SteadyOptions is an options trading forum where you can find solutions from top options traders. TRY IT FREE!

We’ve all been there… researching options strategies and unable to find the answers we’re looking for. SteadyOptions has your solution.

Exiting An Iron Condor Trade


One of the more difficult aspects of options trading is knowing when to take a profit. No one likes to ‘leave money on the table.’ However, I also hope that no one likes to lose thousand of dollars trying to earn another $50 to $100. There is a compromise somewhere.

Question:

"I currently have a RUT Sept IC [iron condor] paper trade that I opened on Aug 27 for a credit of $1.90. This morning the position had a profit of $1.20 and would cost $0.70 to close."

 

If you can watch a position during the day would you advise locking in a profit at a certain point in a situation like this?

 

I cover early. That’s my comfort zone, and you must find your own. However, even that is insufficient. How early to cover and how much to pay remain the unanswered questions. The best place to discover the answers is in the original trade plan. When you have such a plan, it is easy to follow. Sure you can modify it as needed, but the plan gives you a general guideline for making decisions.

 

For example, if your plan was to earn $1.50, then I would say that earning $1.20 is acceptable ONLY when the current position makes you uncomfortable. If you have doubts, then quitting earlier than anticipated makes sense.

 

Lacking a trade plan, I believe:

  • How much you collected originally is immaterial.
  • How much profit you have is immaterial

 

All that matters is this:

 

You can cover this position by paying $0.70. Do you want to take the risk of holding this position when your potential is all, or part, of $0.70? Are the options far enough OTM that you are comfortable when holding? Or would you be holding just because you cannot bear the thought of paying ‘so much’ to close?

 

Would open this iron condor as a new position for $0.70. If ‘yes’ then do not close. If ‘no’ then you have a decision to make.

 

 

ironcondor_alt727x285.jpg

 

Is it too risky to hold? I cannot possibly know the answer. It’s a personal decision.

 

If you do hold, what is the target? If it is another 5 cents, get than $0.65 cent bid in now. There is no reason to risk losing the whole profit to earn another $0.05.

 

I offer this advice: Don’t allow the actual result to sway you. If you decide to hold, and this time that turns out to be a losing decision, don’t conclude that you should close early next time.

 

If you close early and the position goes out worthless, that does not mean you should hold next time.

 

Trading is about RISK and REWARD. Not how much you coulda, woulda, shoulda earned.

Also, your decision on holding/closing should influence your decision. But that becomes part of the trade plan.

 

You are in the learning phase of your options trading career. You are gaining experience. Education is an ongoing process, and requires time. Before you risk real money, you must (IMHO) understand the strategy you are using and have some basis for believing you are capable of managing the risk of your investment, should the market move against you.

 

You are still paper trading. So trade. Manage risk. Keep a daily diary of how you ‘feel’ about your positions: Are you comfortable? Are you concerned about volatile markets or pending losses? Are you confident (overconfidence is a killer)? Are you anxious to lock in profits or do you prefer to try to collect the last penny from a trade? Put your thoughts into writing.

 

Keep a trade plan for every trade. Be conscious of position size and have a good reason for increasing or decreasing size. As time passes, keep a record of how well you like the plan or whether you feel the plan did not serve its intended purpose.

 

Answering these questions – in your diary – is important. Your own commentary will lead you down a path that is good for you. And you can modify your comfort zone as the years go by.

 

It takes time to find a strategy that you can handle effectively. But, no strategy is always ‘right.’ Times change and markets change. Be prepared to change your trading habits.

 

Take your time. If you develop good habits now, those habits will last a lifetime. If you go broke now, you may give up trading options. I cannot tell you what will work for you – but you will figure it out as you go along.

 

  • The primary goal is to survive. That means protecting your assets.
  • The secondary goal is to make money.
  • The tertiary goal is to build wealth.
  • The fourth rule is to never forget your primary goal.

Concentrate on getting experience with iron condors, finding your comfort zone, and protecting your assets. That is what is important.

