Get ahead of the crowd with Premium
Register Forgot password

How to use Options as a Hedge Against your Trading Strategy

Moneymagpie Team 24th Apr 2023 No Comments

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Have you ever considered that certain habits you adopt – even without your awareness – could be impeding your progress?

Perhaps it’s poor eating habits, extending your sleep pattern by an hour or two, or procrastinating with work. In the short term, these habits may not seem to disrupt your daily routine and may even provide comfort due to their familiarity. However, in the long term, they can lead to negative consequences such as decreased productivity, deteriorating health, and missed opportunities.

When it comes to trading in the financial markets you should know risk is always a factor. No matter how experienced you think you are, there is always the possibility that your trades may not go as planned. Resulting in potential losses.

This is where hedging comes in – a means to protect yourself from unforeseen market movements and minimize potential losses. By using put options, you can hedge against market risk and limit your potential losses, much like adopting healthy habits can help protect you from negative consequences over the long term.

Sound interesting? Let’s learn more.

What Exactly is ‘Hedging’?

Have you ever heard of hedging? You see in finance, hedging refers to a strategy that’s used to minimize risk. It’s a way to protect yourself against unforeseen events that could negatively impact your portfolio.

There are various approaches to achieve this objective, for instance, by spreading your investments across different asset classes, applying stop-loss orders, or utilizing options to safeguard your positions. Suppose you aim to preserve your physical health in the long run, but you have concerns regarding the possibility of injury or illness that may impede your ability to sustain physical activity.

To protect yourself from this risk, you could incorporate strength training, stretching, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. You are basically implementing hedging strategies to your health to prolong and improve your longevity.

As traders the ultimate aim of hedging is not to get rid of risk altogether, but rather to mitigate it in a manner that minimizes our potential losses and still enables one to reap profits from trades. It’s crucial to recognize that hedging does come with its own associated costs and risks.

One of the widely adopted methods for hedging against market risk is by employing options, with put options being a popular choice to safeguard one’s portfolio against sudden market downturns. In this regard, it’s imperative to delve deeper into the mechanics of put options and their strategic applications within trading.

How Put Options Can Minimize Risk

Put options are a form of financial derivative that allow the holder to sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price, referred to as the “strike price,” during a specified time frame, known as the “expiration date.” The primary function of put options is so you could use it as a hedge against declines in value of an underlying asset, like a stock or index.

This is mostly done so that we as investors can minimize our risk exposure and safeguard our portfolios against potential losses. Put options also provide a flexible approach to managing risk, allowing us as investors to take advantage of market fluctuations while limiting the downside risk.

For instance, if you own shares in a company and are concerned that the stock price might decline, you can purchase a put option on that stock. By doing this, you can secure the right to sell the shares at the specified strike price within the designated expiration period. If the stock price indeed drops, the put option’s value will increase, counterbalancing some or all of the losses from your stock position.

Note that buying put options incurs a cost called the “premium,” which is the fee paid for the right to sell the underlying asset at the strike price. If the asset’s value doesn’t decrease, the option will expire worthless, and the premium paid will be lost.

While put options can be used as a standalone hedge, they are often used in more sophisticated options trading strategies, such as spreads or collars. These strategies involve buying and selling multiple options with different strike prices and expiration dates, in order to create a more tailored risk management plan for your portfolio.We recommend taking some time to properly research what effective strategies will serve you and your portfolio. 

Are There Risks with Put Options?

While put options can be a useful strategy to mitigate market risk, it is important to consider their potential drawbacks. One significant concern is the possibility that the underlying asset may not decrease in value as expected, resulting in the put option expiring without value and the premium paid being lost.

For example, to maintain a healthy weight, you may purchase a gym membership to reduce the risk of weight gain. However, if you fail to exercise regularly and consume unhealthy foods, your gym membership will not effectively mitigate your risk of gaining weight. In this scenario, your “put option” (i.e., the gym membership) would expire worthless, and the money you invested in it would essentially be wasted.

If you’re thinking about using put options to safeguard yourself against market downturns, remember that the premium you pay for the option depends partly on how much the underlying asset’s value fluctuates. Essentially, if the asset is highly volatile, you can expect to pay a higher premium for the put option.

Let’s say you’re considering using put options to guard against losses. You should note that the higher premium could raise your expenses and lower your potential profits. That’s why it’s very important to take the time to evaluate the underlying asset’s volatility. Then also compare the premium against possible gains before committing to a put option. There is no need to worry as you have time to properly learn so don’t rush into any decisions and make sure you have a clear understanding of your options to make the best choice for your situation.

It’s important to remember that market volatility can change quickly and unexpectedly. We’ve all been there from time to time. Getting surprised by a quick swift change in market movement possibly due to some unforeseen news or events. So even if you have purchased a put option as a hedge against losses, it’s possible that the market may rebound and the option may expire without any benefit. 

Therefore, it’s essential to monitor market trends closely and have a well-rounded investment strategy that takes into account both potential gains and losses. Consulting with a financial advisor can also be helpful in determining the best options for your specific investment goals and risk tolerance.

Why It’s Better to Go Long-term with Put Options

One way we all could minimize the risks associated with put options is to go long-term. Long-term put options, also known as “LEAPS” (Long-Term Equity Anticipation Securities), have expiration dates that are typically one year or more in the future.

There are a few advantages for you to using long-term put options as a hedging strategy. One being because the expiration date is further in the future, time decay is less of a factor. This means that the value of your put option is less likely to erode over time, even if the underlying asset does not decline in value immediately. 

If you’re worried about a long-term decline in the value of an asset, long-term put options may be beneficial for you. They provide us traders with more time for the underlying asset to decrease in value compared to short-term put options that are more suitable for short-term dips.

Certainly, there are some conceivable drawbacks to employing long-term put options. One being the long-term put option’s premium is typically more costly than that of a short-term option, which can amplify your total expenses. Additionally, due to the option’s longer expiration period, you may be unable to capitalize on short-term shifts in the underlying asset’s worth.

At the end of the day the decision of whether to use long-term or short-term put options as a hedging strategy will depend on you and your specific investment goals and risk tolerance. 


Options trading offers a powerful risk management tool to investors seeking to protect their portfolio from market uncertainties. Put options, in particular, provide an effective hedge against downturns, offering investors the right, but not the obligation, to sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price within a specified time frame.

However, as with any investment strategy, it’s important to understand the potential risks and benefits before venturing into options trading. Seeking out educational resources, consulting with a financial advisor, and carefully weighing the potential costs and downsides can help you make informed decisions and use options as a smart and effective hedge in your investment strategy.

In the end just choose the healthy option. Just as investing in a gym membership or committing to a balanced diet. This would help us “hedge” against the risk of unhealthy habits. Options trading offers a way to hedge against potential losses in the market. By taking a proactive approach to managing our financial health, we can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing our investments are protected. With careful planning and attention to detail, options trading can help us achieve our financial goals and secure our financial future. 

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence. 

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

Send this to a friend