Margin Trading for Investment Strategies | TD Ameritrade

The Great Unwinding: Why WSB Will Keep Losing Their Tendies

The Great Unwinding: Why WSB Will Keep Losing Their Tendies
I. The Death of Modern Portfolio Theory, The Loss of Risk Parity, & The Liquidity Crunch
SPY 1 Y1 Day
Modern portfolio theory has been based on the foundational idea for the past 3 decades that both equities and bonds are inversely correlated. However, as some people have realized, both stocks and bonds are both increasing in value and decreasing in value at the same time.[1] This approach to investing is used pretty much in everyone's 401K, target date retirement plans, or other forms of passive investing. If both bonds and equities are losing value, what will happen to firms implementing these strategies on a more generalized basis known as risk-parity? Firms such as Bridgewater, Bluecrest, and H2O assets have been blowing up. [2,3]
Liquidity has been drying up in the markets for the past two weeks.[4] The liquidity crisis has been in the making since the 2008 financial crisis, after the passage of Dodd-Frank and Basel III. Regulations intended to regulate the financial industry have instead created the one of the largest backstops to Fed intervention as the Fed tried to pump liquidity into the market through repo operations. What is a repo?
A repo is a secured loan contract that is collateralized by a security. A repo transaction facilitates the sale and future repurchase of the security that serves as collateral between the two parties: (1) the borrower who owns a security and seeks cash and (2) the lender who receives the security as collateral when lending the cash. The cash borrower sells securities to the cash lender with the agreement to repurchase them at the maturity date. Over the course of the transaction, the cash borrower retains the ownership of the security. On the maturity date, the borrower returns the cash with interest to the lender and the collateral is returned from the lender to the borrower.[5]
Banks like Bank of New York Mellon and JP Morgan Chase act as a clearing bank to provide this liquidity to other lenders through a triparty agreement.[6] In short, existing regulations make it unfavorable to take on additional repos due to capital reserve requirement ratios, creating a liquidity crunch.[7,8,9] What has the Fed done to address this in light of these facts?
In light of the shift to an ample reserves regime, the Board has reduced reserve requirement ratios to zero percent effective on March 26, the beginning of the next reserve maintenance period.[10]
II. Signs of Exhaustion & The Upcoming Bounce is a Trap, We Have Far More to Go
A simple indicator to use is the relative strength index (RSI) that a lot of WSB is familiar with. RSI is not the be all and end all. There's tons of indicators that also are indicating we are at a very oversold point.
SPY 1 Y1 Day RSI
Given selling waves, there are areas of key support and resistance. For reference, I have not changed key lines since my original charts except for the colors. You can check in my previous posts. 247.94 has been critically an area that has been contested many times, as seen in the figure below. For those that bought calls during the witching day, RIP my fellow autists. The rejection of 247.94 and the continued selling below 233.86 signals to me more downside, albeit, it's getting exhausted. Thus, I expect the next area in which we start rallying is 213.
SPY 10 Day/30 min
Another contrarian indicator for buying calls is that notable people in finance have also closed their shorts. These include Jeffery Gundlach, Kevin Muir, and Raoul Pal.[11,12,13]
III. The Dollar, Gold, and Oil
As previously stated, cash is being hoarded by not only primary banks, but central banks around the world. This in turn has created a boom in the dollar's strength, despite limitless injections of cash (if you think 1 trillion of Repo is the ceiling, think again) by the Fed.
Despite being in a deflationary environment, the DXY has not achieved such levels since 2003. Given the dollar shortage around the world, it is not inconceivable that we reach levels of around 105-107. For disclosure, I have taken a long position in UUP. However, with all parabolic moves, they end in a large drop. To summarize, the Fed needs to take action on its own currency due to the havoc it's causing globally, and will need to crush the value of the dollar, which will likely coincide with the time that we near 180.
If we are indeed headed towards 180, then gold will keep selling off. WSB literally screams bloody guhhhhhh when gold sells off. However, gold has been having an amazing run and has broken out of its long term channel. In times of distress and with margin calls, heavy selling of equities selling off of gold in order to raise cash. As previously noted, in this deflationary environment, everything is selling off from stocks, to bonds, to gold.
/GC Futures Contracts 5 Y1 Wk
What about oil? Given the fall out of the risk parity structure, I'm no longer using TLT inflows/outflows as an indicator. I've realized that energy is the economy. Closely following commodities such as light crude which follow supply and demand more closely have provided a much better leading indicator as to what will happen in equities. Given that, oil will also most likely hit a relief rally. But ultimately, we have seen it reach as low $19/barrel during intraday trading.
/CL Futures Contracts 1 Y1 D
IV. The Next 5 Years
In short, the recovery from this deflationary environment will take years to recover from. The trend down will not be without large bumps. We cannot compare this on the scale of the 2008 financial crisis. This is on the order of 1929. Once we hit near 180, the Fed crushes the dollar, we are in a high likelihood of hitting increased inflation, or stagflation. At this point the Fed will be backed into a corner and forced to raise rates. My targets for gold are around 1250-1300. It may possibly go near to 1000. Oil could conceivably go as low as $15-17/barrel, so don't go all in on the recovery bounce. No matter what, the current rise in gold will be a trap. The continued selling in the S&P is a trap, will bounce, forming another trap, before continuing our painful downtrend.
I haven't even mentioned coronavirus and unemployment until now. I've stated previously we are on track to hit around at least 10,000 coronavirus cases by the end of this month. It's looking closer to now 20-30,000. Next month we are looking to at least 100,000 by the end of the April. We might hit 1,000,000 by May or June.
Comparison of the 2020 Decline to 1929
Chart courtesy of Moon_buzz
tl;dr We're going to have a major reflexive rally starting around 213, all the way back to at least to 250, and possibly 270. WSB is going to lose their minds holding their puts, and then load up on calls, declaring we've reached a bottom in the stock market. The next move will be put in place for the next leg down to 182, where certain actors will steal all your tendies on the way down. Also Monday might be another circuit breaker.
tl;dr of tl;dr Big bounce incoming. Bear trap starting 213. Then bull trap up around 250-270. We're going down to around 182.
tl;dr of tl;dr of tl;dr WSB will be screwed both left and right before they can say guh.
Hint: If you want to get a Bloomberg article for free, hit esc repeatedly before the popup appears. If it doesn't work, refresh the article, and keep hitting esc.
Remember, do not dance. We are on the cusp of a generational change. Use the money you earn to protect yourselves and others. Financial literacy and knowledge is the key to empowerment and self-change.
Some good DD posts:
u/bigd0g111 -
u/scarvesandsuspenders -

Update 1 3/22/2020 - Limit down 3 minutes of futures. Likely hit -7% circuit breaker on the cash open on Monday at 213 as stated previously.
Do not think we will hit the 2nd circuit breaker at 199.06. Thinking we bounce, not too much, but stabilize at least around 202.97.
Update 2 3/23/20 9:08 - Watching the vote before making any moves.
9:40 - sold 25% of my SPY puts and 50% of my VXX calls
9:45 - sold another 50% of SPY puts
9:50 - just holding 25% SPY puts now and waiting for the vote/other developments
11:50 - Selling all puts.
Starting my long position.
11:55 - Sold USO puts.
12:00 - Purchased VXX puts to vega hedge.
2:45 - Might sell calls EOD. Looks like a lot of positioning for another leg down before going back up.
It's pretty common to shake things out in order to make people to sell positions. Just FYI, I do intraday trading. If you can't, just wait for EOD for the next positioning.
3:05 - Seeing a massive short on gold. Large amounts of calls on treasuries. And extremely large positioning for more shorts on SPY/SPX.
Will flip into puts.
Lot of people keep DM'ing me. I'm only going to do this once.
That said, I'm going back into puts. Just goes to show how tricky the game is.
3:45 - As more shorts cover, going to sell the calls and then flip into puts around the last few min of close.
Hope you guys made some money on the cover and got some puts. I'll write a short update later explaining how they set up tomorrow, especially with the VIX dropping so much.
3/24/20 - So the rally begins. Unfortunately misread the options volume. The clearest signal was the VIX dropping the past few days even though we kept swinging lower, which suggested that large gap downs were mostly over and the rally is getting started.
Going to hold my puts since they are longer dated. Going to get a few short term calls to ride this wave.
10:20 - VIX still falling, possibility of a major short squeeze coming in if SPY breaks out over 238-239.
10:45 - Opened a small GLD short, late April expiration.
10:50 - Sold calls, just waiting, not sure if we break 238.
If we go above 240, going back into calls. See room going to 247 or 269. Otherwise, going to start adding to my puts.
11:10 - Averaging a little on my puts here. Again, difficult to time the entries. Do not recommend going all in at a single time. Still watching around 240 closely.
11:50 - Looks like it's closing. Still going to wait a little bit.
12:10 - Averaged down more puts. Have a little powder left, we'll see what happens for the rest of today and tomorrow.
2:40 - Closed positions, sitting on cash. Waiting to see what EOD holds. Really hard trading days.
3:00 - Last update. What I'm trying to do here posting some thoughts is for you guys to take a look at things and make some hypotheses before trading. Getting a lot of comments and replies complaining. If you're tailing, yes there is risk involved. I've mentioned sizing appropriately, and locking in profits. Those will help you get consistent gains.
Bounced off 10 year trendline at around 246, pretty close to 247. Unless we break through that the rally is over. Given that, could still see us going to 270.
3/25/20 - I wouldn't read too much into the early moves. Be careful of the shakeouts.
Still long. Price target, 269. When does the month end? Why is that important?
12:45 - out calls.
12:50 - adding a tranche of SPY puts. Adding GLD puts.
1:00 est - saving rest of my dry powder to average if we still continue to 270. Think we drop off a cliff after the end of the quarter.
Just a little humor... hedge funds and other market makers right now.
2:00pm - Keep an eye on TLT and VXX...
3:50pm - Retrace to the 10 yr trend line. Question is if we continue going down or bounce. So I'm going to explain again, haven't changed these lines. Check the charts from earlier.
3/26/20 - Another retest of the 10 yr trendline. If it can go over and hold, can see us moving higher.
9:30 - Probably going to buy calls close to the open. Not too sure, seems like another trap setting up. Might instead load up on more puts later today.
In terms of unemployment, was expecting close to double. Data doesn't seem to line up. That's why we're bouncing. California reported 1 million yesterday alone, and unemployment estimates were 1.6 million? Sure.
Waiting a little to see the price action first.
Treasuries increasing and oil going down?
9:47 - Added more to GLD puts.
10:11 - Adding more SPY puts and IWM puts.
10:21 - Adding more puts.
11:37 - Relax guys, this move has been expected. Take care of yourselves. Eat something, take a walk. Play some video games. Don't stare at a chart all day.
If you have some family or close friends, advise them not to buy into this rally. I've had my immediate family cash out or switch today into Treasury bonds/TIPS.
2:55pm -
3:12pm - Hedge funds and their algos right now
4:00pm - Don't doubt your vibe.
For those that keep asking about my vibe... yes, we could hit 270. I literally said we could hit 270 when we were at 218. There was a lot of doubt. Just sort by best and look at the comments. Can we go to 180 from 270? Yes. I mentioned that EOM is important.
Here's another prediction. VIX will hit ATH again.
2:55pm EST - For DM's chat is not working now. Will try to get back later tonight.

Stream today for those who missed it, 2:20-4:25 -
Thanks again to WallStreetBooyah and all the others for making this possible.

9:10pm EST Twitter handles (updated), thanks blind_guy
Not an exhaustive list. Just to get started. Follow the people they follow.
Dark pool and gamma exposure -
Wyckoff -
Investopedia for a lot. Also links above in my post.

lol... love you guys. Please be super respectful on FinTwit. These guys are incredibly helpful and intelligent, and could easily just stop posting content.
submitted by Variation-Separate to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

The Mouthbreather's Guide to the Galaxy

The Mouthbreather's Guide to the Galaxy
Alright CYKAS, Drill Sgt. Retarded TQQQ Burry is in the house. Listen up, I'm gonna train yo monkey asses to make some motherfucking money.

“Reeee can’t read, strike?” - random_wsb_autist
Bitch you better read if you want your Robinhood to look like this:
gainz, bitch

Why am I telling you this?
Because I like your dumb asses. Even dickbutts like cscqb4. And because I like seeing Wall St. fucking get rekt. Y’all did good until now, and Wall St. is salty af. Just google for “retail traders” news if you haven’t seen it, and you’ll see the salty tears of Wall Street assholes. And I like salty Wall St. assholes crying like bitches.

That said, some of you here are really motherfucking dense & the sheer influx of retardation has been driving away some of the more knowledgeable folks on this sub. In fact, in my last post, y'all somehow managed to downvote to shit the few guys that really understood the points I was making and tried to explain it to you poo-slinging apes. Stop that shit yo! A lot of you need to sit the fuck down, shut your fucking mouth and listen.
So I'm going to try and turn you rag-tag band of dimwits into a respectable army of peasants that can clap some motherfucking Wall Street cheeks. Then, I'm going to give you a mouthbreather-proof trade that I don't think even you knuckleheads can mess up (though I may be underestimating you).
If you keep PM-ing me about your stupid ass losses after this, I will find out where you live and personally, PERSONALLY, shit on your doorstep.
This is going to be a long ass post. Read the damned post. I don't care if you're dyslexic, use text-to-speech. Got ADHD? Pop your addys, rub one out, and focus! Are you 12? Make sure to go post in the paper trading contest thread first.

  1. Understand that most of this sub has the critical reading skills of a 6 year old and the attention span of a goldfish. As such, my posts are usually written with a level of detail aimed at the lowest common denominator. A lot of details on the thesis are omitted, but that doesn't mean that the contents in the post are all there is to it. If I didn't do that, every post'd have to be longer than this one, and 98% of you fucks wouldn't read it anyway. Fuck that.
  2. Understand that my style of making plays is finding the >10+ baggers that are underpriced. As such, ALL THE GOD DAMN PLAYS I POST ARE HIGH-RISK / HIGH-REWARD. Only play what you can afford to risk. And stop PM-ing me the second the market goes the other way, god damn it! If you can't manage your own positions, I'm going to teach your ass the basics.
  3. Do you have no idea what you're doing and have a question? Google it first. Then google it again. Then Bing it, for good measure. Might as well check PornHub too, you never know. THEN, if you still didn't find the answer, you ask.
  4. This sub gives me Tourette's. If you got a problem with that, well fuck you.

This shit is targeted at the mouthbreathers, but maybe more knowledgeable folk’ll find some useful info, idk. How do you know if you’re in the mouthbreather category? If your answer to any of the following questions is yes, then you are:
  • Are you new to trading?
  • Are you unable to manage your own positions?
  • Did you score into the negatives on the SAT Critical Reading section?
  • Do you think Delta is just an airline?
  • Do you buy high & sell low?
  • Do you want to buy garbage like Hertz or American Airlines because it's cheap?
  • Did you buy USO at the bottom and are now proud of yourself for making $2?
  • Do you think stOnKs oNLy Go uP because Fed brrr?
  • Do you think I'm trying to sell you puts?
  • If you take a trade you see posted on this sub and are down, do you PM the guy posting it?
  • Do you generally PM people on this sub to ask them basic questions?
  • Is your mouth your primary breathing apparatus?
Well I have just the thing for you!

