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How to Trade Options Primer

Many investors ask about the terminology of options and the difference between types of options. Here I share some background o the fundamentals of option trading. Bonus: An active option trade is shown below for our Covered Call of the Week.

An option is a standardized contract originated by the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) that is exchange listed. A stock option is the legal right, but not obligation, to buy (calls) or sell (puts) shares of a specific stock, which is known as the underlying stock, for a fixed time and a fixed price. Stock options have two main characteristics:

Fixed Price: an option give the holder the right to buy or sell at a fixed price. This price is known as an exercise price or strike price (or just “strike”).

Limited Life: an option is good for only a specific period of time, then expires. If it expires without being exercised, it is said to “expire worthless.”

The Two Types of Options

There are two types of options to be used in your option strategy for various trades based on the prediction of the investor.

Calls: the right, but not the obligation, to buy the underlying stock.

Puts: The right, but not the obligation, to sell the underlying stock.

Buying and Selling Options Primer

ACTION

STATUS

CALL OPTION

PUT OPTION

Buy

Long

Holder has the right but not the obligation to buy 100 shares

Holder has the right but not the obligation to sell 100 shares

Sell

Short

Seller has the obligation tosell 100 shares if calls are exercised

Seller has the obligation to buy 100 shares if puts are exercised

Underlying Stock – these are the shares of stock that underlie (are subject to) a stock option. The underlying stock also can be an Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) instead of a stock.

Option Contract – each exchange-listed call or put contract normally covers 100 shares. The only exception would be for a stock or reverse split, merger or other corporate recapitalization, which can result in an adjustment to the terms of an option contracts. There are over-the-counter options, but they are a different subject and not covered in this article.

Option Trading – standardized options contracts are exchange-listed and traded on the different U.S. option exchanges.

Expiration – stock options (equity options) expire on the Saturday following the 3rd Friday of each month and that Friday is the last day on which those options can trade. If the 3rd Friday is a holiday, the last trading day will be the Thursday before. Some brokerage firms institute a Friday deadline for notice of exercise by retail customers so be clear on whether you can exercise options on expiration day. Be aware that options you have sold can be exercised on expiration day.

Option Term – stock options have a life of 9 months or less unless they are LEAP options with a much longer life, up to three years. At the end of the term, the option expires.

Open Interest – the number of contracts of an option series outstanding. A proxy for how much interest among investors in this contract.

There is no risk that upon exercise of an option the other side will fail to perform. The OCC, the world’s largest clearing organization for options, processes all sales of put and call options and all option exercises. The OCC acts as the guarantor of every option transaction to ensure there are no option defaults.

In fact, there has never been a default in buying or selling shares upon call or put exercise, for this very reason. The OCC does not guarantee anyone a profit, however, only that shares will be bought (sold) upon call (put) exercise. Note that buyers and sellers of options do not form a contract with each other, there contract is with the OCC, which is the true counterparty to the option buyer or seller.

COVERED CALL of the WEEK

Covered Call on Baker Hughes (BHGE) 

STRATEGY: The BHGE Sep 20, 2019 covered call with a $21.00 strike price could potentially yield a 4.69% return if BHGE stays above $21.00 a share at expiration 33 days from now. The return covered call has a 3 Key (Moderate Relative Risk) ranking while the diagonal spread has a riskier 2 Key (Considerable Relative Risk) ranking. On 08/05/19, Argus Research set a $30.00 12-Month price target for BHGE, which is currently trading at $8.94 below that target. By using this covered call strategy potential returns may be higher than simply holding the stock if BHGE stays below $22.05 through Sep 20, 2019. The covered call strategy offers limited protection if the stock drops in price, but if the stock goes below $20.06 expect losses.

