Tips for successful online binary options trading in 2020

Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
  • Binarium
    Binarium

    1st Place! Best Binary Broker 2020!
    Best Choice for Beginners — Free Education + Free Demo Acc!
    Sign-up and Get Big Bonus:

  • Binomo
    Binomo

    2nd place! Good choice!

Contents

How to Succeed with Binary Options Trading 2020

Welcome to the largest expert guide to binary options and binary trading online. BinaryOptions.net has educated traders globally since 2020 and all our articles are written by professionals who make a living in the finance industry and online trading. We have close to a thousand articles and reviews to guide you to be a more profitable trader in 2020 no matter what your current experience level is. If you wish to discuss trading or brokers with other traders, we also have the world’s largest forum with over 20 000 members and lots of daily activity. Read on to get started trading today!

Top Brokers

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Quick Links

What is a Binary Option and How Do You Make Money?

A binary option is a fast and extremely simple financial instrument which allows investors to speculate on whether the price of an asset will go up or down in the future, for example the stock price of Google, the price of Bitcoin, the USD/GBP exchange rate, or the price of gold. The time span can be as little as 60 seconds, making it possible to trade hundreds of times per day across any global market.

Before you place a trade you know exactly how much you stand to gain if your prediction is correct, usually 70-95% – if you invest $100 you will receive a credit of $170 – $195 on a successful trade. This makes risk management and trading decisions much more simple. The outcome is always a Yes or No answer – you either win it all or you lose it all – hence it being a “binary” option. The risk and reward is known in advance and this structured payoff is one of the attractions.

Exchange traded binaries are also now available, meaning traders are not trading against the broker.

To get started trading you first need a regulated broker account (or licensed). Pick one from the recommended brokers list, where only brokers that have shown themselves to be trustworthy are included. The top broker has been selected as the best choice for most traders.

If you are completely new to binary options you can open a demo account with most brokers, to try out their platform and see what it’s like to trade before you deposit real money.

Introduction Video – How to Trade Binary Options

These videos will introduce you to the concept of binary options and how trading works. If you want to know even more details, please read this whole page and follow the links to all the more in-depth articles. Binary trading does not have to be complicated, but as with any topic you can educate yourself to be an expert and perfect your skills.

Option Types

The most common type of binary option is the simple “Up/Down” trade. There are however, different types of option. The one common factor, is that the outcome will have a “binary” result (Yes or No). Here are some of the types available:

  • Up/Down or High/Low – The basic and most common binary option. Will a price finish higher or lower than the current price a the time of expiry.
  • In/Out, Range or Boundary – This option sets a “high” figure and “low” figure. Traders predict whether the price will finish within, or outside, of these levels (or ‘boundaries’).
  • Touch/No Touch – These have set levels, higher or lower than the current price. The trader has to predict whether the actual price will ‘touch’ those levels at any point between the time of the trade an expiry.
    Note with a touch option, that the trade can close before the expiry time – if the price level is touched before the option expires, then the “Touch” option will payout immediately, regardless of whether the price moves away from the touch level afterwards.
  • Ladder – These options behave like a normal Up/Down trade, but rather than using the current strike price, the ladder will have preset price levels (‘laddered’ progressively up or down).These can often be some way from the current strike price.As these options generally need a significant price move, payouts will often go beyond 100% – but both sides of the trade may not be available.

How to Trade – Step by Step Guide

Below is a step by step guide to placing a binary trade:

  1. Choose a broker – Use our broker reviews and comparison tools to find the best binary trading site for you.
  2. Select the asset or market to trade – Assets lists are huge, and cover Commodities, Stocks, Cryptocurrency, Forex or Indices. The price of oil, or the Apple stock price, for example.
  3. Select the expiry time – Options can expire anywhere between 30 seconds up to a year.
  4. Set the size of the trade – Remember 100% of the investment is at risk so consider the trade amount carefully.
  5. Click Call / Put or Buy / Sell – Will the asset value rise or fall? Some broker label buttons differently.
  6. Check and confirm the trade – Many brokers give traders a chance to ensure the details are correct before confirming the trade.

Choose a Broker

Options fraud has been a significant problem in the past. Fraudulent and unlicensed operators exploited binary options as a new exotic derivative. These firms are thankfully disappearing as regulators have finally begun to act, but traders still need to look for regulated brokers.

Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
  • Binarium
    Binarium

    1st Place! Best Binary Broker 2020!
    Best Choice for Beginners — Free Education + Free Demo Acc!
    Sign-up and Get Big Bonus:

  • Binomo
    Binomo

    2nd place! Good choice!

Note! Don’t EVER trade with a broker or use a service that’s on our blacklist and scams page, stick with the ones we recommend here on the site. Here are some shortcuts to pages that can help you determine which broker is right for you:

  • Compare all brokers – if you want to compare the features and offers of all recommended brokers.
  • Bonuses and Offers – if you want to make sure you get extra money to trade with, or other promotions and offers.
  • Low minimum deposit brokers – if you want to trade for real without having to deposit large sums of money.
  • Demo Accounts – if you want to try a trading platform “for real” without depositing money at all.
  • Halal Brokers – if you are one of the growing number of Muslim traders.

Asset Lists

The number and diversity of assets you can trade varies from broker to broker. Most brokers provide options on popular assets such as major forex pairs including the EUR/USD, USD/JPY and GBP/USD, as well as major stock indices such as the FTSE, S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrial. Commodities including gold, silver, oil are also generally offered.

Individual stocks and equities are also tradable through many binary brokers. Not every stock will be available though, but generally you can choose from about 25 to 100 popular stocks, such as Google and Apple. These lists are growing all the time as demand dictates.

The asset lists are always listed clearly on every trading platform, and most brokers make their full asset lists available on their website. This information is also available within our reviews, including currency pairs.

Expiry Times

The expiry time is the point at which a trade is closed and settled. The only exception is where a ‘Touch’ option has hit a preset level prior to expiry. The expiry for any given trade can range from 30 seconds, up to a year. While binaries initially started with very short expiries, demand has ensured there is now a broad range of expiry times available. Some brokers even give traders the flexibility to set their own specific expiry time.