Table of Contents:
I. Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about
II. Post-mortem of the February - March 2020 Great Depression
III. Mouthbreather's bootcamp on managing a position – THE TECHNICALS
IV. Busting your retarded myths
VI. The mouthbreather-proof trade - The Akimbo
VII. Quick hints for non-mouthbreathers

Chapter I - Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about
I'm not here to rip you off. Every fucking time I post something, a bunch of dumbasses show up saying I'm selling you puts or whatever the fuck retarded thoughts come through their caveman brains.
"hurr durr OP retarded, OP sell puts" - random_wsb_autist
Sit down, Barney, I'm not here to scam you for your 3 cents on OTM puts. Do I always get it right? Of course not, dumbasses. Eurodollar play didn't work out (yet). Last TQQQ didn't work out (yet). That’s just how it goes. Papa Buffet got fucked on airlines. Plain retard Burry bought GME. What do you fucking expect?
Meanwhile, I keep giving y'all good motherfucking plays:
  1. 28/10/2019: "I'ma say this again, in case you haven't heard me the first time. BUY $JNK PUTS NOW!". Strike: "11/15, 1/17 and 6/19". "This thing can easily go below 50, so whatever floats your boat. Around $100 strike is a good entry point."
  2. 3/9/2020: "I mean it's a pretty obvious move, but $JNK puts."
  3. 3/19/2020, 12pm: "UVXY put FDs are free money." & “Buy $UVXY puts expiring tomorrow if we're still green at 3pm. Trust me.”
  4. 3/24/2020: “$UUP 3/27 puts at $27.5 or $27 should be 10-baggers once the bill passes. I'd expect it to go to around $26.”
And of course, the masterpiece that was the TQQQ put play.
Chapter II. Post-mortem of the February - March 2020 Great Depression
Do you really understand what happened? Let's go through it.
I got in puts on 2/19, right at the motherfucking top, TQQQ at $118. I told you on 2/24 TQQQ ($108) was going to shit, and to buy fucking puts, $90ps, $70ps, $50ps, all the way to 3/20 $30ps. You think I just pulled that out of my ass? You think I just keep getting lucky, punks? Do you have any idea how unlikely that is?
Well, let's take a look at what the fuckstick Kevin Cook from Zacks wrote on 3/5:
How Many Sigmas Was the Flash Correction Plunge?
"Did you know that last week's 14% plunge in the S&P 500 SPY was so rare, by statistical measures, that it shouldn't happen once but every 14,000 years?"
"By several measures, it was about a 5-sigma move, something that's not "supposed to" happen more than once in your lifetime -- or your prehistoric ancestors' lifetimes!
"According to general statistical principles, a 4-sigma event is to be expected about every 31,560 days, or about 1 trading day in 126 years. And a 5-sigma event is to be expected every 3,483,046 days, or about 1 day every 13,932 years."

On 3/5, TQQQ closed at $81. I just got lucky, right? You should buy after a 5-sigma move, right? That's what fuckstick says:
"Big sigma moves happen all the time in markets, more than any other field where we collect and analyze historical data, because markets are social beasts subject to "wild randomness" that is not found in the physical sciences.
This was the primary lesson of Nassim Taleb's 2007 book The Black Swan, written before the financial crisis that found Wall Street bankers completely ignorant of randomness and the risks of ruin."
I also took advantage of the extreme 5-sigma sell-off by grabbing a leveraged ETF on the Nasdaq 100, the ProShares UltraPro QQQ TQQQ. In my plan, while I might debate the merits of buying AAPL or MSFT for hours, I knew I could immediately buy them both with TQQQ and be rewarded very quickly after the 14% plunge."
Ahahaha, fuckstick bought TQQQ at $70, cuz that's what you do after a random 5-sigma move, right? How many of you dumbasses did the same thing? Don't lie, I see you buying 3/5 on this TQQQ chart:
Meanwhile, on 3/3, I answered the question "Where do you see this ending up at in the next couple weeks? I have 3/20s" with "under 30 imo".

Well good fucking job, because a week later on 3/11, TQQQ closed at $61, and it kept going.
Nomura: Market staring into the abyss
"The plunge in US equities yesterday (12 March) pushed weekly returns down to 7.7 standard deviations below the norm. In statistical science, the odds of a greater-than seven-sigma event of this kind are astronomical to the point of being comical (about one such event every 160 billion years).
Let's see what Stephen Mathai-Davis, CFA, CQF, WTF, BBQ, Founder and CEO of - Investing Reimagined, a Forbes Company, and a major fucktard has to say at this point:

"Our AI models are telling us to buy SPY (the SPDR S&P500 ETF and a great proxy for US large-cap stocks) but since all models are based on past data, does it really make sense? "
"While it may or may not make sense to buy stocks, it definitely is a good time to sell “volatility.” And yes, you can do it in your brokerage account! Or, you can ask your personal finance advisor about it."
"So what is the takeaway? I don’t know if now is the right time to start buying stocks again but it sure looks like the probabilities are in your favor to say that we are not going to experience another 7 standard deviation move in U.S. Stocks. OTM (out-of-the-money) Put Spreads are a great way to get some bullish exposure to a rally in the SPY while also shorting such rich volatility levels."
Good job, fuckfaces. Y'all bought this one too, admit it. I see you buying on this chart:
Well guess what, by 3/18, a week later, we did get another 5 standard deviation move. TQQQ bottomed on 3/18 at $32.73. Still think that was just luck, punk? You know how many sigmas that was? Over 12 god-damn sigmas. 12 standard deviations. I'd have a much better chance of guessing everyone's buttcoin private key, in a row, on the first try. That's how unlikely that is.
"Hurr durr you said it's going to 0, so you're retarded because it didn't go to 0" - random_wsb_autist
Yeah, fuckface, because the Fed bailed ‘em out. Remember the $150b “overnight repo” bazooka on 3/17? That’s what that was, a bailout. A bailout for shitty funds and market makers like Trump's handjob buddy Kenny Griffin from Citadel. Why do you think Jamie Dimon had a heart attack in early March? He saw all the dogshit that everyone put on his books.


Yup, everyone got clapped on their stupidly leveraged derivatives books. It seems Citadel is “too big to fail”. On 3/18, the payout on 3/20 TQQQ puts alone if it went to 0 was $468m. And every single TQQQ put expiration would have had to be paid. Tens or hundreds of billions on TQQQ puts alone. I’d bet my ass Citadel was on the hook for a big chunk of those. And that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to all the other blown derivative trades out there.
Y’all still did good, 3/20 closed at $35. That’s $161m/$468m payoff just there. I even called you the bottom on 3/17, when I saw that bailout:

"tinygiraffe21 1 point 2 months ago
Haha when? I’m loading up in 4/17 25 puts"
Scratch that, helicopter money is here."
"AfgCric 1 point 2 months ago
What does that mean?"
"It means the Fed & Trump are printing trillions with no end in sight. If they go through with this, this was probably the bottom."

"hurr durr, it went lower on 3/18 so 3/17 wasn't the bottom" - random_wsb_autist
Idiot, I have no way of knowing that Billy boy Ackman was going to go on CNBC and cry like a little bitch to make everyone dump, so he can get out of his shorts. Just like I have no way of knowing when the Fed decides to do a bailout. But you react to that, when you see it.
Do you think "Oh no world's ending" and go sell everything? No, dumbass, you try to figure out what Billy's doing. And in this case it was pretty obvious, Billy saw the Fed train coming and wanted to close his shorts. So you give the dude a hand, quick short in and out, and position for Billy dumping his short bags.
Video of Billy & the Fed train

Here's what Billy boy says:
“But if they don’t, and the government takes the right steps, this hedge could be worth zero, and the stock market could go right back up to where it was. So we made the decision to exit.”
Also, “the single best trade of all time.” my ass, it was only a 100-bagger. I gave y’all a 150-bagger.
So how could I catch that? Because it wasn't random, yo. And I'm here to teach your asses how to try to spot such potential moves. But first, the technical bootcamp.

Chapter III. Mouthbreather's bootcamp on managing a position – THE TECHNICALS

RULE 1. YOU NEVER BUY OPTIONS AT OPEN. You NEVER OVERPAY for an option. You never FOMO into buying too fast. You NEVER EVER NEVER pump the premium on a play.
I saw you fuckers buying over 4k TQQQ 5/22 $45 puts in the first minutes of trading. You pumped the premium to over $0.50 dudes. The play's never going to work if you do that, because you give the market maker free delta, and he's going to hedge that against you. Let me explain simply:

Let's say a put on ticker $X at strike $50 is worth $1, and a put at strike $51 is worth $2.
If you all fomo in at once into the same strike, the market maker algos will just pull the asks higher. If you overpay at $2 for the $50p, the market maker will just buy $51ps for $2 and sell you $50ps for 2$. Or he'll buy longer-dated $50ps and sell you shorter-dated $50ps. Max risk for him is now 0, max gain is $1. You just gave him free downside insurance, so of course he's going to start going long. And you just traded against yourself, congrats.

You need to get in with patience, especially if you see other autists here wanting to go in at the same time. Don't step on each other's toes. You put in an order, and you wait for it to fill for a couple of seconds. If it doesn't fill, AND the price of the option hasn't moved much recently, you can bump the bid $0.01. And you keep doing that a few times. Move your strikes, if needed. Only get a partial fill or don't get a fill at all? You cancel your bid. Don't fucking leave it hanging there, or you're going to put a floor on the price. Let the mm algos chill out and go again later.

RULE 2. WATCH THE TIME. Algos are especially active at x:00, x:02, x:08, x:12, x:30 and x:58. Try not to buy at those times.
RULE 3. YOU USE MULTIPLE BROKERS. Don't just roll with Robinhood, you're just gimping yourself. If you don't have another one, open up a tasty, IB, TD, Schwab, whatever. But for cheap faggy puts (or calls), Robinhood is the best. If you want to make a play for which the other side would think "That's free money!", Robinhood is the best. Because Citadel will snag that free money shit like no other. Seriously, if you don't have a RH account, open one. It's great for making meme plays.

RULE 4. YOU DON'T START A TRADE WITH BIG POSITIONS. Doesn't matter how big or small your bankroll is. If you go all-in, you're just gambling, and the odds are stacked against you. You need to have extra cash to manage your positions. Which leads to
RULE 5. MANAGING YOUR WINNERS: Your position going for you? Good job! Now POUND THAT SHIT! And again. Move your strikes to cheaper puts/calls, and pound again. And again. Snowball those gains.
So you bought some puts and they’re going down? Well, the moment they reach $0.01, YOU POUND THOSE PUTS (assuming there’s enough time left on them, not shit expiring in 2h). $0.01 puts have amazing risk/return around the time they reach $0.01. This is not as valid for calls. Long explanation why, but the gist of it is this: you know how calls have unlimited upside while puts have limited upside? Well it’s the reverse of that.
Your position going against you? Do you close the position, take your loss porn and post it on wsb? WRONG DUMBASS. You manage that by POUNDING THAT SHIT. Again and again. You don't manage losing positions by closing. That removes your gainz when the market turns around. You ever close a position, just to have it turn out it would have been a winner afterwards? Yeah, don't do that. You manage it by opening other positions. Got puts? Buy calls. Got calls? Buy puts. Turn positions into spreads. Buy spreads. Buy the VIX. Sell the VIX. They wanna pin for OPEX? Sell them options. Not enough bankroll to sell naked? Sell spreads. Make them fight you for your money, motherfuckers, don't just give it away for free. When you trade, YOU have the advantage of choosing when and where to engage. The market can only react. That's your edge, so USE IT! Like this:

Example 1:
Initial TQQQ 5/22 position = $5,000. Starts losing? You pound it.
Total pounded in 5/22 TQQQ puts = $10,824. Unfortunately expired worthless (but also goes to show I'm not selling you puts, dickwads)
Then the autists show up:
"Hahaha you lost all your money nice job you fucking idiot why do you even live?" - cscqb4
Wrong fuckface. You see the max pain at SPX 2975 & OPEX pin coming? Sell them some calls or puts (or spreads).
Sold 9x5/20 SPX [email protected], bam +$6,390. Still wanna pin? Well have some 80x5/22 TQQQ $80cs, bam anotha +$14,700.
+$21,090 - $10,824 = +$10,266 => Turned that shit into a +94.85% gain.

.cscqb4 rn

You have a downside position, but market going up or nowhere? You play that as well. At least make some money back, if not profit.

Example 2:

5/22, long weekend coming right? So you use your brain & try to predict what could happen over the 3-day weekend. Hmm, 3 day weekend, well you should expect either a shitty theta-burn or maybe the pajama traders will try to pooomp that shite on the low volume. Well make your play. I bet on the shitty theta burn, but could be the other, idk, so make a small play.

Sold some ES_F spreads (for those unaware, ES is a 50x multiplier, so 1 SPX = 2 ES = 10 SPY, approximately). -47x 2955/2960 bear call spreads for $2.5. Max gain is $2.5, max loss is 2960-2955 = $5. A double-or-nothing basically. That's $5,875 in premium, max loss = 2x premium = $11,750.
Well, today comes around and futures are pumping. Up to 3,014 now. Do you just roll over? You think I'm gonna sit and take it up the ass? Nah bros that's not how you trade, you fucking fight them. How?
I have:
47x 2960 calls
-47x 2955 calls

Pajama traders getting all up in my grill? Well then I buy back 1 of the 2955 calls. Did that shit yesterday when futures were a little over 2980, around 2982-ish. Paid $34.75, initially shorted at $16.95, so booked a -$892 loss, for now. But now what do I have?

46x 2955/2960 bear calls
1x 2960 long call

So the fuckers can pump it. In fact, the harder they pump it, the more I make. Each $2.5 move up in the futures covers the max loss for 1 spread. With SPX now at ~3015, that call is $55 ITM. Covers 24/46 contracts rn. If they wanna run it up, at 3070 it's break-even. Over that, it's profit. I'll sell them some bear call spreads over 3050 if they run it there too. They gonna dump it? well under 2960 it's profit time again. They wanna do a shitty pin at 3000 today? Well then I'll sell them some theta there.
Later edit: that was written yesterday. Got out with a loss of only $1.5k out of the max $5,875. Not bad.
And that, my dudes, is how you manage a position.

RULE 7 (ESPECIALLY FOR BEARS). YOU DON'T KEEP EXTRA CASH IN YOUR BROKER ACCOUNT. You don't do it with Robinhood, because it's a shitty dumpsterfire of a broker. But you don't do it with other brokers either. Pull that shit out. Preferably to a bank that doesn't play in the markets either, use a credit union or some shit. Why? Because you're giving the market free liquidity. Free margin loans. Squeeze that shit out, make them work for it. Your individual cash probably doesn't make a dent, but a million autists with an extra $1200 trumpbucks means $1.2b. That's starting to move the needle. You wanna make a play, use instant deposits. And that way you don't lose your shit when your crappy ass broker or bank gets its ass blown up on derivative trades. Even if it's FDIC or SIPC insured, it's gonna take time until you see that money again.



Do you think the market can go up forever? Do you think stOnKs oNLy Go uP because Fed brrr? Do you think SPX will be at 5000 by the end of the month? Do you think $1.5 trillion is a good entry point for stonks like AAPL or MSFT? Do you want to buy garbage like Hertz or American Airlines because it's cheap? Did you buy USO at the bottom and are now proud of yourself for making $2? Well, this section is for you!
Let's clear up the misconception that stonks only go up while Fed brrrs.

What's your target for the SPX top? Think 3500 by the end of the year? 3500 by September? 4000? 4500? 5000? Doesn't matter, you can plug in your own variables.

Let's say SPX only goes up, a moderate 0.5% each period as a compounded avg. (i.e. up a bit down a bit whatever, doesn't matter as long as at the end of your period, if you look back and do the math, you'll get that number). Let's call this variable BRRR = 0.005.

Can you do the basic math to calculate the value at the end of x periods? Or did you drop out in 5th grade? Doesn't matter if not, I'll teach you.

Let's say our period is one week. That is, SPX goes up on average 0.5% each week on Fed BRRR:
2950 * (1.005^x), where x is the number of periods (weeks in this case)

So, after 1 month, you have: 2950 * (1.005^4) = 3009
After 2 months: 2950 * (1.005^8) = 3070
End of the year? 2950 * (1.005^28) = 3392

Now clearly, we're already at 3015 on the futures, so we're moving way faster than that. More like at a speed of BRRR = 1%/wk

2950 * (1.01^4) = 3069
2950 * (1.01^8) = 3194
2950 * (1.01^28) = 3897

Better, but still slower than a lot of permabulls would expect. In fact, some legit fucks are seriously predicting SPX 4000-4500 by September. Like this dude, David Hunter, "Contrarian Macro Strategist w/40+ years on Wall Street". IDIOTIC.

