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Here's some trading advice from a fellow trader
I currently manage around half a million dollars and have been trading for 6+ years with 3 years of consistent profitability. Paid for my trading lessons the hard way by losing a lot of money at first. Here's some advice that might help you. 1) Treat trading like a business. I know you probably heard this 100 times before but I feel like I should emphasize this point. Majority of traders overestimate their ability to make money and underestimate their risk exposure. 2) Think long term. The more complex your trading system is, the less freedom it has in terms of flexibility because of too many variables in your analysis. So, keep your trading system simple. 3) Do not rationalize or predict the market. Do not look for comfort in your strategy. In fact, do the reverse. Find comfort in the thought that markets are chaotic and there's always a good chance of you losing a lot of money. This should keep you up on your toes and controls your greed during a profitable streak (You are not a money printing machine, trust me. ) 4) Every trade you open should be assumed as a loss. This is very important in terms of having a healthy mindset towards managing risk. I never open a position based on how much money I can make. I do it based on how much I can afford to lose in this particular trade. 5) Biggest mistake I have observed while working with other traders is not doing their homework. If you don't plan your trades before the day even began, then you will develop a mindset of chasing the market which will lead to your downfall. Which brings me to my next point 6) Maintain three things - a) your daily trading notes that you read before you begin trading b) market observation notes which includes particular strategies and observations in specific markets and c) a full fledged trading journal where you record everything you traded. Always remember that majority of your trading work is done when you're not trading. 7) Journaling is the most important and also most neglected part of trading and most traders, including some very good traders do it in a wrong way. How do I know that? Let me ask you something : Tell me about what kind of trading setups were the most and least profitable in the last 100 trades. Explain them to me in detail including your analysis and opinion on what you think might have happened. If you can answer this in detail and with specific examples from your last 100 trades then I know you have a good journaling habit. If you cannot , then it's time to improve on your record keeping. Remember that your journals are the only way you can guarantee that you will grow as a trader. 8) Remember this no matter what - Not having a position in the market is itself a position if you know what you are doing. There's no need for you to always trade all day everyday and try to make money. In fact, I can guarantee you that markets will not always behave according to your trading system and during those times trying to "find a needle in a haystack " type of behavior is reckless and will take an emotional toll on your mind. Just sit on the sidelines if the market isn't moving according to your system. 9) There's no thing as overbought or oversold scenarios especially in forex. Heaving a bearish bias because the market moved up by a lot is just ridiculous and most likely guarantee that you miss out on bullish scenarios. If you start developing a bearish bias after a huge bullish move then you better have a damn good reason for it instead of just saying " It moved up by a lot so I'm expecting a reversal". 10) This one is a personal opinion. Always remember to take breaks and relax during the weekends. Managing stress while maintaining performance is a huge part of the job and I don't want you to burn out after a few months of serious trading everyday. Maintain a decent social life outside of trading to keep your sanity intact. Get some hobbies. Your health and well being is very important to your long term performance as a trader so don't neglect it.
My MIL literally showed me and my SO her vagina, AND PATTED IT!!!
Okay, you guys I’m sorry this is so long and the formatting is messed up, this is my first time writing on Reddit, but PLEASE strap on with ya girl through this rollercoaster of my SO’s family, I just need an ear to vent to for a while. So I’m a 22yo Black American and my SO is a 27yo Nigerian who’s been in America for a going on 6 years now. We’ve been knowing each other maybe 4 years but we’ve only been together for 2, because I moved away for college to California (my home state) from Houston (my mom is a traveling nurse so I use to move around all the time as a kid.) But throughout this time, we always talked, even argued a bit but he was always “the one that got away” for me. So during this time we both got into shitty relationships that caused us to both look at ourselves, take accountability where it was needed and grow from the situation. Maybe 6 months after my relationship with my ex, my SO calls me and we get back talking and he flies my out to meet him, and the rest has been history. I left school on my third year and became a housewife for my SO (he’s a traveling wind turbine technician, so yeah I’m still everywhere.) So here’s where shit gets real. So keep in mind how I told you he was Nigerian and I was Black American (apparently 2 different races) Yeah so, his mom met me for the first time, this lady was exceptionally nice, I felt like we even bonded over the fact that we freaking look alike. I mean if we were to go to outside of her house together people would just believe that she was my mom, not the other way around. So we meet this first time (this was like 2 years ago so strap in baby, I’m about to give you the full jist) and I personally believed things went great until maybe a few weeks after that, her and my SO have an argument and she tells him that I’m going to trap him into being a baby father because I’m an Akata (Akata = Africans slur towards black Americans) (SN: If this heifer would have even TRIED to get to know me she would know I don’t even want no damn kids, UGH) But she says all this and my SO takes up for me then hangs up on her, not even a week later this horrible retched human being calls and just acts like nothing happened. My SO was just like whatever cause at this point every time they would get on the phone they would argue so he didn’t want to feel like the person constantly bringing the static. So we were paying their rent ($1890) while his mom was going to school to be a nurse, (she’s 64) under the stipulation that this would stop as soon as she got a job. So she got a job, told us we didn’t have to worry about paying the rent anymore, then called us 2 freaking days before their rent was do to tell us she couldn’t afford it. So we paid it again, and this went on for 5 months after. Until my SO just told her no more. After we paid her rent for the last time, we told her it was the last time and she would need to figure herself out. I mean she has a husband that doesn’t work, he takes her money and spends it on stocks and forex, he will win a little but the will loose everything EVERY FREAKING TIME and this lady still gives him her money. Okay so the second time I went over was after being called a baby mama but before we stopped paying the rent, and I am just like it’s my SO family I’m going to try and show them me, and let them see who I am. But literally on our way to his house his older sister, who I hadn’t met before this, calls and tells him that we shouldn’t stay at his house because we’re not married. So we say whatever to that even though we were paying rent, and we bought a hotel. So once we get to Houston we go to the hotel and then his mom calls and asks where we are and my SO tells her we came to a hotel because of what his sister said. Then his mom tells his is sister doesn’t run nothing so come there, he tries to be like no it’s fine we’ll stay here to keep the peace, this lady literally breaks down crying so my SO is like okay okay we’ll go, so the next day we went, and went we fucking did. Literally as soon as we walked in and got the pleasantries over and then sit down to eat lunch, they began talking shit about this other family that moved from Nigeria to California but couldn’t stay there because it was too expensive and they had to move to Houston. They were saying things like the other family is stupid, they should be able to stay anywhere “I mean it’s America”, how could they not afford their rent (while me and my SO are paying their rent), things like that. So being from California myself I took it upon myself to take up for this other family and explain to his family that staying in California is ALOT different from staying in Houston, from gas prices to rent prices to even cleanliness, it’s a whole different space. So from me saying that his sister began to straight up argue with me about this, she was speaking over me, not letting me finish, everything I hate in an argument and the whole time I sat their and tried to get my point across as best I could without being the loud ghetto black girl, and I applaud myself for this because MY OWN FAMILY don’t even speak to me the way his family has. (I’m literally shaking as I’m writing this OMG I HATE THESE PEOPLE) His sister was saying things like, she can’t stay in a place in CALIFORNIA where people in her apartment building are sagging, she would go to the mid level worker, IN FUCKING CALIFORNIA, and figure out what they do to make it and she would still be there chugging on along. Even after I tried to explain to this girl over and over again that’s not how life works, especially not in California, she still didn’t get it, so my SO just calmed the situation and we went up to his room. After a couple of minutes I left outta his room to go to the restroom and this same bitch that I just met for the first time and got yelled at by over shit she didn’t even know about, who also told my SO that I shouldn’t go to their family house because we’re not married, she asks me if I’m comfortable there. In order to hold myself from cussing her the fuck out. I literally just look at her and kept walking to the bathroom. So on the same trip, one of his mother’s older friends came over (to get FOR FREE NOW my SO old fucked up car because she