I fell victim to that emotion when I was up 20%. I got greedy. That can turn a winner into a loser in the blink of an eye. I kick myself a little less for not taking profit, however, because I stayed true to my options strategy, even though I knew it might result in not only having my shares called away, but at less than market price.
I have written Pandora covered calls a total of six times in recent months. That covered call writing generated about $832 worth of income. For the record, I bought calls back for a gain three times, had them expire worthless twice and was assigned on the transaction this past weekend.
Factor that $832 into the proceeds from my sale of Pandora shares at $9.00 and, not including transaction costs, I made money on the position. Thanks to aggressive covered call writing, my would-be double-digit loss is actually a 1.9% gain. Throw commissions in the mix and I'm slightly above breakeven.
It doesn't always work out quite so textbook, but with some discipline that includes sticking to a covered call options strategy, you set yourself up for less pain -- or not much pain at all -- when a speculative play hits speed bumps.
At the time of publication, the author was long P and YHOO
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.