How Paper Trading Options can prepare you for Success

It has long been said that in order to become an expert, you will first need 10,000 hours of practice. Though this number is obviously a rough estimate—and will vary tremendously depending on what you are doing—there is no doubt that practice is a very valuable thing.

In the world of trading, the need for practice is especially important. Without a strong familiarity with market mechanics, various financial assets, and technical indicators, you will quickly find yourself losing money. Even if you don’t have 10,000 hours to spend practicing and fine-tuning your trading strategies, making a conscious effort to familiarize yourself with the market in advance will pay off in the long-run.

trading strategy

Credits: AlphaBeta FX

In order to prepare for big trades and maximize their average rates of return, many traders will begin by trading in a simulated environment that allows them to experiment without actually risking any capital. Then, once they believe their trading strategies are ready, these strategies can be tested out on the actual market.

This form of practice trading is frequently referred to as “paper trading”. In this article, we will discuss the importance and meaning of paper trading, how to efficiently use your time as a paper trader, and how paper trading can be specifically applied to the options market. By taking the time to hone your trading skills in advance, you will put yourself in a position for success.

What is paper trading?

Paper trading is a term used to describe various methods of simulating a trading environment, without requiring traders to commit any actual money. There are multiple different uses of paper trading. Some individuals will trade on paper in order to familiarize themselves with trading as a whole. Others will use this technique to test different trading strategies.

The best paper trading systems will make it easy for traders to backtest their approach using the historical record. This way, instead of waiting for new data to emerge, traders can immediately see how a position would have fared if it had been entered into at a specific point in time.

For example, a paper trader might have a new swing trading strategy that wants to make sure is protected against the risks of a pending recession. While paper trading, they can “go back in time”, pretend to purchase shares of a specific stock in 2007 (following a swing), and see if that stock would have increased or decreased in value. This will signal to traders whether their strategy is moving in a productive direction or if they need to go back to the drawing board.

How can I get started paper trading?

There are many different paper trading platforms available for you to choose from. When comparing the paper trading options you have available, make sure that there is a sizable dataset available that allows for backtesting. Other features to look for while comparing include the use of live market data, the ability to test different price points (opening, closing, midday, etc.), the use of different financial assets (such as options), and the ability to hold positions of different sizes.

Most paper trading platforms are similar to one another, though it will still be worth your time to compare your options. We recommend using the platform Thinkorswim. ThinkorSwim has an innovative, free (for 60 days) platform that is easy to use and is incredibly flexible. The platform is supported by TD Ameritrade, allowing it to have access to the historical data it needs in order to be useful.

How can I effectively use the time I spend paper trading?

Because the window for free paper trading on platforms like Thinkorswim is usually limited, you will want to use your time as efficiently as possible. In order to develop an effective paper trading strategy, you will need to do a considerable amount of planning in advance.

  • Identify Potential Trading Constraints: things such as the marginal cost of trading, time constraints, and capital restrictions should all be identified in advance.
  • Choose a Few Favorite Technical Indicators: technical indicators are a crucial part of almost every trading strategy. When trading options, paying attention to the relative strength index, Bollinger Bands, and moving averages will be very important.
  • Open Realistic Positions: the purpose of paper trading is to prepare you for the real world. Though it can be tempting to be reckless when you’re not risking real money, opening realistic positions will help you develop a more productive skillset.
  • Back Test your Strategy in Multiple Scenarios: even if purchasing 10,000 shares of XYZ stock in 2002 would have been a good idea, that doesn’t necessarily mean your strategy is fool-proof. Testing your strategies in multiple settings can help you be more confident in your final approach.
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There are no substitutes for experience and education. The more time you can commit to paper trading, the more prepared you will be once it’s time to actually enter the market.

What are the nuances for paper trading options?

Options are contracts that allow you (but don’t require you) to purchase or sell an asset at a specific price at a specific point in the future. Options contracts typically move along with their underlying asset, though the options market itself is still unique in many ways.

The best paper trading platforms will make trading options as easy as trading stocks or any other financial assets. However, there are still quite a few nuances that need to be accounted for:

  • Options Markets are Inherently Volatile: options experience wider price swings than their underlying assets, resulting in higher risks and higher potential rewards.
  • Options can be used for Hedging: options can be used for limiting the potential downside of a position and are excellent risk-management tools.
  • Options come in Many Different Forms: call options, put options, hybrid options, and other options all cause this particular market to be inherently more complicated.

Options trading is generally more difficult than stock trading, meaning you may need to spend some extra time trading on paper. Don’t let FOMO deter you from getting the experience you need to be successful.


Just as you wouldn’t let a doctor, a pilot, or any other professional operate without any experience, traders require experience as well. Though there may not be a “trading school” like there are med schools and law schools, paper trading gives aspiring traders the experience they need. After testing your strategies on paper and making an effort to better understand markets, you will find yourself in a position to succeed.

