Here it is. The most important piece of advice I have for anyone thinking about options trading. Don't let the red tape hold you back.
A lot of experienced and sophisticated investors shy away from anything that involves paperwork.
They think they're not qualified or ready, or simply that it's not worth the trouble.
Don't be one of them.Yes, you will have to fill out an options application with your broker, but it's easy.
In fact, you had to file a similar form just to open your trading account in the first place. Now, if you want to upgrade your account to be "options approved," it's just another small step away. Admittedly, the application may look intimidating at first glance. It is full of disclosures, legal qualifications and the kind of small print that is worrisome.
Yet the purpose of the application is simple enough.
Your broker just wants you to state that you know enough about options to make your own trading decisions.
And not to worry... It's not a quiz.
The disclosures are designed to gauge your level of experience. But their real goal is to let the brokerage firm off the hook in case things go terribly wrong. Of course, that's not going to happen to you.
But if a broker lets anyone trade without at least appearing to check them out first, they could be liable for your losses. And no one wants that.
Because options are by definition speculative, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) all have rules and policies about "suitability."
That's the real reason you have to go through this (very small) hoop.
So you'll fill out the application. They file it away into the "just in case" drawer and you're ready to trade.
What's on the Options Trading Application?
The options application will ask some questions you would expect: Name, address, employment and employer name, annual income and all sources of income. They also want to know your net worth and liquid net worth, marital status and number of dependents.
Then there are a few questions you might not expect.
Like about your "affiliations."
Are you a member of a stock exchange, or do you hold 10% or more in stock of any publicly traded companies? Most likely not.
You will also be asked to identify both your stock trading and options trading experience: Knowledge level, number of years actively trading, average number of trades per year, and the average dollar amount of trades.
So the application has a few surprises, but nothing difficult to complete.