Attention to detail often makes the difference between winning and losing. Look at some of the biggest championship games. They often come down to a bad managerial decision, or a player that has lost focus for a split second. I think many New York Mets fans will understand what I'm saying - oh, and fans of the Red Sox, too.
In this column, I have always said it is important for my readers to learn the details. In order to be on top of your game, you have to understand it first. If you don't know the rules, how can you possibly follow them? And when you don't follow them, how will you fix your mistakes?
I've talked a lot in recent columns about bits and pieces of my system, which I think many people are familiar with.
As a reminder, I make three picks a week in my subscription newsletter Nails on the Numbers, the only place to get my deep-in-the-money option calls picks. If you like money, you can
I don't want people to follow my picks blindly. If you get the basics of the system, you are a lot less likely to make rookie mistakes. I have gotten a handful of questions in the last month regarding easily avoidable mistakes.
Many of them are from people who bought the wrong option. I typically go out four to seven or eight months out with most of my picks. However, lately I have peppered in some longer calls in there, going out to 2010.
This has caused confusion with some readers who inadvertently placed the order for an option contract with the same strike price, same month and same price. But they got the year wrong. This could have been easily avoided by checking the call letters and double-checking to make sure the order price is in the same realm as the current bid. It comes down to the details.
Now, mistakes will happen -- even I have made them at times -- so it's important to know what to do when you screw up. It may not be as bad as you think or may not be bad at all, just different from what I picked.
One reader wrote in to say that he had overpaid by placing an order for the wrong option at the price I recommended. The reader was concerned that he had just six months instead of the 18 months that I had allowed with my pick. He wanted to know if the stock will bounce in time and whether he should cash out right away.
However, he wasn't in as bad shape as he feared because he followed the rules, by using a limit order. He got the market price and not the actual price he put in the order at because he used a limit order.
The other advantage to my system is that my readers can usually recover from a mistake with minimal damage. For example, if a reader mistakenly buys the wrong option for a given company, he can still then go back and buy the right one -- if and when the stock hits its next rebuy level. And, because it is the same stock, the rebuys level will be the same.
P.S. Last week I wrote about setting up a portfolio watch list to note some of the companies in my universe of stocks. Here's a few more:
- Pfizer (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report
- Apollo Group (APOL)
- Brush (BR) - Get Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. Report
- Terex (TEX) - Get Terex Corporation Report
- American Express (AXP) - Get American Express Company Report
- Walgreen (WAG)
- Applied Materials (AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report
- Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) - Get Sanofi Report
- Manulife (MFC) - Get Manulife Financial Corporation Report
- International Paper (IP) - Get International Paper Company Report
Always remember: Life is a journey, enjoy the ride.
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At the time of publication, Dykstra had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Nicknamed 'Nails' for his tough style of play, Lenny is a former Major League Baseball player for the 1986 World Champions, New York Mets and the 1993 National League Champions, Philadelphia Phillies. A three time All-Star as a ballplayer, Lenny now serves as president for several privately held businesses in Southern California. He is the founder of The Players Club; it has been his desire to give back to the sport that gave him early successes in life by teaching athletes how to invest and protect their incomes. He currently manages his own portfolio and writes an investment strategy column for TheStreet.com, and is featured regularly on CNBC and other cable news shows. Lenny was selected as OverTime Magazine's 2006-2007 "Entrepreneur of the Year."