All about options trading

Are you ready to take your investment game to the next level? Welcome to the empowering world of options trading! This guide will introduce you to the fundamentals of options trading, how it works, and how it can complement your investing strategy. By the end of this article, you'll feel more in control of your financial future, confident in your ability to perform options trades and take charge of your investments.

This article covers:


Understanding options trading

Options trading might initially sound intimidating, but it's simpler than you think. An option is a contract that gives you the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined price before the contract expires. These assets can be stocks, commodities, or even indices.

Types of options

There are two main types of options: call options and put options.

  • Call Options:

   o   Give you the right to buy an asset at a specific price.

   o   Useful when you believe the asset's price will rise.

  • Put Options:

   o   Give you the right to sell an asset at a particular price.

   o   Beneficial when you think the asset's price will fall.

How options trading works

When you trade options, you are buying or selling the right to the asset without actually owning it. This can offer greater flexibility and potential for profit compared to traditional stock trading. For instance, if you purchase a call option for a stock priced at $50, and the stock rises to $70, you can exercise your option to buy it at $50 and potentially sell it at $70, opening up a world of exciting profit possibilities.


The benefits of options trading

Options trading can be a valuable addition to your investing strategy. Here are some key benefits:


Options allow you to control a larger position with a smaller investment. This means you can potentially amplify your returns without committing large sums of money upfront.


With options, you can profit from various market conditions, whether the market is rising, falling, or staying flat.

Risk Management

Options can serve as a hedge against potential losses in your portfolio, providing a reassuring safety net. For example, purchasing put options can offset losses if the market dips, giving you a sense of confidence in your risk management.


Integrating options trading into your investing strategy

Now that you understand the basics of options trading, let's discuss how to incorporate them into your investing strategy.

Using call options for growth

Call options can be a powerful tool for investors looking to capitalize on anticipated price increases. For instance, if you expect a company's stock to rise due to a promising product launch, buying call options can allow you to benefit from the price increase without fully investing in the stock.

Employing put options for protection

Put options can act as a safety net for your investments. If you hold significant positions in a stock and fear a potential downturn, buying put options can help mitigate losses by giving you the right to sell at a predetermined price.

Options for income

Another strategy involves selling options to generate additional income. By selling call or put options, you can earn premiums from buyers who seek the right to buy or sell the underlying asset.


Real-world examples of options trading

Example 1: Leveraging call options

Imagine you have been tracking Company XYZ, expecting its stock price to rise from $100 to $120. Instead of buying 100 shares for $10,000, you purchase a call option contract for $500 that allows you to buy 100 shares at $100 each. If the stock rises to $120, you can purchase the shares at $100 and sell them at $120, potentially making a substantial profit.

Example 2: Hedging with put options

Suppose you own 200 shares of Company ABC, currently valued at $75 per share. Concerned about a possible market downturn, you buy put options to sell your shares at $70 each. If the stock price drops to $60, your put options ensure you can still sell at $70, protecting your investment.


Risks involved in options trading

While options trading offers numerous benefits, it also comes with risks that investors should be aware of.

Time decay

Options have an expiration date, meaning their value decreases over time. You can lose your entire investment if the underlying asset doesn't move in the expected direction before the option expires.


The value of options can be highly volatile, making it challenging to predict price movements accurately.


Options trading requires a deeper understanding of market dynamics and strategies compared to traditional stock trading. It's crucial to educate yourself thoroughly before getting started.


How to get started

Options trading can be a powerful tool in your self-directed investing arsenal. If you’re inspired to get started, there’s a few things to keep in mind.

Educate Yourself

Knowledge is power. Take the time to learn about different options strategies, market conditions, and risk management techniques. The more informed you are, the better your decisions will be.

Start Small

Begin with a small portion of your portfolio dedicated to options trading. This allows you to gain experience and confidence without risking significant capital.

Monitor and Adjust

Stay vigilant and regularly review your options positions. Market conditions can change rapidly, so it's essential to adapt your strategy accordingly.

Adding options trading to your Qtrade Direct Investing account

Options are only available for Registered accounts (i.e. RRSP, TFSA & FHSA) and Margin accounts. If you have an existing cash account, you’ll need to open up a margin account with options.

There are four levels of options trading available for you:

  1. Level 1 – Long Calls and Puts
  2. Level 2 – Covered Writing
  3. Level 3 – Spreads
  4. Level 4 – Uncovered Writing

To add options trading to one or more of your accounts, login to your Qtrade account and follow these steps:

  1. Under Accounts click on Open New Account and select the accounts you want to add options to.
  2. Select the option level(s) for each selected account.

     o   Registered Accounts can only have Option Level 1 or 2

     o   Margin accounts can have up to level 4

  1. Contact us when you’ve completed the application and we will advise our new accounts team to simply add the option features to your existing accounts, and not to open new accounts.

Options trading offers a unique and flexible approach to investing that can enhance your portfolio's performance. By understanding the basics, leveraging the benefits, and managing the risks, you can confidently integrate options trading into your self-directed investing strategy.

Ready to take control of your financial future and explore the world of options trading? Start today and join the ranks of savvy investors who've harnessed the power of options to build wealth and create lasting legacies. Remember, every great investor was once a beginner—why not begin your options trading journey now?

Ready to be a Qtrader?
Open an account

Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Direct Investing, a division of Aviso Financial Inc. Qtrade and Qtrade Direct Investing are trade names or trademarks of Aviso Wealth Inc. and/or its affiliates.

Aviso Wealth Inc. ('Aviso') is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aviso Wealth LP, which in turn is owned 50% by Desjardins Financial Holding Inc. and 50% by a limited partnership owned by the five Provincial Credit Union Centrals and The CUMIS Group Limited. The following entities are subsidiaries of Aviso: Aviso Financial Inc. (including divisions Aviso Wealth, Qtrade Direct Investing, Qtrade Guided Portfolios, Aviso Correspondent Partners), and Northwest & Ethical Investments L.P.

The information contained in this article was obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, we cannot guarantee that it is accurate or complete. This material is for informational and educational purposes, and it is not intended to provide specific advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, tax or similar matters. Information, figures, and charts are summarized for illustrative purposes only and are subject to change without notice. All investments are subject to risk, including the possible loss of principal.