That'd be 2950 * (BRRR^12) = 4000 => BRRR = 1.0257 and 2950 * (BRRR^12) = 4500 => BRRR = 1.0358, respectively.

Here's why that can't happen, no matter the amount of FED BRRR: Leverage. Compounded Leverage.

There's currently over $100b in leveraged etfs with a 2.5x avg. leverage. And that's just the ones I managed to tally, there's a lot of dogshit small ones on top of that. TQQQ alone is now at almost $6b in AUM (topped in Fed at a little over $7b).

Now, let's try to estimate what happens to TQQQ's AUM when BRRR = 1.0257. 3XBRRR = 1.0771. Take it at 3XBRRR = 1.07 to account for slippage in a medium-volatility environment and ignore the fact that the Nasdaq-100 would go up more than SPX anyway.

$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^4) = $7,864,776,060
$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^8) = $10,309,100,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^12) = $13,513,100,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^28) = $39,893,000,000.

What if BRRR = 1.0358? => 3XBRR = 1.1074. Take 3XBRRR = 1.10.
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^4) = $8,784,600,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^8) = $12,861,500,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^12) = $18,830,600,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^28) = $86,526,000,000

And this would have to get 3x leveraged every day. And this is just for TQQQ.

Let's do an estimation for all leveraged funds. $100b AUM, 2.5 avg. leverage factor, BRRR = 1.0257 => 2.5BRRR = 1.06425

$100b * (1.06^4) = $128.285b
$100b * (1.06^8) = $159.385b
$100b * (1.06^12) = $201.22b
$100b * (1.06^28) = $511.169b

That'd be $1.25 trillion sloshing around each day. And the market would have to lose each respective amount of cash into these leveraged funds. Think the market can do that? You can play around with your own variables. But understand that this is just a small part of the whole picture, many other factors go into this. It's a way to put a simple upper limit on an assumption, to check if it's reasonable.

In the long run, it doesn't matter if the Fed goes BRRR, if TQQQ takes in it's share of 3XBRRR. And the Fed can't go 3XBRRR, because then TQQQ would take in 9XBRRR. And on top of this, you have a whole pile of leveraged derivatives on top of these leveraged things. Watch (or rewatch) this: Selena Gomez & Richard H. Thaler Explaining Synthetic CDO through BLACKJACK

My general point, at the mouth-breather level, is that Fed BRRR cannot be infinite, because leverage.
And these leveraged ETFs are flawed instruments in the first place. It didn't matter when they started out. TQQQ and SQQQ started out at $8m each. For the banks providing the swaps, for the market providing the futures contracts, whatever counter-party to whatever instrument they would use, that was fine. Because it balanced out. When TQQQ made a million, SQQQ lost a million (minus a small spread, which was the bank's profit). Bank was happy, in the long run things would even out. Slippage and spreads and fees would make them money. But then something happened. Stonks only went up. And leveraged ETFs got bigger and more and more popular.
And so, TQQQ ended up being $6-7b, while SQQQ was at $1b. And the same goes for all the other ETFs. Long leveraged ETF AUM became disproportionate to short AUM. And it matters a whole fucking lot. Because if you think of the casino, TQQQ walks up every day and says "I'd like to put $18b on red", while SQQQ walks up and says "I'd only like to put $3b on black". And that, in turn, forces the banks providing the swaps to either eat shit with massive losses, or go out and hedge. Probably a mix of both. But it doesn't matter if the banks are hedged, someone else is on the other side of those hedges anyway. Someone's eating a loss. Can think of it as "The Market", in general, eating the loss. And there's only so much loss the market can eat before it craps itself.

If you were a time traveller, how much money do you think you could make by trading derivatives? Do you think you could make $20 trillion? You know the future prices after all... But no, you couldn't. There isn't enough money out there to pay you. So you'd move the markets by blowing them up. Call it the Time-travelling WSB Autist Paradox.

If you had a bucket with a hole in the bottom, even if you poured an infinite amount of water into it, it would never be full. Because there's a LIQUIDITY SINK, just like there is one in the markets.
And that, my mouth-breathing friends, is the reason why FED BRRR cannot be infinite. Or alternatively, "STONKS MUST GO BOTH UP AND DOWN".


On Jan 14, 2020, I predicted this: Assuming that corona doesn't become a problem, "AAPL: Jan 28 $328.3, Jan 31 $316.5, April 1 $365.7, May 1 $386, July 1 $429 December 31 $200."
Now take a look at the AAPL chart in January. After earnings AAPL peaked at $327.85. On 1/31, after the 1st hour of trading, when the big boys make moves, it was at $315.63. Closed 1/31 at $309.51. Ya think I pulled this one out of my ass too?
Yes you can time it. Flows, motherfucker, flows. Money flow moves everything. And these days, we have a whole lot of RETARDED FLOW. Can't even call it dumb flow, because it literally doesn't think. Stuff like:

  • ETF flows. If MSFT goes up and AAPL goes down, part of that flow is going to move from AAPL to MSFT. Even if MSFT flash-crashes up to $1000, the ETF will still "buy". Because it's passive.
  • Option settlement flows. Once options expire, money is going to flow from one side to another, and that my friends is accurately predictable from the data.
  • Index rebalancing flows
  • Buyback flows
  • 401k passive flows
  • Carry trade flows
  • Tax day flows
  • Flows of people front-running the flows

And many many others. Spot the flow, and you get an edge. How could I predict where AAPL would be after earnings within 50 cents and then reverse down to $316 2 days later? FLOWS MOTHERFUCKER FLOWS. The market was so quiet in that period, that is was possible to precisely figure out where it ended up. Why the dump after? Well, AAPL earnings (The 8-K) come out on a Wednesday. The next morning, after market opens the 10-Q comes out. And that 10-Q contains a very important nugget of information: the latest number of outstanding shares. But AAPL buybacks are regular as fuck. You can predict the outstanding shares before the market gets the 10-Q. And that gives you EDGE. Which leads to


Are you one of those mouthbreathers that parrots the phrase "buybacks are just a tax-efficient way to return capital to shareholders"? Well sit the fuck down, I have news for you. First bit of news, you're dumb as shit. Second bit:

On 1/28, AAPL's market cap is closing_price x free_float_outstanding_shares. But that's not the REAL MARKET CAP. Because the number of outstanding shares is OLD AS FUCK. When the latest number comes out, the market cap changes instantly. And ETFs start moving, and hedges start being changed, and so on.

"But ETFs won't change the number of shares they hold, they will still hold the same % of AAPL in the index" - random_wsb_autist

Oh my fucking god you're dumb as fuck. FLOWS change. And the next day, when TQQQ comes by and puts its massive $18b dong on the table, the market will hedge that differently. And THAT CAN BE PREDICTED. That's why AAPL was exactly at $316 1 hour after the market opened on 1/31.

So, what can you use to spot moves? Let me show you:
Market topped on 2/19. Here’s SPY. I even marked interesting dates for you with vertical lines.
Nobody could have seen it coming, right? WRONG AGAIN. Here:
In fact, JPYUSD gave you two whole days to see it. Those are NOT normal JPYUSD moves. But hey maybe it’s just a fluke? Wrong again.
Forex showed you that all over the place. Why? FLOWS MOTHERFUCKER FLOWS. When everything moves like that, it means the market needs CASH. It doesn’t matter why, but remember people pulling cash out of ATMs all over the world? Companies drawing massive revolvers? Just understand what this flow means.
The reversal:
But it wasn’t just forex. Gold showed it to you as well. Bonds showed it to you as well.
Even god damn buttcoin showed it to you.
And they all did it for 2 days before the move hit equities.

You see all these bankruptcies that happened so far, and all the ones that are going to follow? Do you think that’s just dogshit companies and it won’t have major effects on anything outside them? WRONG.
Because there’s a lot of leveraged instruments on top of those equities. When the stock goes to 0, all those outstanding puts across all expirations get instantly paid.
Understand that Feb-March was a liquidity MOAB. But this will end with a liquidity nuke.
Here’s just HTZ for example: $239,763,550 in outstanding puts. Just on a single dogshit small-cap company (this thing was like $400m mkt. cap last week).
And that’s just the options on the equity. There’s also instruments on etfs that hold HTZ, on the bonds, on the ETFs that hold their bonds, swaps, warrants, whatever. It’s a massive pile of leverage.
Then there’s also the ripple effects. Were you holding a lot of HTZ in your brokerage margin account? Well guess what big boi, when that gaps to 0 you get a margin call, and then you become a liquidity drain. Holding long calls? 0. Bonds 0. DOG SHIT!
And the market instantly goes from holding $x in assets (HTZ equity / bonds / calls) to holding many multiples of x in LIABILITIES (puts gone wrong, margin loans, derivatives books, revolvers, all that crap). And it doesn’t matter if the Fed buys crap like HTZ bonds. You short them some. Because when it hits 0, it’s no longer about supply and demand. You get paid full price, straight from Jerome’s printer. Is the Fed going to buy every blown up derivative too? Because that's what they'd have to do.
Think of liquidity as a car. The faster it goes, the harder it becomes to go even faster. At some point, you can only go faster by driving off a cliff. THE SQUEEZE. But you stop instantly when you hit the ground eventually. And that’s what shit’s doing all over the place right now.
And just like that fucker, “I’m standing in front of a burning house, and I’m offering you fire insurance on it.”

Don’t baghold!
Now is not the time to baghold junk. Take your cash. Not the time to buy cheap crap. You don’t buy Hertz. You don’t buy USO. You don’t buy airlines, or cruises, or GE, or motherfucking Disney. And if you have it, dump that shit.
And the other dogshit that’s at ATH, congrats you’re in the green. Now you take your profits and fucking dump that shit. I’m talking shit like garbage SaaS, app shit, AI shit, etc. Garbage like MDB, OKTA, SNAP, TWLO, ZM, CHGG etc.
And you dump those garbage ass leveraged ETFs. SQQQ, TQQQ, whatever, they’re all dogshit now.
The leverage MUST unwind. And once that’s done, some of you will no longer be among us if you don’t listen. A lot of leveraged ETFs will be gone. Even some non-leveraged ETFs will be gone. Some brokers will be gone, some market makers will be gone, hell maybe even some big bank has to go under. I can’t know which ones will go poof, but I can guarantee you that some will. Another reason to diversify your shit. There’s a reason papa Warrant Buffet dumped his bags, don’t think you’re smarter than him. He may be senile, but he’s still a snake.
And once the unwind is done, THEN you buy whatever cheap dogshit’s still standing.
Got it? Good.
You feel ready to play yet? Alright, so you catch a move. Or I post a move and you wanna play it. You put on a small position. When it’s going your way, YOU POUND DAT SHIT. Still going? Well RUSH B CYKA BLYAT AND PLANT THE GOD DAMN 3/20 $30p BOMB.

Chapter VI - The mouthbreather-proof play - THE AKIMBO
Still a dumbass that can’t make a play? Still want to go long? Well then, I got a dumbass-proof trade for you. I present to you THE AKIMBO:

STEP 1. You play this full blast. You need some real Russian hardbass to get you in the right mood for trading, cyka.
STEP 2. Split your play money in 3. Remember to keep extra bankroll for POUNDING THAT SHIT.
STEP 3. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy SQQQ 9/18 $5p, pay $0.05. Not more than $0.10.
STEP 4. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy TQQQ 9/18 $20p, pay around $0.45. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, 7/17 $35p’s for around $0.5.
STEP 5. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy VIX PUT SPREADS 9/15 $21/$20 spread for around $0.15, no more than $0.25. That is, you BUY the 21p and SELL the 20p. Only using Robinhood and don’t have the VIX? What did I just tell you? Well fine, use UVXY then. Just make sure you don’t overpay.

Chapter VII - Quick hints for non-mouthbreathers
Quick tips, cuz apparently I'm out of space, there's a 40k character limit on reddit posts. Who knew?

  1. Proshares is dogshit. If you don't understand the point in my last post, do this: download and Easier to see than with TQQQ. AUM: 1,174,940,072. Add up the value of all the t-bills = 1,686,478,417.49 and "Net other assets / cash". It should equal the AUM, but you get 2,861,340,576. Why? Because that line should read: NET CASH = -$511,538,344.85
  2. Major index rebalancing June 22.
  3. Watch the violent forex moves.
  4. 6/25 will be red. Don't ask, play a spread, bag a 2x-er.
  5. 6/19 will be red.
  6. Not settled yet, but a good chance 5/28 is red.
  7. Front run the rebalance. Front-run the front-runners of the rebalance too. TQQQ puts.
  8. Major retard flow in financials yesterday. Downward pressure now. GS 180 next weeks looks good.
  9. Buy leaps puts on dogshit bond ETFs (check holdings for dogshit)
  10. Buy TLT 1/15/2021 $85ps for cheap, sell over $1 when the Fed stops the ass rape, rinse and repeat
  11. TQQQ flow looks good:

Good luck. Dr. Retard TQQQ Burry out.
submitted by dlkdev to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

A story that has it all...6 Figure Losses...Gains...Bears...Bulls...Tough Lessons

