IV Percentile: Your Hidden Asset in the Trading Game

So, you’ve got your feet wet in the trading world, huh? You’re juggling terms like “strike price,” “premiums,” and “moneyness.” But now, let’s talk about something slightly different but no less important—the IV percentile. Sounds like a real jawbreaker, doesn’t it? Don’t fret! We’ll chew it up and spit it out in digestible pieces for you. Let’s get the ball rolling!

What’s the IV Percentile?

Imagine you’re at the county fair. You step up to the “Test Your Strength” game, swing the mallet, and the puck goes up, up, up… But how do you know if your swing was good compared to all the other swings before you? That’s where the IV percentile comes into play.

In trading terms, the IV (Implied Volatility) percentile gives us a way to compare today’s volatility with the past. It tells us how today’s volatility ranks compared to the last 52 weeks (or whatever time frame you’re looking at). Kind of like comparing your fair swing to the other ones.

Here’s a simple way to understand it:

  • If the IV percentile is 0, today’s volatility is the lowest it’s been in the past year.
  • If the IV percentile is 100, today’s volatility is the highest it’s been in the past year.

But how can we use this information in trading? Buckle up, we’re about to find out!

IV Percentile in Action

Here’s the cool part. Knowing the IV percentile can help you make smarter trading decisions. Remember, high volatility usually means higher risk, but also higher potential rewards. On the other hand, low volatility tends to mean lower risk, but also smaller possible gains.

Let’s break it down:

  1. Buying Options: If the IV percentile is low, it could be a good time to buy options. Why? Because options are often cheaper when volatility is low.
  2. Selling Options: If the IV percentile is high, it might be a smart move to sell options. This is because options are typically more expensive when volatility is high.
  3. Sitting Tight: Sometimes, the best move is no move at all. If the IV percentile is in the middle of the range, you might want to hold off on buying or selling options until the picture becomes clearer.

Real World Examples

To make this all a bit more tangible, let’s look at some real-world examples:

  • Example 1: Let’s say the IV percentile for a particular stock is 10. This means the stock’s volatility is relatively low compared to the past year. As an options buyer, this might be a good time to jump in.
  • Example 2: The IV percentile for another stock is at 90. The stock’s volatility is higher than it’s been for most of the past year. If you’re an options seller, this could be an opportunity to sell options for a higher price.

Taking a Deeper Dive into IV Percentile

Before we go any further, it’s important to understand that the IV percentile isn’t the only factor to consider when making trading decisions. It’s one tool in a larger toolbox. It’s like deciding what to wear based on the weather forecast. You wouldn’t just look at the temperature, would you? You’d also consider factors like wind, precipitation, and whether you’ll be indoors or outdoors. Similarly, in trading, you should consider the IV percentile alongside other important factors like market trends, economic indicators, and the company’s performance.

So, if the IV percentile isn’t the be-all and end-all, why should we pay attention to it? Well, knowing the IV percentile can help you avoid being caught off guard by sudden market changes. It’s like having a heads up when the roller coaster is about to take a big dip or make a sharp turn.

More Real-World Examples

Now, let’s dive into some more examples to better grasp the practical application of the IV percentile in trading.

  • Example 3: Suppose you’re considering options on a tech company, and the IV percentile is at 75. Given that tech stocks can be quite volatile, a high IV percentile might mean the market is expecting significant price swings. As an options seller, this could be your chance to earn higher premiums.
  • Example 4: The IV percentile for a stable, blue-chip company is at 20. Since such companies are typically less volatile, a low IV percentile might suggest an opportunity for options buyers to get in at a lower cost.

Data Points and Tables

To visualize the impact of the IV percentile, let’s imagine a scenario:

IV Percentile Stock A Stock B Stock C
5 $2 $3 $4
50 $5 $6 $7
95 $10 $12 $15

In this table, you can see how the price of options (Stock A, B, and C) increases with the IV percentile. At an IV percentile of 5, options are relatively cheap. But as the IV percentile rises to 50 and 95, the cost of options goes up. Remember, this is a simplified example and actual trading will involve many other variables.


