Financial Freedom Sloth

achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

Category: Special circumstance investing (page 1 of 2)

An unpleasant experience

Well, we had a drop in the market. Finally. Let’s be honest, it was long overdue. And actually it wasn’t even that much of a correction.

Being an active investor sinds 2000 this isn’t my first drop and it definitely wil not be my last one. But it was my first one with a huge leveraged position. Which did add a little bit extra spice to the whole experience.

The broad overview is this. On the first of February my stash stood at 289 722 euro. The 5th February it would reach a low of  253 860 euro. That is 35 862 euro gone poof.

The reason: the strong drop in AB Inbev which first eliminated my buffer and then continued to plunge down.

How did it feel? Well, imagine somebody putting on a glove with spikes on the inside and then cupping your balls.

Day 1: there is slight pressure. You are thinking you are not liking this (and if you are me, a small part of your brain is also thinking, ‘Hey, if it was a beautiful woman doing it, I might find this kinky’ 😉

Day 2: the pressure increases. Gone are all thoughts of it possibly being kinky. Ugly ogre or the most beautiful woman in the world. It doesn’t matter. There is pain, so much pain.

Day 3: you hear craking. There is not supposed to be any cracking down there! What the hell is making the cracking noise? Also pain, so much pain. Please, please let it stop!

After trading hours you take stock of the situation. The biggest question you have is this: have I been an idiot? How stupid was it to put a construction on AB Inbev with it trading around 95 euro? Was it a bad price?

Well it isn’t a really cheap price, I knew that going in. But they do make a ton of money. They will continue to make a ton of money. The dividend is healthy and assured. They will pay down there debt, making either room for more dividend or new acquisitions. I read Dream big and know those guys are efficiency freaks, squeezing an ever increasing free cash flow out of their operations. I read almost every interview with Alexander van Damme. He is smart, high up in the management and already owns a ton of shares of aB Inbev but on 10th January he bought an additional 500.000 shares via patrinvest (and the time before he even bought at  101 euro).

If there is one guy on this world who nows the value of AB Inbev it’s him. And he just put in 48 million euro at 95 per share.

Also, I knew there might me a change of a correction. It’s why I reduced my leverage. It’s why I chose a stable dividend paying stock for the construction because  the dividend covers the financing fees. As long as I do not get a margin call I can keep the position for all eternity and even get some positive cash flow out of it! And a margin call was still a long way out!!

All of a sudden the pain was gone! My head cleared.

And then it hit me like a freight train! I actually could make a profit from this drop. If AB Inbev would eventually go back to the 95 euro level I now had an opportunity!

You see, the construction has two legs. And one of them had a very nice profit. The other leg just had an even larger loss. But that loss would disappear if AB Inbev rebounds. But part of the profit on the other leg would then also disappear. Solution: take the profits on the one leg. Then wait till AB Inbev rebounds enough and only then deploy the second leg again. I could actually make a lot of money of this drop!

So day 4, this morning, I woke up with a shiny new pair of metal balls and traded the shit out of the drop.

If it all works out, and AB Inbev does bounce back I will have made an extra 14.000 euro. If it starts dropping again I just sacrificied another 1,7 euro of downward protection because now I am fully exposed to any price movement in AB Inbev. Do me a favor: drink more beer!

Special circumstance investing – January update

The last of the big moves has been done Things are going to get boring from now on. Here’s hoping it’s a profitable boring.

What did I do

Well I didn’t do a lot this month since the new leveraged position is, well, new. I like to have a nice safety buffer before adding another leveraged postion by day trading. And at the moment the leveraged position is reporting a loss. No big deal as especially in the beginning smaal fluctuations in price can cause big movements in value. Time is at my side in this construction and thing generally smooth out after a month or three. Nothing left to do as wait.

Waiting can be good.The put option on Ahold Delhaize is gone! Expired out of the money so A) I didn’t have to do anything (my preffered activity) and B) I didn’t have to pay any fees! I was right, the market was wrong and I made 750 euro because of it.

Did I do anything at all, except lazily wait? Yep, I entered a new UVXY puts position. Ramping it up: bought 71 puts, strike 6 expiry January 2020 for 4,35 USD. That is around 31.000 USD I now have in it.

The girlfriends portfolio

Same situation for the girlfriend.