didn’t have one) and we were cleaning the kitchen because we had a little pressure cooker mishap, so my SO was doing something and this lady was talking to her sons in their language and then says Akata to her sons, I didn’t think anything of it I’m just like whatever she not be talking about me. But as she was leaving this lady gave me the deadliest look, so hard my SO was like okay bye now to get her attention off of me, cause I just smiled at her, (old bitter bitches can’t break my happiness.) So after they leave my SO is like WTF was that and I told him how I also heard her say Akata and he’s pretty pissed I didn’t say anything while she was there, but was like whatever I will tell my mom. We tell his mom, and she is just like, no I don’t believe she would do that, and just left it at that. Yeah so that was my last time going there for a long while. During me not going my SO didn’t go either because this man would legit loose his head if I didn’t always keep it in purse. This is when we stopped paying the rent and the arguments started as well. (SN: We smoke marijuana and that’s a problem for his family as well (he smoked weed before we even met), his family LITERALLY have called us druggies on multiple occasions, while still asking us for money. What kind of druggies would you ask for money?) So yeah now I have caught up to year 20 fucking 20. During our hiatus from Houston, my SO was keeping in small contact with his family and I have always kept in contact with his little sister, she would call me and we would literally be on the phone for hours but that slowed up a lot and and so did his family from telling us their hardships, so in our minds everything was chill, they were learning we have our own minds and way of living and they were becoming okay with it. THE FUCKING LIES I THOUGHT. Nope the whole time they were just talking shit about us behind our backs and then come and ask us for shit. CRAY. So my SO has stuff that we just left at her house because he is a traveling wind turbine technician and we literally just didn’t have anywhere to put them, he had another car in her garage and we had like clothes and just things from other apartments and places we’ve been and we just couldn’t keep taking it around with us. So his mom said something about them moving houses and us having to come and get our stuff. Totally fine so we make plans and literally the next weekend we’re there grabbing our stuff. When we get there his mom then tells him there not gonna move so he can keep stuff there, so we’re like whatever because we were already having problems with the storages, so we just took his little sister driving and then I went shopping while they stayed back in the hotel to play VR and talk. I wasn’t there for this talk but from what my SO told me, his little sister was mad about the way he speaks to his mom, she was telling him her health is bad so he shouldn’t be yelling at her and all of this other stuff and he replied with something to the effect of if she’s doing fucked up things in front of y’all, why is no one else yelling. (I haven’t said what they have been arguing about because it’s a lot of different BS but it always has something to do with his mom chasing money and forgetting logic.) But they have a whole conversation about it or whatever and he tells me that his little sister was agreeing with what he was saying and everything. But the next day when we went to his house to grab our stuff, we realize it’s the complete opposite. I didn’t go in with him first off because I went shopping the day before and I had HELLA bags and shit the back of our truck so I had to move stuff around and make it neat so we could add the stuff from the house. During this time, unbeknownst to me, his little sister and mom are in the back arguing to my SO about who? ME! Saying things like I’m low class, dirty, I didn’t know how to pronounce the name of my university (?????), and that I have no ambition because I don’t have a job. They also talk about us smoking weed and then his little sister (16f) asked my SO what are your 10 year goals. Like WHAT?!?!?!? So after I finish moving all of this stuff I go into the house and the “daddy” then tells me to go to the back room cause that’s where everyone is. I had no idea what was going on and as soon as I walked inside of the room everyone stopped and looked at me. I could tell me SO was pissed but I thought their conversation was about what him and his little sister were talking about the night prior. So when I walk in his mom begins saying her greeting and then complimenting me on my clothes and I then told her how I sewed them myself because I learned how to sew recently, (this whole no ambition thing really fucks me up because I literally know so many skills, I don’t have to pay anyone to do anything for me, from my hair to my fucking acrylics to building furniture, it’s really fucking asinine to me.) So after all of the pleasantries are done, my SO begins helping his dad move stuff around and his mom begins to talk to me about smoking weed. At this point, I was still on the let me respect this old bitch level not knowing what was said about me seconds before. So I let her go on and on, with just a few things where I was like wait but that’s not right and then she would then go on and on on how it was right, when all of her explanations were stupid, and to just keep the peace I just kept saying yes ma’am, okay, all of that. When I say dumb shit I mean dumb shit she was telling me how we shouldn’t be eating out all of the time, when the only time we eat out is when we’re in Houston because knowing that I’m vegetarian they still cook everything with meat so I have to go buy food,which is fine, but don’t then hold it against me you insane crazy crazy bitch. She was even talking shit about my SO about how he is like the bad child, when his brother literally smokes weed too but he’s just too much of a pussy to say anything. So finally we leave, and then my SO tells me about all of this, it’s a 7 hour drive back to where he is stationed and the WHOLE drive I was yelling, I literally lost my voice. So at this point, I am just like fuck it, I need to state my peace. Again I will tell y’all MY OWN FAMILY knows better!!! I can’t allow somebody else’s family to treat me nor my man no type of way. Not at all. So two weeks later (literally last weekend) we go back to Houston once and for all to get all of our shit, move his car and cuss them the fuck out. So when we get to his house we just get busy getting out shit cause him mom wasn’t getting off work until the next day. So we get the stuff and come back the next day and here is again where shit gets the mostest realest OMG!!!! OMG!!! So we get there right before they’re leaving for church, give them little pleasantries or whatever and then we get down to business, my SO started then tossed the mic to me, so I begin VERY VERY calm and started to tell her how my SO told me what they have been saying and I don’t believe it’s right for them to just make assumptions about me without knowing me. This insane crazy bitch, tells me she doesn’t care about me because I’m not her child or her concern. And I say well why have you been talking about me. This woman says she doesn’t remember saying anything and for ME to tell her what she has said. So I was like well for starters you said I was going to make my SO into a baby father. She says, I don’t remember that, and after both my SO and I say YES YOU DID. She says Well it’s true.... (WTFFFFFFF I DONT HAVE CHILDREN I SWEAR I DO NOT HAVE A CHIL) At this point all calm is out, I’m yelling BITCH I DONT HAVE NO KIDS CRAZY, and I also begin walking toward her, now I’m not gonna hit this old ass bitch I just wanna yell in her face a little. And she starts saying oh are you gonna hit me and all of this and by this time I feel like I blacked out because I honestly have no idea what I was saying but I know I called her an old dumb bitch multiple times. But my SO comes in as I’m walking up to her and calms me down so I shut my lips and just let him go in. She was talking shit about me not having a job, he started talking about her husband, his dad, RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, calling him a deadbeat because he doesn’t have a job and literally doesn’t do shit and he wastes her money while I save my SO money. His dad literally didn’t do shit. His mom said she was gonna call the police my SO said he will call immigration (his daddy have literally been in this country illegally for over 10 years and she mad that we smoking weed, the fucking nerve.) So through all of my SO yelling and stuff we moved locations into the entryway and she’s telling us to get out but my SO is getting out everything that he’s been feeling. In the fucking mist of them arguing, she’s yelling as well, she begins to pull down her fucking panties (I am just a bystander at this point and I’m listening to the argument and once the panties began coming off, I swear to GOD it was was like a fucking car crash, I couldn’t look away. My brain was trying it’s fucking damnedest to make sense out of fucking nonsense.) This woman strips out of her fucking panties, lays flat backed on the fucking ground and spread fucking eagle shows me and my SO her puss. She literally starts smacking her puss while yelling to my SO that he came out of there. YAAAALLLLLL!!!! In all of this my SO is still yelling, he just turns his head to the side to where he can’t see her and just keeps going. After about 5 more minutes of her standing up then laying back down to show puss, I just told my SO let’s go and we walked out, with her yelling at ME, not to come back to her house. The next day his sister calls him and says their mom said he took me over their house to fight her, she even tells his sister that she showed us her puss, and his sister calls him asks him what happened and he starts telling her and she says well you are a druggie, nothing about the old bitch pussy popping for her son and his girlfriend. He hangs up in her face once she made the druggie comment cause honestly you’re insane if you’re mad at your brother for smoking a little weed but not your mom for popping pussy. These are just tips of the iceberg moments, not even everything I have went through in these SMALL 2 years. I don’t know how to finish this up other than, just pray for me and my SO.