Cracking the code of the IV percentile is like finding a hidden switch in a secret passage. It might not open every door, but it can definitely light your way. By understanding and utilizing the IV percentile, you’re adding an important tool to your trading toolbox.

So, as you delve deeper into the world of trading, remember to keep the IV percentile in your sights. It might just be the key to unlock your trading potential and help you ride the waves of market volatility with confidence. Happy trading!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a good IV percentile? A good IV percentile can be relative, depending on your trading strategy. If you’re an options buyer, a low IV percentile (around 20 or below) could mean cheaper options, so that might be considered “good.” For options sellers, a high IV percentile (around 70 or above) could be “good” as it may result in higher premiums.

Which is better IV rank or IV percentile? Both IV rank and IV percentile give you a way to compare current implied volatility to past volatility. IV Rank uses the highest and lowest volatility to scale current volatility. IV percentile, on the other hand, tells you the percentage of days that were lower than the current volatility level. Neither is necessarily “better,” they just provide slightly different perspectives.

How do you calculate the IV percentile? To calculate the IV percentile, you need historical IV data. Let’s say you’re looking at the past 252 trading days (a typical trading year). Count the number of days with lower IV than today, then divide that by 252 and multiply by 100 to get the IV percentile.

What is IV percentile in thinkorswim? In thinkorswim, a popular trading platform, IV percentile provides a measure of how current implied volatility compares to the past year’s high and low volatility. It can be an important tool for identifying strategic opportunities in option trading.

Is high IV good or bad? High IV isn’t inherently good or bad—it depends on your perspective. For option sellers, high IV can be good because it may lead to higher option premiums. For option buyers, high IV might be considered bad because it can mean more expensive options.

What is considered high IV rank? An IV rank above 50 is typically considered high, implying that implied volatility is higher than it’s been for more than half of the days in the past year.

How rare is perfect IVs? In the context of Pokémon gaming, having a Pokémon with perfect IVs (Individual Values) is quite rare. In trading, however, the concept doesn’t apply.

How many IVs is very good? This question seems to reference Pokémon gaming where a Pokémon’s ability is gauged in terms of IVs. In trading, it’s not applicable.

What does a low IV percentile mean? A low IV percentile means that implied volatility is relatively low compared to the past year. For option buyers, a low IV percentile might mean cheaper options, and potentially an opportunity to buy.

What is IV percentile examples? An example of IV percentile could be the following: If a stock has an IV percentile of 30, it means that its current implied volatility is higher than 30% of its implied volatility readings over the past year.

How high is high the IV percentile? Generally, an IV percentile above 70 is considered high. It indicates that the current level of implied volatility is greater than 70% of its readings over the past year.

What is 75th percentile? The 75th percentile (also known as the third quartile) is a value that separates the highest 25% from the rest of the data. If IV is at the 75th percentile, it’s higher than it’s been 75% of the time over the past year.

Is higher IV better for options? For options sellers, higher IV often results in higher premiums, making it potentially more profitable. For buyers, higher IV usually means more expensive options, which can be less attractive.

What is a good IV for option buyer? A good IV for an option buyer would typically be a low IV, resulting in less expensive options. A low IV percentile, say around 20 or below, might provide cost-effective opportunities.

What is IV percentile TD Ameritrade? On TD Ameritrade’s trading platform, IV percentile offers traders a way to assess where the current implied volatility falls in relation to its past year’s range. It can be a valuable tool for planning trading strategies.

Why buy high IV options? Buying high IV options could be a strategy if you expect a large price movement in the underlying asset. High IV implies higher potential price swings, which could lead to large profits if the price move is in your favor.

What happens if IV rate is too fast? This question seems more relevant to medical situations involving intravenous drips. In trading, IV doesn’t have a “rate” that can be “too fast”.

What is a good implied volatility percentage for options? A “good” implied volatility percentage largely depends on your trading strategy. For sellers, high IV could be good as it might result in higher premiums. For buyers, low IV could be seen as good since it might lead to less expensive options. Always consider IV in conjunction with other factors before making a decision.

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