Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Money Management or Position Sizing – Part 2: OBJECTIVES

Basically, there are two main objectives of Money Management or Position Sizing:

1) Preserve Capital
Preserving your capital should be the first and the most important objective of Money Management / Position Sizing for a trader.
In order to be able to trade, you’ll need capital. As long as you have the money / capital to trade, you would still have a chance to make a recovery from your losses. However, if your capital is gone, you would have no chance at all to recover, as you have no more money for trading.

In order to be successful in trading, it's not about making the big wins on every single trade, but rather, how to minimize the losses in order to live another day to trade.
For example, you may have a very good month and make 200-300% on every trade. Each time, you are putting 70% - 80% of your total capital/account balance into each trade. However, it is possible that all your gains, or perhaps even your whole capital, get wiped out by just one losing trade. That is why proper money management is extremely important!

No doubt, losses are always part of trading. However, if you are only risking a small percentage of your account in one trade, then that is the most you can lose on any one trade.
Therefore, Money Management / Position Sizing can also be considered as “Risk Management”, because it’s basically also about managing your risk for every trade by limiting how much you put into each trade, so that you won’t get wiped out so easily just after a few trades.

Why do we need that? Doesn’t putting a Stop Loss serve the same purpose of limiting our risk in a trade as well?
Yes, putting a Stop Loss can protect your trade. Nevertheless, there is always a risk that a position may go bust even before your stop loss can be executed.
For example:
A stock can significantly gap down at the market opening due to sudden negative news (e.g. lower than expected earnings, fraud / lawsuit cases, etc.). When this happens, the price may go down way below the Stop Price.

As Dr Alexander Elder suggested in his book, Come Into My Trading Room:

Technical analysis helps you decide where to place a stop, limiting your loss per share.
Money management rules help you protect your account as a whole.
The single most important rule is to limit your loss on any trade to a small fraction of your account.

2) Grow Capital
Other than just preserving your capital, Money Management / Position Sizing has another objective: to grow your capital at a steady pace.

With Position Sizing, you can improve your gains during winning streaks, while you can limit your losses during losing streaks.
How this can be done will be discussed further in the future articles.

Basically, the Position Sizing seeks to balance between the two objectives: preserving vs. growing your capital.
If you risk too little per trade, you win little, and hence it will take much longer time to grow your account. If you risk too much, it will put your account into danger. Ideally, it should be somewhere in between.

Continue to: The IMPORTANCE of Money Management or Position Sizing.

Go back to: WHAT is Money Management or Position Sizing?

To view the list of all the series on this topic, please refer to:
Money Management / Position Sizing

Related Topics:
* Understanding Implied Volatility (IV)
* Understanding Option Greek
* Understanding Option’s Time Value
* Learning Candlestick Charts
* Options Trading Basic – Part 1
* Options Trading Basic – Part 2