Case Study: Enhancing portfolio performance with long-term options Case Study: Enhancing portfolio performance with long-term options Case Study: Enhancing portfolio performance with long-term options

Case Study: Enhancing portfolio performance with long-term options

Options 10 minutes to read
Koen Hoorelbeke

Options Strategist

Summary:  This case study explores how using long-term options instead of direct stock purchases can enhance investment efficiency. It features a fictitious investor, Sarah, who utilizes a two-year call option on Apple Inc. to control more shares with less capital. This approach offers reduced capital outlay, enhanced potential returns, and flexibility in managing investments, demonstrating a strategic advantage for traditional investors.


Investing in stocks through traditional buy-and-hold strategies is a proven path to wealth accumulation. However, savvy investors are continually exploring more efficient methods to maximize their returns and manage risks. Long-term options offer a strategic advantage by providing the potential for high returns with less capital compared to direct stock purchases. In this case study, we will explore how long-term options can be utilized to optimize investment returns through the experience of a fictitious investor, Sarah, who is looking to refine her investment strategy.

Important note: the strategies and examples provided in this article are purely for educational purposes. They are intended to assist in shaping your thought process and should not be replicated or implemented without careful consideration. Every investor or trader must conduct their own due diligence and take into account their unique financial situation, risk tolerance, and investment objectives before making any decisions. Remember, investing in the stock market carries risk, and it's crucial to make informed decisions.


Meet Sarah, a seasoned buy-and-hold investor with a diversified portfolio. Her strategy traditionally involves purchasing blue-chip stocks and holding them for long periods, relying on their stable dividends and steady appreciation. However, Sarah is eager to optimize her investment strategy to enhance her returns and manage her capital more efficiently.


Sarah wants to maintain exposure to her favorite stock, Apple Inc., which she believes has strong long-term growth potential. However, she is also keen on preserving capital for other investment opportunities that might arise. Buying additional Apple shares outright would require a significant capital outlay.

Solution: Using long-term options:

Instead of purchasing additional shares of Apple directly, Sarah decides to invest in long-term options. She chooses a call option with a strike price close to the current market price but expiring in two years. This option gives her control over a much larger amount of stock than she could afford to buy outright.

Financial comparison:

  • Direct stock purchase:
    • Cost: Apple is trading at $150 per share.
    • Sarah considers buying 100 shares, requiring a capital outlay of $15,000.
  • Long-term options purchase:
    • Cost: A two-year call option with a $150 strike price costs $3 per share (option premium).
    • Sarah buys 10 contracts (each contract representing 100 shares), controlling 1,000 shares.
    • Total cost: $3,000 (10 contracts x 100 shares x $3 premium).


  • Reduced capital outlay:
    • Sarah spends only $3,000 to control 1,000 shares, compared to $15,000 to own 100 shares outright, freeing up $12,000 for other investments.
  • Enhanced potential returns:
    • If Apple stock rises to $200 over the next two years, the value of her options would significantly increase. Her options could potentially be worth $50 per share (the difference between the market price and the strike price), equating to a total of $50,000 (1,000 shares x $50), minus the initial $3,000 premium paid.
  • Limited downside risk:
    • If Apple's stock price falls, Sarah's maximum risk is the $3,000 premium paid, compared to a potentially larger loss had she purchased the stock outright.
  • Flexibility and strategic advantage:
    • Sarah retains the flexibility to exercise her options to acquire the shares if beneficial or to sell the options as they appreciate in value. She can also let them expire if the stock underperforms, minimizing her losses.


By integrating long-term options into her buy-and-hold strategy, Sarah efficiently leverages her capital, enhances her potential returns, and retains flexibility in her investment approach. This case study exemplifies how long-term options can be a powerful tool for traditional investors looking to maximize their financial strategies without compromising their long-term investment goals.

Want to know more? Check out these pages:
Understanding long-term options for strategic portfolio management  An in-depth guide to understanding the benefits and strategies of long-term options.
How to - long-term options for strategic portfolio management   Step-by-step instructions on how to implement long-term options in your portfolio.
Long-term options for strategic portfolio management - case study Alex   A detailed case study exploring Alex's approach to using long-term options.
Long-term options for strategic portfolio management - case study Sarah   An analysis of Sarah's successful implementation of long-term options.
Guide on long-term options for strategic portfolio management  The long-term options guide home-page.

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