Beware of Binary Options (BO) Trading!

Despite its newness, BO trading has almost gone mainstream. The promise of fast and easy attainment of riches fuels its overwhelming proliferation.

People with no experience whatsoever embark on this adventure. After all, opening an account takes seconds. Placing a trade is swift and instant, and so is losing money!

The business model of the so-called binary options brokers (many of them are regulated by gambling authorities, if at all) is an old-fashion scheme, where the winners take part of the losers’ money, and the house keeps the rest. Does that remind you of any other business model?!

New brokers are popping up everywhere. The only region that doesn’t welcome them as much is North America. None of them is recognized or regulated by financial authorities in either Canada or The US.

The platforms, the graphs, the glamour, and even the so-called “rules” play on the psychology of the users, who soon become losers of hard-earned funds.

What is the split? Probably one winner in every 100 or more members. So let’s run a quick calculation. The winner is so good, he/she nets $1000 a day. The losers, on the other hand, give up an average of 50/member. Total loss: 50 *100 = 5000. The winner gets a grand, and the house keeps four; not bad at all! Keep in mind that this example assumes a very low-end of the game. Usually, the split is one winner out of at least 500. And the losers let go of more than 50 a piece.

Is that business, investment, or even trading?

No. It is not, by any measure. It’s a new form of online gambling. People talk about using technical analysis to “predict” the closing price of an asset, when the trade expires. What’s that called? Betting, right. Fighting the odds, with eyes less than half-oppened.

Financial markets are unpredictable on the long-term, let alone for minutes and/or seconds. A price graph may decide to have a “hiccup” right before expiry, costing you all the money you’ve put on that price closing higher (or lower) than the entry point. The reason could be a piece of news, High Frequency Trading (HFT), or any other unpredictable event that may have taken place momentarily, causing a trend to change direction, wiping out your “investment.”

Is that fair? Well, first, no one forces you to do it. And second, which is more important, this is an emotional rollercoaster. Very few people can maintain their composure in the face of such rapid changes. Those are the few winners, exactly as in poker, or any other money game.

Money is a vehicle to exchange real value. Playing with it isn’t healthy, both for the individual and the economy.

Please notice that nothing is being exchanged, not even futures (for example, commodities or stocks). The whole deal is about prediction and speculation. The “trader” buys the “right” to put money on a probability, which is affected by factors that are entirely outside the reach and control of the trader. Can you buy and sell probabilities? You can utilize statistical data to make an informed investment decision. Here, that piece of information has become the asset!

We need to know the traps so we wouldn’t step on them.

Go back to the articles on this blog, or any other source you trust. Gain the knowledge of real investment, real work. Know your options, and never commit money to buying fish in the ocean!

The Wealth Maker

The Trader: Financial Awareness


“When a proactive, constructive idea hits you, all of a sudden, never dismiss it, act on it instantly”

That exactly what happened one afternoon, two months ago. I felt so driven to create a LinkedIn group, and name it The Trader. No analysis or deliberate planning, just a strong gut feeling.

Are gut feelings, intuitions, inspirations enough to embark on a new business idea, take an investment decision, or get married!

Honestly, I am not sure. It depends on the person, the topic, and the circumstances. In this case, it was clearly a good idea. The only resistance came from this part that always says no!

I’m so glad now I listened to that hunch. The Trader has become an exemplary group, in less than two months. Not because I created it, but because of the fine people, who accepted my invitation to join, then shared their wisdom, expertise, and hearts. I owe this success to them.

So what is this group all about? Most LinkedIn groups are networking boards. It is different with The Trader. The vision, in three words, is to learn, share and grow.

The world today is filled with financial advisors, professional traders, investors of all types, wealth management experts, financial authors, or just novice beginners, who are eager to find their way through all the clutter, online and off-line.

The Trader aims to start a movement of “financial awareness”. When the right people get their heads, and their hearts, together, have a clear vision, and robust intentions, they can create miracles. You don’t need thousands of members, just a selected few.

The discussions are still spontaneous, which is perfectly normal and healthy. Down the road, and guided by the group’s vision, The Trader will step on its path.

I believe The Trader can present a robust and sane investing model to the industry. That could be the nucleus for a revolutionary trend, one that is rooted in the principles of value investing, yet flexible enough to utilize the best of evolving schools of thought.

It is still young. It has a bright future, and a rich potential.

The Wealth Maker


Trading Secrets: When to Enter and When to Exit


Those are the two most important decisions a trader has to take. They sort out the winners from the losers, in this tough activity.

So how would you make these two calls?

First, let’s focus on the decision to enter a trade. Once you choose whether it’s going to be a “Buy” or “Sell” call (as explained in the previous article), you now need to pick the right entry point. For Buy trades, you need the lowest possible price. On the other hand, for Sell trades, you look for the highest possible price of the asset you intend to trade.

