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Making the leap into single stocks — a recap

Making the leap into single stocks — a recap

I chose January of 2008 to begin investing in single stocks for the first time ever. I put about $4600 into them over the year, investing a minimum of $200 each month plus several random lump sums now and then when I had extra money.

As of year end my total stock portfolio was down about 32%.

Overall I’m happy with my stock-buying experiences. I have yet to sell, but am in it for the long haul so am still working on learning more about that. I also learned that I really am an aggressive investor like the quizzes say, and that I really can stomach large losses of discretionary funds. (Did I mention I made a $600 investment in Freddie Mac prior to its shares dropping about 97% from when I bought? As of the moment I wrote this, they were worth about $24. Oops!) I also now know about sticking to my plan instead of gambling with large sums on stocks whose charts did not match my criteria.

I saw a New York Times article that said:

The markets were headed for a higher close Wednesday , but overall, it was a very bad year to own stocks, any stocks — indeed, one of the worst ever. The Dow Jones industrial average will end the year down more than 34 percent, the worst year for the index since 1931, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index more than 38 percent.

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That sounds bad, but isn’t saying that “overall, it was a very bad year to own stocks, any stocks” a bit of a generalization? Doesn’t it depend on when you started owning the stocks? And which stocks you own? And what happens in the future? And what you continue to do or what you change?

Incidentally, the title of the article was “In 2008, 6 Years of Market Gains Are Lost”. While that’s really not a pleasant thing to contemplate for my mutual funds (or for my long-retired relatives who are dependent on investment income), for my newly-purchased single stocks it might turn out to be a good thing. Because you know, I wish I’d begun investing in single stocks years ago, and — in some strange sense — it’s like I just got a chance to go back in time and do so for my future purchases.

View Comments (3)
  • That’s exactly why now is the time to buy. As for the article generalizing, it sure sounds like it. But the point is a good one: it doesn’t matter what stock you owned or how the company behind it did, most stocks dropped regardless of the underlying business. Mr. Market got nervous, that’s all.

  • 2009 will be my jump into buying single stocks.
    While mutual funds are a great vehicle for many people, ‘hoping that something goes up’, doesn’t feel like investing for me. Plus, I’m tired of the fees.
    I think with stocks I’ll be able to take more control.

  • That’s really good experience in trading in stocks. One of the best tips in trading is stick to your plan that you are following. Long term investments are always a better choice.

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