What is options trading - Options trading for beginners

Written by
Bence András R.
Fact checked by
Adam N.
Apr 2024
What is options trading - Options trading for beginners
Trading options is complex, therefore knowing the basics is extremely important and can help you to better understand how this instrument works. To achieve this, the best is to choose a great trading platform to use.

Options explained

Check out our article entitled What is options trading? for a quick overview of the most important definitions for an options trader.

Let's sum up the most important details about options:

  • Options belong to the group of derivatives, meaning that the derivative's price is dependent on an underlying product such as stocks, indexes, commodities and others
  • A financial option is a contractual agreement between two parties, giving the right to the buyer to buy (call option) or sell (put option) an underlying asset at a pre-determined price before the option expires


Beginner strategies and where to go next

How should a beginner start to trade options? How to evaluate strike prices? When to trade? These questions are among the most important ones when it comes to options trading. 

Dr. Alan Ellman from The Blue Collar Investor gives the following advice. 

About how a beginner should start to trade options:

"The best first strategy is covered call writing. Retail investors must master the 3 required skills before risking even 1 penny of their hard-earned money.

  • Stock selection
  • Option selection
  • Position management"

About evaluating strike prices:

"[...] Strike selection is based on personal risk-tolerance, overall market assessment and strategy return goals (how much are you seeking to earn?). A more aggressive approach to selling calls (covered call writing) is to use strikes higher than the current market value of the stock. This allows us to generate 2 income streams per-trade, one from option premium and the other from share appreciation from current market value to the higher strike price. A more defensive approach to covered call writing is to sell call options with a lower strike price than the current market value. The higher premium will provide additional protection to the downside but not allow for share appreciation."

And about when and how to trade:

"Options should be traded during normal market hours with limit orders (specific price or better). I like to enter my trades between 11 AM ET and 3 PM ET. This will avoid early morning and late afternoon volatility resulting from institutional computerized trading. Position management trades can be executed whenever those opportunities present."

-Dr. Alan Ellman, The Blue Collar Investor

Best options brokers

At BrokerChooser, we are in the business of helping investors find the best brokers and trading platforms for their needs. True to our mission, we went ahead and did the research to identify the best options trading platform in 2021.

What makes a trading platform good for options? First of all, it needs to offer fair fees for options trading and withdrawal. A high-quality desktop trading platform and advanced research tools are also essential. And finally, a wide selection of options products is an important factor.

We analyzed almost a dozen brokers and the result was a list of the Best options trading platforms. Check it our for further explanations on options and fees for options.

Where to look for more?

Got questions?
Engage with our growing community of traders and investors like you to find your answers.
Join now

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology.

author image
Bence András Rózsa
Author of this article
Bence is a former broker analyst for BrokerChooser. Having an MSc in international economy and finance, he focused on equities, cryptos and newcomer financial services. He also gained years of experience within the brokerage industry, specializing in stock and CFD/forex brokers, crypto providers and robo-advisors.
I'd like to trade with...