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Tip 2 - Check Out Auto-Trade

Auto-Trade is a service offered by several on-line brokers.  Auto-Trade makes it possible for an investor to carry out an options strategy in his own account without becoming an options guru or making all the trades on his or her own. 

This is how it works.  First, you subscribe to an investment newsletter (we hope you will pick Terry’s Tips, but there are dozens of others you can choose from as well).  Then you sign an agreement with a broker which authorizes him to make trades in your account in accordance with recommendations made by the newsletter.  You specify how much you cash you would like to allocate to the newsletter’s recommendations.

Terry’s Tips operates a little differently than most newsletters.  We maintain 8 actual portfolio accounts (using different underlying stocks or ETFs and risk levels). When you sign up for Auto-Trade at a broker for the Terry’s Tips newsletter, you tell the broker which portfolios you would like to mirror, and how many “units” you would like to employ.  For example, if we have a portfolio that would require $5,000 to mirror, and you would like to invest $10,000 in that portfolio, you would select 2 units. 

For most of our portfolios, when the portfolio gains more than 3% over the "starting" value, we withdraw the gains (in increments of 3%) so that new subscribers can mirror the portfolio with close to the starting value.  Of course, subscribers can decide on their own if they want to withdraw cash from their account, or use it to make other investments.

Terry’s Tips is also different from other newsletters in two important ways.  First, since our portfolios are actual broker accounts, we account for all commissions.  Many newsletters display their results and do not account for commissions.  This is extremely misleading because commissions on option portfolios can be huge – sometimes 30% or more over the course of a year.  Our results are always net of commission costs.

Second, Terry’s Tips portfolio results are an open book. We believe in full disclosure.  Insiders can see every trade ever made in every portfolio.  Nothing is swept under the rug.  Other newsletters may tell you only about the one portfolio you have signed up for, and if that one doesn’t make money for you, they might tell you that you were just unlucky because you didn’t sign up for one of the profitable ones that they conducted.

At the present time, the only broker who offers an Auto-Trade program honoring Terry's Tips Trade Alerts is a Chicago broker with the unlikely name of thinkorswim, Inc by TD Ameritrade.  Several other brokers have asked us to be added to their list of investment newsletter providers, but we have not accepted their offers because we have been totally satisfied with thinkorswim, Inc by TD Ameritrade.  In fact, our experience has taught us that there is not a single reason why any options investor should use a different broker for their Auto-Trade program.  Here are some of the reasons:

  • Extremely options-friendly
  • Best (free) options software available anywhere
  • Low commissions.
  • Choice of several commission plans depending whether your average option order quantities are small or large (10 or more).
  • Great personal service.  For example, they will set up one of our portfolios on any Wednesday for you other than during the monthly expiration week so you don’t have to place all the trades yourself.
  • No extra charge for orders placed through a broker
  • And best of all – they get excellent executions.  Barron’s named them the best broker for executing option orders, and our experience has been the same.  At one time, other brokers had Auto-Trade for Terry’s Tips, and many times we discovered that the thinkorswim, Inc by TD Ameritrade brokers had executed far better prices than the other brokers received, saving subscribers many dollars (often enough to pay for their entire Terry’s Tips Premium Service subscription price).

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Terry's Tips Stock Options Trading Blog

September 26, 2014

How to Handle an Option Assignment

Yesterday, the SVXY put we had sold in our ongoing demonstration portfolio was exercised. While this is sort of an inconvenience to contend with, it will give us a learning opportunity. People with little or no options trading experience are often concerned that something awful happens when an option they have sold is exercised. This week’s experience should put their mind at ease.

Every Friday, we will make a trade in this portfolio and tell you about it here. Our goal is to earn an average gain of 3% a week in this portfolio after commissions.

I hope you find this ongoing demonstration to be a simple way to learn a whole lot about trading options.

Terry

How to Handle an Option Assignment

Yesterday SVXY fell over $5 a share as the market tanked and options volatility . . .

September 19, 2014

Ongoing SVXY Spread Strategy – Week 6

Today we will continue our discussion of both SVXY and the actual portfolio we are carrying out with only two positions. Every Friday, we will make a trade in this portfolio and tell you about it here.

Our goal is to earn an average gain of 3% a week in this portfolio after commissions. So far, we are well ahead of this goal.

I hope you find this ongoing demonstration to be a simple way to learn a whole lot about trading options. We will also discuss another Greek measure today – gamma.

Terry

Ongoing SVXY Spread Strategy – Week 6

Near the open today, SVXY was trading about $89.00. We want to sell a put that is about $1 in the money (i.e., at a strike one dollar higher than the current stock price). Our maximum gain each week will come if we are right, and the stock ends the week very close to the strike of our short put.

Here is the trade we placed today:. . .

September 12, 2014

Ongoing SVXY Spread Strategy – Week 5

Today we will continue our discussion of both SVXY and the actual portfolio we are carrying out with only two positions. Every Friday, we will make a trade in this portfolio and tell you about it here.

Our goal is to earn an average gain of 3% a week in this portfolio after commissions. So far, we are well ahead of this goal.

I hope you find this ongoing demonstration to be a simple way to learn a whole lot about trading options. We will also discuss some other options concepts today,

Terry

Ongoing SVXY Spread Strategy – Week 5

Near the open today, SVXY was trading about $86. We want to sell a put that is about $1 in the money (i.e., at a strike one dollar higher than the current stock price). Our maximum gain each week will come if we are right, and . . .

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