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Good ’til Cancelled Orders: What You Need to Know

Have you ever placed an order and wished it would stay there until it’s done, no matter how long it takes? Welcome to the world of Good ’til cancelled (GTC) orders! They’re kinda like the “set it and forget it” crockpots of trading. ️

GTC orders are investment orders that remain active until you cancel them or they get executed. Unlike day orders, which expire at the end of the trading day, GTC orders could technically sit there for weeks, months, or until the end of time—or at least until your broker’s limit.

Trading Tidbits: Did You Know?

  • GTC orders were once known for their very long lifespans. However, some modern brokerages have tweaked this, setting their limits, often 30 to 90 days.
  • Famous traders like Warren Buffett are reported to use GTC orders to stick to their long-term strategies without constantly monitoring the market.

In this article, we’ll explore what a GTC order is, why some traders swear by it, and the potential pros and cons. If you’ve ever wondered how to execute or cancel one, we’ve got you covered, too! Ready to dig into the details? Let’s go!

Alright, let’s dive into that topic!


  • Definition and Basic Understanding:

    • A brief explanation of a Good ’til Cancelled (GTC) order in trading.
    • How it differs from other types of orders.
  • Importance in Trading:

    • Why some traders prefer using GTC orders.
    • Potential benefits and drawbacks.


  • Detailed Definition:
    A Good ’til Cancelled order, often known as a GTC order, is an instruction you can give your broker when buying or selling a security. Unlike a day order, which expires if not executed by the end of the trading day, a GTC order remains active until you either fulfil it or manually cancel it. Depending on the broker’s policies, this type of order can last for weeks, months, or even indefinitely.Now, let’s talk about its longevity. A GTC order stays in the market until it’s executed, or you cancel it. This means it doesn’t expire at the end of the trading day like a regular day order. Your order will keep trying to hit your target price, even if it takes a long time for that to happen.When comparing it to an immediate or cancel (IOC) order, a GTC gives you more staying power. An IOC order seeks to execute immediately and cancels whatever can’t be immediately fulfilled. In contrast, a GTC order waits patiently for the conditions you specify.

  • Practical Examples:
    Imagine your eyes are set on buying shares of a particular stock, but only if it drops to a certain price. Let’s say the current price is $50 per share, but you only want to buy if it falls to $45. With a GTC order, you can set this target, and it remains active until the price hits $45, regardless of how long that takes. Think of a hypothetical situation where you’re holding shares of a company expected to release a game-changing product. You might place a GTC sell order at a high price point, much higher than the current trading price, hoping to catch a significant uptick when news breaks. Your sell order stays in place until it is filled out or you pull the plug. Numerous scenarios exist, like a long-term investment horizon where you don’t mind waiting for the perfect buying opportunity or perhaps you want to automate your selling without constantly monitoring the market. GTC orders offer the flexibility and patience needed for these strategic moves.

And there you have it, a detailed dive into what Good ’til Cancelled orders are all about! They’re like your steadfast market guardians, waiting for the right price, come rain or shine. Perfect for those who have the patience and a game plan in mind. Now, onto the next part!

How Good ‘Til Cancelled Orders Work

Placing a GTC Order

Let’s break down how actually to place one of these nifty orders. The steps are pretty straightforward, whether you’re using a brokerage app, a trading platform, or even calling your broker. First, select the stock or asset you want to trade. Then, choose the order type ‘Good ’til Cancelled’ from the options. You’ll need to set your desired price point for the transaction. It’s that easy!

Different platforms might have slight variations in the interface, but the overall process is quite similar. Just make sure to check if there are any specific requirements or options like adding a limit price or setting the order to expire after a certain number of days, even though, by default, GTC means it stays active indefinitely until executed or manually cancelled.

Executing a GTC Order

So, what needs to happen for your order to go through? A GTC order will trigger when the market price hits your specified price. For example, if you place a GTC order to buy a stock at $50 per share, the order will execute once the stock hits $50 or below.

However, be aware of market fluctuations. Price swings can affect whether your order gets filled or not. Also, a stock’s availability can impact execution. If there aren’t enough shares at your set price, the order will remain unfulfilled until conditions match.

Cancelling a GTC Order

Maybe you change your mind, or some new information will make you rethink your position. No worries! Cancelling a GTC order is just as straightforward as placing one. Return to your trading platform, find the active orders section, and hit cancel on the GTC order you want to revoke.

Remember, there might be some fees or conditions tied to cancelling. Always check with your brokerage for any charges. Some brokers may charge a small fee for cancellations or modifications. It’s good practice to stay informed to avoid any surprises.

Strategies and Considerations

When to Use a GTC Order

A Good ’til Cancelled (GTC) order can be a powerful tool when used correctly. These types of orders are particularly beneficial in situations where you’re not constantly monitoring the market. For instance, if you’re waiting for a stock to hit a specific price point, placing a GTC order will ensure your order is in place without you having to keep an eye on it all the time.

Long-term investors also find GTC orders useful. They might set a target to buy shares at a lower price or sell them at a higher price over weeks or even months. When market conditions change slowly, having this type of instruction can save you a lot of hassle.

Risks and Warnings

While GTC orders offer flexibility, they come with their own set of risks. One of the main hazards is market volatility. Prices can swing dramatically, and if your order is placed far away from the current market price, you could miss better opportunities.

