Question about Monthly Income Trading

QUESTION: I have read the special report and if I’m interpreting it correctly we have been in a low volatility environment for the past few months, but appear to be entering a period of increased volatility. So put debit spreads seem to be in order along with vertical call spreads for credit at areas of resistance.

ANSWER: Right! You got that right away… very impressive.

I never said adjusting your credits will give you the same profit potential as the original trade… but it does save the trade and sets up potentially more profit by adding to your inventory.

If I went further than that in the videos I’m afraid I would have lost most of my viewers because there is so much more to successful income trades than just making robotic adjustments at break even points.

If you can grasp what I’m about to tell you I think you could graduate to a higher level of income trading:

Most traders think 2 dimensional, when you need to think 3 dimensional. Credit spreads and condors and calendars, etc are only names we give to help us profit from theta decay but the reality is all you are doing is adding to your ‘inventory’ of short positions and adjusting your deltas and vega according to market conditions and volatility.

It’s a completely different mind-shift when you begin to think in these terms. Suddenly you are like a real business… you add inventory at opportune times and then simply manage it being aware of your risks: delta and vega – the 2 most important risks of the income trader.

Question about buying calls – synthetic stock

QUESTION: I was playing around with SDS and noticed something interesting.

If I buy a call (and not sell a put) I am limiting my loss to the premium paid yet am able to participate in unlimited gain. This way I don’t have to mess with buying the actual stock to set a stop.

I guess I am wondering why establish the downside leg, except to receive a small credit?

ANSWER: It depends on what call and what strike you want to buy.

Here’s why call buying alone is not a good choice IMO:

#1: You buy the call – so your entire investment is at risk.
When the position moves against you and you sell your call then you have no position so you lose on the position and the commissions paid. Or you let the call expire worthless and you lode 100%. Or the stock moves in your favor but since the at-the-money call has a .50 Delta it does not move as much as you expect and your profits are limited.
(SYNTH: when you buy synth stock you place the order to sell the stock at a pre-determined price giving you a snythetic STOP loss so you determine the loss – but it also keeps you in the position! When the position starts to move in your favor again you simply exit your stock position. If the position looks like it will never recover then you can simply exit the entire position at any time without further loss.)

#2: You buy the call with less than a 1.00 Delta which means you lose money every day even if the stock moves in your favor or it just does nothing.
(SYNTH: when you buy a synth stock position the short put in SDS will offset the long call loss due to theta decay.)

Question about Selling Puts

QUESTION: with the selling of Puts, do we have to worry about assignments?

ANSWER: If they are out-of-the-money they will never be assigned.

When the option is in-the-money AND is the front month option AND has less then .25 cents of extrinsic value then be cautious. Ex-dividend dates increase your chances of being assigned

Posted on Categories Options

Options Trading Questions

1) I understand that you initiate your positions 30-40 days prior to expiration but you also talk in your videos about adding to your positions. Are you referring to adjustments that may become necessary due to a breakeven being threatened? If not, could you explain?

ANS: I only add to positions to increase my profits and if I feel confident that the adjustments will result in a better trade.

2) How do you decide whether you should structure an Iron Condor or Double Calendar for a given ETF?

ANS: If volatility is high and falling I will use an iron condor. If volatility is moving sideways I will use a DC.

3) I’m wondering what your capital allocation guidelines are. Of your total investment capital, what percentage do you allocate for the monthly income system? Of that, what portion do you reserve for initiating positions and what percentage for adjustments?

ANS: I use about 20% of my total available capital on initiating monthly incomes trades. I set aside an additional 10% for adjustments.

4) What has your experience been in terms of being exercised? Has it happened very often? If it does happen I’m a little fuzzy on how to deal with it. Could you clarify?

ANS: You will not get exercised unless your short option has less than
.25 of intrinsic value or it’s close to a dividend payout. It doesn’t happen very often and actually almost never with etf’s. If it happens I simply sell the shares and close my long option position.

5) After reviewing the Theta Scalping video on module 11 I just want to be sure of what you’re doing. If I understand correctly you initiate a position 30-40 days prior to expiration, then adjust if necessary for the next couple of weeks and then in the final 2-3 weeks you will buy/sell deltas using the underlying to remain delta neutral. Is this correct?

