When Should I Take My Profits with a Successful Covered Call Writing Trade?

Which %, if any, of our original covered call writing initial time-value return, should we use to close both legs of the trade, and guarantee a realized return? 60%? 75%? Higher? Lower? Closing both legs of a covered call writing trade mid-contract is known as the mid-contract unwind (MCU) exit strategy, in our BCI methodology.

On April 5, 2023, Brad shared with me a series of trades he executed with Communication Services Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSE: XLC) when using BCI’s CEO Strategy.

Brad’s trades with XLC

  • 3/21/2023: Buy 300 x XLC at $55.91
  • 3/21/2023: STO 3 x 4/21/2023 $57.00 calls at $1.30
  • 4/5/2023: BTC 3 x 4/21/2023 $57.00 calls at $2.00
  • 4/5/2023: Sell 300 shares of XLC at $58.30

Questions from Brad

  • How to calculate final returns?
  • Did implementing the MCU make sense?

BCI Trade Management Calculator: Entries, Adjustments, Initial & Final Calculations

XLC: Initial and Final Calculations

Note the following results with the Trade Management Calculator:

  • Yellow cell: Breakeven price point
  • Brown cell: Initial 31-day time-value return
  • Purple cell: Upside potential if XLC moves up to, or beyond the $57.00 strike price
  • Red oval area: Final security sale price
  • Red arrows: Final % option loss & final % stock gain
  • Pink cell: Final realized net % gain

Time-value cost-to-close

The trade was initially structured with a 2.33% initial time-value return and a potential additional 1.95% from share appreciation for a max return of 4.28%. The final realized return after implementing the MCU exit strategy was 3.02%, resulting in a time-value cost-to-close (CTC) of 1.26%.

BCI guideline when to implement MCU

We ask ourselves if we can generate at least 1% more than the time-value CTC, 1.26% + 1% = 2.26% or more by contract expiration. If yes, then MCU is appropriate. If no, we continue to monitor the trade.

***Note: We can also use the Unwind Now worksheet tab at the bottom the TMC spreadsheets to calculate time-value cost-to-close.


The initial return was 2.33% and now we are seeking an additional minimum return of 2.26%. Using a security (ETF) of this nature with much less time-to-expiration, makes this goal unlikely. We would have to move to a more volatile security which would not align with the original CEO strategy. Rather than using a specific % return to close, evaluate the time-value CTC and measure that against the probability of achieving a greater return by contract expiration with a new covered call trade.

Premium member benefits video


Your generous testimonials

Over the years, the BCI community has been incredibly gracious by sending our BCI team email testimonials sharing stories as to what our educational content has meant to their families. Moving forward, we have decided to share some of these testimonials in our blog articles. We will never use a last name unless given permission:

Good afternoon, Alan,

As a premium member, I must say that your service is one of the easiest to learn and the most profitable, if followed closely. For this, I thank you for your efforts.

Best regards,


Upcoming events

1. Mad Hedge Investors & Traders Summit

Covered Call Writing Blue-Chip Stocks and ETFs

September 13, 2023

12 PM ET

Zoom event:

Covered call writing is a low-risk option-selling strategy. The degree of our liability is directly related to the implied volatility of the underlying securities. Growth and technology companies tend to create greater exposure to the downside than blue-chip companies like those located in the Dow 30 and S&P 500. However, the former will generate higher premium returns. Only you can decide which underlying securities are most appropriate for your portfolios.

This presentation will review option basics, highlight covered call writing and demonstrate a methodology to select the best-performing Dow 30 and S&P 500 securities to facilitate the implementation of our option-selling and cash-generating strategies.

Real-life examples will be presented using recent BCI Premium Stock and ETF reports.

Real time Q&A via chat box questions will be available throughout the entire webinar.

Register for free here.

2. Orlando Money Show Live Event

45-minute workshop: Monday October 30th 2:10 PM ET – 2:55 PM ET

Selling Cash-Secured Puts and Strategy Choices After Exercise

2-hour MoneyMasters Class: Tuesday October 31st 9:30 AM ET – 11:30 AM ET

How to Master Covered Call Writing:

A detailed start-to-finish analysis using real-life examples.

Details & Registration information here.

3. AAII Orange County, California Chapter

AAII Investment Club members only

Saturday November 11, 2023

Details to follow.

Alan speaking at a Money Show event*********************************************************************************************************************