Hi guys, I have been using reddit for years in my personal life (not trading!) and wanted to give something back in an area where i am an expert. I worked at an investment bank for seven years and joined them as a graduate FX trader so have lots of professional experience, by which i mean I was trained and paid by a big institution to trade on their behalf. This is very different to being a full-time home trader, although that is not to discredit those guys, who can accumulate a good amount of experience/wisdom through self learning. When I get time I'm going to write a mid-length posts on each topic for you guys along the lines of how i was trained. I guess there would be 15-20 topics in total so about 50-60 posts. Feel free to comment or ask questions. The first topic is Risk Management and we'll cover it in three parts Part I
Why it matters
Using stops sensibly
Picking a clear level
Why it matters
The first rule of making money through trading is to ensure you do not lose money. Look at any serious hedge fund’s website and they’ll talk about their first priority being “preservation of investor capital.” You have to keep it before you grow it. Strangely, if you look at retail trading websites, for every one article on risk management there are probably fifty on trade selection. This is completely the wrong way around. The great news is that this stuff is pretty simple and process-driven. Anyone can learn and follow best practices. Seriously, avoiding mistakes is one of the most important things: there's not some holy grail system for finding winning trades, rather a routine and fairly boring set of processes that ensure that you are profitable, despite having plenty of losing trades alongside the winners.
Capital and position sizing
The first thing you have to know is how much capital you are working with. Let’s say you have $100,000 deposited. This is your maximum trading capital. Your trading capital is not the leveraged amount. It is the amount of money you have deposited and can withdraw or lose. Position sizing is what ensures that a losing streak does not take you out of the market. A rule of thumb is that one should risk no more than 2% of one’s account balance on an individual trade and no more than 8% of one’s account balance on a specific theme. We’ll look at why that’s a rule of thumb later. For now let’s just accept those numbers and look at examples. So we have $100,000 in our account. And we wish to buy EURUSD. We should therefore not be risking more than 2% which $2,000. We look at a technical chart and decide to leave a stop below the monthly low, which is 55 pips below market. We’ll come back to this in a bit. So what should our position size be? We go to the calculator page, select Position Size and enter our details. There are many such calculators online - just google "Pip calculator". https://preview.redd.it/y38zb666e5h51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=26e4fe569dc5c1f43ce4c746230c49b138691d14 So the appropriate size is a buy position of 363,636 EURUSD. If it reaches our stop level we know we’ll lose precisely $2,000 or 2% of our capital. You should be using this calculator (or something similar) on every single trade so that you know your risk. Now imagine that we have similar bets on EURJPY and EURGBP, which have also broken above moving averages. Clearly this EUR-momentum is a theme. If it works all three bets are likely to pay off. But if it goes wrong we are likely to lose on all three at once. We are going to look at this concept of correlation in more detail later. The total amount of risk in our portfolio - if all of the trades on this EUR-momentum theme were to hit their stops - should not exceed $8,000 or 8% of total capital. This allows us to go big on themes we like without going bust when the theme does not work. As we’ll see later, many traders only win on 40-60% of trades. So you have to accept losing trades will be common and ensure you size trades so they cannot ruin you. Similarly, like poker players, we should risk more on trades we feel confident about and less on trades that seem less compelling. However, this should always be subject to overall position sizing constraints. For example before you put on each trade you might rate the strength of your conviction in the trade and allocate a position size accordingly: https://preview.redd.it/q2ea6rgae5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=4332cb8d0bbbc3d8db972c1f28e8189105393e5b To keep yourself disciplined you should try to ensure that no more than one in twenty trades are graded exceptional and allocated 5% of account balance risk. It really should be a rare moment when all the stars align for you. Notice that the nice thing about dealing in percentages is that it scales. Say you start out with $100,000 but end the year up 50% at $150,000. Now a 1% bet will risk $1,500 rather than $1,000. That makes sense as your capital has grown. It is extremely common for retail accounts to blow-up by making only 4-5 losing trades because they are leveraged at 50:1 and have taken on far too large a position, relative to their account balance. Consider that GBPUSD tends to move 1% each day. If you have an account balance of $10k then it would be crazy to take a position of $500k (50:1 leveraged). A 1% move on $500k is $5k. Two perfectly regular down days in a row — or a single day’s move of 2% — and you will receive a margin call from the broker, have the account closed out, and have lost all your money. Do not let this happen to you. Use position sizing discipline to protect yourself.
If you’re wondering - why “about 2%” per trade? - that’s a fair question. Why not 0.5% or 10% or any other number? The Kelly Criterion is a formula that was adapted for use in casinos. If you know the odds of winning and the expected pay-off, it tells you how much you should bet in each round. This is harder than it sounds. Let’s say you could bet on a weighted coin flip, where it lands on heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time. The payout is $2 per $1 bet. Well, absolutely you should bet. The odds are in your favour. But if you have, say, $100 it is less obvious how much you should bet to avoid ruin. Say you bet $50, the odds that it could land on tails twice in a row are 16%. You could easily be out after the first two flips. Equally, betting $1 is not going to maximise your advantage. The odds are 60/40 in your favour so only betting $1 is likely too conservative. The Kelly Criterion is a formula that produces the long-run optimal bet size, given the odds. Applying the formula to forex trading looks like this: Position size % = Winning trade % - ( (1- Winning trade %) / Risk-reward ratio If you have recorded hundreds of trades in your journal - see next chapter - you can calculate what this outputs for you specifically. If you don't have hundreds of trades then let’s assume some realistic defaults of Winning trade % being 30% and Risk-reward ratio being 3. The 3 implies your TP is 3x the distance of your stop from entry e.g. 300 pips take profit and 100 pips stop loss. So that’s 0.3 - (1 - 0.3) / 3 = 6.6%. Hold on a second. 6.6% of your account probably feels like a LOT to risk per trade.This is the main observation people have on Kelly: whilst it may optimise the long-run results it doesn’t take into account the pain of drawdowns. It is better thought of as the rational maximum limit. You needn’t go right up to the limit! With a 30% winning trade ratio, the odds of you losing on four trades in a row is nearly one in four. That would result in a drawdown of nearly a quarter of your starting account balance. Could you really stomach that and put on the fifth trade, cool as ice? Most of us could not. Accordingly people tend to reduce the bet size. For example, let’s say you know you would feel emotionally affected by losing 25% of your account. Well, the simplest way is to divide the Kelly output by four. You have effectively hidden 75% of your account balance from Kelly and it is now optimised to avoid a total wipeout of just the 25% it can see. This gives 6.6% / 4 = 1.65%. Of course different trading approaches and different risk appetites will provide different optimal bet sizes but as a rule of thumb something between 1-2% is appropriate for the style and risk appetite of most retail traders. Incidentally be very wary of systems or traders who claim high winning trade % like 80%. Invariably these don’t pass a basic sense-check:
How many live trades have you done? Often they’ll have done only a handful of real trades and the rest are simulated backtests, which are overfitted. The model will soon die.
What is your risk-reward ratio on each trade? If you have a take profit $3 away and a stop loss $100 away, of course most trades will be winners. You will not be making money, however! In general most traders should trade smaller position sizes and less frequently than they do. If you are going to bias one way or the other, far better to start off too small.
How to use stop losses sensibly
Stop losses have a bad reputation amongst the retail community but are absolutely essential to risk management. No serious discretionary trader can operate without them. A stop loss is a resting order, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. For a recap on the various order types visit this chapter. The valid concern with stop losses is that disreputable brokers look for a concentration of stops and then, when the market is close, whipsaw the price through the stop levels so that the clients ‘stop out’ and sell to the broker at a low rate before the market naturally comes back higher. This is referred to as ‘stop hunting’. This would be extremely immoral behaviour and the way to guard against it is to use a highly reputable top-tier broker in a well regulated region such as the UK. Why are stop losses so important? Well, there is no other way to manage risk with certainty. You should always have a pre-determined stop loss before you put on a trade. Not having one is a recipe for disaster: you will find yourself emotionally attached to the trade as it goes against you and it will be extremely hard to cut the loss. This is a well known behavioural bias that we’ll explore in a later chapter. Learning to take a loss and move on rationally is a key lesson for new traders. A common mistake is to think of the market as a personal nemesis. The market, of course, is totally impersonal; it doesn’t care whether you make money or not. Bruce Kovner, founder of the hedge fund Caxton Associates There is an old saying amongst bank traders which is “losers average losers”. It is tempting, having bought EURUSD and seeing it go lower, to buy more. Your average price will improve if you keep buying as it goes lower. If it was cheap before it must be a bargain now, right? Wrong. Where does that end? Always have a pre-determined cut-off point which limits your risk. A level where you know the reason for the trade was proved ‘wrong’ ... and stick to it strictly. If you trade using discretion, use stops.