ANS: When scalping theta you have to make adjustments when your deltas tell you to. You can’t wait until the last 2 weeks, you have to adjust when it’s necessary. The goal is to adjust as little as possible so that you make more money from the theta you collect than the losses you’ll have from adjusting deltas.

6) During especially volatile periods like late 2008/early 2009 do you still put on monthly income type trades or do you wait for volatility to wane a bit first?

ANS: Please see the Market Report 11-22-08

Iron Condor Questions

1. When it is best to put an Iron Condor and when it is best to put a Double Calendar? Is there any circumstance that favors one or other strategy?

ANS: Please see the Market Report 11-22-08

2. On the SPY Iron Condor adjustment, why roll the put spread? If the lower breakeven wasn’t reached, why roll up the put spread? I mean, /when it is worth /to roll the spread that wasn’t touched?

ANS: The side that is being threatened will lose more (as your short option goes in the money) then the side that is making you money so you need to adjust to balance the deltas.

3. Also on the Iron Condor Adjustment, should we roll it every time the market gets near to one of our breakeven points? You said that if the market moves close to one of the breakeven points in a couple of days it is best to take off the position, because the market has changed its mood. Is there any other situation when it is not worth adjusting, either the Iron Condor or the Double Calendar? When?

ANS: I guess it depends on your tolerance and your ability to determine market direction. If you believe there’s no danger in holding your position then keep it. In general, you’re better off making at least one adjustment when the market gets near your short option.

4. I noticed that you put the DIA Iron Condor a few days after the SPY Iron Condor. I think (correct me if I’m wrong) that DIA and the SPY are very correlated, I mean, they move very close to each other. If you had put the DIA and the SPY on the same say, you probably would had to adjust the DIA positions too. So, my question is: That space between the placement of the Iron Condors on the DIA and on the SPY was any kind of “legging” into an Iron Condor on 2 correlated markets ? Understand?

ANS: Yes, I like to stagger them based on time and price. That is a form of diversification.

5. And, by the way what is your opinion on legging into (no out) a position?

ANS: I do not like to leg into a position or out of one. When I put it on I close it as a position and do not leg in and out of them.

6. Speaking of legging, when it is best to put a Double Calendar and when it is best to put a single calendar and then “adjust” it by putting another calendar (hence, creating and “adjusted” Double Calendar)?

ANS: I have no preference and both work OK for me when volatility is relatively low. As mentioned in the report attached I would only do put calendars when volatility is rising.

7. We want to put position 30 to 40 days before expiration. But it there any best hour of the day to put the positions?

ANS: No. I enter my order at the open and at the price I want and hopefully I get filled during the day.

Victory spreads and volatility

Q: So far so good on my first month of condors…..2 weeks in….still delta neutral. Haven’t had to adjust yet…..but ready to if threatened.

I want to try the back-ratio type of trade to protect against a huge downstroke in January, but for the life of me I cannot get the analysis chart to look like it does in your video.

I have 10 grand in cash in the account with 2 grand in margin already on.

I made sure I am set for “1st triggers sequence”.

I insured I am set to “single symbol” and double check that no other positions or options are checked.

I check the dates……+1 at X, N/A, P/L open……etc…..I’m looking very closely and making certain my screen looks exactly like yours does in the video. I’m making sure I ‘buy’ the distant OTMs and ‘sell’ a single near month ITM. It just isn’t working.

I’m playing around with the strikes and months…..but for the life of me I cannot get the graph to look like yours does in the video. It always shows that the risk amount is roughly half of the margin required……not the 50 bucks or so that you show in the video.

I thought it might be possible that you have to have at least 25 grand in the account and satisfy the day-trading margin requirement and without that it won’t work right…..but I just don’t know.

A little help here? What could I be doing wrong? Thanx in advance if you can help….

A: The victory spreads only work
when the volatility is high.

The best strategy for a market in
which we anticipate higher volatility
is put calendar spreads for monthly

How to build calendars

Q: As I build my profit expiration tent i tend to like and use calendars. So thinking nov dec spy I saw that there is very small difference buying a 107 calendar call (sell nov buy dec)versus a 107 calendar put. Am i crazy? or is it ok say to do 107 105 103…etc all using call spreads? or should i use calls on the right side of the tent and puts on the left side?

