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Preface to Volatile Markets Made Easy: Trading Stocks and Options for Increased Profits

Guy Cohen discusses how to trade profitably from the principles he will outline in his book.
This chapter is from the book


In June 2008 the S&P 500 fell by 125 points, and the Dow Jones 30 Index fell by 1350 points. Several of my students more than doubled their money during that same time. They did it by using the techniques and strategies contained in this book.

This book is about making money. That’s my job here, to help you make money by trading the financial markets.

This is a down-to-earth book aimed at helping anyone who doesn’t have the advantage of trading within the bid-ask spread, who typically places trades via an online or full-service broker or in some countries via a spread betting firm. This book is for all private investors. There are wonderful texts for mathematicians—I’ve read a good number of them—but this book does not aspire to be one of them. My goal is to provide you with a sense of how to trade profitably from the principles I outline.

There’s a big secret that I’m going to share with you. You can make money trading the markets, and you can do it by using these methods. But until you wholeheartedly embrace the concept of wealth psychology, you won’t have cracked it to your fullest potential. What’s more, until you have adopted the right mindset, not just for trading but for creating wealth as a whole, there exists the potential for a “retracement” for want of a better expression. How many times have you heard of people making fabulous fortunes only to blow it a few months or years later? Lots! And you may personally know a few like that too. I know I do.

As the title suggests, this book focuses on how to make money from strategies that take advantage of volatility in the markets. I should distill this further by saying that we’re talking here about profiting primarily from increasing volatility. The strategies contained here will all put you in a “long” position whereby your risk will always be limited and definable. In other words, the strategies in this book will make you a net buyer of options. As such, your upside will typically be unlimited. I’m not going to be addressing short options strategies here.

There are several worthy short strategies that can work over and over again month after month. However, short strategies can put you in an unlimited loss position and typically have limited upsides. I’m aware of many people who made their living by selling short options during the late 1990’s tech bubble and who indeed made fortunes from doing so. But when the market turned, so did their fortunes and in many cases their livelihoods, their homes, their children’s education...you get the picture.

The point is, there’s plenty of profit to be gleaned with long strategies with unlimited upside and limited downside, so we’ll focus on those and make sure we do them right.

For now, here’s a summary of what you’re about to learn in this book.

Chapter 1 is an introduction to options. If you’re already familiar with this topic, you should still go through it as a review before reading the other options chapters in the book.

In Chapter 2 I explain my preferred technical chart patterns and why I like to trade them from a practical viewpoint. This chapter is focused on my favorite patterns and is not intended to be an almanac on all the chart patterns known to man. The aim is to be crystal clear as to what you should be looking for and why that’s such a valuable approach to take.

We return back to options in Chapter 3 where I summarize the Greeks. The Greeks are sensitivities to various factors affecting the pricing of options. These sensitivities have a direct effect on your trading.

Chapters 4 through 6 take you through my six favored options strategies. The aim is to trade safely, profitably, and with manageable risk at all times. Only when you witness the pitfalls of a strategy can you decide whether or not it’s right for you. In Chapter 6 I explain how to maximize your income return by trading options—without having to risk too much. The only way to demonstrate this properly is to show you how some traders get it wrong by exposing themselves to inordinate amounts of risk, in many cases without even knowing they’re doing it.

In Chapter 7 we run through the steps of creating a trading plan. The steps are universal for all strategies.

Chapter 8 is the most technically challenging part of the book in which I go through some of the mathematical algorithms that define the whole subject of options trading. This chapter is mathematical in nature but has a practical element to it.

Finally, in Chapter 9 I show you how to implement a trading plan for each of the six favored strategies so you can see how the processes work in practice and what you’ll need to do as you start to implement your new trading program.

What distinguishes this book from others out there is that it is completely practical throughout. This isn’t a book about theory. It’s real world stuff, real trading world stuff, that is. I focus on six strategies that will bear fruit for you if you follow the rules and adhere to the certain principles outlined throughout this book. The most successful traders stick to just a few strategies that they understand intimately. This is what you should aspire to do as well.

I sincerely hope you enjoy reading this book and profit from it. I’m committed to communicating in a practical and down-to-earth way the same qualities I bring to my workshops and software products. Trading is a serious business, but it can be enjoyable too, especially when you’re organized, disciplined, and committed to following sound principles. Those principles are laid out in this book with a sense of enthusiasm, fun, and humor that hopefully you can take with you.

Good luck!

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