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Why I trade options

Way back in 2005 I knew I needed to find a new way to make a living.  The job I had was going to be out sourced.  I knew this because I was asked to do it twice.  I didn’t succeed the first time because nobody could do it cheaper than my team was doing it.  The second time I knew that money wasn’t the issue any more, it was fashion.  It was very fashionable for companies to out source what my team did so I knew eventually it would happen even if it cost more.  I needed to find something I liked doing that did not depend on the whims of fashion.  I’ll spare you all the details but trading seemed to be the way to do it.

During my search for a way to make money in trading I looked at a lot of strategies.  I first gave trading stocks a try.  I tried buying and selling stocks near their bottoms and tops.  Turns out I’m just not good at picking stocks that will go up over a long period of time.  So I gave day trading a shot.  I thought maybe I could find stocks that would go up for a day.  Turns out I could do that but I really didn’t like how I felt as I watched and waited for the stock I’d chosen to do what I had expected it to do.  So I gave Forex a shot.

I made money trading Forex and even turned some friends into Forex traders. But once again, I really didn’t enjoy it.  Short term trading seemed to be the best way to profit in Forex so I was tied to a computer screen.  Each move against me bothered me even though eventually I would profit.  I did like that Forex trades 24 hours a day so I could trade it any time I wanted.  I started looking at the market at about 9:30pm, placing my trades with stops and exits.  Each morning I would wake up and check to see if I had made money or got stopped out.  There were times when making money was really easy like when the Fed cut interest rates.  Forex did not hold my interest though.  It came down to doing the same thing over and over.  Between having to trade every day and feeling there wasn’t much more to learn, I decided to look further.

While I was trading stocks, options kept coming up as a better way to trade.  I ended up picking the best training I could imagine and really enjoyed it.  It was hard work but the depth of information kept and keeps me interested even after almost 6 years.

What I have found with options is that I can trade them any way I like.  I can day trade, swing trade, trade weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually….  What ever I want to do, options will accommodate it.  The best part is that I don’t have to pick a stock that will go up in value.  I don’t even have to be right as to what the equity will do, just close.  And with some trades I don’t even have to be very close.  Double digit monthly returns are possible on an equity that barely moves.  I can go on vacation for a month if I like and have confidence that that my portfolio will grow.

Options trading continues to keep my interest with new ways of making money.  It seems more people are trading options since we keep seeing new options being added.  I didn’t have $.50 strikes to work with five years ago.  I see them on lots of chains these days and more and more each week.  I also see more options series available.  This allows me to explore new ways to “fine tune” my trades and their adjustments.  It also opens up new trades that I would not have considered before.

The flexibility of options also keeps me interested.  I keep finding interesting ways to make money with them, very simple trades and very complex trades.  I have found ways to make money on equities that others have given up on. I’ve found high probability trades with high returns that only present themselves a few times per year.  I’ve found low probability trades with even higher returns that present often.  I can choose to avoid earnings or to trade them.  I’ve found trades with high return, low risk and high probability that are always available.  Every trade I place has a defined risk and an adjustment that will save me if I’m too far off with my expectation.  After trying all that other stuff, options is the trading vehicle of choice for me regardless of my life situation.  I may play in the others a little for fun but to pay the bills while enjoying what I do options are my solution.

Good trading,

Ken Bailey
OptionsANIMAL Instructor

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