What is Margin Call | Margin Call Explained | IFCM

# What is Margin Call

Imagine you're trading stocks with the help of a broker. Sometimes, the value of the stocks you bought might drop, causing the value of your account to go down too. To make sure both you and the broker are protected, there's something called a margin call.

This is like a friendly reminder from the broker, asking you to add more money or other valuable things to your trading account. They want your account to have a certain amount of money in it, called the minimum maintenance margin, to handle any potential losses.

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## Maintenance Margin Requirement Explained

Think of the maintenance margin requirement as a safety rule for your trading account. When you buy stocks with money you've borrowed from the broker, they want you to keep a minimum amount of your own money in the account. This is like a cushion to absorb any losses if the stock values go down.

## Calculating a Margin Call – Let's Break It Down

Picture this: you bought some stocks for \$40,000, and you paid half of that with your own money and borrowed the rest from the broker. So, your own money is \$20,000, which is half of the stock value. If the stock's value drops to \$25,000, your own money is still \$20,000, but now it's a smaller part of the whole value, just 20%.

The broker has a rule that your own money should be at least 30% of the stock value. So, they see that your own money is now less than that, and they give you a friendly nudge – a margin call – asking for an extra \$2,500 to get your own money back to the 30% mark.

## How to Deal with a Margin Call

• Add More Money: If you have extra cash, you can put it into your trading account. This helps meet the broker's requirement.
• Sell Some Stocks: If you don't have extra cash, you can sell a few of the stocks you have. This lowers the amount you've borrowed, making your own money a bigger percentage of the total.
• Close Some Positions: You can also decide to stop investing in some stocks, selling them off to increase your own money percentage.

Remember, if you can't do any of these, the broker might sell some of your stocks for you to get things back in balance.

## Tips to Avoid a Margin Call

• Know the Rules: Before you start trading, understand the broker's rules about how much of your own money you need to keep.
• Check Your Account: Regularly look at your account balance and how your stocks are doing to ensure you're meeting the broker's rules.
• Use Safety Measures: Set up stop-loss orders. These are like guards for your stocks – if their value drops too much, they're automatically sold to prevent bigger losses.
• Spread the Risk: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Invest in different things so if one thing drops, it doesn't hurt your account too much.
• Don't Borrow Too Much: Be careful about borrowing too much money for trading. It can increase your risk of getting a margin call.

Remember, the trading world can be unpredictable, but following these tips can help you stay on the safe side and protect your investments.

## What Happens If You Don't Meet a Margin Call?

If you can't add money or sell stocks to meet a margin call, the broker might step in and sell some of your stocks for you. This is to make sure the amount of your own money in the account meets the required level. It's like when your piggy bank gets too light, someone helps you add coins to bring it back to a safe level.

In summary, a margin call is like a reminder from the broker to add more of your own money to your trading account if your stocks go down too much. This keeps both you and the broker protected. Just remember to understand the rules, check your account regularly, and use safety measures to avoid surprises!