AD puts are gone and entered a new UVXY puts position: 59 puts for her.

The big move was in the parents portfolio where I finally also unwound there old leverage position and set up the new one on AB Inbev as well.

All three portfolio’s are now running similar position which is a lot easier to manage. Yes, my parents portfolio also had the AD puts expiry out of the money and entered a new UVXY puts position. 43 puts for them. In total I have now over 70.000 USD in UVXY puts. I am hoping to triple this in the next two years.

For the next few months my only investment activity will be to take profits on the UVXY puts and then enter a new postion and perhaps roll the AB Inbev puts I still have. So pretty good change I will do nothing at all in February. Does that make me a happy sloth? Yes it does, yes it does … Gives me time to hunt for some more classic trance songs …

Special circumstance investing – December update

Another month with large moves. The year has been good but that is a subject for the annual post. First this month.

What did I do

I had to roll my AB Inbev puts. the low price of AB Inbev was on the one side good news as it created an oportunity for a new leverage construction that should bring nice big profits but not so good news for the put option at strike 100 I had sold. Luckily I could roll it to a later expiry date (March 2018) and even collect some premium for doing it: another 485 euro added to the investment account.

I unwound my old leveraged construction. Final profit there is around 20 000 USD. The federale reserve raised their intrest rates twice which in turn made my financing fee more expensive. So I lost some profit there. I also didn’t feel like keeping a detailled overview of the exact cost as that is just to much work 😉 At the beginning of the construction I had estimated potential profits being broadly between 21 000 and 24 000 USD. The higher borrowing costs knocked a little bit off but all in all it was a good run. And I rather put time and effort in finding new investment opportunities than keeping exact and detailled cost overviews.

About the new investment opportunties: I replicated the levereaged constructon I did in the girlfriends portfolio last month in my own. Kept the leverage at a reasonable X 1,6. Profits of this should be between 20 000 and 40 000 euro. We will see in December 2018 how it went.

I sold the UVXY puts I bought early November. 53 puts bought at 5,5 USD a piece and sold for 6,20 USD. So more than 10% profit in 2 months. After costs I added 3 455,80 USD to the investment account.

Daytrading brought in another 300 USD. I stopped day trading around 10 december because I wanted to close out the old leveraged construction and start a new one. And I didn’t want any other postion on my books while doing it. it will be some time before I start again with the daytrading as I first want a decent profit buffer in the leveraged construction. I am ok with it as I started to become a bit tired with the frequent daytrading in the evening. We’ll see in May, June if I get back into it but for the next few months my investing will be limited to watching the leveraged construction and UVXY puts. Lazy investing at it’s finest, bliz!!

The girlfriends portfolio

Off course I rolled her AB Inbev puts also. An extra 237 euro in her account. (I also did it in the parents portfolio, I told you I had a busy month!).

No more day trading in her portfolio as she allready had the leveraged construction since november.

I also sold her UVXY puts at 6,20 USD. Total profit for her: 2 608 USD. Happy Christmas honey 😉

I also sold my parents UVXY puts, also for a nice 10% profit. I did finally convince my parents to put some extra cash in the investment account. Next month I will unwind the old leveraged construction they still have and then duplicate the same leveraged construction both me and the girlfriend already have. All this means I will have some extra cash to plow into UVXY puts for them as of next year.

Special circumstance investing – November update

A busy month where some large moves were made. Busy is relative, some people think nothing of doing dozens of trades in a month. My ideal is two or three trades, a year! On the other hand, the flurry of activity has been profitable. And I like doing it so it remains to be seen if I will be able to restrain myself once I hit my Fire numbers …

What did I do

I rolled my Ahold delhaize puts again to January this time. But this time I did book a nice profit on it. An extra 265 euro on the account for my troubles. Ahold Delhaize has, in the mean time moved above 18 euro proofing that 17,5 euro was indeed not a bad strike price to write puts at and that the market would take a few months to realize this company will continue to make healthy profits even if Amazon did purchase Whole Foods …

AB inbev did move in the wrong direction so I might have to roll this one now. On the other hand, the price drop did create a nice new opportunity (more about that in the girlfriends portfolio).

As mentionend last month I was planning on deploying a lot more money in a new UVXY put position. I bought 53 puts on UVXY, expiration 01/2019 for 5,5 USD a piece. I had a nice 5% profit on them but am at a small loss now. It is a volatile product which I am watching closely. But all profits, and day trading profits, will be used to enlarge this position in the future.

