Time Decay of Options: How It Works & Its Importance

Time Decay of Options: How It Works & Its Importance


Editor's Note: Options are not suitable for all investors. Options involve risks, including substantial risk of loss and the possibility an investor may lose the entire amount invested in a short period of time. Please see the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options.

Time decay, as it relates to options trading, has to do with an option contract’s loss of value as it nears its expiration date. There are numerous variables in the mix when it comes to time decay, but knowing the basics of what the terms means, and how it can affect an investment strategy, can be important for investors.

Key Points

•   Time decay refers to the reduction in an option’s value as its expiration date approaches.

•   The rate of time decay is represented by theta, which accelerates as expiration nears.

•   Options lose more value in the final month before expiration due to increased time decay.

•   Intrinsic and extrinsic values are key components in options pricing, affected by time decay.

•   Understanding time decay is crucial for options traders to manage potential profits and losses effectively.

What Is Time Decay?

Time decay is the loss of an option’s value as it gets closer to expiration. An option’s time value refers to the extent to which time factors into the value — or the premium — of the option. Time decay accelerates, or declines more quickly, as the expiration date gets closer because investors have less time to exercise the contract.

For options traders, understanding the power of time decay is important whether you’re buying call options or put options. Here are the basics you need to know.

Recommended: Options Trading: A Beginner’s Guide

How Time Decay Works

The rate of change in the time value of an option is known as theta. For traders who buy options with the intention of holding them until expiration, theta usually isn’t of great concern. That’s because traders who hold contracts until the expiry date are hoping that the underlying security moves so far in their favor that the reward in terms of intrinsic value will outweigh any loss in extrinsic value.

But traders who want to close their options position prior to expiration may be more concerned about time decay. Because the security will have less time to move in their favor, the potential profit from intrinsic value is reduced, and the potential loss of extrinsic value becomes greater.

While both intrinsic and extrinsic value are important for options traders of all kinds, the type of options trading strategy a trader is using can influence which factors they put more emphasis on.

Understanding Options Pricing

Time decay isn’t a difficult concept, but it does require a quick refresher about how options are traded and priced.

Four of the main variables that impact the price of an option are:

1.    The underlying price and strike price

2.    Time left until expiration

3.    Implied volatility

4.    Time decay

The underlying price, strike price, and expiration date of the options contract are the main factors that determine its intrinsic value, while implied volatility and time decay are the factors that determine its extrinsic value.

•   Intrinsic value. An option’s intrinsic value refers to the option’s value at the time of expiration, which depends on the price of its underlying security relative to the strike price of the contract. In other words, whether the option is in the money, out of the money, or at the money.

•   Extrinsic value. Extrinsic value refers to how time can impact the option’s value, i.e. its premium. As the expiration date of the options contract approaches, there’s less time for an investor to profit from the option, so time decay or theta, accelerates and the option loses value.

Interest rates can also affect options prices, but this is more of a macro factor that doesn’t have to do with the specific contract itself.

Thus, time value represents the added value an investor has to pay for an option above the intrinsic value. Options are sometimes referred to as depreciating or wasting assets because they tend to lose value over time, since the closer the option is to expiration, the faster its time value erodes.

Recommended: Popular Options Trading Terminology to Know

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How to Calculate Time Decay

The rate of an option’s time decay is measured by theta.An option with a theta of -0.05 (theta is expressed as a negative value) would be expected to fall about $0.05 each day until expiration, but this would likely accelerate during the days and weeks leading up to the expiry date.

Greek values like theta are constantly changing, and can therefore be one of the most difficult factors to take into account when trading options.

Example of Time Decay of Options

Imagine an investor is thinking about buying a call option with a strike price of $40. The current stock price is $35, so the stock has to rise by at least $5 per share for the option to be in the money. The expiration date is two months in the future, and the contract comes with a $5 premium.

Now imagine a similar contract that also has a strike price of $40 but an expiration date that is only one week away and comes with a premium of just $0.50. This contract costs much less than the $5 contract because the stock would have to gain almost 15% in value in one week to make the trade profitable, which is unlikely.

Thus, the extrinsic value of the second option contract is lower than the first, because of time decay.

How Does Time Decay Impact Options?

Option time decay is pretty straightforward in principle. Things can be more complicated in practice, but in general, options lose value over time. The more time there is between now and the expiry date of the option, the more extrinsic value the option will have. The closer the expiry date is to the current date, the more time decay will have taken effect, reducing the option’s value.

The basic idea is that because there’s less time for a security to move one way or the other, options become less valuable the closer they get to their expiration dates. This isn’t a linear process though. The rate of time decay accelerates over time, with the majority of decay occurring in the final month before expiration.

💡 Quick Tip: How to manage potential risk factors in a self-directed investment account? Doing your research and employing strategies like dollar-cost averaging and diversification may help mitigate financial risk when trading stocks.

The Takeaway

If you think about it, the time value of an option is similar to other things that have a value which is time dependent. A fresh loaf of bread, a new car, a newly built home — these items would have an intrinsic value, but you might also pay a premium when they’re at full value.

As time passes, though, consumers will pay less for loaf of bread that isn’t fresh — or a car or home that’s older — because time has eroded some of the value. Similarly, as an option gets closer to its expiration date, it too loses value owing to the effects of time decay or theta.

Qualified investors who are ready to try their hand at options trading, despite the risks involved, might consider checking out SoFi’s options trading platform. The platform’s user-friendly design allows investors to trade through the mobile app or web platform, and get important metrics like breakeven percentage, maximum profit/loss, and more with the click of a button.

Plus, SoFi offers educational resources — including a step-by-step in-app guide — to help you learn more about options trading. Trading options involves high-risk strategies, and should be undertaken by experienced investors.

For a limited time, opening and funding an Active Invest account gives you the opportunity to get up to $1,000 in the stock of your choice.


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SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Options involve risks, including substantial risk of loss and the possibility an investor may lose the entire amount invested in a short period of time. Before an investor begins trading options they should familiarize themselves with the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options . Tax considerations with options transactions are unique, investors should consult with their tax advisor to understand the impact to their taxes.
Claw Promotion: Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.

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The Strategic Guide to Early Retirement

An early retirement used to be considered a bit of a dream, but for many people it’s a reality — especially those who are willing to budget, save, and invest with this goal in mind.

