Getting Even

 

I know there are a lot of you out there who would like to "get even" with the stock market. Many are on the diet of "I hope, I hope". As a professional trader I can tell you that diet will make you very sick.

If you play any game of chance like poker you know you are not going to win every hand. In fact you are going to lose more hands than you win, but at the end of the evening you can still come out ahead if you know how and when to bet and when to fold because it is not always in the cards that you have been dealt.

The same applies to gambling in the stock market. Oh, did I say a bad thing? Al, go wash your mouth out with soap. My broker says buying stocks is "investing", not gambling. And pigs can fly. Wall Street is just Las Vegas East and like poker you can be cleaned out. Oh, you already know that - in spades!

The teachings of Maul Street are that you buy a good stock or fund and hold it forever. They did not tell you that you may have drawn a 2, 6, 10 off suit and there is no way it will be a winner. They never tell you to fold your hand (sell). At least you are not losing money every time a card is dealt. With stocks they deal a new card every day called a price change. If the stock, fund or index you own goes steadily down over a period of time don't you think it would be wise to fold your hand and sit with your chips?

No, your broker will never recommend this because he gets paid every year you have your money "invested" in something, anything except a money market. It may only be one percent, but the brokerage company can live off that even if you can't.

I know, you are telling me you are "in for the long haul". What Wall Street genius thought up that one? In this high stakes game you must remember it was to leave with more money than you started and not to go broke or stay even. When the market is going down you want to be OUT, not sitting there every day hoping (and praying) your shares will go up. They won't. Like poker you have to take a small loss and wait for a better hand which may be quite a while. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE INVESTED ALL THE TIME. Many times cash or bonds will make more money than owning stocks.

When the market is going down even the best stocks will fall. Understand you are not going to win every pot. Small losses will not hurt you. It is the big ones that can wipe you out. Know the amount you are willing to risk when you buy any stock and fold when that loss limit is hit.

You are not investing to "get even".

Copyright 2005

 



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