Three Mistakes to Avoid When Trading Options

by Options Sensei |

Everyone seems to be trading options these days, yet very few are actually making any money. Why is that? Here are three mistakes to avoid when trading options – brought to you by our friends at Options Sensei!

As “Charles Schwab (SCHW)” led the charge into zero commission trading — which was quickly followed by everyone from other discount brokers such as “E*Trade (ETFC)” to full-service funds such as Fidelity — was rightly viewed as a boon for most traders.

But one of the unintended consequences might have been that ‘no transactions fees’ might come at a cost, especially to the retail stores or individuals it was meant to benefit, as it exacerbates some common errors

Here are three errors that free trading has exacerbated and how to avoid them.


The ease and quickness with which electronic platforms combined with no fees have made trading a point-and-click process has hastened the spray-and-pray approach to trading.

No commissions allows active traders to place orders first and then think about the consequences later. The attitude seems to be, “Let me establish the position and if it doesn’t go my way and I’ll just close it, no harm is done.

The problem with this, especially with options, which still carry a typical $0.65 per contract fee, is that price slippage, which can cause losses to rack up even when nothing has happened.

Worse, is the tendency for people to get married a position and try to trade out of it, because after it all, trading is free.

2. Placing Market Orders

When trading options, I’m adamant about using limit orders, or those with a specified execution price.  The bid/ask spread in options markets, especially in the open minutes or with fast-moving stocks can be brutally wide.

For example, last week when “Beyond Meat (BYND)”  shares were halted after being up 15% the bid the 140 call was $4 and the ask is $6, a whopping 40%.  If one is to enter and exit a trade using market orders, you’d give away 80% of fair value or what most likely would be any potential profit.

Don’t let low/free commissions lead into thinking you can afford to give away the edge on order execution.  Stick with price limits.

3.Too Many Orders

The flip side of the above is… Continue reading at

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