If you’d like to retire early, there are concrete steps you can take to help reach your goal. Here’s what you need to know about how to retire early.

Key Points

•   Early retirement requires significant savings, often guided by the Rule of 25, which suggests saving 25 times annual expenses.

•   The FIRE movement encourages saving 50-75% of income to retire early.

•   Effective budgeting and reducing expenses are crucial for accumulating necessary retirement funds.

•   Investment strategies should balance growth and risk, adjusting as retirement nears.

•   Health insurance planning is essential when retiring before qualifying for Medicare at age 65.

Understanding Early Retirement

Early retirement typically refers to retiring before the age of 65, which is when eligibility for Medicare benefits begins. Some people may want to retire just a few years earlier, at age 60, for instance. But others dream of retiring in their 40s or 50s or even younger.

Clarifying Early Retirement Age and Goals

You’re probably wondering, how can I retire early? That’s an important question to ask. First, though, you have to decide at what age to retire.

Schedule a few check-ins with yourself, and/or a partner or loved ones, to discuss what “early retirement” means. Is it age 50? Age 55? And what might your early retirement look like? Will you stop working completely? Work part-time? Or maybe you want to switch to a different field or start a business? Perhaps you dream of going back to school, volunteering, or traveling.

Early retirement is different for everyone. So the clearer you can get about the details now, the smarter you can be about how much money you need to make your plan work.

Also, consider why you want to retire at a specific age. Is it because you’re financially prepared to take that step? Or are you feeling ready to spend more time with family and friends? Determining what’s motivating you can help you better prepare and plan for your retirement.

Reasons for Retiring

In a recent SoFi survey, respondents cite the following as the top factors influencing their reasons to retire:

•   Financial readiness: 54%

•   Enjoying more time with family and friends and pursuing hobbies: 50%

•   Health considerations: 46%

•   More travel and leisure: 43%

•   Eligibility for Social Security benefits: 41%

Source: SoFi Retirement Survey, April 2024

Insights into the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) Movement

There’s a movement of people who want to retire early. It’s called the FIRE movement, which stands for “financially independent, retire early.” FIRE has become a worldwide trend that’s inspiring people to work toward retiring in their 50s, 40s, and even their 30s. In the 2024 SoFi Retirement Survey, 12% of respondents say the retirement age they’re aiming for is 49 or younger.

Here’s how FIRE works: In order to retire at a young age, people who follow the movement allocate 50% to 75% of their income to savings. However, that can be challenging because it means they have to sacrifice certain lifestyle pleasures such as eating out or traveling. Of the SoFi survey respondents who said they want to retire at age 49, 18% are not using any strategies that might help them retire early.

Once they retire, FIRE proponents tend to use investments that pay dividends as passive income sources to help support themselves. However, dividend payments depend on company performance and they’re not guaranteed. So a FIRE adherent would likely need other sources of income in retirement as well.

💡 Quick Tip: Did you know that a traditional Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, is a tax-deferred account? That means you don’t pay taxes on the money you put in it (up to an annual limit) or the gains you earn, until you retire and start making withdrawals.

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Only offers made via ACH are eligible for the match. ACATs, wires, and rollovers are not included.

Financial Planning for Early Retirement

In order to start planning to retire early, first ask yourself how confident you are about pulling it off. In the SoFi Retirement Survey, 68% of respondents say they are very or somewhat confident in their ability to retire at their target age, while 15% are very or somewhat doubtful they can do it.

Once you’ve assessed your confidence level, the next step is to calculate how much money you’ll need to live on once you stop working. How much would you have to save and invest to arrive at an amount that would allow you to retire early? Here’s how to help figure that out.

Many people wonder: How much do I need to retire early? There isn’t one answer to that question. The right answer for you is one that you must arrive at based on your unique needs and circumstances. That said, to learn whether you’re on track for retirement it helps to begin somewhere, and the Rule of 25 may provide a good ballpark estimate.

The Rule of 25 recommends saving 25 times your annual expenses in order to retire. Why? Because according to one rule of thumb, you should only spend 4% of your total nest egg every year. By limiting your spending to a small percentage of your savings, the logic goes, your money is more likely to last.

Here’s an example: if you spend $75,000 a year, you’ll need a nest egg of $1,875,000 in order to retire.

$75,000 x 25 = $1,875,000

With that amount saved, and assuming an annual withdrawal rate of 4%, you would have $75,000 per year in income.

Obviously, this is just an example. You might need less income in retirement or more — perhaps a lot less or a lot more, depending on your situation. If your desired income is $50,000, for example, you’d need to save $1,250,000.

The Benefits of Social Security

Once you reach the age of 62, which some consider a traditional retirement age, you are then able to claim Social Security benefits. (Age 67 is considered “full retirement” age for those born in 1960 and later, and you can wait to claim benefits until age 70.)

The longer you wait to claim Social Security, the higher your monthly payments will be. You could add those Social Security benefits to your income or consider reinvesting the money, depending on your circumstances as you get older.

Recommended: Typical Retirement Expenses to Prepare For

Effective Savings Strategies

How do you save the amount of money you’d need for your early retirement plan?

Having a budget you can live with is critical to making this plan a success. The essential word here isn’t budget, it’s the whole phrase: a budget you can live with.

There are countless ways to manage how you budget. There’s the 50-30-20 plan, the envelope method, the zero-based budget, and so on. You could test a couple of them for a couple of months each in order to find one you can live with.

Another strategy for saving more is to get a side hustle to bring in some extra income. You can put that money toward your early retirement goal.

Adjusting Your Financial Habits

As you consider how to retire early, one of the first things you’ll need to do is cut your expenses now so that you can save more money. These strategies can help you get started.

Lifestyle Changes to Accelerate Savings

Take a look at your current spending and expenses and determine where you could cut back. Maybe instead of a $4,000 vacation, you plan a $2,000 trip instead, and then save or invest the other $2,000 for retirement.

You may be able to live more of a minimalist lifestyle overall. Rather than buying new clothes, for instance, search through your closets for items you can wear. Eat out less and cook at home more. Cut back on some of the streaming services you use. Scrutinize all areas of your spending to see what you can eliminate or pare back.

