Just.hold.on: all the DIY stock investing advice you need

I’m going to start building a list of all the mistakes I’ve made since I started investing in the markets (it will make for a sad post), but one mistake I’ve avoided so far is exiting a position for emotional reasons (i.e, when they take a nose dive in value). To be clear, I’m not a technical investor or a day trader. I don’t stare at charts trying to predict 5% gains in one day, I don’t set stop loss orders on my positions, and I try not to sweat the small stuff. I think I’m more of an adventurous value investor; I pick companies not trades.

This is completely counter to my own self image. I thought I was going to be that guy, you know the one, Bradley Cooper played him in Limitless. I would turn $5000 into $50,000 in just a few weeks (maybe even days or hours!). I quickly learned that I am not knowledgeable or experienced enough to trade like that, nor do I have the time. The growth of my portfolio, at this point, is largely from my income investments into it. I’m not a complete buy and forget type, the market isn’t as simple as ‘it always goes up, except when it goes down’.

I bought AAPL a few months ago when it was trading at $125, it had taken a dip and it seemed like a good opportunity. Some number of weeks later (love how specific I am?) when the price plummeted below $100 intermittently for a few days for… ok, I don’t remember why the analysts/market was upset, I didn’t panic and unload my position. I didn’t even cry when I realized my investment was worth 20% less, I just bought more. And I bought a few times over those days, because I didn’t know where the bottom was, or when it was going to bounce back. Looking at my transaction activity, I bought in at 115, 113.75 & 105 (notice I never caught it below $100 :(. I added to my position again in September and October @ 110, 107, 114, 115, bringing my basis to 113.50 from a starting point near 125. Needless to say I was feeling pretty smart last week when it passed 123… and had a nice slice of humble pie when it came back down to 116 and change today. All of which is to say that every time the stock fluctuated significantly, I viewed it as a buying opportunity. You don’t need to be a stock market savant to know that, over the long term, this is a strong company and investment.

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