**In the previous section, we found out that some options have an “immediate**

value” or “immediate benefit” at the time they are purchased while others do

not. It’s time now to introduce some more terminology that will help you understand

why.

We discovered that an option’s price must reflect any immediate value in

holding it. For instance, we found that the July $35 call could give a trader an

immediate benefit of $2.11 since the stock is trading for $37.11. If the stock is

trading for $37.11 and you have a call that gives you the right to buy the stock for

$35, you’re better off with the call by $37.11 - $35 = $2.11. That $2.11 worth of

immediate benefit must be reflected in the price, and we see that it is since that

call is priced higher at $2.70. In option lingo, we’d say that the $35 call has $2.11

worth of intrinsic value. It will really help if you learn to substitute the words

“immediate benefit” or “immediate value” for intrinsic value. If the stock is trading

for $37.11, we know the $35 call must be worth at least $2.11 in the open market.

In other words, options must be worth at least their intrinsic value.

If there is any value in the option over and above this amount, it is called time

value or time premium. (Some texts will also refer to this as extrinsic value.) The

time value is due to the fact that there is still time remaining on the option. Since

the July $35 call was trading for $2.70 and the intrinsic value is $2.11 then the

time value must be $2.70 - $2.11 = 59 cents.

value” or “immediate benefit” at the time they are purchased while others do

not. It’s time now to introduce some more terminology that will help you understand

why.

We discovered that an option’s price must reflect any immediate value in

holding it. For instance, we found that the July $35 call could give a trader an

immediate benefit of $2.11 since the stock is trading for $37.11. If the stock is

trading for $37.11 and you have a call that gives you the right to buy the stock for

$35, you’re better off with the call by $37.11 - $35 = $2.11. That $2.11 worth of

immediate benefit must be reflected in the price, and we see that it is since that

call is priced higher at $2.70. In option lingo, we’d say that the $35 call has $2.11

worth of intrinsic value. It will really help if you learn to substitute the words

“immediate benefit” or “immediate value” for intrinsic value. If the stock is trading

for $37.11, we know the $35 call must be worth at least $2.11 in the open market.

In other words, options must be worth at least their intrinsic value.

If there is any value in the option over and above this amount, it is called time

value or time premium. (Some texts will also refer to this as extrinsic value.) The

time value is due to the fact that there is still time remaining on the option. Since

the July $35 call was trading for $2.70 and the intrinsic value is $2.11 then the

time value must be $2.70 - $2.11 = 59 cents.

**Any option’s price can be broken down into the two components of intrinsic**

values and time values. The following formula will help:

Formula 1-2:

Total Value (Premium) = Intrinsic Value + Time Value

Using the July $35 call example, we know that the intrinsic value is $2.11

and the time value is 59 cents, so the total call value must be $2.11 intrinsic value

+ $0.59 time value = $2.70 total value. Figure 1-3 may help you to visualize the

breakdown of time and intrinsic value:

Figure 1-3: Breakdown of Time and Intrinsic Values

values and time values. The following formula will help:

Formula 1-2:

Total Value (Premium) = Intrinsic Value + Time Value

Using the July $35 call example, we know that the intrinsic value is $2.11

and the time value is 59 cents, so the total call value must be $2.11 intrinsic value

+ $0.59 time value = $2.70 total value. Figure 1-3 may help you to visualize the

breakdown of time and intrinsic value:

Figure 1-3: Breakdown of Time and Intrinsic Values

**If there is no intrinsic value then the option’s price is comprised totally of time**

value. For example, in Table 1-1, the July $37.50 is trading for $1.05. However,

the stock is only $37.11. If you buy the $37.50 call, you’re buying a coupon that

gives you the right to buy the stock for a higher price than it is currently trading.

On the surface, it may seem that the $37.50 call has no value. But the real way to

say it is that it has no intrinsic value; the $37.50 call has no immediate value. There

may be value in the future, but there’s no immediate value at this time. The $1.05

premium on this call is made up of pure time premium. The only reason value

exists on this call is because time remains.

Using Formula 1-2 for the July $37.50 call we have $0 intrinsic value and

$1.05 time value, so the total value is $0 intrinsic value + $1.05 time value = $1.05

total value.