Debt Management Before Retirement

Obviously, it’s very difficult to achieve a big goal like saving for an early retirement if you’re also trying to pay down debt. It’s wise to work to pay off any and all debts you might have (credit card, student loan, personal loan, car loan, etc.).

That’s not only because being debt-free feels better — it also saves you money. For example, the interest rate you’re paying on credit card or store cards can be quite high, often above 15% or even 20%. If you owe $6,000 on a credit card at 17% interest, for example, when you pay that off, you’re essentially saving the interest that debt was costing you each year.

Health Care Planning: A Critical Component of Early Retirement

When you retire early, you need to think about health insurance since you’ll no longer be getting it through your employer. Medicare doesn’t begin until age 65, so start researching the private insurance market now to understand the different plans available and what you might need.

It’s critical to have the right health insurance in place, so make sure you devote proper time and attention to this task.

Investment Management for Future Retirees

Next up, you’ll need to decide what to invest in and how much to invest in order to grow your savings without putting it at risk.

Understanding Your Investment Options

How do you invest to retire early? You can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), target date funds, and more.

One major factor to consider is how aggressively you want to invest. That means: Are you ready to invest more in equities, say, taking on the potential for greater risk in order to possibly reap potential gains? Or would you feel more at ease if you invested using a more conservative strategy, with less exposure to risk (but potentially less reward)?

Whichever strategy you choose, you may want to invest on a regular cadence. This approach, called dollar-cost averaging, is one way to maximize potential market returns and mitigate the risk of loss.

Balancing Growth and Risk in Your Investment Portfolio

Because you have less time to save for retirement, you will likely want your investments to grow. But you also need to consider your risk tolerance, as mentioned above. Think about a balanced, diversified portfolio that has the potential to give you long-term growth without taking on more risk than you are comfortable with.

As you get closer to your early retirement date, you can move some of your savings into safer, more liquid assets so that you have enough money on hand for your living, housing, and healthcare expenses.

Retirement Accounts: 401(k)s, IRAs, and HSAs

If your employer offers a retirement plan like a 401(k) or 403(b), that’s the first thing you want to take advantage of — especially if your employer matches a percentage of your savings.

The other reason to save and invest in an employer-sponsored plan is that in most cases the money you save the plan reduces your taxable income. These accounts are considered tax deferred because the amount you save is deducted from your gross income. So the more you save, the less you might pay in taxes. You do pay ordinary income tax on the withdrawals in retirement, however.

The caveat here is that you can’t access those funds before you’re 59½ without paying a penalty. So if you plan to retire early at 50, you will need to tap other savings for roughly the first decade to avoid the withdrawal penalties you’d incur if you tapped your 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) early.

Be sure to find out from HR if there are any other employee benefits you might qualify for, such as stock options or a pension, for instance.

Additionally, if your employer offers a Health Savings Account as part of your employee benefits, you might consider opening one.

A Health Savings Account allows you to save additional money: For tax year 2024, the HSA contribution caps are $4,150 for individuals and $8,300 for family coverage.

Your contributions are considered pre-tax, similar to 401(k) or IRA contributions, and the money you withdraw for qualified medical expenses is tax free (although you’ll pay taxes on money spent on non-medical expenses).

Finally, consider opening a Roth IRA. The advantage of saving in a Roth IRA vs. a regular IRA is that you’re contributing after-tax money that can be withdrawn penalty- and tax-free at any time.

To withdraw your earnings without paying taxes or a penalty, though, you must have had the account for at least five years (as per the Roth IRA 5-Year Rule), and you must be over 59 ½.

💡 Quick Tip: Before opening an investment account, know your investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance. These fundamentals will help keep your strategy on track and with the aim of meeting your goals.

The Pillars of Early Retirement

Retiring early means you’ll need to have income coming in to help support you. You may have a pension, which can also help. Once you’ve identified the income you’ll be generating, you’ll need to withdraw it in a manner that will help it last over the years of your retirement.

Establishing Multiple Income Streams

Having different streams of income is important so that you’re not just relying on one type of money coming in. For instance, your investments can be a source of potential income and growth, as mentioned. In addition, you may want to get a second job now in addition to your full-time job — perhaps a side hustle on evenings and weekends — to generate more money that you can put toward your retirement savings.

The Role of Social Security and Pensions in Early Retirement

Social Security can help supplement your retirement income. However, as covered above, the earliest you can collect it is at age 62. And if you take your benefits that early they will be reduced by as much as 30%. On the other hand, if you wait until full retirement age to collect them, you’ll receive full benefits. If you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67. You can find out more information at ssa.gov.

If your employer offers a pension, you should be able to collect that as another income stream for your retirement years. Generally, you need to be fully vested in the plan to collect the entire pension. The amount you are eligible for is typically based on what you earned, how long you worked for the company, and when you stop working there. Check with your HR department to learn more.

The Significance of Withdrawal Strategies: Rules of 55 and 4%

When it comes to withdrawing money from your investments after retirement, there are some rules and guidelines to be aware of. According to the Rule of 55, the IRS allows certain workers who leave their jobs to take penalty-free distributions from their current employer’s workplace retirement account, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), the year they turn 55.

The 4% rule is a general rule of thumb that recommends that you take 4% of your total retirement savings per year to cover your expenses.

To figure out what you would need, start with your desired yearly retirement income, subtract the annual amount of any pension or additional revenue stream you might have, and divide that number by 0.4. The resulting amount will be 4%, and you can aim to withdraw no more than that amount every year. The rest of your money would stay in your retirement portfolio.

Monitoring Your Progress Towards Early Retirement

To stay on course to reach your goal of early retirement, keep tabs on your progress at regular intervals. For instance, you may want to do a monthly or bi-monthly financial check-in to see where you’re at. Are you saving as much as you planned? If not, what could you do to save more?

Using an online retirement calculator can help you keep track of your goals. From there you can make any adjustments as needed to help make your dreams of early retirement come true.

How to Manage Early Retirement When You Get There

The budget you make in order to save for an early retirement is probably a good blueprint for how you should think about your spending habits after you retire. Unless your expenses will drop significantly after you retire (for instance, if you move or need one car instead of two, etc.), you can expect your spending to be about the same.

