such as PUBG, Apex, Overwatch, Fortnite, etc. I would probably answer by saying that while it's beneficial to maintain solid crosshair placement, it's by no means the most important aspect in relation to performing well in those games, in tactical shooters however, it's a whole different story. Tactical shooters are low TTK ( time to kill ) games, and for the most part, a single bullet to the head is enough to eliminate a player, this means that in contrast to AFPS games, or games like Overwatch or Apex, which have a much higher TTK, first shot accuracy is of extreme importance in Valorant, inevitably leading to the fact that crosshair placement is also extremely important. In a game with higher TTK, even if your first shot accuracy isn't perfect in an aim duel, you can win the fight if you land more shots on the opposing player over x amount of time that you trade with them, while in Valorant, whoever needs to make the least amount of adjustment to their crosshair when engaging in a 1v1 scenario wins the exchange. It doesn't matter if your raw aim is out of this world, even if you have the most precise flicks known to the FPS community, if your crosshair placement is sub-optimal, you will lose vs. someone with consistent crosshair placement, this is simply due to the fact that all they need to do, is click once your head moves into their crosshair, often without even needing to move their mouse. Crosshair placement may very well be the most important aspect in relation to gunplay and generally the mechanical aspect of tac shooters such as CS:GO or Valorant, as it's the deciding factor in the majority of aim duels.
A large amount of players tend to underestimate the importance of crosshair placement in Valorant, and especially the underlying complexity of maintaining consistency in that context. People think that all you need to do to maintain solid crosshair placement is aim high enough to hit headshots, meaning that the only factor that affects crosshair placement is vertical positioning, others still stick to making their main source of information on game improvement being players who make statements as un-informative and vague as "just click heads", my main goal is to break down and explain the multiple factors that go into proper crosshair placement. Lets start with the basics: Vertical Positioning: As mentioned above, one of the elements which ties into crosshair placement is vertical positioning. this is the set distance that you need to position your crosshair at in relation to the ground to be able to align your crosshair's horizontal axis with player model head-level. The good thing about vertical positioning, is that you can get accustomed to the head level that the player models have in Valorant quite rapidly, as the hitbox sizes in this game are identical, meaning you can always use the ground as a point of reference to determine where the enemy player's head would be. In Valorant, the head level always remains a set distance from the ground In order to train your general ability to place your crosshair at the correct height, try to make a habit out of constantly reminding yourself to place your crosshair at head level, regardless of where you are or what you're doing on the map. What I mean by this, is that even if there isn't any imminent threat of enemy players peeking you, try to keep constantly keep your crosshair at head level, the more time you spend doing this, the faster it will become a habit and become something you do subconsciously, without having to actively focus on the action. This habit allows you to build muscle-memory during otherwise useless down-time, another way to do this is to track your teammate's heads with your crosshair while rotating, leaving spawn etc. While vertical positioning is something that people get used to relatively easily, I have come across a recurring issue among the VODs of people I coach, and that is that people generally struggle with adapting the vertical component of their crosshair's position to varying points of elevation. Here's an image to help you visualize a scenario where this could be an issue: Peeking C Long, Positions marked: Cubby ( right ), Platform ( left ), back-site ( back ) In the image above I am peeking into C back-site from C long on the map 'Haven', I have highlighted three different positions / angles where an enemy could potentially peak from in an in-game reenactment of this scenario, Platform, Cubby, and back-site. What you'll notice is that these positions all have different points of elevation, meaning that while using the ground as reference will allow me to maintain my crosshair at head-level if someone peeks my position from ground level on C site, in order to clear cubby and platform, I would need to adjust my crosshair accordingly, using their lower levels as a reference for where the head-level position would be in those angles. Unfortunately, if you are struggling with this due to the fact that you aren't familiar with the map layout yet, the only thing that will remedy your situation is more