Never Turn A Trade Into An Investment

Have you ever heard this term before? If you haven't I am sure today is a great day to hear it since I imagine plenty of you out there are debating this very topic. I can't recall the number of times I had done this as I was first starting out. I get into an option trade, everything looks good, feels good, tastes good, etc. then a day like today comes across and really hammers the option premium. As you look at the new (much cheaper) option premium, you start rationalizing holding this option since you've already taken a beating, you think it would be acceptable to roll the dice with what little premium you have left to give this loss more rope in hopes that the stock comes back.


Did you know that the great and powerful Oz that hides behind the curtain on Wall Street has ways of hearing these thoughts? And when he hears you say this, he makes you pay. He sucks up your trading capital faster than you can continue to hand it out. This creates unreasonable losses. Can't have those.

This is why I prefer not to buy lots of time until expiration. Naturally we have a tendency to wishfully think. Instead of intuitively being able to maximize profits, we intuitively try to maximize the chance of profits. One of the worst things I hear new traders say to me when debating on whether to take a loss or not I always hear..."Well....I have until ______(Insert your month of expiration)." Try to refrain from using an expiration date as an excuse to let losses run. This is why I usually bad mouth Leaps and longer dated options.

When you are getting ready to take a trade and you are selecting an expiration date...ask yourself if you really plan on being in the trade for that long. Make sure the expiration date you select is cohesive with your trading style and chart analysis.

That's all folks...

So the Bank of Japan left rates unchanged zzzz..........

Don't suppose I could open up a Japanese bank acount and get a loan for my house at .25



So how did you know that was something I needed to hear...hmmmmm? You must be a cousin to Oz. :)

We took a couple of big hits today. We feel good about following our trading rules, but believe me, we considered waiting to see if they bounce so we wouldn't have to take the loss!

I've used that mentality in the past, too - "Well, I have until ___". Glad to hear we're "normal". We're trying to be more mechanical. Thanks for this great reminder.
Diane and Andy

Doesn't appear we can blame today's market activity on Japan. Maybe IBM's "blockbuster" earnings as it's being reported can save it tomorrow.

Should be an interesting options expiration Friday.


Jeff, you're amazing.
We had just looked over the carnage in our account today and managed to eake out a reasonable day by paring losses and were thinking about holding on to a couple that had tanked but we had (thankfully) taken out small positions in. We were thinking exactly "there's not a lot more left to lose here... we may just as well hold on and see what happens." Then we read your blog. It was exactly what we needed, exactly when we needed it. We whisked a few hundred dollars away from OZ and feel better about our day, knowing that we're not alone. Tomorrow's another day. We've got a few good puts in play (ADM, ODP, WMI, HYSL) and will look for more tonight, especially in the tech sector. GOOG strikes me as a possibility but there's no pattern there yet.
I'm away from the computer until 2:30 tomorrow, so I'll add to our stops. Hold your breath.

Chris and Catherine.

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About me

  • I'm Option Addict
  • From Saratoga Springs, Utah, United States
  • I am a professional trader and an instructor for Investools. I've had relations with the markets for 9 years. Born in Concord, CA, but reside in Saratoga Springs, Utah. Father of THREE, Husband of one.
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