Basic Money Management Strategy

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Money Management

Money management is a vital element of trading. When applied to a high risk, high return form of investing such as binary options, it becomes even more important. Here, we explain the basic concept of money management, before expanding on the subject further, and exploring wider money strategy.

Basics Of Money Management

Money management and risk control are key for successful trading. When I say key what I mean is that money management, as a form of risk control, is how you protect yourself from yourself, how you eliminate (to the extent you can) fear and greed, how you ensure you never wipe yourself out of the market and can always come back to trade again.

It is the process of managing your total investing capital. Most people will understand that risking the entire sum in one trade is a bad idea. Likewise, many people will understand why ‘portfolio’ management includes allocation and diversification elements. Similar principles apply when managing a binary options bankroll.

Beyond those more obvious benefits however, are the ways it provides more subtle help for traders. The ability to make decisions with more clarity, the security of knowing there will be money to trade with in future and the knowledge that growth will lead to further growth without any increased risk or planning.

There are many ways to do it. Money management – true money management – is a method to control risk while allowing you the freedom to trade, and for profitable positions to make as much money as they can.

Strategies

The most widely used method of money management is called the Percent Rule:

Percent Rule

The Percent Rule says that each and every trade is always X% of your account. Cautious traders may go as low as 1%. Riskier traders may go as high as 5%, but regardless the amount it is always the same. There are a couple of reasons why this system works so well, and why so many traders like to use it.

  • It takes the guesswork out of trade size and is crucial in terms of trading psychology. There is never a question of how much should this trade be or letting your emotions make decisions for you. A fearful trader may make a trade that is too small even when the signal is really good, an overly confident trader may make trades that are too big, even when the signals aren’t great. This method leaves your mind free and clear to focus on what is really important, the signals and how to trade them.
  • Using a percent rather than a set amount means that the size of your trade will grow, or shrink, with your account. This means that if you have a losing streak you will make successive smaller trades. No one trade ever large enough to wipe you out and no losing streak so bad it will wipe you out either. On the flipside, as your account grows so to will the % you trade so that your profits will grow too. An amount like 5% may seem small when you are trading $20 to make $36 but it’s no different than trading $2000 to make $3600, if that is what 5% of your account is.
  • The Percent Rule doesn’t so much boost confidence as removes an obstacle that may shake what confidence you already have. At the same time it keeps your account safe long enough to gain some experience, and by extension the confidence that comes with achieving a goal. When it comes to trading, confidence is what pays the bills, anyone can spot a signal but only a confident trader will trade it and be able to walk away without spilling a tear if it loses.

This is how it works. If your first deposit is $500 then a 5% trade size is $25. To keep things simple I would trade $25 until the account was $550, then the trade size ups to $27.5. If you lose then the account falls to $475 and you reduce your trade size. In this case that would be $23.75, if your broker doesn’t let you enter pennies into the trade amount then I would round down rather than up to err on the safe side.

When it comes to adjusting your trade size it is just as important to raise it as it is to lower it, you don’t want to cut yourself out of profits you should have made by trading only trading 3% or 4% of your account when you should have been trading 5%.

If you become emotional over losing money and decide to recoup those losses by trading larger and larger sizes (e.g., a Martingale-like strategy), you will inevitably crash and burn eventually and end up with nothing. Martingale strategies have permanently ended many trading careers.

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You will find that many of the best traders in the world scoff at the Martingale concept and for good reason. They never turn out pretty and fundamentally restrict the maximum trade size you can make. For instance, the current maximum trade size on 24option is $20,000, but investing $1,000 per trade would be imprudent in that you wouldn’t be able to sustain more than four losses in a row before you would no longer be able to recover those losses (and be $31,000 in the hole assuming a simple double-up type of Martingale).

Systems

While it’s important to set personal rules (e.g., trade only with the trend, no more than three trades per day) and attainable short-term goals (e.g., achieve an ITM percentage of 60% or higher), which may differ from those of other traders, I feel a big mistake is to set a monetary goal that must be met by a certain date or, worse yet, every single day.

It is very difficult to become emotionally detached from your trading when certain profit goals are wrongly taking priority. I used profit goals when I first began trading, and I found that they were nothing but a distraction that led me to make bad trading decisions and losses I could have avoided.

Calculator

Calculating your risk in binary options is actually very easy. With the 5% rule, for every $1000 in your account you can afford to expose $50 at any single time. This means all trades are $50 until you begin to win or lose and have to make an adjustment. So, after reading this your first step is to identify and sign up with a broker that will allow you to place trades within the confines of your acceptable risk appetite.

The calculation needs to be based on your appetite for risk too. A 5% plan is fine, but is probably still at the higher end of the risk scale. A 1% per trade strategy will reduce risk even further. This might be helpful for those just starting out in binary options. As noted above however, the minimum trade size available with your broker, may dictate the smallest percentage you can trade with.

6 Simple Strategies for Better Money Management

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

This story appears in the December 2020 issue of . Subscribe »

Smart money management is about more than understanding the math. That part is simple: Spend less than you earn, and invest early and often so compounding will make you rich when you’re old.

The numbers aren’t difficult, but the psychological and emotional hurdles that prevent most people from achieving their financial dreams are. It doesn’t have to be that way if you can stay on the right side of the mental issues surrounding your nest egg. Consider this list a mental reset button on your financial psyche.

There are no secrets. The basics of wealth building have been well-documented for centuries. Stop searching for shortcuts and secrets; focus instead on the simple things your parents and grandparents taught you, such as not to spend more money than you make. (If you need a place to start, pick up George S. Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon, first published in 1926.)

Happiness comes from managing expectations. You won’t find contentment by working harder to buy more stuff, because there’s always more stuff to be had. Escaping the trap is simple: Learn to be satisfied with what you have.

You can have anything you want but not everything you want. Cut expenses ruthlessly on the things that don’t matter so you can spend lavishly on the things that do. Love antique airplanes? Great. Don’t care so much about cars? Don’t overspend there.

Automate everything. When it comes to saving and investing, you are your own worst enemy. So remove yourself from the equation. Automate your savings, bill payments and investments. You’ll save time and hassle–and be less inclined to impulsively spend your retirement savings on a hot tub.

Perfect is the enemy of good enough. Too often we fail to act because we’re searching for the absolute, surefire way to invest or save. We do nothing instead. But action cures fear, and a decent or simply good outcome is always better than nothing.

Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame the president, your ex or your business partners for your financial situation. Your circumstances might not be entirely your fault, but they are your responsibility.

Nobody cares more about your money than you do, so don’t wait for someone else to tell you how to save or invest or get out of debt. You have the guts and the brains to run your own business. Do the same with your checkbook.

Early Retirement Made Easy

If I can offer only one piece of advice, it is this: Increase your saving rate. Most financial gurus advise people to save 10 percent of their income. Dear reader, that’s not enough. You need to save 30 or 40 percent of your income–better yet, shoot for 50. Do that, and early retirement will suddenly become a reality, not only because of all the money you’re socking away, but because of the stripped-down, affordable lifestyle you’ll be living in order to save that much. Instead of needing $100,000 a year during retirement, you’ll need only $50,000 to cover expenses. Bingo: You just moved your retirement date up by a year.

The Basics of Money Management

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Getting paid and money management can be tricky business because, in addition to customers, cash flow and managing your accounts properly is what keeps your business humming along. Consequently, getting paid in full and on time, as well as understanding money management, has to become a priority, even if you elect to hire an accountant or bookkeeper to manage the books. You will still need to familiarize yourself with basic bookkeeping and money management principles and activities such as understanding credit, reading bank statements and tax forms, and making sense of accounts receivable and payable. You also have to give careful consideration to the purchase payment options you offer customers, including cash, checks, debit cards, credit cards and online payment options, as well as establishing payment terms and debt collection in the event of nonpayment.

Opening a Bank Account

Once you’ve chosen a name and registered your business, you will need to open a commercial bank account. Setting up a business bank account is easy. Start by selecting the bank you want to work with–think small-business-friendly–and call to arrange an appointment to open an account. There’s not much more required than that. However, when you go, make sure you take personal identification as well as your business name registration papers and business license, because these are usually required to open a commercial bank account. The next step will be to deposit funds into your new account (even $100 is okay). If your credit is sound, also ask the bank to attach a line of credit to your account, which can prove very useful when making purchases for the business or during slow sales periods to cover overhead until business increases. Also be sure to ask about a credit card merchant account, debit account, and other small business services.

Bookkeeping

When it comes time to set up your financial books, you have two options–do it yourself or hire an accountant or bookkeeper. You might want to do both by keeping your own books and hiring an accountant to prepare year-end financial statements and tax forms. If you opt to keep your own books, make sure you invest in accounting software such as Quickbooks or Quicken because they’re easy to use and makes bookkeeping almost enjoyable. Most accounting software programs allow you to create invoices, track bank account balances and merchant account information, and keep track of accounts payable and receivable.

