Expert Pointers In Consistency For New Traders

Stock trading is a high risk, high reward business. This is represented in the losses that most new traders make – CNBC reports that up to 85% of new traders will under perform in their first year, making a loss across their entire investment portfolio. While many traders have got lucky, many others have not, and the huge institutional investors that are often highlighted as examples to follow have benefited from consistency. Applying a stock strategy is the key, and establishing what that strategy should look like can be helped using a few key principles.

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What is stock market volatility and how does it affect your trading?

Investors talk about volatility all the time. Before the COVID-19, many complained that market volatility was subdued. Then back in the first quarter of 2020 – the height of the corona crisis – investors were faced with intense levels of volatility and many of them panicked.

Volatility is a two-edge sword. It can work with you or against you. You will have to master the markets and be able to trade in both conditions of high and low volatility in order to succeed.

Definition of market volatility: 

Asset prices move up and down all the time. That movement up and down can be sharp: an asset price (such as the price of Bitcoin, for example) can move up and down in increments of several thousands of dollars in a matter of days. That is considered high volatility. On the other hand, other asset prices, such as silver for example, do not fluctuate much. Silver’s volatility is not too high. Volatility is the extent to which an asset price fluctuates around a mean, and you need a good broker to navigate through volatility.

What does volatility mean for your trading?

Volatility can be an opportunity or a threat, depending on how you look at it and how you trade the instrument in question. In the ten years following the 2008 financial crisis, major stock indices continued to climb. The market was pretty much one sided and volatility was low (no intense fluctuations). This was a good environment for traders who do not want to assume high levels of risk. They could simply implement a buy and hold strategy, and cash out later. However, in 2020, volatility spiked. For many investors, this was an opportunity. For others, it was a disaster as they kept entering and exiting the market at the wrong points. They suffered huge losses because they weren’t prepared to deal with it.

Market volatility usually increase risk and stress. Experienced traders can handle their own emotions and can withstand volatility storms enough for them to make a profit. Others cannot and lose money as they flounder. Therefore, if you cannot manage your own emotions, it is better that you trade in moderate or low volatility conditions.

How do you measure volatility?

There are mainly two ways to measure volatility. The first is general, and the second one is more specific.

  1. Looking at the VIX (the volatility index);
  2. Using the Average true range indicator on any chart.

Choose a trading strategy that matches the current level of volatility

Volatility is good if you are a scalper. The market moves quickly enough for you to capitalize on short term moves. If it does not, then your scalping strategy may fall short. On the other hand, in low volatility conditions, you are better off implementing a long-term strategy, such as swing trading or even position trading in extremely low levels of volatility.

Final words

Most traders prefer to trade in conditions of moderate volatility. However, the market is often either highly volatile or extremely slow. A good trader adapts to those circumstances and manages the risk of high volatility well, as low volatility is usually associated with high risk.

5 Reasons to Max Out Your Roth IRA

Reasons to Max Out Your Roth IRA Contribution

Time is your greatest asset when you invest with a Roth IRA. The earlier you begin investing, the greater your dividends will be during your retirement years. So, it is easy to understand why you would want to take advantage of accounts that let you build your tax-free retirement funds. There are many reasons to max out your Roth IRA this year, not the least of which is the extension for your 2020 contributions.

The Advantages of Maxing Out Roth IRA

When it comes to starting your retirement fund, the Roth IRA is one of the best options available. When you fund a Roth IRA, you capitalize on an important tax break if you contribute your after-tax dollars now. While traditional IRAs give you immediate tax breaks on your tax return, a Roth IRA lets you make withdrawals tax-free after retirement. A Roth IRA also gives you more control over your money since you choose the amount to invest.

One attractive feature of the Roth IRA is that you can maintain it indefinitely. Since there are no Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), you are not required to make withdraws once your reach a certain age.

Additionally, you can withdraw what you put in at any time.  You only pay a penalty if you prematurely take out the earnings in your account. So, there is no need to pay taxes if you only withdraw what you put into it.

