Part Four: Iron Condor Trading Strategy
There are as many iron condor trading strategies as there are iron condor traders. Everyone has their own preferences and style.
To create your own iron condor strategy you have to first choose the underlying. You don’t really need an iron condor screener or software program to find suitable candidates for you. Stick to Indexes and ETFs at first. As you become more experienced you can move into stocks.
Indexes and ETFs have the benefit of being composed of several companies and so the news, good or bad, of any one company will not affect the price as much. Pick one that you feel is relatively stable. Some good candidates are: SPX, SPY, RUT, IWM, DIA, QQQQ, NDX, MNX, XLE, XLF, and RTH.
Step two in creating your own iron condor strategy is to decide how far out from the money do you want to go. The farther out, the greater the probability of profit but the lower the return. You have to offset this by going out farther from expiration.
So let’s say you are looking to sell an iron condor on SPY that has an 80% probability of success. If you sell it at 60 days from expiration your max gain can be 18%, but if you sell it 30% from expiration you can get only 11%. Which do you go for? With experience you will be able to determine which is the best time to get into a condor that is best suited to your risk tolerance and trading style.
Step three in creating your iron condor trading strategy is creating your trading plan. How many spreads will you trade? How much money will you put at risk? Will you get into both the puts and call at one time, or will you leg in? Will you use all your capital or keep some in reserve for adjustments? Will you adjust or not? Will you enter all the spreads at one time, or will you enter some today and more a few days later to try to diversify the trade? What will be the max loss you are willing to accept? Will you take the trade off for a profit before expiration? If yes, then when, and under what circumstances?
As you can see there are a lot of things to think about when trading iron condors. The better your trading plan, the less you have to worry about when you are in a trade that goes bad.