time spent playing the game, if however, your issue stems from a mechanical inability, meaning that your mouse control isn't good enough to allow you to make such adjustments comfortably, the routine provided later in the guide may help you get past that issue. Horizontal Positioning: Just as with vertical positioning, horizontal positioning is pretty self-explanatory in terms of it's function. Knowing at what height to position your crosshair at in relation to the environment is far easier to do than knowing where to position it on a horizontal axis, the reasoning behind this is that with vertical placement you will always have the ground or lower level of the object the opponent is standing on as a point of reference which allows you to instantly know at what height head-level is. When focusing on the horizontal aspect of crosshair placement, there isn't a set point of reference at all times; Sometimes you need to hold wide angles, sometimes you need to move along with the object you're playing against, and sometimes you need to pre-aim to swing effectively, all this variability makes it much harder for a newer player to grasp crosshair placement and horizontal positioning is just as crucial as vertical positioning if not even more important. A very common mistake which I see a lot of in the VODs I review as a coach, is newer players holding angles too tightly, meaning that they're playing in a position where they anticipate an enemy push and are waiting for the engagement, and their crosshair is a position where it's hugging the edge of the wall the enemy will peek from. Here is a visual representation of what I'm talking about: Example of incorrect horizontal placement In the image above, I'm holding an angle where if someone crosses moving parallel to the wall I'm looking at, I'll have under 50 ms to react, my crosshair is so close to the edge of the wall that I will need to click my LMB the milli-second I see the enemy. By holding this angle, chances are that by the time I click the enemy will have already crossed to the left of my crosshair resulting in a miss and most likely my death; It would take inhuman reaction times for anyone to hit a player while holding like this, especially if the enemy player is swinging. Instead, you should allow some distance from your crosshair to the edge of the angle you're holding, allowing yourself to spot the enemy's player model, and then time your click effectively. Here is a visual representation of correct crosshair placement while holding the same angle: Example of correct horizontal placement As you can see, in the image above I am allowing for some space between the wall and my crosshair, giving me a significantly longer time window to spot an enemy player and react. Holding an angle that's too "tight" would mean I need to make a larger adjustment to hit the enemy, and therefore I increase my margin of error due to vertical overshoot ( see below ). There are exceptions to the rule when it comes to the distance you need to hold at, if the angle you are holding only allows forward movement ( into your crosshair ) you can hold a narrow line of sight. If you are clearing an angle ( moving along it to check for enemies ) and you are the agressor, you can hold tight and move along with the wall / LOS to allow for a faster reaction if you spot an enemy during your movement. If you are the agressor and you want to swing into an angle that you believe / know an enemy is holding, it is sometimes optimal to pre-aim, meaning you position your crosshair in a way where without moving your mouse it will be aimed at the enemy's head once you swing out the angle. Vertical Offset: The final common issue I would like to bring up which ties into both crosshair placement and horizontal click-timing, is something I call "vertical offset" or "vertical overshoot", this is a player's inability to move his crosshair horizontally while maintaining the same vertical placement. Vertical offset is a big issue when it comes to switching angles or flicking horizontally, I have seen many scenarios where a player is holding an angle properly with their crosshair at a pixel-perfect vertical position in relation to head level, only to make a 30 degree turn to check a different angle and end up shooting at an enemy's chest and losing the duel. Usually, the larger the movement, the more the player's crosshair deviates vertically. Here is a depiction of what vertical offset / overshooting looks like in-game: Example of margin of error caused by vertical offset / overshooting In the image above the green dot is where the crosshair should end up in an ideal scenario while flicking from it's current position to the target dummy, while the green lines represent a theoretical margin of error for overshooting. Fortunately for people that face this issue, I have come up with multiple Kovaak's maps and firing range excercises to help combat it and largely reduce your margin of error when moving your crosshair / flicking horizontally.
Settings: What sensitivity / crosshair should I use?
