So have been looking into creating a geared portfolio of ETFs where I'll contribute cashflows monthly to build up equity. The problem with margin loans though appear to be the higher interest rates (c.5% fixed in advance or 6-7% variable?) and obviously the risk margin calls so I wouldn't be able to get a high LVR. And obviously the risk of outsized losses if the market goes down but I have a long term strategy so just want to ride out the downturns and also dollar cost average during the downcycles.

This has led me to look into ETOs as a potential way of recreating the same exposure as a geared portfolio. If I buy long expiry index call options (12-18 months) ATM (e.g. XJOCO8) and roll those over whenever they get to expiry, would that essentially give me the same returns as holding a geared portfolio (disregarding the tax effects)? And if I take the whole cost of the options as effectively sunk financing costs it works out to be effectively c.2-3% p.a. so cheaper than any margin loan and I also get the optionality and protected downside? Obviously when I roll over, there might be higher volatility so the cost of the options in the future could be higher but would that be comparable to the risk you'd take with interest rate rises in a normal geared portfolio? Just wondering whether I'm on the right track here.

Thanks!