Do I need to take out a loan on a margin account?
I have $90,000 and I want to trade on margin. Do I have to take out a loan to do this? Can I just make an account and just use my $90,000 to trade?
Here is how margin works.
If you deposit $90,000 in cash into a brokerage account, you create $180,000 in "buying power" -- that is, you can buy up to $180,000 in marginable securities. (I would not advise maxing out the account like this, by the way.) The brokerage firm will lend you the difference between the portfolio value and the equity in the account. For example, suppose you buy $100,000 in marginable securities on the first day. The account will automatically go into debt of $10,000. You will pay interest on your debit balance for as long as it exists. It can exist indefinitely, by the way. Your debit balance will be increased by purchases and withdrawals, if any, plus the monthly interest charges; and reduced by sales, dividends and deposits.
If the value of your investments declines to the point where your loan is 65% of portfolio value, you will be forced to either deposit funds or sell securities (most likely at exactly the wrong time). So be careful and don't get overextended. I would not advise holding a debit balance of anything more than about 30% of portfolio value.
Yes, to "trade on margin" in a securities account, by definition, you must take out a loan to do this. Here's how it works. You open a margin brokerage account with a $90,000 deposit. Once you've invested all your cash and then buy more securities (e.g., stocks), you'll automatically be the loaned money. In a standard "Reg T" margin account, you can leverage your deposit 2 to 1. In other words, you can buy up to $180,000 of stock with a $90,000 cash deposit.
Please be aware there are risks and complexities trading in a margin account not addressed by the above answer.
Margin Primer: https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=24862