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Options: A Foolish Introduction

Historically, the Fool has shied away from options as an investment vehicle, for reasons best stated by people smarter than us. Peter Lynch, a Foolish favorite around here, was not a fan of small individual investors using options. And we're ever mindful of Warren Buffett's first rule: "Don't lose money." Options, by their very nature, can significantly amplify losses. Then again, as leveraging instruments, they can also amplify gains.

Options have enjoyed a much higher profile in recent years, as trading volumes increased, curious investors dipped their toes into untested waters, and new specialized brokers entered the market. Late-night infomercials feature alluring red-and-green-flashing software and testimonials from ordinary people who, with little to no training, claim to have made fortunes in the option markets.

That last point is why we're here. This series is not intended for traders or sophisticated professionals employing complex arbitrage strategies or looking to trade volatility. Instead, we're hoping to give ordinary Fools a firm knowledge of what options are, and how we recommend using them in hopes of improving returns.

Options are something else
The best place to start would be to define exactly what options are. Options are derivatives -- they derive their value from an underlying "something else." Before you start using options, it's Foolish to make sure you understand exactly what that "something" is.

For years, Warren Buffett has warned investors about the potential dire consequences of unchecked and growing derivatives use in capital markets. Then again, the Oracle of Omaha himself has used derivatives when he feels the market's offering him a value opportunity. So we can understand why Fools might be confused by this seemingly contradictory behavior.

To state this emphatically, we Fools believe that 99% of individual retail investors -- that's you, folks -- can happily go through life without ever buying or selling an option. But derivatives themselves (of which options are only one part) aren't inherently bad. The real problems stem from their wide proliferation, and the crazy accounting with which they're associated.

Options are just tools, and they're only as good as the people using them. Shrewd use by well-educated investors can greatly enhance a portfolio's returns. Reckless, ill-informed use of options, however, can badly damage your holdings. To use options well, you've got to have a healthy understanding of the intrinsic value of the business involved. Without that most Foolish of principles, how safe do you feel in using options to leverage returns?

A few Foolish caveats
You won't find descriptions here of option trading for trading's sake. If you're interested in day trading or "black box" software, look elsewhere. Most of those programs should come with warning labels, and some should be illegal.

Don't look here for an option-only trading approach, either. We believe that options derive their value from real businesses, whose real worth can be estimated and employed as a sturdy foundation for a Foolish options strategy.

Many people, including plenty of folks in our Foolish community, have done very well by treating options as trading instruments. If you'd like to try to follow in their footsteps, we'll point you toward some resources that might help. For the rest of you, sit back and relax. If you finish this series with a better understanding of the mechanics, risks, and potential rewards of options, we'll have done our job.

This is how we make money on 93% of our trades!
Jeff Fischer and team have demystified options. And using their techniques, they've been able to rack up income checks like $1,635… $3,424… and $5,316! That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the re-opening of their wildly popular program – it’s 100% FREE, no strings attached!

Click here to get started – it’s FREE!

And, for those of us who are already familiar with the fundamentals of the options world, check out these more intermediate-level how-tos:


Read/Post Comments (56) | Recommend This Article (327)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2009, at 1:56 AM, semones100 wrote:

    Interesting article. A continuing reminder to me to understand more about options.

    I still need help understanding how I can lose money (not opportunity) by selling covered calls

    At this point I do not recall any time MFPRO recommended Buying an option except to close an almost expired put. I would like more background in these Options articles about these strategies. Are these Buying options where the hazards occur, etc

    I'm watching the 8/18 online videos and reading the emailed narratives, but think all these "option lessons" should point out some of the things your broker does like "withholding your cash from withdrawl to cover the possible call on your put obligations- proper, but originally leaves the novice wondering why some of his cash is being withheld. I would like to see some of these issues covered on the ONLINE Q & A sessions


    George Kent

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:45 PM, llorenz wrote:

    I am relatively new to options trading and have allocated about 10 % of my total portfolio to an options trading account. Typically, I would trade 100 to 200 shares of a stock in my stock portfolio account. My question is, based on this, would I then typically trade 1 or 2 options contracts in my options portfolio account?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:25 AM, irmat wrote:

    I am not relatively new with options, I have never done this in the past. I believe I am up to the risk, and hope I will make money when I become comfortable with the information herein.