If you’re unsure about your bookkeeping abilities even with the aid of accounting software, you may wish to hire a bookkeeper to do your books on a monthly basis and a chartered accountant to audit the books quarterly and prepare year-end business statements and tax returns. To find an accountant or bookkeeper in your area, you can contact the U.S. Association of Chartered Accountants or the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers . In Canada, you can contact the Chartered Accountants of Canada or the Canadian Bookkeepers Association .

If you’re only washing windows on weekends to earn a few extra bucks, there’s little need for accounting software or accountant services. Simply invest in a basic ledger and record all business costs and sales. Since you are doing it on your own, be sure to use a commonsense approach when calculating how much to invest in your business vs. expected revenues and profits. Also remember to keep all business and tax records in a dry and secure place for up to seven years. This is the maximum amount of time the IRS and Revenue Canada can request past business revenue and expense information.

Accepting Cash, Checks and Debit Cards

In today’s super-competitive business environment, you must provide customers with many ways to pay, including cash, debit card, credit card and electronic cash. There is a cost to provide these payment options–account fees, transaction fees, equipment rental and merchant fees based on a percentage of the total sales value. But these expenses must be viewed as a cost of doing business in the 21st century. You can, however, reduce fees by shopping for the best service with the best prices. Not all banks, merchant accounts and payment processing services are the same, and fees vary widely. You can also check with small business associations such as the chamber of commerce to see if they offer member discounts; it’s not uncommon to save as much as 2 percent on credit card merchant fees. Just remember, consumers expect choices when it comes time to pay for their purchases, and if you elect not to provide these choices, expect fewer sales.

Cash is the first way to get paid, which is great because it’s liquid and there’s no processing time required. As fast as the cash comes in, you can use it to pay bills and invest in business-building activities to increase revenues and profits. The major downside is that cash is risky because you could get robbed or lose it. In cases like that, collecting from your insurance company could prove difficult if there’s no paper transaction as proof. Even if you prefer not to receive cash, there are people who will pay in cash, so get in the habit of making daily bank deposits during daylight hours. Also invest in a good-quality safe for cash storage for times when you cannot get to the bank.

If you’re running a service business, one the most popular way people still pay for services is with a check. You have to take a few precautions to ensure you don’t get left holding a rubber check, especially when dealing with new clients. Ask to see a photo ID and write the customer’s driver’s license number on the check. If the amount of the check exceeds a few hundred dollars, ask the buyer to get the check certified or pay with a bank draft instead, especially if the client is new to your business. Also get in the habit of checking dates and dollar amounts to make sure they are right. I have been caught a few times with wrong dates and dollar amounts and it can be time-consuming to have to get a new check because of a simple error.

Debit cards are another option, but to accept them, you will need to buy or rent a debit card terminal. Most banks and credit unions offer business clients debit card equipment and services. The processing equipment will set you back about $40 per month for a terminal connected to a conventional telephone line and about $100 per month for a cellular terminal, plus the cost of the telephone line or cellular service. There is also a transaction fee charged by the bank and payable by you every time there is a debit card transaction, which ranges from 10 cents to 50 cents per transaction, based on variables such as dollar value and frequency of use.

Opening a Credit Card Merchant Account

Many consumers have replaced paper money altogether in favor of plastic for buying goods and services. In fact, giving your customers the option to pay for purchases with a credit card is often crucial to success. This is especially true if you plan to do business on the web because credit cards and electronic cash are used to complete almost all web sales and financial transactions. To offer customers credit card payment options, you will need to open a credit card merchant account. Get started by visiting your bank or credit union or by contacting a merchant account broker such as 1st American Card Service , Cardservice International or Merchant Account Express to inquire about opening an account. Providing your credit is sound, you will run into few obstacles. If your credit is poor, you may have difficulties opening a merchant account or have to provide a substantial security deposit. If you are still unsuccessful, the next best option is to open an account with an online payment service provider, which is discussed in the next section.

The advantages of opening a credit card merchant account enabling you to accept credit card payments are numerous. In fact, studies have proven that merchants who accept credit cards can increase sales by up to 50 percent. Not to mention that you can accept credit card payments online, over the telephone, by mail and in person, as well as sell services on an installment basis by obtaining permission to charge your customer’s credit card monthly or per agreement. Of course, all these benefits come at a cost, especially when you consider that you’ll have to pay an application fee, setup fee, purchase or rent processing equipment and software, pay administration and statement fees, and pay processing and transaction fees ranging from 2 to 8 percent on total sales volume. Once again, these fees must be viewed as the cost of doing business.

