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Binary Options: The Facts And The Fiction

Binary Options: The Facts And The Fiction

Binary options are a rapidly growing business. More and more brokers with more and more regulations are popping up every day. The problem is that the industry is still operating on the fringes of the internet with regulatory agencies operating on a very localized basis. This, along with the high propensity for scams, has led to a lot of confusion about what binary options are, where they come from, and if you should be trading them.

The good news is: I have been tracking the industry for many years and am here to fill you in on the facts and the fiction surrounding this simplified form of trading.

Fact – Binary Options Are An Easier Way To Trade Financial Markets

As a tool for speculation they are easier to use than most. When compared to equity investing, standardized options, futures and forex it is better described as a simplified form of trading because the account requirements and mechanics of trading are much different. Futures, forex, commodities and standard options all require margin accounts and can expose you to unlimited risk. Depending on the type of trading, leverage can be as low as 10:1 and as high as 250:1 or more at some forex brokers.

Margin accounts are highly levered accounts that can make you a lot of money really fast, but can also completely wipe you out of the market at the drop of a hat. The most difficult aspect of trading futures, forex or options is taking profits. These types of positions are subject to every move of the market, many are affected by the passage of time and all are impeded by slippage. Positions that move as predicted don’t always generate profits.

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Trading binary is much simpler than that. You pay a set price at the open of the trade, are only exposed to that amount of loss, and have a fixed return upon expiration of the contract. All that is required is to move the underlying asset in the direction of choice.

Fiction – Binary Options Trading Is Easy

Let me rephrase that, successful binary options trading is easy. It’s easy to trade binary, all you have to do is do it, but being successful is not easy. By reading the average run of broker homepage, you’d think all it takes is to pick an asset, choose a direction and reap the profits but the reality is that more than 90% of all traders get washed out of the market. The same can be said for other forms of trading as well, it’s pretty easy to buy and sell securities, all it takes is an account with a broker and you are in business. Doing it successfully, making consistent profits, is very hard.

Profitable speculators spend years, if not decades, learning the market in which they trade. They have an in depth knowledge of market mechanics, as well as technical and fundamental analysis that allow them to form educated opinions, thus positioning their accounts to take advantage of these opinions. Just because binary trading is simplified in terms of account mechanics, margin and profit structure does not mean trading them is any less hard. The underlying market, fundamental and technical analysis are the same, requiring the same knowledge and experience to produce profits

Fact – All Binary Options Are The Same

In essence it’s true that all binary options are the same. Binary options are a fixed return investment vehicle with a fixed price, a fixed set of conditions to be profitable. and a fixed payout upon expiration. Regardless of the style of trading, all that is required is for the preset conditions to be met.

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In the case of call/put and high/low style trading, if a trader buys a call or high position all it needs to profit is for the price of the underlying asset to move higher than the strike price at which the option was bought. The same is true for puts, just in reverse. Prices must fall or move lower than the strike price to profit. One touch options require prices to touch a set strike only one time, while range options require asset prices to remain in a range.

Fiction – All Binary Options Are The Same.

The basic structure of all binary options is the same – if yes, then you profit; if no, then you lose. The reality is that not all binary options are the same. There are at least two major classifications with some smaller categories within those two. The most important difference to understand is the method of trading. One style is based on spot prices, the other is based on strike prices.

The first category is best represented by the CySEC style of trading which is popular in Europe and other international locations. This style has only one strike price, the price of the underlying asset at time of purchase. The price of the option is whatever amount the trader chooses, with payout equaling investment plus a set return.

The second style, found primarily in the United States, is based on strike prices and often referred to 0-100 options. This style utilizes a list of set strikes whose prices range between 0 and 100 depending on whether they are higher or lower than the spot price. Traders choose strike and expiry. If the asset spot price closes above/below that strike they receive $100 and profit the difference between purchase price and pay out.

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Fact – You Can Make Fast Money Trading Binary

It is true, payouts for most types of binary options start around 70% and go up to over 500% depending on what type of options you are trading. Believe it or not, US regulated exchanges like NADEX and Cantor Exchange have some of the highest payouts for standard call/put style binaries. An at-the-money option may cost $50 and pay $100 at expiration for a return of 100%, higher than the average 80% return you find at a CySEC/EU style broker. On top of high returns is a high speed of return. Some binaries expire in as short as 60 seconds, others range from 5 minutes to 1 hour, 1 day or 1 week.

