Apr 262017

Today I’m doing a review of Options University, where you can learn all about options, and how to trade them.

First, you might ask – why do I want to trade options? And what are the drawbacks to trading options?

Options University [Review]Why trade options

There are so many reasons options are a good choice. You can increase leverage, limit your risk, provide insurance for other trades, profit in bear markets, profit in a market going sideways.

(Plus, the Oracle on Wilshire uses them, and we’ve had lots of questions about the trades using options.)

trade options - leverageOption trading is very attractive for the small investor as it gives you the opportunity to trade a very large exposure for only a small amount of capital outlay.

trade options - lower riskYour risk is limited to the purchase price of the option, so if your analysis doesn’t match what actually happens in the market, you can only lose that purchase price, not more.

Here is a hypothetical example to illustrate the leverage possible. Suppose you and your friend Joe each decide to buy a Call for CTQ on May 1st.

Let’s say that on May 1, the stock price of Cory’s Tequila Co. (CTQ) is $67 and the premium (cost) is $3.15 for a July 70 Call.  “July 70 Call” means that the expiration is the third Friday of July and the strike price is $70. The total price of the contract is $3.15 x 100 = $315. (We ignore commissions for simplicity in this example.) Note that to outright purchase 100 shares, you’d have to pay $6700. So you are investing in $6700 worth of stock for only $315. Nice leverage.

Because your analysis of this trade looks good, both you and your friend Joe buy a contract each.

Three weeks later the stock price is $78. The options contract has increased along with the stock price and is now worth $8.25 x 100 = $825. Subtract what you paid for the contract, and your profit is ($8.25 – $3.15) x 100 = $510. You almost doubled your money in just three weeks! You could sell your options, which is called “closing your position,” and take your profits – unless, of course, you think the stock price will continue to rise. So you close, taking your $510 profit. But, your friend Joe decides to hold. Here is what happens next:

By the expiration date, the price of CTQ drops down to $62. Because this is less than our $70 strike price and there is no time left, the option contract is worthless. Joe is now down by the original premium cost of $315.

To recap, here is what happened to yours and Joe’s options investments:

Date May 1 May 21 Expiry Date
Stock Price $67 $78 $62
Option Price $3.15 $8.25 worthless
Contract Value $315 $825 $0
Paper Gain/Loss $0 $510 -$315

Okay this was a really simple example – there’s a lot more to it…

What are the drawbacks to trading options?

Options University [Review]There are some drawbacks, such as lower liquidity, higher commissions, and time decay. Also, options are not available for all stocks. However, the most important drawback is that they are complicated. Options are very complicated to beginners. Most beginners, and even some advanced investors, think they understand them when they don’t.

And here is where Options University comes in:

Options University

Here is what Options University says about itself: “Options University is the leading source for options training, strategies, safer investing and better profits. We are an educational company teaching investors how to make consistent profits with options while limiting risk.”

Courtney Smith

Courtney Smith

Steve Suminski

Steve Suminski

Options University was originally founded in 2004 by Brett Fogle and Ron Ianieri. Courtney Smith, a long time trader, author and CEO of numerous financial firms is the new owner. The CEO of Options University is Steve Suminski.

Now I’ve never met Steve, but Courtney I’ve known for years. And this I know about him – he is very knowledgeable, very experienced, makes a bunch trading, and is passionate about teaching others to trade well. I’ve seen him teach, and he is clear, concise, and friendly and funny.

Courtney makes teaching videos, does webinars, and live events that are both fun and packed with information you can use.

And this is what one of Options University’s students had to say about Steve:

Steve Suminski is not only a brilliant options strategist, but also a very effective and caring instructor who not only does what it takes to make the lesson clear, but also makes learning FUN!

Options are a very challenging and complex investment and Steve not only makes it simple, but also shares specific trades he is using to make money which has helped me pay for the course!

-Bonnie C.

Options University offers courses for investors at every level. They offer online courses as well as live onsite training, and ongoing memberships and coaching and mentoring.

For beginners wanting an inexpensive but comprehensive training, there is Options Academy Starter.

At a more advanced level, Options University offers live, interactive trainings like Options Academy Online, as well as ongoing membership where you can learn the material in interactive online webinars and home study modules. You can also get coaching and mentoring, to be sure you are executing correctly (and profitably).

Options are complicated, but well worth your while learning, because the benefits of trading options far outweigh the effort to learn to use them well. And because our own Oracle on Wilshire uses them extensively, if you follow the Oracle, you’ll be happy you learned to trade with options at Options University.