Day trading profits are 1 500 USD for the month. And I didn’t trade for a week as Google reached all time highs. My rule of not day trading proofed it’s worth once more as it helped me avoid the drop from 1074 USD to the current 1025 USD level.

All in all I more than earned back the 1 500 euro withdrawal from last month.

The girlfriends portfolio

I off course had to roll the Ahold delhaize puts in the girlfirends portfolio as well (and in my parents portfolio too!). Same strike and same expiry as I want to keep things as simple as possible to keep track of. The girlfriend added 302 euro to the portfolio.

Also a new UVXY put postion for the girlfirend: 40 puts same expiry, strike and price as mine. Add to this the position in my parents portfolio (yes there too!!) and I now have a very large position in this. Watching it as a hawk!

Daytrade profits for the girlfriend were 700 USD this month.

I already mentioned the drop in AB Inbev created a new opportunity.  After having no leveraging since March I set up  a new leverage construction in her portfolio. No details as I do not want any responsability for anybody blowing up with this weird shit. For certain stock at certain price levels it offers very attractieve returns for very little risk. In all other circumstances it is very dangerous …

But if all goes well she should make 12 000 euro of it. It just proves you do not need dividend paying shares to generate a nice cash flow from your investments. As a bonus, dividends are taxed at 30% where option premiums and the above are tax free!

cash before the construction

cash after the construction

Best of all is she received the money up front meaning she will have that more cash to deploy in the UVXY puts. UVXY puts being another thing offering nice returns at certain price levels and under certain conditions but dangerous at all other times/price points. The combination of both, provided the execution is done well, should make for very, very healthy returns …

I guess 2018 is the year where I find out …

Special circumstance investing – October update

Google, in which I day trade a bit posted excellent quarterly numbers and hit an all time high in the month of October. So was it a profitable month for me as well? Let’s find out.

What did I do

Still patiently waiting on the expiry of my AB inbev puts (December). Ahold Delhaize finally moved in the right direction price wise but it looks like I will need to roll this one a bit more before making a profit on it.

I did close down the position I had in UVXY puts I bought in September for a profit of 1 252 USD. This was a 10,6% return in less than a month. I will be deploying way more money in UVXY puts in the future. Last month I explained why.

And then there was my day trading. I literally closed my last position 2 minutes before starting to type this post.  Total profits in October are 1 100 USD.

I try not to get hung up on the profits I leave on the table while day trading but this month was very difficult. First off: I left A LOT of money on the table. And then there is the girlfriends portfolio…

The girlfriends portfolio

As I mentioned last month I do, on occasion, day trade in her portfolio as well. Last month I even  made more money in her account than in mine. This month, well, this month was worse. Total day trading profit came to a whopping 1 830 USD! This is the second month in a row I did better in her account than in my own, and the difference is getting bigger! It shows I should work on my discipline and enter in fewer, but more profitable, trades when day trading. Lesson learned.

Off course the point of me managing her stash is to build it up as good as I can so the more money I make in her account the better. I do not think it would be very good for or relationship if I pulled the plug and she still had to work. But I have to be honest, it does sting a bit that my biggest day trading profit didn’t happen in my account. O, the fragile male ego!!

But all in all it was a pretty good month (especially because we were still on holiday for the first week of it). All of the above is generated by using leverage or using cash which was previously generated by using leverage. We haven’t added any extra money into our investments accounts for the last 7 years (all savings eventually going to home renovations). It is an extra on top of the growth of our old investments. And those old investments are doing pretty good also. I bought my very first Berkshire Hathaway B shares on 19 January 2006 at around 60 USD a piece. I did a lot of stuff in between (my trading overview is 12 pages long at present, and that is without my day trading) but never sold those shares and now am fully invested in Berkshire Hathaway.

The girlfriend bought GBL at 60,5 euro in September 2010 and never sold those…

Choose your stock well, and you only ever need to do 1 trade. It was what originally attracted me to investing. It is the only thing I have found where being lazy can bring in a lot of money. It is off course very boring. Which explains all of the above, because let’s be honest, this shit is downright fun to do!