I'm writing this story in hopes that it inspires one of you developmentally disabled "investors" that true autism can prevail...even if you get knocked out 4 or 5 times. I also hope you learn from my monumental mistakes.
Pull up a chair...
Here is a picture of my account value from the last 3 years, showing my account blowups:
YTD account value:
Here are my current positions and my YTD profit/losses by position:
Net Deposit/Withdraw (essentially my money lost by depositing, doesn't account for any appreciation):
2015: Deposited: $10,300
2016: Deposited: $21,403
2017: Withdrew: $646
2018: Deposited: $49,977
2019: Deposited: $62,497
2020: Withdrew: $49,977
Net: Lost/Deposited: $93,554
Let me set the scene, I was in high school, the market had crashed because of a little snafu involving the housing market. An older family friend of mine suggested investing some money. My mom thought it would be helpful to teach me more about this so she put $1000 towards this endeavor. I invested in some super safe blue chips and didn't really check it. And so it begins....
A few years later while in college (2012 ish) I checked in on these stocks and they had appreciated a good bit. Let's say I had a few thousand at this point, and I was working during the summer so I started throwing some more money in. Got into some "riskier" names like Apple, AMZN, and even got in on the FB IPO. I sold AMZN at $190 because even then they had no earnings and it had run up quite a bit. What a great sell looking back! Now let's flash forward to the 1st account blowup...
1st Account Blowup(2012 ish): I was a college kid who had not yet discovered WSB. Like many of you I was still sucking on my mom's teet, and I probably could have used some time to crawl back inside my mom and cook a little longer, but that was no longer an option. I had about $10k in my account at this time, so like any true autist I needed to get to $100k immediately
I kept hearing that Apple was undervalued, so I bought some Apple Calls at the 600 strike price. The stock had been at 700 (pre-split). It seemed easy, it would go back to 700 and I'd have 100 bones per call. I remember calculating it and realizing if it just did that I'd have $100k. I was even responsible and went out like 6 months in time.
As expected it stayed undervalued, my calls expired worthless. Lovely. And then afterwards when I had no money, and now no Natty Lites, the stock went on a tear and regained the 700 level and more. I had no income so I just had to sit on the sidelines and think about it. But like any gambling addict I would eventually come back to play again...
I would repeat this process of work in the summer, save up money, blow it on options during the college school year, and finish the year broke. I would get a little dopamine now and then off of gains, but nothing meaningful. Obviously each time I promised myself I wouldn't let it happen again, and I'd be more responsible next time. You know how that works..
1st Account Blowup TL;DR: Lost 10k in Apple calls
Now after I graduated and got a job paying some real money I was able to save some up and come back to the slot machine more often and with bigger pockets. I lived with my parents like the rest of you, and I got a good paying job right out of college as a chemical engineer. After getting my company match on my 401k and all that responsible stuff, I would take the rest of my paycheck and "invest" it. You know in safe stuff like stocks and then ultimately sell those for some good ole FD's, which if they paid off I'd just bet on something else. I'm not sure how much I threw away in this process. It's probably safe to say it was in the neighborhood of $20k/year for a good 4 years until last year or so. After just realizing as I write this that I don't even know how much I lost, as much as it pains me to add it up, I am going back and adding in how much I deposited and withdrew (lol) annually from 2015 on. It's probably time I accept it. I've added this up top.
2nd Account Blowup: Now if you refer to the graph in 2017 you can see a spike in equity...don't worry I didn't hit on a big FD. This was from an inheritance. RIP Gam gam. I got about $70k here(I'm not sure why it didn't ring up right in my deposit/withdraw statements). At first I invested it responsibly, and then of course I didn't. I looked back to see how I blew this because I didn't remember. Basically there are stupid call/puts all over the place in AMZN, AGN, Banks, you name it. I probably had a lot great "hunches". To be clear I lost everything and anything I had here. It felt crappy knowing my immigrant grandma saved up this money to give to me and I had made short work of it. I always thought afterwards if I had just invested it responsibly this young it would prove to be a lot of money down the road. I also always figured if I just got to $100k I'd invest it responsibly and turn into Warren Buffet (pronounced like an all you can eat Buffet). Chasing the next round number is always a game that you're sure to lose.
2nd Account Blowup TL;DR: Lost $70k in inheritance on options
3rd Account Blowup: Now after this at some point I got a margin account at TDA with futures and full options capabilities. A great way to lose money even faster! In 2018 I dabbled with mini futures contracts but nothing serious. If you refer to the all time graph I had a mini spike in here as well (always good for 1 a year), but I blew this. This got blown on more options and like I said small amounts of nasdaq futures. This is technically the 3rd account blowup. I did get some money from a family member as a gift and that's what funded this particular spree. Yeah I felt like crap and all that, but the worst was yet to come, looking back in magnitude these didn't compare to what laid ahead. If you're keeping track of what I lost, I know for sure I lost $50k at least of deposits here, so you can add that to the inheritance from above to keep total of just the big one time deposits, not including the bi-weekly paycheck contributions.
3rd Account Blowup TL;DR: Lost $50k from a gift from a family member in options/futures
4th Account Blowup: We are getting to the good ones...Now in the inheritance I should specify that I received a piece of property. I wasn't going to be able to maintain it so I sold it in 2019. Got about $90k out of it, put about $70k of that into my brokerage account. And if you refer to the all time graph you can figure out what happened here. Did the classic dance, put it in stocks at first, then didn't. Ultimately lost all of this in Oil Futures. This was the toughest loss to date. This was the last of the "big" money or assets I knew I'd have. This in my mind was my last chance to make a good chunk of money, then invest it responsibly, and just grow it. I was a moron. I never felt lower than when I lost all of this. It was a relatively slow bleed as well. I remember the day I had lost it all, we needed fire wood for the winter. I ordered it and stacked it for 4 hours, just painstakingly blowing my back out on purpose as I felt completely defeated. I know my girlfriend was like what is wrong with this dude, because I was just completely depressed at this point. I thought it was all over. I was sure I'd never recover and never amount to anything. This lasted for a week or two which is a long time in this context and state of mind. I felt very destabilized. I had identified myself almost entirely with money. And after playing with those sums and losing them all I'd ever be able to do at this point was deposit a couple bucks from my paycheck, and what's a few hundred or thousand bucks at this point? Even if I put that in, I would just try to hit a 100 bagger to get back to what I considered a real amount. To this day I don't know I've ever felt lower than I did at this very moment. It was the one you hear everyone talk about. As if trading oil futures completely overleveraged and not knowing a thing about oil could have ended differently...
4th Account Blowup TL;DR: Lost $70k in essentially inheritance on Oil futures. Completely devastated.
2020(You can refer to the YTD account value chart for this rollercoaster ride): At this point I had nothing. I still had my job and could drop money in from that, but nothing in my mind would compare to the amounts I once had and played with before. At the end of 2019 as many of you know stonks only went up. I figured at some point it would crack, but once the nasdaq hit 9k I realized I should just go long until it finally craters, the bear inside me said it would(that bear has been wrong 100% of the time roughly. He's a man bear who likes other man bears, maybe even a man bear pig). I finally realized this and stopped trying to pick a top. I didn't have any money to play with so I did the sensible thing...I took a $7k cash advance on a credit card, I figured I'd make a ton of money, then just pay it back and play with house money. Like many of us here figure....
So I did this and I went long futures. Naturally, as soon as I did this (literally within days), the market began to crater and I went short, as short as I could go. I maxed out my account margin with Nasdaq shorts. Only playing the mini-nasdaq contracts at first. As you know it fell straight down. For what seemed like the first time ever my account was green. I continued to pyramid shorts and stack em up as it went down and it continued to payoff. I got to $100k and I couldn't believe it. I remember taking a leak just thinking about it at the market close and I looked back at the screen and my account was to $114k already. It seemed like a dream. I continued to max out my shorts all the way down to 6600 points on the nasdaq futures and hit an account value of $370k ish. I kind of figured we had to rally back somewhat since we were down so much so quick. However, I continued to try and pick near term tops and tried to short it(AKA I fought the fed and as you will see, lost). I said if I fell back to $300k in value I'd exit all positions and just be smart...then I lowered that stop to $250k...then $200k...then $150k...then $100k...$50k...and finally I got margin called hard one day at $32k(on the TDA chart it doesn't always ring up right for some reason with futures). Also, TDA was constantly calling me with margin calls, that was lovely. Anyways, that felt shitty. I really started to question my true motives and goals. I had finally made the money I wanted. More than enough to be smart with and grow into a nice nest egg, and I pissed it all away. I did pay of a good deal of debt, paid back the credit card cash advance (probably first person to actually pull this off), and bought a toy. This was my withdrawing of $50k for the year, which you can see at the beginning.
From here I continued to stay short. Inside I think I just wanted to go back to $0 and end it. Put me out of my misery. Part of me truly wondered if I liked losing it all. I had always done it. Maybe I was just getting what I wanted every time. During this I got a small selloff and my short positions increased my account value to $90k. Now I had this new idea. There were tons of stocks that were undervalued still as we were rallying. If I could get portfolio margin I could get 6.6 times buying power of whatever I had in my account. I could just buy a lot of stocks, and then if the trend flipped again I could short my portfolio to hedge my positions and downside if needed. However, you had to get to $125k in equity on TDA to apply for portfolio margin, and then keep it above $100k or they'd margin call your account. I managed, via futures, to get my account value to $131k. I immediately applied for portfolio margin. You have to take a 20 question test on scenarios with different types of options spread (iron condors, synthetic short, etc.). Even once I reached that value I was dumb enough to hold positions overnight and over weekends and risk going below $125k where they wouldn't let me open this account.
However, I did finally get approved! If you refer to the YTD chart you will see this started the rebound. Once approved I bought a ton of stock in the banks near or at the bottoms (about $150k in JPM, $400k in WFC) and bought some XOM ($200k), CGC, and TLRY. I have a small futures position in Gold too as an inflation hedge. I looked for stocks that were very undervalued and had big dividends. I figured I could lock in these big dividends and then use the dividends to pay back the margin to get equity, assuming they don't cut these dividends. The dividends at these levels would actually pay for the margin interest nearly entirely. I added AT&T later on too. I liked the pot stocks as well since they had gotten hammered big time. As I write this we got a good jobs report and what do you know, stocks only go up. My account value is for the first time back at it's all time high ~$370k. I honestly don't even believe I found a way to claw back again. I'm speechless, and still worried I will end up as I have every other time. I have about $1.2 million in stock positions. Even with where I am now my positions should pay more than $62k/year in dividends. And I think the stocks can appreciate in value outside of that as well. I'm in a much better place mentally and I finally respect the risk after getting my cheeks spread 4-5 times. I don't want to get carried out because I didn't respect the risk. I know I'm in a good place again and I don't want to screw it up this time. I'm getting to a point where I realize I could almost live off the dividends or at least supplement my income to a great deal. I'm definitely not going to be "guessing" with futures anymore though, and I've put a rule in that no futures position can exceed 10% of my portfolio, and my target is for 5% positions. I may even make the 5% rule a hard rule. I also have a trend trading system, and I no longer allow myself to trade against the trend, I can only trade with it. But with this much money and buying power I plan to mainly stick to stocks. And if attractive dividends pop up I will add them. Even if attractive companies pop up I'll buy them. I know I shouldn't even be allowed to mention dividend investing in this forum. Fuck me right?
Thanks for listening.
2020 TL;DR: Cash advanced $7k off a credit card. Grew it to $370k with futures. Ungrew it to $30k with futures. Grew it back to $370k with portfolio margin/stocks.
I hope someone out there can read this, and learn from it.
I had some seriously low lows. Words cannot describe how I felt. Not only towards myself, but towards my loved ones if they only knew. Do yourself a favor and use this as your experience. Don't go through this emotional rollercoaster yourself.
Remember, if you make huge gains, don't be a pig and get slaughtered. Take your gains for fucks sake.

Edit 1: Updated positions picture, cropped it poorly

Edit 2: Just to add...I could have dolled up the story and easily avoided ridicule. Obviously the inheritances are A TON, and anyone, even myself believe it or not, would be ecstatic to get that. And one would surely safely put it away and let it grow into a nice nest egg. But I did some careless things, no doubt. And hell yeah there is a lot of greed in there and lessons that could be learned.
But I wanted to give you guys the authentic story of what happened. Trust me, it isn't easy to share this one as easy as it may seem. There are a lot of embarrassing moments that I'm not proud of. But I think that's what makes it a good story. I hope you enjoy the authenticity. I don't think many people would share the raw version like this and the true emotional roller-coaster ride and mess it was Haha

Edit 3: Thanks everyone for the advice and support, I appreciate it. Also It's just money at the end of the day, kind of a way to keep score!
Real happiness comes from relationships and your daily life, this situation made that glaringly obvious to me. And that lesson is priceless.
submitted by Mister___Pickles to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Considering spending 100% of my income for 6 months

Quick stats on myself:
*28M, single, no kids
*LCOL area
*$100k income
*$680k net worth (little over half the hard way, other half is private equity that has increased a lot in value, but is currently relatively illiquid)
*$30k estimated annual spending (I don’t keep close track of this number)
I’ve been thinking lately that I don’t have a good handle on what I am trading to sustain a high savings rate. I know there must be some limit where spending more money won’t bring me any additional happiness or satisfaction, but I suspect I’m not at that point. How much would I enjoy eating out at nicer restaurants, buying higher cost items or home upgrades, getting nice gifts for people I care about, donating more to causes I think are important, etc etc.
At work, I’ve also been going through a pretty stressful time. I recently acquired a lot more responsibility, and while I enjoy my job, it has really been weighing on me as I work to build my skillset for this new role. I wonder if getting more satisfaction from my income in the short term might give me a better outlook on difficulties I experience in the workplace.
Rather than wonder forever about these things, I’m strongly considering going on a 6 month trial period where I spend every dollar I earn. I don’t mean trial in the sense that I would sustain this spending level forever, but instead that I would have better information on where the marginal benefits of spending start to taper off for me. This wouldn’t be a complete spending frenzy. I’d plan to make a list of things that I might want to spend my money on, and be pretty thoughtful about trying to get decent bang for my buck, in addition to being a little more free with spontaneous spending.
I’ve already maxed my 401k for the year, and my saving put me in a pretty good spot no matter want happens with the market or my job. After tax this would put my spending around $35 for the next 6 months, which is about a 20k increase over what I would spend if I keep the status quo. Not a drop in the bucket, but certainly not devastating even if it all went to waste with no extra benefits.
Have any of you ever thought about doing something like this or tried it yourself? I’d love to hear people’s thoughts, criticisms, experiences, ideas about where spending could add most to happiness...whatever ya got!
submitted by spacemonkeyzoos to financialindependence [link] [comments]

Inspired by another poster - 23 yr old female , looking for feedback on my current progress!

Saw another post breaking down the financial situation and way inspired to do the same. Also a long time lurker looking to see how I am doing and get feedback. I am looking for advice on how to allocate assets + general feedback. I am probably more on the "fat fire" than "lean fire side", so I will be working aggressively in hopes to further increase my income over the years and look for side hustles as well.
(numbers are rounded)
Salary - $97K/year, pre-tax
Vested stocks - $4K , unvested - $20k
401K - $13K saved (BlackRock LifePath Index 2060K) (started recently)
Cash - 25K
Investment - $92K (Fidelity)
Not quantified asset - financially secure partner. No children next many years.
- CC debt - none
Student loans - $6300 (4.6% rate, but interest paused due to covid, continuing to pay off)
Rent - $800/mo (no real estate assets) (extremely cheap rent for my location)
Grocery - $350/mo. (No car or other huge recurring expenses, maybe travel in a past life)
Last year I estimate I saved about 30% of my income. My investment portfolio has been growing about 17% growth annually over last 3 years. Currently I am investigating how I can increase my leverage by doing margin trading.
I want to hear what you guys think about my allocation to retirement, the % spending vs saving targets, and how else to maximize these stats. I also feel like I am making some giant mistake somewhere in my planning that I don't know about lol. Really welcome all your advice. Thank you!!
submitted by jibicationaire to Fire [link] [comments]

Rule of 55: Withdrawing from 401k and (maybe) IRA before 59.5

I will be 58 years old in October but this is my last week of work; I am retiring. I have approximately 5 weeks of vacation left, then will continue on severance until mid-march.
The rule of 55 states that I can withdraw from my 401k (if these funds were not rolled over from a previous employer) without the 10% penalty. I want to move all my money from my 401k to a traditional IRA to allow me more investment opportunities as well as the ability to trade with margin (I am a day trader). However, after reading about this rule on the it appears I cannot withdraw from a traditional/rollover IRA before 59.5, only the 401k. Therefore, I would need to leave the money in my companies' 401k (which I really don't want to do) until I am 59.5 so I don't incur the 10% penalty.
Is my interpretation of the rule correct? Is the 401k the only account where I can withdraw penalty free before 59.5?
submitted by drmantis-t to personalfinance [link] [comments]

NAT & TNP Going in to week end 5/8/2020

What a wild week!
Highs and lows and panic sells galore!
Well just like i predicted in my last post i told you guys i expect a few bad days cause too much too fast is sometimes a bad thing it happened.
In my last post i advised you guys it would need a correction after too many green days in a row.
I mean could i have predicted this any better here is exactly what i said in my last post -
"Point i am trying to make is that i expect a sell off. Most likely tomorrow and the next few days might stabilize back to $6.40-$6.90 range i think.
We have had too many green days in a row and a few bad days and correction is inevitable.
Now, that does not mean to sell.
BUT, if you are in some good profits now and dont want to take the chance in losing it might not be a bad time to offload in the morning cause i think we might see a decent dip in it this week.
Me personally i am not selling i am in this til after Q2 earnings report that is where i think it will explode.
But, like i said i expect a down day tomorrow and maybe the rest of the week.
So if you were thinking about buying i might wait for a few days and see what happens.
I would continue to hold unless you bought close to this peak then maybe offload."
I predicted we would see the worst of it on week end on Friday and i personally think we have.
even after it traded as low as $5.80 in panic sells it bounced back up to $6.57 for a while soon after.
In a blood red day in the market today with the Dow down over $620 and the NASDAQ down over $284 NAT still showed green today.
It held a solid line for most of the day and had every indication of staging a comeback but too many weak hands were still selling cheap. Those shares were getting bought up fast thats why we held the line if it weren't for so many weak hands today i think we could have pushed up closer to $6.50 today as it got to almost $6.40.
I personally think the worst is over and i expect mostly green days now leading up til earnings and if earnings come much better then expected i expect a further rise after earnings.
I held all week and even bought a ton more!
I bought back in at $6.75 $6.41 $6.16 & $6.06 over 1000 shares more total.
I personally still feel almost every sector of the market is completely overvalued and the entire market is due for a correction and it has started in the past 2 days. But NOT tanker stocks. they are making money will have record revenues and margin.
I feel very confident moving forward now for a lot of reasons.
To save myself alot of time typing i am going to link a very good post that i completely agree with.

