Define & Discuss: Iron Butterfly

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I could use some serious help. I’m taking an honors introduction to financial markets class this semester, and it’s far more challenging than I expected. This coming week is a perfect example.

 

I’m supposed to research something called the “iron butterfly” strategy, and present an overview of it to our class. The presentation is only about five minutes long, but the topic is really technical.

 

I’m not very good with math, and I have no experience with investing, which is why I need help grasping the basics of the iron butterfly strategy. Any guidance would be much appreciated.

 

You shouldn’t underestimate yourself so quickly. While it might seem more challenging at first to simply grasp the topic, the bigger challenge is captivating your audience. Your classmates won’t have the luxury of time, and must essentially rely on your word alone to comprehend the subject. Visual aids and informational handouts could address the latter issue, but you’ll want to be mindful of those things becoming distractions.

 

When it comes to explaining the iron butterfly strategy in about five minutes or less, you might as well totally ignore the mathematics of it. You’re much better off painting a broad, relevant, and relatable picture for the audience. The first step is to investigate options trading, which is a specific type of investing with its own unique mechanics. Dayana Yomich at Nerdwallet published a salient article titled“Introduction to Trading Options,” which would be an ideal place to begin your research.

 

Unlike other investment approaches that might tell you to rely on a financial advisor or an automated software solution, deciding to go with options trading means you have complete control over your portfolio. Staff writers at Ally Invest suggest that options trading is for DIY-investors. They explain that most beginners start with investing in stock options, and might go as far as to visually dissect a stock option quote. There, you have at least one idea for a helpful visual aid to share with your classmates.

 

Something about which to caution your audience is how much time and effort is required to implement strategies for options trading. Investing in any iron butterfly options means paying close attention to figures and fluctuations. The staff writers at Ally implied that people naturally drawn to probabilistic math and statistics are likely to find options trading very appealing. That might be the case; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a mathematician to thrive as an options trader.

 

Editors at Investopedia outlined the key advantages and disadvantages associated with an iron butterfly option strategy. Nowhere is it written that an aptitude for math is necessary. However, they do admit that it’s only appropriate for experienced traders who can watch the markets during trading hours. They also focus on the fact that options trading can be done with relatively small amounts of capital and provide steadier income with less risk, which is what makes the strategy so attractive to investors.

 

Your audience should realize that, while an iron butterfly options strategy might be promising, it’s also a high-maintenance approach.

 

“Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.” – Dan Zarrella

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