They have many different course options (pun intended) for you to choose from. To really know and use options to the best advantage, one of their best courses is Options Mastery Online. And they are having a special 60% off price right now – I don’t know how long this special will be available. Here is their description of this online course:

Options Mastery Online Training

golfTrading options may be a hobby for some. That’s fine. I believe just about everyone should trade options on some level. Most beginner level traders will buy CALL options, and maybe dabble with Covered Calls. Most will stick exclusively with bullish to moderately bullish trades simply because that’s human nature. Perfectly normal behavior and nothing wrong with it.

But then there’s you.

You’re not satisfied to be anything less than be a PRO LEVEL options trader. You don’t necessarily need to know it all, but you want to know what’s important for pros who TRADE FOR A LIVING, because that’s what you want. You want to MAKE BANK from the comfort of your home, and be completely financially independent. You want to WIN BIG IN EVERY MARKET, and do so with confidence and an easy kind of happiness. No more struggling. No more pulling your hair out. Just win, baby.

We’re ready to take you to that level!

The Options University Mastery Series includes both LIVE sessions with CURRENT options trading ideas, as well as ON DEMAND INSTRUCTION that will blow you away with never-taught-before EXCLUSIVE content based on Courtney Smith’s 40+ years of amazing Wall Street and pro trading experience as well as Steve Suminski’s quarter of a century of stock and options trading experience.

Here’s what’s included in this INCREDIBLE training:

  • The Pro Trader Visual Journey
  • The difference between KNOWING and MASTERING
  • Characteristics of the OPTIONS MASTER
  • All the Strategies and Techniques you NEED to Learn and Master
  • Going from Good to Great on all key Options Strategies
  • How to access and use P/L graphs to optimize profits and reduce risk
  • Managing your portfolio allocation
  • Unique strategies such as “FLIP FLOP BUNGEE DROP”
  • Advanced Butterfly trading with a UNIQUE VARIATION
  • A “STOCK REPAIR” strategy
  • Day in the Life of a PRO TRADER
  • How to Track your trades properly
  • Advanced Horizontal Spreads
  • Ratio Spreads
  • Advanced Order Entry

The Options Mastery training includes:

  • 12 LIVE Q&A / Advanced Trading Sessions
  • Six hours of super advanced instruction available ON DEMAND
  • A special VIP offer for the Options University Masters Program
  • SPECIAL BONUS: We’ll also include 10 HOURS of OPTIONS ACADEMY instruction!
  • This covers all major options strategies from the beginning + special techniques
  • That’s 28 HOURS OF Education!

Options University Register Now

What’s not so great about Options University?

Look, the main thing is, successful traders like you want to know how to trade options. Options University can give you great training. What’s not to like?

I’ll tell you what – you must spend a little money, and some time, some concentrated focused time, to learn how. That’s it. You must be dedicated to learning more.

I’ll close with another quote from a student:

“I’m just thrilled beyond myself about the Celgene (CELG) trade using the ‘Boing BoinBoing’ technique that you talked about at the last Options Boot Camp.

I entered it in my own account during the class, and I was thrilled to open my account today and see a gain of well over $2000 in just a few days with very little money at risk!

My account is not very big, so normally I would not invest in such an expensive stock. But you taught me how! I told all my friends about Options University, and now they all want it! Thank you so much for being my coach.”

– Teresa T.

If learning to trade Options looks attractive to you, click here to learn more about Options University.

Mar 132017

Today I’m doing a review of the trading platform and broker, TradeStation

I use TradeStation for my own trading, and to develop indicators and strategies for my clients. So I thought I should tell you what I like about it, and what I don’t like. And if you want to open an account, you can get a 1/2 hour free consultation with me.

I’d like to say there’s only one reason I trade with TradeStation. But there isn’t.

Tradestation is really all-in-one. It is a platform with great tools, has a great datafeed, and is also a broker.

Trade Smarter Today – Open an Account at TradeStation (and get a 1/2 hour free consultation with me).

Great Platform with Great Tools

TradeStation has a desktop application, a web (browser) application, and apps for your phone or tablet, so you can monitor your trades whereever you are, with whatever device you have available.

TradeStation caters to every type of investor or trader: professional investors, speculators, institutional investers, traders like you and me.

Here’s a snapshot of the desktop application. At the top you see a slew of icons, so you can quickly and easily apply tools. On the left is a chart with several indicators showing. On the right is the Matrix, where you can click to place an order, see it appear, and drag it around to change its price.

