Many people get their start in the world of trading by dabbling in stocks, which is a natural transition from investing in mutual funds. Stocks are also the most commonly talked about instrument to trade. However, there are clear limitations to trading stocks that traders will learn about once they start trading. That is why some people look to start trading options.
As you begin your journey, it's important to look for reliable Information about stock option trading for beginners. Here are some basics you should know.
What is Options Trading?
Before you begin your journey into options trading, it's important to understand what's an option. It's a contract that allows you to buy or sell (though it's not a requirement) an underlying instrument like a stock at a predetermined price over a specific time period. If you buy an option, it's called a "call option." This gives you the opportunity to buy your shares of a stock in the future. Whereas, if you buy a "put option," you have the opportunity to sell shares of a stock in the future.
Now you need to understand that you don't own a company when your purchase an option in the same way that you do when you buy a stock. Options are derivative securities. They don't possess real value. You're basically betting on whether a stock will rise or fall in price over a certain span of time. You could also be using it an option contract as a form of insurance to hedge your bet on a stock.
This may seem complicated for stock option trading for beginners, but you will come to a better understanding over time and with more experience making trades.
Benefits of Options Trading
Lower Initial Investment
Unless you've got a margin account for stock trading, it takes a lot of capital to make a significant amount of money with stocks. This is because it costs a lot less to purchase a contract for a stock than to buy ownership in stock outright. The $25,000 pattern day trader also doesn't apply to options traders.
For example, if you were to buy 100 shares of an $100 stock, it would cost you $10,000. On the other hand, if you wanted to purchase two $20 call options with each contract representing 50 shares, it would only cost you the total outlay would be only $2,000. You'd be able to use the rest of your capital to make other purchases. For stock option trading for beginners, this is a great opportunity to use you capital more efficiently.
Less Downside Risk
One of the potential dangers of stock trading, especially with poor money management if the chance for a catastrophic loss. If the value of the stock you purchased drops to zero, then you've lost everything.
Thankfully, when you buy a put or call option, you don't need to actually buy or sell the stock you got a contract for. You've got an option (pun intended). If you're wrong about whether a stock will go up or down over a certain period of time, your losses are limited to the amount you paid for your contract. This is comforting fact to know when stock option trading for beginners are concerned about trading something new.
More Upside Potential
Options trading is a great value in terms of risk-to-reward ratio. If you buy a stock outright, it costs a lot more and your returns will be much less than if you were to buy a similar call option contract for the same stock.
As an example, imagine if you were to buy 100 shares of a stock for $50 a share. If the stock rises in price to $55, your return would be $5500 (or 10%) for your $5000 investment. Now imagine if your purchased a call option of that stock for $20 for a 100-share contract. Assuming you went by the general rule of picking a delta of 80, you would make 80 cents for every $1 the stock grows in price. In this case, you would make a return of $4400 for only investing $2000.
If you're now looking to expand your trading opportunities in the world options, check out this great guide for stock option trading for beginners.