That said, you may be spending on different things. Whatever your retirement looks like, though, it’s wise to keep your spending as steady as you can, to keep your nest egg intact.

The Takeaway

An early retirement may appeal to many people, but it takes a real commitment to actually embrace it as your goal. These days, many people are using movements like FIRE (financial independence, retire early) to help them take the steps necessary to retire in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.

You can also make progress toward an early retirement by determining how much money you’ll need for post-work life, budgeting, and cutting back on expenses . And by saving and investing wisely, you may be able to make your goal a reality.

Ready to invest for your retirement? It’s easy to get started when you open a traditional or Roth IRA with SoFi. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

Help grow your nest egg with a SoFi IRA.

FAQs

How much do you need to save for early retirement?

There isn’t one right answer to the question of how much you need to save for early retirement. It depends on your specific needs and circumstances. However, as a starting point, the Rule of 25 may give you an estimate. This guideline recommends saving 25 times your annual expenses in order to retire, and then following the 4% rule, and withdrawing no more than 4% a year in retirement to cover your expenses.

Is early retirement a practical goal?

For some people, early retirement can be a practical goal if they plan properly. You’ll need to decide at what age you want to retire, and how much money you’ll need for your retirement years. Then, you will need to map out a budget and a concrete strategy to save enough. It will likely require adjusting your lifestyle now to cut back on spending and expenses to help save for the future, which can be challenging.


SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): Investors should carefully consider the information contained in the prospectus, which contains the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other relevant information. You may obtain a prospectus from the Fund company’s website or by email customer service at [email protected]. Please read the prospectus carefully prior to investing.
Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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What Is Stock Volatility and How Do You Measure It?

Key Points

•   Stock volatility refers to the variation in a stock’s price from its mean, and it can provide opportunities for investors.

•   Standard deviation, beta, VIX, and maximum drawdown are common measures used to gauge stock volatility.

•   Standard deviation measures how far a stock’s performance deviates from its average, while beta compares a stock’s volatility to the overall market.

•   Factors such as company performance, investor behavior, global events, seasonality, and market cycles can contribute to stock market volatility.

•   Balancing risk and reward, diversifying your portfolio, sticking to long-term investing strategies, avoiding timing the market, and considering dollar-cost averaging are effective ways to manage volatility when investing.

What Is Stock Volatility?

Stock volatility is often defined as big swings in price, but technically the volatility of a stock refers to how much its price tends to vary from the mean. The same is true of stock market volatility; when an index tends to perform a certain percentage above or below the mean, it’s a signal of volatility.

Generally, the higher the volatility of a stock, the more risk an investor incurs when they purchase or hold it. But volatility can also provide opportunities for some investors.

How to Measure Stock Volatility

There are a handful of ways to measure stock volatility. Each metric gives investors different information, and a different view of stock market fluctuations.

Standard Deviation

Standard deviation is a common stock volatility measure; it refers to how far a stock’s performance varies from its average. Investors often measure an investment’s volatility by the standard deviation of returns compared with a broader market index or past returns. Standard deviation measures the extent to which a data point deviates from an expected value, i.e. the mean return.

Beta

Beta is another way to measure volatility; it captures systematic risk, which refers to the volatility of a security (or of a portfolio) versus the market as a whole.

For example, beta can measure the volatility of a stock versus its benchmark (e.g. the S&P 500 or another relevant index). If a stock or mutual fund has a beta of 1.0, its inherent volatility is no different than the market at large. If the beta of a stock is higher or lower than its benchmark, that indicates higher or lower volatility.

Recommended: How to Find Portfolio Beta

VIX

The Cboe Global Markets Volatility Index, known as the VIX for short, is a tool used to measure implied volatility in the market. In simple terms, the VIX index tells investors how professional investors feel about the market at any given time.

The VIX Index is a real-time calculation that measures expected volatility in the stock market. One of the most recognized barometers of fluctuations in financial markets, the VIX measures how much volatility investing experts expect to see in the market over the next 30 days. This measurement reflects real-time quotes of S&P 500 Index (SPX) call option and put option prices.

Maximum Drawdown

Maximum drawdown, or MDD, is another stock volatility measure, and can give investors a sense of how much downside risk exists for a given stock (though not the risks of the stock market overall). It basically measures the maximum fall in value that a stock has seen in the past, and is reflected in the difference between that maximum trough, and the highest peak in value before its value fell.

You may recognize the terms peak and trough when discussing the business cycle and bull markets, too. MDD is a peak-to-trough calculation, in other words. It’s a simpler calculation than standard deviation, too:

MDD= Trough Value−Peak Value / Peak Value​

💡 Quick Tip: Before opening any investment account, consider what level of risk you are comfortable with. If you’re not sure, start with more conservative investments, and then adjust your portfolio as you learn more.

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*Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.

Using Standard Deviation to Calculate Volatility

You can use the standard deviation and variance of returns to create a basic measure of stock volatility. This measure captures variance in price changes over a certain period of time, so you can gauge how far from the mean the stock price tends to go (i.e. how volatile it is).

Formula: σT = volatility, where:

σ = standard deviation of returns

T = number of time periods

1. To arrive at the variance, imagine a stock that starts in January with a monthly closing price of $10, and adds $1 per month. Month 1 = $10. Month 2 = $11. Month 3 = $12 … and so on, for all 12 months (or whatever time period you choose).

2. Add the stock price for each month, to arrive at a total of $186.

3. Divide $186 by the number of time periods (12 months in this case) to get an average stock price of $15.50 for the year.

4. Subtract the mean ($15.50) from each monthly value; include results that are negative numbers.

5. Square all the deviations (which will also remove negative numbers), and add them together to get the sum ($50.50); divide the sum by the number of time periods (in this case 12) to get a variance of $4.21.

6. Take the square root of $4.21 to get $2.05 = which is the standard deviation for this particular stock. Knowing this provides an important point of comparison for investors, because it indicates whether a stock’s price fluctuations could be within ‘normal’ ranges or too volatile.

Recommended: What Is a Stock?

Types of Stock Volatility

types of stock volatility

There are two common types of stock volatility that investors use to measure the riskiness of an investment: implied volatility and historical volatility. These two types of volatility are often used by options traders, who make trades based on the potential volatility of the options contract’s underlying asset.

