Friday, 11 March 2016


When beginning to trade (stocks, options, commodities, etc.) you want to avoid the costly mistake of entering orders incorrectly. I know that this seems trivial, but the overly anxious beginner can get it wrong. 
One expensive way to avoid mistakes is to telephone your broker and place the order. There is no reason to do that because it is more efficient, and less expensive, to enter orders via the Internet.
There are two separate considerations when placing an order. 
1. Buy or Sell exactly the options that you want to trade.
Most of the time it is a very simple process to use your broker's online trading software because they make every effort to make it bulletproof. However, first-time traders may have difficulty understanding some of the terminology. NOTE: If you take the time to understand options and how they work before placing your order, then this will not apply to you. However, many traders are so anxious to get started that they take shortcuts.
 Solution: If you have any questions, or if any part of the order-entering process is confusing, then call customer service and ask for a detailed explanation of anything that is not 100% clear.
If you are entering a spread order, be aware that some brokers use the term "buy" while others use the term "sell" for the identical tradeThere is no way that a new trader can overcome such a problem - especially when that you are not aware that this problem exists.
Solution: Take the time to look at the specific options being bought and sold and be certain that this trade gives you the position that you want to own.
For example, when it comes to trading iron condors, some brokers "buy the iron condor" while other brokers "sell the iron condor" - and the difficult-to-understand truth is that these two trades result in the trader owning exactly the same position. But the brand new trader cannot be expected to know that -- and can easily make a mistake when deciding whether he/she wants to buy or sell the spread.
2. Make the Trade at a reasonable price.
It is easy for the newer trader to get fleeced. However, there are specific guidelines that will make your trading far more efficient (i.e., you will earn more money or lose less money) if you follow them.
It is easy to avoid the most treacherous traps. Just follow these steps. Be aware that many traders ignore good advice and must learn their lessons the hard way (through experience). Those are expensive lessons and my purpose is to help you avoid the pain.
·         Never enter a market order when trading options. Always use limit orders. If you do not understand the difference between market and limit orders, then you are not yet ready to trade (options or anything else). If you ignore this suggestion, you will regret it. 
·         If you are stubborn and refuse to obey the directive above, then take this as a mandatory rule: Never enter a marker order at the opening of trading for the day. Never enter a "market on close" order.
·         Know how much you are willing to pay, or the minimum price you will accept. As a new trader, you may not have a specific price in mind, but know this: You cannot make money if you always pay too much or receive too little for your options. Price matters. You cannot pay whatever the market makers ask, nor can you accept what they are willing to pay. You must try to get a better deal.
·         Tight markets: When the difference between the bid and ask prices for any option trade is small ($0.05 to $0.10), that's good news. But, still use a limit order.
·         Wide markets: When the bid/ask spread is wide (for example, $1.20 bid; $2,00 ask), then you must never pay the ask price when buying an option or spread. You must never accept the bid price when selling an option or spread. Suggestion: Determine the "mid-point" between the bid and ask prices. in this example, the mid-point is $1.60. When buying, enter a limit order to pay a little more than the mid-point price -- perhaps $1.70. When selling enter a limit order to collect a little less than the midpoint, perhaps $1.50.
·         Changing an order; If your order is not filled (i.e., no one is willing to take the other side of your trade) after several minutes, make a decision: If you can raise your bid (or reduce your asking price) by $0.05 and still avoid going beyond your maximum (or minimum) price for this trade, then go ahead and change the limit price by $0.05. But do not do this repeatedly. If you cannot get an acceptable price, then this trade is not worth doing. Wait for a better opportunity.
If you use limit orders at a price near the bid/ask midpoint, then you will never get an order filled at a terrible price. That may not be enough to turn you into a successful trader, but it will go a long way towards giving you a reasonable opportunity to succeed.

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