TradeStation Review

You can also use a simulated account to practice trading, and you see that at the bottom of this image – it shows you what account you are trading on.

Here’s a picture I took right from TradeStation’s website showing a woman using TradeStation’s phone app to monitor her trade.

TradeStation Review

Use RadarScreen to Track Hundreds of Symbols

Using the RadarScreen, you can watch and rank up to 1,000 symbols in real time. You can use nearly any indicator on your symbols, and apply alerts, so you know when a stock or instrument is primed for a new trade, or an exit. Here’s a snapshot of a RadarScreen in action:

RadarScreen TradeStation Review

Trading Options? OptionStation Pro Shows it All

OptionStation Pro has:

  • Interactive position graphs
  • Integrated probability cones
  • Drop-and-drag position management

You can build, evaluate, trade and track your options strategy position with ease.

Here’s a picture of a typical OptionStation Pro screen:TradeStation Review OptionStation Pro

Write Your Own Indicators and Strategies – EasyLanguage

When I first got into trading, I of course did what comes naturally to me as a software developer – I started writing my own indicators and strategies. Because it is easy to get started writing in EasyLanguage, I just gravitated to TradeStation and EasyLanguage. It is true that it is not always easy if you are attempting to code up something a bit more complicated, but it is very easy to get started.

You can build indicators and strategies for charts and RadarScreen, you can load up a bunch of back data, and backtest and optimize with ease.

Also, if you run into trouble with this, or just need some help getting going, I can always help you – click here to find out more.

Awesome Telephone and Email Support

TradeStation has great telephone support – I am always amazed that they can answer quickly and answer knowledgeably. What a bonus! You don’t have to stay stuck for days on end waiting for answers. This is a big plus for me. If you have an EasyLanguage coding problem, instead of calling, you use the Forums, which I discuss next:

TradeStation Forums

I love the TradeStation Forums. Hundreds (thousands?) of traders are posting there all the time, and there is a wealth of help and information available. If you have an EasyLanguage problem, just post it in the Support Forum, and a TradeStation engineer will get back to you within a day. Complex problems get solved in a hurry this way.

You can search for answers to your problem, as well, and often find the answer has already been posted in response to another trader who asked the same or similar question.

Here’s a list of all the topics in the Forum:

TradeStation Review, Forums 1TradeStation Review Forums 2

Education – Video, Written, Webinar, Seminar

TradeStation has lots of stuff to teach you how to use TradeStation, and how to trade. They have:

  • Online and in-person training events
    • Often led by renowned traders
  • “Learning TradeStation” series
  • “Mastering the Art of TradeStation”

You can ask questions and get real-time answers during live webcasts.

TradingApp store

The TradeingApp store, available right from the trading platform, has hundreds of 3rd party tools – these are written by non-TradeStation coders, and many of them are pretty nifty. You should check it out! There are:

  • Indicators
  • Strategies
  • Other tools

What’s Not so Great

Of course every platform has some drawbacks. One of these for TradeStation is platform fees. It is $99.95 a month for the platform. Of course there are conditions where they will waive this fee. If you trade a sufficient volume of shares or contracts per month, or if you retain at least a $100,000 account balance, this fee is waived.

Depending on your commission agreement with TradeStation, you can get flat fee, per-share/contract or unbundled pricing for your commissions. Some commissions are quite competitive, others not so much.

TradeStation does not have any commission-free ETFs.

“Best in Class” awards every year

TradeStation, every year, receives plenty of awards. Here are just a few of them:

  • 2017
    • “Best Platform Technology”  – StockBrokers.com
    • “Best Trading System – Stocks and Futures” –  Stocks & Commodities
  • 2016
    • “Best for Frequent Traders” – Barron’s
    • “#1 for Equity Trading Tools” – Investor’s Business Daily
  • 2015
    • “Best for International Traders” – Barron’s

“TradeStation has become the gold standard among hardcore traders”

“Serious investors will appreciate having the same serious trading firepower at their fingertips as the pros.”

  – NerdWallet, Inc

Free 1/2 Hour Consultation

Clear the cookies from your browser! Then, if you are going to open an account at TradeStation, and would like to have a free 1/2 hour consultation with me about any TradeStation or EasyLanguage subject, just click the “Open an Account” button below.

But be sure to clear the cookies from your browser first, as that is the only way to assure you open your account through my link. As an affiliate, I do receive a small commission if you open your account through my link.

 (and get a 1/2 hour free consultation with me).

Then, once you have opened your account, contact me and we’ll set up a time for the consultation.