This part of the post discusses a topic which is highly subjective, both the sensitivity you use and the crosshair you use are something preference-based that you should decide upon on your own, the reason I'm adding this section into the post is for players which are newer to the tac-shooter genre; There are a few guidelines that will help them narrow down the settings that work the best for them. First off, don't by any means copy your favorite pro's config, just because something works for a professional player that has probably spent well above 10,000 hours playing FPS games and decided upon their ideal sensitivity and crosshair within that massive period of time, doesn't mean that it's going to work for you, use whatever you're most comfortable with. Other than individual preference, and having gotten used to their sensitivity, the Pros you watch may be using gear which feels different at their sensitivity setting. A lighter mouse, faster mouse-pad, and faster feet can feel very different in terms of mouse movement, even if you're playing on the same sensitivity value on paper. In relation to grip-styles and what mice are ideal for each hand size, make sure to check out my first post in this sub before moving forward with this guide, as playing on hardware that caters to your individual preferences plays an important role in increasing your mechanical potential. Sensitivity: As I stated in the paragraph above, sensitivity is something quite subjective and while there's no general rule as to which single sens value is superior, Valorant and CS:GO professionals tend to stick to e-dpi or cm/360 much lower than professional players in other titles and FPS subgenres. Your e-dpi is your in-game sensitivity value multiplied by your mouse's DPI setting. The average e-dpi used by Valorant professionals is around 250 e-dpi, which would be a value of 0.625 in-game @ 400 DPI, or around 50 cm/360. Pro player & Streamer sensitivity settings (e-dpi) cm/360 is a universal format for sensitivity measurement, it's the amount of centimeters you need to move your mouse in order to perform a full rotation. This is the format adopted within aimer communities due to the simple fact that you asking someone "what sensitivity do you play on?" And them responding with "1.5 in CSGO" is pretty useless information as they could be playing at any DPI range, and you don't necessarily know what each CSGO sens corresponds to in relation to physical movement, or even movement in other games. "e-dpi" solves the issue of different DPI x Sens measurements within the same game, but the cm/360 format is easily transferable from title to title. The reason professional players in the tac shooter genre use lower sens on average, is due to the fact that in contrast with other FPS games, tac shooters don't require larger or extended movements, instead they require you to hold or clear angles while maintaining stable crosshair placement, the least adjustments you need to make to your crosshair's position on your screen, the better your "aim" will be. The majority of players I have coached report that it has been significantly easier for them to maintain consistent crosshair placement at lower sensitivities. For newer players that still haven't found a "main" sensitivity that they feel comfortable on, I would recommend for them to stick to the range of 200-300 e-dpi, while for more experienced players coming from CS or other similar games, I would recommend a similar range with a higher cap, at 200-400 e-dpi ( very few professional players play above 300 e-dpi ). Crosshair settings: This is something even more subjective and preference-based than sensitivity even, so what I will do in this section is simply post my own settings which I use for my in-game crosshair, and explain why I picked each value within the menu. Crosshair Settings So, lets break my crosshair down setting by settings:
Color: I use "Cyan" as it stands out quite well for me with my current color settings, any color that doesn't match your enemy outline color works perfectly fine here.
Inner Line Opacity: This setting basically determines how see through your crosshair will be, I like setting mine at "1" as It makes the crosshair stand out more.
Inner Line Thickness: I set this to "1" which is the lowest value, a lot of professional players like to use "2", I think setting the value to "1" makes it easier to align your crosshair with heads or with other objects in the environment, it is also less obstructive, so I highly recommend either this or "2" to newer players
Inner Line Offset: This setting determines how large the gap is in your crosshair, I like setting this to "1" as the gap is as small as possible without disappearing, larger gaps make it more difficult to determine where the exact center of your screen is, which can act as a hnderance in your first shot accuracy at longer range engagements.
Movement & Firing Error: These settings just turn your crosshair into a dynamic crosshair and make the gap widen significantly while moving or shooting respectively in order to give you a visual representation of how the innacuracy factor works. Useless and distracting, would highly suggest that you keep these both off unless you're very new and still don't understand how movement / spray accuracy works.
Outer Lines: Everything is off here, I don't think playing with outer lines provides any benefit whatsoever and it's an extra distraction.
Crosshair Placement Improvement Routine:
A large portion of improving your crosshair placement is based on simply playing the game more, crosshair placement is largely based on muscle memory, part of having good crosshair placement is simply based on having experience in-game allowing it to become a subconscious habit, and the rest is based on your ability to anticipate player model movement and learn to make horizontal movements without simultaneously your crosshair vertically. The routine I will provide is not only a great way to work on your crosshair placement, but also highly beneficial to the click-timing aspect of your aim, which is basically the only element of aiming required in Valorant, as good tracking is unecessary in such a low TTK game. If you are already training using a daily routine on Kovaak's ( as you should be ) you can just implement this into your daily scenarios. Kovaaks: ( These are all maps which require you to make horizontal movements without overshooting vertically, thus good aim training for those struggling with crosshair placement, see my other posts for a larger variety of Kovaaks maps )
1 wall 2 targets horizontal - 10 minutes ( focus on your flicks, work on hitting both targets in the same movement, not pausing in between )
Valorant Small flicks - 10 minutes ( Great routine as head level is that of Valorant, and vertical deviation will cause you to miss, forcing you to maintain head level as you play through it )
PatTarget Switch small - 10 minutes ( Works on your ability to swap from one target to another while maintaining head level crosshair placement, keep LMB held while playing, only go for heads )
Valorant doesn't currently offer it's own deathmatch servers, therefore the next best thing is practicing in CS:GO. HSDM is a headshot only modifier for community FFA servers in CS:GO. To access these maps go to "Community Server Browser" and simply type in "HSDM", any server with decent population will do ( preferably 128 tick ). Playing FFA on headshot only forces you to maintain head-level crosshair placement as body shots don't count. I advise going for taps rather than spraying, as it limits the RNG, also spraying in CS:GO isn't transferable to Valorant as a mechanic. Make it a challenge for yourself to maintain positive K/D while playing. Use the AK in rifle servers, and the USP-S in pistol servers.