Picking a clear level
Where you leave your stop loss is key. Typically traders will leave them at big technical levels such as recent highs or lows. For example if EURUSD is trading at 1.1250 and the recent month’s low is 1.1205 then leaving it just below at 1.1200 seems sensible. If you were going long, just below the double bottom support zone seems like a sensible area to leave a stop You want to give it a bit of breathing room as we know support zones often get challenged before the price rallies. This is because lots of traders identify the same zones. You won’t be the only one selling around 1.1200. The “weak hands” who leave their sell stop order at exactly the level are likely to get taken out as the market tests the support. Those who leave it ten or fifteen pips below the level have more breathing room and will survive a quick test of the level before a resumed run-up. Your timeframe and trading style clearly play a part. Here’s a candlestick chart (one candle is one day) for GBPUSD. https://preview.redd.it/moyngdy4f5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=91af88da00dd3a09e202880d8029b0ddf04fb802 If you are putting on a trend-following trade you expect to hold for weeks then you need to have a stop loss that can withstand the daily noise. Look at the downtrend on the chart. There were plenty of days in which the price rallied 60 pips or more during the wider downtrend. So having a really tight stop of, say, 25 pips that gets chopped up in noisy short-term moves is not going to work for this kind of trade. You need to use a wider stop and take a smaller position size, determined by the stop level. There are several tools you can use to help you estimate what is a safe distance and we’ll look at those in the next section. There are of course exceptions. For example, if you are doing range-break style trading you might have a really tight stop, set just below the previous range high. https://preview.redd.it/ygy0tko7f5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=34af49da61c911befdc0db26af66f6c313556c81 Clearly then where you set stops will depend on your trading style as well as your holding horizons and the volatility of each instrument. Here are some guidelines that can help:
Use technical analysis to pick important levels (support, resistance, previous high/lows, moving averages etc.) as these provide clear exit and entry points on a trade.
Ensure that the stop gives your trade enough room to breathe and reflects your timeframe and typical volatility of each pair. See next section.
Always pick your stop level first. Then use a calculator to determine the appropriate lot size for the position, based on the % of your account balance you wish to risk on the trade.
So far we have talked about price-based stops. There is another sort which is more of a fundamental stop, used alongside - not instead of - price stops. If either breaks you’re out. For example if you stop understanding why a product is going up or down and your fundamental thesis has been confirmed wrong, get out. For example, if you are long because you think the central bank is turning hawkish and AUDUSD is going to play catch up with rates … then you hear dovish noises from the central bank and the bond yields retrace lower and back in line with the currency - close your AUDUSD position. You already know your thesis was wrong. No need to give away more money to the market.
Coming up in part II
EDIT: part II here Letting stops breathe When to change a stop Entering and exiting winning positions Risk:reward ratios Risk-adjusted returns
Coming up in part III
Squeezes and other risks Market positioning Bet correlation Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits *** Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
Ive (31f) been with my bf (32m) for 4 years. Overall I think it is a pretty healthy relationship. We both have the same background (Was with ex for 10 years with 2 kids) He treats me well, and respectable. He makes sure that every birthday is special for me. (3-4 day celebration). He texts me Good morning/ Good night every single day. He always sends me a gift on the holidays, that sort of stuff. He co-signed my apartment for me. He’s generally always there if I have a problem, he helps me solve it. I have no doubt that he loves and cares for me and even has rescued me financially a few times before (I’ve always paid him back and I buy him things as well). He also taught me how to produce my own extra stream of income. I don’t depend on him financially but he easily makes 3-4x more than I do. He works from home. He’s a forex tradesports better which requires a lot of research and generally has always made him unavailable throughout the day/week. Before covid we would get together every other weekend on Saturday to Sunday when we were both free from the kids. Although this has always been our norm and I’ve always had a problem with it but I never thought he was lying about anything and I’m an understanding person so I didn’t want to stress him out. The plan we always talk about is that he’s doing all of this to buy us a house then we’ll get married and move in together. He unequivocally believes it will all go very smoothly and I just need to be patient until it happens. Here Is where it gets tricky ... I always wanted some more normalcy like stay some nights at each other’s house/ talking on the phone at night, building a relationship etc , but we’ve never really had that. We’ve been together 3 years. I’ve never met his mothefamily/kids or anyone from his life besides 1 mutual friend. I’ve never been to his house, he’s never openly shared his address but never necessarily hid it either. He says he feels weird about having me at a place he used to share with another woman (his kids mother) .. His excuse is about meeting his family is that it’s not a big deal for him to bring someone home to his family because they aren’t super close and their opinion is not a huge factor, which I can understand because I’m not super close with my family either. But his mom has been living with him since the covid. He has also had his kids full time (1 or 2 days with their mom a month) due to covid because he has the safer living/school environment for them, so needless to say since covid started, we’ve seen each other maybe 1 time monthly. His excuse now is that he doesn’t want to danger his mom and kids which I understand. His stance is that he is dealing with the cards he was dealt (he has to do home schooling with the kids daily , he has to do his research, he has about 4 business partners who depend on him for forex/betting info, he literally has no time and the time he does have he spends it with me, a few hours a month) My stance is that when we truly want something, we make it happen. I’ve expressed this multiple times but he said it isn’t that easy. & He says that he doesn’t want to force things and would rather everything happens organically, which I too understand . I guess my problem is that I used to be excited about a life with him but overtime I’ve gotten so used to how our relationship is that the time apart doesn’t bother me anymore. I don’t care if we talk on the phone or not. He is easily one of the most attractive people I’ve ever seen, but the not seeing each other doesn’t bother me anymore. Ive never been crazy about sex but that isn’t exciting either. I do love him but Essentially I don’t get excited about us anymore. & I feel like a bad person for it. I’m worried that I’m making a mistake being immature by thinking that way. And I should focus on staying together because we already both talked about it being that way. Is this feeling of being out of love temporary? I have no doubt that he’s a good person, I just don’t if I’m setting my standards too low or if I’m just being spoiled and immature. I don’t know if I’m being a brat about it all or if my feelings are legit. I would love a fresh perspective, I’m very private about my life so I’ve never expressed this out loud before. Edit: Some things I left out. No one was ever married. The side piece thing isn’t logical to me because every time we’ve been away for more than 2 days , his ex sends me a message on fb trying to reach him ‘about where are the kids if he’s with me’ No doubt that his ex is not over the relationship (5 years later) and she keeps the kids with him because she knows it’ll tie his time up. Since he doesn’t work a regular job and is the sole financial provider he can’t say no. She tells him she works 6- 7 days a week at a hospital (guilt tripping him that she has to take care of herself now) so she has no time plus covid dangers, and he has to do it. If he says no, he’s afraid she’s going to move across country with the kids, So he does it.