    What's next?

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2009, at 2:41 PM, STAN2G wrote:

    How do options move in relation to the various market indices? Are options more useful during a sideways market, such as we've been experiencing for the past month or so?

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2009, at 12:35 PM, patterson51490 wrote:

    I know nothing about options, but I have a question. If you don't own the stock how are you going to make money writing puts? Help me I need an answer.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2009, at 1:04 PM, tkell31 wrote:

    Patterson, you collect a premium for writing the put. In exchange for the premium you have to buy the stock (or buy back the option) if it is at or below the strike price when the option expires. I suggest reading the links above to familiarize yourself with options prior to trying to trade them.

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2010, at 4:39 PM, xjp83x wrote:

    A writing put example:

    For the buyer, it gives the buyer the right to sell the stock at a strike price. The buyer usually does this when he/she predicts the underlying stock price to go down in the future.

    So the current price of GE is 16.68. The buyer of a put may think that it's going to go down in 6 months. In 6 months, GE is at 10 dollars. If he bought a put at a strike price of 15, he can buy the GE for 10 dollars and gets the right to sell GE at 15 dollars.

    The writer has to buy the stock at the strike price of 15 when he could have bought it at 10 dollars.

    However, if GE went up istead of down, the writer receives the premium and got nothing to lose. The writer usually writes a put when the market is neutral/bull.

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2010, at 12:14 AM, binaryoptions wrote:

    I have honestly had far greater success trading options than any other security. Investors with low capital who are very patient and selective with their option purchases can do very well if willing to take the risk.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2010, at 11:10 AM, mdspe wrote:

    I am very green at options... I bought my 1st INTC . Price $20.27


    Sell to Open

    October Closing date

    1 contract

    Out of Pocket $110.00

    Did I do it right? and should I have purchased more contracts since my out of pocket is only $110.00?

    I have $20,000 set aside for options.


  • Report this Comment On June 20, 2010, at 2:04 PM, billybobp wrote:

    I have no experience with options, but I just finished reading the basics and advanced tips. So, let me see if I got all this straight:

    Right now, I own 300 shares of XYZ stock that is currently trading around $15.75 per share. Now XYZ pays a modest dividend, which is why I hanging on to this stock, but I’d be willing to sell it and reinvest the proceeds in something else if I could get a decent price for my shares. For example, I’d be will to sell at $19 per share. On the other hand, the dividend is decent enough so that I’d be willing to buy more shares of XYZ if the price was right – say $14 per share.

    So I could write a limit order to sell my existing shares at $19 per share at no cost to me. Or, as I understand this options business, I could write a call option for three contracts on my shares for 19 at some future date. I’d have to pay a trading fee, but I would get some cash in return. If the cash I can earn exceeds the options trading fee, then I should write the call and collect the cash instead of writing a sell at limit order. Is this correct?

    And since I’m also interested in buying more shares if the price drops, I could write (sell) a put option at 14 at some future date. Again, so long as what I receive for the put option exceeds the transaction fee, I should write the put and collect some cash instead of writing a buy at limit order. Is this correct?

    That is, I can use options to earn money to do what I planned on doing anyway?

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2010, at 3:35 PM, Puckplayr4 wrote:

    Billybobp...sounds like you and I are about in the same area of understanding. I bought some lower priced stocks in excess of 100 shares just to be able to sell some covered calls, but I think the brokerage transaction fees are more than I can earn on writing the option. In general, if you feel confident a stock won't rise well past the strike price you perceive as a good selling point, then writing the covered calls is a good way to go (assuming the transaction costs don't eat in to the profit too much). That's where I seem to be stuck...Apparently I need a more valuable stock or thousands of shares, not hundreds.