Set the target dummy position to static, and practice your click timing by only going for the targets furthest to the left and furthest to the right interchangeably, do this for around 10 minutes.
Play Spike Rush and set it to hard. When set on "Hard" the AI will one shot you as soon as you peek if it has seen you, and one shot you after around half a second if you shift-peek it. Pretty decent warmup in relation to crosshair placement as you will die every single time if you aren't instantly headshotting the targets the moment you peek. Play this for another 10 minutes.
Link to my Discord server for further questions / coaching inquiries:
How to not get ruined with Options - Part 3a of 4 - Simple Strategies
Post 1: Basics: CALL, PUT, exercise, ITM, ATM, OTM Post 2: Basics: Buying and Selling, the Greeks Post 3a: Simple Strategies Post 3b: Advanced Strategies Post 4a: Example of trades (short puts, covered calls, and verticals) Post 4b: Example of trades (calendars and hedges) --- Ok. So I lied. This post was getting way too long, so I had to split in two (3a and 3b) In the previous posts 1 and 2, I explained how to buy and sell options, and how their price is calculated and evolves over time depending on the share price, volatility, and days to expiration. In this post 3a (and the next 3b), I am going to explain in more detail how and when you can use multiple contracts together to create more profitable trades in various market conditions. Just a reminder of the building blocks: You expect that, by expiration, the stock price will … ... go up more than the premium you paid → Buy a call … go down more than the premium you paid → Buy a put ... not go up more than the premium you got paid → Sell a call ... not go down more than the premium you got paid → Sell a put Buying Straight Calls: But why would you buy calls to begin with? Why not just buy the underlying shares? Conversely, why would you buy puts? Why not just short the underlying shares? Let’s take long shares and long calls as an example, but this applies with puts as well. If you were to buy 100 shares of the company ABC currently trading at $20. You would have to spend $2000. Now imagine that the share price goes up to $25, you would now have $2500 worth of shares. Or a 25% profit. If you were convinced that the price would go up, you could instead buy call options ATM or OTM. For example, an ATM call with a strike of $20 might be worth $2 per share, so $200 per contract. You buy 10 contracts for $2000, so the same cost as buying 100 shares. Except that this time, if the share price hits $25 at expiration, each contract is now worth $500, and you now have $5000, for a $3000 gain, or a 150% profit. You could even have bought an OTM call with a strike of $22.50 for a lower premium and an even higher profit. But it is fairly obvious that this method of buying calls is a good way to lose money quickly. When you own shares, the price goes up and down, but as long as the company does not get bankrupt or never recovers, you will always have your shares. Sometimes you just have to be very patient for the shares to come back (buying an index ETF increases your chances there). But by buying $2000 worth of calls, if you are wrong on the direction, the amplitude, or the time, those options become worthless, and it’s a 100% loss, which rarely happens when you buy shares. Now, you could buy only one contract for $200. Except for the premium that you paid, you would have a similar profit curve as buying the shares outright. You have the advantage though that if the stock price dropped to $15, instead of losing $500 by owning the shares, you would only lose the $200 you paid for the premium. However, if you lose these $200 the first month, what about the next month? Are you going to bet $200 again, and again… You can see that buying calls outright is not scalable long term. You need a very strong conviction over a specific period of time. How to buy cheaper shares? Sell Cash Covered Put. Let’s continue on the example above with the company ABC trading at $20. You may think that it is a bit expensive, and you consider that $18 is a more acceptable price for you to own that company. You could sell a put ATM with a $20 strike, for $2. Your break-even point would be $18, i.e. you would start losing money if the share price dropped below $18. But also remember that if you did buy the shares outright, you would have lost more money in case of a price drop, because you did not get a premium to offset that loss. If the price stays above $20, your return for the month will be 11% ($200 / $1800). Note that in this example, we picked the ATM strike of $20, but you could have picked a lower strike for your short put, like an OTM strike of $17.50. Sure, the premium would be lower, maybe $1 per share, but your break-even point would drop from $18 to $16.50 (only 6% return then per month, not too shabby). The option trade will usually be written like this: SELL -1 ABC 100 17 JUL 20 17.5 PUT @ 1.00 This means we sold 1 PUT on ABC, 100 shares per contract, the expiration date is July 17, 2020, and the strike is $17.5, and we sold it for $1 per share (so $100 credit minus fees). With your $20 short put, you will get assigned the shares if the