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What Are LEAPS Option? The Best Strategies for Long-Term Options

LEAPS Option

Investment vehicles are vast and varied, offering multiple pathways to potential profits. Among these, LEAPS options stand out as an intriguing long-term investment strategy. 

This deep dive into Long-term Equity Anticipation Securities (LEAPS) will lay bare the intricacies of this tool, enabling investors to add finesse to their financial arsenal.

What Are LEAPS Options?

LEAPS are options that work much like their shorter-term counterparts with a crucial distinction—they are set with expiration dates far into the future, typically up to three years. 

LEAPS grant investors the ability to speculate on the long-term movement of stock prices or to use them as a hedge against existing portfolio positions. 

Unlike traditional options that might expire within a matter of weeks or months, LEAPS allow for an extended timeframe to gauge market trends and company performance.

stock ownership

How LEAPS Differ from Traditional Stock Options?

The longevity of LEAPS is their defining characteristic. While standard options usually come with a life span of a few months, LEAPS extend the horizon—providing more time for an investor’s thesis to play out.

Such a lengthy period before expiration influences the premium, or price, of the option, often making LEAPS more expensive than their short-term counterparts.

In contrast with stock ownership, LEAPS require a smaller capital outlay upfront for control over a larger number of shares than would be possible with outright purchases. 

Moreover, while the risk of losing the entire premium paid for an option is real, this risk is confined to the premium itself, which contrasts with potentially unlimited losses when shorting shares.

Types of LEAPS

Two main types of LEAPS are available—calls and puts. Call LEAPS benefit buyers expecting a long-term uptick in the underlying stock’s price. 

Purchasing a call LEAPS grants the buyer the right to acquire the stock at a predetermined price before the expiration. 

Conversely, put LEAPS are for investors bracing for a decline in the stock price, where buying a put LEAPS option offers the right to sell shares at an agreed-upon price.

Advantages of Investing in LEAPS

The advantages of LEAPS are rooted in their longevity. By choosing LEAPS, investors gain the luxury of time, making them ideal for those who believe in the long-term growth of a company but are wary of short-term volatility. 

This extended period can lead to significant returns if the market moves favorably relative to the strike price of the option. Another often-cited benefit of LEAPS is their role in portfolio diversification

With the ability to control a more considerable amount of stock with less capital, investors can spread their investments across various sectors, potentially leading to reduced risk and improved portfolio performance.

How to Use LEAPS in Your Portfolio?

Investors use LEAPS in several ways. For pure speculation, one might buy call LEAPS on a stock believed to climb over the next few years. 

While others may use put LEAPS as insurance policies, hedging against downside risk in bear-market conditions without needing to sell off the underlying securities.

The flexible nature of LEAPS can also facilitate complex investment strategies. For instance, creating a diagonal spread involves buying a long-dated LEAP call and selling a series of short-term call options—a method applied to generate income while waiting for a longer-term bullish forecast to unfold.

Risks and Considerations

Investing in LEAPS is not devoid of risks. The principal among these is volatility, with extensive time horizons amplifying the effect of market swings. 

While LEAPS can weather short-term fluctuations, significant shifts in the underlying stock can lead to sizable premium losses. Additionally, ‘time decay’ means the value of the option may erode as expiration nears, particularly in the final months.

Market conditions will always weigh heavily on LEAPS. In times of economic uncertainty, for instance, the longer lifespans of these options can be a double-edged sword. 

Investors need to stay vigilant and adapt their investment strategies to changing economic landscapes.

Mitigating the risks of LEAPS involves due diligence and ongoing education. Investors should ensure they fully understand an option’s sensitivity to market movements and take care to select LEAPS that align with their investment expectations and risk tolerance.


How to Purchase LEAPS

Buying LEAPS follows a similar procedure as for shorter-term options. Investors looking to step into this territory will need a brokerage account approved for options trading. 

When purchasing LEAPS, the selection process is critical. Paying attention to an option’s “Greeks,” including Delta and Theta, will provide insights into how it may perform over time.

The first-time buyer of LEAPS may wish to start small to get acclimated to the degree of movement in their selected options. 

Keeping abreast of market developments and understanding how they might affect underlying stocks is also important for investors venturing into the world of LEAPS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can LEAPS be sold before expiration?

Yes, similar to standard options, LEAPS can be sold at any point before they expire. Keeping track of market trends and staying alert to shifts in sentiment is key to deciding the optimal time to sell.

Do market conditions affect LEAPS?

Market conditions are a significant factor in the performance of LEAPS. A steadfast assessment of market dynamics is necessary to capitalize on these long-term options successfully.

What makes LEAPS different from regular options?

The notable difference lies in the duration of these options. LEAPS can last up to three years, affording investors a substantial time frame to realize their market predictions.


LEAPS are a sophisticated tool in an investor’s portfolio. Their adaptability to various market climates and suitability for myriad investment strategies make them a subject worthy of study for serious investors. 

With a patient approach and sound judgment, the rewards of leveraging LEAPS can be significant. However, as with all aspects of investing, education and prudence are paramount.