To take away some key points from that post are sentiments i 100% agree with.
The oil market right now is smoke and mirrors. Oil is way overpriced right now all because of HOPE and nothing else! HOPE that if and when we start to reopen that things might get better. not earnings, not profit, just HOPE!
Shell, the 2nd biggest oil company in the world just announced they cut their dividends for the 1st time since ww2!
Also " It posted a net loss of $24 million for the first quarter of 2020, compared with a profit of $6 billion in the same period a year ago. "
That is HUGE! they went from making 6 BILLION DOLLARS PROFIT Q1 OF 2019 TO losing 24 million dollars q1 2020!!
If the 2nd biggest oil company in the world got hit that hard you better expect small players to be hit much harder. especially shale companies here in the USA. I am still long on oil but really long!
Next, "28 tankers with Saudi oil, including 14 VLCCs and carrying a total of 43 million barrels, will arrive on the US Gulf and West coasts between 24 April and 24 May." - This is good news.
When contracts expired a few weeks ago and oil went negative expect the same thing to happen much likely worse this month when contracts expire on the 19th.
as in the post i linked said
" The most recent weekly API crude inventory build was less than expected at 9.978 million barrels vs the 10.619 million expected. This build was a 3.248 Million barrel decrease from the 13.226 Million barrels from the previous week. The market took this as bullish for oil and oil prices rose and tanker stocks sold off. What the market didn’t realize is that this decrease wasn’t due to increased demand and a recovery. This decrease happened because there isn’t any more storage room available. The market has this data point all wrong. You can’t store oil you don’t have room for. "
I completely agree with this and is exactly what i was feeling as well.
With earnings for NAT on 5/18 and WTI contracts expiring on 5/19 this literally could be the perfect storm of a massive breakout and rise for NAT.
So my outlook for NAT for next week is BUY/BUY and hold.
Now on to TNP
This one has got me a little worried as trading volume has been very low!
Which is a bad sign. it was barely trading over average volume the other day.
Also, factor in TNP has none of the "WOW" factor that NAT has.
No CEO interviews, No Jim Cramer, No crazy amount of youtube videos being made on it like NAT, No crazy amount of forum posts, etc.
At this point i think tnp is a HOLD/SELL
I think you would be better off taking your TNP money and moving it in to NAT.
That is what i personally did today.
I sold all my TNP shares and moved all that money in to more NAT shares today.
I think that will prove to be the better play for me.
Anyway that is what i feel is going to happen next week. i feel we have lots of green ahead of us soon for NAT up til earnings and my stance has not changed.. I bought more!
Like always do your own research. Never invest more then you can afford to lose 100% of and have patience.
If you feel you need to do sell then go ahead its your money not mine.
But my money is in big on this of over 15k.
i truly believe q1 earning will be better then expected and by the time q2 earning roll around it will be much better then expected.
I do truly believe oil will re correct itself in the next 2-3 weeks and go back down again.
This is just all my opinions and what i am doing with my money.
I am not a day trader or a gambler. i am an investor.
If you are buying and selling stocks and flipping them quickly and looking for the next penny stock to put your money in to you are not a investor you are a gambler. if you panic sell at lows you are playing right in to the hand of big money and short positions that is what they want you to do. you are gambling not investing.
Stocks are not meant to gamble with they are made to invest with.
Do you buy and sell your 401k funds everyday? no you leave it alone and let it sit and mature for a while. you should be doing the same thing here.
What ever happens with this win or lose if i make 1000s or lose 1000s i am sticking to my plan of holding to see what earnings and forward looking q2 sentiments are by the company. I truly think i will be holding this stock til Q2 earning reports. So far everything i have said has been spot on with the gains and losses. I am sticking to my plan.

Also i said in my last post i bought a position in BORR as i thought it was a good short term play and it paid off a couple people got in as well. i already bought in for .68 and sold off at .85.
only thing i am currently holding and buying right now in my side portfolio is NAT.
submitted by TheAssistMan to RobinHoodPennyStocks [link] [comments]

Questions/advice on learning to use theta

Hello everyone,
I have been been putting money into an IRA & 401k and buying stocks through vanguard for a couple of years now and decided to learn options after the covid crash. This is all money I can afford to lose and I don't mess with margins. Options trading has been going ok (3-4k realized profits) and have gotten comfortable at the basics (long calls, long puts, debit spreads).
The last few weeks I've been taking a bit of a beating in the market and wanted to learn more about theta gang. While I enjoy reading WSB and enjoy the comedy, I'm not about going all in on yolo FDs. I would like to actually make some nice vacation money from the markets.
I think I understand the premise of theta gang (making money on stocks that don't violently move) but what I'm having trouble with is 2 things: 1) identifying which stocks to use (is it as simple as stocks not moving much) 2) identify which strategies to use on a particular option trade
Any and all help would be appreciated, and any learning material over specifically theta y'all learned. Thank you in advance.
submitted by mjb_dfw to thetagang [link] [comments]

Back to Basics: Real Estate Investing

Hi All,
First of all, I’m a data scientist by profession but a history major by training. So I’ve tried to cite all relevant data points with a () tag. This allows us to separate debating the data vs. the analysis. I’m also a complete newbie to real estate investing. One of the main goals in fact of this post is to organize my thoughts so far and solicit feedback from more knowledgable individuals.
As part of a balanced portfolio, I've invested passively in real estate for several years (both public REITs and a small amount in a private platform). As my assets have grown and I'm entering the age to buy a primary residence, I've been trying to educate myself on the housing real estate market. After all, even if you don't own any investment properties the purchase of a home is the largest single financial transaction you'll likely ever make. In fact, if you look at the chart linked below (1, see Sources below) you'll see housing is the single largest asset for households with net worth below 1 million dollars, i.e. ~90% of Americans (2). In fact, even in 2010 (in the midst of the Great Financial Crisis): "The primary residence represented 62% of the median homeowner’s total assets and 42% of the median home owner’s wealth" (3). In fact, reading the Economist recently (obviously in my slippers) I was surprised to discover housing is the world's largest asset class. This HSBC report (avoiding the Economist paywall) cites housing as a $226 trillion (!) asset class at the end of 2016 (4) out of a total net worth in 2018 of ~$360 trillion according to Credit Suisse.
Even with my casual research, it's clear that real estate is divided into multiple segments including residential, commercial, industrial, farm land, etc. Even the subsector of residential is divided into single family, multi-family, commercial, mobile homes, etc. These segments are further divided across geographies with wildly different tax, capital, and regulatory regimes. So far I’ve limited my research to the US residential sector: single family homes, multifamily, and small commercial apartment buildings. Therefore moving forward when I say real estate I will limit the scope to the above US residential housing market, i.e. acquiring individual or personal portfolio of US housing properties.
More formally, the purpose of my analysis below is:
Note: I considered posting this in /realestateinvesting, but ultimately my goal is to evaluate real estate vs. other asset classes. Obviously some people will simply prefer real estate for a variety of reasons, but personally my goal is to achieve the greatest return for the least risk and work. I should stress that I love my career (data scientist) and have no intention of quitting, so the last point is particularly important.
One thing that immediately strikes me as an investor accustomed to public securities, e.g. bonds / stocks, is how odd the real estate market (in particular housing) is in comparison. Having a margin account from a broker, i.e. getting leverage, is often a difficult process reserved for “advanced” investors. In residential real estate, it’s considered “conservative” for an individual to have leverage of 4-5 to 1 (FHA loans, for example, only require 3.5% down in some cases!) . What’s even crazier is that the loan is often issued at only 2-4% over the 10 year US treasury rate. For example today, April 26th, the 10 year treasure is 0.606% while NerdWallet has a rate of 3.3% for a prime credit score, single family home, primary residence 30 year loan.
Perhaps because real estate is the only avenue available for newer investors to take on large amounts leverage immediately, I've seen extreme and, in my opinion, irrational positions on the subject. Even a cursory glance at BiggerPockets, /realestateinvesting, etc. uncovers multiple posts along the lines of either "real estate investing is the best investment ever!" vs. "the real estate market is a massive bubble and will crash soon". I've summarized a few of the common tropes I've seen below with my analysis.
Real estate is a huge bubble, and is going to collapse any day!
As noted above, real estate / housing has numerous segments that are further divided across geographies with wildly different tax, capital, and regulatory regimes. Saying that "real estate" will crash is like saying the “food industry” will crash. What segment and where? US soybean growers? Fast Food? Argentinian ranchers? McDonalds in particular?
Limiting our discussion to US housing: the Case-Shiller national price index (7) shows that home prices dropped ~27% from peak to trough in the Great Financial Crisis over a period of almost 6 years (Mid 2006 to early 2012). The reason this was such a catastrophic event is that housing had never decreased nationally in a significant way before in the modern era (see Case Schiller home price index). Of course, it’s worth noting that housing had rarely increased rapidly against inflation before.
Let’s assume we had an equivalent event occur. The Jan 2020 index was at 212, so home prices would decrease by 27% to ~155 (mid 2008 levels). Crucially though, this price drop would be expected to play out for years! During that time vested interests (more on that later) would lobby governments extensively for support, foreign and US investors could form funds to take advantage of the situation, etc. As a reference point there is ~$1.5 trillion available in US private equity funds alone as of January 2020.
However, it is worth pointing out that this is at the national level. Local real estate markets, particularly those dependent on select industries or foreign investors, could easily see more dramatic price movements. The US census has a really cool chart (22) that shows the inflation adjusted (as of year 2000) median home values every decade by state from 1940 to 2000. We see that Minnesota home values actually dropped from $105,000 in 1980 to $94,500 in 1990, a fall of more than 10%.
Everyone needs a place to live, therefore housing can never go down
Everyone needs a place to eat, but restaurants and grocery stores are famously low margin businesses (5). Farms supply an even more basic need, but many go bankrupt (6). The question isn’t whether housing will go down or not, but whether it will return an attractive rate of return compared to alternative investments.
It’s also worth pointing out that for most “retail” US housing real estate investors, they are investing in a narrow geographic area. Migration and births/ deaths can play a huge role in the need for housing in a given area. Case in point, NYC may have actually begun losing population to migration in 2017 / 2018 (23). Even more interesting, NYC has experienced a substantial loss due to domestic migration which is almost balanced by foreign immigration / new births (24). If foreign immigration decreases in the post-COVID we would expect NYC’s population to decline more rapidly given current trends.
It is entirely possible for national housing prices to modestly increase while expensive coastal markets decline significantly, for example.
It's supply and demand. There's a nationwide housing shortage so prices can only go up!
This one has some factual basis. Freddie Mac put out a study in Feb 2020 (18) which indicated that there is a shortage of housing units between 2.5 - 3.3 million units. Some interesting notes about this study is that they consider the “missing” household formation and extrapolate interstate migration trends. As noted below, the US builds ~1.3 million housing units a year, so this reflects ~2 years of housing construction. It’s also worth noting the geographic variation, with “high growth” states like Massachusetts, California, Colorado, etc. seeing ~5% housing deficits vs. states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc. seeing housing surpluses of ~2-4%.
However, a Zillow analysis on our aging population (11) points to a slightly different conclusion. Based on their analysis, an additional ~190,000 home will be released by seniors between 2017-2027 compared to 2007-2017. That number increases by another 250,000 homes annually between 2027-2037. Combined, this is about ~50% of the average annual homes constructed in the US between 2000-2009 at ~900,000.
Given these slightly conflicting reports, let’s get back to basics. First, let's separate housing into single family homes, multi-family units, and large apartment buildings. Single family homes, particularly near dense and economically vibrant metros, are far more supply constrained. In contrast, multi family units / apartment towers are, barring regulatory issues (see California), less constrained by available land. See Hudson Yards in NYC, the Seaport area in Boston, the Wharf in DC, etc. It's worth noting that due to costs / market demand most of these developments cater to the entry level luxury category and above, but they are new supply.
I actually wound up looking at US Census projections to get a sense of the long term outlook. By 2030 the Census estimates the population will grow from 334.5 million to 359.4, for a total increase of 24.9 million or an annual increase of 2.49 million (8). In 2019 the Census estimated 888,000 private single family units and 403,000 units in buildings w/ 2+ units were constructed for a grand total of 1,291,000 units (9). The average number of people per US household is 2.52 (10). Some simple math suggests that if we assume each new single family home contains the average number of Americans and each apartment conservatively contains only a single person we get 888,000 * 2.52 + 403,000 = ~2.64 million.
Now, talking about averages in a national real estate market reminds me of a joke about Mars: on average it's a balmy 72 degrees. But the point still stands that at a high level, theoretical sense there is sufficient "housing" for the US population. The question, as always, is at what price and location?
Real estate is a safer investment than the stock market!
This one honestly irritates me. While there are many advantages to real estate I can see, safety is not one of them. It is a highly leveraged, illiquid, extremely concentrated asset when bought individually (i.e not in a REIT). Let’s use an example here. Is there a financial advisoy in the world who would recommend you put your entire investment portfolio in Berkshire Hathaway? Of course not, diversification is the bedrock of modern personal finance. And yet Berkshire Hathaway is an extremely diversified asset manager with well run and capitalized companies ranging from Geico to Berkshire Homes to Berkshire Energy. Oh, and it also has $130 billion (with a B) in cash equivalents.
I honestly think this impression stems from 3 factors:
You won’t build your wealth in the stock market
One common theme I’m already noticing listening to podcasts, reading blogs, etc. is that many people started investing in the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis (2009 - 2011). And, in retrospect, it was clearly a great time to buy property! But it was also a great time it turns out to buy almost every investment.
I plugged in the average annual return of the S&P 500 from December 2009 to December 2019 with dividends reinvested (and ignoring the 15-20% long term tax on dividends) (12). It was 13.3%. If you managed to buy at the market bottom of Feb 2009 it was 15.8%!
The long term annual average of the S&P 500 from 1926 - 2018 is ~10-11% (with dividends reinvested). (13). The S&P has never lost money in a 30 year period with dividends reinvested, see the fantastic book Stocks for the Long Run (14). In fact, if you’re investing before 30 the worst 35 year period (i.e. when you would turn 65) is 6.1% (15).
Housing, in general, has tracked at or slightly above inflation ( 16). Even a click bait CNBC article (17) about “skyrocketing” home prices states that homes are rising 2x as fast as inflation (i.e. ~4%). If you look at the CNBC chart for inflation adjusted prices, you’ll see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.3% from 1940 to 2000. Let’s do this same exercise again with the Average Sales Price of Homes from Fred (i.e. Fed economic data) (18). In Q1 1963 the average sales price of a house was $19,300. In Q4 2019 it was $382,300. That is a CAGR of ~5.38% over ~57 years.
Another thing to keep in mind is that while real estate does have some tax advantages, there are also property taxes, maintenance, etc.
But it’s harder than that. Because real estate is an illiquid asset. In general, illiquid assets require higher returns than the equivalent liquid asset because of the inconvenience / risk of not having the ability to transact frequently.
Case study of real estate purchase:
I’d like to focus the rest of my analysis on an area that many members of BiggerPockets, /realestateinvesting, etc. seem to gloss over: credit. I was surprised to see that for first time home buyers, 72% made a down payment of 6% or less according in Dec 2018 according to (27). This would imply prices only have to decrease 6% to put these new homebuyers underwater, i.e. owe more after a sale than their mortgage. But this fails to take into account costs associated with buying a property, which are substantial at 2-5% for closing according to Zillow (28). Costs for selling a property are even more substantial, ranging from 8-10% according to Zillow (29). This means that sellers only putting down 6% could be underwater (in the sense that they couldn’t sell without providing cash during the sale) with even modest price decreases when taking into account these transactional costs.
Obviously there are ways to reduce these costs, so let’s walk through a hypothetical example of the median valued home of ~$200,000.
A young, first time home-buyer puts down 10%, or $20k, and takes out a mortgage for $180,000. They also pay (optimistically) closing costs of 2% for $4000. Luckily, they bought in a hot housing market and prices increased 5% (real) over the next 5 years. Their house is now worth ~$255,000. They sell their house and again, optimistically, closing costs are only 4%. This means they pay $10,200. Consequently, after netting out costs we calculate naively that they would make $255k - $10k - $4k - $200k (original purchase price of home) = $41k. Given they only invested $20k of their own money, this is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ~15.4%, which is handily above the S&P 500’s average. This is the naive calculation I first made, but as we’ll see it is deeply flawed. First, let’s look at costs.
WalletHub has a really nice chart that shows (conveniently) property taxes on a $205,000 home across all 50 states (30). The average American household spends $2375 on property taxes, so let’s assume a little less and go for $1500. So 5 years x $1500 = $7500.
For home maintenance, the consensus seems to be ~1% annually for home maintenance with wide variation. We’ll assume that’s $2000 off the base price, so $2000 * 5 = $10,000. (31).
For homeowner’s insurance, Bankrate (32) provides a nice graph that shows the average annual cost for a $300,000 dwelling across all states and then a separate chart for costs based on dwelling coverage. For a $200,000 dwelling coverage we have a figure of $1806 per year, so over 5 years we have $1800 * 5 = $9000.
Finally we need to calculate the interest on the debt. One thing that I didn’t realize until I looked at an amortization table how front-loaded the interest payments are. Case in point, I plugged in the $180,000 loan into the amortization calculator (34) using a 3.5% interest rate and saw that we pay on average ~$6000 each year in interest vs. only ~$3800 to principal.
So lets’s run the new numbers.
You sell your home still for $255,000. After 5 years, your mortgage is now ~$160000 (i.e. you paid off 20,000 over 5 years, or ~$4k per year). So after the sale you are left with ~$95,000. The buying and selling costs remain the same as before, so we subtract the $14k for $81,000. We also then subtract $7500 (property taxes), $10,000 (home maintenance), $9000 (homeowners insurance) which gives us $54,500.
We paid ~$9,700 each year in mortgage interest + principle (~6000 interest and $3700 principal). So 5 * 9700 = $48,500.
So, net of everything we get $255,000 - $160,000 (remaining mortgage) - $48,500 (mortgage payments over 5 years) - $14k (buying / selling costs) - $7500 (property taxes) - $10,000 (home maintenance) - $9000 (home insurance) = $6000. And we put down $20,000 as a downpayment, for a net compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of negative $21.4%.
That is truly an astounding result. We had 10x leverage on an asset that went up 5% each year for 5 years and we somehow lost money on our “investment” of a down payment? Keep in mind we also used fairly optimistic numbers (particularly home price appreciation) and didn’t factor in PMI, etc. On the flip side, this home provided shelter, i.e. you didn’t pay rent. That’s a massive “avoided” cost and I don’t mean to minimize it. But the point here is that many homebuyers I’ve spoken to fail to account for the substantial costs of home ownership and expect their primary resident to generate a substantial return.
Now, of course, for real estate investing you would likely either a) hold the property for less time and attempt to flip it via forced appreciation or b) have tenants in the property. Let’s focus on b) because frankly that’s more of my interest. From what little research I’ve done flipping houses requires much more time that’s incompatible with my day job.
I went ahead and used the rental price calculator I found online at (36) to calculate the return. I used a rent of $1300 monthly, a bit lower than the average national rent of $1476 (35) because our home price was also lower than the national average. I assumed a low vacancy rate of 5%, and no other expenses beyond the ones cited above (i.e. I didn’t assume property management, higher loan interest rate, higher property taxes).
The calculator spit back a 5 year internal rate of return (a metric in this case useful to compare against the securities markets) of 27.79% return, i.e. a profit of $63k on an initial investment of $20k. The IRR as I understand it captures the time value of money, basically accounting for when you made various returns (37). E.g if an investment over 30 years pays nothing then gives you a lump sum payment at the end that’s very different than if it pays 1/30th of that lump sum every year. It’s useful in this case for comparing against the stock market because the IRR takes all future cash flows back to a net present value of 0, i.e. as if we invested all the money immediately.
&Now let’s do some scenario modeling (originally we had 10% down, 3.5% interest rate for an IRR of ~28%):
This scenario for me demonstrated a number of interesting properties.
401k analysis
As I mentioned above, one of the big questions around real estate investing that I rarely see asked is “is it an appreciably better investment than the alternatives”? For W2 workers, which is ~50% of private sector workers, this question becomes even more pertinent because 401ks have massive tax benefits. In fact, only 33% of US households own taxable accounts outside of a 401k, which means the vast bulk of US households either have no accounts, 38%, or own only a retirement account like a 401k, 29%, according to (39). Let’s assume we have a middle to upper middle class worker making ~70k (this puts them roughly at the 75% percentile). They want to invest, and see two options:
At a salary of $70k and assuming you took the $12k standard deduction, you would still see much of your income fall into the 22% tax bracket. While certain states charge no income tax, they generally make it up in much higher sales / property taxes, so let’s also assume a 3% state income tax (40). This means that if you invest $19,500 in a 401k (the maximum in 2020) that’s equivalent to only $14,625 post-tax (because the $19,500 would be taxed ~25% before it got to you). That leaves almost $6000 when compared with the down payment figure above, which is coincidentally the exact IRA contribution limit for 2020! The math for deductions for the IRA gets painful, but we can assume a deduction of ~$1500 (i.e. 25% of 6000). Now, if your work offers an HSA it gets even better, because those contributions are tax-free even from social security (which is typically a 6.2% tax) + medicaid (1.45%). This means that if you contribute the $3500 limit, that’s equivalent to only $2300 post-tax.
This is getting rather long, so for the sake of simplicity we can basically say that in lieu of putting down a $20,000 post-tax downpayment on an investment property you could instead invest $19500 + $6000 + $3500 = $29000 into the stock market. What’s more, fees for well managed 401ks through Vanguard, Schwab are often ~0.25% (i.e. $72 annually on the $29k above).
If we assume the average S&P 500 index returns of 10% (we’ll ignore the $72 annually in expenses and of course there are no taxes), we would see $29k compounded over 5 years = $47,809. Since we’re investing the money all immediately, this is (I believe) more or less equivalent to the IRR rate.
So, what do we need to achieve to beat that return with our investment property? Well, we previously assumed a blistering 5% real home price appreciation. With inflation at ~2%, that’s a nominal 7% home price appreciation. According to both Zillow and Core logic, Idaho is the state with the fastest home appreciation values pre-COVID at ~9%. We’re essentially predicting close to this level for 5 years, which is quite rare. In August 2019, US home prices nationally were gaining ~2.6% according to (41).
Let’s plug those numbers into our rental property calculator from above. At a 10% down payment, 3.5% interest rate, and 2.6% home price appreciation we see an IRR of 18% per year. Game, set, match, real estate, right?
Well, sort of. Right now we are assuming optimistic projections about maintenance (1%), closing costs (2%), and selling costs (4%). What if we bump those up to the averages cited by Zillow (3% and 8%)? Uh-oh, now we’re down to 12.38%. Okay, but what if we assume rent goes up by the same amount, ~2%? Great! Now we’re back up to 14% IRR. But if we assume all the other expenses like home insurance and maintenance go up 2% a year as well, we’re back down to 11%.
We could go on forever, but the point is that real estate (particularly for rental properties) are extremely sensitive to assumptions you make on a number of factors. Given the risk, illiquidity, and work involved with a real estate property I would want to see a substantially higher return than the tax advantaged, hands off 10% my 401k gives me. I didn’t even include the typical 3% match for the 401k, which would have added $2100 to the initial investment amount and increased the 5 year return to $51,272.
The bottom line in my mind is that for most W2 workers who have access to pre-tax investments, they should max them out first. If you’re lucky enough to be able to max out all of the above pre-tax accounts + get a 3% match (i.e. $31k total) every year, after 15 years at a 10% return you’ll have $1.2 million. In 30 years you’ll have $6.8 million. And again, keep in mind that maxing out your pre-tax accounts only “costs” you ~$20k, because that’s what you would get after taxes. And you’ll have “made” those millions without spending a single hour outside of your day job working.
Based on the above analysis and calculations, here’s what I’ve come away with as a newbie to real estate investing:
Some thoughts on the future:
Forecasting is always risky, but at the same time we all have to form an opinion on where the future is headed. My general thoughts are that crisis tend to accelerate existing trends rather than create new ones. There were already recession concerns in late 2019, and US GDP growth expectations had been downgraded to ~2.0% by the OECD even before COVID (45), albeit with slight optimism around the Phase 1 trade deal with China. Geopolitical tension and capital controls in China had led to mainland Chinese investors slowing their investments in US real estate and increasing dispositions (47).
From my point of view, I’m interested in seeing how the market reacts over the next 3-6 months. Do sellers react by rapidly putting properties on the market before it’s “too late”? Are there enough prime buyers given the tightening credit, particularly for expensive coastal markets, to absorb a spike in listings? As Warren Buffett once said: “"At rare and unpredictable vanishes and debt becomes financially fatal. A Russian-roulette equation--usually win, occasionally die--may make financial sense for someone who gets a piece of a company's upside but does not share in its downside.” We shall see.
submitted by cooleddy89 to investing [link] [comments]