Unexpected news or events have sometimes temporarily affected stock prices. A GTC order might execute during these abnormal conditions, leading to unexpected losses or gains. Revisiting your orders periodically is essential to ensure they align with your strategy.

Combining with Other Strategies

GTC orders don’t exist in a vacuum – they’re often most effective when combined with other trading techniques. For example, pairing a GTC buy order with a stop loss can protect your investment. The GTC ensures you purchase the stock at your desired price, while a stop loss will sell it if the price drops too much, helping limit potential losses.

Another strategy involves using GTC orders alongside limit orders. A GTC order is placed to ensure execution at a specific price over an extended period, and a limit order can help sell the asset if it hits a certain profitable point quickly. This combination ensures you capture the desired entry point and exit opportunity without constantly watching market fluctuations.

Understanding how to integrate these instructions into your broader trading plans can help you navigate the market more effectively, reducing the manual effort and emotional stress of daily trading.


Good ’til Cancelled (GTC) orders can be a powerful tool in a trader’s arsenal. They offer flexibility that isn’t always achievable with other order types. A GTC order might be the perfect fit if you’re in for the long haul with a particular stock or asset.

Always Stay Alert

While GTC orders are convenient, they aren’t a “set it and forget it” solution. Market conditions can change rapidly, so make sure to review your orders regularly to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Leverage Technology

Most trading platforms today provide robust tools for managing GTC orders. Use them to their full potential. Set reminders or alerts to keep track of your orders. This way, you’re always in the loop, even if you set your order weeks or months ago.

Know When to Cancel

Knowing when to pull the plug on a GTC order is equally important. If your trade isn’t panning out as planned, don’t hesitate to cancel or modify your order. The market can be unpredictable, so stay flexible.

Mix and Match

Consider combining GTC orders with other trading strategies. For instance, pairing a GTC order with a stop-loss order can create a balanced approach to managing your investments—giving you both the potential for gains and protection against losses.

Stay Informed

Finally, keep educating yourself about different types of orders and trading strategies. The more you know, the better decisions you’ll make. Markets evolve, and so should your knowledge.

That’s it! You’re now equipped to understand Good ’til Cancelled orders and how to make the most out of them. Keep these tips in mind, and happy trading!

FAQ: Good ‘Til Cancelled (GTC) Orders

What is a Good ‘Til Cancelled Order?

Q: What’s a Good ‘Til Cancelled (GTC) order in trading?

A: A GTC order is a trade order that remains active until it is either executed or explicitly cancelled by the trader. Unlike day orders, which expire if not filled by the end of the day, GTC orders don’t have an automatic expiration and can stay open for weeks or even months.

Why Use a GTC Order?

Q: Why would traders prefer using GTC orders?

A: Traders might choose GTC orders to avoid constantly re-entering orders daily. This is particularly helpful when they have a specific target price in mind and are willing to wait until the market reaches that price, no matter how long it takes.

How Long Does a GTC Order Last?

Q: How long do GTC orders stay active?

A: GTC orders remain active until they are filled or cancelled by the trader. However, some brokerage platforms might set their limits, like 30 or 60 days, after which the order would automatically expire if not executed.

How Do You Place a GTC Order?

Q: How can I place a GTC order on different trading platforms?

A: Placing a GTC order generally involves these steps:

  1. Log into your trading account.
  2. Select the stock or asset you want to trade.
  3. Choose the ‘GTCoption from the order type menu.
  4. Enter the quantity and the price you’re willing to pay or sell for.
  5. Confirm and place the order.

What Triggers a GTC Order?

Q: Under what conditions will a GTC order be executed?

A: A GTC order will execute when the stock’s market price matches your specified price. For example, placing a GTC buy order at $50 will only execute if the stock drops to $50 or below.

How Can I Cancel or Modify a GTC Order?

Q: What’s the process to cancel or modify a GTC order?

A: To cancel or change a GTC order, you typically:

  1. Log into your trading account.
  2. Go to the section where your active orders are listed.
  3. Select the GTC order you wish to cancel or modify.
  4. Follow the prompts to cancel or make adjustments.
    Be aware that there could be fees or consequences related to cancelling, depending on your brokerage.

When is the best time to use a GTC order?

Q: In what situations is a GTC order most useful?

A: GTC orders are best when you have a target price and are willing to wait for the market to reach it. They are useful for long-term investors who don’t have the time to monitor the market constantly but have a clear strategy.

Are There Any Risks Involved with GTC Orders?

Q: What are the potential risks when using GTC orders?

A: The primary risk is that market conditions could change drastically, causing a once-reasonable price to become less favourable. For instance, unexpected news or events might lead to a significant price swing that you would not want your order to execute during.

Can GTC Orders be Combined with Other Strategies?

Q: How can GTC orders be a part of a broader trading strategy?

A: GTC orders can complement strategies like stop-loss or trailing stops. For example, you could use a GTC order to buy a stock at a desired lower price while having a stop-loss to mitigate additional risks.

Do you have more questions about GTC orders? Feel free to ask! Happy trading!

To further expand your understanding of Good ’til Cancelled (GTC) orders in trading, we’ve compiled a list of informative resources. These links provide deeper insights and practical guidance on GTC orders, helping you make informed trading decisions.

These resources serve as valuable reference points for any trader looking to integrate GTC orders into their strategy. Always assess your trading goals and market conditions to maximize the benefits of using Good ’til Cancelled orders.

Happy Trading!

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