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Premium Chasing

Tl;Dr: Premium chasing is a risky prospect that catches people off guard until things have already turned into a problem.

Similar to yield chasing / dividend traps, options traders also frequently fall into this dangerous practice - I did myself early on.

Typically some form of short premium - often cash secured puts or covered calls. The concept is simple, naive traders become too focused on where they can earn the highest ROIC, without fully understanding the circumstances of the trade.

I’ll use myself as an example. Back in 2010, I still had a small account but wanted to trade covered calls. Not satisfied with the ROIC in blue chip stocks, I ventured into biotech - where options premiums are typically relatively (for the underlying price) high. I would trade cash secured puts or covered calls.

The first trade nearly always looks great. That’s for a reason. These products have increased volatility because they tend to move. This leads to having positions get stuck, when I’d fail to fully think through my plan because I was too busy being stoked on the ROIC.

I’d sell a 35 DTE $5 put, put up $500 to collect $25 - 5% for 30d is an awesome initial ROIC with an even better annualized return. The issue was after a week, when I’d be $2 ITM and if I took assignment, unable to sell a call against the long shares for much at all. I’d look to roll but many are relatively illiquid and the next expiration might’ve been 60 or even 90 DTE, which might barely provide a credit, tying the capital up for even longer. Plus, I might not have been that bullish, I just wanted the premium. I didn’t think through the management because I was focused on the wrong part, ROIC.

Being efficient is good - but don’t allow that to become the primary decision point.

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