A Roth IRA is especially good for young savers who will likely be in higher tax brackets after retirement.  Thanks to compounding interest, you get the most of your money when you max out your Roth IRA from an early age. Therefore, the sooner you start funding a Roth IRA, the more time you have to accumulate assets.

The Restrictions for a Roth IRA

These types of accounts have several restrictions on them because they have the greatest returns. These limits are put in place because Roth IRAs offer such a strong incentive to invest and take advantage of them. Here are some of the most important restrictions you should be aware of, but you can find a more comprehensive explanation here that outlines every detail of contribution rules.

Making Contributions

Although you can contribute to your Roth IRA at any age, you must have earned income for the year. However, if your income exceeds the set limit, you are ineligible to make any contributions for the year. If you do qualify, you can only contribute a maximum of $6,000 annually. If your earned income is lower than the threshold, you can only match the amount made after taxes.

There are no minimum contributions required, but you cannot exceed the yearly maximum threshold. The only exception to this rule is for people over 50 who can make a catch up contribution totaling $7,000. Keep in mind though, you can only make your annual contribution up until the tax filing deadline.

Making Withdrawals

When it comes time to make withdrawals, there are no penalties for the sum you have put in. However, you cannot make withdrawals on any earnings the account has generated for at least five years. There is a 10% penalty if you withdraw the earnings within the first five years of opening and funding the account.

To start receiving distributions from your Roth IRA tax and penalty free, you must meet one of the following conditions:

  • You must be at least 59 1/2 years old.
  • The distribution will be used to help purchase, build, or rebuild the first home for an account holder or qualified family member.
  • The account holder becomes disabled.
  • The assets are being distributed to beneficiaries after the account holder’s death.

My Contributions for 2020

With a Roth IRA, you are investing in higher-quality assets so you earn even more tax-free income. So, it makes sense to max out these accounts first. Especially now, when you have an extra month to get your contributions for an extra month thank to the extended tax filing deadline.

When I returned to the U.S. last year, I began investing by setting up my first retirement account with a Roth IRA. Unfortunately, I fall under a weird caveat of restrictions placed on foreign earned income. Although I had been working in country for a few months of the 2020 fiscal year, I am only able to match watch I earned domestically. This amount was less than limits set for maxing out a Roth IRA, so I will not be able to make a full contribution for 2020. However, it will give me a good head start for 2021.

5 Reasons to Max Out You Roth Contribution This Year

Any financial advisor can provide a long list of reason why it is a good idea to begin investing sooner rather than later. However, here are five great reasons you should max out your Roth IRA contributions for 2020 as well.

1. The IRS extended the tax filing deadline this year.

Now is the best time of all for maxing out your Roth IRA contribution. This year, you have an extra month for 2020 contribution thanks to the filing extension deadline until May 17.

2. You can begin accruing tax-free income for retirement now.

Retirement may not be on your mind if you are just starting your career, but it is never too early to begin investing in your future. Every dollar you contribute today equates to more tax-free income available to you in your golden years.

3. With time on your side, compounding interest is reason enough to open a Roth IRA.

Since you are unable to easily access the earnings from a Roth IRA, it encourages the account holder not to make withdrawals. If the principle amount remains untouched, compounding interest will drastically increase your initial investment. If you have time on your side, compounding interest is your best friend.

4. You never know when circumstance will change.

At some point in your future, you may not qualify for Roth IRA contributions. So, it is wise to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

5. A Roth IRA protects against increased taxation rates.

Taxes are most people’s biggest expense after retirement. Therefore, maxing out your Roth IRA means you keep more of your money since withdrawals are tax free.

Furthermore, if you add more money now, a Roth IRA protects you against increased taxation rate. Other retirement accounts like 401(k) and traditional IRAs will be heavily taxed when you withdraw. However, the money you add to your Roth IRA would be unaffected by any future rise in taxation rates.

As you can see, there are several good reasons to max out your Roth IRA this year. Contact your financial advisor with and specific questions about how to set up and take advantage of these retirement accounts.

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