One lesson that this pandemic taught us is that we should always have money set aside for future use. However, parking your money in a regular savings account is never a good idea because of inflation. Warren Buffet, one of the world’s most successful investors of our time has this to say about investing in cash:
The one thing I will tell you is the worst investment you can have is cash. Everybody is talking about cash being king and all that sort of thing. Cash is going to become worth less over time… Cash is a bad investment over time.”– Warren Buffet
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Thus, it is always better to invest your money. But, there are so many investment vehicles available out there. How to know which one is best for you? If you want to stay liquid and are willing to take a little risk to get higher returns; then, you can try investing in stocks or stock options.
A stock means a share in a company. As part-owner of a company, you get a claim on the company’s assets and earnings. You cannot make decisions on the management of the company though. As a common shareholder, you do however have the right to vote on major issues such as changes in charter or board of directors during shareholder’s meetings.
How to Profit in Stocks?
There are two possible ways to earn money from stock ownership. First, you can get a share of the company’s earnings through dividends. Second, if you need the money in the future, you can always sell your stocks and earn from price appreciation. Just like in real estate, art works, jewelries and other assets; there is always a possibility of an increase in the value of your stocks over a period of time.
Why Buy Stocks?
Owning a business entails a lot of work especially if you build your business from scratch. You need to oversee not just the day-to-day operations but also other aspects like marketing, human resource and financial management. You may be your own boss but you have a lot of responsibilities. You need to make tough decisions and sometimes work long hours.
Investing in stocks is just like owning a business. The only difference is that you don’t need to go to work at all. You can just sit back, relax, wait for your pay check and let the likes of Bill Gates, Jack Ma, Warren Buffet or Jeff Bezos take care of your money. These business tycoons will be the ones to manage the day-to-day operations of the business while you just wait for your income. Now, how cool is that?!
Furthermore, stock investing is ideal for beginners. There is a way to become a passive investor. The easiest way to invest is through Cost-Averaging. It simply means buying stocks for a set amount each month over a long period of time. There is no need to carefully watch the market.
Stock options are different from stocks. With options, you don’t actually become shareholders of a company. Instead, what you have are contracts. Options are contracts that give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy and sell stocks at a predetermined date and price.
How to Profit from Options?
There are two kinds of options: the call and the put. The call option is a contract with the right to buy while the put option is a contract with the right to sell shares at a predetermined date and price. In short, a call option is a good investment if there is an expected increase in future stock prices. A put option on the other hand, is a good investment if there is an expected decrease in future stock prices. To put it simply, stock options empower the holder to potentially profit from a trade regardless of market direction.
Why Buy Stock Options?
For one, compared to stocks, options are more affordable. You can get options for just a fraction of the price of a stock. For example, as of this writing, an Apple Inc. share cost US$119.49 while a stock option price cost only US$1 per contract and even cheaper.
Second, with options there is a way to earn money even if the market goes down. Options allow investors to use a hedging strategy to lower risk. This means that an investor can buy a call option, a put option or both at the same time if the investor is not sure whether the price of stocks will go up or down in the future. This is different from stocks wherein price appreciation only happens when the market goes up.
And lastly, since options are contracts, there are expiration dates. Contracts can either be weekly, monthly or even longer. This is good for short-term investors. It means there is no need to wait for a couple of months or even years to earn. Higher percentage returns are possible in just a few days.
However, unlike stock investing, stock options investors need proper training first. To earn a higher percentage of returns is not without risks. Thus, it is important that stock options traders know what they are doing.
Stock or Stock Options: Which is Better for You?
Both stock and stock options are good investment vehicles. To know which one is better for you, it all depends on what kind of investor you are. If you are looking for something long-term then go for stocks. If you are a short-term investor, then stock options trading is for you. If you are a passive investor, meaning you don’t want to be bothered with the management of your investment, then you are better off with stocks. However, if you want to be in control of your investments, then go with stock options.
In short, whichever is better for you is totally up to you. It is a personal choice. It all depends on what you want and what will best suit your financial goals, personal interests and lifestyle.
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