Things To Consider Before Lending

If you are reading this post, I assume you have an amount of money in store and you are considering lending it out as a form of instalment loans or perhaps any other kind. The thing is lending is quite a lucrative business based on the fact that for every penny you lend, you will be expecting a return on each of the penny in form of interest. It should be noted that whatever cash you will be lending to people must be your extra amount plus the fact that you won’t be needing it urgently. Lending is quite risky due to the fact that many borrow and fails to pay back as at when due. Nevertheless, the risk is worth it and there is absolutely no way you will be losing your money unless you are not smart with it. This article tries to posit a few things to consider before lending money:

Consider Before Lending

Know your borrower

            It is very important to know the financial and mental status of your borrower based on the fact that if he’s financially unstable, you risk losing your money and if he’s mentally unstable, you are definitely going to lose your money. As such it is very important to ask necessary questions such as income weekly, monthly and per annum, Also in the course of the discussion, it is very important to pay attention to your potential borrower’s response to answers in order to be able to evaluate his mental status. Alternatively, you could request for last mental evaluation amidst the documents you’ll be requesting (although, many see this offensive).  In addition, be sure that your borrower is capable enough to payback with interest of whatever amount he/she will be borrowing from you.

Consider your interest rate

Interest rate is the amount paid together with the initially loaned amount. In most cases, it is a notable percentage of the initial amount borrowed from you as a lender. When considering lending, it is very important to have a certain percentage of posited for your borrowers and clearly state the percentage clearly in the agreement form. Most times, interest rates are sometimes between 10% to 20% of the amount borrowed. Bottom line is that carefully consider the amount requested and fix the interest rate at an amount you feel is credible enough for such lent money. Most times, instalment loans attract high-interest rates (it all depends on you).

Mode of payment

            It is quite pertinent to posit in the contract agreement, the means via which payment will be made, probably via open check, bank transfer, deposit or perhaps via the debt collector agency. It is very important that this criterion is clearly spelled in order to avoid cumbersome situations when payment time is up. Under several circumstance, when mode of payment isn’t clearly stated the possible outcome is that; you as a lender wouldn’t the mode of payment to anticipate plus the fact that there will be no written evidence stating a particular mode of payment and you are bound to lose a particular court proceeding peradventure a court issue ensues between you and your borrower.

Period of payment

It is a given that loan refund is at intervals, whether weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or yearly is all based on the lender’s discretion. Beyond reasonable doubt, every lender must have a particular focus as to when in particular a proportion or perhaps the whole payment with interest would be made. Many lenders make the mistake of not clearly spelling when the whole payment will be made as such when the borrow didn’t come to terms with the payment agreement term due to oblivion, problems will begin to ensue. As such as a lender, it is very important you strategically consider the period you need your payment made.

Personal interest

            Although unforeseen circumstance may arise which will, therefore, warrant that you make use of your cash, well, irrespective of unforeseen circumstances which you’ll definitely tackle later, deal with the present. Before lending out cash, be very sure you won’t be needing the cash to carry out personal or business task. It is very important to carefully look through your plans and be sure you won’t be needing the money anytime soon, Once this criterion has been fulfilled and you found out there is no other thing left, go ahead and lend out your money.

Financial Regulators: Who Are They and What They Do

Financial regulators standardize the industry of financial services which include exchanges, markets, and firms. Usually, they work for government bodies or independent standard firms to make sure financial services meet business/industry-specific regulations.

Financial regulators are able to work in different sectors to make sure financial service agencies are compliant with the financial regulations and law as well. Also, they provide information to consumers to keep them safe and sound from improper practices.

Financial Regulators

Business plan image with collage hand drawings

State and federal governments have a myriad of organizations in place which regulates and supervise companies and financial markets. These firms each have a specific array of responsibilities and duties which allow them to act independently of each other while they work to achieve similar objectives. Even if opinions differ on the effectiveness, efficiency and the need for most of these agencies, each was made with specific objectives and will most likely be around for some time. Here are some of the most popular and renowned financial regulators:

  • Federal Reserve Board

One of the most known of all the financial regulators, the FED often gets blamed for financial downfalls or heralded for stimulating the financial system. It is accountable for liquidity, influencing money and credit conditions. Its major tools for implementing fiscal policy are its open market operation that controls the acquisition and sale of U.S Treasury securities as well as federal agency securities.

  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

FDIC was developed in 1993 to give insurance on deposits to assure the security of saving and checking deposit at banks. Its authorization is to protect up to USD250,000 for every deposit.

  • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

OCC was created by National Currency Act in 1863 with the sole purpose of supervising, regulating as well as giving charters to banks that operate in the United States in order to make sure the reliability of the overall banking system.

  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission

CFTC or Commodity Futures Trading Commission was developed in the year 1974 as an independent body to regulate commodity futures as well as options market as well as to give for efficient and competitive market trading. This financial regulator also seeks to keep participants from market manipulation, fraud as well as investigates trading practices and sustains fluid processes for clearing. If you are into forex trading, ensure to deal with the best and reliable brokers overseen by a government regulator like CFTC.