price drops below $20 and you keep it until expiration, however, you will have paid them the equivalent of $18 each (we’ll actually talk more about the assignment later). If your short put expires worthless, you keep the premium, and you may decide to redo the same trade again. The share price may have gone up so much that the new ATM strike does not make you comfortable, and that’s fine as you were not willing to spend more than $18 per share, to begin with, anyway. You will have to wait for some better conditions. This strategy is called a cash covered put. In a taxable account, depending on your broker, you can have it on margin with no cash needed (you will need to have some other positions to provide the buying power). Beware that if you don’t have the cash to cover the shares, it is adding some leverage to your overall position. Make sure you account for all your potential risks at all times. The nice thing about this position is that as long as you are not assigned, you don’t actually need to borrow some money, it won’t cost you anything. In an IRA account, you will need to have the cash available for the assignment (remember in this example, you only need $1800, plus trading fees). Let’s roll! Now one month later, the share price is between $18 and $22, there are few days of expiration left, and you don’t want to be assigned, but you want to continue the same process for next month. You could close the current position, and reopen a new short put, or you could in one single transaction buy back your current short put, and sell another put for next month. Doing one trade instead of two is usually cheaper because you reduce the slippage cost. The closing of the old position and re-opening of a new short position for the next expiration is called rolling the short option (from month to month, but you can also do this with weekly options). The croll can be done a week or even a few days before expiration. Remember to avoid expiration days, and be careful being short an option on ex-dividend dates. When you roll month to month with the same strike, for most cases, you will get some money out of it. However, the farther your strike is from the current share price, the less additional premium you will get (due to the lower extrinsic value on the new option), and it can end up being close to $0. At that point, given the risk incurred, you may prefer to close the trade altogether or just be assigned. During the roll, depending on if the share price moved a bit, you can adjust the roll up or down. For example, you buy back your short put at $18, and you sell a new short put at $17 or $19, or whatever value makes the most sense. Assignment Now, let’s say that the share price finally dropped below $20, and you decided not to roll, or it dropped so much that the roll would not make sense. You ended up getting your shares assigned at a strike price of $18 per share. Note that the assigned share may have a current price much lower than $18 though. If that’s the case, remember that you earned more money than if you bought the shares outright at $20 (at least, you got to keep the $2 premium). And if you rolled multiple times, every premium that you got is additional money in your account. Want to sell at a premium? Sell Covered Calls. You could decide to hold onto the shares that you got at a discount, or you may decide that the stock price is going to go sideways, and you are fine collecting more theta. For example, you could sell a call at a strike of $20, for example for $1 (as it is OTM now given the stock price dropped). SELL -1 ABC 100 17 JUL 20 20 CALL @ 1.00 When close to the expiration time, you can either roll your calls again, the same way that you rolled your puts, as much as you can, or just get assigned if the share price went up. As you get assigned, your shares are called away, and you receive $2000 from the 100 shares at $20 each. Except that you accumulated more money due to all the premiums you got along the way. This sequence of the short put, roll, roll, roll, assignment, the short call, roll, roll, roll, is called the wheel. It is a great strategy to use when the market is trading sideways and volatility is high (like currently). It is a low-risk trade provided that the share you pick is not a risky one (pick a market ETF to start) perfect to get create some income with options. There are two drawbacks though:
If the share dropped too much, you are stuck with it.
You will have to be patient for the share to go back up, but often you can end up with many shares at a loss if the market has been tanking. As a rule of thumb, if I get assigned, I never ever sell a call below my assignment strike minus the premium. In case the market jumps back up, I can get back to my original position, with an additional premium on the way. Market and shares can drop like a stone and bounce back up very quickly (you remember this March and April?), and you really don’t want to lock a loss. Here is a very quick example of something to not do: Assigned at $18, current price is $15, sell a call at $16 for $1, share goes back up to $22. I get assigned at $16. In summary, I bought a share at $18, and sold it at $17 ($16 + $1 premium), I lost $1 between the two assignments. That’s bad.
