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Is This Rally for Real?

After being down over 35% from the all time high, S&P 500 has rallied over 20% from the recent lows in just two weeks. Is this rally for real? Or is it just a bear market rally, a "dead cat bounce"? What the "experts" are saying? Has the market bottomed? Will the selling resume?

Financial Planning Lessons From the Pandemic

The first quarter of this year will end up being one of the most volatile quarters of our investing lives. Many lessons can be learned. Perhaps none are more important than the basic principle of maintaining sufficient cash liquidity in the form of an “emergency fund” during both our working and retirement years.

Human Nature and Option Risk

Traders may tend to think of risk in purely mathematical terms. It can be quantified by analysis and by a deep understanding of probability. But there is more to this than just the math, and for options traders, some of the intangible considerations might have more impact on trading decisions than the formulas.

Anchor Analysis and Options

Anyone who has been trading the Anchor Strategy over the past few months should be extremely happy with its performance.  Now that many have realized how well it performs in down markets, one of the most common questions is “what should I do now?”

The Fallacy of Market Timing

The headlines say it all. "The worst day since the financial crisis". "Markets in turmoil". And today was "Stock markets post best day in years as governments fight coronavirus with cash". Could anyone predict the crash? And can anyone tell us where we are headed next week/month/year? Is it possible to call the tops and the bottoms?

Long Option Risks

Among all options, the most easily calculated payoffs are those for long options. But there remains a great misunderstanding, even among experienced option traders. This must be clarified before moving forward. The misunderstanding is often seen expressed online and in the literature: “75% of long options expire worthless.”

Option Payoff Probability

Many options analyses focus on profit, loss and breakeven. These show what occurs on expiration day, assuming the option remains open to that point. But this is not realistic. Most options are closed or exercised before expiration, is calculation of how probable a payoff is going to be, how likely the loss, or the exact neutral outcome (breakeven), are all unrealistic.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Value

A lot is written about intrinsic value, but how does it work and what does it mean? The fact is, intrinsic value is an estimate of how future premium levels will change. It is base don current volatility and a set of assumptions. In dividing premium into its component parts, most descriptions deal with intrinsic and time value.

McDonald's, Not A Shelter in the Coming Storm

The amount of time and effort that investors spend assessing the risks versus the potential returns of their portfolio should shift as the economy and markets cycle over time. For example, when an economic recovery finally breaks the grip of a recession, and asset prices and valuations have fallen to average or below-average levels, price and economic risks are greatly diminished.

Risk Depends On Your Time Horizon

Those who are nearing retirement and those who have recently retired represent the majority of my financial planning and investment advisory client base. One of the most common mistakes I hear from these types of individuals is something similar to “I no longer have enough time for the market to come back.”

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