I'm grateful at an early age my father took the time to teach me about investing. At the time, I was not fully appreciative of his efforts. We would spend copious amounts of time going through the fine print in the stock listings of the Wall Street Journal. This was well before the advent of computers or the Internet. Everything at that time was either via the daily journal or during wrapups on PBS Evening Newshour.
Although I was not aware of it at the time, his lessons were gradually taking hold in the deeper recesses of my mind. Far enough where I wouldn't be paying much attention to them until much later in life.
A few years ago, at my wife's encouragement, I started learning about the technical side of investing with options. While alert to the dynamics of the traditional buy and hold strategies of investing, options trading was entirely new to me. In my adolescence, my father showed me the movement of the markets through patience and time, but options were dynamic, full of action. Much different from the early lessons with my father.
That first year I paper traded options on TDAmeritrade's ThinkorSwim platform and Tastytrade's Tastyworks. I spent time learning the vernacular of derivatives while studying the various strategies available for trading options. Much of the names were peculiar at first — iron condors, jade lizards, strangles, straddles, call ratio spreads — were not strategies that immediately left much for the imagination to think over. But as I grew confident with the mathematics and probabilities for trading, my comfort level with trading has increased.
I've learned to love everything about trading. Everything from the language used to explain what's happening in the markets. How the liquidity and volatility both influence the price of an underlying stock, future, or option. But most importantly, I love the intellectual rigour and resolve it requires to be successful at it. Trading options is very humbling. It requires persistence, flexibility, and an understanding that a trader might be right directionally, but a trade might still go against them.
While I've spent the past 15 years working in product design and technology, I am now as comfortable talking about probabilities, financially modelling, derivatives, and everything associated about options trading as I am discussing the placement of pixels and the design of a user interface.