CHART: the RSI is below 30. It could either mean that the stock is in a lasting downtrend or just oversold and therefore bound to retrace (look for bullish divergence in this case). The MACD is below its signal line and negative. The configuration is negative. Moreover, the share stands below its 20 and 50 day MA (respectively at 23.89 and 23.99). Finally, Baker Hughes a GE Company is trading below its lower daily Bollinger band (standing at 21.76) so expect a rebound. Baker Hughes a GE Company is currently trading near its 52 week low at 20.09 reached on 26/12/18.

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Covered Calls for Income Investing

Why don’t more people write covered calls? There are numerous reasons. The general population is unaware such an investment exists. Only a hand full of investing services promote them but popularity has increased as more brokers push option trading strategies these days. Also, they do require a level of education to learn them in depth. The popularity increase has moved covered calls by leaps and bounds as it should. This is moving investing to the next level which is income investing.

Many financial advisors, brokers, planners and others in the finance industry either are not comfortable with covered calls or simple don’t understand the opportunity for covered calls in their clients’ portfolios. Many advisors are fee based and accept sizable commissions from funds to recommend their products. They make extra money when you buy these paid recommendations in place of a strategy such as covered calls. Basically, covered calls are just not on their priority list.

The information disseminated about covered calls by advisors and websites who don’t know the theory behind covered calls tend to paint the strategy as being dangerous with little return for the risk taken. Then, these same advisors recommend you to hold low performing stocks or churn your account to increase commissions. If they used covered call writing on the buy and hold stocks it would generate income that will lower overall risk of the investment.

How can producing income from an asset increase the inherent risk of owning an asset? This argument against covered call is nonsense on the face. For example, a real estate developer is usually wiling to hold properties that generate positive cash flow. If they don’t cash flow, then you have a tax write off and a hope to sale at a higher valuation – sounds like buy and hold right!  Advisors recommend buying stock and funds based on commissions. If you are in the hammer business, everything looks like a nail.

Brokers fear liability when customers lose money, even on self-directed option trades and they make little on option trades.  The education of clients on options will increase the risk of them deflecting to discount option brokers online once they feel comfortable with covered calls.

You can’t blame the financial industry for doing what is in their best economic interest any more than in other industries such as plumbers, electricians and other trades. Just recognize your interest are different than the financial industry in terms of your long-term investing. Advisors make money when you do and they make money when you don’t. Your choice is to rely upon their advice or handle your own investing. What should you do?

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Here is a great quote from the greatest options expert Larry McMillan: “You will have to predict something in order to profit, for only market makers and arbitrageurs can construct totally risk-free trades that exceed the risk-free rate of return.”  Regardless of your style, stock picking or options trading, you must make choices and you must predict outcomes.

At Get Rich Investments, we believe covered calls do require a prediction but they lower the overall risk of investing. They produce premium income to offset some downside in stock price movement. If used with dividend stocks, they add another layer of income. Then, we couple a portion of our portfolio to monthly dividend stocks to lower portfolio volatility and risk while maximizing total portfolio income.

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Why Buy and Hold Investing Doesn’t Work for All

If you are starting your investing journey than you should consider the best methodology to achieve your objectives. Some popular theories include John Bogle suggesting to buy 50% in a stock index and 50% in a bond index. This is a set and forget move that only requires periodic rebalancing. I am sure this works for many investors. Then, there is the buy stocks for the long haul like Warren Buffett and others to let them appreciate in value and grow dividends over the lifetime of your portfolio.  Most investors subscribe to this theory for managing their investments. I prefer to more actively manage my portfolio and focus on multiple steams of income.

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You may have heard the old adage that the best way to make a small fortune is to invest a large fortune. Another one is that the most difficult time to invest is always now. Mark Twain famously considered every month of the year was peculiarly dangerous for investing in stocks. And there is the wall is a thoroughfare that begins in a graveyard and ends in a river.

Sometimes Wall Street analysts urge the public to buy stocks they know are poor investments as they are probably selling in private deals. Insiders can play games using their superior information because they hold insurmountable advantages. Even Jim Cramer has acknowledged how easily stocks are manipulated by big-time money managers.

