Monday, April 6, 2009

What 11 years of Stockmarket investing has taught me

This might be depressing or revealing or both but hang on dear readers you just might learn from my experience.

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If I knew what I know now before I started investing in the stockmarket 11 years ago would I still invest today?

I think that is a really good question.

Again it is a question of long VS short term investing.

The first stockmarket investment I made was quite large at the time. It was around 90% of what I owned at the time. I bought 9600 Telstra shares in March 1998, from memory at about $3.9o something, and sold them 4 days latter for $4.47. I made around $4000 very quickly and got bitten buy the stockmarket bug.

The brokerage was around 600 bucks, no internet trading and getting a broker was akin to joining a secret schoolboy club.

My second investment was made in 1998 (7 April to be exact), was for 1000 shares in the Restaurant Brands [RBD.NZ] IPO at NZ $2.20 per share. If I had held on until last week I would have been able to sell RBD shares at around 80c each. If you include dividends and tax credits totaling around $1.20 I would still be short 20c per share! (see chart below for the sad story)

I sold out years ago at around $1.30.

Interesting that I was to pick the buy and hold approach to investing because since these two purchases stockmarket investors have seen:

*The Asian meltdown of the late 1990s
*The tech bubble bursting in 2000
*9-11, where stocks dropped afterward for many months
*The accounting scandals in America in 2002
*2007- ? The credit meltdown and associated recession

I have learnt along the way and I am still learning.

I bought one internet stock that I lost money on (around $3000) sold all my shares on September 11 and lost a little and then started investing in Sky City Entertainment [SKC.NZ] shares in 2002 and then sold during the accounting scandal for another small loss.

Looking back I can see how much of an A-grade moron I really was.

I shouldn't have bought the internet stock, that was greedy and I shouldn't have sold in 2001 or 2002. They were mistakes but I learnt from them.

I started my current portfolio in 2002 and haven't looked back since. Seven years latter it is still in the black (when dividends and tax credits are included) even after all the recent stockmarket calamity-among the worst in living memory-and I am looking forward to a good return as the years go by.

It took me until 2002 to develop my investment strategy, a full five years after my first stock purchase, and it has been from my mistakes that I have learned the bulk of what I now know.

I knew nothing of the stockmarket 11 years ago, the most I had heard or seen about it was when I saw Michael Douglas in Wall Street 10 years previously and even then it was as foreign to me as a brain cell is to Al Gore.

After 11 years, knowing what I know now would I still invest in the stockmarket?

I will keep you posted.

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Related Amazon Reading

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition) (Collins Business Essentials)The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition) (Collins Business Essentials) by Benjamin Graham
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c Share Investor 2009

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