    I've been trading USD/EUR currency options for the past year (successfully) at an insane profit rate, but then Greece collapsed just as we were becoming 50% more risky with our investment and lost it all... That is all about managing risk, which is apparently much easier to do with Currency than stock options...I am not advocating anyone else do this, thankfully I have great mentor who has been learning this game from the inside out for the past 10 years, and we know where we went wrong (aside from being too greedy)...but we easily doubled our money in 6 months before we lost it all. Starting over sucks...and we won't shoot for the moon this time, but doubling our money every 8-12 months works for me too. You'd think I'd know more about options than I do...I just know we make all of our money (as do most regulars) from WRITING options...not speculating (buying). If you take 100 swings at a possible homerun, you might hit it every once in awhile, but at a cost. But if you're the one selling the options, banking smaller, but safer profits, weekly...the money flows in if you can keep from over-leveraging yourself before the options expire. Everyone that swings for the fences is my customer..and I am playing both sides of the fence, just like a sports bookie. Its all about managing the risk...just like a moving line in sports betting (which I REALLY don't recommend!). In currency, you sell calls and you sell puts. Then when the price gets too close to the strike you sold at (either way), you buy/sell in combinations that increase profits AND manage that risk until the options expire. We went from 2 months to 3, (increasing our period of risk 33%). We just couldn't manage that risk during the Greece Euro debacle. Even now we are on the GPB/USD instead of the Euro, and back to a shorter period, just to lessen the risk. We're starting slow, sticking to the plan, and in 8-9 years, I should be able to afford that Ferrari! This as a "infomercial" would be worth millions...I just don't know what sort of certification you need to sell a program like this...and its not mine to sell, Thankfully a great friend is showing me the ropes and I am sure will help me retire 20 years early. Again, I am not advocating this for anyone else. The cost to figure this out on your own would bankrupt you, and even after doing this for 10 years my partner is still learning lessons and picking himself up by his boot-straps.

  • Report this Comment On November 08, 2010, at 9:23 PM, noslen wrote:


    One option contract = 100 shares of stock.

    If you have a stock, that has options, and you consider buying shares, DON"T instead but a call DITM option (DeepInTheMoney) that has a delta close to 100 and at least 90 days until expiration or even longer. Set a stop loss order at 30% of the option premium. DO NOT keep the call when expiration is just 30 days to expiration - sell it.


  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2011, at 11:52 PM, LuckyJohn57 wrote:

    I think the big message here is that options, like any other instrument, can be used successfully as part of an overall strategy. The real question is more one of what, when and how much to invest. I have been using a covered call strategy for years that has been conservative but ultimately profitable. The real trick is to not get too enamoured with a particular stock so that if it's called, you can just move on. BTW does anyone know if options transactions can be tracked on the scorecard?

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2011, at 5:30 PM, nullah wrote:

    I was wondering if anyone knew where one could access historical options data

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2011, at 12:48 AM, sjn1234 wrote:

    What about commodities option. It's not as easy finding a Scottrade or Schwab to buy a call on gold, silver or oil. Has anyone seen any articles reviewing futures/options brokers?

  • Report this Comment On June 21, 2011, at 4:10 PM, ZZyzxZZ wrote:

    I didn't read all the subtopics so maybe the most important thing was covered and maybe not. That thing is:

    Options trading is a Zero-sum game. Unlike the stock market where companies can create value by being successful in their business, options are bets at a poker table. People bet: some win and some lose, and the money won equals the money lost.

    Think about this: Do you play Texas Holdem now that it's a craze? If you do, next time you sit down to play poker, try to access the other players at the table. See any pros? See any fish? If you don't see any fish at the table, then you're the fish.