To some, this theory is referred to as buy and hope.

As you learned from the past two decades, stocks don’t always go up. Remember the market downturn not so many years ago. Some people buy stocks at the end of a bull market after listening to the crowd full of bull market stories for years only to watch their stocks for years through a bear market. If you are in your 30’s this may not be a concern. But if you are approaching middle age or retirement, do you have time to wait out a secular bear market?

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The market went up an average of 8-9% in the last century but the key word here is this is an average. There have been periods of time when stocks turned in negative returns for several years. I know retirees who had their portfolio cut in half by market corrections. At that age, you no longer have the wherewithal to make earnings via working. A history lesson in it toke 20 years for the market to make gains after 1966. The latest bull market is being fueled by those prepping for retirement but eventually they will spend those dollars during retirement. You know what this means for the market.

Picking stocks that will last a lifetime to grow in value and appreciate in price is tough. We had debacles such as Enron and others and today bell weathers such as GE are in trouble. Yet to get rich in these stocks the security must perform well in all areas. Most of these stock picks are based on the fundamentals of the stock. However, there are many factors that affect long-term success such as changes in technology and markets. I am thinking of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix and others. Where have all the books stores gone? Who was the major search engine before Google? Why are brick and mortar retailors going away because we shop on Amazon?

In general, buy and hold does not produce income. Stocks just lying around the portfolio doesn’t produce any cash flow unless they pay dividends. Growth stocks that are likely your home run stocks usually don’t pay dividends. If you asked a successful entrepreneur their opinion of tying up precious cash in a non-producing investment for years with the risk of a bear market, what will they say? They will probably tell you it is all about the cash flow. When income is not being produced, you are hoping stocks will increase enough over time to produce wealth.

The buy and hold investing ties up your capital without producing income to use in your life. If stocks are higher, then you can sell them, take gains and access the money. But if stocks are down, you are digging into your capital in order to get your hands on some cash. And it is all because stocks are not producing income.

Then there is the value investors. You know them, they buy low and sell high to capture the true value of the stock. Generally, the market moves all boats and your value investment will likely flow with the tide. Value is a relative term based on the perception of the assets as all do not agree on the correct value. Therefore, you had better be right if you are a value investor. Some stocks may be value plays for years!

Wall Street tends to be traders so they don’t do buy and hold investing but you are listening to their recommendations. Odd that Wall Street would tout a strategy they don’t follow themselves. There no mystery that Wall Street needs buyers for stocks. They turn their money generating cash flow all the time. Shouldn’t you?

Remember seeing two market crashes with one in 2000 and the next in 2007 with a span of 10 years. Some investors were ruined twice within a decade. With stocks at all-time highs, when will the next crash happen? Are you prepared to protect your capital?

The smartest strategy would be to buy stocks that pay dividends at the market bottom in 2009. You get the market rebound and cash flow from income. You may have picked up yields of 5% or more during this period.

Then, the best approach would be writing calls on your portfolio stocks to generate more income. A declining market is a perfect time to write calls on a long-term holding. The stocks are declining anyway so why not produce income out of them?

Instead of buy and hope investing, you should try income investing using a conservative approach that can produce an average monthly return of 3-5% which builds wealth quickly using dividend stocks. Think about it, you get dividends from the stock and premium income from writing covered calls.

Imagine that: you can force a stock to generate excellent income – paying you rent – while defining and limiting risk at the outset. And you can choose how much risk to undertake.