Historical Volatility

Historical volatility (HV), also known as statistical volatility, is a measurement of the price dispersion of a financial security or index over a period of time. Investors calculate this by determining the average deviation from an average price. Historical volatility typically looks at daily returns, but some investors use it to look at intraday price changes.

As the name implies, historical volatility used past performance to assess present volatility. When a stock sees large daily price swings compared to its history, it will typically have a historical volatility reading. Historical volatility does not measure direction; it simply indicates the deviation from an average.

Implied Volatility

Implied volatility (IV) is a metric that captures the market’s expectation of future movements in the price of a security. Implied volatility employs a set of predictive factors to forecast the future changes of a security’s price.

Implied volatility doesn’t anticipate which way prices might move, up or down, only how likely the volatility will be.

What Causes Market Volatility?

what causes stock market volatility

The stock market is known for having boom-and-bust cycles, which is another way of describing stock market volatility. And there are numerous factors that can influence market volatility. Here are just a few:

•   Company Performance: Regarding individual stocks, events tied to the company’s performance can drive volatility in its shares. This can include countless factors including: earnings reports, a product announcement, a merger, a change in management, and much more.

•   Investor Behavior: Long periods of rising share prices tend to drive investors to take on more risk. They enter into more speculative positions and buy assets like high-risk stocks.

In doing so, investors may disregard their own risk tolerance, and make themselves more vulnerable to market shocks. This pattern can lead to market busts when investors need to sell their holdings en masse when the market is shaky.

•   Global Events: For instance, the early stages of the COVID pandemic in February and March 2020 created shockwaves in the markets. As economies across the globe shut down, investors began to sell off risky assets, bringing about high levels of volatility in the financial markets.

Governments enacted extraordinary fiscal and monetary stimulus programs to calm this volatility and bring stability to the markets.

But even as these efforts took effect, other global factors — the war in Ukraine impacting energy prices — also took a toll. And federal reserve interest rate increases during 2022 — instituted at the fastest rate in history in an effort to tamper inflation — likewise roiled the markets, causing stock volatility.

•   Seasonality: You’ve heard the old saying, “Sell in May and go away.” That’s a reflection of a phenomenon called market seasonality, which means that year in and year out there are certain patterns that tend to occur around the same times.

While seasonality certainly doesn’t guarantee any investment outcomes, some sectors do see more demand and greater production during specific times of year. Summer months tend to impact the travel sector; the fall might see an uptick in school-related consumer goods, and so on.

Depending on the year, this rise and fall of demand can impact volatility for some stocks.

•   Market Cycles: In a similar way, markets also have their cycles; these cycles emerge thanks to trends generated by what’s going on in different business sectors. For example, the rapid evolution of AI in 2023 and early 2024 may have sparked a bit of a market cycle in the tech sector, as the demand for certain products and technologies jumped.

That said, it’s difficult to spot a market cycle until it’s over. Sometimes what appears to be a cycle is simply a normal set of fluctuations. But the anticipation or perception of a cycle can drive volatility.

•   Liquidity: Other factors that can drive volatility include liquidity and the derivatives market. Stock liquidity is the ease with which an asset can be bought and sold without affecting prices. If an asset is tough to unload and gets sold at a significantly lower price, that could inject fear into the market and cause other investors to sell, ramping up volatility.

Separately, there’s sometimes a debate as to whether equity derivatives — contracts that are based on an underlying asset (e.g. futures and options) — can cause volatility. For instance, in 2020, investors debated whether large volumes of stock options trading caused sellers of the options, typically banks, to hedge themselves by buying stocks, exposing the market to sudden ups and downs when the banks had to purchase or sell shares quickly.

What Causes Stock Prices to Go Up?

As noted, any number of things can cause a stock’s price to go up — be it good or bad news. For instance, geopolitical events can cause certain stocks to appreciate in price, while others may fall. When there’s political instability, some investors seek safer investments and may pile into consumer staple stocks, or investments that track the price of precious metals.

When the economy is faring well, earnings season can be another time during which stock prices go up as companies report positive news to investors, who may, in turn, feel better about the economy overall, which can affect their investing decisions.

What Causes Stock Prices to Go Down?

Just as nearly anything and everything can drive stock prices up, there are countless factors that can likewise drive values down. That can include bad earnings reports from companies, or earnings data that doesn’t live up to expectations. Political or regulatory changes can also spook investors, who may sell certain stocks and drive prices down.

Again: Stock prices can go down for any and every reason, or no reason at all. This is as good a time as any to remind you that there really is no such thing as a completely safe investment.

💡 Quick Tip: How to manage potential risk factors in a self-directed investment account? Doing your research and employing strategies like dollar-cost averaging and diversification may help mitigate financial risk when trading stocks.

How to Manage Volatility When Investing

Let’s imagine that it’s 2007, and an individual has money invested in the U.S. stock market. Unfortunately, this investor is about to face one of the largest stock market crashes in history: The S&P 500 fell by 48% during the crash of 2008-2009.

This sort of dramatic drop in the stock market isn’t typical, and it can be traumatic even for the savviest and most experienced investor. So, the first step to handling stock market volatility is understanding that there will always be some price fluctuation.

The second step is to know one’s risk tolerance and financial goals, then invest, readjust, and rebalance your portfolio accordingly.

Balance Risk and Reward

Generally speaking, higher rewards sometimes come with higher risks. For example, younger investors in their 20s might want to target higher growth options and be open to more volatile stocks. They may have enough time to weather the gains and losses and, possibly, come out ahead over time.

The reverse is true for someone approaching retirement who wants stable portfolio returns. With a shorter time horizon there’s less time to recover from volatility, so investing in lower-risk securities may make more sense.
Some strategies offer ways that more cautious investors might take to mitigate volatility in their portfolios. One way is diversification.

Portfolio diversification involves investing your money across a range of different asset classes — such as stocks, bonds, and real estate — rather than concentrating all of it in one area. Studies have shown that by diversifying the assets in your portfolio, you may offset a certain amount of investment risk and thereby improve returns.

For example: Lower volatility stocks, such as utility or consumer staple companies, can add stability to a stock portfolio. Meanwhile, energy, technology, and consumer discretionary shares tend to be more turbulent because their businesses are more cyclical, or tied to the broader economy.