  • Report this Comment On July 19, 2011, at 4:35 PM, kmacattack wrote:

    I didn't menton that I know little or nothing about "charts", 50 day averages, etc. I've relied on my brokers knowledge on those trends, but I've bought many "big winner stocks" that according to the charts were headed down. If you can dig into the financials, Profit and Loss TRENDS for the past 3 years or so, Balance sheets (do they have positive shareholder value, or ARE THEY MOVING RAPIDLY TOWARD a positive balance sheet, Does the company have enough CASH on hand to weather the storm if they've been in trouble, and another indicator I look at is that IF they have been in trouble (As Sirius XM was) how are they managing their debt obligations? Sirius, rather than paying dividends, is paying down debt as their profits increase. Ford has been paying off debt at a rapid pace, and in the first quarter this year, improved their cash position WHILE PAYING OFF DEBT AS WELL, by $3 BILLION. Insider trading information can be helpful, but isn't always a good indicator. Some insider trades are "pre programmed" and can give a false impression. I've pretty much designated about 10 percent of my portfolio to higher risk issues, such as Sirius when I buy, but Sirius is no longer a high risk company. Just do a little homework before you "leap."

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2011, at 10:48 PM, readytogo37 wrote:

    Went through Optionsetics in 2003 - they do sell their programs ... but the seminars can be gone to forever "Free" - anyway, the main thing for me was to learn that all the programs, and the Greeks and the wave program's and such all boil down to 1 thing ... whether the stock is going up or down or nowhere - hence I am waiting with baited breath for the opening of the Pro ... reading a chart can be done with a 12" ruler ... its picking the company ... Optionetics believes that covered calls are the most dangerous of all ... unlimited down side risk ... however, we currently have one on SLV ... and remeber DONOT BUY STOCKS JUST TO do covered calls with ... leg in with your broker and save a commission fee ... Thanks

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2011, at 5:35 PM, cluesow wrote:

    Wondering if anyone thinks it's possible my broker is using my shares to cover his call options, (ones he sold and kept the premium for and is now being exercised on). Sems he's got me "taking profits" sometimes when the stock is rising nicely.


  • Report this Comment On December 04, 2011, at 7:36 PM, trendfriendpa wrote:

    yes he is probably using your shares to hedge and earn income for his firm. If the chart doesn't say to sell, then don't sell. The chart tells you what to do.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2012, at 4:56 PM, EP130 wrote:

    great article, i was just studying up for a summer analyst internship interview for a sales and trading firm and this information helped a lot. for anyone interested i also read a great book that goes a little more in detail. I came across The Power Curve by author Scott Kyle on a recommendation from a teacher and found the examples used to be of great help

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2012, at 12:10 AM, title1ted wrote:

    Is anyone familiar with binary options or digital options? How are these different from options? (Note: I am not well versed in options to begin with.)

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2013, at 8:53 AM, KenMcG6150 wrote:

    I believe that options, like any other tool, can be quite useful when properly used by someone who understands how to use them and the dangers to which one can be exposed through careless handling of them.

    When properly applied, I think options can reduce risk and increase returns as opposed to simply buying and selling stocks at current market prices. However, like almost anything worthwhile. using options effectively within one's portfolio requires time, study and effort and my experience has been that is not what most people are looking for when they are considering options.

    In short, I believe the reason most people lose money in options is the same reason most people lose money investing in stocks period, they do not put forth the time and effort to truly understand the transactions in which they are engaging and the businesses underlying those same transactions.

    It takes a great deal of time and hard work that I just don't find most people willing to dedicate to the process.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2013, at 8:09 AM, NICKTHEGREEK1986 wrote:


  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 11:26 PM, smalldogInvestor wrote:

    i don't particularly care for the tone of this article. i'd be surprised if any new self-directed investor read past the first paragraph. options should be the first thing a self-directed investor should learn because it provides a tool to combat random walk.

    these days it is utterly foolish not to be involved with options!

    the truth is that options run the stock market. much equity volume is due to the creation and conclusion of option contracts. even if you never trade an option, option volume and pricing can tell you information about where the price of an equity is likely to go.

    there are many advantages of options, some of which are:

    one can continually lower the cost basis in an equity.