Expiries are generally grouped into three categories:

  • Short Term / Turbo – These are normally classed as any expiry under 5 minutes
  • Normal – These would range from 5 minutes, up to ‘end of day’ expiries which expire when the local market for that asset closes.
  • Long term – Any expiry beyond the end of the day would be considered long term. The longest expiry might be 12 months.

Regulation

While slow to react to binary options initially, regulators around the world are now starting to regulate the industry and make their presence felt. The major regulators currently include:

  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – UK regulator
  • Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec) – Cyprus Regulator, often ‘passported’ throughout the EU, under MiFID
  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) – US regulator
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

There are also regulators operating in Malta and the Isle of Man. Many other authorities are now taking a keen a interest in binaries specifically, notably in Europe where domestic regulators are keen to bolster the CySec regulation.

Unregulated brokers still operate, and while some are trustworthy, a lack of regulation is a clear warning sign for potential new customers.

Recently, ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority) moved to ban the sale and marketing of binary options in the EU. The ban however, only applies to brokers regulated in the EU. This leaves traders two choices to keep trading: Firstly, they can trade with an unregulated firm – this is extremely high risk and not advisable. Some unregulated firms are responsible and honest, but many are not.

The second choice is to use a firm regulated by bodies outside of the EU. ASIC in Australia are a strong regulator – but they will not be implementing a ban. This means ASIC regulated firms can still accept EU traders. See our broker lists for regulated or trusted brokers in your region.

There is also a third option. Traders who register as ‘professional’ are exempt from the new ban. The ban is only designed to protect ‘retail’ investors. A professional trader can continue trading at EU regulated brokers such as IQ Option. To be classed as professional, an account holder must meet two of these three criteria:

  1. Open 10 or more trades per quarter, of €150 or more.
  2. Have assets of €500,000 or more
  3. Have worked for two years in a financial firm and have experience of financial products.

Yes, trading binary options is legal in the US. The US binary options market is strictly regulated. These safeguards are in place to protect US residents, but trading is absolutely legal.

What is illegal, is for non-US based brokers (‘off shore’ brokers) to solicit US residents. It is this which has resulted in some binary options brokers receiving heavy fines, and the majority not accepting traders based in the USA. There are however, a number of options for US traders, where they can trade legally, at reputable brokers, fully regulated by the CFTC.

The US Binary options brokers list above, is tailored to display only brokers that accept US clients. Nadex and CBOE remain the only regulated exchanges however. The Nadex offering delivers binary options that mimic futures contracts more familiar to US pattern day traders.

Binary options trading in the USA

Most binary options brokers operate accounts in USD. This is seen as the ‘global currency’ within the binary options industry and therefore US clients are free to trade with funds in their local currency.

Binary options brokers will generally have their trading platform open when the market of the underlying asset is open. So if trading the NYSE, Nasdaq, DOW or S&P, the assets will be open to trade during the same hours as those markets are open. Any moves by the Federal reserve for example, will feed into binary markets immediately, just as you would expect.

Forex trading has no central market, and as such USD pairs can generally be traded around the clock for 5 days a week. Markets in Hong Kong, Europe and the US, mean that foreign currency can be traded 24 hours a day.

US Traders also have the option of using exchange traded binary options, or an over the counter (OTC) broker. So binary options trading in the US, generally delivers the same level of choice trading in Europe, but in a more closely regulated market.

Some of the links to third party websites included on our website are affiliate links. This means that we may receive commission or a fee if you click on a link that takes you through to a third party website or if you purchase a product from a third party website.

Strategies and Guides

We have a lot of detailed guides and strategy articles for both general education and specialized trading techniques. Below are a few to get you started if you want to learn the basic before you start trading. From Martingale to Rainbow, you can find plenty more on the strategy page.

Signals and Other Services

For further reading on signals and reviews of different services go to the signals page.

Beginners Guides

If you are totally new to the trading scene then watch this great video by Professor Shiller of Yale University who introduces the main ideas of options:

Education for beginners:

Types of Trades

How to Set Up a Trade

The ability to trade the different types of binary options can be achieved by understanding certain concepts such as strike price or price barrier, settlement, and expiration date. All trades have dates at which they expire.

When the trade expires, the behaviour of the price action according to the type selected will determine if it’s in profit (in the money) or in a loss position (out-of-the-money). In addition, the price targets are key levels that the trader sets as benchmarks to determine outcomes. We will see the application of price targets when we explain the different types.

There are three types of trades. Each of these has different variations. These are:

Let us take them one after the other.

High/Low

Also called the Up/Down binary trade, the essence is to predict if the market price of the asset will end up higher or lower than the strike price (the selected target price) before the expiration. If the trader expects the price to go up (the “Up” or “High” trade), he purchases a call option. If he expects the price to head downwards (“Low” or “Down”), he purchases a put option. Expiry times can be as low as 5 minutes.

Please note: some brokers classify Up/Down as a different types, where a trader purchases a call option if he expects the price to rise beyond the current price, or purchases a put option if he expects the price to fall below current prices. You may see this as a Rise/Fall type on some trading platforms.

In/Out

The In/Out type, also called the “tunnel trade” or the “boundary trade”, is used to trade price consolidations (“in”) and breakouts (“out”). How does it work? First, the trader sets two price targets to form a price range. He then purchases an option to predict if the price will stay within the price range/tunnel until expiration (In) or if the price will breakout of the price range in either direction (Out).

The best way to use the tunnel binaries is to use the pivot points of the asset. If you are familiar with pivot points in forex, then you should be able to trade this type.

Touch/No Touch

This type is predicated on the price action touching a price barrier or not. A “Touch” option is a type where the trader purchases a contract that will deliver profit if the market price of the asset purchased touches the set target price at least once before expiry. If the price action does not touch the price target (the strike price) before expiry, the trade will end up as a loss.

A “No Touch” is the exact opposite of the Touch. Here you are betting on the price action of the underlying asset not touching the strike price before the expiration.

There are variations of this type where we have the Double Touch and Double No Touch. Here the trader can set two price targets and purchase a contract that bets on the price touching both targets before expiration (Double Touch) or not touching both targets before expiration (Double No Touch). Normally you would only employ the Double Touch trade when there is intense market volatility and prices are expected to take out several price levels.

Some brokers offer all three types, while others offer two, and there are those that offer only one variety. In addition, some brokers also put restrictions on how expiration dates are set. In order to get the best of the different types, traders are advised to shop around for brokers who will give them maximum flexibility in terms of types and expiration times that can be set.