Another way to diversify one’s portfolio is to add bonds, alternative investments, or even cash. When deciding to add bonds or stocks to a portfolio, it’s helpful to know that the former is generally a less volatile asset class.

This is useful to know if you’re managing your own portfolio, or if you want to try automated investing, where a sophisticated algorithm provides different asset allocation options in pre-set portfolios.

There are a few other things to take into consideration when managing volatility in your portfolio.

Assess Risk Tolerance

A big part of effectively managing stock volatility as it relates to your portfolio is knowing your limits, or, as discussed, your risk tolerance. How much risk can you actually handle when it comes down to it?

Every investor will need to give that question some thought when deciding how to deploy their money.

While bigger risks often come with bigger rewards, when the market does experience a downturn, there’s the outstanding question of whether you’ll stick to your investing strategy or cut and run. Each investor’s risk tolerance will be different, but it’s important to think about how you can actually handle the risk you take on when investing.

Stick to Long-Term Investing Strategies

One way to manage market volatility is to stick to a long-term investing strategy, such as a buy-and-hold strategy. If you stick to long-term investments rather than derivatives or other short-term assets or tools, you can somewhat ignore the day-to-day ups and downs of stock prices, and in doing so you may be able to better weather market volatility.

Avoid Timing the Market

Timing the market, as it relates to trading and investing, means waiting for ideal market conditions, and then making a move to try and capitalize on the best market outcome. But nobody can predict the future, and this is a high-risk strategy.

When seeing stock market charts and business news headlines, it can be tempting to imagine you can strike it rich by timing your investments perfectly. In reality, figuring out when to buy or sell securities is extremely difficult. Both professional and at-home investors make serious mistakes when trying to time the market.

Consider Dollar-Cost Averaging

Dollar cost averaging is essentially a way to manage volatility as you continue to save and build wealth. It’s a basic investment strategy where you buy a fixed dollar amount of an investment on a regular cadence (e.g. weekly or monthly). The goal is not to invest when prices are high or low, but rather to keep your investment steady, and thereby avoid the temptation to time the market.

That’s because with dollar cost averaging (DCA) you invest the same dollar amount each time. When prices are lower, you buy more; when prices are higher, you buy less. Otherwise, you might be tempted to follow your emotions and buy less when prices drop, and more when prices are increasing (a common tendency among investors).

How Much Stock Volatility Is Normal?

The average stock market return in the U.S. is roughly 10% annualized over time, or about 6% or 7% taking inflation into account.

When looking at nearly 100 years of data, as of the end of July 26 2023, the yearly average stock market return was between 8% and 12% only eight times. In reality, stock market returns are typically much higher or much lower.

It’s also important to remember that past market performance is not indicative of future returns. But looking at history can help an investor gauge how much volatility and market fluctuation might be considered normal. Since the end of World War II, the S&P 500 has posted 14 drops of more than 20%, including the most recent in 2022 — a dip precipitated by the rapid rise in interest rates.

These prolonged downturns of 20% or more are considered bear markets. While bear markets have a bad name, they don’t always lead to recession, and on average bear markets are shorter than bull markets.

Investing in Stocks With SoFi

Stock volatility is the pace at which the price of a company’s shares move up or down during a certain period of time. Volatility is a complex topic, and it often sparks debate among investors, traders, and academics about what causes it.

While equities are considered an important part of any investment portfolio, they are also known for being volatile, and some degree of turbulence is something most stock investors have to live with.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).


Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

Is volatility the same as risk?

In a sense, yes. Volatility is an indicator of risk. So a stock that is highly volatile, with big price changes, is considered riskier than a stock that is less volatile and maintains a more stable price.

Who should buy stocks when volatility strikes?

Certain types of investors, e.g. day traders and options traders, may have strategies that enable them to profit from volatile securities (although there are no guarantees). In some cases, ordinary investors with a very high risk tolerance may want to invest in a volatile stock — but they have to be willing to face the possibility of steep losses.

What is the best stock volatility indicator?

Perhaps the most common or popular one is the VIX. Depending on which way the VIX is trending, it may throw off buy or sell signals to investors. The VIX can be helpful for assessing risk in order to capitalize on anticipated market movements.

What is good volatility for a stock?

Deciding whether the volatility of a certain stock is “good” is a matter of your personal investing style and goals. Some investors may seek out volatile equities if they believe they have a strategy that can capitalize on price fluctuations. Other investors with a long-term view may not mind volatility if they believe the outcome over time will be favorable — while others may opt for as little volatility in their portfolios as possible.

What causes volatility in a stock?

Just about anything can cause stock volatility. Some of the more common causes of volatility are earnings reports or other company news; geopolitical news and developments; or broader economic changes, such as interest rate hikes or inflation.


Photo credit: iStock/FluxFactory

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SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.

Options involve risks, including substantial risk of loss and the possibility an investor may lose the entire amount invested in a short period of time. Before an investor begins trading options they should familiarize themselves with the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options . Tax considerations with options transactions are unique, investors should consult with their tax advisor to understand the impact to their taxes.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.

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What Is a Senior Checking Account?

What Is a Senior Citizen Checking Account?

A senior citizen checking account is a type of bank account specifically designed for individuals who are typically aged 55 or older. These accounts often offer benefits such as higher interest rates, lower fees, and additional perks tailored to the needs of seniors, such as discounts on travel or entertainment.

Is it worth getting a senior checking account vs. a regular checking account? Sometimes — but not always. Here’s what you need to know.

How Does a Senior Checking Account Work?

A senior checking account works in the same way as a regular checking account. The only difference is that it may offer benefits and features customized for adults above a certain age, which might be 50, 55, or 62, depending on the bank or credit union. Senior checking accounts are more commonly offered by smaller regional banks or credit unions than by large national banks.

Like a standard checking account, senior checking accounts offer a place to safely store your money and manage day-to-day spending. They typically come with paper checks plus a debit card you can use for purchases or cash withdrawals. Checking accounts may also offer features like overdraft protection and direct deposit.

Recommended: 7 Tips for Managing a Checking Account

What Is the Difference Between a Senior Checking Account and a Normal Checking Account?

