Is Your Garage Full Of Junk?


I have a 2-car garage. There are nice shelves on one side and a good practical workbench with a vice on the other side. Plenty of room for 2 cars yet I have to be careful when I pull in so I won't run over stuff stacked on each side. Sound familiar?

Kinda reminds me of the investment portfolio of many people. Full of junk. If I threw out almost all of that stuff I really wouldn't miss it. For whatever crazy reason I still have a stock certificate of 100 shares for a copper mine in Cuba. You know how much that is worth. Fortunately, I don't have any of those now defunct dot. com company shares.

Oh, I did own a lot of technology issues in 1999 and into 2000, but when they started down I put in my stop-loss orders and someone bought them from me. I sure hope he still doesn't have them. Some have no value at all now and others are worth less than 10% of their high prices. I remember Priceline. com when it went to $104 and then took a nosedive to $2.00. I even made a nice profit in the mutual fund Janus 20 that took off from $40 and went to $93. Today it is $37. The Buy and Hold crowd have become the Buy and Prey people. Needless to say your broker did not call you to sell out with a profit. No, he said, "Don't worry the market always comes back". Maybe not in your lifetime.

I have not been very careful about keeping the junk out of my garage, but I have not collected many pretty stock certificates that have no value. Once each month I have taken about 15 minutes to see what is going on with my money. That is what is supposed to take care of me when I do not choose to work any more and I know Social Security is not going to be enough.

When that bull market was raging I made sure that I was not going to give back the profits I made. I placed following loss limits on each of my securities every month. You really should do it weekly, but I did not seem to have the time. A good friend of mine taught me to place what is called Good 'Til Cancelled Stop-Loss Orders. The are also called GTC stop orders. This has been the difference in my having more money in my retirement account today. If I had not done this I would have less than half of what I have now. Don't let that happen to you.

If you have a lot of worthless securities or those that are still going down I think you should give serious consideration to cleaning out that portfolio and putting those funds in a cash money market account until you can find something that will make you some money.

You can live with a messy garage, but you can't live with no money in your retirement account. Clean out the weak ones now before they become worthless.

Copyright 2005


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