OAP 126: Manage Multiple Option Positions Without Having To Be In Front Of The Screen All Day

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We're all busy; with work, family, school, kids, etc. And although many people might lead you to believe you have to be in front of the screen all day in order to manage multiple option positions, the reality it's not true. Yes, you do need to have access to the markets in order to trade right now (not in the future though), but you don't have to be glued to the computer screen all day. You can use some simple triggers and alerts to keep tabs on your portfolio while you are away or at work and be just as effective, if not more, than working at the trading desk all day. Inside today's show, we'll break down some of the best resources and tips on managing your portfolio with limited time.

Key Points from Today's Show:

  • As a trader, you do not have to spend all of your time glued to the trading screen, watching every ticker in the market. 
  • Instead, set up designated trading times that are scheduled into your calendar and automate as much as possible.
  • So how do you manage a lot of positions without spending every minute in front of a screen? 
  • The key is to set up as many systems as possible in one single place that allow you to do trading activities without actually physically having to monitor your positions.

1. Use Mobile Trading Apps

  • If your broker does not have a mobile trading app, that is a big red flag.
  • In our on-the-go society, the ability to trade on a mobile app is really important.
  • You can use the mobile technology to help you trade on the go. 

2. Organize Positions Based on Risk

  • This is the concept of organizing positions in your account based on how much risk they have.
  • Positions can also be organized based on contract month.
  • This allows you to focus your time and be more efficient, monitoring only positions that are in need of checking. 
  • Can also group your accounts by strategy type; iron condors, strangles and straddles, etc.

3. Set Up Delta Alerts

  • Once you set up a new trade, you can go into your broker platform and set up an alert system. 
  • You can then use the technology to your advantage, and it forces you to be more relaxed and patient. 

Example: Sold a 15 Delta short strangle — 15 Delta calls and the 15 Delta puts. Set alerts to inform you when either of these contracts goes up in value to a 30 Delta; doubling risk. If the Delta goes from 15 to 30, you get an alert and start making adjustments. If you do not get any alerts, then that means that the trade is going well.  

4. Utilize the Trade Optimizer Tool

  • This tool allows you to run trade optimizations for every trade you enter. 
  • You can set up your entire trade in advance, including your exit strategy, such as GTC automatic closing trades. 
  • There is no need to monitor the trade until you get to expiration where you have to roll, adjust, or close. 

Example: If you make a trade 40 days out, bearish and trading in an IRA, the optimizer tool will give you a list of strategies that work best for that market situation. It will also tell you what the most optimal exit point it, both for-profit taking and/or for stop losses. 

5. Using the Auto Trading Platform

  • The auto trading platform is a full-fledged automatic trading system that not only finds and manages but also exits positions. 
  • This gives you full control and access to a bot that runs a trade, enters them, manages them, and exits them. 
  • The platform allows you to be really hands-off in your trading strategy. 
  • Ultimately, this will allow you to scale much faster and will also reduce the time required to find trades and manage positions. 

Option Alpha Podcast Show Notes[FREE Download] Podcast Show Notes & Transcript PDF: No time to read the show notes right now? We've made it incredibly easy for you to save time by giving you instant access to the complete digital version of today's show. Click Here to Download Your FREE Copy

Free Options Trading Courses:

  • Options Basics [20 Videos]: Whether you're a completely new trader or an experienced trader, you'll still need to master the basics. The goal of this section is to help lay the groundwork for your education with some simple, yet important lessons surrounding options.
  • Finding & Placing Trades [26 Videos]: Successful options trading is 100% dependent on your ability to find and enter trades that give you an "edge" in the market. This module helps teach you how to scan properly for and select the best strategies to execute smarter option trades each day.
  • Pricing & Volatility [12 Videos]: This module includes lessons on mastering implied volatility and premium pricing for specific strategies. We'll also look at IV relativeness and percentiles which help you determine the best strategy to use for each and every possible market setup.
  • Neutral Options Strategies [7 Videos]: The beauty of options is that you can trade the market within a neutral range either up or down. You'll learn to love sideways and range bound markets because of the opportunity to build non-directional strategies that profit if the stock goes up, down or nowhere at all.
  • Bullish Options Strategies [12 Videos]: Naturally everyone wants to make money when the market is heading higher. In this module, we'll show you how to create specific strategies that profit from up trending markets including low IV strategies like calendars, diagonals, covered calls and direction debit spreads.
  • Options Expiration & Assignment [11 Videos]: Our goal is to make sure you understand the logistics of how each process works and the parties involved. If you don’t feel confident in the expiration processes or have questions that you just can't seem to get answered, then this section will help you.
  • Portfolio Management [16 Videos]: When I say "portfolio management" some people automatically assume you need a Masters from MIT to understand the concept and strategies - that is NOT the case. And in this module, you'll see why managing your risk trading options is actually quite simple.
  • Trade Adjustments/Hedges [15 Videos]: In this popular module, we'll give you concrete examples of how you can hedge different options strategies to both reduce potential losses and give yourself an opportunity to profit if things turn around. Plus, we'll help you create an alert system to save time and make it more automatic.
  • Professional Trading [14 Videos]: Honestly, this module isn't just for professional traders; it's for anyone who wants to have eventually options replace some (or all) of their monthly income. Because the reality is that mindset is everything if you truly want to earn a living trading options.