Let’s use an example. Suppose you wanted to trade gold on the upside (a Buy Call). You look at the price chart, and you notice that gold has been trading between $1595.00 and $1610.00 an ounce over the last 24 hours. Then you go through the latest financial news. The stock markets, say in  North America, have been going down for the last five sessions. You also look at world news: There’s a conflict in Syria, an earthquake in Japan, and the Russian army has just entered Georgia to aid the local government in its struggle against the rebels.

How does all of that affect your trading decisions? Let’s take them one by one. The slump in the stock markets makes most investors flee to safe havens, namely gold and silver, which means the prices of these two precious metals are destined to rise, at least on the short-term. The instability in Syria and Georgia points to threats to oil supply, and higher demand of weapons. Liquid cash is at play here. Again, gold and silver are easier to convert into cash than stocks. This supports the speculation that prices of these two instruments are expected to go up.

Now you are more confident that a Buy Call is the way to go. Your next step is to choose your entry point. This is tricky. If you jumped in immediately, you might lose the chance of entering at a lower price. If you waited too long, you might miss out on the window of opportunity, as prices already started to ascend rapidly.

Your target, as a wise trader, should not be to enter at exactly the lowest point, and leave at the highest possible price. If you insisted on that scenario, you would lose many trades. So what is your target? You want to have a piece of the pie, not the whole thing, in order to avoid the risk of making your pie and eating it!

Going back to the price range, you put an “order” to buy 10 ounces at $1600, and sell them at $1605. Why would you do that? To be as certain as possible that your net would catch some fish in the middle. The price may not go as low as $1595, or as high as $1610 again. But the probability, given all the analysis, of the price moving through the range between $1600 and $1605 is quite high, and that’s what you want.

This kind of trade may look modest, but it would give you $50.00 within a day. Keep in mind that this should not be the only trade you do. You should get involved in two to four trades concurrently. This serves the objective of diversification, which we’d talked about before.

In today’s online trading, all platforms give you the facility to set an entry price, a stop-loss price, and a take-profit price. Your role is to pick the right prices.

Once the trade is executed, you should keep an eye on it. If it behaved in a way that would indicate a bad result, you would need to interfere, by either closing the trade, or adjusting the stop-loss and/or take-profit prices. Your first and most important objective is to preserve your capital, then to make profits.

A wise trader would not discount a small profit if he/she felt that waiting for a higher profit might risk a good portion of his capital. A profit of $2.00 is definitely better than a loss of $10!

Another aspect of trading is repetition. If you couldn’t make the profit you had anticipated, you would go out at a lower profit, preserve your capital, then enter again, using the same asset, or a different one. The bottom line is to create momentum and good income. The kind of asset is irrelevant. It’s only a vehicle. What matters is how you handle the asset in a way that brings the best possible results, under the current circumstances.

To be continued…

The Wealth Maker

How To Trade?

Trading is different from value investment in several ways. While VI is long-term in nature, trading is short-term by definition. VI focuses on the fundamentals of the business you’re investing in, trading is concerned about price movements and technical analysis.

In the last article, I talked about a special type of trading, called Binary Options (BO) Trading. In this post, I’m going to spend some time elaborating on trading in general.

Trading, as the name implies, is an exchange of two investment aspects, over a short period of time. A trader buys an investment instrument, at an attractive price, hoping that its price will go up (or down) over a certain period of time. This is an exchange between time and money.

If the instrument’s price went up, say after three hours of purchase, the trader could “long” the asset (sell it at a profit), retrieving the principal plus the difference between the original (entry) price, and the current (higher price).

If the instrument’s price went down, below the entry price, the trader would have few options here: He could “short” the trade, meaning he would sell the instrument at a loss, to avoid further loses, he could wait, if his information and best judgement expected the asset to go back up, at least to the entry price. Or he/she could set a “stop-loss” price, at which the trading platform would sell the asset automatically. Usually, the stop-loss and “take profit” prices are set at the inception of the trade. Setting these two price limits is tricky. It takes experience, knowledge of current market conditions, vision, and decisiveness (and a touch of good luck). “Take-profit” is the price at which the platform would sell (or buy) the asset, making a preset profit for the trader.

As you can trade on the way up, you can also trade when prices go down. In this case, you wait till the price reaches a point of saturation. To determine such point, you need to use your technical analysis skills. If you looked at the asset’s price vs time graph, and noticed a clear peak, that might be an indication that a price descend would follow. You would sell the asset at that high price, and then buy it back when it fell down. Your profit would be the difference between the two prices.

Some price peaks are deceiving. The price goes down for a short period of time, then moves up, reaching even a higher peak. In that situation, a trader would lose money if he/she had traded on the speculation of a price downfall.

It’s obvious that the two most important decisions here are: When to enter a trade (buy an asset or sell it), and when to exit (sell an asset or buy it).

In the next post, I’ll shed more light on these two critical calls. The successful trader never takes these two lightly. They actually distinguish a careful and wise trader from a lousy one. Since this is not gambling, lousiness and panic are the trader’s worst enemies.

The Wealth Maker