When I started trading stocks on August 1st, 2012, my primary goal was to have a savings account that would provide an opportunity to increase its value over time, rather than sit ideally by.
Now, cashing out completely on February 14th, 2014, I’m proud to say, in that regard, it was a successful endeavor.
Could it have been more? Of course. Were mistakes made? Many. But unlike many who paddle out into the stormy waters of Wall Street, I survived and came back better for it.
Over the past 16 months I’ve woken up feeling like I won the lottery and gone to bed distraught at losing hundreds on the day. It definitely takes an emotional toll and I’ve grown personally connected to each stock I’ve ever held. They all have unique personalities and they feel like real, tangible people that I’ve met and dealt with.
Clearwire ($CLWR) – My first buy. You had so much potential and if I were a more patient man you would’ve helped me more, but your volatility and unpredictability made a blockbuster win become just a minor one. You ended up getting bought out for $5 a few months after I sold you, and while I was proud of all you accomplished, it was my first taste of true disappointment.
Galena Biopharma ($GALE) - I’m not ready for you yet. We’ll come back.
Medical Marijuana ($MJNA) / Growlife Inc. ($PHOT) – My first, and only, and last, experience with penny stocks. I never thought I would be so excited about a stock hitting $0.36 as I did when MJNA was rising 15% a day for an entire week. I, also, never thought I’d feel such terror as you came crashing down 50% in a single day. You made me scared to use the rest room knowing at any moment you could lose everything I put in. Ultimately, you were two of my biggest losing sales and most amateur moves.
LSI Corp. ($LSI) – My first attempt at a ‘technical trade’. I studied you for a week, looking for the perfect chance to strike, waiting for you to bounce off a support price, cross a moving average, and be ready to pop a short squeeze into the moon. You plummeted, I sold out at my stop, and you promptly went up every day for the next week. Go to hell.
Pandora ($P) – My first two day trades. You lost me money in the morning but you gave it all back to me in the afternoon. While I ultimately made a minor profit, you gave me my first thrill of day trading that would be my downfall. Watching you cross profitability and cancelling out my morning losses was one of my favorite moments from trading. I will listen to a sad ballad station in your honor.
Galena Biopharma ($GALE) – No, no, still not ready.
Twitter ($TWTR) – Probably too emotional of a play, not enough research, but a quick morning loss on a swing play is not the best way to start a day. You will be a $100 stock someday though and I love your product, but I knew nowhere near enough about you as a stock to have made this move. Lesson learned.
Buffalo Wild Wings ($BWLD) – My first big earnings play. I researched so much, felt so confident in this play and ultimately it was a win, just not in the quantity I had hoped. Unlike…
Zillow ($Z) - You beat expectations and still went down. Another reminder that the more you think something is true, the more likely it isn’t.
Angie’s List ($ANGI) – I don’t even want to talk about you.
Regal Entertainment Group ($RGC) – Record box office results last year, little to no regional competition, and you miss earnings by a tonnnn. Ultimately the trade that pushed me out. Also learned an important lesson about selling out and how ‘market price’ can fluctuate so much in the time it takes to fill out the sell form.
Galena Biopharma ($GALE) – *deep exhale* … I can’t hate you because you were by far my biggest win. My longest held position at over 13 months, there was a time when I thought I’d be naming my boat after you someday. You were also one of the most controversial stocks in social media and I enjoyed defending you against bears and high-fiving in your honor with bulls. Every morning you’d be one of my first tabs to see what kind of day it would be. Watching you pull a short squeeze made me feel invincible and watching you fall off a cliff set an emotional toll that would be difficult to bury. Ultimately, you deserve credit. You turned my pennies into quarters and will be contributing to my upcoming wedding. While I may not thank you in the speech (you would’ve had to hit $10 for that) I will publicly acknowledge you here and say, from the bottom of my heart/wallet, thank you.
While I’m disappointed to be out of the game, I’m grateful for the mental vacation. Knowing that you have real, tangible, money going up and down on a daily basis was beginning to provide a level of stress that I have never experienced in my life. Dreaming about green and red arrows is not something anyone should strive for.
I do know that stock trading is something I feel I can be successful at and will continue to improve on. I will 100% be back at some point and, by then, will have matured enough with this experience to not let the weight on my shoulders burden me on a daily basis.
“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” – Ayn Rand