If you like mathematical formulas, you can find the intrinsic value of a call

by taking the stock price minus the strike price (exercise price). If that number is

positive, there is intrinsic value on the call option.

value. For example, in Table 1-1, the July $37.50 is trading for $1.05. However,

the stock is only $37.11. If you buy the $37.50 call, you’re buying a coupon that

gives you the right to buy the stock for a higher price than it is currently trading.

On the surface, it may seem that the $37.50 call has no value. But the real way to

say it is that it has no intrinsic value; the $37.50 call has no immediate value. There

may be value in the future, but there’s no immediate value at this time. The $1.05

premium on this call is made up of pure time premium. The only reason value

exists on this call is because time remains.

Using Formula 1-2 for the July $37.50 call we have $0 intrinsic value and

$1.05 time value, so the total value is $0 intrinsic value + $1.05 time value = $1.05

total value.

If you like mathematical formulas, you can find the intrinsic value of a call

by taking the stock price minus the strike price (exercise price). If that number is

positive, there is intrinsic value on the call option.

**Intrinsic Value Formula for Calls:**

Stock price - Exercise price = Intrinsic Value (assuming you get a positive number).

Stock price - Exercise price = Intrinsic Value (assuming you get a positive number).

**For example, the $35 call must have intrinsic value since $37.11 - $35 = $2.11.**

The $37.50 call, on the other hand, has $37.11 - $37.50 = -39 cents. Since this

number is negative, there is no intrinsic value on this call.

For puts, we use the same reasoning but in the opposite direction. In Table

1-1, the July $40 puts are trading for $3.20. There is obviously an immediate

benefit in holding the $40 put since we could sell our stock for $40 rather than

the market price of $37.11. The amount of that benefit is $40 - $37.11 = $2.89.

The intrinsic value is therefore $2.89. Because the put is trading for $3.20, the

remaining value must be time value. The time value is $3.20 - $2.89 = 31 cents.

Once again, using Formula 1-2 we see that the $2.89 intrinsic value + $0.31 time

value = $3.20 total value.

If you wish to use mathematical formulas to find intrinsic value for puts, we

can just reverse the call formula (remember, puts are like calls but they work in the

opposite direction). For put options, if the exercise price minus the stock price is

positive then there is intrinsic value. For example, the July $40 put has intrinsic

value since $40 exercise price - $37.11 stock price = $2.89 intrinsic value. We

know this is the intrinsic value since the result is a positive number. The July $35

put, on the other hand, has no intrinsic value since $35 exercise price - $37.11

stock price = -$2.11 (negative number).

The $37.50 call, on the other hand, has $37.11 - $37.50 = -39 cents. Since this

number is negative, there is no intrinsic value on this call.

For puts, we use the same reasoning but in the opposite direction. In Table

1-1, the July $40 puts are trading for $3.20. There is obviously an immediate

benefit in holding the $40 put since we could sell our stock for $40 rather than

the market price of $37.11. The amount of that benefit is $40 - $37.11 = $2.89.

The intrinsic value is therefore $2.89. Because the put is trading for $3.20, the

remaining value must be time value. The time value is $3.20 - $2.89 = 31 cents.

Once again, using Formula 1-2 we see that the $2.89 intrinsic value + $0.31 time

value = $3.20 total value.

If you wish to use mathematical formulas to find intrinsic value for puts, we

can just reverse the call formula (remember, puts are like calls but they work in the

opposite direction). For put options, if the exercise price minus the stock price is

positive then there is intrinsic value. For example, the July $40 put has intrinsic

value since $40 exercise price - $37.11 stock price = $2.89 intrinsic value. We

know this is the intrinsic value since the result is a positive number. The July $35

put, on the other hand, has no intrinsic value since $35 exercise price - $37.11

stock price = -$2.11 (negative number).

**Intrinsic Value Formula for Puts:**

Exercise price – Stock Price = Intrinsic Value (assuming you get a positive number).

Exercise price – Stock Price = Intrinsic Value (assuming you get a positive number).

**We can rearrange Formula 1-2 to come up with another useful formula for**

finding time value: Premium – Intrinsic Value = Time Value. We can abbreviate

this formula as P – I = T, which looks like the word “pits.” Just remember that

option formulas are the “pits” and you should have no trouble finding time values.

