Now that you've learned some of the Greek terms and some other basic options terms, you're feeling confident about dipping your toes into the waters of options trading. But it's time to start learning some techniques that can actually help you make money.
Like covered calls, iron condors are another options trading strategy that allows you to collect income from a position, but there's a key difference --iron condors work best with stability.
"An Iron Condor is a simultaneous short of an out of the money put spread and an out of the money call spread on a common underlying," said Adam Warner, author of Options Volatility Trading. In other words, you're betting that the stock remains relatively stable, with no violent moves to the upside or downside.
Using Apple ( AAPL - Get Report) as an example can help you understand how to profit from this position.
Let's say the stock is trading around $110. If you don't think the stock is going to move much in a short period of time, you may want to use an Iron Condor to help profit from its relatively stable share price. For this trade, you could show the December $105-$100 put spread and simultaneously short the $115-$120 call spread.
This would allow you to collect the premium (income) from both sides of the trade. The downside is capped at the difference in the strike prices on one side of the trade less the premium you take in.
Despite the seemingly easy nature of iron condors, they're not as simple as a covered call, said RealMoneyPro contributor Timothy Collins.
"They require significantly more understanding and experience," Collins said. "Sometimes [they're] compared to picking up nickels in front of a steamroller, [and] the strategy requires one of emotional control in addition to experience."
Still, Iron Condors are something you need to learn as an options trader and can help increase your chances generating income from your portfolio at a time of relatively low turmoil in the markets. "Risk/reward is very defined in Iron Condors and as such is a great strategy for any level of options expertise," Warner noted.