Former investment bank FX trader: Risk management part II
Firstly, thanks for the overwhelming comments and feedback. Genuinely really appreciated. I am pleased 500+ of you find it useful. If you didn't read the first post you can do so here: risk management part I. You'll need to do so in order to make sense of the topic. As ever please comment/reply below with questions or feedback and I'll do my best to get back to you. Part II
Letting stops breathe
When to change a stop
Entering and exiting winning positions
Letting stops breathe
We talked earlier about giving a position enough room to breathe so it is not stopped out in day-to-day noise. Let’s consider the chart below and imagine you had a trailing stop. It would be super painful to miss out on the wider move just because you left a stop that was too tight. Imagine being long and stopped out on a meaningless retracement ... ouch! One simple technique is simply to look at your chosen chart - let’s say daily bars. And then look at previous trends and use the measuring tool. Those generally look something like this and then you just click and drag to measure. For example if we wanted to bet on a downtrend on the chart above we might look at the biggest retracement on the previous uptrend. That max drawdown was about 100 pips or just under 1%. So you’d want your stop to be able to withstand at least that. If market conditions have changed - for example if CVIX has risen - and daily ranges are now higher you should incorporate that. If you know a big event is coming up you might think about that, too. The human brain is a remarkable tool and the power of the eye-ball method is not to be dismissed. This is how most discretionary traders do it. There are also more analytical approaches. Some look at the Average True Range (ATR). This attempts to capture the volatility of a pair, typically averaged over a number of sessions. It looks at three separate measures and takes the largest reading. Think of this as a moving average of how much a pair moves. For example, below shows the daily move in EURUSD was around 60 pips before spiking to 140 pips in March. Conditions were clearly far more volatile in March. Accordingly, you would need to leave your stop further away in March and take a correspondingly smaller position size. ATR is available on pretty much all charting systems Professional traders tend to use standard deviation as a measure of volatility instead of ATR. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Averages are useful but can be misleading when regimes switch (see above chart). Once you have chosen a measure of volatility, stop distance can then be back-tested and optimised. For example does 2x ATR work best or 5x ATR for a given style and time horizon? Discretionary traders may still eye-ball the ATR or standard deviation to get a feeling for how it has changed over time and what ‘normal’ feels like for a chosen study period - daily, weekly, monthly etc.
Reasons to change a stop
As a general rule you should be disciplined and not change your stops. Remember - losers average losers. This is really hard at first and we’re going to look at that in more detail later. There are some good reasons to modify stops but they are rare. One reason is if another risk management process demands you stop trading and close positions. We’ll look at this later. In that case just close out your positions at market and take the loss/gains as they are. Another is event risk. If you have some big upcoming data like Non Farm Payrolls that you know can move the market +/- 150 pips and you have no edge going into the release then many traders will take off or scale down their positions. They’ll go back into the positions when the data is out and the market has quietened down after fifteen minutes or so. This is a matter of some debate - many traders consider it a coin toss and argue you win some and lose some and it all averages out. Trailing stops can also be used to ‘lock in’ profits. We looked at those before. As the trade moves in your favour (say up if you are long) the stop loss ratchets with it. This means you may well end up ‘stopping out’ at a profit - as per the below example. The mighty trailing stop loss order It is perfectly reasonable to have your stop loss move in the direction of PNL. This is not exposing you to more risk than you originally were comfortable with. It is taking less and less risk as the trade moves in your favour. Trend-followers in particular love trailing stops. One final question traders ask is what they should do if they get stopped out but still like the trade. Should they try the same trade again a day later for the same reasons? Nope. Look for a different trade rather than getting emotionally wed to the original idea. Let’s say a particular stock looked cheap based on valuation metrics yesterday, you bought, it went down and you got stopped out. Well, it is going to look even better on those same metrics today. Maybe the market just doesn’t respect value at the moment and is driven by momentum. Wait it out. Otherwise, why even have a stop in the first place?
Entering and exiting winning positions
Take profits are the opposite of stop losses. They are also resting orders, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. Imagine I’m long EURUSD at 1.1250. If it hits a previous high of 1.1400 (150 pips higher) I will leave a sell order to take profit and close the position. The rookie mistake on take profits is to take profit too early. One should start from the assumption that you will win on no more than half of your trades. Therefore you will need to ensure that you win more on the ones that work than you lose on those that don’t. Sad to say but incredibly common: retail traders often take profits way too early This is going to be the exact opposite of what your emotions want you to do. We are going to look at that in the Psychology of Trading chapter. Remember: let winners run. Just like stops you need to know in advance the level where you will close out at a profit. Then let the trade happen. Don’t override yourself and let emotions force you to take a small profit. A classic mistake to avoid. The trader puts on a trade and it almost stops out before rebounding. As soon as it is slightly in the money they spook and cut out, instead of letting it run to their original take profit. Do not do this.
Entering positions with limit orders
That covers exiting a position but how about getting into one? Take profits can also be left speculatively to enter a position. Sometimes referred to as “bids” (buy orders) or “offers” (sell orders). Imagine the price is 1.1250 and the recent low is 1.1205. You might wish to leave a bid around 1.2010 to enter a long position, if the market reaches that price. This way you don’t need to sit at the computer and wait. Again, typically traders will use tech analysis to identify attractive levels. Again - other traders will cluster with your orders. Just like the stop loss we need to bake that in. So this time if we know everyone is going to buy around the recent low of 1.1205 we might leave the take profit bit a little bit above there at 1.1210 to ensure it gets done. Sure it costs 5 more pips but how mad would you be if the low was 1.1207 and then it rallied a hundred points and you didn’t have the trade on?! There are two more methods that traders often use for entering a position. Scaling in is one such technique. Let’s imagine that you think we are in a long-term bulltrend for AUDUSD but experiencing a brief retracement. You want to take a total position of 500,000 AUD and don’t have a strong view on the current price action. You might therefore leave a series of five bids of 100,000. As the price moves lower each one gets hit. The nice thing about scaling in is it reduces pressure on you to pick the perfect level. Of course the risk is that not all your orders get hit before the price moves higher and you have to trade at-market. Pyramiding is the second technique. Pyramiding is for take profits what a trailing stop loss is to regular stops. It is especially common for momentum traders. Pyramiding into a position means buying more as it goes in your favour Again let’s imagine we’re bullish AUDUSD and want to take a position of 500,000 AUD. Here we add 100,000 when our first signal is reached. Then we add subsequent clips of 100,000 when the trade moves in our favour. We are waiting for confirmation that the move is correct. Obviously this is quite nice as we humans love trading when it goes in our direction. However, the drawback is obvious: we haven’t had the full amount of risk on from the start of the trend. You can see the attractions and drawbacks of both approaches. It is best to experiment and choose techniques that work for your own personal psychology as these will be the easiest for you to stick with and build a disciplined process around.
Risk:reward and win ratios
Be extremely skeptical of people who claim to win on 80% of trades. Most traders will win on roughly 50% of trades and lose on 50% of trades. This is why risk management is so important! Once you start keeping a trading journal you’ll be able to see how the win/loss ratio looks for you. Until then, assume you’re typical and that every other trade will lose money. If that is the case then you need to be sure you make more on the wins than you lose on the losses. You can see the effect of this below. A combination of win % and risk:reward ratio determine if you are profitable A typical rule of thumb is that a ratio of 1:3 works well for most traders. That is, if you are prepared to risk 100 pips on your stop you should be setting a take profit at a level that would return you 300 pips. One needn’t be religious about these numbers - 11 pips and 28 pips would be perfectly fine - but they are a guideline. Again - you should still use technical analysis to find meaningful chart levels for both the stop and take profit. Don’t just blindly take your stop distance and do 3x the pips on the other side as your take profit. Use the ratio to set approximate targets and then look for a relevant resistance or support level in that kind of region.
Not all returns are equal. Suppose you are examining the track record of two traders. Now, both have produced a return of 14% over the year. Not bad! The first trader, however, made hundreds of small bets throughout the year and his cumulative PNL looked like the left image below. The second trader made just one bet — he sold CADJPY at the start of the year — and his PNL looked like the right image below with lots of large drawdowns and volatility. Would you rather have the first trading record or the second? If you were investing money and betting on who would do well next year which would you choose? Of course all sensible people would choose the first trader. Yet if you look only at returns one cannot distinguish between the two. Both are up 14% at that point in time. This is where the Sharpe ratio helps . A high Sharpe ratio indicates that a portfolio has better risk-adjusted performance. One cannot sensibly compare returns without considering the risk taken to earn that return. If I can earn 80% of the return of another investor at only 50% of the risk then a rational investor should simply leverage me at 2x and enjoy 160% of the return at the same level of risk. This is very important in the context of Execution Advisor algorithms (EAs) that are popular in the retail community. You must evaluate historic performance by its risk-adjusted return — not just the nominal return. Incidentally look at the Sharpe ratio of ones that have been live for a year or more ... Otherwise an EA developer could produce two EAs: the first simply buys at 1000:1 leverage on January 1st ; and the second sells in the same manner. At the end of the year, one of them will be discarded and the other will look incredible. Its risk-adjusted return, however, would be abysmal and the odds of repeated success are similarly poor.
