Back to Basics Friday: 12 Failsafe Ways To Place Your First Trade

A lot of people get nervous before they place their first options trade.  If you never traded an option, and have just been an observer, this is perfect guide on exactly how to place your first trade.

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Step 1: Login To Your Brokerage Account

This assumes that you already have a great broker and can either login online or download a desktop application. Either way, to place a trade you need to get access to the market.

Step 2: Find The “Trade” or “Order” Page

Some brokers will have tabs or pages where all the orders are done. Find this page – it’s probably very clearly labeled since they want you trading.

Step 3: Pull Up A Stock/ETF Quote

Type in a ticker symbol to pull up the live market quotes for the stock/ETF you would like to trade options on. In this example, I’ll just use AAPL for Apple Stock.

Step 4: Search For The Options Quote Table

Once the quotes start streaming in there will be both the “underlying” and “options” quotes. Choose the options.

Step 5: Choose Your Expiration Month

Now you have to select with the month you want to trade; the front month or near month. Front month options are the next month expire. In our case, these would be March.

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Step 6: Select Your Strike Price

Down the middle of the pricing table will be all the different strike prices for both Calls and Puts. Scroll down and choose the strike price that you want.

Step 7 Choose Either “Call” or “Put.”

Typically the Calls will be listed on the left and the Puts on the right in the header. Find the side of the trade you want to be on and hit the bid/ask quotes to pull up the actual order form for the option. Remember that BID = Sell and ASK = Buy.

Step 8: Enter The Quantity

Simple enough right, just enter the number of contracts you want to trade.

Step 9 Set You Desired Price

Again set the price to what you want to pay for the option.

Step 10: Choose The Order Type

The order type is a more advanced feature that I’ve covered in other video tutorials. For our purposes, we are going to use a LIMIT order that pegs the price we are willing to pay the price we enter.

Step 11: DAY or GTC?

This will determine how long the order will stay open if it’s not filled. Day orders clearly stay open just the day and automatically cancel at the market close. GTC orders are “Good Til Cancelled” meaning they will stay open and working until they are filled, or you cancel it yourself.

Step 12: Confirm & Send!

The most important step by far – take 1 minute and go over your order again making sure that everything is correct. Make sure you are entering the right price and quantity. Just a little time checking your orders will save you thousands of dollars each year – trust me.

That’s it – congratulations! You’ve now placed your first options trade. Now wasn’t that easier than you thought?

— The Option Specialist

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About the Author: The Option Specialist