If the share goes up too fast, you missed some opportunity for gain, potentially big gains.
You will have to find some other companies to do the wheel on. If it softens the blow a bit, your retirement account may be purely long, so you’ll not have totally missed the upside anyway. A short put is a bullish position. A short call is a bearish position. Alternating between the two gives you a strategy looking for a reversion to the mean. Both of these positions are positive theta, and negative vega (see part 2). Now that I explained the advantage of the long calls and puts, and how to use short calls and puts, we can explore a combination of both. Verticals Most option beginners are going to use long calls (or even puts). They are going to gain some money here and there, but for most parts, they will lose money. It is worse if they profited a bit at the beginning, they became confident, bet a bigger amount, and ended up losing a lot. They either buy too much (50% of my account on this call trade that can’t fail), too high of a volatility (got to buy those NKLA calls or puts), or too short / too long of an expiration (I don’t want to lose theta, or I overspent on theta). As we discussed earlier, a straight long call or put is one of the worst positions to be in. You are significantly negative theta and positive vega. But if you take a step back, you will realize that not accounting for the premium, buying a call gives you the upside of stock up to the infinity (and buying a put gives you the upside of the stock going to $0). But in reality, you rarely are betting that the stock will go to infinity (or to $0). You are often just betting that the stock will go up (or down) by X%. Although the stock could go up (or down) by more than X%, you intuitively understand that there is a smaller chance for this to happen. Options are giving you leverage already, you don’t need to target even more gain. More importantly, you probably should not pay for a profit/risk profile that you don’t think is going to happen. Enter verticals. It is a combination of long and short calls (or puts). Say, the company ABC trades at $20, you want to take a bullish position, and the ATM call is $2. You probably would be happy if the stock reaches $25, and you don’t think that it will go much higher than that. You can buy a $20 call for $2, and sell a $25 call for $0.65. You will get the upside from $20 to $25, and you let someone else take the $25 to infinity range (highly improbable). The cost is $1.35 per share ($2.00 - $0.65). BUY +1 VERTICAL ABC 100 17 JUL 20 20/25 CALL @ 1.35 This position is interesting for multiple reasons. First, you still get the most probable range for profitability ($20 to $25). Your cost is $1.35 so 33% cheaper than the long call, and your max profit is $5 - $1.35 = $3.65. So your max gain is 270% of the risked amount, and this is for only a 25% increase in the stock price. This is really good already. You reduced your dependency on theta and vega, because the short side of the vertical is reducing your long side’s. You let someone else pay for it. Another advantage is that it limits your max profit, and it is not a bad thing. Why is it a good thing? Because it is too easy to be greedy and always wanting and hoping for more profit. The share reached $25. What about $30? It reached $30, what about $35? Dang it dropped back to $20, I should have sold everything at the top, now my call expires worthless. But with a vertical, you know the max gain, and you paid a premium for an exact profit/risk profile. As soon as you enter the vertical, you could enter a close order at 90% of the max value (buy at $1.35, sell at $4.50), good till to cancel, and you hope that the trade will eventually be executed. It can only hit 100% profit at expiration, so you have to target a bit less to get out as soon as you can once you have a good enough profit. This way you lock your profit, and you have no risk anymore in case the market drops afterwards. These verticals (also called spreads) can be bullish or bearish and constructed as debit (you pay some money) or credit (you get paid some money). The debit or credit versions are equivalent, the credit version has a bit of a higher chance to get assigned sooner, but as long as you check the extrinsic value, ex-dividend date, and are not too deep ITM you will be fine. I personally prefer getting paid some money, I like having a bigger balance and never have to pay for margin. :) Here are the 4 trades for a $20 share price: CALL BUY 20 ATM / SELL 25 OTM - Bullish spread - Debit CALL BUY 25 OTM / SELL 20 ATM - Bearish spread - Credit PUT BUY 20 ATM / SELL 25 ITM - Bullish spread - Credit PUT BUY 25 ITM / SELL 20 ATM - Bearish spread - Debit Because both bullish trades are equivalent, you will notice that they both have the same profit/risk profile (despite having different debit and credit prices due to the OTM/ITM differences). Same for the bearish trades. Remember that the cost of an ITM option is greater than ATM, which in turn is greater