Mobile Apps

Trading via your mobile has been made very easy as all major brokers provide fully developed mobile trading apps. Most trading platforms have been designed with mobile device users in mind. So the mobile version will be very similar, if not the same, as the full web version on the traditional websites.

Brokers will cater for both iOS and Android devices, and produce versions for each. Downloads are quick, and traders can sign up via the mobile site as well. Our reviews contain more detail about each brokers mobile app, but most are fully aware that this is a growing area of trading. Traders want to react immediately to news events and market updates, so brokers provide the tools for clients to trade wherever they are.

Trading FAQ

What Does Binary Options Mean?

“Binary options” means, put very simply, a trade where the outcome is a ‘binary’ Yes/No answer. These options pay a fixed amount if they win (known as “in the money”), but the entire investment is lost, if the binary trade loses. So, in short, they are a form of fixed return financial options.

How Does a Stock Trade Work?

Steps to trade a stock via a binary option;

  1. Select the stock or equity.
  2. Identify the desired expiry time (The time the option will end).
  3. Enter the size of the trade or investment
  4. Decide if the value will rise or fall and place a put or call

The steps above will be the same at every single broker. More layers of complexity can be added, but when trading equities the simple Up/Down trade type remains the most popular.

Put and Call Options

Call and Put are simply the terms given to buying or selling an option. If a trader thinks the underlying price will go up in value, they can open a call. But where they expect the price to go down, they can place a put trade.

Different trading platforms label their trading buttons different, some even switch between Buy/Sell and Call/Put. Others drop the phrases put and call altogether. Almost every trading platform will make it absolutely clear which direction a trader is opening an option in.

Are Binary Options a Scam?

As a financial investment tool they in themselves not a scam, but there are brokers, trading robots and signal providers that are untrustworthy and dishonest.

The point is not to write off the concept of binary options, based solely on a handful of dishonest brokers. The image of these financial instruments has suffered as a result of these operators, but regulators are slowly starting to prosecute and fine the offenders and the industry is being cleaned up. Our forum is a great place to raise awareness of any wrongdoing.

These simple checks can help anyone avoid the scams:

  • Marketing promising huge returns. This is clear warning sign. Binaries are a high risk / high reward tool – they are not a “make money online” scheme and should not be sold as such. Operators making such claims are very likely to be untrustworthy.
  • Know the broker. Some operators will ‘funnel’ new customer to a broker they partner with, so the person has no idea who their account is with. A trader should know the broker they are going to trade with! These funnels often fall into the “get rich quick” marketing discussed earlier.
  • Cold Calls. Professional brokers will not make cold calls – they do not market themselves in that way. Cold calls will often be from unregulated brokers interested only in getting an initial deposit. Proceed extremely carefully if joining a company that got in contact this way. This would include email contact as well – any form of contact out of the blue.
  • Terms and Conditions. When taking a bonus or offer, read the full terms and conditions. Some will include locking in an initial deposit (in addition to the bonus funds) until a high volume of trades have been made. The first deposit is the trader’s cash – legitimate brokers would not claim it as theirs before any trading. Some brokers also offer the option of cancelling a bonus if it does not fit the needs of the trader.
  • Do not let anyone trade for you. Avoid allowing any “account manager” to trade for you. There is a clear conflict of interest, but these employees of the broker will encourage traders to make large deposits, and take greater risks . Traders should not let anyone trade on their behalf.

Which Are The Best Trading Strategies?

Binary trading strategies are unique to each trade. We have a strategy section, and there are ideas that traders can experiment with. Technical analysis is of use to some traders, combined with charts, indicators and price action research. Money management is essential to ensure risk management is applied to all trading. Different styles will suit different traders and strategies will also evolve and change.

There is no single “best” strategy. Traders need to ask questions of their investing aims and risk appetite and then learn what works for them.

Are Binary Options Gambling?

This will depend entirely on the habits of the trader. With no strategy or research, then any short term investment is going to win or lose based only on luck. Conversely, a trader making a well researched trade will ensure they have done all they can to avoid relying on good fortune.

Binary options can be used to gamble, but they can also be used to make trades based on value and expected profits. So the answer to the question will come down to the trader.

Advantages of Binary Trading

The main benefit of binaries is the clarity of risk and reward and the structure of the trade.

Minimal Financial Risk

If you have traded forex or its more volatile cousins, crude oil or spot metals such as gold or silver, you will have probably learnt one thing: these markets carry a lot of risk and it is very easy to be blown off the market. Things like leverage and margin, news events, slippages and price re-quotes, etc can all affect a trade negatively. The situation is different in binary options trading. There is no leverage to contend with, and phenomena such as slippage and price re-quotes have no effect on binary option trade outcomes. This reduces the risk in binary option trading to the barest minimum.

Flexibility

The binary options market allows traders to trade financial instruments spread across the currency and commodity markets as well as indices and bonds. This flexibility is unparalleled, and gives traders with the knowledge of how to trade these markets, a one-stop shop to trade all these instruments.

Simplicity

A binary trade outcome is based on just one parameter: direction. The trader is essentially betting on whether a financial asset will end up in a particular direction. In addition, the trader is at liberty to determine when the trade ends, by setting an expiry date. This gives a trade that initially started badly the opportunity to end well. This is not the case with other markets. For example, control of losses can only be achieved using a stop loss. Otherwise, a trader has to endure a drawdown if a trade takes an adverse turn in order to give it room to turn profitable. The simple point being made here is that in binary options, the trader has less to worry about than if he were to trade other markets.

Greater Control of Trades

Traders have better control of trades in binaries. For example, if a trader wants to buy a contract, he knows in advance, what he stands to gain and what he will lose if the trade is out-of-the-money. This is not the case with other markets. For example, when a trader sets a pending order in the forex market to trade a high-impact news event, there is no assurance that his trade will be filled at the entry price or that a losing trade will be closed out at the exit stop loss.

Higher Payouts

The payouts per trade are usually higher in binaries than with other forms of trading. Some brokers offer payouts of up to 80% on a trade. This is achievable without jeopardising the account. In other markets, such payouts can only occur if a trader disregards all rules of money management and exposes a large amount of trading capital to the market, hoping for one big payout (which never occurs in most cases).