What is the time value for the July $35 call? The premium is $2.70 and the intrinsic

value is $2.11 so the time value is $2.70 - $2.11 = 59 cents.

Time Value for Calls and Puts:

Premium - Intrinsic Value = Time Value.

Intrinsic value is the key value to solve. If you can find intrinsic value, you

can find time value. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of practicing by

using the words “immediate benefit” or “immediate advantage” to determine if an

option has intrinsic value. Formulas are nice if you are programming a computer

but they do not allow you to understand why the formula works. Understanding

the concepts is crucial to successful options trading. Use the formulas to check

your answers.

Let’s revisit the thought process again for finding intrinsic value. For example,

if someone asks you if the July $35 call in Table 1-1 has intrinsic value, you should

ask yourself if there is an “immediate advantage” in being able to buy stock with

the call for $35 when the stock is trading for $37.11. The answer is obviously yes.

That means the $35 call has intrinsic value. How much intrinsic value? We just

need to figure out the size of that advantage. If the stock is $37.11 and you can buy

it for $35, there is $37.11 - $35 = $2.11 worth of advantage in the $35 call. The

intrinsic value must be $2.11. Any remaining value in the option’s price is due to

finding time value: Premium – Intrinsic Value = Time Value. We can abbreviate

this formula as P – I = T, which looks like the word “pits.” Just remember that

option formulas are the “pits” and you should have no trouble finding time values.

What is the time value for the July $35 call? The premium is $2.70 and the intrinsic

value is $2.11 so the time value is $2.70 - $2.11 = 59 cents.

Time Value for Calls and Puts:

Premium - Intrinsic Value = Time Value.

Intrinsic value is the key value to solve. If you can find intrinsic value, you

can find time value. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of practicing by

using the words “immediate benefit” or “immediate advantage” to determine if an

option has intrinsic value. Formulas are nice if you are programming a computer

but they do not allow you to understand why the formula works. Understanding

the concepts is crucial to successful options trading. Use the formulas to check

your answers.

Let’s revisit the thought process again for finding intrinsic value. For example,

if someone asks you if the July $35 call in Table 1-1 has intrinsic value, you should

ask yourself if there is an “immediate advantage” in being able to buy stock with

the call for $35 when the stock is trading for $37.11. The answer is obviously yes.

That means the $35 call has intrinsic value. How much intrinsic value? We just

need to figure out the size of that advantage. If the stock is $37.11 and you can buy

it for $35, there is $37.11 - $35 = $2.11 worth of advantage in the $35 call. The

intrinsic value must be $2.11. Any remaining value in the option’s price is due to

**time value. Because the option is trading for $2.70, there must be $2.70 - $2.11 =**

59 cents worth of time value.

What about the $40 put? Again, we know there is an “immediate advantage” in

being able to sell your stock for $40 rather than the current price of $37.11, so this

put has intrinsic value. How much intrinsic value? Again, we just need to find out

59 cents worth of time value.

What about the $40 put? Again, we know there is an “immediate advantage” in

being able to sell your stock for $40 rather than the current price of $37.11, so this

put has intrinsic value. How much intrinsic value? Again, we just need to find out

**how big the advantage is. If the owner of that put can sell stock for $40 when the**

stock is trading for $37.11, there must be $40 - $37.11 = $2.89 worth of intrinsic

value. Any remaining value in the option’s price is due to time value. Because the

option is trading for $3.20, there must be $3.20 - $2.89 = 31 cents worth of time

value. Keep practicing these steps and intrinsic and time values will become second

nature to you.

Moneyness

We just learned the difference between time and intrinsic values, and that allows

us to understand some more option terminology. Options are generally classified

by traders as in-the-money, out-of-the-money, or at-the-money, which are sometimes

referred to as the “moneyness” of an option. An option with intrinsic value is inthe-

money, while an option with no intrinsic value is out-of-the-money. An option

that is neither in nor out of the money is at-the-money.

The phrase “in-the-money” is generally used to imply that something is

profitable. If someone says their new business is in-the-money, it means they are

making money, and that’s really what this term is implying with options. For

example, in Table 1-1, the $32.50 and $35 calls are in-the-money since both have

intrinsic value. The owners of these calls are able to buy the stock for less than

it is currently trading and therefore have some real value in holding the option.

