Protective Put Strategy: A Beginner’s Guide

If you’re a novice investor looking to protect your investments from potential downturns in the stock market, the protective put strategy is an essential tool to consider. In this guide, we’ll explore the protective put strategy, how it works, and how you can use it to safeguard your portfolio.

What Is a Protective Put?

A protective put, often referred to as a “married put,” is an options trading strategy designed to protect your stock holdings from significant declines in value. It combines two primary components:

  1. Stock Ownership: As an investor, you own shares of a particular stock.

  2. Put Option Purchase: Simultaneously, you purchase a put option on the same stock.

How It Works

Here’s how the protective put strategy functions:

  1. Stock Purchase: You begin by purchasing shares of a stock you want to protect or already own in your portfolio.

  2. Put Option Purchase: Next, you buy a put option on the same stock. This put option gives you the right to sell your shares at a specified strike price within a defined time frame.

Protection Against Downside Risk

The primary purpose of the protective put strategy is to provide protection against potential declines in the stock’s value. If the stock’s price falls below the strike price of the put option, you have the option to sell your shares at the higher strike price, limiting your losses.

Cost of Protection

Keep in mind that purchasing the put option comes at a cost—the premium you pay for the put option. This premium is similar to insurance; it provides peace of mind and protection against significant losses.


Several outcomes can occur when using the protective put strategy:

  • Stock Price Increases: If the stock price rises, you can let the put option expire worthless, and you keep your shares with the potential for further gains.

  • Stock Price Stays Flat: If the stock price remains relatively unchanged, you retain your shares, and the put option may expire worthless.

  • Stock Price Decreases Slightly: If the stock price drops slightly, the put option provides a level of protection, but you might still experience a small loss when accounting for the put premium.

  • Significant Stock Price Decrease: If the stock price declines significantly, the put option can help limit your losses by allowing you to sell your shares at the higher strike price.


The protective put strategy is a valuable tool for novice investors looking to safeguard their portfolios against potential market downturns. It offers a level of protection while allowing you to maintain ownership of your stock holdings. However, it’s essential to carefully select the strike price and expiration date of the put option and to consider the cost of protection when implementing this strategy.

As with any investment strategy, risk management and thorough research are crucial. Consult with a financial advisor or conduct further research to determine if the protective put strategy aligns with your investment goals and risk tolerance.