Special circumstance investing – september update

Wow, one month without a post. Some bloggers have the decency of warning their readers beforehand, me, not so much …

What did I do

Well I rolled my Ahold Delhaize puts to november. Same strike price. I might still walk a way with a profit from this one. The market is really overreaction for this one. It just shows how tight the nerves are …

AB inbev is still doing fine and my leveraged construction can now take a 20% drop without me losing any profit on it! Despite all this great news I am still planning on further deleverage. No more new option writing and once the present leveraged construction is unwound no more leverage (except for the occasional day trading).

Day trading in September brought in 800 USD. Day trading in this case isn’t the correct word. I bought 100 CfD’s on Google on the first of September and then Google went down and kept going down. I have been there before and it is one of the reasons why I don’t trade when it is near an all time high. At 955,40 USD it was my conviction it would eventually go higher. High enough to recoup the financing fees and make a profit. I also had stuff to do in the evening like preparing a big bbq for the 9th September (and thus needing to clean up the garden), job hunting and preparing for my two week holiday in Lanzarote. It was nice to have a break from day trading in the evening en just do practical stuff. Time proved me right so while vacationing in Lanzarote I put in a sell order at 969 USD. When not filled I lowered it to 965,50 USD for the next day and while driving to the vulcano on Lanzarote on the 29th September the order got filled at a price of 966,017 USD. Google actually shot up a lot more that day so I could have made more money but hey, I was on a holiday. Actually, holding the position would have made me a lot more. But I just didn’t want another leveraged position during my holiday. Day trading is an extra for me so I will take what I can and try not to be bothered to much by the money I leave on the table.

Before going on holiday I also bought 10 puts on UVXY, expiration 01/2019 for 11,75 USD a piece. I have a nice profit on them and probably will sell them on Monday.

Add the nice rise of Berkshire Hathaway to the above and my net worth reached a new all time high. And that while I was vacationing and doing absolutely nothing productive with my time. Gentleman of leisure indeed!

The girlfriends portfolio

Here too I rolled her Ahold Delhaize puts (and in my parents portfolio).

Turns out I kinda miscalculated here free cash position last month and should not have done the UVXY puts in August so I didn’t enter a new trade in her account this time. Once the puts are gone I will move agressively into it.

Since Google dropped after I bought my CfD’s and I had a strong conviction they would go up I bought 100 CfD’s in the girlfriends portfolio to. Bought at 954,90 USD and sold at 968,99 USD (I never lowered her sell order as I did on mine). So she actually made more money on this trade then I did! After financing fees a cool 1 150 USD was added to her account.

I usually only day trade in my portfolio as switching between accounts is a bit of a bother. But on occasion I do enter a trade in the girlfriends portfolio also. It is so random and few I don’t even bother keeping score. But up to now, all have been profitable.

Why deleveraging and moving aggressively into UVXY puts

Three reasons

– prices are high for most stocks and in the case of a correction/crash even cheap or moderately priced stocks will drop in price

– I hate cash

– I suck in market timing

Prices are high, but that doesn’t mean they can not go higher. I also know that timing the market is a fools game. So I keep the stock I already have.

But I prefer to buy my shares when they are cheap and there isn’t a lot of cheap out there. Not buying stock and building up the cash should be the logical way then. But I hate cash, I want my money to work hard for me so I can be lazy! Enter UVXY puts. UVXY is a play on volatility so not linked to the high values of stock. And it should give me a minimum return of 10% a year.

So I am positioning myself that:

– if there is no crash I have the growth of Berkshire Hathaway and the return on my UVXY puts investments. My average return should still beat the market.

– if there is a crash: Buffett can finale deploy his 100 billion cash reserve, insuring further rise in Berkshire share price. I too have some nice cash standing at the sidelines, ready to buy good stock at cheap prices. Loses should be less then the market average and gains after the correction should be a lot bigger than the market average.

Heads I win, tails I also win.

The cost for this is the extra profit I could have made by some leveraged positions. But I no longer feel these extra profits justify the extra risk I am running. There is a time to be greedy and this isn’t the time.


Special circumstance investing – august update

As mentioned here I need to deleverage. So option writing is out for the time being. The put option on ADM at strike 40 USD expired out of the money so that is some leverage gone.

