7 Step Options Trade Entry Checklist


Hey everyone, this is Kirk here again, at
OptionAlpha.com. In this this video were going to go through
our 7 Step Option Trade Entry Checklist. Now, as we complete Track Number 2 here, this
video is meant to bring together everything that we’ve talked about and be you easy to
follow checklist to ensure that your placing options trades correctly. Remember we do have a downloadable PDF of
this is you want to download this checklist and read through it in a different format. That is available for free here on Option
Alpha. Now, in our opinion this seven step order
entry recipe, or checklist, or whatever you want to call it, is put together in way that
is logical in sequence, meaning one to seven, so that it gets you out analyzing trades that
don’t fit the requirements. We put Portfolio Fit first, because if it
doesn’t fit this requirement of being a good fit for your portfolio you’re out of analyzing
the trade. If it passes Portfolio Fit then you move on
to Great Liquidity. If it fails that then out of analyzing the
trade. The whole goal here is to give you an opportunity
to analyze trade quickly and move on from trades that don’t fit or don’t meet your criteria
for entering a trade. What we’re going to do in this video is go
through each of these with a couple little examples to help bring everything together
that we’ve talked about here in Track Number 2. The first thing, like we said, is Portfolio
Fit. This is really asking yourself basically two
questions, balance and then beta waiting. Like we talked about before, you talk about
balance, meaning the number of bullish or the number bears trades you have, how many
neutral trades do you have. What is your overall balance look like. Are you over balance? Meaning you have too bullish trades. You don’t have enough bears or neutral trades. What do you need in your portfolio to be as
neutral as possible? What we do at Option Alpha is we group our
trades by different strategy types and also by different directions. You see that we also, we have our Iron Condors
that we’re trading right now, we have some Calendar Spreads that we’re trading, we have
one Call Credit Spread that we’re trading. You can group it however you want, that’s
just a quick little tip on how you can see balance. Maybe you group it by bullish or bearish or
neutral. Whatever works for you, but we do like to
have, as we talked about previously, a lot of different positions that work in different
ways, and also different positions that work well when implied volatility is high, or low,
or all these kinds of different strategies that we can work at at the same time. Obviously the next important thing here is
Beta Weighting. We went through an entire video training on
Beta Weighting but it’s really important that you continuously try to trade as many uncorrelated
assets and stocks as possible so that you’re overall portfolio is beta neutral or delta
neutral to the market. There’s a really cool little correlated asset
table from Bespoke basically talking about the correlations between different sectors
and industries, so you can see there’s a high correlation between industrials and consumer
discretionary. High correlation there versus something that
has very little correlation might be oil sector in the financials, okay, so very low correlation. Again, it doesn’t matter, and this is such
an important point, it doesn’t matter what you end up trading. You could trade all financials, or all health
care, or all industrials, or whatever you want to do, just realize that the more you
trade a broad breathe of securities, ETFs, and ticker symbols, the better off your portfolio
is because you’re going to have a lot of positions that are not correlated with each other. Again, it all comes back down to just understanding
that Beta Weighting aspect of it is “What is your overall portfolio look like?” Wherever you end up trading just make sure
you Beta Weight your portfolio to some index on a ongoing basis so you know what you’re
looking for. Number two in our seven step checklist is
Great Liquidity. Now hopefully this goes without saying, but
great liquidity means minimal slippage, so lots of volume on the actual stock, that’s
one thing that we can always look for, and then number two is lots of tight bid ask spreads,
even very tight bid ask spreads far out of the money. You can see at the time we did this screen
shot with SPY even some of the strike prices that were far out of the money had two penny
wide spreads, one penny narrow spreads, so very tight bid ask spreads in SPY. And it should be because this is a major market
EFT. This is in comparison to something like AVB,
which we just randomly picked, but kind of proves the point here where the slippage is
incredibly high because it doesn’t have a lot of volume and liquidity. Notice that there’s not a lot of volume. There’s practically no volume in open interest
in either the calls or the puts on both sides. As a result you’re looking at basically 50
dollar wide spreads, in some cases, which are for at the money options, which is incredibly
wide. It means you’re just going to lose a lot of
money based on slippage alone. Here at Option Alpha, we’ve already done the
heavy lifting for you if you go ahead and purchase a lifetime copy of our watch list. Basically we’ve already pre-screened, and