The $40 call is out-of-the-money since there is no immediate benefit in holding

it; there is no intrinsic value. Technically speaking, an at-the-money option has a

strike that exactly matches the price of the stock. But since it is rare that the stock

price will exactly match a particular strike, we usually label the at-the-money strike

as the one that is closest to the current stock price. In Table 1-1, we’d say that the

stock is trading for $37.11, there must be $40 - $37.11 = $2.89 worth of intrinsic

value. Any remaining value in the option’s price is due to time value. Because the

option is trading for $3.20, there must be $3.20 - $2.89 = 31 cents worth of time

value. Keep practicing these steps and intrinsic and time values will become second

nature to you.

Moneyness

We just learned the difference between time and intrinsic values, and that allows

us to understand some more option terminology. Options are generally classified

by traders as in-the-money, out-of-the-money, or at-the-money, which are sometimes

referred to as the “moneyness” of an option. An option with intrinsic value is inthe-

money, while an option with no intrinsic value is out-of-the-money. An option

that is neither in nor out of the money is at-the-money.

The phrase “in-the-money” is generally used to imply that something is

profitable. If someone says their new business is in-the-money, it means they are

making money, and that’s really what this term is implying with options. For

example, in Table 1-1, the $32.50 and $35 calls are in-the-money since both have

intrinsic value. The owners of these calls are able to buy the stock for less than

it is currently trading and therefore have some real value in holding the option.

The $40 call is out-of-the-money since there is no immediate benefit in holding

it; there is no intrinsic value. Technically speaking, an at-the-money option has a

strike that exactly matches the price of the stock. But since it is rare that the stock

price will exactly match a particular strike, we usually label the at-the-money strike

as the one that is closest to the current stock price. In Table 1-1, we’d say that the

**$37.50 strikes are at-the-money calls (even though they are technically slightly**

out-of-the-money).

If an option is very much in-the-money (usually by a couple of strike prices or

more) the option is considered deep-in-the-money. If it is several strikes out-of-themoney

it is considered to be deep-out-of-the-money.

For put options, the same definitions apply; all strikes with intrinsic value are

in-the-money. For puts, this means that all strikes higher than the stock’s price are

in-the-money. In Table 1-1, the $40 puts are in-the-money since they have intrinsic

value. The $35 puts are out-of-the-money since they have no intrinsic value. The

out-of-the-money).

If an option is very much in-the-money (usually by a couple of strike prices or

more) the option is considered deep-in-the-money. If it is several strikes out-of-themoney

it is considered to be deep-out-of-the-money.

For put options, the same definitions apply; all strikes with intrinsic value are

in-the-money. For puts, this means that all strikes higher than the stock’s price are

in-the-money. In Table 1-1, the $40 puts are in-the-money since they have intrinsic

value. The $35 puts are out-of-the-money since they have no intrinsic value. The

**at-the-money strike will be the same for calls and puts, so the $37.50 puts would**

be considered the at-the-money strikes (even though they are technically slightly

in-the-money).

The terms in-the-money, out-of-the-money, and at-the-money are used just

for description purposes; it just makes it easier for option traders to describe types

of options and strategies. For example, rather than tell someone that you bought

some call options whose strike price is lower than the current value of the stock, it’s

easier to say you bought some in-the-money calls.

Table 1-4 describes the moneyness for calls and puts:

Table 1-4

be considered the at-the-money strikes (even though they are technically slightly

in-the-money).

The terms in-the-money, out-of-the-money, and at-the-money are used just

for description purposes; it just makes it easier for option traders to describe types

of options and strategies. For example, rather than tell someone that you bought

some call options whose strike price is lower than the current value of the stock, it’s

easier to say you bought some in-the-money calls.