    one can define the risk of a trade without resorting to stoploss orders.

    one can participate in high quality equities that one might never consider because the price of the underlying stock is too high a number to purchase a meaningful number of shares. (would you buy 1 share of goog!?)

    one can benefit from a decline in a stock without requiring the dreaded margin account in order to short stock.

    options provide a way to profit from a non-trending (60% of the time) market.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 9:42 PM, scs660 wrote:

    If you want to buy a stock at the current price, and you are a long term investor, sell a put. You will get the stock for a discount from current market or you will make money when someone pays you the premium.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 2:40 PM, LuckyS13 wrote:

    Ive never seen a smarphone iphone ipad or any of this stuff where are they and what are they for?

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 3:42 PM, Stuartrudd wrote:

    Having cleared myself from debt, I'm about to start my investing career. I don't have a portfolio. I did plan to make monthly purchases of stocks guided by the advice of MF.

    As I am in the 'building stage' of a portfolio, then would becoming a member of Options Whizz be a wise choice?

    Basically I'm thinking about the problem of buying stock and some talk of the market likely to fall. As a novice, that to me means the value of the stock I buy with the additional broker charges will mean the value goes down. I'm in this for the long term, so should I worry?

    I thought perhaps using options might be way to build my portfolio with a strike price that I'd be happy to pay if the stock goes up.

    Good idea or silly novice who should get a steady portfolio before trying to run?

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2013, at 9:04 PM, handsrus wrote:

    I've been traiding covered calls now for 15 years and have found it to be the most usefull tool I can imagine. Not only can you boost a good stocks dividine but if you look at future options prices, you can get a more accurate prediction of where the street feels the stock is going.If you're a long term invester and your going to hold a stock for a long time anyway, you should be selling covered to collect the extra premium.Hard to loose.Just set a high strike price .If it sells .You do good. If it does not, you were holding it long term anyway.I usually look out a month or two. Remember, you can do this 6 to 12 times a year.At 1\2 percent each trade ,the premiums boost the returns up to 6 % a year.Great way to hedge the stock price.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 2:12 PM, SanPasqual wrote:

    I wish I could afford the data plan. Then, I would consider the iPhone. Had Apple bought a cellular company when they had the chance to, they would have effectively owned the cellular data phone market.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 12:33 AM, L66cliff wrote:

    I'm fairly new to options, but I'm thinking about giving it a try with Intel (INTC) . Fool is recomending

    to buy the stock, but I'm thinking of a CALL option.

    4/19/2014 24.00 C , If I buy to open 9 contracts, it cost about $900, which with the stock where it is now, would be about $20,000 worth of stock. If the

    stock is predicted to make a move during the Holidays, the might be a pretty good move to make,

    and I can afford to lose $900 if it doesn't.

    Any yea or nay comments would be appreciated.


  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2013, at 2:39 PM, jfhentges wrote:

    Re: L66cliff's comments. Do not enter the trade with the idea that you can lose all of the money put up. That is true that it is your maximum exposure but plan ahead of time a stop on the stock where you are wrong and sell the options. Try to keep option losses to 50% max if at all possible or even less. There is nothing worse then putting on an option play and seeing you options expire worthless. It happens to many option traders but it does not need to happen. You can make a lot of money with options but manage the losses also just like you would on a stock.

  • Report this Comment On October 31, 2013, at 11:27 PM, CCdad2007 wrote:

    I've got GE in my IRA that's had a nice run up. I'm still holding but am interested in writing calls to add income. What types of covered calls should I consider and how should I set timing and strike price choices?

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 2:43 PM, funlol wrote:


    In your previous comment, you asked: "Is anyone familiar with binary options or digital options? How are these different from options?"

