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Learn How To Invest: Getting Started With Paper Trading

Updated on December 4, 2014

Battle Station

Getting Started With Thinkorswim Paper Trading

Getting started.
-To trade with regular margin strategies you will need a minimum of 2500$

-To practice these strategies with a realistic paper trading account you do not need any money.

-None of the following steps will cost $, it's all free, your info will not be used to sell you anything, there is no spam or advertising. You can go from not knowing anything about trading to being a self-directed investor without spending a penny. You don't need some famous investing guru to charge you money to teach you a bunch of crap that will never give you any statistical advantage. And you don't need some adviser or fund manager to charge you fees for mediocre to dismal performance.

-go to and create an account.
-Go through the Doughjo video series on the website and take the quizzes as you go. There is no time limit to answering the questions. Take your time. If you are hung up on a question, google it, call a lifeline, whatever, but don't guess. You will need a score of 80% I think to get the permissioning certificate that will allow you tier 2-3 status for trading with these strategies. They pretty much walk you though the quizzes but some of the questions may be confusing so it's ok to make sure you're right before you answer.
-On the Dough website click on one of their TD Ameritrade links to create an account with TDA. Creating an account with TDA through the Dough links will give you a fee reduction for when you do start trading. The reduction is substantial so it's important to take advantage of it.


Creating a Brokerage Account for Investing

-Create an account with TDA using the same username and password as with Dough. The accounts will all be connected so it will all be secure. There will be questions , be as honest as you feel is necessary. Many of the questions are just what they use to assess your experience and risk tolerance when allowing a higher tier status for trading. The higher the better. So you should request tier 3 if asked. (in the end it won't matter as your doughjo certificate will override their assessment and give automatic tier 2-3 status.)

-From the TDA homepage you can find a link for the free download for Thinkorswim. This is the platform you can practice paper trading on or trade from a funded account. Once downloaded open it using your Dough/TDA username and password.

Learn How to Trade Stocks and Options

-Now everything is in place.....if you have your dough certificate from finishing the video quizzes click on the "Help" button on, go to "Chat With Dough" and ask them what you should do with your Dough certificate now that you have it. They will tell you where in TDA you should send it. And once sent you will want to request Tier 3 status if you haven't already. This is from the TDA homepage under Client Services/My Profile/General where you can edit Option trading status to request Tier 3.

-Watch Tastytrade as much as possible (especially What Else Ya Got, The Skinny on Options Math, Market Measures, Best Practices), watch the archived videos, (Where Do I start and Back To Cool are daily and archived beginner videos) go to the Dough webinars on Dough, watch Trade Seminars on Thinkorswim from the Support/Chat tab (the wading pool chats help greatly to introduce you to the platform), watch YouTube videos, learn, learn, learn. Become a trading Tyrannosaurus.

-Let me know if you need any help, I'm happy to answer any questions I can or at least point you in a helpful direction.

-Check my other posts for videos and additional content on getting started.

Setting Up Paper Trade Feature on Thinkorswim

Call and Put Option Trading Strategies

Check out my other posts where we will go further into how to actually place a trade using call and put options strategies a real time paper trading account. I will go into everything from basic covered calls, vertical spreads, iron condors, butterflies, straddles, strangles, delta management, theta decay, calendar spreads and whatever else I can think of.

I am still learning much of this myself but my aim is to help others and maybe save them time so they can get to the path of self directed investing as soon as they are able. And maybe help to avoid many of the mistakes I made myself.


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