What did  I do

Since I still want to be finished with the renovation as soon as possible and options were out of the question I doubled down on day trading. Total day trading income for August was 800 USD. The highest since I am back at work! I’ll be on holiday for part of September and October so I do not expect to repeat this any time soon.

For the remaining puts I have: AB Inbev is doing fine but Ahold Delhaize will need to be rolled to a further date. The market decided to behave like an idiot and send the stock a lot lower because Amazon completed the takeover of  Whole Foods and reduced some prices (actually brought them in line with the competition as Whole foods had the reputation of being expensive). This will work itself out over the next couple of months and I expect Ahold Delhaize to regain most of this drop. It is one of the reasons I chose companies with predictable cash flows to write puts on. Even if the market is stupid, a few quarters of the same predictable cash flow gushing in usually fixes that ..

The only reason why it annoys me is because I now want to get rid of all options and even build up my cash further. The reason for this is UVXY but since I did the trade in the girlfriends portfolio I’ll explain it there. It’s going to be a long read so let’s put on some tunes shall we?


The girlfriends portfolio

So, I had mentioned I would probably move to the girlfriends portfolio to play with puts on UVXY. True to my word on 9 August I bought 3 puts on UVXY at strike 20 USD and paid 10,25 USD for it.

I wanted to do the same trade in my portfolio but I didn’t get assigned on the 9th. After that the price of UVXY started going up. Logic would dictate the price of the put to go down. But it didn’t. It actually went up! The reason for this is that UVXY is a play on volatility and most people use the puts to do short term gambles on sharp rise (or drops) in volatility. So a lot of people flooded into this product. Which drove up the price of the puts even if they should have dropped! We had an interesting ‘talk’ about it in the comment section of this and this post.

I do recognize stupidity when I see it. I also like to profit from said stupidity so I myself did not buy any puts. I did sell the girlfriends puts on 15 august at 11,30 USD maxing almost 10% profit (300 USD) in less than a week.

Bottom line for UVXY is that it is an absolutely crap product, designed with short term gamblers in mind (read that explication people, so cool!). It is constructed in such a way that over time the house always wins (it will lose value over time, so Proshares who created it wins). The thing is, there is one way you can make a consistent profit on it it! And Velociraptor discovered that way. By buying long term puts (as I have done now two times) you put yourself more or less in the same position as the house. And over time you should profit of it. It can take several months, in rare cases even more than a year. Or it can take less than a week. But I am now convinced that a 10% annual profit, at the least, should be possible with this puts on this product.

Liquidity remains an issue since to play it correctly you buy the puts when the gambling masses are not interested in the product. But Velociraptor is able to put more than 20.000 USD in it. So I am now freeing up as much cash as I can and see if I can do this too!

Finally a good reason to talk to the parents and transfer some of their non working cash parked on savings accounts to their Lynx account!

Made it all the way to the end? Great! If it all seems a bit much

just remember, that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the ‘Milky Way’.

Adventures in day trading

I already talked about how I ended up at Lynx here. Lynx offered a multitude of new possibilities for me and in my first post about how I was going to use these I also mentioned day trading.

I had this to say about it:

With the SAB MILLER position active and me not needing to work at the time I grew bored. So I tried my hand at day trading. Technically it was day trading because I was buying and selling on the same day. But actually I had identified some stock that was cheap and I wanted to buy some. I just didn’t feel too comfortable with already having a 200.000 GBP leveraged position so as soon as I made some profit I closed the position (and thus the extra leverage). I practiced a bit with Berkshire Hathaway and Coca cola. And then when Google went down to 730 USD I really had some fun with it. Real day trading is off course have dozens or even hundreds of trades and playing both an uptrend and downtrend in stock price. I just bought stock I thought was cheap and then sold with a small profit. Sometimes I only did 1 or 2 of these trades, and some days 6 or 8. I found it to be way to much work and also too much stress but I did make around 2.500 USD in profits from it (another 1% added to the stash). But it would have been much more profitable to just buy Google at 730 USD, keep it for a few months and then sell it around 780 USD. I just wasn’t very comfortable with that amount of leverage at that time.

I stopped day trading when I started working again but then my temporary contract ended at the end of January. Since I once again had a leveraged construction at 2x leverage in my portfolio I decided to start day trading again.

Let’s do it again

My approach remained the same. So I chose google again to trade in.

