Welcome!

Options A to Z® is a website dedicated to one thing: Teaching investors the art and science of options trading -- all in plain English.®

It’s a simple sounding mission statement but combining the art and science is no easy task. It’s a thousand mile journey that takes time.

Are there shortcuts? Sure, many attempt to teach “systems” or “one size fits all” strategies. While a marked path is much easier for students to follow, it often leads to a financial dead end. The reason is that the instructor’s risk-reward tolerances are probably different from yours. If your risk tolerances do not match, your hard-earned dollars are being led down a destructive path.

As the saying goes, “Build a machine that any fool can use and only a fool will use it.” It doesn’t make sense to attempt to build a financial decision making system that applies to all. We’re not going to leave breadcrumbs for you to follow.

Instead, we want to teach you how to make the decisions yourself. And to do that, you must realize that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step. We start by sharpening your core skills such as definitions, mechanics, and pricing theory, which is all done through clear, detailed online courses, videos, and webinars (live online classes). There are also lots of practice exams so you can check your progress and be confident you understand the material. That’s the science side.

Next, the art side teaches you how to apply the science. You’ll gain insightful tips and tricks of the trade handed down from real-life trading experiences. You’ll learn what works, what doesn’t, and why. There are also helpful Q&A sessions as well as our Chalk Talk forum for you to post questions and receive answers and opinions from all over the world.  

At the end of the journey, the art and science finally meet and you’ll be in a position to make confident, informed decisions about the best ways to manage your money when faced with the daily uncertainties of the financial markets. You’ll know what to buy, when to sell, how to hedge, roll, or morph. You’ll know where. You’ll know why. The answers are easy once you understand the questions. 

You’re the best person to answer those questions because nobody has the incentive to watch your money like you. And nobody trains you to watch it like us. 

If you are new to options and not sure what they are or how they work, you’re invited to take our free 100-page online course Exploring the World of Options led by Professor Kismet, the wise owl of Options A to Z. It’s packed full of information, online flash quizzes and videos. It’s your first step. 

Knowledge is a risk-free investment. Let your journey begin.

Meet the Instructor

Bill Johnson has published 10 books on various financial topics including options, single stock futures, hedging, and the Federal Reserve, three of which were selected as supplemental texts at Binghamton University, Wingate University, and Florida International University. He has ghostwritten and edited published works for others.


Bill is an adjunct professor for one of Miami's largest universities and teaches and online Financial Risk Management course covering futures, options, and swaps. In April 2010, he was nominated as “Most Engaging Professor” by the Financial Management Association and the Finance Honor Society and won the overall $1,000 award in September 2010.

 In 1995, he was hired by the brokerage giant Charles Schwab where he worked for nearly six years on an active trader options team. He also worked on specialized technical analysis and fundamental analysis teams. He gained invaluable experience while working rotations for Schwab's trade support desk, risk reporting, and margin departments. He was also part of Schwab's first initial public offering (IPO) team for Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares.

Bill was also a subject matter expert for Schwab and selected to write compliance-approved manuals and teach the corresponding weeklong courses in “Option Strategies, Pricing, and Hedging” as well as "Economics of Financial Markets" to advanced brokers.

In 2000, Bill took a new position as the Chief Options Strategist for 21st Century Investor, an independent investment research, education, and advisory service. He wrote two online educational courses that enrolled more than 300,000 students worldwide. During his last year, Bill was a regular host of the 21st Century Alert Radio show, which aired daily on WNN Financial Radio 1470 AM.

In 2007, he was hired as the Director of Education for Options University where he published the 450-page book Options 101: From Theory to Application. He was a key speaker for a one-month option tour in Australia, Singapore, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur as well as several “seminar at sea” cruises and other major events. 

He was invited to be a guest speaker for the Options Institute Master Sessions at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and for the Quantitative and Computational Finance Day (QCF) at Georgia Institute of Technology. He has also made numerous appearances on WXELs television program Wealth & Wisdom.

He had articles published in Active Trader, Buy-Sell-Hold, SFO (Stock, Futures & Options), Investor’s Observer, and Smart Money magazines and has also been quoted in Barron’s. Bill ghostwrites financial books for others and maintains a separate  site at www.financeGhostwriter.com.

Bill received a Master's Degree in Economics in 1996 and an M.B.A. in 1999 --  both awarded from the University of Central Florida (UCF). Go Knights!


A Message from Bill
Most of my real-world option experience comes from working nearly ten years on active trader option teams at retail firms. Six of those years were with Charles Schwab. Each active trader team at Schwab was comprised of six to eight brokers managing over a half-billion dollars in assets. While this arrangement was done to offer the best personalized attention, it also meant that brokers handled all incoming trades, margin calculations, green bar reporting, risk assessment, and option questions and strategies that might be asked.

At the time, Schwab was clearing over 30% of the Chicago Board Option Exchange’s (CBOE) volume, which was more than any other firm by a landslide. And because of this, I have seen everything that can happen – from A to Z – with a retail options trade.

I have seen account values jump from $50,000 to over one million dollars in a single day. I have seen multi-million dollar accounts depleted by using covered calls. I have seen IPOs (Initial Public Offering) reduce IRA accounts to negative equity. I have seen a single trade generate an $18,000 commission. I have seen fortunes made and lost, accounts frozen from insider trading, trading halts that lasted for weeks, absurd arbitration suits won, genuine arbitration suits lost, SOES bandits disqualified, and clients jailed – all from trading options.

What is the advantage for you? You are a retail investor. You are not training to be a market maker, floor trader, or other professional position. There are different sets of rules you must understand. You must contend with buying on the asking price and selling at the bid. You have commissions to account for. You must understand Type I and Type II accounts, SMA, margin trading, margin cash available, house equity percent, patterned day trader rules and the list goes on. They all affect your decisions as retail investors.

I hope much of the free material throughout this website helps you to gain invaluable insights from these experiences. They are essential for new traders. For those who aspire to higher levels, we have certificate training classes available as well as personalized coaching.

If you have questions, please feel free to send an email to me at bill@optionsAtoZ.com.

I would enjoy hearing from you. 

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