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Know the Rules of Investing

In a recent interview, Tony Robbins stated he has coached a successful trader for more than 20 years. The person he is talking about is Paul Tudor Jones, one of the most successful investors of all time and owner of the Boston Red Sox baseball team. Robbins found Jones, and other wealthy, successful people like him, were constantly looking to learn more about money. He stated:

It isn’t about the money! That’s why I call it ‘MONEY: Master the Game, his latest book.’ It is a game. A lot of people get offended by that, like ‘Oh my God! How could he call it a game?’ It is. “The wealthiest people in the world know it’s a game, and the reason they succeed is they know it’s a game. They know there’s certain rules. If you know the rules, you can win and if you don’t you’re gonna lose. Rather than be pissed about it, learn. “

I agree in being successful requires knowing the rules of the game. In my perspective, the rules are the trading plan – designing a strategy and knowing when to enter and exit a trade. At Get Rich Investments, we focus on producing income each month. To be consistent, e follow a set of rules we have learned from over 20 years of investing. The markets are always changing due to events, direction trends and volatility, This is why our income strategy incorporates several options to be successful. These strategies allow our members to be agile and to profit regardless of market sentiment and volatility.

Some investors are comfortable earning a 3-4% dividend yield to meet their income needs. If you seek more return, then join our income plan to earn 10-15% in income each year. We focus on world class stocks with nice dividend payments. But we juice our returns by collecting option income in addition to dividends. This strategy works with all sizes of account amounts- you don’t need a million to started. And, the sooner you get compounded your returns the more income you can create each month.

You can create 100s of monthly income checks using monthly dividend stocks.

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How to Earn a Potential 134% Return with a 16% Dividend Yield

We strive to create monthly income by investing with several strategies. One long-term play for our monthly dividend stock portfolio is Center Coast Brookfield MLP & Energy Infrastructure Fund (CEN). While the energy sector has been soft in the past year, this has brought the energy stock prices down with it. This stock has a great monthly dividend with some significant price upside too.

This CEF trades around $7.80, which is close to the NAV. The big win is you get a 16% dividend with monthly distributions. This means you get all of your capital back in 4.5 years and still own the stock. According to Yahoo Finance, analyst have a 12-month price target of $17 on this stock. This is an increase of 118% on price alone. Therefore, your total return is projected to be 117% plus 16% dividend that equals 134%!

You should not fear the talk of return of capital. A distribution received from the Fund’s investments in MLPs generally are comprised of income and return of capital. The Fund’s dividend distribution policy is intended to provide monthly distributions to its common shareholders at a rate that over time is similar to the distribution rate the Fund receives from the MLPs in which it invests, without offset for the expenses of the Fund.

The Fund seeks a high level of total return with an emphasis on distributions to shareholders through investing in MLPs and energy infrastructure companies. Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its Managed Assets in securities of MLPs and energy infrastructure companies. The Fund may invest up to 20% of its Managed Assets in unregistered or restricted securities, including securities issued by private companies. The Fund may invest up to 10% of its Managed Assets in securities of issuers located outside of North America.

Regardless of the recent market swings, our outlook for the asset class remains favorable. To start, the corporate and financing maturation process that has contributed to sector-specific price volatility over the last several quarters appears to be largely behind us. Since the beginning of 2018 there have been over 15 simplification transactions resulting in generally healthier, lower risk companies in the sector, lower financial leverage, better distribution coverage, self-funding of capital expenditure and improved governance. This leaves us with less than 10% of the current market cap in structures with legacy corporate structures. In addition, public equity issuance is expected to significantly decrease, due to the transition to self-funding business models, reducing sector reliance on external equity capital markets. Sector fundamentals also remain robust as the energy industry set new records for production and transportation of U.S. hydrocarbons in 2018. The U.S. grew crude oil production by almost 20% in 2018 and is now the largest oil-producing country in the world—recently surpassing both Russia and Saudi Arabia—with output at 11.7 million barrels per day (MMb/d). Natural gas production is also at an all-time high after growing approximately 15% in 2018. Moreover, exports of U.S. crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids (NGLs) hit record levels in 2018 and together grew by approximately 40% in 2018. We expect exports of U.S. hydrocarbons to continue to grow and expect that new projects will further add to our nation’s export capacity. One study estimates there will be almost $800 billion of new energy infrastructure investment through 2035 – with much of it expected to be centered around export activity on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Our optimism is somewhat blunted by geopolitical risks globally, and in particular, the worsening trade relationship between the U.S. and China.