continue to pre-screen on a reoccurring basis, the stocks and the options that have the highest
liquidity. That’s all we look at so that’s why we don’t
have the functionality, nor do we want to put in the functionality, to search for different
stocks that are off of our watch list. There’s generally around 100 stocks on our
watch list at any given time but things like Twitter, and GoPro, and SolarCity, and Linkedin,
all of these stocks have incredibility high liquidity and their options are also very
liquid as well. If you to avoid the slippage, you can go out
and look for it yourself and do the calculations and look at it, but we’ve already done, again,
the heavy lifting for you. Number three is Implied Volatility Rank or
IV Rank. Now, again, this is a really important component
that you know heading into a trade because it determines the type of strategy that you’re
going to select. What’s important here about Implied Volatility
Rank is not the actual implied volatility number that you’re looking at for whatever
stock, it’s asking yourself “Where is that number in it’s historical range?” If you’re looking at Apple stock, for example,
and we see that implied volatility is Apple is actually reading at 25%, we need to ask
ourselves “Is 25% relatively low for Apple?” Maybe Apple usually trades with implied volatility
around 75%, whatever the case is. What we’ve already done is prebuilt our watch
list here at Option Alpha. What you can do is you can come in here and
sort my highest implied volatility to lowest implied volatility everything that we’re looking
at. It makes it incredibly easy for you to see
IV Rank of anything that’s on our watch list with either high implied volatility or low
implied volatility. It’s all pulling in here for you at one time. Number four is your Options Strategy. Now that we know where implied volatility
rank is … You can see why this seven step checklist in a sequential order … Now we
know where implied volatility rank is now we can determine the Options Strategy. In my opinion this becomes the difference
maker between those who are successful trading and those who aren’t is understanding which
options strategies work best in which implied volatility markets. Generally we want to be selling options when
implied volatility is over the 50th rank. We want to be buying options, if we do, generally
when option volatility rank is below 50, even towards the lower ends as a real kind of means
to really take advantage of low, low, low implied volatility. That’s the difference maker. Then, within each of those implied volatility
ranks you could get more or less aggressive with your options selling. As we’ve done here at Option Alpha, based
on all the feedback that we get from our members, we have prebuilt in this ability to look for
the best options strategies already based on implied volatility rank of whatever you’re
looking at at the moment. For example, if you’re looking at AXP for
a trade and implied volatility rank is at 50 you know that the best options strategies
are credit spreads, butterflies, or iron condors. You can choose between those based on what
you like to trade or what you understand to trade, it doesn’t really matter at that point. Then if you scroll down and you see something
with higher implied volatility, say you’re looking at MON which has a IV Rank of 70,
you can see that the strategies we can choose now depend that implied volatility rank of
IV 70, so the strategies include straddles, strangles, or iron butterflies. As a final comment, obviously we always include
an IRA appropriate strategy for every level. You’ll never be left out if you have a small
account and you can’t trade undefined risk strategies like straddles or strangles and
you have to trade something with defined risk like an iron condor, or an iron butterfly,
or a credit spread, or something like that. The next thing that you do once you’ve determined
which strategy you’re going to select is determine strick prices and which month you want to
trade for your contracts. This get back down to this idea of pinning
or anchoring your probability of success. What we do here at Option Alpha, as we mentioned
a bunch of times, is we basically build all of our trades to have about a 70% chance of
success. So if we look at this trade, which is a trade
that we have on at the time that we recorded this screen shot, you can see that we were
trading SPY by selling a credit spread above the market. When SPY was trading at 204 we sold the 208
209 credit spread. Again, at the time that had about 30% chance
of being in the money. With a probability of being in money was about
30% that means that the probability of winning, or this trade being out of the money is about
70%. So that’s where we target all of our trades. If, for example, you want to be a little bit
more conservative, and let’s say you wanted to trade something around an 80% chance of
success, you’d find the probability of being in the money at 20% or the delta around 20
and that gives you approximately an 80% chance of being right. Or let’s say you want to trade something with
a 90% chance of being right. So, again, you find the 10 delta, where the
10% probability of being in the money, and that gives you about a 90% chance of being
right. Now you start determining what strike prices
