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Stock Options 101

Welcome to Stock Options 101

Our goal is to explain stock options in simple English. As you learn more, you will appreciate how difficult a task it is. People say that investing in stock is like playing checkers, while investing in options is like playing chess. We look forward to teaching you how to play the more complex game of stock options.

Are Stock Options Risky?

Most people would answer that question with a resounding "yes". True, according to some studies, over half of all options that people buy end up being worth absolutely nothing. Nada! Tear up your ticket stub and walk away.

If buying options is such a bad investment, maybe a strategy of selling options to someone else would be a better idea. Let their loss be your gain. But there is a problem here as well - it is called selling a naked option, because that is how you feel for the whole time you have sold that option. You are facing a theoretical unlimited loss. You can lose many more times the amount you invested. At least when you bet on a horse, that is all you lose when he trips on his way to the finish line.

So if buying options is usually not a good idea, and selling them can be worse, it is easy to see why people decide that options are risky no matter what you do. It does not occur to most of them that a strategy of buying an option and simultaneously selling another option to someone else might be an entirely different story.

This website is designed to explain an options strategy that we believe is less risky than buying stock or mutual funds, and potentially a whole lot more profitable. We hope you will read through this material and learn to love the world of options as we do.

Why Trade Stock Options?

Stock options are exchanged for two main reasons: for speculation (adds risk) and for hedging (reduces risk).

Speculation

Stock options are a way of leveraging your money. This is usually done by buying call options. You are able to participate in any upward moves of a stock without having to put up all the money to buy the stock. However, if the stock does not go up in price, the call option buyer may lose 100% of his/her investment. For this reason, options are considered to be risky investments.

Hedging

Stock options can be used to considerably reduce risk. Put options are usually traded for hedging purposes. While hedging reduces risk, it also limits the amounts of gains you can make. Since most stock markets go up over time, and most people invest in stock because they hope prices will rise, there is more interest and activity in call options than there is in put options.

Terry's Tips Stock Options Trading Blog

April 21, 2014

How Option Prices are Determined

Last week was one of the best for the market in about two years. Our option portfolios at Terry’s Tips made great gains across the board as well. One portfolio gained 55% for the week, in fact. It is fun to have a little money tied up in an investment that can deliver those kinds of returns every once in a while.

This week I would like to discuss a little about what goes into an option price – what makes them what they are?

Terry

How Option Prices are Determined

Of course, the market ultimately determines the . . .

April 14, 2014

An Interesting Calendar Spread Trade Idea

Today I would like to share with you an investment I made in my personal account just today. It involves buying three calendar spreads and waiting about a month to see if you hit the jackpot. See if you agree with me that it is a potentially great trade.

Terry

An Interesting Calendar Spread Trade Idea

The underlying company is Keurig Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR). I have traded options on this company almost every week for the last few years. I like it because the options carry an exceptionally high implied volatility (IV) because the stock has been so volatile.

April 7, 2014

Using Puts vs. Calls for Calendar Spreads

I like to trade calendar spreads. Right now my favorite underlying to use is SVXY, a volatility-related ETP which is essentially the inverse of VXX, another ETP which moves step-in-step with volatility (VIX). Many people buy VXX as a hedge against a market crash when they are fearful (volatility, and VXX. skyrockets when a crash occurs), but when the market is . . .

Making 36%

Making 36% – A Duffer's Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year in Good Years and Bad

This book may not improve your golf game, but it might change your financial situation so that you will have more time for the greens and fairways (and sometimes the woods).

Learn why Dr. Allen believes that the 10K Strategy is less risky than owning stocks or mutual funds, and why it is especially appropriate for your IRA.

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