Table 1-4 describes the moneyness for calls and puts:

Table 1-4

**CALL OPTIONS**

Moneyness Relationship to Stock

In-the-money Stock price > Strike price

At-the-money Stock price = Strike price

Out-of-the-money Stock price < Strike price

Moneyness Relationship to Stock

In-the-money Stock price > Strike price

At-the-money Stock price = Strike price

Out-of-the-money Stock price < Strike price

**PUT OPTIONS**

Moneyness Relationship to Stock

In-the-money Stock price < Strike price

At-the-money Stock price = Strike price

Out-of-the-money Stock price > Strike price

Moneyness Relationship to Stock

In-the-money Stock price < Strike price

At-the-money Stock price = Strike price

Out-of-the-money Stock price > Strike price

**Most option exchanges, such as the CBOE, always provide at least one inthe-**

money and one out-of-the-money option for each month. This means that

as the stock moves to new highs (or lows) then new strikes will be added to each

expiration month.

The moneyness of an option affects the amount of time premium present. In

general, in-the-money and out-of-the-money options will have the smallest time

premiums. At-the-money options have the greatest amount of time premium. In

other words, at-the-money options contain the highest amount of time value,

and that value shrinks as we move toward the in-the-money or the out-of-themoney

strikes.

money and one out-of-the-money option for each month. This means that

as the stock moves to new highs (or lows) then new strikes will be added to each

expiration month.

The moneyness of an option affects the amount of time premium present. In

general, in-the-money and out-of-the-money options will have the smallest time

premiums. At-the-money options have the greatest amount of time premium. In

other words, at-the-money options contain the highest amount of time value,

and that value shrinks as we move toward the in-the-money or the out-of-themoney

strikes.

**The at-the-money option has the highest time value. Time value shrinks as**

we move in-the-money or out-of-the-money.

we move in-the-money or out-of-the-money.

**For example, Table 1-5 shows the time values for the July calls and puts in**

Table 1-1:

Table 1-5

Strikes Call Time Value Put Time Value

$32.50 0.29 0.20

$35 0.59 0.50

$37.50 1.05 1.01

$40 0.35 0.31

Table 1-1:

Table 1-5

Strikes Call Time Value Put Time Value

$32.50 0.29 0.20

$35 0.59 0.50

$37.50 1.05 1.01

$40 0.35 0.31

**Notice that the time values are relatively small for the in-the-money strikes**

($32.50 call, $35 call, $40 put). The time values are also relatively small for outof-

the-money strikes ($40 call, $32.50 put, $35 put). It is the at-the-money strike

($37.50) that has the highest time value. Figure 1-6 shows the intrinsic and time

values for only the call options in Table 1-5. You can see that the time value is very

small for the $32.50 call because it is so far in-the-money. As we increase the strike

price, the time premium gradually increases as well until we’re only left with pure

time premium.

Figure 1-6

($32.50 call, $35 call, $40 put). The time values are also relatively small for outof-

the-money strikes ($40 call, $32.50 put, $35 put). It is the at-the-money strike

($37.50) that has the highest time value. Figure 1-6 shows the intrinsic and time

values for only the call options in Table 1-5. You can see that the time value is very

small for the $32.50 call because it is so far in-the-money. As we increase the strike

price, the time premium gradually increases as well until we’re only left with pure

time premium.

Figure 1-6

**Parity**

An option that is trading for purely intrinsic value (i.e., no time value) is

trading at parity. For instance, assume that the underlying stock is trading for $46.

If the $40 call is trading for $6 then it is comprised totally of intrinsic value and

is therefore trading at parity. Options generally only trade at parity when there is

little time remaining (usually a matter of hours).

Wasting Assets

We’ve learned that if you want a call or put option you must pay money for

it. We also know that options expire at some time and that leads to an interesting

question. Do options lose all of their value at expiration? After all, if the option is

no longer good, how can it have any value?

While it is true that an option loses some of its value with each passing day,

there is often a big misconception about how much of that premium is lost at

expiration. There are traders who will tell you that all options become worthless at

expiration, and that is simply not true. In an earlier section “Intrinsic Values and

Time Values,” we said that all options must be worth at least their intrinsic value

– and expiration time is no different. At expiration, all options lose only their time

value but not their intrinsic value, which is a process known as time decay. It is

only the time value portion of their price that slowly bleeds away with time. The

intrinsic value remains intact. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to

understand how to decompose an option into its intrinsic and time values. Certain

strategies rely on the use of intrinsic values, while others make use of the time

values. If you want to trade, hedge, or invest with options, you need to know how

much of each value is present at each strike price.

