I learned options late in life, accidentally, trawling the pages of the ancient magazine Exchange and Mart in 1995. A full page article showed how an options trader could work from home, (actually in bed) using prices from the BBC’s teletext, back in the day. A lot has changed, but options have been around for centuries-pre-dating shares, being used for pricing ships’ cargoes. In the 1980s options became exchange traded, and fortunes were made. Warren Buffett is a keen options trader, Nassim Taleb was the most prolific. They are not idiots and neither are you if you have read thus far.
Investing is the word we use for a trade that went wrong! Investing is mostly passive and requires you to be right and/or to tuck your stocks away for decades. With markets hitting new highs and valuations stretched, you have to realise the stock market cannot keep going up. If you are happy with paltry dividends and the certainty that your stock will at some point in the future be worth half what it is today, then read no further. QE is no longer on the table and that is all that has separated stocks from realistic valuations.
So what are options all about? In our world we only trade the FTSE100 options. Why? Because the entire index is unlikely to get arrested for fraud/sexual harassment/bogus accounting/toxic products, and all the other nasties that can destroy a company’s rep in a heartbeat. So FTSE is the underlying on which our derivatives are based. Options are the right to buy or sell the underlying (priced by the exchange at £10 per point cash settled) but NOT the obligation. In the same way as insurance companies collect premiums, however, options can be sold. Did you ever see a poor insurance company? When you get it right, selling options can bring you a monthly income stream of a comfortable 2% per month, consistently. Nothing else comes close.
So who are the buyers of options if everybody sells them? Well that is the biggest part of education, and the reason I have traded profitably since 1999. Yes I have had failures, and panics- but I made nice profits in February while the market dropped 10%, despite being a bit dim! I learned about options from an expensive course and from much of the free training on the internet. A while ago I met a like-minded options trader, he runs the website to which I contribute every week, with a real trade, and general tittle tattle about our world. It’s utterly mind-blowing when you start to understand options and the endless combinations, and 20 or more strategies that we use. I love options trading and I want to reach those with a pot of cash who seek income, and a sensible method with risk management, but who don’t know where to start. We are not just about newbies though-there are insights for all. And… we don’t want your money.