Do you want the mods to make a permanent resources/newbie/how-to sticky?

I think this sub could benefit from a resources sticky that reviews the risks, rewards, and strategies for trading pennies. A general how-to document. I have offered to write a post for them and update it based on the communities feedback.
I have followed this forum for quite awhile, though I only just recently joined reddit. I notice that a lot of posts are newbie questions looking for the same answers, many of which are quickly buried and don't receive the attention they deserve. My plan is to assemble a comprehensive collection of risks, rewards, strategies, and basic financial resources related to trading pennies to help new folks get the information they need.
For example, who here knows where to find a company's financials, what the form is called that lists their earnings, and knows how to interpret if any of their debt will dilute shares and thus cause out-of-the-blue price crashes in the middle of the rally? ...this would probably be helpful, right?
My hope is that in writing such a document we can increase the quality of the DD and discussion threads to make us more money.
If this is something you are interested in, please tell the mods, and post topics you want covered in the comments below.

Some topics I have in mind to cover:
defining penny stocks (most brokers consider anything under $3 a penny).
choosing a broker.
why you want a margin account and why you dont.
trading in IRA and 401k accounts. Benefits and risks.
taxes. Many brokers let you setup your tax documents automatically so you dont have to.
the importance of which exchange a stock trades on and what that means for liquidity
paper trading accounts so you can test a strategy before playing with real money
different strategies for trading pennies: day trading on technicals, identifying pumps and runners (like biotech stocks that happen to mention covid), anticipating catalysts that drive pumps and runners, and value investing. And where to find free tools to help identify ideal stocks for each strategy. Discussions on when to enter and exit positions per each strategy.
How to evaluate a company: financials, warrants, potential market, potential market share, interpreting FDA information and it's significance for biotech stocks, and how government policies on regulations/trade effect sectors.
Evaluating what the market thinks of your brilliant idea. Google trends, twitter, reddit, performance of other companies in the sector, overall market trends and sentiment as it relates to your play. Using this info to help choose the ideal strategy for the current market.
The importance of self evaluation: recognizing fomo, mistakes, what you did to find good trades, and why you had bad trades. Realizing that you can be right about a company and loose money, and you can be wrong about a company and make money. Rising markets make everyone look smart, and falling markets make everyone look stupid.
submitted by myNameIsPDT to pennystocks [link] [comments]

Throwing My Money Away

Hi there,
Seeking help/guidance on getting my shit together.

Background: I'm 22 years old I make $135K/yr and still live with my parents. I dropped out of college and have been working for the past 3 years or so (all 3 years not at 135k salary)

As of right now; I have about $20,000 in my Roth 401K, $5K in my Roth IRA, and another $5K in my checking.

In these past 3 years, I've easily lost $50,000 (maybe more) due to trading on the stock market and sports betting.

Right before corona, I got a $20K loan from family to invest in the market, lost it all. Then after that I took out a $35K loan from my bank to put into the market and I traded on margin -- made nearly $15K in the first couple days and then proceeded to lose $25K in 3 days. That $35K loan is now at $25K.

My parents have told me that they'll give me $100K to put towards a down payment on a house (something I'm looking into now)


I'm incredibly ass with my money. Mainly on the stock market. I have this "win my money back" mentality and I'm making ass-stupid trades trying to hit a homerun and it's clearly not working. I make good money and I don't have much in my bank account to show for it.

I really do not have any financial goals and given that I still live with my parents I really don't have many financial responsibilities. I do not know what I should do or how I should optimize my goals. I think it'd be best for me to get a financial advisor of some sort and probably buying a house is a great first move but I'd love some feedback from those of you in this sub who have a good breadth of knowledge.
submitted by needhelpwithmywifi to personalfinance [link] [comments]

Which broker would you pick today?

So I've been using eTrade for several years now along with Fidelity for my trading. Mostly eTrade for my daytrading activity. Playing with around $30k in capital and using margin. I'm not really committed to either. I'll keep my long-term 401k/HSA/IRA investments sitting at Fidelity (but that is not actively traded) but want to consolidate by active trading and daytrading so now is a good time for me to find a new broker.
I was tempted to just go with TDA and the ThinkOrSwim platform. But then someone suggested I look at Interactive Brokers and their TWS platform and another review suggested TradeStation.
My question is if you were starting from scratch - meaning you didn't already know a platform deep - which would you want to start with today?
My hesitation with TDA/ThinkOrSwim is that I've seen multiple folks, including on this subreddit, complaining about execution time. Since I do daytrading that does matter - although it'll probably still be better than eTrade.
submitted by goatofeverything to Daytrading [link] [comments]

The role of HFT in setting Market Open/Close and User Order Flow Data

Edit: I am not that smart. I probably have some of the players wrong on this, and this might all be nutso conspiracy, but I do have some belief in the underlying forces of what I am trying to describe here.
u/Variation-Separate has added a lot to the discussion about the way the market behaves due to the action of large firms and market makers. I'm not an economist but I have done some research and in general just a whole lot of pondering on this matter and I think I've come to a logical conclusion.
What V-S has said is that his strategy lies in finding what he believes large firms use to be consistently successful. What I am going to suggest is that while he may be correct that the strategies reflect the actions of these firms, the firms are not passive actors in this. It is much more helpful to look at these firms, not as investors like you or I, but as bookies.
Market Makers are Bookies
A bookie determines the odds of a given event by calculating the probability of every outcome, then subtracting their margin. What I am going to suggest shouldn't even be controversial, that MM's are essentially doing the exact same thing, and their margin is reflected in the Bid-Ask spread.
Order Flow
Anyone who has done any research on trading platform's TOS knows that every trading platform for retail investors sells user order flow data to HFT firms. I'm not going to bother copy pasting sources here, a google search will turn this up for you immediately. This means that HFT know exactly where all the retail money is at any given time. From now on, I'm going to call this retail money, "The cream"
Financial Institutions and Derivatives Financial institutions hire market makers to trade their assets at the prices they want to see on them. From now on, I'm going to call this institutional money "The milk" The market maker needs these assets to literally make the market, these are massive sums of assets that form the backbone of everything. The market maker is beholden to these institutions because they make up the majority of their business. If the market maker spills the milk, heads are going to roll.
How Market Makers Ensure Success
A good market maker will make returns for their clients and themselves no matter what the conditions are. How can this even be possible when it is so easy to lose money on a bet? The answer, is they steal the cream.
It is no coincidence that massive drops in the market are preceded by every idiot getting a trading account and trying to get a piece of the market. This is the best indicator that the market is fat. When the market is fat, there is plenty of cream to take. They need retail to buy their milk for the price of cream. So how do they take it? Simple, by causing euphoria and panic.
Ever notice how most of the market movement occurs in AH trading, at times where the volume is the lowest? At low volume times it becomes easy to move the open up to 5% in either direction. This is a massive advantage for MM's. And yes, there are competing interests in this matter. Think of it like an auction. What the real futures traders aren't bidding on isn't this or that stock or ETF, what they are bidding on is the price at open.
Then comes the Volume
The first 10 minutes of open are a massive percentage of the overall volume of the market relative to time. After setting the open (Literally "Making the Market") HFT firms call out their bets when the derivatives markets open. Various funds and retail buys in at their prices more or less the rest of the day. Occasionally, some big event will cause high volume movement mid day, but that is really pretty rare. The open price really sets the first datapoint of two that are the most important to our bookies, the second of which, is the close.
The Closing Bell
The last 10 minutes has become insane lately. Sometimes the last two candles of the day are more volume than the past couple of hours total. We saw this in a big way Friday. All the gains for the day were wiped out in 10 minutes. This was theft of the cream. Often, those last 10 minutes will push the market to Max Pain like clockwork also. Every day that doesn't end at max pain is spilled milk.
Max Pain on 3/31 is nearly 285. Max Pain on 4/1 is 255. Use that information as you will.
What this all means to retail investors
There's two kind of cream in this market now, your standard investing passive ETF people, and your highly leveraged /wallstreetbets people. In terms of hard cash, there is a lot more money in retail ETFs than there is in retail options (I haven't done any research on this but it is just common sense IMO, if anyone knows how to find this data I would love to see it). So the goal of any MM right now is to take as much cream as possible from this, and in order to do that they need to suck Passive people dry without losing their ass on options contracts. They have all the order flow plugged in already, their algos can just use that to figure out exactly where the market needs to be for this to happen. They will pass out the maximum amount of $ROPE possible.
So what do I think is going to happen? There are a ton of people following V-S. There are probably a literal fuckton of people following his rough strikes, all the way out til June. If I am a MM right now, and I'm doing market research, I'm looking at all these people and wondering how I fuck them over. V-S has already said that a move above 270 could mean we make it to 300. I already said Max Pain on 3-31 is ~285. If you wanted to squeeze as many options contracts as possible, who you know are using this DD, and ROPE as many as possible on 3-31, what do you think you would make sure we close at on Tuesday?
Then surprise, Wednesday Max Pain is ~255! Holy fuck! Why is there such a difference there? Because these motherfuckers KNOW that you will sell your puts on Tuesday, and by Wednesday they can safely tip this cow and scare the fuck out of a shitload of passive investors. Now those fuckers can pull their 401k's TAX FREE for fucks' sake. They will have stolen all your money by then anyway, so the retail options market will be a whole lot weaker, then we can proceed as planned with the next leg down.
My 2c.
SPY 243P 5/1, SPY 190P 5/1, BAC 18P 9/1, BKLN 20P 1/21
submitted by TheWorstTroll to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

My notes to Seth Klarman's 'Margin of Safety."