At Get Rich Investments, this is the type of opportunities we want to create long-term passive income. I am a buyer here and you should consider adding this one to your income portfolio. We always have a diversified group of monthly dividend stocks to minimize market risk.

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Are You Prepared for Retirement?

Americans dream of achieving their financial goals…

They want to buy their own home, pay off credit-card debt, build an emergency fund, and one day be able to retire comfortably.

According to a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by LendEDU – an online marketplace for financial services – retirement is one of the top priorities for Americans… But more than a third don’t think they’ll achieve it.

What Americans want most
According to LendEDU’s survey, these are the most important financial goals for Americans (more common answers at the top)…

  1. Buying a house or apartment
  2. Retirement
  3. Paying off credit-card debt
  4. Building an emergency fund

While one out of five respondents said retirement is their top financial goal, 39% of people believe they will never achieve it. As LendEDU notes, the trend changes depending on age…

When it came to the age of those respondents that lacked confidence in being able to retire, 52% were over the age of 54, 30% were between the ages of 45 and 54, and 15% fell between the ages of 35 to 44.

Doubts over the reality of being able to retire increased among respondents who are approaching retirement age. Millennials surveyed weren’t thinking about retirement as much as Baby Boomers. Instead, younger respondents predominately said buying a house or apartment is their top priority.

Here is your FIRE Plan

Increasing income in more traditional ways, such as through raises and new job opportunities, may have the greatest effect on how much someone saves for early retirement. They suggest staying competitive in the job market or asking for raises, but not necessarily juggling numerous jobs and burning out.

At Get Rich Investments, we strive to create monthly income from monthly dividend stocks, ETFs, CEFs, covered call trades and other investments. It is best to diversify your holding using multiple approaches.

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What Option Open Interest Means to the Trader

Option open interest is the number of options contracts open in a specific option series.  Open interest serves as a measure of option liquidity in the underlying option series.  The higher the open interest, the tighter the bid/ask spreads will be so slippage in trades will be lower.  When looking at option series, you want to be sure open interest is at least 5,000 and that the bid/ask spreads are no larger than 20 point apart.

When net buying or selling occurs in the underlying security, the open interest will show this change in the same direction of trader moves.  Increases in call open interest indicate the underlying is advancing up while increases in put open interest indicate more selling pressure.

Here are some rules on how to interpret open interest levels for OTM calls and puts in relation to the stock’s price movement:

  • Growing OI in Calls – confirms strength of stock’s advance
  • Declining OI in Calls – bearish divergence of stock’s advance
  • Flat OI in Calls – slightly bearish as no additional support for stock advance
  • Growing OI in Puts – confirmation of stock’s decline
  • Declining OI in Puts – slightly bullish as no additional support for stock decline
  • Flat OI in Puts – slightly bullish as it is not confirming decline

The growing interest in OTM and ATM options will confirm the stocks continued movement in the same direction.  Basically, this means the traders who have
been right are still buying more options for continuing the same direction.  In comparison, when open interest falls it indicates that traders are leaving the trade so it will likely end the current movement.  Traders are taking their money off the table.

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The Magic Number to Save for Retirement

Financial advisors always dodge the question of how much to save for retirement. There are research papers that contradict each other. They suggest there is no magic number for all or “it depends” or “it’s complicated.” I don’t buy this malarkey from the industry. Here is what I suggest and how I fund my accounts.

Don’t give up hope. From most research there’s a pretty useful rule of thumb for all people: Count on your fingers and … Save 10% — now.

Between you and your employer, set aside at least 10% of your paycheck. If your employer contributes 3%, then your share is at least 7%. If the company kicks in 5%, then you save at least 5%. If your employer does nothing, set aside at least 10% of each paycheck on your own.