Option Trader Q&A w/ James

Trader Q&A is our favorite segment of the show because we get to hear from one of our community members and help answer their questions live on the air. Today's question comes from James, who asks:

You've talked on some previous podcasts about software, about which brokerage accounts you recommend, and the software that Option Alpha produces. My question for you is about hardware, specifically when you travel, when you are away from home. Do you work with a Mac or some kind of a PC laptop when you trade on mobile? Are you using an iPhone or an Android? Just looking for a bit of guidance.

Remember, if you’d like to get your question answered here on the podcast or LIVE on Facebook & Periscope, head over to OptionAlpha.com/ASK and click the big red record button in the middle of the screen and leave me a private voicemail. There’s no software to download or install and it’s incredibly easy.

PDF Guides & Checklists:

  • The Ultimate Options Strategy Guide [90 Pages]: Our most popular PDF workbook with detailed options strategy pages categorized by market direction. Read the whole guide in less than 15 mins and have it forever to reference.
  • Earnings Trading Guide [33 Pages]: The ultimate guide to earnings trades including the top things to look for when playing these one-day volatility events, expected move calculations, best strategies to use, adjustments, etc.
  • Implied Volatility (IV) Percentile Rank [3 Pages]: A cool, simple visual tool to help you understand how we should be trading based on the current IV rank of any particular stock and the best strategies for each blocked section of IV.
  • Guide to Trade Size & Allocation [8 Pages]: Helping you figure out exactly how to calculate new position size as well as how much you should be allocating to your each position based on your overall portfolio balance.
  • When to Exit/Manage Trades [7 Pages]: Broken down by option strategy we'll give you concrete guidelines on the best exit points and prices for each trade type to maximize your win rate and profits long-term.
  • 7-Step Trade Entry Checklist [10 Pages]: Our top 7 things you should be double-checking before you enter your next trading. This quick checklist will help keep you out of harms way by making sure you make smarter entries.

Real-Money, LIVE Trading:

  • EWZ Iron Butterfly (Closing Trade): After nearly pinning the stock at our short strikes, and thanks to the volatility drop, we netted a $600 profit on this iron butterfly trade.
  • VXX Short Call (Closing Trade): One of the most consistent and profitable options trades we can make is shorting pure volatility with VXX and today we closed this naked short call in VXX after a couple days for a $420 profit.
  • DIA Iron Condor (Adjusting Trade): This neutral iron condor in DIA is need of a quick adjustment early this week as the market continues to rally. In this video, we'll discuss why I'm adding an additional put credit spread while also choosing NOT to close out of our current put credit spread due to pricing reasons.
  • COP Short Put (Closing Trade): These single short puts in COP acted as a great hedge for our other bearish bets in oil this month and helped smooth out our returns after we closed them for a nice big profit.
  • TSLA Put Debit Spread (Closing Trade): Although many people thought we were crazy for getting bearish in TSLA this pre-earnings put debit spread trade made us $200 today. After the huge run up from $140 to $260 and getting some technical sell signals, we were pretty sure this stock would pull back.
  • MON Iron Condor (Closing Trade): Following a huge drop in implied volatility we worked hard to close this MON iron condor trade adjusting the order multiple times to fill before the end of the day.
  • IBB Call Debit Spread (Opening Trade): We'll show you how I started searching for a new bullish trade and eventually found a low volatility trade in IBB looking for a move higher to hedge our portfolio.
  • TLT Iron Butterfly (Closing Trade): Following the Brexit vote TLT and bonds traded in a nearly $8 range really quickly - even still the drop in implied volatility helped generate a $330 profit for us.
  • XBI Call Debit Spread (Closing Trade): Got lucky picking the exact bottom for our entry in this call debit spread for the XBI biotech ETF which ultimately was closed for a profit of $165 today on the rally higher.
  • COH Iron Butterfly (Earnings Trade): Shortly after the market open we close out of our COH earnings trade for about a $160 profit, leaving just 1 leg on to expire worthless.
  • EWW Debit Spread (Closing Trade): Using some of the technical analysis signals we discovered in our backtesting research, we were able to make a quick $130 profit on this bearish EWW debit spread trade.
  • IBM Iron Condor (Earnings Trade): Shortly after the market opened you'll follow along with me as we watch volatility drop and liquidity come into the market before closing out the position for $250 profit.
  • SLV Short Straddle (Opening Trade): Using our watch list software we decided to continue to add to our existing SLV short straddle position with a new set of strike prices reflective of the move lower in the ETF recently.

Thank You for Listening!

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About The Author

Kirk Du Plessis

Kirk founded Option Alpha in early 2007 and currently serves as the Head Trader. Formerly an Investment Banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Group for Deutsche Bank in New York and REIT Analyst for BB&T Capital Markets in Washington D.C., he's a Full-time Options Trader and Real Estate Investor. He's been interviewed on dozens of investing websites/podcasts and he's been seen in Barron’s Magazine, SmartMoney, and various other financial publications. Kirk currently lives in Pennsylvania (USA) with his beautiful wife and two daughters.