I was just alerted that my post from 7 years ago had a broken link.
I posted my entire notes, quite long, and I think the link would provide an easier view.
Notes To The Book “Margin Of Safety”
Author: Seth Klarman
Prepared by: Ronald R. Redfield, CPA, PFS
According to "Margin of Safety – Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor" is a name of a book written by Seth A. Klarman, a successful value investor and President of the Baupost Group, an investment firm in Boston. This book is no longer published and sometimes can be found on eBay for more than $1000 (some consider it a collectible item). These notes are hardly all encompassing. These are notes I would find helpful for me, as a money manager. I do not mention Klarman’s important premise of looking at investments as “fractional ownerships.” I don’t mention things like that in these notes, as I am already tuned into those concepts, and do not need a reminder. Hence a reader of these notes, should read the book on their own, and get their own information from it. I found this book at several libraries. One awsome library I went to was the New York Public Library for Science, Business and Industry.
Throughout this paper you will see items in “quote marks.” The quotes exclusively represent direct quotes of Seth Klarman, from the book. As I read this book, and through completion, I felt fortunate that I have been following most of his philosophies for many years. I am not comparing myself to Klarman, not at all. How could I ever compare myself to the greats of Klarman, Buffett, Whitman etal?
What I did experience via this reading was a confirmation of my style and discipline. This book really put together and confirmed to me, so many of the philosophies and methods which I have been using for many years. These notes are a means for me to look back, and feel my roots every so often. At times in these notes, I have added sections which I have found appropriate in my workings.
“This book alone will not turn anyone into a successful value investor.
Value investing requires a great deal of hard work, unusually strict discipline
and a long-term investment horizon.”
“This book is a blueprint that, if carefully followed, offers a good possibility
of investment successes with limited risk.”
Understand why things work. Memorizing formulas give the appearance of
competence. Klarman describes the book as one about “thinking about
I interpret much of the introduction of the book, as to not actively buy and
sell investments, but to demonstrate an “ability to make long-term
investment decisions based on business fundamentals.” As I completed the
book, I realize that Klarman does not embrace the long term approach in the
same fashion I do. Yet, the key is to always determine if value still exists.
Value is factored in with tax costs and other costs.
Fight the crowd. I think what Klarman is saying is that it is warm and fuzzy
in the middle of crowds. You do not need to be warm and fuzzy with
Stay unemotional in business and investing!
Study the behavior of investors and speculators. Their actions “often
inadvertently result in the creation of opportunities for value investors.”
“The most beneficial time to be a value investor is when the market is
falling.” “Value investors invest with a margin of safety that protects from
large losses in declining markets.” I have only begun the book, but am
curious as to how any value investor could have stayed out of the way of
1973 –1974 bear market. Some would argue that Buffett exited the business
during this period. Yet, it is my understanding, and I could be wrong, that
Berkshire shares took a big drop in that period. Also, Buffett referred his
investors who were leaving the partnership to Sequoia Fund. Sequoia Fund
is a long term value investment mutual fund. They also had a horrendous
time during the 1973 –1974 massacre.
“Mark Twain said that there are two times in a man’s life when he should
not speculate: when he can’t afford it and when he can.”
“Investors in a stock expect to profit in at least one of three possible ways:
a. From free cash flow generated by the underlying business, which
will eventually be reflected in a higher share price or distributed as
b. From an increase in the multiple that investors are willing to pay
for the underlying business as reflected in a higher share price.
c. Or by narrowing of the gap between share price and underlying
business value.”
“Speculators are obsessed with predicting – guessing the direction of
“Value investors pay attention to financial reality in making their investment
He discusses what could happen if investors lost favor with liquid treasuries,
and if indeed they became illiquid. All investors could run for the door at
“Investing is serious business, not entertainment.”
Understand the difference between an investment and a collectible. An
investment is one, which will eventually be able to produce cash flow.
“Successful investors tend to be unemotional, allowing the greed of others to
play into their hands. By having confidence in their own analysis and
judgment, they respond to market forces not with blind emotion but with
calculated reason.”
He discusses Mr. Market. He mentions when a price of a stock declines
with no apparent reason, most investors become concerned. They worry that
there is information out there, which they are not privy to. Heck, I am going
through this now with a position that is thinly traded, and sometimes I think
I am the only purchaser out there. He describes how the investor begins to
second-guess him or herself. He mentions it is easy to panic and just sell.
He goes onto to write, “Yet, if the security were truly a bargain when it was
purchased, the rationale course of action would be to take advantage of this
even better bargain and buy more.”
Don’t confuse the company’s performance in the stock market with the real
performance of the underlying business.
“Think for yourself and don’t let the market direct you.”
“Security prices sometimes fluctuate, not based on any apparent changes in
reality, but on changes in investor perception.” This could be helpful in my
research of the 1973 – 1974 period. As I study that era, it looks as though
price earnings ratios contracted for no real apparent reason. Many think that
the price of oil and interest rates sky rocketed, but according to my research,
that was not until later in the decade.
He discusses the good and bad of Wall Street. He identifies how Wall Street
is slanted towards the bullish side. The reason being that bullishness
generates fees via offerings, 401k’s, floating of debt, etc. etc. One of the
sections is titled, “Financial Market Innovations Are Good for Wall Street
But Bad for Clients.” As I read this, I was wondering if the “pay option
mortgages,” which are being offered by many lenders, are one of these
products. These negative amortization and adjustable mortgages have been
around for 25 years. Yet, they have not proliferated the marketplace in the
past as much as they have the last several years. Lenders such as
Countrywide, GoldenWest Financial and First Federal Financial have been
using these riskier mortgages as a typical type of loan in 2005 and 2006.
“Investors must recognize that the early success of an innovation is not a
reliable indicator of its ultimate merit.” “Although the benefits are apparent
from the start, it takes longer for the problems to surface.” “What appears
to be new and improved today may prove to be flawed or even fallacious
“The eventual market saturation of Wall Street fads coincides with a cooling
of investor enthusiasm. When a particular sector is in vogue, success is a
self-fulfilling prophecy. As buyers bid up prices, they help to justify their
original enthusiasm. When prices peak and start to decline, however, the
downward movement can also become self-fulfilling. Not only do buyers
stop buying, they actually become sellers, aggravating the oversupply
problem that marks the peak of every fad.”
He later writes about investment fads. “All market fads come to an end.”
He clarifies, “It is only fair to note that it is not easy to distinguish an
investment fad from a real business trend.”
"You probably would not choose to dine at a restaurant whose chef always
ate elsewhere. You should be no more satisfied with a money manager who
does not eat his or her own cooking." Just to reiterate, I do eat my own
cooking, and I don’t “dine out” when it comes to investing.
“An investor’s time is required both to monitor the current holdings and to
investigate potential new investments. Since most money managers are
always looking for additional assets to manage, however, they spend
considerable time meeting with prospective clients in addition to
handholding current clientele. It is ironic that all clients, Present and
potential, would probably be financially better off if none of them spent time
with money managers, but a free-rider problem exists in that each client
feels justified in requesting periodic meetings. No single meeting places an
intolerable burden on a money manager’s time; cumulatively, however, the
hours diverted to marketing can take a toll on investment results.”
“The largest thrift owners of junk bonds – Columbia Savings and Loan,
CenTrust Savings, Imperial Savings and Loan, Lincoln Savings and Loan
and Far West Financial, were either insolvent of on the brink of insolvency
by the end of 1990. Most of these institutions had grown rapidly through
brokered deposits for the sole purpose of investing the proceeds in junk
bonds and other risky assets.”
I personally suspect that the same will be said of the aggressive mortgage
lenders of 2005 – 2006. I have looked back at my files of 1st quarter 1980
Value Line for a few of these companies mentioned above. Here are some
notes on one of the companies I found.
Far West Financial: Rated C++ for financial strength. In 1979 it was
selling for 5/% of book value. “The yield-cost spread is under pressure.”
“Lending is likely to decline sharply in 1980.” “Far West’s earnings are
likely to sink 30 – 35% in 1980. Reasons: The deteriorating margin between
yield on earning assets and the cost of money, less loan fee income…” Keep
in mind that the stock price rose around 400% from 1974 – 1979. From
1968 – 1972 the P/E ratio was in a range from 11 –17. From 1973 through
1979 the P/E ratio was in a range from 3.3 – 8.1. It would be interesting for
me to look at the 1990 – 1992 Value Lines of the same companies.
A Value Investment Philosophy:
“One of the recurrent themes of this book is that the future is unpredictable.”
“The river may overflow its banks only once or twice in a century, but you
still buy flood insurance.” “Investors must be prepared for any eventuality.”
He describes that an investor looking for a specific return over time, does
not make that goal achievable. “Targeting investment returns leads investors
to focus on potential upside rather on downside risk.” “Rather than targeting
a desired rate of return, even an eminently reasonable one, investors should
target risk.”
Value Investing: The Importance of a Margin of Safety”
“Value investing is the discipline of buying securities at a significant
discount from their current underlying values and holding them until more of
their value is realized. The element of the bargain is the key to the process.”
“The greatest challenge for value investors is maintaining the required
discipline. Being a value investor usually means standing apart from the
crowd, challenging conventional wisdom, and opposing the prevailing
investment winds. It can be a lonely undertaking. A value investor may
experience poor, even horrendous, performance compared with that of other
investors or the market as a whole during prolonged periods of market
“Value investors are students of the game; they learn from every pitch, those
at which they swing and those they let pass by. They are not influenced by
the way others are performing; they are motivated only by their own results.
He discusses that value investors have “infinite patience.”
He discusses that value investors will not invest in companies that they don’t
understand. He discusses how value investors typically will not own
technology companies for this reason. Warren Buffett has stated this as the
reason as to why he does not own any technology companies. As a side
note, I do believe that at some point, Berkshire will take a sizable position in
Microsoft ($24.31 5/1/06). Klarman mentions that many also shun
commercial banks and property and casualty companies. The reasons being
that they have unanalyzable assets. Keep in mind that Berkshire Hathaway
(Warren Buffett is the majority shareholder) is basically in the property and
casualty business.
“For a value investor a pitch must not only be in the strike zone, it must be
in his “sweet spot.”” “Above all, investors must always avoid swinging at
bad pitches.”
He goes onto discuss that determining value is not a science. A competent
investor cannot have all the facts, know all the answers or all the questions,
and most investments are dependent on outcomes that cannot be foreseen.
“Value investing can work very well in an inflationary environment.” I
wonder if the inverse is true? Are we in a soon to be deflationary
environment for real estate? I think so. Sure enough he discusses
deflationary environments. He explains how deflation is “a dagger to the
heart of value investing.” He explains that it is hardly fun for any type of
investor. He explains that value investors should worry about declining
business values. Yet, here is what he said value investors should do in this
a. “Investors can not predict when business values will rise or fall,
valuation should always be performed conservatively, giving
considerable weight to worst-case liquidation value and other
b. Investors fearing deflation could demand a greater discount than
usual. “Probably let more pitches go by.”
c. Deflation should give greater importance to the investment time
“A margin of safety is achieved when securities are purchased at prices
sufficiently below underlying value to allow for human error, bad luck, or
extreme volatility in a complex, unpredictable and rapidly changing world.”
“The problem with intangible assets, I believe, is that they hold little or no
margin of safety.” He describes how tangible assets might have alternate
uses, hence providing a margin of safety. He does explain how Buffett
recognizes the value of intangibles.
“Investors should pay attention not only to whether but also to why current
holdings are undervalued.” He explains to remember the reason you bought
the investment, and if that no longer holds true, then sell the investment.
He tells the reader to look for catalysts, which might assist in adding value.
He looks for companies with good management and insider ownership
(“personal financial stake in the business.”)
“Diversify your holdings and hedge when it is financially attractive to do
He explains that adversity and uncertainty create opportunity.
“A market downturn is the true test of an investment philosophy.”
“Value investing is, in effect, predicated on the proposition the efficientmarket (EMT) hypothesis is frequently wrong.” He explains that market
pricing is more efficient with larger capitalization companies.
“Beware of Value Pretenders”
This means, watch out for the misuse of value investing. He explains that
these pretenders came about via the successes of Michael Price, Buffett,
Max Heine and the Sequoia Fund. He labels these people as value
chameleons, and states that they are failing to achieve a margin of safety for
their clients. He claims these investors suffered substantial losses in 1990. I
find this section difficult. For one, the book was published in 1991,
certainly not a long enough time to comment on investments of 1990. Also,
he doesn’t mention the broad based declines of 1973 – 1974
“Value investing is simple to understand but difficult to implement.” “The
hard part is discipline, patience and judgment.” Wait for the fat pitch.
“At the Root of a Value Investment Philosophy”
Value investors look for absolute performance, not relative performance.
They look more long term. They are willing to hold cash reserves when no
bargains are available. Value investors focus on risk as well as returns. He
discusses that the greater the risk, does not necessarily mean the greater the
return. He feels that risk erodes returns because of losses. Price creates
return, not risk.
He defines risk as, “ both the probability and the potential of loss.” An
investor can counteract risk by diversification, hedging (when appropriate)
and invest with a margin of safety.
He eloquently discusses the following, “The trick of successful investors is
to sell when they want to, not when they have to. Investors who may need
to sell should not own marketable securities other than U.S. Treasury Bills.”
Warning, warning , warning. Eye opener next. “The most important
determinant of whether investors will incur opportunity cost is whether or
not part of their portfolios are held in cash.” “Maintaining moderate cash
balances or owning securities that periodically throw off appreciable cash is
likely to reduce the number of foregone opportunities.”
“The primary goal of value investors is to avoid losing money.” He
describes the 3 elements of a value-investment strategy.
a. A bottoms up approach, searching via fundamental analysis.
b. Absolute performance strategy.
c. Pay attention to risk.
“The Art of Business Valuation”
He explains that NPV and IRR are great tools for summarizing data. He
explains they can be misleading unless the flows are contractually
determined, and when all payments are received when due. He talks about
the adage, “garbage in, garbage out.” As a side note, Milford Blonsky, CPA
during the 1970’s through the mid 1990’s, taught me that with frequency.
Klarman believes that investments have a range of values, and not a precise
He discusses 3 tools of business valuation”
a. Net Present Value (NPV) analysis. “NPV is the discounted
value of all future cash flows that the business is expected to generate.
He describes the importance of avoiding market comparables, for
obvious reasons. Use this method when earnings are reasonably
predictable and a discount rate can be chosen. This is often a guessing
game. Things can go wrong, things change. Even management can’t
predict changes. “An irresolvable contradiction exists: to perform
present value analysis, you must predict the future, yet the future is
reliably predictable.” He explains that this should be dealt with using
He discusses choosing a discount rate. He states, “A discount rate is, in
effect, the rate of interest that would make man investor indifferent between
present and future dollars.” He mentions that there is no single correct
discount rate and there is no precise way to choose one. He explains that