Of course, there will be times when you’re between jobs or you need your money for a pre-retirement-age emergency. In those cases, you can put your money in a Roth individual retirement account (IRA) account. That way, you can take your contributions out without penalty. (There are also Roth 401(k) accounts, though they have more complicated withdrawal rules.) Don’t let the fact that you might need money someday keep you from saving for retirement now.

At Get Rich, we follow a monthly stock dividend plan where we get monthly dividends. We invest in 10 to 30 different stocks, notes and CEFs to diversify our holdings. To prevent yourself from running out of money in the golden years, reinvest 10% of your dividends back into your accounts. Therefore, if you are living on the dividends, you get a pay raise each month! And, your capital can leave a legacy for your family forever. Lastly, it is passive income that can be created regardless of where you live and play.

Subscribe today to start your monthly income plan.

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Financial Independence, Retire Early with Passive Monthly Income

Many people are becoming part of the FIRE movement, which stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early.” Americans across the country are dreaming of leaving the traditional workplace in their 30s and 40s by investing enough assets in the first decade or two of their careers so they can rely on this nest egg and its investment returns the rest of their lives. Financial independence, to many of these individuals, is the ability to leave a stressful job for a less lucrative one, even if it means making a few sacrifices along the way.

These participants use passive income to help them get to their goal, especially monthly dividend stocks and other income producing investments. They’re typically less risky than investing in individual company stocks but it takes longer to see growth. There is definitely no one solution that you should be in this proportion of stocks and bonds, nor should someone try to time the market. Be comfortable getting there slower through using compounding income.

Taxes are also an important component to planning for FIRE, and individuals looking for financial independence should leverage numerous retirement savings and investment vehicles instead of just one type. Some workers may want to take advantage of the high contribution limits of a 401(k) plan ($19,000 in 2019) as well as a Roth individual retirement account, which is funded with after-tax dollars and then grows and is withdrawn tax-free.

Increasing income in more traditional ways, such as through raises and new job opportunities, may have the greatest effect on how much someone saves for early retirement. They suggest staying competitive in the job market or asking for raises, but not necessarily juggling numerous jobs and burning out.

At Get Rich Investments, we strive to create monthly income from monthly dividend stocks, ETFs, CEFs, covered call trades and other investments. It is best to diversify your holding using multiple approaches.

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Three Steps to Early Retirement as a Millionaire

Notwithstanding a strong U.S. economy, only 25% of Americans say they feel financially prepared for retirement, according to a report just issued by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. : Close to 80% of participants surveyed say they are not reassured that they have the best retirement savings strategies available to them. The good news is, three simple steps can help people build wealth and retire early.

While anyone can benefit from these action steps, they can be particularly powerful for financial independence and early retirement.

1. Pay yourself first

The single most important decision you’re going to make is to pay yourself first. This means, when you earn a paycheck, the first person who gets paid is you. Most people don’t do this even if they have employer matching funds. They focus on paying bills and other personal expenses without considering saving money.

2. Invest your savings

To be clear, simply saving a lot of money doesn’t make you rich. You have to have this money invested for growth. You cannot put this money in a money market or a CD, where it grows at 1% or 2%. You’ll never build wealth that way. We have created an investing plan to purchase monthly dividend stocks. These investments pay you a dividend check every month. Even better, we focus on yields above 10% to beat the market. How would you like 5, 10 or 30 checks coming to you each month?

3. Compound your wealth

When you receive your monthly income, reinvest a portion into new monthly dividend stocks. This grows your wealth over time, increases your income each month and offsets the impact of inflation. Also, this creates a lasting legacy as you are living from the dividends and not touching your capital.

The earlier you start, the better, thanks to the power of compound interest, which can cause your wealth to snowball over time. Yes, early retirement is possible as your monthly income exceeds your living expenses.

Create your legacy by joining our Monthly Income Plan today.

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