    Here's your answer - ... good explanation there under the heading "Compared To Traditional Options"


  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2014, at 4:58 PM, sigmandfreud wrote:

    Guyz here's what has worked for me. Look for consensus buying among gurus. If you find a stock that has been bought by say 4 or more gurus and if the stock is trading close to their average buy price, you can buy a LEAP call (at least 1+ year out) for a strike price of +10-15% of current price. The thesis is gurus buy stocks for a longer terms and definitely for gains bigger than 10-15% from the entry price. Also consensus buy gives it a higher probablity of correct valuation. If you are able to get gains north of 20% in a short time, exit the position since holding outweighs the risk of future gains. Thoughts?

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2014, at 5:50 PM, ronboltp wrote:

    I wouldn't bet a plug nickel on anything Obama and his gang of thugs put together to work. I really don't think it was designed to work. I think Obama's goal all along has been single payer. When that happens only the very rich will afford health care.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 2:17 PM, tom679 wrote:

    I am a new member so that may explain why I am having some difficulty with the entire concept. As premium subscriber I was under the impression that there would be avenues to ask questions of TMF advisors. So far, this posting is all that I am aware of. The "discussion boards" are of limited utility in my opinion as they aren't providing the purchased professional advice that I seek.

    As a "options" member I was advised of selling April 2014 $90 puts in mid December 2013 on TUP. The loss per put stands in excess of $1,000.00 now and the liability continues to grow. I would like to to see some comment on what if anything should be done for those of us in this position, if not by some direct method, then by accessing some part of the sight where there are updated comments on past recommended trades. I see nothing about Tupperware.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2014, at 1:07 AM, greatspeculator wrote:

    tom679, first of all, you'd better have a diversified portfolio. It will make your positions more balanced.

    In your case, if your opinion on the stock is not favorable, you'd better close your short put position by placing Buy to Close order. Good luck to you!

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2014, at 12:59 AM, calisurfer21 wrote:

    Placing an Order for a Straddle. Under Price it says

    "Market, Credit, Debit or Even". What does this mean?

    Also, it says "One leg must be a buy, and the other must be a sell. Both options must be calls, or both must be puts."

    This doesn't make sense to me because to execute straddle you have to have a call and a put.


  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2014, at 4:31 PM, knowing12 wrote:

    I have a question. I sold covered calls on a stock it went way over the strike price and I can't afford to buy back to close. What happens to that negative dollar number in my account when the option time ends and the stock is called? What do I receive except the profit in the stock at strike price?

  • Report this Comment On April 06, 2014, at 2:50 AM, jabstrat wrote:

    The mere fact that you're posting an article with this theme demonstrates how absolutely out of touch with reality you are. Apple would NEVER, EVER consider buying Netflix. If they DID, all investors would be best advised to run for the SELL button. If they ever were of such a mind, they would have made an offer back when the price was below 100/share. Further, i guarantee you that Hastings would have no interest in selling his baby, not withstanding Apple's deep cash pocket. This article is typical of bloggers getting caught up in the current crop of "Apple hysterics" and feeling like they should write something about it as a good way to bring in some ad rev's.

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2014, at 11:52 PM, theirishman wrote:

    I purchase 1 April 19, 2014 call of NOK @.63. It was my first option and have not noticed a lot of chatter on what the next play should be. And with the position ending on the 19th I was wondering if I could get some feedback?

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2014, at 3:37 PM, wittynamehere wrote:

    I did really well buying $20 Jan 2014 FB calls. Any advice on buying TWTR calls? I'm think of $55 calls, with a Jan 2015 expiration.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2014, at 12:35 AM, juanita wrote:

    if you are having problems withdrawing bonuses given to you ,just contact me, i have worked with a binary broker for 5years, i have helped a lot of people and i won’t stop until i have helped as many as possible, here is my email address if you have a bonus that was given to you and you wish to withdraw it:

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2014, at 8:58 AM, robin1 wrote:

    hi all,can anyone guide me abt nifry(india)option & arbtg trdg.


