So quite a few years have gone by now since I started investing, and I often wonder what I would do differently if given the chance.
The first thing, would have been to avoid investing in individual stocks right off the bat. Trying to forgive the movements of individual stocks is something that takes practice and knowledge. Even with that knowledge it is still quite difficult to master the game of trading individual stocks. I would definitely have started out with a simple index fund or exchange traded fund if I was starting over again.
Secondly, I would have learned how to use stop-orders and trailing stops immediately to keep my losses to a minimum. For all the new investors reading this I can not stress the importance of learning how to use stop-orders and trailing stops to your advantage. When you start to take your own emotions out of your selling tactics you will find you make more successful trades. Investors who simply rely on themselves to sell stocks that are going down tend to freeze. They hold onto stocks way longer than they should have because of the belief that the stock has to ever come back up in price. The problem is the stock may never come back up and now you have your money tied up in a losing stock. However, if you have a set automatic selling trigger to cut your losses quickly; then you can reinvest that money in a stock that may be a potential winner instead of a loser.
Lastly, I would have controlled my own personal greed much better then I did originally. When I first entered the stock market I wanted that big quick payoff, and then I quickly discovered those big quick payoffs are far and few between. Smaller stable trades pay off in the long run much better than swinging for the fines with every trade. Investors who invest too much money in any one stock will actually suffer a huge loss that may potentially wipe out months of profits.
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