Online Payment Services

Online payment services allow people and businesses to exchange currency electronically over the internet. These services are very popular with consumers and merchants. PayPal is one of the more popular online payment services with more than 40 million members in 45 countries, offering personal and business account services. Both types of accounts allow funds to be transferred electronically among members, but only the business account enables merchants to accept credit card payments for goods and services. The advantages of online payment services are that they’re quick, easy and cheap to open, regardless of your credit rating or anticipated sales volumes, and you can receive payment from any customer with an e-mail account. You can have the funds deposited directly into your account, have a check issued and mailed, or leave funds in your account to draw on using your debit card. The only real disadvantage is that most services redirect your customers to their website to complete the transaction. This can confuse people who in some cases will abandon the purchase. Nonetheless, the advantages of online payment services far outweigh any disadvantages.

Establishing Payment Terms

Every small-business owner also needs to establish a payment-terms policy. Although you certainly want to standardize the way you get paid, at the same time you will also have to be flexible enough to meet clients’ needs on an individual basis. Setting payment terms covers deposits, progress payments and extending credit. It’s important to establish clear, written payment terms with clients prior to providing services or delivering product. Your payment terms should be printed on your estimate forms, included in formal contracts and work orders, and printed on your final invoices and monthly account statements.

Securing Deposits

If you’re run a service business, you have to get in the habit of asking clients for a deposit prior to providing services, especially if the work also involves product sales that have to be paid for by you in advance. In this case, the deposit should be for at least the value of the materials. If you’re supplying labor only, try to secure a deposit of at least one-third to one-half of the total value of the contract in advance of providing any services. Your order form or contract should have the deposit information clearly stated. Information on canceled orders or contracts and your refund policy should also be on your forms. Securing a deposit is your best way of ensuring that, at minimum, basic out-of-pocket costs are covered should the customer cancel the job or contract.

Progress Payments

Progress payments are also a way to ensure that you do not leave yourself open to financial risk. The key to successfully securing progress payments is to prearrange your contract and payment terms. Agree on the amount that will be due at various stages of the project. You can use percentages to calculate the progress payments, such as 25 percent deposit, 25 percent upon delivery of any materials, 25 percent upon substantial completion, and the balance at completion or within 30 days of substantial completion. Or you may arrange for more concrete progress payments based on indicators that are relevant to the specific scope of work, the job or the services provided. Regardless of the system you use, progress payments on larger jobs can dramatically lessen your exposure to financial risk.

Extending Credit

In most cases there’s no need to extend credit to consumers unless you deliver a service such as pest control that’s billed monthly or a major contract that is completed in stages. As a general rule, when a transaction is complete you should be paid in full. However, in the case of business-to-business sales, commercial clients will generally want some type of credit on a revolving-account basis, such as 30, 60, 90 or sometimes 120 days after delivery of the product or completion of the service. Ideally, you want to be paid as quickly as possible, so you might want to offer a 2-percent discount if invoices are paid within one week. And if you do extend credit, make sure to conduct a credit check first, especially when large sums of money are at stake. There are three major credit-reporting agencies serving the United States and Canada: Trans Union, Equifaxand Experian. All three credit bureaus compile and maintain credit files on just about every person, business and organization that has ever applied for credit.

Debt Collection

No matter how careful you are when it comes to extending credit privileges to customers, once in a while you will not be paid on time or at all. What can you do to get paid? The first rule of getting paid is to keep the lines of communication open with your delinquent client, and keep the pressure on to get paid through the use of nonthreatening telephone calls, letters and personal visits. You cannot legally intimidate clients into paying you, but you can explain why it is in their best interest to pay you–namely, to keep your business relationship intact, that nonpayment can hurt their credit rating or that you may sue them if they do not pay.

Another option is to hire a collection agency to collect the outstanding debt. Collection agencies generally charge a percentage of the total amount owed as their fee, which can range up to as much as 50 percent. The Association of Credit and Collection Professionalsis a good starting point for finding a collection agency to work with.

Your final option is to take the delinquent account to small-claims court, but remember that small-claims courts have limits as to how much you can sue for in your state or province, ranging from $1,500 to $25,000. Filing fees vary by state and province as well, and these must be paid upfront. But if you win, the fees are added to your award. As a rule of thumb, small-business owners that take people to court for nonpayment generally represent themselves, as the amount of the potential award is usually small and doesn’t justify lawyers’ fees and expenses. Even if you win, you will not necessarily be paid the amount you’re awarded. You may win a judgment, but still have to chase the defendant through garnishment of income or seizure of assets to get paid. You can learn more about the small-claims court process and filing fees by contacting your local courthouse.

James Stephenson invests his 15 years of small business, marketing and sales experience into his books. He has started and operated numerous successful home based businesses, and is the author of Ultimate Start-Up Directoryand Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide, as well as the 202 Series.

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