Accessibility

In order to trade the highly volatile forex or commodities markets, a trader has to have a reasonable amount of money as trading capital. For instance, trading gold, a commodity with an intra-day volatility of up to 10,000 pips in times of high volatility, requires trading capital in tens of thousands of dollars. However, binary options has much lower entry requirements, as some brokers allow people to start trading with as low as $10.

Disadvantages of Binary Trading

Reduced Trading Odds for Sure-Banker Trades

The payouts for binary options trades are drastically reduced when the odds for that trade succeeding are very high. While it is true that some trades offer as much as 85% payouts per trade, such high payouts are possible only when a trade is made with the expiry date set at some distance away from the date of the trade. Of course in such situations, the trades are more unpredictable.

Lack of Good Trading Tools

Some brokers do not offer truly helpful trading tools such as charts and features for technical analysis to their clients. Experienced traders can get around this by sourcing for these tools elsewhere; inexperienced traders who are new to the market are not as fortunate. This is changing for the better though, as operators mature and become aware of the need for these tools to attract traders.

Limitations on Risk Management

Unlike in forex where traders can get accounts that allow them to trade mini- and micro-lots on small account sizes, many binary option brokers set a trading floor; minimum amounts which a trader can trade in the market. This makes it easier to lose too much capital when trading binaries. As an illustration, a forex broker may allow you to open an account with $200 and trade micro-lots, which allows a trader to expose only acceptable amounts of his capital to the market. However, you will be hard put finding many binary brokers that will allow you to trade below $50, even with a $200 account. In this situation, four losing trades will blow the account.

Cost of Losing Trades

Unlike in other markets where the risk/reward ratio can be controlled and set to give an edge to winning trades, the odds of binary options tilt the risk-reward ratio in favour of losing trades.

Trade Corrections

When trading a market like the forex or commodities market, it is possible to close a trade with minimal losses and open another profitable one, if a repeat analysis of the trade reveals the first trade to have been a mistake. Where binaries are traded on an exchange, this is mitigated however.

Spot Forex vs Binary Trading

These are two different alternatives, traded with two different psychologies, but both can make sense as investment tools. One is more TIME centric and the other is more PRICE centric. They both work in time/price but the focus you will find from one to the other is an interesting split. Spot forex traders might overlook time as a factor in their trading which is a very very big mistake. The successful binary trader has a more balanced view of time/price, which simply makes him a more well rounded trader. Binaries by their nature force one to exit a position within a given time frame win or lose which instills a greater focus on discipline and risk management. In forex trading this lack of discipline is the #1 cause for failure to most traders as they will simply hold losing positions for longer periods of time and cut winning positions in shorter periods of time. In binary options that is not possible as time expires your trade ends win or lose. Below are some examples of how this works.

Above is a trade made on the EUR/USD buying in an under 10 minute window of price and time. As a binary trader this focus will naturally make you better than the below example, where a spot forex trader who focuses on price while ignoring the time element ends up in trouble. This psychology of being able to focus on limits and the dual axis will aid you in becoming a better trader overall.

The very advantage of spot trading is its very same failure – the expansion of profits exponentially from 1 point in price. This is to say that if you enter a position that you believe will increase in value and the price does not increase yet accelerates to the downside, the normal tendency for most spot traders is to wait it out or worse add to the losing positions as they figure it will come back. The acceleration in time to the opposite desired direction causes most spot traders to be trapped in unfavourable positions, all because they do not plan time into their reasoning, and this leads to a complete lack of trading discipline.

The nature of binary options force one to have a more complete mindset of trading off both Y = Price Range and X = Time Range as limits are applied. They will simply make you a better overall trader from the start. Conversely on the flip side, they by their nature require a greater win rate as each bet means a 70-90% gain vs a 100% loss. So your win rate needs to be on average 54%-58% to break even. This imbalance causes many traders to overtrade or revenge trade which is just as bad as holding/adding to losing positions as a spot forex trader. To successfully trade you need to practice money management and emotional control.

In conclusion, when starting out as a trader, binaries might offer a better foundation to learn trading. The simple reasoning is that the focus on TIME/PRICE combined is like looking both ways when crossing the street. The average spot forex trader only looks at price, which means he is only looking in one direction before crossing the street. Learning to trade taking both time and price into consideration should aid in making one a much overall trader.

Binary Options Day Trading 2020

Binary options trading hinges on a simple question – will the underlying asset be above or below a certain price at a specified time? If so, you can make substantial profits with one of the most straightforward financial instruments to trade. But what exactly are binary options, and what are their benefits and drawbacks? This page will answer those questions, as well as detailing how to start day trading binary options, including strategies, tips, and regional differences to be aware of. Use the broker top list to compare the best binary brokers for day trading 2020.

Binary Brokers

What Are Binary Options?

Firstly, let’s have a look at how it all works. Put simply, binary options are a derivative that can be traded on any instrument or market. They appeal because they are straightforward. You know precisely how much you could win, or lose before you make the trade. No complex maths and calculator is required. This is why they are also known as ‘all or nothing’ trades.

If you anticipate news announcements, quarterly reviews, or global trends, then you may be able to make an accurate determination as to whether the price is going to increase or decline at a certain point in the future, turning a profit.

There is a whole host of derivatives to choose between. You can trade binary options on commodity value, such as aluminium and crude oil. You can opt for a stock price, such as Amazon and Facebook. There are foreign exchange rate options, including all the major and minor pairs. Even cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are on the menu.

A Brief History

If you want to start trading binary options full-time, a detailed understanding of their origins will help. Binary or ‘digital’ options have been around for decades. Originally though, it was only large institutions and the fabulously wealthy that had access. However, 2008 saw the US Securities and Exchange Commission open the floodgates by allowing binary options to be traded through an exchange.

The internet and technology have since given the whole world access to these ‘digital’ options. As it stands, with low barriers to entry for savvy day traders and a simple to understand preposition, the demand for these digital trades will only increase.

Option Types

There are a number of different option types to choose from. The most popular types are listed in the brief glossary below.

