Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I Am A Woman...I write covered calls

For those of you who are like...huh? Why does that matter that she is a woman and trades options? Well, I would vigorously retort....that You don't know where I live....and I don't mean about the technical location....I mean you don't know how women are boxed in mentally and emotionally in the social "norms" that we were raised my my generation.

It wasn't a "Can do" was more of a "Can Don't" spirit. A spirit that said...."Well, yes, you are free to do and be whatever you want to be, but don't push it too far, and don't do the same things that men do....because that just won't do."

And so, when I say that I am an options trader I am speaking an earth moving life altering truth for myself.I am doing something that no other woman I know can do. Now that may speak volumes about the people I know, but it is what it is. I am open to stretching my circle to include more new and more fully developed people....people who encourage women to challenge dusty boundaries.

Now on to the subject of the day. I just want to mention a few things I am learning about
writing covered calls. Perhaps you are considering trading options and would enjoy just hearing someone chat about it.

Well, I am talking about a fairly basic "easy entry" starting point for folks who want to start trading options, called "Covered call writing".

When you "sell to open" a covered call, you are selling to another person or institution, the right, but not the obligation to buy 100 shares of your stock at a predetermined "strike" price for a period of time previously agreed upon. 100 shares equals one contract in the options world. You choose the "strike" price...which is the price at which you are willing to part with your shares. You choose the length of time that your "contract" is good can be as little as two days from now, or almost 2 years into the future. Whomever buys your covered call, has the right to buy your '1' contract for 100 shares at any point within that agreed upon time frame up until the end of the date of expiry. The person/institution who buys your call, will pay you a premium for securing that price for the shares and for the time frame that you will honor that price point. That premium that the buyer pays you either can be skimpy or it can be generous.

The cool part of selling to open covered calls is that you keep the premium you collect whether or not the covered call buyer actually "exercises" his/her/their right to purchases your shares. Somewhere I have read or heard ( but don't quote me on it) that 75% of all call options expire worthless, which would tend to suggest that just because you write a covered call, doesn't mean that you will  instantly have your call exercised and your shares sold. Call options are written as a type of "insurance" policy on securing stock prices. And  it must be noted too, that you can "cancel" your covered call option by
"buying to close" your covered call option. However, that process of buying back your call option
can be costly, especially if market conditions have propelled the stock's prices sky high.

Can anyone sell to open covered calls on the shares they own? Well, in my province, and in some brokerages, one needs to apply and get approved by the brokerage in order to be deemed "educated" enough to permit options trading on their brokerage accounts. You can check with your broker if you need their permission to trade options on your account.

So, to be fair, I am going to mention the ikky part of writing covered calls.
1/ If you don't cancel your covered call option by buying back (buying to close) your covered call
you can definitely have your shares called away. You may have owned those shares for decades and have a sentimental attachment to those shares. Therefore, if you are not willing to part with your shares, you should not write covered calls. There is ALWAYS the possibility that the call buyer will exercise his/her/their right to buy your shares at the agreed upon strike price. Therefore, you may not want to write covered calls on shares you own that you have a strong sentimental attachment to.

2/ You limit your upside gains. When you write covered calls, and the open market stock price rises astronomically on the shares you covered with a call, you will not be able to benefit from that price rise. With a covered call, you lock in your gains to be limited by the strike price you choose. That price may be near or far from the price you originally paid for those shares. Choose carefully your strike prices. Always be mindful of your original buy price.  You can "lock in " losses if you choose a strike price that is below what you originally paid for the shares.

3/ Some really cool equities do not offer options trading on them. Some of your fave stocks or reits may not give folks the opportunity to write calls on them....there is simply no options trading on them.

4/ Taxes. Be aware that options trading can have significant tax implications for you and your family. Be prepared, and know which trading accounts you can use in a tax advantaged manner to lower, limit, or prevent taxes being paid on the premiums you collect as well as the capital gains you may gain from if/when your stock is sold if a call is "assigned" (another word for when call options get exercised)

5/ Some options traders become oblivious to the risks of the underlying equity because they are enticed by juicy option premiums. But be aware that overly generous options pricing sometimes reflects high risks associated with overvalued 'speculative" stocks. These stocks may have juicy options premiums that tempt you to play their games, but they do not reveal the fundamentals which illustrate when a particular stock has poor earnings, loads of debt and an unstable financial future.
Do your diligence. When an options play seems too good to be true, it may actually reveal, upon closer scrutiny, a company that is more of a gamble, than a sound investment.

6/ Writing covered calls can incur quite hefty fees and commissions, especially if/when your call is assigned. Ask as many questions as you need to , of your broker, to find out precisely how much the fees and commissions are for writing covered calls. Use those fees as a gauge by which to help you choose which covered calls to sell. It is a cost of options trading that you always need to be mindful of.

7/ Youtube. Youtube has loads of videos available to describe in detail how to write covered calls and what to keep in mind as you  mine for profitable trades. Some brokerages offer video seminars to help you understand the process. Some brokerages also offer live seminars you can attend in person to learn more about options trading.You can also read about writing covered calls from business/investment authors such as the "Lazy Investor" Canadian Derek Foster or
"Rich Dad Poor Dad" author Robert Kiyosaki.

Well that's all for now, I haven't described everything one needs to know about covered calls, but it's been fun explaining little bits and pieces of it. Be well and prosper.

Peacefully productive,

DISCLAIMER: This post is for discussion/conversation purposes only and is not intended as investment or financial advice. Do your due diligence and obtain qualified advice from professionals before investing. The writer/producer of this blog does not claim any liability for any of the ideas discussed in this post or any other post in this blog.