(Any revisions/new reviews/updates are as of the date above)
I thought I would write an ongoing review as I try(or evaluate) some of the popular options training courses and programs that are available. I am only commenting on ones that I have purchased or at least spent time evaluating.
There are many, many other Options Trading programs on the market but when doing some research these are the ones I saw mentioned in multiple places.
It is important to always be learning when trying to be successful in the stock market, especially with options.
Many new investors will try to read some books trying to learn options and bounce around to different trading forums trying different options strategies and tactics, but that can be a costly way of educating yourself. If you find a solid, well-laid training course that provides ongoing training and support, then you should be able to get much more returns over your investing lifetime than the initial cost of a training product.
Also, keep in mind that when starting out there is lots of great free information in the education section of many of the popular options brokerages such as how-to articles and quality webinars but it can be hard to put it all together into a defined trading plan.
The best Options Training programs provide a comprehensive and progressive training from beginner to advanced, continued support, and maybe a community of fellow traders.
This post isn’t to focus on reviewing any options trading newsletters or stock picking services because it is better to learn a system and be able to implement it on your own rather than following some newsletter that just spits out trading picks. Your goal with investing in a training program is to teach and provide you with the knowledge to be able to invest/trade on your own and not be dependent on some continual service.
Before reviewing the options trading programs below, I should also mention that there are also many seminars and destination events that provide in-depth options training but they usually are quite expensive and generally do not provide you with ongoing support/updates that you might get with online training programs.
Below are some of the popular Options Training Courses (listed in no specific order) :
Dan Sheridan is widely known in the options world as he does the training for CBOE with webinars and seminars throughout the country. He was a professional options trader for about 20years and knows just about anything you can imagine about options trading. There are lots of free webinars on the internet that Dan has done that you can watch and get a good understanding of his trading style and teaching philosophy. He teaches a lot about proper trade sizing, managing an options portfolio, how to adjust various options trading strategies, and much more. He is more oriented around option income strategies instead of directional trading bets.
His training program is extensive and costs $6500 for access to his trainings(hundreds of hours) and coaching. If you are serious about how to trade options like a professional does then this is a solid choice. I don’t think I have ever seen a bad review about his company and training.
Options MD is a options training course created by Doc Severson of Trading Concepts INC. It is oriented around providing a step by step training for trading options for a living. It is more about options income trading. I will be honest and let you know I haven’t gone through this course except some of the initial training as I have been focused on learning Futures.
I went through one of their other products and was impressed by the product(taught by Todd Mitchell) about Futures called E-mini Success Formula – See my review), that I will probably get Options MD when it opens up again. I just how they really distill down their programs for easy learning so you aren’t overwhelmed.
Again, their products seem very well through out with well organized step-by-step training, ongoing support, and a satisfaction guarantees. Options MD isn’t always open, so you can click on the link here for more information or to get on a waiting list if it isn’t currently for sale. They seem to offer some free introductory videos when they launch the product so you can at least have time to evaluate if the program is right for you and learn from good information for fee.
Simpler Options is run by well-known trader John Carter. I came across him a while back when he gave some training for using his TradeTheMarkets indicators that are part of the ThinkOrSwim charting platform and he was trading a lot of futures and options with them successfully. (They are very useful indicators to use if you have ThinkOrSwim as your broker). He has some great training on SimplerOptions and if you are into weekly options then I highly recommend taking a look at his monthly service. He shows his real trades in his real account and trades A LOT OF OPTIONS (200-300 contract per trade). There is a nightly free video he sends out on email that you at least see some examples of his real trades in his real accounts. He seems to be transitioning to less intraday trading and he uses those free indicators I mentioned above that are available for free on ThinkOrSwim. I guess what I like about his style is it is straight forward and he teaches you how to look for the trades on your own rather than be dependent on some service or indicator that costs money.
Overall, I’ve bought a prior options course from John Carter and was satisfied with it and he is a great teacher and does a good job explaining how to evaluate trades. He has some unique trading setups that are simple and that I have never seen anywhere else. I would take a look at his monthly membership service if interested and I have yet to see another service showing real accounts and real trades like he does. Visit the Simpler Options website (2/13/2014 There is a free webinar (click here) to discuss his most successful trading methods for 2014 with options and explain an upcoming course for teaching this method)
2/14/2014 I think they closed or sold to someone else as the original guys aren’t there anymore on their website. It doesn’t seem the same quality level as it used to be
OLD REVIEW: Options University is run by professional traders that have worked as floor traders and appear on CNBC. They offer a wide range of training products and services and it high quality.
You can look thru their products and they offer some free training when you sign up for free. I’m on their email list and sometimes they open up their services for free for a couple days and provide some excellent free real-time trading examples. Their product offerings seem to change sometimes and I haven’t looked at them recently.
I came across Options Animal in 2010 after watching a webinar with the CEO Greg Jensen in the education section of a popular Options brokerage. He did a good job on the webinar discussing a specific type of options strategy and I decided to look at their website. The only thing I found about it online independently was some reference to a past options training company called “Spread Trade Systems” that Options Animal founder had a partnership in.