 

Mark Wolfinger has been in the options business since 1977, when he began his career as a floor trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). Since leaving the Exchange, Mark has been giving trading seminars as well as providing individual mentoring via telephone, email and his premium Options For Rookies blog. Mark has published four books about options. His Options For Rookies book is a classic primer and a must read for every options trader. Mark holds a BS from Brooklyn College and a PhD in chemistry from Northwestern University.

 

Related articles:

 

Want to learn more?

 

Start Your Free Trial

 

What Is SteadyOptions?

Full Trading Plan

Complete Portfolio Approach

Diversified Options Strategies

Exclusive Community Forum

Steady And Consistent Gains

High Quality Education

Risk Management, Portfolio Size

Performance based on real fills

Try It Free

Non-directional Options Strategies

10-15 trade Ideas Per Month

Targets 5-7% Monthly Net Return

Visit our Education Center

Recent Articles

Articles

  • Estimating Delta for Calls or Puts

    Options trading relies on many estimates of value and volatility. Among these, the most useful estimate is Delta. Even knowledgeable options traders might not fully understand the “Greeks” and how they operate, especially with one another. They are directly related and are useful in making comparisons of market risk and volatility.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 178 views
  • Are Covered Calls a ‘Sure Thing?’

    Most covered call writers enjoy the regularity and reliability of the position. In the majority of cases, the covered call will be profitable, even when underlying shares are called away. This assumes that the strike is higher than the basis in the underlying, and that the call writer understands the real limitations to the strategy.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 523 views
  • Lessons from Bill Ackman's comeback

    Bill Ackman is an American investor, hedge fund manager and philanthropist. He is the founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, a hedge fund management company. Ackman is considered by some to be a contrarian investor but considers himself an activist investor.

    By Kim,

    • 1 comment
    • 1,668 views
  • Steady Futures 2019 Performance Analysis

    Steady Futures began trading the 50K portfolio in July 2019. It produced a 8.5% return during its 6 months of performance (18.0% annualized). We had three goals when we developed this system. First, we wanted a robust system that benefits from turmoil in the markets.

    By RapperT,

    • 0 comments
    • 347 views
  • SteadyOptions 2019 - Year In Review

    2019 marks our 8th year as a public service. It was a good year overall. We closed 151 winners out of 232 trades. Our model portfolio produced 41.7% compounded gain on the whole account based on 10% allocation per trade. We had only two losing months in 2019. 

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 520 views
  • Momentum 2019 Performance Analysis

    Steady Momentum had an excellent first year of publication, producing significant gains in both of the published strategies. The most popular strategy writes (sells) out of the money puts on equity indexes and ETF’s, and returned 19.1% for the year, beating our benchmark by approximately 5.5%.

    By Jesse,

    • 1 comment
    • 596 views
  • SteadyOptions 2019 Performance Analysis

    Steady Options model portfolio produced 41.7% gain in 2019. This is a very good return by any standards, but well below our long term returns. In the name of full transparency and our continuous learning, we are providing a full analysis of the 2019 numbers.

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,530 views
  • Anchor 2019 Performance Analysis

    Steady Options now has a full year of trading the Leveraged Anchor Account under its belt. (Technically since today is December 30, the values used herein are one day off.) To say things went as designed is an understatement - the strategy outperformed the S&P 500 in 2019 by 7.2% while being hedged.

    By cwelsh,

    • 1 comment
    • 751 views
  • A Reliable Method for Picking the Underlying

    A lot of emphasis is placed on selection of one strategy over another. Are you conservative or a speculator? Are you trying to make fast money or hedging equity positions? In fact, this is a primary concern among traders. The strategy should match the risk profile, of course. But there is much more to how and why you trade options.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 549 views
  • Total Stock Market Index Funds: A Diversification Illusion?

    I’m a fan of index funds and diversification. Low costs, low turnover, and passively managed exposure to thousands of stocks make Total Stock Market (TSM) index funds great starting points for stock market exposure. In fact, most investor portfolios I see are insufficiently diversified to a point where a TSM index fund would be a material improvement.

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 766 views

  Report Article

We want to hear from you!


There are no comments to display.



Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

Options Trading Blogs Expertido