The reasons for this is that I believe in the long term prospects of google (by which I mean the stock price should go up over time) and it usually has enough volatility during the day to make a small profit of at least a 100 USD of it with a trade.

I usually buy 100 CfD’s on Google. This costs me 5 USD in fees as that is the minimum fee Lynx charges. Selling will cost me another 5 USD so Google needs to go up 0,10 USD for me to break even. I usually try to make 100 USD on a trade. So google needs to move 1,10 USD for this to happen. This is about 0.0011%. So changes of this happening are pretty good.

Pretty good doesn’t mean guaranteed. Last Thursday would have been a bad day to try to day trade in google.

One of my own rules is that really bad days I stay away. Yes, even Thursday there would have been 2 or three points (red arrows) where a quick in and out hopping could have made some money but chances of picking the exact right time are too low to risk it.

I also do not trade when the stock is at an all-time high price (though I broke that rule to buy just below 1000 USD and then sell just above 1000 USD just so I could say I traded Google went it went over the 1000 USD share price. I now, stupid. Especially because nobody but me cares about something like that…). I also do not trade when the stock is at a high for that day.

What do I trade? Little drops in the stock.

15 August would have been a good day to trade.

There are 4 moments where I might have traded. We had a friend over so I didn’t go and sit behind the PC but I did want to show off a little bit so late in the afternoon I did log in. I was just in time for the last moment and opened a position. The upward movement wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be (should have sold at the first black arrow) so I left some money on the table but in the end was able to close the position with a net profit of 50 USD (sold somewhere around the second black arrow).

The trick is off course to identify that the dip is in fact a dip and not the beginning of a big downward movement. Either I have been lucky so far or I kinda have a ‘feel’ for it. But I have also closed positions at no profit or only 5 or 8 USD profit because the upward movement I thought would happen just didn’t materialize. I have had Google do nothing but go down after I open a position. Lucky for me this happened at prize points where I didn’t mind holding Google. So my day trade position then became a multi-day or in two occasions even multi-week position until Google rebound so I could exit the position at a profit. It is why I do not day trade when Google is at (or near) an all-time high (with the one exception, I knew it would cross the 1000 USD mark). Let’s just say I am pretty happy with the last drop in Google price. It is now at a level I feel comfortable trading it again.

As you just read there is nothing sophisticated or glamorous about it. But it is some extra money on a regular basis. Last year I made around 2.500 USD (in a couple of months) and this year I am around 3.250 USD (the price of the Vespa!). It is a little bit extra I now do in an effort to get the home renovations done quicker. My estimate is that the remaining home renovation will take around 50.000 euro. The girlfriend and me can save around 10.000 euro a year so these should take 5 years to  complete. If I make an additional 10.000 euro by day trading in the next 4 years well that is one year quicker that our house is finished. Since I do not want to retire before the renovations are done this could shave off a full year of me working!

I can feel my mind slipping

Before I started day trading I had read it is mostly a mental game and I can confirm it is.

First and all, you need to be able to stare at the price of a stock for hours. It literally is looking at a screen. So you have to be able to do that (luckily I have had lots of training at my previous jobs for this). And then you have to fight the urge to open a position. Believe me, this is hard! That is why you are sitting there after all! And the longer you sit there, the more you want to enter a trade.

Then when you do enter a trade there are nerves. Because your timing is never perfect. Meaning you buy in a dip, but the dip continues … And every 0.1 USD drop is costing you 10 USD. You are sitting there thinking: I should have waited a bit longer! I am leaving money on the table!!

Then the stock goes up. Oef, yes, it was a dip, yes I am going to make money here!

Then it goes down a bit again. We are talking cents here, cents on a 925 USD stock. So off course it is moving up and down. I always does that but what you need to determine here is: is the dip over and will it go higher or is the dip not over yet? Is this a little upward bounce before going down a lot more? How strong is the upward movement?

In all honesty, sometimes I exit the trade just in time before it drops another dollar. In those cases I feel pretty smart. But sometimes I get out with 5 or 10 USD profit thinking the stock will go down again but then it starts a strong upward movement, going up 2 or 3 dollar. Which means I just missed 300 USD profits. I feel pretty stupid then.