To make sure you understand this concept, let’s look at the August $35 call

An option that is trading for purely intrinsic value (i.e., no time value) is

trading at parity. For instance, assume that the underlying stock is trading for $46.

If the $40 call is trading for $6 then it is comprised totally of intrinsic value and

is therefore trading at parity. Options generally only trade at parity when there is

little time remaining (usually a matter of hours).

Wasting Assets

We’ve learned that if you want a call or put option you must pay money for

it. We also know that options expire at some time and that leads to an interesting

question. Do options lose all of their value at expiration? After all, if the option is

no longer good, how can it have any value?

While it is true that an option loses some of its value with each passing day,

there is often a big misconception about how much of that premium is lost at

expiration. There are traders who will tell you that all options become worthless at

expiration, and that is simply not true. In an earlier section “Intrinsic Values and

Time Values,” we said that all options must be worth at least their intrinsic value

– and expiration time is no different. At expiration, all options lose only their time

value but not their intrinsic value, which is a process known as time decay. It is

only the time value portion of their price that slowly bleeds away with time. The

intrinsic value remains intact. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to

understand how to decompose an option into its intrinsic and time values. Certain

strategies rely on the use of intrinsic values, while others make use of the time

values. If you want to trade, hedge, or invest with options, you need to know how

much of each value is present at each strike price.

To make sure you understand this concept, let’s look at the August $35 call

**in Table 1-1, which is trading for $3.60. We know there is $37.11 - $35 = $2.11**

worth of intrinsic value and that means that the remaining value, or $3.60 - $2.11

= 1.49 worth of time value. If you were to buy this call and eBay closed at the

same price of $37.11 at expiration, the $35 call would still be worth the intrinsic

value of $2.11. It would not be worth zero. The only amount you would lose is the

$1.49 worth of time premium. Remember, traders are paying the additional $1.49

over and above the immediate value because there is time remaining. Once time

is gone (option is expired), then there can be no time value on the option, but the

intrinsic value will remain. In Figure 1-6, the intrinsic value is bold and the time

worth of intrinsic value and that means that the remaining value, or $3.60 - $2.11

= 1.49 worth of time value. If you were to buy this call and eBay closed at the

same price of $37.11 at expiration, the $35 call would still be worth the intrinsic

value of $2.11. It would not be worth zero. The only amount you would lose is the

$1.49 worth of time premium. Remember, traders are paying the additional $1.49

over and above the immediate value because there is time remaining. Once time

is gone (option is expired), then there can be no time value on the option, but the

intrinsic value will remain. In Figure 1-6, the intrinsic value is bold and the time

**value is shaded. It is only the shaded portion that erodes with time. (Bear in mind**

this doesn’t mean that you cannot lose the intrinsic value. However, that value can

be lost due to adverse stock movement only and not the passage of time.)

Because options lose some value with each passing day, they are called wasting

assets. There are some traders who reject the use of options since part of the option’s

price deteriorates simply by the passage of time, but that is a thoughtless reason.

The car you drive loses value over time. The same is true for the fruits and vegetables

you buy. What about the computer you use? It doesn’t make sense to say that it’s

not worthwhile to invest in assets whose value depreciates over time. You just have

to be careful in the way you use them. Nearly all assets deteriorate over time, so

don’t back away from options just because a portion of their value depreciates over

time. Even the expensive factories that General Motors, Dell Computer, and Intel

have built all lose value with each passing day, but the CEOs will tell you they have

been very productive assets.

Time Decay

Time decay does not occur in a straight line over time. In other words, an atthe-

money option with 30 days to expiration does not lose 1/30 of its value each

day. Instead, it loses value slowly at first, which then progressively accelerates more

and more each day. This is called exponential decay. Figure 1-7 shows the price of a

90-day option where we assume that nothing changes except the passage of time.

You can see the rapid acceleration of decay as time gets near expiration – especially

in the last thirty days.

this doesn’t mean that you cannot lose the intrinsic value. However, that value can

be lost due to adverse stock movement only and not the passage of time.)

Because options lose some value with each passing day, they are called wasting

assets. There are some traders who reject the use of options since part of the option’s

price deteriorates simply by the passage of time, but that is a thoughtless reason.