From what I read that past partnership didn’t end well and was the reason for the start with Options Animal. I didn’t find much for independent reviews of Options Animals training and I listened to some of their webinars they provide to explain their training methods. The only negative I have for it is the sales funnel they put you through requiring you to talk with a sales consultant about the products offered.
Obviously they are a business and trying to make money but the whole sales interview process a turn off to me. They sent me the training materials that explains the options trading strategies they teach and I guess they have a unique spin on how to choose their picks ? You can review their blog posts to see they are focused on risk and teach about adjusting positions which is key to options income trading (They like using an active options collar strategy)
I didn’t see much for reviews when I looked in Fall 2010 at their products but the course ranges from $1500-10,000 (The main training was $8,000 when I looked at it in 2010 without some of the coaching) which is similar to other products in the industry.
They seem to be ok but I just look further into after my personal experience . (In evaluating this I spoke to Options Animal in fall 2010 so maybe their sales process has changed since then or I just had a unique experience.)
I was referred to Jeffrey Ziegler in 2010 and he does a good job of really laying out the basics for credit spread trading. He is a retail trader and not a former wallstreet trader, so he lays things out well for someone totally new to spread trading and how to approach it. His initial Spread Trading product was from 2007-08 and revolved around credit spreads with monthly options.
His Credit Spread Course mentioned above was revised in late 2012 and is now called ” Credit Spread Trading Made Simple (CSTMS 3.0″ and is updated with some great information and a systemized plan to trading credit spreads(especially weekly options).
If you apply this information in this course you should do well with credit spreads since you can follow a system. If you are brand new to options and trading this you will find the information well laid out and no fluff. If you are experienced with options, then the technical setup for trading weeklies is useful.
You get access to the entire training/content at sign-up and can review his past market analysis videos for how he evaluates the market. The training is all about bear call credit spreads and bull put credit spreads. He also goes into some chart reading patterns and basic setup.
For someone totally new to options it is good and will keep you focused only on credit spreads which an options can investor can make a full-time living with. I think he does a good job providing steps to follow and a system to stick to with credit spreads. If you decide to branch out to other options trading strategies then you can move onto other higher-end comprehensive options trading courses on the market after going through his course.
He also just started offering a directional trading program for people that are more serious about Options trading. It is called Maximum Control Trading Academy and costs $2,000 for lifetime. It seems decent and I like his approach/method to the market so the course is probably worth it for someone that wants to be more involved in directional trading.
Overall, I really like how Jeff keeps trading simple, follows a specific system that is easy to follow, and stick to a plan. I really like Credit Spread Trading Make Simple.
Weekly Options Windfall
I kind of stumbled onto this course when I was first getting into learning more about weekly options. Preston James is the creator of Weekly Options Windfall and he is a successful independent options trader. He has numerous past options training courses and I couldn’t really find any review on Weekly Options Windfall so I bought it for the $800 offer price.
I was pretty disappointed by the quality of information and some of the advice about expiration day pinning trades were easy way to lose a lot of money. I guess my problem is that the course is marketed towards beginners and first time options traders with unrealistic expectations. Also, the support was severely lacking. There wasn’t a lot of content so maybe the content has improved since I had bought it(hopefully). (I briefly mentioned this course in a past post that I wrote about weekly options)
I have written about Trading Pro System on this site in the past(in 2010) as the course really helped explain some options trading concepts that I didn’t understand when getting into options. For the $200 price I found it to be quite excellent and detailed.
It’s a few years old and covers a lot of content in one course but it helped me a lot when starting out. The options trading style taught in this course is more along the lines of what Dan Sheridan teaches(see above in this this post) with how to manage your positions by using the options Greeks. If can be a little more advanced for new options investors trying to trade with the greeks, but the I still like the amount of information taught in this video course and the intricacies of options movement.
ETF Tipping Point
I am just mentioning this because I saw started mentioned in a few places recently. I didn’t try this product but since I had a hard a time finding any review on it, I thought I would share what I found. They offer a market trading system based on short term signals for trading specific ETF’s that shows pretty impressive results.
From what I found it seems they base their signals on a proprietary version of on-balance volume that measures the intraday accumulation/distribution of the various stocks/components of the ETF’s they follow.
It is like a modified version of the OBV(On-Balance Volume) indicator that has been around for decades. There is a free indicator on some platforms(ThinkOrSwim has it) called Trade Volume Index that measures accumulation/distribution by intraday tick which is more accurate than On Balance Volume for detailed accumulation/distribution trends but I haven’t played with it enough.
I didn’t buy the product or spend much more time on it, just sharing what I found. If anyone has tried it or used Trade Volume Index indicator, I would like to hear any feedback below.
In conclusion I only touched on a handful of the popular options training courses. There are definitely many more options trading courses and programs continually coming to market, so I can only share what I have looked at or tried. You can either try to figure out options on your own or purchase some training. There are many types of options training so it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out who to listen to.
I am sure there are some good teachers or courses that I have missed so please leave a comment of any that you recommend as I would love to hear some feedback.
Full Disclosure: I receive potential referral commission on some of the products mentioned here if you buy thru my link, but this compensation does not affect my review/opinion. The above opinions are my honest experiences and observations of these programs and I never get paid to write reviews.
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