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What are Options and How Do They Operate

beginners call options investing investing 101 options options trading put options Jan 28, 2023

Have you ever heard of the word "options?" But not the "options" you have when ordering a sandwich or picking a toy; I'm talking about a different kind of option - one that has to do with money and investing. 

Well, options are like a special tool that people use to make decisions about buying and selling stocks. Just like a toolbox has different tools for different jobs, options have different types that you can use in different ways. 

In this article, we're going to explore what options are, how they work, and how they can be used. Ready to dive in?

What are Options?

Options are a financial tool that gives the person who holds it the choice to buy or sell a certain asset, like a stock, at a particular price and date. They are not required to do so, but they have the option to.

This type of investments can be used in different ways, depending on what you want to do. Some people use it to make money by betting on the price of a stock going up or down. Other people use this to protect their investments by hedging against risk. For example, if you own a stock and you're worried that the price might go down, you can buy a put option on that stock to protect yourself.

What are the Types of Options?

There are two types of options: call options and put options. Here's a quick explanation of both:

What are Call Options?

An option that gives the holder the right to purchase a stock at a certain price within a certain time frame is called a call option. The agreed-upon price is known as the strike price, and the deadline for when this option can be exercised is known as the expiration date.

Let's say you think a certain stock is going to go up in price. You can buy a call option on that stock, which gives you the right to buy it at a lower price than it's currently selling for. If the stock does go up in price, you can buy it at a lower price and make a profit.

What are Put Options?

A put option is a type of option that gives the buyer the right to sell a specific stock at a specific price, called the strike price, on or before a specific date. It's like having a ticket to sell your old toy at a garage sale, but instead of toys, you're selling shares of a stock.

A good example would be when you own a stock, and you're worried that the price might go down. You can buy a put option on that stock to protect yourself. If the stock does go down in price, you can sell it at a higher price and still make a profit.

How are Options Traded?

Options can be bought and sold, just like buying and selling stocks. You can use a special helper called a broker to buy options, just like how you would use one to buy stocks. And if you already have an option, you can sell it like you would sell a stock.

How is the Price of an Option Determined?

The price of an option is determined by several factors, including the current price of the underlying stock, the option's strike price, and the option's expiration date. The current price of the underlying stock is one of the most important factors because it affects the value of the option. For instance, if a stock is currently selling for $100, and an option has a strike price of $95, it will be more valuable than if the stock was only selling for $90.

What is the Importance of an Expiration Date for Options?

The expiration date of an option is also important because it determines how long you have to use the option. If the option expires before you have a chance to use it, it becomes worthless. This is why it is important to pay attention to the expiration date when you buy an option, so you can make sure you have enough time to use it.

What are the Risks and Rewards of Using Options?

Now that you have a general understanding of options let's take a closer look at their potential risks and rewards.

What are the Potential Benefits of Using Options?

Options can be a great way to make money, but they can also be risky. One of the benefits of using options is that they allow you to make money even if the stock market is going down. For example, if you buy a put option, you can make money if the underlying stock's price goes down. Additionally, options can also be used to protect your existing investments. This is known as hedging, and it can help you limit your losses in case of a market downturn.

What are the Risks Involved With Using Options?

However, options also come with risks. If you buy a call option, for example, and the price of the underlying stock doesn't go up as much as you expect, you could lose money. Plus, options can expire, which means that if you don't use them before the expiration date, they will become worthless. This is why it's important to be aware of the expiration date and to make sure you have enough time to use the option before it expires.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we learned about options and how they operate. We learned that options are like a special type of contract that gives people the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell something at a specific price. We also learned about the two types of options, call options and put options, and how they can be used. We talked about how options are traded and the importance of the expiration date. We also discussed the risks and rewards of using options and some tips for managing those risks.

In summary, options can be a powerful tool for making money, but they can also be risky if you don't know what you're doing. That's why learning as much as possible about how options work is important. 

If you're excited to learn more about options, we've got you covered! We have a great resource called "Options for Beginners" that will be available on our website for FREE. 

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