The Sharpe ratio works like this:
It takes the average returns of your strategy;
It deducts from these the risk-free rate of return i.e. the rate anyone could have got by investing in US government bonds with very little risk;
It then divides this total return by its own volatility - the more smooth the return the higher and better the Sharpe, the more volatile the lower and worse the Sharpe.
For example, say the return last year was 15% with a volatility of 10% and US bonds are trading at 2%. That gives (15-2)/10 or a Sharpe ratio of 1.3. As a rule of thumb a Sharpe ratio of above 0.5 would be considered decent for a discretionary retail trader. Above 1 is excellent. You don’t really need to know how to calculate Sharpe ratios. Good trading software will do this for you. It will either be available in the system by default or you can add a plug-in.
VAR is another useful measure to help with drawdowns. It stands for Value at Risk. Normally people will use 99% VAR (conservative) or 95% VAR (aggressive). Let’s say you’re long EURUSD and using 95% VAR. The system will look at the historic movement of EURUSD. It might spit out a number of -1.2%. A 5% VAR of -1.2% tells you you should expect to lose 1.2% on 5% of days, whilst 95% of days should be better than that This means it is expected that on 5 days out of 100 (hence the 95%) the portfolio will lose 1.2% or more. This can help you manage your capital by taking appropriately sized positions. Typically you would look at VAR across your portfolio of trades rather than trade by trade. Sharpe ratios and VAR don’t give you the whole picture, though. Legendary fund manager, Howard Marks of Oaktree, notes that, while tools like VAR and Sharpe ratios are helpful and absolutely necessary, the best investors will also overlay their own judgment. Investors can calculate risk metrics like VaR and Sharpe ratios (we use them at Oaktree; they’re the best tools we have), but they shouldn’t put too much faith in them. The bottom line for me is that risk management should be the responsibility of every participant in the investment process, applying experience, judgment and knowledge of the underlying investments.Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital What he’s saying is don’t misplace your common sense. Do use these tools as they are helpful. However, you cannot fully rely on them. Both assume a normal distribution of returns. Whereas in real life you get “black swans” - events that should supposedly happen only once every thousand years but which actually seem to happen fairly often. These outlier events are often referred to as “tail risk”. Don’t make the mistake of saying “well, the model said…” - overlay what the model is telling you with your own common sense and good judgment.
Coming up in part III
Available here Squeezes and other risks Market positioning Bet correlation Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits *** Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
TIFU by risking it all and ending up homeless with my girlfriend.
Technically my fuck up happened a few months ago but it's still affecting me so here goes. My girlfriend and I had shit paying jobs but we were able to pay bills. Its important to note that none of us have parents who are alive and that's one of the things we connected over. I had a friend who is into trading the forex markets and I was never really interested because I thought it all looked scammy. This was until he showed me all the profit he made from having this guy he knows manage his trading account. The friend wasn't even working but making money so I slowly started imagining the possibilities of having financial freedom and not having to work. I had a talk with my girlfriend about all that and she reluctantly agreed because she trusted my judgement. I took our savings, put them in an account and gave the guy our account to manage including paying him the service fee. The guy could trade the account but I'm the only one who could withdraw so I did not have to worry about him running away with the money and I also had access to it to observe. In the next coming days the profit made was small and grew slowly so I stopped checking on and just continued living my life. Two weeks later I was just chilling with my partner and decided to check the progress. We could not believe our eyes when the initial investment had grown by 500% and was still going up. I was thrilled! I mean clearly we were going to be rich soon. Going to work the next day was both exciting and a drag I mean I had better things to do.That night I convinced my girlfriend to quit our jobs because why not? Our investment was growing and might end up being the equivalent of winning the lottery. She was being bullied by an employee who was bffs with the manager so she did not need a lot of convincing. We did not even give notices because we would start our own business and would not need references.The next few days were so relaxing. We spent hours browsing potential houses and furniture as the place we were currently renting had come fully furnished so we did not own anything. One fateful Saturday I get a text from the guy managing the account. I thought maybe he wants me to withdraw but alas, he told me the account had blown. I don't know how many times I re read that text while my girlfriend checked the account. It was a very solid 0 balance. We freaked out,cried,paced up and down until we calmed down. I could not blame the guy because he didn't steal the money. We scrambled to look for jobs as rent was coming up but we didn't have enough time. We had no more funds and got paid next to nothing because we didn't give notice at work. What followed was being kicked out with just our clothes, sleeping in public toilets or standing all night in garages. We begged for food and looked for jobs during the day. I was scared but mostly for my girlfriend because I would never forgive myself if anything happened to her. After a month of being homeless I found a job then the world turned to shit. Still don't have a stable place but realized that home is where my partner is. She stuck with me throughout and we will get our own home one day. TL:DR If it looks too good to be true,it probably is. Also risk only what you can afford to lose.
Real Supply & Demand in FOREX with Precision Part Two
So yesterday I created the first part to the 'post' Today I'll continue it. All markets, equities, cars, widgets, groceries, bonds and even forex are driven by volume. Without volume there is no movement as it's the market maker to entice the trader to aggressively buy or sell based upon their sentiments of direction. So let's first put into perspective market sentiment and what it is for this posts purpose. Sentiment is the psychological pressure of trader expectations in movement. It's visible through intermarket analysis and even some indexes when the indexes are properly cross referenced. But sentiment is visible even when candles stop their climb or when buying pressure supports the prices on an attempt to move lower. What comes after sentiment builds it's pressure is the path of least resistance and that's really what the markets are doing. Following the path of least resistance with volume as the rivers boundaries. Volume in foreign exchange is real. Retail traders think that because the market is decentralized that volume isn't available. Well, the broker you connect to, and the prime broker or bank that they connect to, they source their pricing with risk management modules by analyzing aggregated volume. Aggregation is a grouping of FX liquidity streams (that all include volume levels) into one hub of liquidity housed inside a limit order book. Volume is not made available to you though. It's the playground of the banks and if you're going to have access to a tool that allows the masses to dilute their returns do you think they would let you have it freely? Nope! They would though lobby for laws (Dodd-Frank, FIFO etc etc come to mind here) they all make it more difficult for you to trade!!!! Opacity!!! But volume is very real, it only needs proper aggregation! So how do we find valuable opportunities when studying the charts? First off, if you study the charts alone you're doing yourself a great disservice! EURUSD in any time frame is just a representation of a relationship between two currencies. You need to study the value of the underlying currencies! What that provides you is precision entries. Let's call the entry on Candle 12 (an arbitrary number). On candle 12 you see USDCHF spike higher, that would indicate that EURUSD is going to drop 96% of the time! Oh a little insight! So you take a position short EURUSD on candle 12 in expectation that the relationship between the two currencies is going to go lower because of the strength in the Dollar. But remember, exchange rate fluctuation is the path of least resistance. So at the point where you have found your entry short in EURUSD, there is the opposite consideration. What if I am wrong? What it if goes the other way? At what price would it show me the opposite direction and how long do I have to wait to confirm a reversal? Candle 12 is magical. It tells you what you need. You see, in ALL instances, extremes high or lows of charts are seen by changes in what's called bid/ask bounce. When bid ask bounce is breached it's giving you sentiment, volume and price all shifting directions. If candle 12 is the candle short, then the high immediately prior to candle 12 is your reversal point! I guarantee you this is the intersection of buyers and sellers, and when one defeats the other the market changes direction. This is true for all of the entries here, if price reversed before it reached a profitable exit then the reverse would in fact be at the opposite extreme prior to the entry candle. So we go back and visit the adage buy low/sell high but what happens in between? Proper analysis is an active participation. And just as your analysis says you should buy or sell, your analysis should also tell you how the market is reacting in the middle. If there's no change or breach in bid/ask bounce the trend is still moving. In the attached chart. When an entry signal is confirmed, the immediate high or low prior to that entry becomes the exact reversal point. (I have circled them in yellow) In most of the opportunities shown that stop loss is a mere 2.2 pips away from the entry price and there are no reversals that were required and all signals were profitably identified. No I did not trade them, this is live analysis that runs continually. Of all the signals there is ONE blue X in the center region of the chart that almost gave a sell signal but price pressures remained in tact and thus bullish. The analysis identifies over 100 pips in movement within a range of 35 pips overall. And none of it with lagging analysis. With proper analysis, you can maximize your returns by comprehensively understanding all market conditions. You'll minimize your losing trades to negligible frequencies, your gains will be maximized and you'll see precisely how the market moves, turns, breathes and follows the path of least resistance. Now my purpose here is to develop market transparency for the little guy. Sure my posts attract trolls because the trolls have been burned by their own trading ignorance. So they attack those that strive for and deliver something better, in fact most of them don't know how to trade to save their life and that's their anger. I could show you a few of them who have had accounts with companies I advise or am principal of - but there are privacy rights to respect. Do I do this free? On here of course. Is it a business? I've spent over a million dollars in just research, but when I experienced how expensive it was to obtain true transparency I knew there were benefits to providing this information to retail traders. https://preview.redd.it/367rn2d6p3s51.jpg?width=1345&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e99e1604a078b6aa0916f32be91ce16bc5196320
The Last Time I Write Another One of These Cringey Things (I hope...): Part 2892, The Worst Sequel and Wall of Text, ever
Hiya, folks...! It's another wall of text from some random person who could be doing just about anything else except for this... Who's ready for some paragraphs from some stranger? I know you'd rather be doing anything else, or maybe not haha.. But it does mean a lot if you do take the time to try to attempt to accurately type me... I will DEFINITELY NOT overthink it this time, and take your consideration FULLY to heart, and stop overthinking my MBTI type and live happily ever after! (Hahahahhaha...! ... ...) ... Ok, let's begin!
