If you are looking to make a little extra cash on the side, you might not be aware that you are already sitting on a cash-generating asset. In fact, if you own shares of any company, you are probably able to generate a little extra income each month whether you know it or not.
The way most people invest is by buying a stock and holding it for the long-term. And that’s a very valid method to grow your nest-egg over the long-term. After all, Nobel-prize winning research, called Modern Portfolio Theory, is the foundation of almost every financial advisor’s portfolio building strategy.
The idea is to diversify your money across a bunch of sectors and stocks so that no individual stock can cause your portfolio to run into a brick wall when markets sour. It takes a recession or economic turndown to hurt a well diversified portfolio, and even then if you have exposure to fixed-income assets, your portfolio risk is mitigated even when stocks suffer.
But what if you have a favorite stock in your portfolio that you really like? Maybe it’s Amazon or Google, and you’ve been holding it for years – how do you make money monthly from your shares?
The simple answer is you can use an options strategy called a covered call, which simply means that you get paid to sell your stock at a fixed price for a specific time period.
If the stock rises above that fixed price level, you must sell your stock at that price. But if by the expiration date of the option, the stock is below the strike price, you get to keep the payment and repeat the process next month.
If it sounds too good to be true, don’t be fooled – it is not. If the stock were to rally way above the price at which you agree to sell it, you will still be obligated to sell your shares at a much lower price point than where they are trading in the market. But more often than not, stocks don’t soar in a short time frame, so generally it is a smart strategy.
Where do you get started with such a strategy? The answer is with a top options broker or top options trading platform, such as thinkorswim or tastyworks, which are both renowned as leading platforms for experienced options traders.
If the idea of owning stock and learning about covered call options strategies to generate income seems a little intense, and a hands-off approach would be a better fit, well then maybe a robo-advisor is worth exploring.
In recent years, robo-advisors have taken a lot of market share from traditional financial advisors, who generally charge higher fees.
Plus, robo-advisors offer a host of additional benefits, including tax-loss harvesting and automatic rebalancing. At Betterment, you can even get exposure to socially responsible investing portfolios, known as SRI portfolios.
Some robo-advisors specialize in tax efficiency while others win the fee battle, and yet still others offer innovative ways to hedge a portfolio against downturns.
No matter which robo-advisor stands out to you, the best approach is to pick one that aligns with your risk profile and financial goals, so that your nest-egg has the best shot at long-term growth.
The bottom line is if you want to target income each month on stocks you already own then an options broker is probably your best best to sell covered calls but if you want a completely hands-off approach then a robo-advisor may be a better fit, and they can often target income-based portfolios too, so you are pocketing fairly predictable income from one month to the next.