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Options are a complex investment and are not suitable for every investor. There are several types of options strategies, each with unique risks. Before you begin trading, we recommend that you read the brochure Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options.

We'll send you a copy if your option application is approved. To buy and sell options on virtual option and stock trader financial instruments that trade on major U.

If you're already a Vanguard client, our brokerage associates are available to answer your questions at Monday through Friday from 8 a. Complete and submit a Brokerage Option Application, one for each brokerage account that you intend to use for options trading. If you don't already have a Vanguard Brokerage Account, you'll also need to open an account. In reviewing your application, we'll consider your account type and the information you provide about your finances, trading experience, and investment objective.

Write covered calls, purchase protective puts, and write covered puts. Margin approval is required to write covered puts. The Options Industry Council's Virtual option and stock trader website has a wealth of education about options, whether you're just beginning or an virtual option and stock trader options trader.

Some topics you may want to explore include:. You must complete a Margin Account Application to be considered for these trading levels. Options are a leveraged investment and aren't suitable for every investor. Options involve risk, including the possibility that you virtual option and stock trader lose more money than you invest. A copy of this booklet is available at theocc. The booklet contains information on options issued by OCC. It's intended for educational purposes.

No statement in the booklet should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell a security or to provide investment advice. The OIC can provide you with balanced options education and tools to assist you with your options questions and trading. Your use of this site signifies that you accept our terms and conditions of use Open a new browser window. Skip to main content.

Search the site or get a quote. Understanding options trading Options are a complex investment and are not suitable for every virtual option and stock trader. Keep these points in mind when trading options: Consider whether options fit with your investment goals, risk tolerance, and objectives.

You could see significant gains—or lose your entire investment—in a relatively short time. You should consult a professional tax advisor to discuss how options strategies may impact your tax situation. Submit your application Complete and submit a Brokerage Option Application, one for each brokerage account that you intend to use for options trading.

Complete an option application. Open a brokerage account. Getting approval Virtual option and stock trader reviewing your application, we'll consider your account type and the information you provide about your finances, trading experience, and investment objective. You'll receive notice of your approval or denial by mail. We have four levels of options approval: Purchase calls and puts. Trade equity and index spreads. Includes Levels 1 and 2. Write uncovered naked puts. Includes Virtual option and stock trader 1, 2, and 3.

Learn more about options trading Take an online class, watch a webcast, or try a virtual trading system. Some topics you may want to explore include: Open or transfer accounts Have stocks somewhere else?

Learn how to transfer an account to Vanguard. If you're new to Vanguard: Call Monday through Friday 8 a. If you're already a Vanguard client: My Accounts Log on.

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The power of hands-on learning is indisputable. But when it comes to investing your money in the stock market, however, making a beginner's mistake can cost you more than just your self-esteem. Thankfully, the web makes it easy to practice with virtual money.

There are a multitude of online investment games like Investopedia and gnuTrade that play with virtual money, but not all of them are easy for beginners. Here are five of the best free because you shouldn't have to spend real money to play with fake money online games for getting your feet wet.

A friendly cartoon version of stock guru Mark Brookshire helps you make your final decision by providing some rating numbers when you input a stock. These include a rating for survivor sentiment, fundamentals, technical and a Motley Fool Rating.

For additional help choosing stocks, the site has an impressive resource library that spans beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Start with Investing and consider taking advantage of the community forums if you have specific questions. Those who need a little help getting started can also choose to adapt one of the preset portfolios created by proven traders. Prizes vary, but most often consist of competitive pride.

Owned by the same company as Wall Street Survivor , this game is great for investors looking to gain experience with a new type of portfolio. In addition to stocks and indexes, there are options to experiment with Forex portfolios, penny stocks, mutual funds and short selling. Beginners can execute market order-based trades in a "fun mode" without worrying about things like set hours, maximum number of trades per day, per stock and order expiration.

A "realistic mode" amps up the complexity after they've mastered the beginner level. Players can manage up to three stock portfolios and three Forex portfolios on the site at once.

The competition aspect is optional. Other public contests include challenging restrictions like "short sells only" or "penny stocks only. Young Money Magazine's stock exchange game is easy to learn but also fairly realistic, which is a hard balance to strike.

Realistic aspects include a virtual commission that's taken out of each trade, adhering to market hours and rules about how you can invest. Unlike many investing games, trades are made at a real-time price. Learning aspects include convenient help icons on key terms and an intuitive tabbed interface.

Players can also create their own contests or join other user-made contests. MarketWatch will run this mock stock market contest for a total of four weeks, awarding the winner of each week with an iPad. It's on week three right now, but there's still time to get in on the competition for week four.

You must have your selections picked before the week starts on Monday. The shares that you select are "purchased" at Monday's open and will "sell" automatically at Friday's close.

The catch is that all players can only use the 15 to 20 symbols selected for each week. The companies are selected by the game owner for companies that are projecting their earnings during each week. Lining up picks is easy — players simply drag the company's logo to their trading card and designate if they want to sell short or go long. Although there are some pros playing, this game is especially manageable for beginners due to the limited stock options for each week.

Like Young Money's game, UpDown has helpful icons that explain key terms for beginners. More comprehensive resources in the education center mercifully cover even the most basic of investing concepts.

Community features, like the opportunity to collaborate with a group and to see the most-bought and most-sold stocks, are also helpful for beginners. The "watch list" tool provides a convenient dashboard for monitoring potential picks. UpDown sponsors a monthly contest that rewards players who beat the market with real cash.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto , H-Gall. We're using cookies to improve your experience. Click Here to find out more. Entertainment Like Follow Follow. HowTheMarketWorks Owned by the same company as Wall Street Survivor , this game is great for investors looking to gain experience with a new type of portfolio. Young Money Stock Market Game Young Money Magazine's stock exchange game is easy to learn but also fairly realistic, which is a hard balance to strike.

MarketWatch Fantasy Earnings Trader Game MarketWatch will run this mock stock market contest for a total of four weeks, awarding the winner of each week with an iPad. More Business Resources from Mashable: