Last week was a good one for the market. SPY rose 2.2%, a wonderful week. The actual options portfolios we carry out at Terry’s Tips had a stellar week as well. Nine of our ten portfolios gained at least 5%, and 3 of them gained over 33% in a single week.
Nike (NKE) announced blow-out earnings and the stock rose 6.4%. Our portfolio that trades NKE options gained 13.5%, double the increase in the stock price. This was far less than we usually do compared to stock price changes, however.
We have proved over and over that if you can find a stock that will increase if value, you can usually make 3 or 4 or more times as much with an options strategy as you could by simply buying the stock.
Of course, buying options is not quite so simple as buying stock. To do it right requires gaining some understanding that most people just don’t have the energy or willpower to learn.
Trading Options Can be a Lifetime Learning Experience
If the truth be known, investing in stocks is pretty much like playing checkers. Any 12-year-old can do it. You really don’t need much experience or understanding. If you can read, you can buy stock (and probably do just about as well as anyone else because it’s basically a roulette wheel choice). Most people reject that idea, of course. Like the residents of Lake Wobegone, stock buyers believe that they are all above average – they can reliably pick the right ones just about every time.
Trading options is harder, and many people recognize that they probably aren’t above average in that arena. Buying and selling options is more like playing chess. It can be (and is, for anyone who is serious about it) a life-time learning experience.
You don’t see columns in the newspaper about interesting checker strategies, but you see a ton of pundits telling you why you should buy particular stocks. People with little understanding or experience buy stocks every day, and most of their transactions involve buying from professionals with far more resources and brains. Most stock buyers never figure out that when they make their purchase, about 90% of the time, they are buying from professionals who are selling the stock to them rather than buying it at that price.
Option investing takes study and understanding and discipline that the purchase of stock does not require. Every investor must decide for himself or herself if they are willing to make the time and study commitment necessary to be successful in option trading. Most people are too lazy.
It is a whole lot easier to play a decent game of checkers than it is to play a decent game of chess. But for some of us, options investing is a whole lot more challenging, and ultimately more rewarding. For example, Costco (COST) has had a good year so far, rising from $141.75 to Friday’s close at $152.59, a gain of 7.6%. The Terry’s Tips option portfolio that trades COST options (calendar and diagonal spreads) gained 40.4% over this same period, over 5 times as much. With actual results like this, why wouldn’t any reasonable adult with enough cash to buy stock want to learn how to multiply his or her earnings by learning a little about the wonderful world of options?
Playing checkers (and buying stock) is boring. Playing chess (and trading options) is far more challenging. And rewarding, if you do it right.