Here is what’s happening in the stock market today, how to invest moving forward, and everything else you need to know to build wealth and retire early. Enjoy! Add me on Instagram: GPStephan

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First, in terms of WHY the market is going down – here’s what’s coming into play, all at the same time: DEEP DOWN – what all investors DON’T like – in ANY MARKET – is uncertainty. Investors don’t know how policies might change over the next few years – they don’t know how tax rates might affect them – they don’t know how to base their future projections – and because of that, most investors and analysts get a little more cautious and play it a LITTLE SAFER in case things don’t turn out as they expect.

LPL research in September here:

Historic August Opens Door To Worst Month Of The Year

And also – this is probably the most relevant for a LOT of people watching – especially in terms of how NOT to lose money – and that all has to do with one word: DEBT.

Yahoo recently reported that 43% of retail traders are now trading with leverage…if we break that down further, 23% are trading JUST using options, and 10% are JUST using margin…signaling that MAYBE we’re in the middle of an “options boom.”

In the last YEAR, options trading has increased in popularity by 45%…and when we look back historically, we can see that options trading increased in volume over the last 12 months, and began their slow trickle upwards once Robinhood was introduced, and then once brokerages began offering free stock trading.

That could explain some of the volatility in today’s market – Goldman Sachs estimated that now, 20% of all SP500 options traded in the second quarter had a maturity of less than 24 hours, up from 5% in 2011-2016…that means, people are leveraging their money 100x with short term, speculative bets on where the stock market is going to be headed in a 24 hour period.

That leads to the notion that, POSSIBLY – tech options trading has influenced the entire market to rise up abnormally fast, and then plunge rather quickly as options traders bought up – and then SOLD their holdings.

Anyway, I also think this would be a CRITICAL warning to any new investors out there to preferably NOT use leverage when buying stocks…the fact that 43% of traders are using some margin or trading options is rather concerning, and I guarantee this can’t end well and it’s only a matter of time until the tables turn and people lose a LOT of money.

So, yeah – I mean, obviously, you know I’m just going to say the same “buy and hold!” that I’ve been repeating for YEARS nonstop, even while the stock market was dropping 40%….if you’ve watched more than a few of my videos by now, this isn’t any surprise. But, I do want to use this as a time to caution you that you SHOULD be prepared for more volatility over the coming few months, you should understand how options trading is going to magnify these swings both positive and negative, and you should MAKE SURE you don’t trade on margin or trade options UNLESS you really know what you’re doing, or you have money that you can afford to lose.

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