Part I. There's More to Trading Than the Mechanics
Any investor can buy or sell options. The position can be hedged with stock or other options. You choose a position to own, enter the order (at a limit price), and become the proud owner of that position (obviously, only if that limit order is filled). Those are the mechanics of trading.
That's merely the first step in the trading process. Many traders spend a great deal of time deciding when is the best time to enter the trade, or the best price to get for the trade. There's nothing wrong with that, especially for very short-term traders. Beginners are more likely to enter a trade randomly, being anxious to own a position they can follow.
But buying the position is merely acting on the decision to place the order. It's also important to manage the trade and exit in a timely manner. Just because it's a trade involving options does not mean that it's a good idea to hold positions until the options expire. Once again, rookies may do that – simply because holding requires the fewest decisions. Perhaps this series of posts can convince those rookies that there's much more to trading options than 'open position and forget it.'
It's true that day traders, swing traders, and investors with either a short- or long-term outlook, all have different objectives when trading options, or any other financial instrument. The idea I want to be get across is that there's far more to trading than deciding on when to initiate the trade. To that end, I'll discuss various aspects of trading and how I view them.
I am NOT suggesting that my ideas are 'correct' and that any conflicting ideas are 'wrong.' I'm merely presenting what I believe are sound principles for investors – especially rookies – to follow, but I truthfully hope that each of you will question every one of these ideas and consider whether it's appropriate for you and your style of trading.
The purpose of this short series of posts is to provide a clearer understanding of what is involved with option trading, and to help you reach important decisions about how long to hold a position, how much risk to accept, how much profit to seek etc. These are my ideas. They are not gospel, and I encourage you to disagree with anything that doesn't feel right to you. Perhaps you want to discuss the merits of any specific recommendation. Feel free to comment and I'll reply.
I'll elaborate in future posts, but to get started, here are a few things I believe to be true:
When a position has earned a profit and you have the choice of continuing to hold the position or exiting, that profit is your money. It is not 'the house's' money. Treat that money with respect.
Trade within your comfort zone.
…to be continued.