  • Up/Down (High/Low) – The most simple and prevalent binary option. Will the price be higher or lower than the current price when the expiry time comes?
  • In/Out (Range or Boundary) – A ‘high’ and ‘low’ figure will be set. You are then making a determination as to whether the price will finish within or outside of these boundaries.
  • Touch/No Touch – Levels will be set that are either higher or lower than the current price. You then enter a position as to whether the price will ‘touch’ these levels between the time of trade and expiry. Payout will come as soon as the touch takes place.
  • Ladder – These are similar to up/down trades. However, instead of using the current price, the ladder will have pre-determined levels that are staggered up or down. These normally demand a substantial price move. The flip side of this is returns will frequently exceed 100%. Although it is worth noting, both sides of a trade are not always available.

Binary options

Expiry Times

Another important component of binary options is expiry times. This is when the trade will end and the point that determines whether you have won or lost. These times can range from 30 seconds and 1 minute (turbos) to a full day (end of day), and even up to a whole year.

As an intraday trader though, you will be more concerned with trading 5 and 30-minute binary options. Opt for binaries with 1 minute expiry times though and you have the ability to make a high number of trades in a single day.

Despite the somewhat negative reputation, the reality is binary options are legal. The majority of companies operate fairly. Opinions have been split because there are some out there that operate scams.

Regulation in certain regions has meant binaries have been withdrawn from the retail market. In the EU for example. But professional traders can still use them. In regions such as India and Australia, binary are legal – but traders should make sure they use a reputable broker, and read our section below on avoiding scams.

Scams & Frauds

The binary reputation has suffered from dishonest marketing and cybercrime. Too many unregulated brokers promise quick cash, whilst operating frauds. Regulators are on the case and this concern should soon be alleviated.

Binaries themselves are perfectly legitimate, but steer clear of ‘instant money’ promises, brokers that cold call, and celebrity endorsements, plus any claims that you can ‘start trading binary options for free’.

So it isn’t a question good or bad, it’s simply a question of being alert to the dangers and knowing what to look out for. If you’re unsure about a broker, ask the question in a live trading room to check they’re properly regulated.

Binary Options Vs CFD Trading

Although in some ways similar, there remain some crucial differences between binary options and CFDs. With CFDs, you have potentially unlimited risk. If the price of the asset moves significantly, the value of the trade can grow very large, very quickly – for better or worse.

Whereas binary options work slightly differently. Whilst you are still investing without owning the asset in question, the gain and loss rate is fixed. With a call option, it doesn’t matter if the price rockets, you retain the same percentage as if it rose by just a couple of pips.

Likewise, if the price sinks to zero, you’ll only lose what you put in. So, to define the difference – with binary options you get fixed risk.

Having said that, just as if it was binary options versus forex trading, you are restrained in your profit potential.

Why Trade Binary Options?

If you want to profit trading binary options, you need to first understand both their pros and cons. You need to make sure binary options will suit your trading style, risk tolerance, and capital requirements.

Advantages

There is a whole host of attractive benefits to trading with binary options. The greatest advantages have been outlined below.

  • Simplicity – Because you are making a determination on only one factor, direction, your bet is straightforward. The price can only go up or down. You also don’t need to concern yourself with when the trade will end, the expiry time takes care of that. Whereas in other markets, you may need a system to limit your losses, such as a stop-loss.
  • Fixed risk – Trade stocks, gold, and crude oil and you’ve got a vast number of factors to contend with, from slippage and margin to news events and price re-quotes. With binaries, your risk is kept to a minimum with far fewer parameters.
  • Trade control – Because you know what you may make or lose before you enter the trade, you have greater control from the start. Trade in stocks, for example, and you have no guarantee that your trade will make the entry price.
  • Profit potential – Compared to other trading, the returns in binaries are extremely attractive. Some brokerages promise payouts of up to 90% on a single trade. If you’re looking to make simple trades with large profit potential, binaries could well be worth a look in.
  • Choice – Rather than being constrained to a specific market, e.g. cryptocurrency or stocks, binary options gift traders the opportunity to trade instruments across virtually all markets, allowing you start currency, indices, and bonds trading if you so wish.
  • Accessibility –In the binary options game, it’s always the best trading hours somewhere on the globe. So, you can login at night, or on the weekends and join the groups of avid traders attempting to turn daily profits. Real-time charts are available for every market so if you’ve got the time you can invest 24 hours a day.

Risks

Whilst there are plenty of reasons to delve into trading on binary options, there remain several downsides worth highlighting:

  • Reduced trading odds – Whilst you can benefit from trades that offer in excess of 80% payouts, these are often when the expiry date is some time away from the trade date. If the odds of your binary trade succeeding are extremely high you may have to make do with reduced payout odds.
  • Limited trading tools – Whilst most brokerages offer advanced charting and analysis capabilities, trading tools for binary traders often fall short of the mark. Fortunately, there are other online sources for these graphs and tools, plus brokers are working swiftly to increase their offerings.
  • Price of losing – Your odds are tilted in favour of losing trades. Approximately for every 70% profit, the corresponding loss of the same trade would result in an 85% loss. This means you need a win percentage of at least 55% to break-even.
  • Risk management – Unlike other markets, brokers often set a trading floor, with minimum accounts a trader needs to enter the market. This means losing capital can happen with ease. Whilst a stocks broker may permit you to open an account with $250, trading micro-lots, most binary brokers won’t allow $50 trades. So, even with $250 in your account, just five trades that don’t go your way could see you sink into the red.

Binary Trading via Mobile App

How Does Trading Binary Options Work?

Trading binary options for beginners is straightforward. Simply follow the steps outlined below.

Step 1 – Find a broker

This is one of the most important decisions you will make. You need a broker that meets all your requirements and who will enhance your trade performance. But with so many options out there, how do you know what to look for?

If you’re high-frequency binary trading each day, the commission fees and costs will quickly rack up. You want to maximise your profits so look for brokers with a competitive and transparent fee structure, and remember, different asset classes pay out different amounts.

Deposit

One point worth investigating is rules around minimum deposits. Whilst some brokers will offer binary options trading with no minimum deposit, many will expect a deposit of close to $50, and some $100. A broker offering low minimum deposits is ideal if you’re strapped for cash. Trading binary with JC and GCI are good choices if you’re looking for low deposits.

Asset-Specific

Some brokers will specialise in certain assets. If you’re set on crude oil, it may be worth finding a broker that’s geared towards those binaries. You may benefit from relevant news feeds and the most prudent option choices available. Trading binary stocks with 212, for example, is ideal for those interested in stocks.

