1. Options Basics: Introduction
  2. Options Basics: What Are Options?
  3. Options Basics: Why Use Options?
  4. Options Basics: How Options Work
  5. Options Basics: Types Of Options
  6. Options Basics: How To Read An Options Table
  7. Options Basics: Conclusion

Nowadays, many investors' portfolios include investments such as mutual funds, stocks and bonds. But the variety of securities you have at your disposal does not end there. Another type of security, called an option, presents a world of opportunity to sophisticated investors.

The power of options lies in their versatility. They enable you to adapt or adjust your position according to any situation that arises. Options can be as speculative or as conservative as you want. This means you can do everything from protecting a position from a decline to outright betting on the movement of a market or index.

This versatility, however, does not come without its costs. Options are complex securities and can be extremely risky. This is why, when trading options, you'll see a disclaimer like the following:

Options involve risks and are not suitable for everyone. Option trading can be speculative in nature and carry substantial risk of loss. Only invest with risk capital.

Despite what anybody tells you, option trading involves risk, especially if you don't know what you are doing. Because of this, many people suggest you steer clear of options and forget their existence.

On the other hand, being ignorant of any type of investment places you in a weak position. Perhaps the speculative nature of options doesn't fit your style. No problem - then don't speculate in options. But, before you decide not to invest in options, you should understand them. Not learning how options function is as dangerous as jumping right in: without knowing about options you would not only forfeit having another item in your investing toolbox but also lose insight into the workings of some of the world's largest corporations. Whether it is to hedge the risk of foreign-exchange transactions or to give employees ownership in the form of stock options, most multi-nationals today use options in some form or another.

This tutorial will introduce you to the fundamentals of options. Keep in mind that most options traders have many years of experience, so don't expect to be an expert immediately after reading this tutorial. If you aren't familiar with how the stock market works, check out the Stock Basics tutorial.

Options Basics: What Are Options?

Related Articles
  1. Trading

    The 4 Advantages of Options

    Flexible and cost efficient, options are more popular than ever. Find out why.
  2. Trading

    Getting Started In Forex Options

    Stocks are not the only securities underlying options. Learn how to use FOREX options for profit and hedging.
  3. Trading

    Reducing Risk With Options

    If you want to use leverage to your advantage, you must know how many contracts to buy.
  4. Trading

    Cut Down Option Risk With Covered Calls

    A good place to start with options is writing these contracts against shares you already own.
  5. Trading

    Trading Options on Futures Contracts

    Futures contracts are available for all sorts of financial products, from equity indexes to precious metals. Trading options based on futures means buying call or put options based on the direction ...
  6. Trading

    How to Make Money by Trading Index Options

    Index options are less volatile and more liquid than regular options. Understand how to trade index options with this simple introduction.
  7. Trading

    Exploring The World Of Exotic Options

    Exotic options provide investors with new alternatives to manage their portfolio risks and speculate on various market opportunities. The pricing for such instruments is considerably complex, ...
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Depreciation Can Shield Taxes, Bolster Cash Flow

    Depreciation can be used as a tax-deductible expense to reduce tax costs, bolstering cash flow
  2. What schools did Warren Buffett attend on his way to getting his science and economics degrees?

    Learn how Warren Buffett became so successful through his attendance at multiple prestigious schools and his real-world experiences.
  3. How many attempts at each CFA exam is a candidate permitted?

    The CFA Institute allows an individual an unlimited amount of attempts at each examination.Although you can attempt the examination ...
  4. What's the average salary of a market research analyst?

    Learn about average stock market analyst salaries in the U.S. and different factors that affect salaries and overall levels ...
Trading Center