A: When building calendars it’s important to realize that the maximum profit of a calendar spread is achieved when prices reach the short option at expiration.

So… if you are bullish then you would want to build your calendars with calls at gradually higher strikes 103, 105, 107 widening your tent to the upside potential, etc…

If you are bearish you want to do the opposite- use put calendars at gradually lower strikes…
103, 101, 100 etc…

This way you profit from the anticipated moves and it’s also why I spend a great deal of time discussing the movement of the general market and use technical analysis as much as I do in the daily reviews.

When I first created the course we were in a different type of market where volatility was relatively low (under 25).

Now things are different and the combination of technical analysis with income trades like calendars is the best possible system for profiting from the market.

Front month and back month in options trading

Q: A couple of weeks ago I purchased the Trading Pro System and also subscribed to the Daily Market Advantage.

You have provided an unbelievable resource and I am still working on paper trading and learning the adjustments on the iron condors and Calendar spreads. It is very interesting information.

I have watched the video on the Victory spread strategy several times. In attempting to utilize the strategy in the video I am not currently finding trades that match the low downside risk demonstrated in the video.

It seems currently many options front month I.V. is lower than further out months – I am not sure if this is affecting my analysis of the trade. I was also wondering if the relative close time until Oct expiration affects the outcome of this strategy? I did try numerous examples with selling either the Oct or November options.

Do you have any current examples of the Victory Spread strategy that could help me understand what I am missing or do I need to wait until after Oct expiration and then retry my analysis.

I greatly appreciate your expertise and enjoy listening to your market review each night. Keep up the great work.

A: The front month (Oct) has only 8 days left- that is the reason you cannot find any trades. There’s no time premium left in the front month.

The general rule is: Never use a front month with less than 30 days remaining.

In addition, the Vol will give you different risk profiles that may not be favorable. You want the front month to be a slightly higher vol than the back month.

A trick to finding those types of trades is to look for a stock that has sold off hard. For example – RIMM (on 9/25/09)

It lost about 15+ points in one day skyrocketing the front month Vol while the back month had a lower Vol.

The setup was very favorable at that time – it’s too late to do it now.

So use the 30-40 day month options and find stocks that have that positive volatility skew.

Closing position with synthetic options

Q: Thanks for the detailed video.
One quick question regarding yesterday’s video. You showed how to close the postion with synthetic options. Now, When we close the sell postion (in this case SPY call sell) by buying the SPY call, do we need to sell that as well? SPY call bought needs to be sold to clear the postion just like regular call you buy , you sell to close the postion?

I’m sorry for asking silly question but I’m newbee and in learning phase. Will the same closing works for other spreads like Iorn condor and Double calendar?
Thanks again for your wonderful support.

In future, if situation is suitalbe to buy spread like Iron condor and Double calendar, please do share.

A: Yes it works the same.

If you are ‘short’ an option then you must buy it back to close the position and if you are ‘long’ the option you must sell it to close the position.

Options getting exercised?

Q: I was able to make it through some of the videos last night and this morning.
Pretty straight forward so far, I understand the criteria for placing the Iron Condors and Double Butterflys and also, the adjustments and when and why..
But I would like to see you do a video or tell me how to handle the rare case of getting exercised on either a short put or call. Especially how to handle getting exercised for the vertical spreads of a Iron Condor and also the shorts of a Calendars.

Perhaps this is just my lack of knowledge of this, but I know more than most about options and I still have question about closing out or handling my PUT/CALL shorts being exercised. I would expect this type of trading can result in several shorts being in the money before expiration.

Great videos, I will keep going..

A: As far as getting exercised goes… here’s the general

If a ‘short’ option is:

1) ‘in-the-money’ AND
2) there is less than .25 of extrinsic value left

… then you’re likely to get exercised.


3) you are MORE likely to be exercised if it’s a stock or etf and it pays a dividend and you’re short the option near ex-div dates if the option meets the criteria above.

The exercise happens overnight and if you meet the criteria above you will get exercised and you’ll see in your portfolio that the option position that was in the money is gone and you will have the stock in your account instead (long or short, depending if the option that was exercised was a put or call).

If you do not want the stock position you can sell it in the pre-market if your brokerage account allows trading in the pre-market.