Regulation

With scams out there it’s important you check your broker is properly regulated by the relevant financial body, e.g. FCA, CySec, CFTC. Trading with 247 Binary Options, IQ option, and Binary.com are all safe bets.

Platform

Binary options platforms are your gateway to the market and where you’ll spend many hours a day. There are now many online trading platforms, so, make sure it’s easy to use and offers all the charts, patterns and tools you need to make smart and accurate trade decisions. For example, will you be trading binary options with candlesticks or more obscure charts?

Both Keystone and Nadex offer strong binary options trading platforms, as does MT4. Before you buy, conduct a thorough trading platform comparison and check reviews.

Reliability

Any problem could cost you time, and as an intraday trader, time can cost you serious cash. So, check the broker offers reliable support. Some brokers will offer 24/7 customer support through calls, live chat, and in a number of languages. Binary options trading with Etrade and 24 Option are smart moves if you want top quality support.

Trading apps

A growing number of people use mobile devices and tablets to enhance their trading experience. However, software for trading binary options varies hugely. So, it’s worth checking whether your broker offers cross-platform capabilities. Also, check the charting tools you need will work on your iOS or Android device. Binary options trading with IQ Option, for example, offers fantastic trading apps.

Extras

Many brokers will sweeten the deal with some useful add-ons. Some may offer free trading plans, courses, and lessons. So, find out first if they offer free courses online to enhance your trading performance. Some brokers will also offer free binary trading trials so you can try before you buy.

You could also benefit from trading bonuses, tips, the best strategy and trading signals reviews, plus free, practice demo accounts. Not to mention some brokers allow for binary options trading using Paypal. However, don’t be put off by no binary options trading deposit bonus, these can be a sign of potential scams.

Demo accounts

For newbies, getting to grips with a demo account first is a sensible idea. Funded with simulated money, you can try numerous assets and options. It’s the perfect place to make mistakes and learn before you put real capital on the line. In addition, you’ll find most free binary options demo accounts require no deposit, so you can start practicing whilst you save that initial capital.

There is no universal best broker, it truly depends on your individual needs. Some brokers offer minimum trades of just a couple of pounds, whilst others require hundreds or even thousands. The solution – do your homework first.

For more guidance on making the right choice, see our brokers page.

Step 2 – Choose An Instrument/Market

You can trade binaries in pretty much everything, including stocks, forex, indices, and commodities. You can bet on anything from the price of natural gas, to the stock price of Google. Opt for an asset you have a good understanding of, that offers promising returns.

Step 3 – Decide On An Expiry Time

As a short-term trader, you’ll probably be more interested in 30 seconds, 1 minute and end of day expiry times. You need to balance binary options trading volume with price movement. Whilst the more trades you make means greater profit potential, it’s better to make fewer and more accurate trades. Also, find a time that compliments your trading style.

Step 4 – Decide On Size

In the binary options game, size does matter. The greater your investment the greater the possible profit. On the flip side, remember the entirety of your investment is on the line. You need an effective money management system that will enable you to make sufficient trades whilst still protecting you from blowing all your capital.

Step 5 – Choose An Option

You will have any number of the options outlined above to choose from. Think carefully about how confident you are in your determination. Consider factors that will jeopardise your investment, and select an option that gives you the best chance of succeeding. Don’t automatically select a ladder trade because you want huge returns, consider which options are the relatively safe bets.

Once you’ve made that decision, check and confirm your trade. Then you can sit back and wait for the trade payout.

Demo Video

Below is a video explaining how to trade binary options on the platform of a leading provider:

Strategies

Binary trading strategies will differ from trade to trade. What may work for a ladder option in forex, may prove useless in a range option on gold. Having said that, there are two reasons you must have a strategy.

Firstly, a strategy prevents emotions interfering in trade decisions. Fear, greed, and ambition can all lead to errors. A strategy allows you to focus on the maths and data.

Secondly, a strategy allows you to repeat profitable trade decisions. Once you’ve found out how and why that binary option worked, you can replicate it to create consistent profits.

Building A Strategy

There are two crucial elements to your binary options trading method, creating a signal, and deciding how much to trade. The second is essentially money management. How do you go about determining these two steps then?

Step 1 – Creating A Signal

The signal will tell you in which direction the price is going to go, allowing you to make a prediction ahead of time. The two main ways to create signals are to use technical analysis, and the news.

Charts, Patterns & Indicators

If you can identify patterns in your charts, you may be able to predict future price movements. They rest on the idea that ‘history repeats itself’. You can start trading binary options using Heiken-ashi, other candlesticks, and line charts. Armed with charts and patterns, successful traders will build a strategy around their findings.

You can then build indicators into your strategy, telling you when to make a binary option, and which binary option you should go for. These technical tools can prove invaluable, so make sure your broker offers the features available to conduct thorough market analysis.

One of the great things about trading binary is you can use any number of your normal indicators, patterns, and tools to help predict future binary options movements. So, you can start trading with/using:

  • Support and resistance levels
  • Price action
  • Stochastic oscillators
  • MACD indicators
  • Trends
  • Babypips
  • Mirrors
  • Options close to expiry

For more detailed guidance, see our charts and patterns pages.

You can trade binary options without technical indicators and rely on the news. The benefit of the news is that it’s relatively straightforward to understand and use. You’ll need to look for company announcements, such as the release of financial reports. Alternatively, look for more global news that could impact an entire market, such as a move away from fossil fuels. Small announcements can send prices rocketing or plummeting.

If you can stay in the know you can trade your binary options before the rest of the market catches on. To do that you’ll need to be tuned into a range of news sources. You can browse online and have the TV or radio on in the background. Some of the most useful news sources in terms of trading information are:

  • Yahoo Finance
  • CNBC
  • Business Insider
  • Bloomberg
  • Financial Times

Step 2 – How Much You Should Trade

If you’re just starting off it’s often best to keep things simple. Trading the same amount on each trade until you find your feet is sensible. Below are 3 binary options trading strategies for both beginners and experienced traders.

Martingale Strategy

Binary options using the martingale trading strategy aim to recover losses as quickly as possible. To do this you’d trade larger amounts of money in the trades following a loss. So, you’d set an amount that you trade each time, say $250. However, if you lose on that $250, you’d bet $500 on the next trade. If the trade wins, you’ll already be back in the black, rather than being stuck around the break-even mark.