you want to be trading based on this idea of pinning your probability of success and
continuously targeting this same likelihood. Again as just another refresher, generally
speaking as far out as you go, we usually like to do things with high implied volatility,
so options selling strategies a little bit closer in to 30 to 45 days, that’s kind of
like the sweet spot in range, doesn’t mean that we’ll always do things exactly between
30 and 45 days but that’s the sweet spot. When there’s low implied volatility we want
to extend our trading duration, and want to trade things anywhere between 60 and 90 days
out. Again, that’s not a hard and fast rule so
just a general guide post. You’d generally want to take advantage of
that longer time period to hopefully the stock swings into your range. Once you’ve determined the implied volatility
rank, options strategy, the strike prices and month, now we have to talk about Position
Size. This is obviously something that we’ve talked
a lot about here and, again, it critically important. We use a sliding scale approach here at Option
Alpha so for us to be able to make a lot of trades, which increases our chance of success,
we need to make sure that our positions are so small that one or two trades that go very
bad won’t blow up our account because, remember, black swan events are going to happen. There’s going to be trades that go completely
against you, and the only way to protect yourself is keep your trade size small. Again, we use a sliding scale approach between
one and five percent. The only time that we’ll really edge towards
5%, and we rarely get towards that 5% level, is when implied volatility is really, really
high. When we have an insane amount of edge, theoretically
with implied volatility so high, that’s when we’ll start to scale up. But most of the trading that I do personally
is on the small side with implied volatility, generally even high, we still want to do our
positions really, really small so that the likelihood or the odds that our account blows
up from one or two positions bad is really small. So, again, we can use this sliding scale approach
and our trade size, now location guide, to basically determine how big our position sizes
should be. If you’re going to focus on each position
being 2% of your account balance and you’ve got a 15 thousand dollar portfolio, then you
need to make sure that you’re taking on no more than 300 dollars of risk per trade day
that your entering. The doesn’t mean that you can’t do four or
five contracts, it just means that all the contract for whatever symbol you’re trading
is no more that 300 dollars of risk. Again, if you’re targeting a 2% allocation
per trade. The final thing that we have to talk about
here, number seven, is Future Moves. Now this is important because I feel like
you should always be aware, but not attached, to something happening in the future. So have a general awareness of what’s going
on. Don’t live in the hole. Right? But at the same time, you don’t need to follow
the news each and every day. Everything you need to know is already priced
in. In a fair, efficient, liquid market, most
of the news is already priced in. Again, that doesn’t mean that you’d need to
be ignorant to the fact that jobless claims, or unemployment is coming out and that might
move the market, or the Fed funds, or earnings are on the horizon. Right? So just be aware of those types of things. Another thing like we talked about, no when
the earnings are. Know when dividends are. Know some of these kind of events in the future. One of the cool things we’ve already build
into Option Alpha is the ability to track and see when earnings are. For example, here with some of these stocks
you can see that we do have this earnings tag … I just want to scroll down so you
can see different ones. But this earnings tag, if any stock has earnings
coming up in the next 45 days, this purple tag will be added to the watch list. You can see PBR does not have earnings coming
up in the ETFs, they obviously don’t. It just makes you aware of any possible earnings
events that you can just know that it’s on the horizon. Take a look at it and maybe make an adjustment
to your strategy or not, it doesn’t matter, but being aware, I think, is the most important
thing. So, congratulations on completely Track 2. That is the Seven Step Entry Checklist. Thank you so much for taking the time to go
this. I hope that Track 2 was really helpful in
getting you over the hump, from becoming a beginner to becoming, now, a little bit more
professional in how you approach your options trading. As we get into Track Number 3, or as you move
on to Track Number 3, we’re now going to take everything from beyond order entry. So Track Number 2 here was basically designed
to get you all the way up to placing and entering trades. Now Track Number 3 is going to take everything
beyond that which is managing trades, exiting trades, adjusting portfolios and trades, managing
yourself as a professional trader. Again, hopefully, this has been incredibly
helpful for you. I’d love to hear your comments and feedback. If you love it, please let us know. Please share these videos online with your
friends, family, co-workers. Help spread the word about what we’re trying
to do here at Option Alpha and until next time, happy trading.

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