some investors use a generic round number, like 10%. He claims it is an
easy round number, but not necessarily the best choice. He emphasizes to be
conservative when choosing the discount rate. The less the risk of the
investment, the less the time frame, the less the discount rate should be. He
explains, “Depending on the timing and magnitude of the cash flows, even
modest differences in the discount rate can have a considerable impact on
the present-value calculation.” Of course discount rates are changed by
changing interest rates. He discusses how investing when interest rates are
unusually low, could cause inflated share prices, and that one must be
careful in making long term investments.
Klarman discusses using various DCF and NPV scenarios. He also
emphasizes one should discount earnings or cash flows as opposed to
dividends, since not all companies pay dividends. Of course, one wants to
understand the quality of the earnings and their reoccurring nature.
b. Analyze liquidation value. You need to understand what would
be an orderly liquidation versus fire sale liquidation. Klarman
quotes Graham’s “net net working capital.” Net working capital =
Current Assets – Current Liabilities. Net Net working capital =
Net Working Capital – all long-term liabilities. Keep in mind that
operating losses deplete working capital. Klarman reminds us to
look at off balance sheet liabilities, such as under-funded pension
c. Estimate the price of the company, or its subsidiaries considered
separately, as it would trade on the stock market. This method is
less reliable than the other 2 and should be used as a yardstick.
Private Market Value (PMV) does give an analyzer some rules of
thumb. When using PMV one needs to understand the garbage in,
garbage out concept, as well as the use of relevant and
conservative assumptions. One has to be wary of certain periods
of excesses when using this method. Look at historic multiples. I
am reminded of some recent research I have been working on in
regards to 1973 – 1974. Utility companies were selling for over
18X earnings, when they typically sold for much lower multiples.
I believe this was the case in 1929 as well. Klarman mentioned
television companies, which historically sold for 10X pre-tax cash
flow, but in the late 80’s were selling for 13 to 15X pre-tax cash
flow. “Investors relying on conservative historical standards of
valuation in determining PMV will benefit from a true margin of
safety, while others’ margin of safety blows with the financial
winds.” He suggests when you use PMV to determine what you
would pay for the business, not what others would pay to own
them. “At most, PMV should be used as one of several inputs in
the valuation process and not the exclusive final arbiter of value.”
I think that Klarman mentions that all tools should be used, and not to give
to great a value to any one tool or procedure of valuation. NPV has the
greatest weight in typical situations. Yet an analyst has to know when to
apply each tool, and when a specific tool might not be relevant. He
mentions that a conglomerate when being valued might have a variety of
methods for the different business components. He suggests, “Err on the
side of conservatism.”
Klarman quotes Soros from “The Alchemy of Finance.” “Fundamental
analysis seeks to establish how underlying values are reflected in stock
prices, whereas the theory of reflexivity shows how stock prices can
influence underlying values. (Pg. 51 1987 ed)”
Klarman mentions that the theory of reflexivity makes the point that a stock
price can significantly influence the value of a business. Klarman states,
“Investors must not lose sight of this possibility.” I am reminded of Enron
when reading this. Their business fell apart because they no longer were
able to use their stock price as currency. Soon covenants were violated
because of falling stock prices. Mix that difficult ingredient with fraud, and
you have a fine recipe for disaster. How many companies today are reliant
on continual liquidity from the equity or bond markets?
He discussed a valuation from 1991 of Esco. He indicated that the “working
capital / Sales ratio” was worthwhile to look at. He included a discount rate
of 12% for first 5 years of valuation, followed by 15%. He mentioned that
these higher rates indicated “uncertainty” in themselves. He stressed that
investors should consider other valuation scenarios and not just NPV. This
was all outlined above, but it was cool to see in a real time approach. He
discussed that PMV was not useful, as there were no comparables. He
indicated that a spin-off approach was helpful, as Esco previously
purchased a competitor (Hazeltine). He mentioned that the Hazeltine
acquisition, although much smaller than Esco, showed Esco to be severely
undervalued. He indicated that liquidation value would not be useful,
because defense companies could not be easily liquidated. He did look at a
gradual liquidation, as ongoing contracts could be run to completion. He did
use Stock market valuation as a guide. He noticed that the company was
selling for a small fraction of tangible assets. He called this a very low level,
considering positive cash flow and a viable company. He couldn’t identify
the exact worth of Esco, but he could identify that it was selling for well
below intrinsic value. He looked at all worst-case scenarios, and still
couldn’t pierce the current market price. He claimed the price was based on
“disaster.” He also noticed insider purchasing in the open market.
Klarman discussed that management could manipulate earnings, and that
one had to be wary of using earnings in valuation. He mentioned that
managements are well aware that investors price companies based on growth
rates. He hinted that one needs to look at quality of earnings, and the need
to interpret cash costs versus non-cash costs. Basically, indicating a
normalization of earnings process. “…It is important to remember that the
numbers are not an end in themselves. Rather they are a means to
understanding what is really happening in a company.”
He discusses that book value is not very useful as a valuation yardstick.
Book Value provides limited information (like earnings) to investors. It
should only be considered as one component of thorough analysis.
“The Challenge of Finding Attractive Investments”
If you see a company selling for what you consider to be a very inexpensive
price, ask yourself, “What is wrong with this company?” This reminds me
of Charles Munger, who advises investors to “invert, always invert.”
Klarman mentions, “A bargain should be inspected and re-inspected for
possible flaws.” He indicates possible flaws might be the existence of
contingent liabilities or maybe the introduction of a superior product by a
competitor. Interestingly enough, in the late 90’s, we noticed that Lucent
products were being replaced by those of the competition. We can’t blame
the entire loss of wealth on Lucent inferiority at the time, as the entire sector
followed Lucent’s wipeout at a later date. There were both industry and
company specific issues that were haunting Lucent at the time.
Klarman advises to look for industry constraints in creating investment
opportunities. He cited that institutions frowned upon arbitrage plays, and
that certain companies within an industry were punished without merit. He
mentions that many institutions cannot hold low-priced securities, and that in
itself can create opportunity. He also cites year-end tax selling, which
creates opportunities for value investors.
“Value investing by its very nature is contrarian.” He explains how value
investors are typically initially wrong, since they go against the crowd, and
the crowd is the one pushing up the stock price. He discusses how the value
investor for a period of time (and sometimes a long time at that) will likely
suffer “paper losses.” He hinted that contrarian positions could work well in
over-valued situations, where the crowd has bid up prices. Profits can be
claimed from short positions.
He claims that no matter how extensive your research, no matter how
diligent and smart you are, the diligence has shortcomings. For one, “some
information is always elusive,” hence you need to live with incomplete
information. Knowing all the facts does not always lead to profit. He cites
the “80/20 rule.” This means that the first 80% of the research is gathered in
the first 20% of the time spent finding that research. He discusses that
business information is not always made available, and it is also
“perishable.” “High uncertainty is frequently accompanied by low prices.
By the time uncertainty is resolved, prices are likely to have risen.” He hints
that you can make decisions quicker, without all of the information, and take
advantage of the time others are looking and delving into the same
information. This extra time can cause the late and thorough investor to lose
their margin of safety.
Klarman discusses to watch what the insiders are doing. “The motivation of
company management can be a very important force in determining the
outcome of an investment.” He concludes the chapter with this quote:
“Investment research is the process of reducing large piles of information to
manageable ones, distilling the investment wheat from the chaff. There is,
needless to say, a lot of chaff and very little wheat. The research process
itself, like the factory of a manufacturing company, produces no profits. The
profits materialize later, often much later, when the undervaluation identified
during the research process is first translated into portfolio decisions and
then eventually recognized by the market.” He goes onto discuss that the
research today, will provide the fruits of tomorrow. He explains that an
investment program will not succeed if “high quality research is not
performed on a continuing basis.”
Klarman discussed investing in complex securities. His theme being, if the
security is hard to understand and time consuming, many of the analysts and
institutions will shy away from it. He identifies this as “fertile ground” for
The goal of a spin-off, according to Klarman is for the former parent
company to create greater value as a whole by spinning off businesses that
aren’t necessarily in their strategic plans. Klarman finds opportunity
because of the complexity (see above) and the time lag of data flow. I don’t
know in 2006 if this is still the case, but Klarman mentions there is a 2 to 3
month lag of data flow to the computer databases. I have owned several
spin-offs and have ultimately sold them, as they were too small for the pie,
or just not followed by my research. As I think back, I think quite a few of
these spin-offs did fairly well. One example would be Freescale. As I look
at the Freescale chart, it looks like it went from around 18 two years ago, to
around 33 today. Ahh, this topic alone, enabled the book to provide
potential value to my future net worth.
Bankrupt Companies
Look for Net Operating Losses as a potential benefit. He describes the
beauty of investing in bankrupt companies is the complexity of the analysis.
This complexity, as described often in his book, leads to potential
opportunity, as many investors shy away from the complex analysis.
Pending a bankruptcy, costs get leaner and more focused, cash builds up and
compounds with interest. This cash buildup can simplify the process of
reorganization, because all agree on the value of cash.
Michael Price and his 3 stages of Bankruptcy:
a. Immediately after bankruptcy. This is the most uncertain stage,
but also one of the greatest opportunities. Liabilities are not
evident, there is turmoil, financial statements are late or
unavailable and the underlying business may not have stabilized.
The debtor’s securities are also in disarray. This is accompanied
by forced selling at any price.
b. The second stage is the negotiation of a reorganization plan.
Klarman mentions that by this time, many analysts have pored
over the financials and the company. Much more is known about
the debtor, uncertainty is not as acute, but certainly still exists.
Prices will reflect this available information.
c. The third stage is the finalization of the reorganization and the
debtor’s emergence from bankruptcy. He claims this stage takes 3
months to a year. Klarman mentions that this last stage most
closely resembles a risk-arbitrage investment.
“When properly implemented, troubled-company investing may entail less
risk than traditional investing, yet offer significantly higher returns. When
badly done, the results of investing can be disastrous…” He emphasizes that
the market is illiquid and traders take advantage of unsophisticated investors.
“Caution is the order of the day for the ordinary investor.”
Klarman mentions to use the same investment valuation techniques you
would use for a solvent company. He suggests that the analyst look to see if
the companies are intentionally “uglifying” their financial statements. He
cites the example of expensing rather than capitalizing certain expenses.
The analyst needs to look at off-balance sheet arrangements. He cites
examples as real estate and over-funded pension plans.
Klarman discusses the investor should typically shy away from investing in
common stock of bankrupt companies. He mentions there is an occasional
home run, but he states, “as a rule investors should avoid the common stock
of bankrupt entities at virtually any price; the risks are great and the returns
are very uncertain.” He discusses one ploy of buying the bonds and shorting
the stock. He used an example of Bank Of New England (BNE). He
mentioned that BNE bonds were selling at 10 from 70, whereas the stockstill carried a large market capitalization.
He concludes the bankruptcy section by stressing that this type of investing
is sophisticated and highly specialized. The competition in finding these
securities is savvy, experienced and hard-nosed. When this area becomes
popular, be extra careful, as most of the money made is based on the
uneconomic behavior of investors.
Portfolio Management and Trading
“All investors must come to terms with the relentless continuity of the
investment process.”
He mentions the need for liquidity in investments. A portfolio manager can
buy a stock and subsequently find out he or she made an error, or that a
competitor has a stronger product. With that said, the portfolio manager can
typically sell that situation. If the investment was in an annuity or limited
partnership, the liquidity is pierced and the change of strategy cannot be
economically deployed. “When investors do not demand compensation for
bearing illiquidity, they almost always come to regret it.”
He discusses that liquidity is not of great importance in managing a longterm oriented portfolio. Most portfolios should contain a balance of
liquidity, which can quickly be turned into cash. Unexpected liquidity needs
do occur. The longer the duration of illiquidity, should demand a greater
form of compensation for the liquidity sacrifice. The cost of illiquidity
should be very high. “Liquidity can be illusory.” Watch out for situations
that are liquid one day, and illiquid the next. He claims this can happen in
market panics.
“Investing is in some ways an endless process of managing liquidity.”
When a portfolio is in cash only, the risk of loss is non-existent. The same
goes for the lack of gain when fully invested in cash. Klarman mentions,
“The tension between earning a high return, on the one hand, and avoiding
risk, on the other, can run high. This is a difficult task.
“Portfolio management requires paying attention to the portfolio as a whole,
taking into account diversification, possible hedging strategies, and the
management of portfolio cash flow.” He discusses that portfolio
management is a further means of risk reduction for investors.
He suggests that, as few as ten to fifteen different holdings should be suffice
for diversification. He does mention, “My view is that an investor is better
off knowing a lot about a few investments than knowing only a little about
each of a great many holdings.” He mentions that diversification is
“potentially a Trojan horse.” “Diversification, after all, is not how many
different things you own, but how different the things you do own are in the
risks they entail.”
In regards to trading Klarman stated, “The single most crucial factor in
trading is the developing the appropriate reaction to price fluctuations.
Investors must learn to resist fear, the tendency to panic, when prices are
falling, and greed, the tendency to become overly enthusiastic when prices
are rising.
“Leverage is neither necessary nor appropriate for most investors.”
How do you evaluate a money manager?
a. “Personal interviews are absolutely essential.”
b. “Do they eat their own cooking?” He feels this is the most
important question of an advisor. When an advisor does not invest
in his or her own preaching, Klarman refers to it as “eating out.”
You want the advisor to act in a “parallel” fashion to his or her
c. “Are all clients treated equally?”
d. Examine the investor’s track record during different periods of
varying amounts of assets managed. How has the advisor
performed as his or her assets have grown? If assets are shrinking,
try to examine the reason.
e. Examine the investment philosophy. Does the advisor worry
about absolute returns, about what can go wrong, or is the advisor
worried about relative performance?
f. Does advisor have constraining rules? Examples of this could be
the requirement to always be fully invested.
g. Thoroughly analyze the past investment performance. How long a
track record is there? Was it achieved in one or more market
h. How did the clients do in falling markets?
i. Have the returns been steady over time, or have they been
j. Was the track record from a steady pace, or just a couple of
k. Is the manager still using the same philosophy that he or she has
always used?
l. Has the manager produced good long-term results despite having
excess cash and cash equivalents in the portfolio allocation? This
could indicate a low risk approach.
m. Were the investments in the underlying portfolio themselves
particularly risky, such as shares of highly leveraged companies?
Conversely, did the portfolio manager reduce risk via hedging,
diversification and senior securities?
n. Make sure you are personally compatible with the advisor. Make
sure you are comfortable with the investment approach.
o. After you hire the manager, monitor them on an ongoing basis.
The issues that were addressed prior to hiring should be used after
He finishes the book with these words. “I recommend that you adopt a
value-investment philosophy and either find an investment professional with
a record of value-investment success or commit the requisite time and
attention to investing on your own.”
Respectfully submitted,
Ronald R. Redfield CPA, PFS
May 3, 2006
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