Fiction – You Can Get Rich Quick Trading Binary

It is possible to get rich trading but it is not likely. First of all, trading is risky and difficult to do successfully. If it was possible to get rich quick then everybody would do it and no one would be able to make money with get-rich-quick-schemes. The speed of trading is also working against the average trader. It is possible to lose money just as fast as it is to win it. On top of that many brokers brokers have stops in place to prevent any wild successes. These are often found at off-shore style brokers. The most common way is to limit the size of the trades. If you can’t make a big trade then you can’t make a big win. Some will limit trade size to a percent of your account, so any trades above that amount won’t count toward your balance. This is an often overlooked fact that has caused confusion for many would-be traders in the past.

Fact – There Are A Lot Of Scams In The Binary Options Industry

You have to be extremely careful when looking at any broker, offer or service. Scams range from fake brokers to fake regulators and can include complex sales funnels, shady account managers, auto traders, trading software, robots, signals and just about anything else a crafty marketer can think up. One reason is a lack of international standard or regulation. The industry came to life in the gray areas between countries and regulations. Since the industry exists almost entirely on the internet regulating it is very difficult. Anyone with a URL and the money to buy a trading platform software package can open a new broker or signal service in a matter of days.

Fiction – All Binary Options Brokers Are Scams

This is not true. There have always been brokers operating legitimately and the number of those is only growing. At the same time, regulators around the world are stepping up and taking control of the situation in their region. The US was the first to adopt such rules and is the strictest of any jurisdiction. At this time there are only two places to trade, NADEX and Cantor Exchange – although Cantor Exchange is working with top technology providers to create opportunity for even more brokerages to begin business.

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Cypress started regulation in Europe when CySEC recognized binary as a financial tool and not just gambling. Since then, several developments have helped to cement this form of trading in the EU including a recent Dutch ruling on binary as well as impending regulation from Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. Other nations which have adopted regulations include Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The trouble for would be traders is two-fold. First, there are more website offering scams than there are fighting them and new scams appear every day. The second problem is how the lack of centralized regulation causes as much confusion as it solves. This 24Option scam review is a good example. This broker is well known (more on this below), has been in operation for many years, is CySEC regulated, and yet still receives warnings from the US and Canada.

Fact – Binary Options Is Here To Stay

Many have doubted the longevity of this style of trading but sources show it is only gaining momentum. In Europe, TechFinancials has become the first technology provider and broker to become a publicly traded company. This move shows the public’s acceptance of binary as a viable business model, if not a legitimate form of trading. At the same time, 24Options (the flagship brand of TechFinancials) has partnered with leading sports teams for mutually advantageous advertising, as well as having dozens of other brands. In the US, trading volume at NADEX grows rapidly and Cantor Exchange is on the cusp of opening the market wide open. Cantor is focused on bringing the same type of white label access to the US as is currently seen in Europe. This will allow new brokers to open up shop and provide binary alongside their proprietary products. Three technology providers are part of the process thus far: SpotOption, Tradologic and TechFinancials.

The Bottom Line In Binary Options

Binary options are here and they are gaining in popularity and safety. They are embraced by the worlds financial communities, entering the purview of regulators. Cantor Exchange and NADEX are leading the charge in the US, while at the same time others are making moves to solidify the industry in Europe. CySEC paved the way there and now other countries within the union are getting on board. The decision of the Dutch court to uphold CySEC, the MiFIB and EU Financial Passport is a landmark event and one that will have positive repercussions throughout the EU and possibly the rest of the world. This affect is already being seen in England where regulators and legislators are making plans to establish London as a hub of binary trading.

Meanwhile, the industry is still plagued by scams so it is very important for anyone pursuing this avenue to do their due diligence. There is a lot of gray area in which scammers and shady brokers can operate. There’s no end to depth of scams these people will perpetrate. The only true protection is to stick with reputable brokers that are regulated in the country in which you reside.

Featured photo credit: www.vpsi.org via commons.wikimedia.org

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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