All of these financial regulators seek to protect and regulate those who participate in their respective businesses or industries they rule. The areas of coverage most of the time overlap, however, while their guiding principles might differ, federal agencies normally take over from state agencies. But, this doesn’t mean that state firms wield less power because their jobs and authorities are far-reaching.


In general, financial regulators make sure that the company or the broker is legit and reliable and your money is safe as well as securely protected. However, certain credible financial regulators burden participants of the said market with lots of trading restrictions.

What is the Difference Between An Overdraft Facility and A Personal Loan?

Are you still confused which one would you prefer between overdraft facility and a personal loan? Then, it is better for you to learn first the essential difference between the two for you to decide which one is a better option.

Here, you will be able to discover what really overdraft and personal loan are. Also, you will know the difference of each from one another.

Overdraft Facility and A Personal Loan

What is an Overdraft?

An overdraft refers to the agreed variable amount of borrowing with your bank up in setting a limit. It is considered to be a great option when you are with short-term financial requirements, including the equipment purchases or operating expenses. Here, you are given a chance to repay the borrowed amount quickly. Also, you are only obligated to pay the money you borrowed.

Furthermore, an overdraft can be considered as a facility where you can have the ability to withdraw or avail a particular limited amount as an overdraft from your account. This will be based on your bank transactions and eligibility and is fixed by the bank.

Personal Loano

What is A Personal Loan?

A personal loan is a type of loan having fixed terms with repayment schedules. So, you have the opportunity to plan expenditure as well as cash flow making it less flexible compared to overdraft.

Through personal loans, you can borrow a more substantial amount of money. This means that they can be a better choice for long term purchases with high value. On the other hand, if you fail to pay back the loan or you miss a payment, chances are you can encounter financial troubles and damage your credit ratings.

In a personal loan, the repayment is typically made upfront in installations or one go. Then, the interest rate is defined as per a loan. You are obligated to repay the borrowed amount per monthly EMIs based on the loan tenure as well as terms and conditions.

What are The Significant Differences?

When you consider applying for a personal loan, the bank will credit the amount to your account. Once that the amount is disbursed, a levy of interest will start immediately. Meaning, whether you used the money or not, you are required to pay the entire amount’s interest.

In case that you choose an overdraft option, you are not required to pay the interest not until you withdraw the money. The interest will be charged according to the used amount the same with a credit card where the charged interest is based on the entire limit.

When short-term financial requirements are involved, it is better for you to choose overdraft than the personal loan. However, if you feel that you will need more funds and more time required to repay, it is recommended to convert into a personal loan.

To help you decide, always consider a personal loan when you require for higher purchase value while preferring an overdraft facility if you are in need of short-term operating expenses.

6 Quick Ways To Save In The New Year

When you are living paycheck to paycheck, the idea of ever saving any money may seem nearly impossible. However, there are a few things that you can do to save money. When it comes to saving, every little bit adds up. By saving even small amounts, you will find yourself with more money at the end of the week or month and before you know it, your savings will begin to increase.

Quick Ways To Save

Here are 6 very simple steps that you can take to start saving money quickly:

  1. Set up automatic bill payments

With busy schedules, it is very easy to forget to pay some of your bills on time. By paying your bills when they are due, you will save yourself money by not having late fees. Most companies charge anywhere from 10% to 15%. While this may seem like a very small savings, it will certainly add up quickly with minimal effort.

Setting up automatic payments can ensure that you pay your bills on time and avoid late payments altogether. A word of caution is to keep up with your bank account balance in order to avoid overdrafts and fees.

  1. Consider switching banks

All banks make their money from fees of one sort or another. Three of the top banks earned upwards of $6.4 billion in ATM and overdraft fees last year. If you are paying a monthly fee for either a checking or savings account, then you should look for a new bank. There are many banks that offer free accounts and perks just for opening a new account.

  1. Open a short-term CD

If you are in a position where you can comfortable afford to leave your money in a CD for up to a year, then a short-term CD is a good idea for you. You will want to shop around and find the highest paying yield before you invest in a short-term CD. If you think that you will need the money before the year is up, it is best to put your money into savings instead in order to avoid a penalty for early withdrawal.

  1. Sign up for loyalty programs

By signing up for rewards and loyalty programs, you can reap great rewards for the everyday things that you do such as grocery shopping and buying gas. Make sure you sign up for emails as that is often a way that they reach out to customers. Many stores also offer apps now and that is another great way to keep up with savings options.

  1. Buy with cash rather than credit

By taking cash with you when you shop, you can avoid overspending. If you are paying with a credit card, you are not limiting yourself and will end up spending more than intended on needless items.

  1. Avoid paying for convenience

America, as a whole, has gotten into the habit of paying for convenience. Rather than make things at home, such as coffee, we make the purchases while we are out resulting in spending much more than we should. Taking time to do things at home will save you a tremendous amount in the long run.

  1. Use coupons

Whenever you make a purchase, make sure you use coupons and coupon codes. Whether you’re shopping for groceries or buying things online. Use sites like to get discounts on anything from socks to computer software.