The problem with this strategy is that if you go on a losing streak you can lose a serious amount of capital in a short space of time. So, only use this strategy if you’ve got a relatively accurate means of making trade decisions. If you’re still in the trial and error stage, consider a different approach.

Percentage Strategy

A percentage based system is popular amongst both binary options traders and other traders. The idea is you specify a percentage you’re willing to risk. Between 1-2% is common. So, if you’ve got $10,000 in your account, and your risk value was 2%, you could trade $200 on a single trade.

If you have a greater risk tolerance and consistent results you may want to increase that risk margin to 5%. The benefit of this system is that you should never lose more than you can afford. This makes it an ideal approach to take if you’re new to trading on binary options.

Straddle Strategy

This example is best employed during periods of high volatility and just before the break of important news announcements. This technique can be utilised by traders of all experience levels. It gives you the capability to avoid the call and put option selection, and instead allows putting both on a specified instrument.

You aim to utilise put when the value of the instrument has risen, yet you think that it’s going to decrease soon. Once the descent has begun, place a call option on it, anticipating it to bounce back swiftly. You can also do it in the reverse direction. Simply place a call on the assets prices low and put on the rising asset value.

This significantly increases the chance of at least one of the trade options producing a profitable result. If you’re in a volatile market, this simple system could you see turn handsome profits. This works well as a binary options trading 60 seconds strategy, and will also cover expiry times of up to one day.

Bots & Algorithmic Trading

Once you have honed a strategy that turns you consistent profits, you may want to consider using an automated system to apply it. These robots usually rely on signals and algorithms that can be pre-programmed.

The bots then do all the leg work, trading options on your behalf. The plus side is they can make far more trades than you can do manually, increasing your potential profit margin. They can also trade across different assets and markets.

It’s worth investigating your brokers offering when it comes to auto trading and checking for robot reviews. Many allow you to build a program with relative ease. You can use your own entry points that rely on Bollinger bands, RSI/MFI patterns, and moving averages.

However, even when you’ve got your system up and running, you can’t go into trading binary options on autopilot, you need to stay tuned in. If any mistakes take place, you need to be there to remedy the problem. Technical crashes and unpredictable market changes can all cause issues, so stay vigilant.

Timing

Many binary option strategies pdfs fail to sufficiently consider time variables. Certain strategies will perform better with specific time options. You may want to look specifically for a 5-minute binary options strategy. Alternatively, trading 15-minute binary options may better suit your needs. So, whichever strategy above you opt for, ensure you take time into account.

Summing Up Strategy

Trading binary options with success rests on finding a strategy that compliments your trading style. So, consider the instrument you’re going to be trading. Then, employ an effective money management system and use charts and patterns to create telling indicators. Also, utilise news announcements to your advantage.

If you’re trying a new fence, gap, hedging, or any other binary strategy for the first time, why not try it on a trading practice account first? This will allow you to address any issues before you invest your own money.

For more detailed guidance, see our strategies page.

Education

Binary options trading 101; immerse yourself in educational resources. As Benjamin Franklin asserted, ‘an investment in knowledge pays the best interest’. The top traders never stop learning. The markets change and you need to change along with them.

To do that, utilise some of the resources detailed below.

  • Books & eBooks – There is a whole host of books and ebooks out there that can impart invaluable information on day trading binary options. You can benefit from the binary options trading knowledge of experts with decades of experience. The good thing about a book it is allows you to learn at a pace that suits you. One book that has made binary options trading easy is ‘Trading Binary For Dummies’, by Joe Duarte.
  • Video tutorials & seminars – Engaging and easy to follow. There are numerous online video tutorials out there that can walk you through making a trade. With seminars, you’ll also be able to have questions answered and the binary options trading basics explained, plus some brokers offer weekly seminars to keep you up to date with market developments.
  • PDFs & instruction guides – These will give you a clear breakdown of steps that you can follow and apply. The best part is you can find plenty online that are totally free and easy to download, whether you’re using Android, Windows, or iOS. The trading binary options ‘Abe Cofnas’ pdf is particularly popular.
  • Forums & chat rooms – This is the perfect place to brainstorm ideas with binary options gurus. You can benefit from recommendations and learn in real-time whilst investing in your binary options. You can also swap live chart screen grabs to get a feel for other binary methods and tactics.
  • Newsletters & blogs – These are brilliant for keeping up to date with upcoming developments that may affect your markets. Plus, you could hear about binary options competitions (yes, they really do exist).
  • Copy trading – This is when social trading networks/platforms are combined with binary trading tools. You can follow experienced traders, analyse their strategies, and then replicate their trades. Check out copy trading reviews before you sign up.

All of the above will play a key part in your binary options trading training. Free trading videos and examples will help give you an edge over the rest of the market, so utilise them as much as possible.

Trading Journal

There currently exists no binary options university. So, explanations as to why that option didn’t work can be hard to come by. Keeping a journal with all your binary option trading results in could solve that issue. A detailed record of each trade, date, and price will help you hone your strategy and increase future profits.

Whether you keep it an excel document or you use tailor-made software, it could well help you avoid future dangers. As an added bonus, it can make filling in tax returns at the end of the year considerably easier. A journal is one of the best-kept secrets in binary options, so now you know, use one.

Psychology

Trading binary options successfully isn’t just about having the right strategy. If you can’t control your emotions you will make costly mistakes. As Robert Arnott stated, ‘what is comfortable is rarely profitable’. When the pressure kicks in, fear and greed can distract you from the numbers.

You need to accept that losses are part of trading and stick to your strategy anyway. If it’s based on accurate maths and careful technical analysis then you have to keep your faith. As soon as you start acting inconsistently your profits will suffer.

Regional Differences

Regulation

As the popularity of binary options grows across the world, regulatory bodies are rushing to instill order. That means where you trade and the markets you break into can all be governed by different rules and limitations.

If you’re day trading binary options in the UK, for example, you will require a license from the UK gambling commission. If you opt for a broker regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), you’ll be guaranteed an extra level of protection. Beware some brokerages register with the FCA, but this is not the same as regulation.

