Fauzia Timberlake is a mother, grandmother and very successful options trader. Her journey from software engineer to stay-at-home mom to options trader and tastytrade Rising Star took surprising turns. Today not only does she navigate market ups and downs, she works as a personal trading coach to help others become self-directed investors. We talked with Fauzia about her journey from engineering to options. Highlights follow:
Q: How did you start out trading?
I worked as a software engineer, then I had children and decided to stay at home. I started thinking about my family’s finances, read Peter Lynch’s books. Online trading was new and I tried it. I found a modicum of success and thought, “I’ll have a career change.”
I joined a major brokerage house and decided to work with highly compensated female executives. They expressed little interest in managing their money. They’d turn to their husbands, their brothers, even their neighbors. So I started volunteering to talk to young women about money. I volunteered in high schools, particularly in disadvantaged areas, and talked about why money management matters.
Q: What kind of assets interested you?
I applied the Peter Lynch approach to buy stocks whose products and/or services interested me. I knew nothing about shorting. I didn’t know anything about how to control exposure to stocks by employing the use of options.
Q: What kind of trader are you today?
I wanted to become a financial planner. I discovered options as a way to keep myself occupied while going to school full time. I knew a little bit about selling puts and calls, but that’s about it. About 10 years ago, I accidentally discovered tastytrade talking to a person in a restaurant. I was so hooked by the personalities and their interest in showing the retail self- directed investor how to take charge of their portfolios. I’d create playlists, and go back and watch those playlists. I’d call into the shows, ask questions and just kept trading.
Today, I follow tastytrade best practices and employ suitable strategies to manage my portfolios. tastytrade puts out research, hours and hours a week. I continue to learn and apply this research to my trading activity.
Q: Are you a day trader?
I’m not a day trader. A lot of people confuse options with day trading. I may do a short-term trade every once in a while but 95% of the time my trades are 45-60 days out.
Q: How did you turn an interest in options trading into a business?
tastytrade recognized me as a Rising Star–a show where their biggest fans share trading success stories. They invited me to be on their site’s FOLLOW page, which showcases trades placed by tastytrade personnel along with some invited guests. That recognition led to speaking engagements on trading.
Q: Were women interested in what you had to say?
I noticed as I traveled on speaking engagements there would be a crowd of 400 people and not many women. Maybe 20 of them, and they sat in the back, and wouldn’t ask any questions, but they’d come up to me later in the parking lot and ask lots questions. I thought let’s start a group where women may feel more inclined to discuss and learn about options trading. About five years ago I formed a Facebook Group for Women of tastytrade. Today, we have about 600 members from all over the world.
Q: And you started a business also a coach for individual investors?
I’m a personal trading coach. It all came out of my speaking engagements, presence on the tastytrade FOLLOW page and social media presence. The coaching is customized to the client’s knowledge, learning style, availability of time and investment goals.