I Love To Lose Money
Well, not really. What I mean is I don't mind losing a small amount when I have to sell a stock or mutual fund that is going down or taking away the profit I have made. During this past 3 years I have made money each year because I was not afraid to sell. The great secret that Wall Street does not want investors to know is all about selling, not buying.
The recent headlines scream"10 Stocks To Buy Now", "100 Best Mutual Funds For 2003", "Make 25% With These Safe Stocks" and "Now Is The Time To Buy". All are either stupidity or wishful thinking. Brokers and financial planners don't want you to find out that they don't know either so they come up with great stories about the equities they recommend. Unfortunately, when the stock or fund heads down it becomes one of those buy and hold situations and they tell you that you are "in for the long haul" and "the market always comes back". I hope that by now you have learned this is not true.
When there is a secular bear market, as I believe we are in now, it could be many years before we get back to "even". Last year 96% of all stock equity mutual funds lost money and the average fund lost 21%. These are times when the only safe place for money is in cash - a money market account. For the previous 3 years money in your mattress outperformed the stock market by 40% and for lots of folks much more. Here is one your broker will not tell you - Cash Is A Position.
The first thing you must learn about investing is how to protect yourself from losses. I mean big losses. When I was a floor trader on the exchange I lost on about 40% of my trades, but I never lost much. I came to love those little losses because I still had almost all my money available to find a better position. One that would make money.
Almost all of the magazine writers, talking heads and brokerage analysts are professional losers. It is easy to prove because they never tell you where to sell what they are telling you to buy. If you don't go in with a plan to protect your money it is like a general who goes into battle with no plan for retreat should he find he couldn't win the battle. One of the simplest money savers is the 10% stop. It you buy a stock or no-load mutual fund you should not take more than a 10% loss. This will leave you with 90% of your money that could find a real winner. The small losses will never break you. It is sitting with a loss that gets bigger and bigger and bigger is the one that will ruin you.
Learning to love the little losses will make you rich.
Author of "If It Doesn't Go Up, Don't Buy It!"
Never lose money in the stock market again.