How old are you? What's your gender? Give us a general description of yourself.
I am a freshly 23 year old male that likes to do average Redditor bullcrap. Video games, memes, music, making my finger go up and down endlessly while staring at a glass LED screen with pixels on it while feeling like I've accomplished nothing. Just average stuff, I suppose. I'm not really that interesting tbh... I work at home and I am just "vibing", as the kids say. I have some long term projects planned, but I'm at least trying to rest up from a really shitty 7 years that I've had back to back to back so... Nothing really insightful to write here haha..
Is there a medical diagnosis that impact your mental/comportamental stability somehow?
Likely several... I had a very traumatic childhood that I constantly gaslight myself about like saying things like "it wasn't that bad, people have it worse" and much worse.. I disassociate from reality every 2.5 seconds, can't focus, have terrible insomnia, EXTREMELY low energy, mood swings, brain fog, random body pains 24/7, seventeen billion repressed emotions which don't help out anything else that I'm dealing with, memory problems, and I need caffeine to do the bare minimum of just about anything on most days, but some of that could be average American problems. I've suspected I have some form as Aspergers, and probably A TON of mental illnesses, such as OCD, anxiety, depression, and maybe a personality disorder.
Describe your upbringing. Did it have any kind of religious or structured influence? How did you respond to it?
My upbringing is a very mixed bag overall. I would not say I had a typically "tragic" childhood (there goes me gaslighting myself LOL) because people have DEFINITELY had it worse than me. But I can't sit here and pretend everything I went through was "normal". To attempt to sum it up, I basically was a "gifted" kid who got good grades throughout school and maintained my image of being this perfect kid, but meanwhile in the shadows, I was just slowly dying inside and suffering from a lot of imposter syndrome (amongst other things), which I'd definitely would say is warranted because I was NOT cut out for anything in school and it showed. I basically faked my way through school, got burnt out EARLY but got mega burnt out by senior year, and basically started college with no plan but somehow still managed to graduate (barely) and just kinda end up where I am now. As far as a religious upbringing is concerned, I definitely was heavily influenced by religion, in kind of a negative way (?) Religion and I have a VERY weird relationship. On the one hand, I guess I love my religious friends, the lessons I learned from it, and a lot of what it says, but on the other hand I can not ever be a part of one mostly because of some of the dogmatic thinking and extremely toxic aspects to it that people use to justify hate and violence, and that's not really my type of thing. Also, I used to be really kinda "uppity" or arrogant about my religion, and now I DESPISE seeing the same type of "holier than thou" attitude projected. It kinda irks me on the inside. Looking back, my response to it all was a major polarity shift from one extreme, to the other, and now where I'm at, I can look back at both sides and take the good from both. What do I mean by that? Welllllll... I mentioned earlier how I can't stand the "holier than thou" type, and for a while, that was DEFINITELY me. I was REALLY into it and took it extremely serious. I wouldn't mind being called "lame" or "whack" for having my faith, but looking back, it really made my quality of life kinda worse because I did have those strong beliefs and those off-putting characteristics that ostracized me from my peers and some potentially great experiences. I grew out of this and then became an EXTREME atheist, and for a while, it felt freeing. I felt better, smarter, edgier, and just superior, but looking back, I was just cynical and a total asshole, and arguably worse than the "holier than thou douche persona" that I had growing up. Luckily, my extreme atheism phase kinda fizzled out after some other trauma that happened around the time I became an atheist, and now, I can respect religion and be open to it, the ideas, and the amazing things that come from it while also maintaining my independent thinking but not to the point of being "hur dur be skeptical and point out everything wrong with religion all the time and be an asshole for no reason to religious people", if that makes any sense. As far as my relationship to the structure in my life.. It's kind of a mixed bag. I had a pretty suffocated childhood, and I wasn't allowed certain things, but I guess it wasn't really all that bad in the end, or at least as it could've been. Most of this was just protection from a single parent who just didn't want anything to me and wanted me to be the best I could be in life, and I can respect this and look back on some parts of my structured childhood with fondness. But I most certainly got sick of it all by the time I was almost finished with highschool and in a lot of my college career. I basically used to be Mr. Structured. I had everything organized, I was neat, clean, got everything done at the right time, all the good stuff. But my brain just got tired of maintaining that forever, because I was already pretty much bad at life, but I was forced to just continue faking everything until something happened. So, by the end of high school, I lost all of those characteristics and became extremely sloppy. But I really do blame that on being physically tired. Being as organized as I was was TAXING because of how I overdid it. And now, thinking back, a lot of my structuredness was just on the surface level, and it was me trying to live up to everyone's standards and be just on top of everything, all the time, at a VERY unhealthy level, and that's probably what burnt me out too. I was addicted to the image of being this extremely put together person who has their shit together, while not having absolutely any shit to get together because I was withering away inside faster than fresh cotton candy from the fair melts in your mouth when your mouth is dry. So, basically to sum it all up, I was a really clean cut religious smart "gifted" kid who wasn't really that, at all (AND I still don't know who I am now tbh haha) and I got tired of putting on that image all the time and turned to a dirty neckbeard atheist cynic for a short time, and then balanced out to whatever the fuck I am now because I wear 238234 different masks for each and every occasion, but THAT'S a different story haha.. I look back at both equally cringey and horrible chapters of my life with some scorn for myself and the times, but overall a much more understand a balanced perspective, because I had to go through it all to be me, and I'm just glad I can be here now. I'd say I definitely liked moments from those chapters, but overall, I'm much happier where I'm at now, which is not nearly as anally obsessive at the concept of being structured and not nearly as hyper-faithful to my religion or just a total asshole piece of shit atheist.
What do you do as a job or as a career (if you have one)? Do you like it? Why or why not?