  • Report this Comment On September 03, 2014, at 3:40 PM, margotliven wrote:

    OK, here I am--a newbee. Seems to me there was a special board for us, but I can't find it. I got to broker and started to order the covered call on WU. I did fine until I encountered a box that said "Select Leg". I thought I knew what I wanted, the Feb line that said,

    WU Feb 20 2015 18 Call. I think I want to choose sell for that, but I'm not sure. Then there's a line that says Order Type. I picked net debit and wrote 16.8 in the box labeled Premium. There's an extra step in there and I just want to make sure I get it right.

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2014, at 2:24 AM, Fabin81 wrote:

    Your odds of going broke are amplified by options. But your odds of turning 10,000 into a million while you are still alive is a rare feat by buy and hold methods, so options would certainly increase your odds of that happening. If used properly, options can be a good defense mechanism, and a killer offensive weapon at the same time.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2015, at 9:22 PM, carrytrader wrote:

    For those that are technically minded. Here is a good primer on underlying Black Scholes option pricing model.

  • Report this Comment On May 18, 2015, at 10:01 PM, whatsup1 wrote:

    I shied away from options for many years thinking they were too risky. But an article I read 2 years ago changed my mind. I have been selling put options now for 2 years, and my annualized yld is 24%. I trade in an IRA so any taxes are deferred. I spend about 2 hours over 4-6 weeks. My trade parameters are 10% discount from current price, 14 % annualized premium and 75 % chance of expiring worthless. I found the perfect website that gives all of this information for free. I only write cash secured puts. I advise newbies to paper trade for 3-6 months to get their feet wet.

  • Report this Comment On June 03, 2015, at 8:20 AM, WickedWillie wrote:

    I held an option once, but it went down and eventually disappeared altogether.

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2015, at 12:17 PM, Grannybones2 wrote:

    Calling for a short squeeze for July 31 st Friday Morning Stock Lumber Liquidator symbol LL Short percent of float 33.79% Days to cover 4.4 days Everyone is invited.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2015, at 4:40 PM, lecari wrote:

    Hello fellow Fool investors!

    I started some time ago with the most basic form of option trading, I.e. Buying call options and reselling for a premium close to expiration date.

    I have now signed up to the MFOptions service and I'm introducing myself to trading strategies like diagonal calls.

    There is one basic concept which I am struggling to understand: how can you not have to own the underlying asset if you write a call on it?

    I mean, let's imagine that the underlying traded at a price above the strike price of the call options I am writing.

    Wouldn't the buyer then have the right to exercise the call and buy (from me) the underlying at the strike price, actually forcing me (the seller) to sell the underlying that I do not own?

    Thanks for helping me clarify the confusion here.



  • Report this Comment On November 25, 2015, at 11:25 PM, Neowalkit wrote:

    Re Lecarl (luca)

    You need at least level 4 or 5 option trading rights to sell calls on a stock you do not own. That would be writing a naked call. You can however buy a call at the same price or lower that will cover the call that you write.

    I hope that helps

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2016, at 5:40 AM, undertaker2011 wrote:

    Binary options are different. It's an all or nothing type of investment but there are many risks. There are many broker comparison sites like but beware of the unregulated ones. I would never deposit my money to unregulated brokers.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2016, at 3:55 PM, Rombago wrote:

    So today I sold 1 KMI Sept 16 2016 $17.0 Put @1.22

    Was this a good idea?

    What am I hoping for? Price to go up?

    If the stock price goes from 18.18 to 22 for example, what does that mean?

    What does

    Amount 111.22

    Net Cash Balance -091.83


  • Report this Comment On April 25, 2016, at 12:06 PM, jhawker85 wrote:

    If you do not know what you are hoping for, you should not sell a put. If you don't know what it is, DO NOT TRADE IT.

    But, yes you are hoping it goes up. Were the stock to reach 22, then the value of the put should decrease, give you a chance to buy it back and perhaps realize a profit.

    Other possibilities, hope that it expires w/o exercising and bank the premium. Or, if KMI drops, it may end up in the money on Sep 16th and suddenly you find yourself buying 100 shares of KMI @ $17 per.

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