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How I (mostly) missed the chance of a lifetime

February 26th, 2011 at 06:54 pm

It was March 2009, and I looked at the markets and the S&P500 was at 700. It was insanity, the economy had shrunk by 50% in less than 6 months, at least according to the markets and I convinced myself that it couldn't be right. I did a lot of research and I bought big (into 3 stocks, 60% of my liquid assets), for the first time in my life. Then two months later, the S&P was at 950. The market rose by 35% in two months! I thought I had hit the jackpot, I got nervous, I sold everything and cashed out. Today, the S&P is at 1300.

I bought SOL at 2.86 and sold at 4.04 (+42%), today it's at 11.54 (+303%)

I bought TXT at 3.87 and sold at 7.07 (+83%), today it's at 27.15 (+603%)

I bought PMI at 0.67 and sold at 1.39 (+107%), today it's at 3.03 (+352%)

On a smaller scale

I bought JASO at 3.07 and I still own it at 7.35

I bought AAPL at 164.25 and I still own it at 348.16

I bought C at 2.70 and sold at 4.10 (+52%), today it's at 4.70 (+72%)

Like a coward, I sat out the second half of the rally (May 2009 - August 2010), and only started buying "conservative" large caps last September. I estimate I left $50K out there by selling early. I don't know if there is a moral to the story, or whether I did the principled thing, but there sure is some regret.

4 Responses to “How I (mostly) missed the chance of a lifetime”

  1. mamasita Says:

    It happens, right? It makes me sick to think of a chance of a lifetime I yucked up, we could have been very comfortable financially. Think of it as a "learning opportunity" ! At least you learned this at a young age, there will be more chances to make it right!

  2. CB in the City Says:

    You still did very well, and it's not such a bad thing to be careful. For all you knew, the market could have dropped again.

    I hear tales all the time of people who bought high before the dot.com bust and then sold low. Now, that's a sad story!

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    Actually, I think it mostly sounds smart. You could not predict what would happen, so took your gains and ran. I think that is smart.

    That said, I remember when the DOW hit 700-ish and I plowed some money into the stock market. I meant to keep it in their for the LONG run. I don't think I had ever seen the market lower, in my lifetime. So, I think the only thing you could have done better was a long-term investment. For the short run, quitting while ahead is good.

  4. Single Guy Says:

    If I had the money back then I would have done something similar to what you did, but at least I pushed to max out my retirement account by September, so my return for 2009 was over 50%. Yeah, it would have been nice to go all in and stay in, but you gotta let it go unfortunately.

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