You need to leave your emotions at home. But you also need to be able to not give a fuck about the fact you missed profit. That is hard, because you are there, sitting behind the computer to make a 100 or 200 USD. You are thinking 10 cents movement = 10 USD. And since your timing is never going to be perfect you will always miss profits. So even if you know you missed some profit. Even if some part of your brain is screaming: nice going dimwit, you just missed 80 USD another part of your brain must scream back and say fuck it, I made some profit and I will continu to make profits, shut up other part of the brain! And that second part of your brain needs to win the shouting match! So you can continue trading and open a new position. And then the entire circus starts again. As you can read, it goes from utterly boring to utterly nerve wrecking.

Why do I do it then?

well, I seem to be decent at it. Within the rules I made for myself I am capable of making a little bit of profit. I don’t find it a pleasant activity to do but the 3.250 USD of profit so far equals 1,5 months of working in Brussels. Honestly, I prefer the day trading over the going to work. It takes less effort, and I don’t need to go to Brussels for it.

It also helps that it is a little extra on the side. I do not do it a lot. As a day job  I think it would be very exhausting. A little bit left and right is very doable. Sometimes I plan on doing some trading one evening and then when the time comes I don’t feel like it, so I don’t. Or the stock doesn’t move right so I stop after an hour. When I was unemployed I put in longer sessions. But even then, sometimes I made a nice profit in the first two hours so I just stopped for the rest of the day (or even week) and was off to do something a lot more fun than staring at a screen for hours.

So for the time being I am going to continue doing it. Hopefully get another 10.000 USD in profits from it over time so I can finish renovating the house one year earlier …



Special circumstance investing – taking on to much risk

I sold puts on Ahold Delhaize strike 17,50 expiry 09/17 and received 0,50 euro premium.

I did this for me (10 contracts, 488 euro net premium received), the girlfriends portfolio (11 contracts, 530,20 euro premium) and my parents (5 contracts, 241 euro premium). I just took on to much risk in my own portfolio and I know it.

I knew it from the start. When I transferred all my positions to Lynx (a reseller of Interactive broker) and started looking at all the shiny new toys they offered I felt like a kid in a candy store. And I knew right from the start: this is dangerous.

Especially the leverage part. Leverage is wonderful in good times and can really turbo charge your profits but when it works against you it can devastate your portfolio. I knew I needed to be careful with pulling that particular lever. Only to be used in very special circumstances (hence the name for these posts).

So I did my leveraged construction only at a good price point with an excellent stock. And I would keep the cash I got upfront in cash so I could unwind it whenever it was necessary.

Then the stock went up, my buffer grew bigger and I thought it to be ok to use some of that cash to also write puts. Puts that would not be exercised! The money now has to cover two positions. I am good as long as only one thing moves against me.

Then the put went out of money and I used the same money for two different put series. The same money now has to cover three positions. Profits are great and everything is ok as long as only 1 out of the three positions doesn’t work out.

Then the second put also went out of money and I wrote puts on Ahold. The same money now has to cover four positions. In my own portfolio I definitely have taken on to much risk and I now it. Sunday evening I logged in and only did an order in the girlfriends portfolio (no leveraged position, money only serves two put positions now) and the parents (leveraged position + 2 put positions). Then Monday morning before work I quickly entered the same order in my portfolio.

It will work out. I am sure of it. It will be a nice 488 euro extra in my bank account. But the fact remains I took on too much risk. I went over my own limit* and I know it.

There is something in my personality that likes testing boundaries. I want to know where my limit is. I only got truly, completely utterly drunk around three times in my life. I now know where my limit is and have no need to test it anymore. With other products I, as with everything, got informed. Delving deep into the internet, deep into forums. Determining save doses. Using those save doses. And then, again, testing my limits. Going, knowingly, over the save limit. I wanted to know exactly where my limit was and the only way to be sure is to go over it. I actually have a somewhat amusing post ready about the time I experimented with boosting my natural  testosterone levels. There too, I went over my limit.

So I also knew I would be testing my limits on Lynx. Going over them. Even now, with the put on Ahold Delhaize (AD) done. With knowing I have already taken on too much risk I am thinking about buying some puts on UVXY again. It shot up the last couple of days and doing it now will probably make me another 10% or even 20% profit on the money I put into it. But it would reduce the cash I have even further. It would make the risk position even worse.

