Hi. My name is Brad Castro, and I'm an options-based value investor.
I'll try not to get too self-absorbed here, but in the event that you're thinking about taking me up on my offer to teach you how to use options to materially improve your investing results, it's only fair that I be transparent upfront.
Without going into the messy details, let's just say that I had some very negative formative experiences involving authority when I was much younger.
Not much fun at the time, of course, but an extremely valuable experience nonetheless.
It taught me how critical it is that we think for ourselves and not just assume that other people:
(This 100% applies to the stock market as well - you must understand Mr. Market's psychology better than he understand yours if you're ever going to distance yourself from the crowd.)
Now, I'm not automatically anti-authority, but I do make the distinction between what I call Service Oriented Leaders and Privilege Oriented Leaders.
Service Oriented Leaders understand that their role is to effectively organize the individual and collective efforts of the group they're leading toward a common goal - and everyone crosses the finish line together.
Privilege Oriented Leaders tend to view the people they lead as objects and tools to propel them across the finish line. They're leaders because of the perks and the power, not because they have any interest in the common good.
I also learned this the hard way.
In my 30s, I spent 7 years in the corporate world working for a company in the public safety sector.
I loved the job . . . for the first six months.
I was hired and worked for a Service Oriented Leader. And she reported to a Service Oriented Leader herself.
But six months after I was hired, the director of our unit took a position outside the company and was replaced by a Privilege Oriented Leader.
And within another six months, my own boss got canned.
Still, I was too stubborn to quit.
I look back on those times and now see that I was a sort of "cubicle hostage."
It was a strange time. Imagine submitting an annual employee self evaluation that included the sentence: "My cynicism masks a deeply optimistic interior."
It almost sounds like a fortune cookie for disgruntled employees.
Don't get me wrong - I was a tremendous employee when it came to my relationships with my clients, and my commitment to over delivering on their behalf.
But my inability to let bullshit go (and there was a lot of it over the last 6 1/2 years) . . . well, it certainly wasn't a career enhancer.
Blah, blah, blah. I know - everyone has workplace grievances and stories they can gripe about.
I'm not sharing all this in order to relive my non-glory days, or to subject you to my ancient history complaints, but to just point out that - whether my ideals and I were completely in the right or whether I was partly/mostly to blame - I know what it feels like to wake up every morning and go to a job you hate.
And if it hadn't been for option trading, I would still be in one.
In the spring of 2009, my corporate masters closed the small field office where I worked and gave us few remaining stragglers the choice between a modest severance package or the opportunity to relocate out of state to the mother ship (aka the hive).
I chose the severance package.
It was an easy decision, one of the easiest I've ever made (and I will neither confirm nor deny rumors that I was seen skipping around the office on the day of the announcement).
Now remember, this was a seriously crazy time.
This was early 2009, the period when the U.S. economy was hemorrhaging several hundred thousand jobs a month. And I was passing on the chance for job security in the worst economy since the Great Depression? And with a 3 year old in daycare?
Sure, I hated my job, but come on - the timing couldn't have been worse to walk away from it.
But - cynical employee or not - I had grown increasingly confident in a more hopeful personal future.
It stemmed from the way I had grown to invest over the previous several years. It was a sort of hybrid approach that was part traditional investing and part conservative option trading.
And it was working. And making sense. And it was resonating with others.
You see, about a year earlier, I had launched the Great Option Trading Strategies website because I'd grown tired of not being able to find any value investing with options resources online.
Using structurally advantaged option trades to consistently generate high yield income from low risk stocks, and to systematically and repeatedly lower the cost basis on my long term quality holdings wasn't something that came to me in a single day.
Far from it. It was process that took years to develop and fine tune.
But when my options-enhanced value investing philosophy finally crystallized, the future suddenly looked a whole lot brighter.
Acquiring world class businesses at dramatically lower prices than what everyone else who wanted them had to pay - well that tends to change your life, scary economy or not.
And yet - to my surprise - I found very little information, resources, tips, or warnings about the potential pitfalls related to what I was trying to do.
So I did the next best thing - I began documenting everything and putting those resources together myself.
My life changed the day I stopped spending all my energy and time hoping to uncover some magical substitute for investing and instead began asking myself the far more empowering question: "How can I become a better investor?"
And the question: "What happens if you combine the best qualities of long term investing and short term conservative option trading?"
I'm not entirely sure whether I'm a better investor these days or just a smarter one. But I am a far more effective one because I now use options to legally cheat in the stock market.
I get to own world class businesses that pay me an ever increasing salary (dividends) and that steadily increases in value the longer I own them (capital gains) and, over time, it costs me very little to acquire my ownership stakes (through the strategic and conservative use of options).
And I also get to stay at home and have a blast (and earn an additional income) telling others about my methods and showing them exactly how they can do the same thing.
In those final 6 1/2 years of workplace hell, I always knew that it would be more rewarding to own corporations rather than work for one.
KO - 125 shares
KMI - 100 shares
BP - 100 shares
MCD - 30 shares
JNJ - 25 shares
GIS - 25 shares
PAYX - 25 shares
Open Market Purchase Price: $20,071.83
Less Booked Option Income: $16,341.71
Tot. Discount: 81.42%
Adj. Div. Yield: 19.59%