Overall, a senior checking account serves the same purpose as a regular checking account. However, a senior checking account may have certain age requirements and can come with unique benefits and senior discounts designed to appeal to older adults. Some of these benefits may include:

•   Free checks

•   No monthly service charges or low minimum balance requirement to waive monthly service fees

•   24/7 access to customer service by phone

•   Interest on checking account balances

•   A certain number of out-of-network ATM fees waived

•   Discounts on safe deposit boxes

•   Free services such as notary, cashier’s checks, money orders, and wire transfers

•   Special interest rates on certificates of deposit (CDs) or loans

•   Rewards points for using your debit card

These types of perks make it easier for senior citizens to manage their financial life.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Pros of a Senior Checking Account

A senior checking account generally offers all the benefits of traditional checking, plus some extras. Here’s a look at some of the advantages of opening a senior checking account.

•   Unique perks: Eligible account holders can often enjoy special perks like free checks, waived monthly service charges and transaction fees, and discounted banking services.

•   Earn interest: It’s not guaranteed everywhere, but some senior checking accounts allow account holders to earn interest on their deposits.

•   Security: Like regular checking accounts, funds stored in a senior checking account (up to a certain amount) are safe and secure, thanks to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insurance,

•   Accessibility: As with any checking account, it’s easy to access your money from a senior checking account when you need it. You can usually make withdrawals in a variety of different ways, including at a branch with a teller, using a debit card at an ATM, writing a check, and making an online bank transfer.

•   Debit card: Typically, senior checking accounts come with debit cards which make it easy to pay for purchases without having cash on hand.

•   Direct deposits: Instead of waiting for paper checks in the mail, checking account holders can set up convenient direct deposits.

Cons of a Senior Checking Account

There are also disadvantages associated with senior checking accounts. Here are some to mull over.

•   Age requirements: Senior checking accounts often have age requirements. Depending on the bank or credit union, you may need to be 50-plus, 55-plus, or 62-plus.

•   Minimal interest: Some senior checking accounts offer interest. However, annual percentage yields (APYs) are generally low. You can likely get a significantly better return on your money by storing it in a high-yield savings account.

•   Minimum balance: Some senior checking accounts may require you to keep a minimum balance to avoid monthly maintenance fees or earn interest.

•   May not be better than a regular account: Many of the promoted perks of a senior checking account may also be available with a standard checking account.

•   Fees: While senior checking accounts tend to charge fewer or lower fees, they can come with account management fees, overdraft fees, and other fees

•   May get better perks with a regular checking account: If you keep a large balance in your checking account, you may be better off with a premium checking account, which could offer more perks and services than a senior checking account.

Things to Consider When Looking for a Senior Citizen Checking Account

Before opening a senior checking account, here are a few helpful things to keep in mind.

•   Convenience: Does the bank or credit union have enough branches and ATMs? Is their website easy to use? Do the bank’s customer service options fit your preferences?

•   Special services and features: Compare a few different senior citizen checking account options. What perks do they offer? Do these services and features matter to you? A free safety deposit box and a special rate on a CD won’t be useful if you don’t plan to use those products.

•   Minimum balance requirements: Does the account have a minimum balance requirement? Will this threshold be easy to meet? If not, you might end up paying a monthly maintenance charge.

•   Fees: Senior citizen checking accounts tend to have fewer fees than typical checking accounts. Still, it’s worth comparing the different fees each account charges. Consider overdraft fees, ATM fees, nonsufficient funds fees, as well as fees for services you may use, such as money orders or wire transfers.

Is a Senior Checking Account Worth It Over a Normal Checking Account?

It depends. Since there are numerous banking choices these days, including traditional banks and credit unions and online-only institutions, it generally pays to shop around and compare benefits and perks of different checking accounts.

As you shop around, keep an eye out for minimum balance requirements and monthly (and any other) fees. If a senior checking account will actually save you money, it could be worth it. If you could do better with a regular checking account, then you may want to skip the senior account.

How Can I Apply for a Senior Citizen Checking Account?

The process of opening a checking account for senior citizens is generally the same as opening a regular checking account. Here’s a look at the steps that are typically involved.

1.    Complete the application. You can generally do this either online or in person at a branch and will need all your basic information (including a government-issued photo ID, proof of address, and Social Security number).

2.    Designate beneficiaries. Once your application is approved, you can choose a beneficiary for your account.

3.    Deposit funds. If an opening deposit is required, you can typically do this by transferring funds from another account (either at the same or a different bank) or using a check, cash, or a debit card.

If you plan to close your other checking account, you’ll want to wait until all outstanding payments and deposits going in or coming out of that account have cleared. Also be sure to change any online bill payments and direct deposits from your prior checking account to your new checking account.

Recommended: How To Switch Banks in 3 Easy Steps

The Takeaway

Senior checking accounts generally come with benefits tailored to older adults, such as lower fees, higher interest rates, and additional perks like free checks or discounts on services.

If you’re over a certain age, prefer traditional banking services, and value these benefits, a senior checking account could be worth it. However, if you’re looking to switch your bank account, it’s wise to compare the features and fees of different accounts to determine which one offers the best value. Depending on your needs and goals, you might find that a checking account with no age requirements is a better fit.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is senior banking?

Senior banking refers to banking services and accounts specifically designed for older individuals, typically aged 55 or older. These accounts often come with features and benefits tailored to the needs of seniors, such as lower fees, higher interest rates, and additional perks like free checks or discounts on services. Senior banking may also include financial planning and retirement services to help seniors manage their finances more effectively.

What is the age restriction for senior checking accounts?

Depending on the bank or credit union, the age restriction for a senior checking account may be age 50, 55, or 62.

What is the age limit for a senior citizen bank account?

The age limit for a senior bank account can vary depending on the financial institution. In general, senior bank accounts are available to individuals who are aged 55 or older. However, some banks may offer senior accounts to individuals as young as 50, while others may set the age limit at 62 or older. It’s best to check with the specific bank or credit union to determine the age requirements for their senior banking products.


Photo credit: iStock/Deagreez

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Understanding Pivot Points

Pivot Point: What It Is and How to Use It in Trading

Pivot points are technical indicators that average the intraday high, low, and closing price from the previous trading period. Based on the price movements the following day, traders can use the pivot point to identify support and resistance levels.