Right now, I'm sorta half employed. I do trade a bit on the Forex markets from signals groups and make enough to help out my family, and buy myself things here and there. I'm only really doing this because I went through a really shitty 7 years and I just need time to myself to kind of figure out, A LOT (clearly, as you can see by reading this HORRIBLE reddit post LOL) and rest. I just like the amount of freedom I have, and the money. I really like the idea of me having money saved and ready for any emergency, or family member or friend. I just need money to help out, stay safe, and to have time for myself to rest and take care of my health, or just pursue all the hobbies I missed out on, and I'm totally fine doing this the rest of my life. I don't really need or want that much in life, and I've always kind of been like this. I just want things to be peaceful and simple, so that my mind can be at ease and to just have free time for myself and a solution for any random chaotic emergency that happens because my mind always thinks of the worst that can happen by catastrophizing literally everything ever in the world. So my "career" is just a means to an end, like I'm sure a lot of people's careers are, unless you happen to have a passion or something, which is also amazing. I do like writing, and I do wanna finish my book. I daydream a lot about it, and sometimes that's much more fun than actually writing it, but I do wanna finish it, but I also want it to be absolutely perfect and plothole free, and much more. I also wanna do YouTube and Twitch, but I feel like I have a lot to do as a person before I can freely be on those sites as a full person/"influencer" (I have so many mixed feelings about having a full time career as an influencer and having my life under that much pressure and scrutiny, BUTTTTT that's a different discussion...), so I might pursue those slowly or just freestyle it for fun. Those were my big dreams as a kid, but growing up, I see that writing a good book is damned hard (worth it, but hard) and being a Youtubesocial media star is a different world entirely, and I don't know how I feel about it. Like, I know I'd never be a Shane Dawson (YIKES) or Cryaotic (EWWWWW) but to even just disappoint one person, or have any sort of fuckup, or.. I don't know where I'm going with this... Basically, everything I suffer from now would only be amplified by having a YouTube career, my people pleasing tendencies, my over obsession with being perfect for others/myself, my workaholic tendencies, my being hard on myself, my fear of fucking anything up, and my imposter syndrome, those would all go BRRRRRR if I got any decent success on YouTube, so... *Phew* That's my weird relationship with my life, and where I wanna go with it. To be honest, I'd be happy where I'm at right now, because at the end of the day, as long as I'm healthy and my family is happy, I'm ok, but a part of me also wants to live out those big dreams like having my book be a thing and animated, and being a good YouTuber, meme maker, Twitch streamer, all the above at the same time but my insecurities are like "BWAHAHAHAHA", so I'm just like: -_- But I'll figure it out! Hopefully..
If you had to spend an entire weekend by yourself, how would you feel? Would you feel lonely or refreshed?
Hm... Interesting question. Honestly, I'd never feel lonely on weekends by myself. Even when my friends are doing better things or aren't around, I don't really feel lonely I guess. Most of the time I have weekends alone, I feel pretty refreshed I suppose. It's kinda hard to tell haha.. This feels more like a circumstantial question where a myriad of things that are going on during the hypothetical week or just in my life/mind would determine this answer. Sometimes I just need that weekend to recharge and be alone and in my thoughts, or watching Netflix or being an absolute video game degenerate while dancing alone in my room and eating junk food. And sometimes, I like to be out and about with my friends, or just doing stuff. I probably lean more towards refreshed though, overall in a general sense.
What is your relation with movement and your surroundings? For instance do you prefer a sport or outdoors event? If an outdoors event what is it? And why? If not what type of activities do you tend to engage in?
BIG YIKES. I feel like a non human that doesn't belong on this planet or universe 99% of the time. I'm VERY slow, awkward movements, jittery, sometimes it looks like I was born yesterday with my grasp on physical reality, but yet, I do interestingly enough find myself loving to sweat and workout. I don't really have the coordination for any type of real sport, but I do like walks and I would run if I lived in an area where I could have a private or peaceful run where I would not be interrupted or seen by anyone because I look HIDEOUS running. I won't say I could never get into running at a professional or serious level, like with a group, but I'd just say it's more unlikely, for now. It sounds really exciting and interesting to be good at something physical, and I have always admired people who could do really sick stuff in sports, and I've always wanted to do it. But, right now, my uncoordinated ass will stick to just riding my exercise bike occasionally to burn off some restlessness and help me sleep betteperform better because working out makes my brain feel oddly stable lol. (I guess that's why I have such a fascination with physical stuff even though I am absolutely hopeless in most of it in the grand scheme of things)
How curious are you? Do you have more ideas then you can execute? What are your curiosities about? What are your ideas about - is it environmental or conceptual, and can you please elaborate?
I don't know if I'd say I'm curious, I guess I just think a lot. Like, I'll see something or watch something and daydream about it all the time, making new ideas out of it in my head or creating something new with it, trying to take it a new level or understand it at a different level, if that makes sense. Like, I'll sort of mentally digest something and that's what gives me inspiration, or ideas. I take in everything as I go and make up new shit with it later on (LOL this sounds like regular human being talk, because everyone does this). I would say I have a lot of ideas on everything. I daydream about random chapters in my book a lot, like full on scenes. I'll daydream about a new melody for a song I've never heard with lyrics, and I'll try to make lyrics in my head and extend the melody. I'll daydream about my interactions in life, and just how I could have responded differently, or maybe what the other person is thinking, or feeling, or stuff like I wonder if they're okay. I'll daydream about new memes I can make, or me in an interview (OMG MEGA CRINGE ROFL). I pretty much daydream about... Everything. And then I'll daydream about what I'm daydreaming about, and why I'm doing it, and it gets too meta at that point. (this could very well just be maladaptive daydreaming and NOT indicative of any cognitive function ROFL)
Would you enjoy taking on a leadership position? Do you think you would be good at it? What would your leadership style be?
Nope, nuh uh. I am too much of a people pleaser and pushover. I'd be dead or betrayed before my first week is over. The thing about me is that generally, I feel like I'd be a terrible leader because I can overthink a lot, all the time, and I'd be slow to action and prone to analysis paralysis and extreme people pleasing tendencies. I can also be conflict avoidant, and just want people to be happy, so I'd let a lot of stuff slide that I maybe should not. Now, don't get me wrong, I can be firm and tough when needed, but eventually that'd be too much for me to bear, and I couldn't be in a position like that for long. I genuinely hope I never become a leader, because even when I'm looking back to five minutes ago, I can say that "ew, that's cringe bro", so I clearly have a lot of work to do before I have something that serious on my plate.
Are you coordinated? Why do you feel as if you are or are not? Do you enjoy working with your hands in some form? Describe your activity?
HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHA. Funny question. But.. Yeahhhhhhh... No. I am NOT coordinated. I can barely walk in my kitchen without the fear of me accidentally turning wrong or moving incorrectly and just breaking something or knocking over everything in the kitchen. SOMETIMES I'm in James Bond mode, and it feels like I can do anything physical, and I feel aware of everything, my body, my surroundings, and I can actually move like a human being, but that usually doesn't last long. I can do just the bare minimum that an average human can do, but MUCH MUCH worse and at a greater cost of my energy, and my mental energy trying not to fuck anything up because I have literally just been sitting at times and barely move and knock over EVERYTHING somehow, because that's just how much my body was not meant to be on planet earth and I maybe should have been incarnated as a slug, idk.
Are you artistic? If yes, describe your art? If you are not particular artistic but can appreciate art please likewise describe what forums of art you enjoy. Please explain your answer.
I'd describe myself as artistic, even if I haven't drawn in years LOL. But let me explain... I do still have a love for it, I just haven't really been able to practice. In general, my art is just aiming for whatever is in my brain, and I don't have a solid style. I'm just going for whatever I'm going for in the moment. I prefer a mix of realism with some "quirks", if that makes sense. While I haven't drawn in a while, this is how I'd imagine I'd want my art to look nowadays. Pretty realistic with perfect everything, perfect features, perfect environment or whatever I'm illustrating or going for (perfect features on a person, all the hair strands drawn individually, etc), with a mix of my own little "spice", if that makes sense. Back in the day, my art was just trying to copy classic anime, and while I have no problem with that style, I just wanna kinda make my own style, even if that is hard to verbalize lmao. Alright guys.. I would write more, but I'm sleepy and some of this is getting dumb/boring (as if it wasn't already LOL). I'm glad you made it this far, and thank you for reading and putting up with this actual garbage fire of a post. Please take care of yourselves during these crazy weird times, and I hope you are doing well. I look forward to reading you guys responses (if I get any LOL). Stay amazing, and stay healthy :3
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)
Hello, dummies It's your old pal, Fuzzy. As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great. What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. Idomybit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post. That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way. We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps. Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy. TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle. Ready? Let's get started. 1.The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows: Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself. Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part. You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus. That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it. Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets? 2. A Hedging Taxonomy The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now. (i) Swaps A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one. Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered. The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game. I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging. There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested. Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure). (ii) Forwards A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me. Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways. People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances. These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them. (iii) Collars No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray! To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts. (3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years. First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA. Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire. Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking? Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama. Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details. I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here. Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post. *EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
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