OptionsHouse is a popular online discount brokerage house. It also offers a virtual trading platform that allows you to practice and learn about investing in a risk-free environment.
The virtual platform looks and functions just like the real OptionsHouse platform. Virtual trading allows potential investors to test out strategies and learn the basics of investing. You can place virtual orders, monitor virtual stock performance, and use the tools, charts, and news features to perform research.
These features function the same as if you were using the real OptionsHouse trading platform. To open a virtual account, go to OptionsHouse.com and click on the “Virtual Trading” tab towards the bottom. Once you open a virtual account and start the platform, this is the image you will see:
OptionsHouse provides new investors with $5,000 of fake money, but you can add more if you want.
Although the platform has a very nice layout, its wealth of features can be overwhelming at first, particularly to beginner investors. OptionsHouse provides a useful “Quick Assist” button to help you learn about the various platform features. This tiny light bulb button on the bottom right allows you to mouse over links, tools, tabs, and text to get more information.
The four navigation tabs at the top let you jump between your account information, stock options, research, and OptionsHouse tools. The Account tab displays your basic account information, such as your account value and cash balance. When you search a stock symbol, the stock’s basic data appears at the top of the page and the news headlines on the right change accordingly.
Clicking the option tab displays the complete list of options for a security. These include price, type of option, and expiration date.
The research tab predictably allows you to research a stock in more depth, reviewing such things as price charts, analyst opinions, and basic company information. You can also review general market performance.
Lastly, the tools tab gets you to a range of research tools provided by OptionsHouse. One tool provides minute-by-minute market movements in a customizable format, while another helps you better understand potential risk in your portfolio.
You can buy or sell a stock on any of the sections connected with these tabs.
For experienced investors, practicing your investment strategies in the OptionsHouse virtual interface might not be very beneficial. But the platform provides an excellent way for beginner investors to become comfortable with the stock market.
The world of investing can be intimidating to someone who has little experience researching stocks and navigating price charts. The real possibility of loss can scare people away from exploring the market.
By using virtual money, the OptionsHouse virtual platform helps potential investors overcome some of these worries. However, investors practicing in the virtual trading world should still do their best to imagine they are handling real money.
That’s easier said than done since it is difficult to trick yourself into believing imaginary risk is real risk. But investors will benefit from trying to make their virtual trading world as real as possible.
If you are interested in trying out your skills as a trader, look into OptionsHouse as a cost-free way to become acquainted with the stock market.
Published or updated March 22, 2013.