I’ll probably do it after I have posted this. Because it seems to be in my nature to do so. I need to test my limit. Just that one time …


*With limit I mean my own limit. I am nowhere near the margin limit of Lynx. They offer up to 8x leverage which in my mind is totally crazy. My own imposed limit is 2x leverage. I am now well above that, approaching 2,5x leverage.

Special circumstance investing – July update

I had good hopes that I would do 0 trades in July. If you are a sloth less is more and nothing is bliss! Alas, the market continued to serve me with some juicy targets so I just HAD to take a swing at them.

What did I do

The ADM put I sold in June expired out of the money so that premium is completely in the pocket! When selling options time is indeed on your side. I love the time decay as it means that I am making money when sleeping or sitting on the toilet …

Last month I told you how I jumped on AB Inbev below 100 euro in the girlfriends portfolio. I really wanted to do it in my own portfolio as well but my money was already pulling double duty for the put with expiry July AND a put expiry August. I eagerly awaiting 21st July. Luck was on my side and AB inbev was still below 100 euro that day. With ADM well above 41 USD and no change of exercise anymore I jumped on the AB Inbev trade with full force. Sold 4 put contracts for expiry December 2017 at strike 100. Got less of a premium than the girlfriend (only 6,25 euro) but with double the amount of puts this trade will net me 2 492,80 euro! I was really lucky because a few days after this AB Inbev published results and the stock went above 100 euro again. Sometimes luck favors the lazy!

Remember I already made 780 euro on AB inbev when it went below 100 euro back in March of this year. These two trades would account for more than 1/4 the of what I would need from investments once I pull the plug and only work three months a year. Back in February I wrote : ‘It is my long held belief that an investor only needs a handful of quality stocks he knows really, really well and a good understanding of all the possibilities of options to do very well for himself.‘ I am even more convinced of this now.

Small explication for the higher amount of puts here. The cash I use here is actually there so I could unwind my leveraged construction if necessary. The longer this construction runs the less cash I need. Because of rising share prices and because 6 months have passed I was comfortable putting 20.000 USD at work (2x times) for writing puts that should not be exercised. But in December the construction will almost be at its end date which means that by then the full cash amount should be available. And that is why I set 40.000 USD at work for the December expiry. I’d like to say I have a spreadsheet that makes all of this more clearly but it’s all in my head (and it’s a mess up there).So small recap, I have:

-a leveraged construction for 450.000 USD with end date January 2018

This pays an upfront cash premium of around 40.000 USD which I use to pay the financing fees and keep so I could unwind the construction if necessary. But also to write puts

– 5 puts on ADM, expiry 08/2017 strike 40 (so 20.000 USD at risk)

-4 puts on AB Inbev, expiry 12/17 strike 100 (so 40.000 USD at risk)

The 21st of July was a very good day for me. I got to write the AB Inbev put but since it was an official holiday in Belgium I also had the day off.  The girlfriend was in Ghent for the festivities there and what do I do when I am home alone? Yep, day trading! And it was a good day for trading: 450 USD of profits! Can  we have more official holidays at option expiry days? I did a little bit of day trading on two other days in July so total profits are 570 USD.

So three days of option writing and day trading in July (and it only took a couple of hours per day) earned me a grand total of around 3.000 euro. An amount that far surpasses my wages from work which sit around 2.000 euro and for which I need to go to Brussels 22 times and work 7,5 hours a day. Too bad not every month is like this because otherwise I could pull the plug on work now.

The girlfriends portfolio

I didn’t do any trades in the girlfriends portfolio this month. UVXY did shoot up the last two days so I might do the UVXY put in her portfolio over the next couple of days. Thinking about it …

I did repeat the AB Inbev put in my parents portfolio on the 3th of July because I forgot their log-in on the 30th of June. So 2 more puts on ABI strike 100, expiry 12/2017. My forgetfulness cost my parents 30 euro since they got 1516 euro in premiums and the girlfriend got 1546 euro the Friday before. Sorry mom and dad!

With AB Inbev now firmly above 100 euro I am looking for a new target to double up in both the girlfriend portfolio and my parents and do another put option. ADM price is too high. Been thinking about Ahold Delhaize, it still hasn’t fully recovered from the price drop a few weeks ago. I like the premium for strike 17,50 in September quit a bit …

Damn, I might do it on Monday which would technically make it a July trade. Screw it, not going to rewrite this post. I’ll just post it in the comments.

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