than an OTM. And that relationship is what makes a vertical a credit or a debit. I understand that it can be a lot to take in. Let’s take a step back here. I picked a $20/$25 vertical, but with the share price at $20, I could have a similar $5 spread with $15/$20 (with the same 4 constructs). Or instead of 1 vertical $20/$25, I could have bought 5 verticals $20/$21. This is a $5 range as well, except that it has a higher probability for the share to be above $21. However, it also means that the spread will be more expensive (you’ll have to play with your broker tool to understand this better), and it also increases the trading fees and potentially overall slippage, as you have 5 times more contracts. Or you could even decide to pick OTM $25/$30, which would be even cheaper. In this case, you don’t need the share to reach $30 to get a lot of profit. The contracts will be much cheaper (for example, like $0.40 per share), and if the share price goes up to $25 quickly long before expiration, the vertical could be worth $1.00, and you would have 150% of profit without the share having to reach $30. If you decide to trade these verticals the first few times, look a lot at the numbers before you trade to make sure you are not making a mistake. With a debit vertical, the most you can lose per contract is the premium you paid. With a credit vertical, the most you can lose is the difference between your strikes, minus the premium you received. One last but important note about verticals: If your short side is too deep ITM, you may be assigned. It happens. If you bought some vertical with a high strike value, for example: SELL +20 VERTICAL SPY 100 17 JUL 20 350/351 PUT @ 0.95 Here, not accounting for trading fees and slippage, you paid $0.95 per share for 20 contracts that will be worth $1 per share if SPY is less than $350 by mid-July, which is pretty certain. That’s a 5% return in 4 weeks (in reality, the trading fees are going to reduce most of that). Your actual risk on this trade is $1900 (20 contracts * 100 shares * $0.95) plus trading fees. That’s a small trade, however the underlying instrument you are controlling is much more than that. Let’s see this in more detail: You enter the trade with a $1900 potential max loss, and you get assigned on the short put side (strike of $350) after a few weeks. Someone paid expensive puts and exercised 20 puts with a strike of $350 on their existing SPY shares (2000 of them, 20 contracts * 100 shares). You will suddenly receive 2000 shares on your account, that you paid $350 each. Thus your balance is going to show -$700,000 (you have 2000 shares to balance that). If that happens to you: DON’T PANIC. BREATHE. YOU ARE FINE. You owe $700k to your broker, but you have roughly the same amount in shares anyway. You are STILL protected by your long $351 puts. If the share price goes up by $1, you gain $2000 from the shares, but your long $351 put will lose $2000. Nothing changed. If the share price goes down by $1, you lose $2000 from the shares, but your long $350 put will gain $2000. Nothing changed. Just close your position nicely by selling your shares first, and just after selling your puts. Some brokers can do that in one single trade (put based covered stock). Don’t let the panic set in. Remember that you are hedged. Don’t forget about the slippage, don’t let the market makers take advantage of your panic. Worst case scenario, if you use a quality broker with good customer service, call them, and they will close your position for you, especially if this happens in an IRA. The reason I am insisting so much on this is because of last week’s event. Yes, the RH platform may have shown incorrect numbers for a while, but before you trade options you need to understand the various edge cases. Again if this happens to you, don’t panic, breathe, and please be safe. This concludes my post 3a. We talked about the trade-offs between buying shares, buying calls instead, selling puts to get some premium to buy some shares at a cheaper price, rolling your short puts, getting your puts assigned, selling calls to get some additional money in sideways markets, rolling your short calls, having your calls assigned too. We talked about the wheel, being this whole sequence spanning multiple months. After that, we discussed the concept of verticals, with bullish and bearish spreads that can be either built as a debit or a credit. And if there is one thing you need to learn from this, avoid buying straight calls or puts but use verticals instead, especially if the volatility is very high. And do not ever sell naked calls, again use verticals. The next post will explain more advanced and interesting option strategies. --- Post 1: Basics: CALL, PUT, exercise, ITM, ATM, OTM Post 2: Basics: Buying and Selling, the greeks Post 3a: Simple Strategies Post 3b: Advanced Strategies Post 4a: Example of trades (short puts, covered calls, and verticals) Post 4b: Example of trades (calendars and hedges)
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