If the price moves above the primary pivot point, it may signal a bullish trend; if it moves below the pivot point, it may indicate a bearish trend. Thus, pivot points can help inform a decision to buy or sell stocks.

When used alongside other common technical indicators, identifying pivot points can be part of an effective trading strategy. Pivot points are regarded as being important indicators for day traders.

What Is a Pivot Point?

Pivot points got their start during the time when traders gathered on the floor of stock exchanges. Calculating a pivot point using yesterday’s data gave these traders a price level to watch for throughout the day.

While other technical indicators, such as oscillators or moving averages, fluctuate constantly throughout the day, the pivot point remains static.

Analysts consider the main or primary pivot point to be the most important. This point indicates the price at which bullish and bearish forces tend to break one way or the other — that is, the price where sentiment tends to pivot from.

Pivot point calculations are considered leading indicators, and are often used in tandem with other common technical indicators. Today, traders around the world use pivot points, particularly in the forex and equity markets.

Two Ways to Use Pivot Points

But there are different ways to use pivot points. One way is to use the pivot point to help identify the trend. Again, when prices move above the pivot point, this could be considered bullish; prices falling below the pivot point could be considered bearish.

Traders can also use pivot points to set entry and exit points for trades. All things being equal, a trader might want to set a stop loss order around the support level, the price at which a downtrend generally turns around, or a limit order to buy shares if the price goes above a resistance level, generally the upper limit of the price range.

💡 Quick Tip: Before opening an investment account, know your investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance. These fundamentals will help keep your strategy on track and with the aim of meeting your goals.

Get up to $1,000 in stock when you fund a new Active Invest account.*

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*Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.

How to Calculate Pivot Points

The PP is vital for the pivot point formula as a whole. It’s essential for traders to exercise caution when calculating the pivot-point level; because if this calculation is done incorrectly, the other levels will not be accurate.

The formula for calculating the PP is:

Pivot Point (PP) = (Daily High + Daily Low + Close) Divided by 3

To make the calculations for pivot points, it’s necessary to have a chart from the previous trading day. This is where you can get the values for the daily low, daily high, and closing prices. The resulting calculations are only relevant for the current day.

Recommended: How to Know When to Buy Stocks

What Are Resistance and Support Levels in Pivot Points?

Traders track price patterns in order to decide when to enter and exit trades. This may require using more than one support or resistance level in order to ascertain a trend. Support refers to the lower end of the price, where the price generally stops falling and turns around. Resistance is the upper end, where the price generally stops rising and begins to dip.

The numerals R1, R2, R3 and S1, S2, S3 refer to the resistance (R) and support (S) levels used to calculate pivot points. These six numbers combined with the primary pivot-point (PP) level form the seven metrics needed to determine pivot points.

•   Resistance 1 (R1): First pivot level above the PP

•   Resistance 2 (R2): First pivot level above R1, or second pivot level above PP

•   Resistance 3 (R3): First pivot level above R2, or third pivot level above the PP

•   Support 1 (S1): First pivot level below the PP

•   Support 2 (S2): First pivot level below the S1, or the second below the PP

•   Support 3 (S3): First pivot level below the S2, or the third below the PP

Pivot Point Formulas

All the formulas for R1-R3 and S1-S3 include the basic PP level value. Once the PP has been calculated, you can move on to calculating R1, R2, S1, and S2:

R1 = (PP x 2) – Daily Low
R2 = PP + (Daily High – Daily Low)
S1 = (PP x 2) – Daily High
S2 = PP – (Daily High – Daily Low)

At this point, there are only two more levels to calculate: R3 and S3:

R3 = Daily High + 2 x (PP – Daily Low)
S3 = Daily Low – 2 x (Daily High – PP)

How Are Weekly Pivot Points Calculated?

Pivot points are most commonly used for intraday charting. But you can chart the same data for a week, if you needed to. You just use the values from the prior week, instead of day, as the basis for calculations that would apply to the current week.

Types of Pivot Points

There are at least four types of pivot points, including the standard ones. Their variations make some changes or additions to the basic pivot-point calculations to bring additional insight to the price action.

Standard Pivot Points

These are the most basic pivot points. Standard pivot points begin with the primary pivot point, which is the average of the high, low, and closing prices from a previous trading period. The support and resistance levels can be calculated from there, as noted above.

Fibonacci Pivot Points

Fibonacci projections — named after a well-known mathematical sequence — help identify support and resistance levels. The percentage levels that follow represent potential areas of a trend change. Most commonly, these percentage levels are 23.6%, 38.2%, 50.0%, 61.8%, and 78.6%.

Technical analysts believe that when an asset falls to one of these levels, the price might stall or reverse. Fibonacci projections work well in conjunction with pivot points because both aim to identify levels of support and resistance in an asset’s price.

Woodie’s Pivot Point

The Woodie’s pivot point places a greater emphasis on the closing price of a security. The calculation varies only slightly from the standard formula for pivot points.

Demark Pivot Points

Demark pivot points create a different relationship between the open and close price points, using the numeral X to calculate support and resistance, and to emphasize recent price action.

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How Might Traders Interpret Pivot Points?

A trader might read a pivot point as they would any other level of support or resistance. Traders generally believe that when prices break out beyond a support or resistance level, there’s a good chance that the trend will continue for some time.

•   When prices fall beneath support, this could indicate bearish sentiment, and the decline could continue.

•   When prices rise above resistance, this could indicate bullish sentiment, and the rise could continue.

•   Pivot points can also be used to draw trend lines in attempts to recognize bigger technical patterns.

The Takeaway

The pivot-point indicator is a key tool in technical stock analysis. This pricing technique is best used along with other indicators on short, intraday trading time frames. This indicator is thought to render a good estimate as to where prices could “pivot” in one direction or another.

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FAQ

How are weekly pivot points calculated?

Pivot points can be applied to any time frame, simply by adjusting the period. To calculate a weekly pivot point you can use the values from the prior week, instead of day, as the basis for calculations that would apply to the current week.

How accurate are pivot points?

While no technical analysis tool is guaranteed, pivot points are generally considered among the more accurate in terms of helping traders gauge support and resistance levels, and market trends overall.

Do professional traders use pivot points?

Professional traders do use pivot points, but usually in combination with other types of technical analysis — depending on the trade they want to make.


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