The car you drive loses value over time. The same is true for the fruits and vegetables

you buy. What about the computer you use? It doesn’t make sense to say that it’s

not worthwhile to invest in assets whose value depreciates over time. You just have

to be careful in the way you use them. Nearly all assets deteriorate over time, so

don’t back away from options just because a portion of their value depreciates over

time. Even the expensive factories that General Motors, Dell Computer, and Intel

have built all lose value with each passing day, but the CEOs will tell you they have

been very productive assets.

Time Decay

Time decay does not occur in a straight line over time. In other words, an atthe-

money option with 30 days to expiration does not lose 1/30 of its value each

day. Instead, it loses value slowly at first, which then progressively accelerates more

and more each day. This is called exponential decay. Figure 1-7 shows the price of a

90-day option where we assume that nothing changes except the passage of time.

You can see the rapid acceleration of decay as time gets near expiration – especially

in the last thirty days.

**Figure 1-7**

**Some texts will show this chart in the reverse order with the numbers on the**

horizontal axis increasing from 0 to 90, which is probably more mathematically

correct since the numbers are ascending as we move left to right. However, it

makes it awkward to read since you must make time move from right to left as

we approach expiration. It’s usually easier for people to visualize time moving

forward by moving from left to right. It’s a matter of preference as to which type

of chart you use. Just realize that as you continue reading about options that you

may encounter time decay charts that appear backwards but it’s just due to two

different styles of presenting the same concept. The important point is that you

understand that time decay is not linear. Because of this, it is usually to your

advantage to buy longer periods of time and sell shorter periods of time. We will

revisit this concept later but just realize for now that an option’s value does not

decay in a straight line.

Before we leave this section, you might be wondering if there are any similarities

between stocks and options. You might be surprised that options are similar to

stock in many ways:

How Are Options Similar to Stocks?

• Options are securities.

• Options trade on national SEC (Securities Exchange Commission)-regulated

exchanges.

• Option orders are transacted through market makers and retail participants

with bids to buy and offers to sell and can be traded like any other security.

How Do Options Differ from Stocks?

• Options have an expiration date, whereas common stocks can be held forever

horizontal axis increasing from 0 to 90, which is probably more mathematically

correct since the numbers are ascending as we move left to right. However, it

makes it awkward to read since you must make time move from right to left as

we approach expiration. It’s usually easier for people to visualize time moving

forward by moving from left to right. It’s a matter of preference as to which type

of chart you use. Just realize that as you continue reading about options that you

may encounter time decay charts that appear backwards but it’s just due to two

different styles of presenting the same concept. The important point is that you

understand that time decay is not linear. Because of this, it is usually to your

advantage to buy longer periods of time and sell shorter periods of time. We will

revisit this concept later but just realize for now that an option’s value does not

decay in a straight line.

Before we leave this section, you might be wondering if there are any similarities

between stocks and options. You might be surprised that options are similar to

stock in many ways:

How Are Options Similar to Stocks?

• Options are securities.

• Options trade on national SEC (Securities Exchange Commission)-regulated

exchanges.

• Option orders are transacted through market makers and retail participants

with bids to buy and offers to sell and can be traded like any other security.

How Do Options Differ from Stocks?

• Options have an expiration date, whereas common stocks can be held forever

**(unless the company goes bankrupt). If an option is not exercised on or before**

expiration, it no longer exists and expires worthless.

• Options exist only as “book entry,” which means they are held electronically.

There are no certificates for options like there are for stocks.

• There is no limit to the number of options that can be traded on an underlying

stock. Common stocks have a fixed number of shares outstanding.

expiration, it no longer exists and expires worthless.

• Options exist only as “book entry,” which means they are held electronically.

There are no certificates for options like there are for stocks.

• There is no limit to the number of options that can be traded on an underlying

stock. Common stocks have a fixed number of shares outstanding.

**Options do not confer voting rights or dividends. They are strictly contracts**

to buy or sell the underlying stock or index. If you want a dividend or wish to vote

the proxy, you need to exercise the call option.

to buy or sell the underlying stock or index. If you want a dividend or wish to vote

the proxy, you need to exercise the call option.

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