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Margin, Cushion, Money Management

Money management, or capital management, is a fundamental aspect of trading. It represents the set of strategies and techniques used to effectively manage available capital in order to maximize profits, limit losses, and preserve capital in the long term. Within the context of money management, two key concepts are margin and cushion. We will explore these concepts in detail, providing practical examples of how they are applied in trading.

Margin refers to the amount of money required to open and maintain a trading position. Brokers require margins as a form of collateral to cover potential losses.

There are various types of margins, including:

Initial Margin: It is the capital required to open a position.
For example, if the initial margin required to trade a futures contract is 5%, and the total contract value is $10,000, then the initial margin would be $500.

Maintenance Margin: It is the minimum amount of capital required to keep a position open. If the value of the position falls below the maintenance margin, the trader must make an additional deposit to cover the difference or risk having the position forcibly closed.

Managing margin is essential to avoid forced position closures and total capital loss. Traders must constantly monitor available margins and ensure they always have sufficient funds to cover open positions.

The cushion, or safety cushion, represents the capital available beyond the required margin. This additional capital provides protection against price fluctuations and potential losses. An adequate cushion helps manage risk and avoid forced position closures in the event of unfavorable market movements.
For example, if a trader has an initial margin of $1,000 for a position and a cushion of $3,000, then the trader has a total capital of $4,000. This means that the position can withstand price fluctuations of up to $3,000 without reaching the maintenance margin.

Maintaining an adequate cushion is crucial for risk management. Insufficient cushion can expose traders to a high risk of margin calls and forced position closures. On the other hand, a larger cushion offers greater security and flexibility in trading.

Capital Management

Capital management is a fundamental aspect of an overall trading strategy. It includes decisions such as allocating capital to various financial instruments, determining position size, and managing losses.

Here are some key principles for proper capital management


La diversificazione è un concetto fondamentale nella gestione del capitale. Diversification is a fundamental concept in capital management. It involves distributing capital among different financial instruments, sectors, or markets to reduce overall risk.
For example, instead of concentrating all capital in a single stock, one can allocate a percentage to stocks, a percentage to bonds, and a percentage to commodities. Diversification helps reduce the impact of potential losses in a specific position. Diversification helps reduce the impact of potential losses in a specific position.

Position Size

Position size refers to the number of lots or the monetary value of a trade. Proper capital management requires determining an appropriate position size based on available capital and acceptable risk. A common approach is to use a percentage of total capital for each position, such as limiting the size of a single position to 2% of total capital.

Loss Management

Loss management is an essential element of money management. It is important to have a plan for dealing with losses and limiting their impact on total capital. This may include using stop-loss orders, implementing risk management rules, and constantly reviewing trading strategies to identify and correct potential errors.

Monitoring and Updates

Capital management requires constant monitoring of open positions, available margins, and overall performance. It is important to adapt to evolving market conditions and make changes or updates to capital management accordingly.

In conclusion, money management is a fundamental part of trading practice. Effective management of margin and careful allocation of capital, along with an adequate cushion, allows traders to preserve capital, limit losses, and maximize long-term profits. Proper capital management requires discipline, planning, and constant attention to market changes.

Other lessons of this course

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