Brexit has brought with it complications to trading regulations. The MiFID II guidelines were set to be implemented across Europe enforcing rules around binaries, however, the UK may not now implement the guidelines. This means the UK is no longer under pressure from Europe to reclassify binaries as financial instruments.

Binary options trading for US citizens is limited by a choice of just two brokers. Nadex and CBOE are the only two licensed options. Fortunately, they are both huge firms offering competitive prices and a range of different assets to trade binaries on.

Rest Of World

In Australia, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) runs the show. If you’re interested in brokers based in Cyprus and Israel, then check they are regulated by CySec. In Dubai and the rest of the UAE, binary options are regulated by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

You can also start day trading binary options in Canada, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Malaysia, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Each has their own regulatory bodies and different requirements.

So, if you want protection, ensure you do your research before you sign up for a binary broker on the other side of the world.

Taxes

Another important regional distinction comes in the form of taxes. Some countries consider binary options as a form of gambling, such as the UK. This comes with notable benefits. The HMRC will not charge you any taxes on profits made through binary options. However, in the future binaries may fall under the umbrella of financial derivatives and incur tax obligations.

Having said that, if day trading binaries are your only form of income and you consider yourself a full-time trader, then you may be liable to pay income tax. Whilst you are probably still exempt, it is worth seeking clarification.

Outside the UK, tax regulation differs hugely. Binary options in Japan and Germany come with vastly different tax obligations, for example. So, before you start trading seek advice to ascertain whether you’ll be exempt from tax. If not, will you pay income tax, capital gains tax, business tax, and/or any other form of tax?

For more detailed information, see our taxes page.

Can Trading Binary Options Make You Rich?

Although exciting and dynamic, to make a living trading binary options you’ll need to use this page and other sources as guides. Can trading binary options make you rich then? Done correctly, yes it can. There is no question of binary options potential profitably, this is evidenced by numerous millionaires. To get there though, you’ll need the right broker, an effective strategy, and you’ll need to invest in your trading education, by utilising the resources outlined above.

Further Reading

Yes, but regional regulation varies.

In India and Australia for example, binary options are legal.

In the US, binaries are available via Nadex, and perfectly legal.

In the EU, binaries have been withdrawn for retail investors, but it is still possible to trade binary options legally, by professional traders. Certain criteria need to be met in order to be classed as ‘professional’.

Can you trade at weekends?

Yes. There are two ways to trade at weekends. Firstly, forex markets are still open in some parts of the world during the “weekend” in other parts. Binaries can be traded on forex during these times.

There are also ‘synthetic’ markets with some brokers (such as binary.com) but traders should note there is no underlying market with these options. They are ‘virtual’ markets created solely to cater for traders looking to trade anything at all. They are not for sophisticated traders.

Are binary options banned in Europe?

Binary options have been withdrawn for retail traders by the European regulator, ESMA. Brokers not regulated in Europe may still offer binaries to EU clients.

It is also possible for EU traders to nominate themselves as professional traders. This waives their rights to regulatory protection, and means binaries are free to be used again.

Some synthetic markets can also be traded by EU traders, and while the product works exactly as a binary options, they are referred to slightly differently.

Do binary options work on MT4 or MT5?

There are no binary options brokers offering Metatrader integration. It is however, possible to perform technical analysis in MT4 and place trades on a separate trading platform.

Can you use binary options on cryptocurrency?

Yes. The leading binary options brokers will all offer binaries on Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. As a derivative, traders will not “own” any cryptocurrency, they will purely be speculating on the price. This does mean however, there is no need for a Crypto wallet or crypto account.

9 Tips for New Traders to Trade Binary Options

From earning a little extra money to making a full time living, or making a lot of money in a short span of time, binary options trading is an excellent way to achieve all of this. As it slowly gains popularity all throughout the world, thousands are making good money with little or no prior knowledge of the subject, however, binary options trading isn’t a cake walk: success can be achieved and risks can be minimized by following the tips mentioned below:

9 Tips for New Traders to Trade Binary Options

  1. The first and foremost advice to be given to any beginner trader is to select a good binary options broker for your help in this field. A good broker, who knows his work, makes all the difference. There are various comparison websites available to make this choice easier for new traders, so one can quite easily consult these websites and choose a good binary options broker of their choice.
  2. Secondly, it is advisable to increase your knowledge in the field of binary options trading and to know that there is always more to learn. There are training courses available for imparting binary options trading knowledge to new traders. Reading new books on the subject matter and discussing with other traders about the matter also adds to the benefit. This type of trading is a constantly-evolving experience, hence knowledge on the matter is ever expanding.
  3. Thirdly, trading long term serves better returns, and binary options trading is a long term activity. Developing a long term plan for your binary trading and playing the right cards will ensure that you ultimately come out on top. Resist the temptation to get drawn into fads that do not fit into your overall strategies and strictly stick to your drawn plans.
  4. Fourth is to reduce your risks by resisting the urge to over-invest. Beginners tend to get carried away to make that one big score but they must employ some self control as that may be a game changer. New traders lose more money by getting carried away and over investing. Binary options brokers advise to invest not just with courage but also with rational thinking.
  5. Fifth, it is essential to keep a clear head while making any decisions about binary options trading. Beginners should avoid trading when they are emotionally disturbed, as emotions can create havoc with your trading. It is very easy to make the wrong decisions in an emotional state, so it is advisable to stay away from any form of trading until you’ve calmed down and cleared your mind.
  6. Prepping yourself before trading in binary options is the sixth advice. Studying the market and viewing graphs over time can help new traders predict behavior of any binary options asset, thereby helping them to make well-informed decisions.
  7. Another very important piece of advice would be to keep apprised of trading news. Keeping ears and eyes open to catch breaking news about the market condition can get the binary options trader a clear view of current situations, making it easier for him to trade during market crashes. By understanding the root cause for market changes, the new trader can help corner the market when it rallies or crashes.
  8. Hedging trades against each other just ends up decreasing the statistical probability of earning more profits as opposed to increasing them.
  9. Last, but not least, it is very important to have fun while trading binary options. Beginning binary options traders must ensure that it does not become a bore or a drag; if a trader has fun while trading, then he or she will be naturally inclined towards it and will pay more attention and make better decisions, thereby increasing profits.
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More by this author

Marie Nelson

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Marie Nelson
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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Serial entrepreneur and working towards Early Retirement Read full profile

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Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

Table of Contents

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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