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What Was Your Worst Investment Mistake in 2009?

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In 2008, nearly everybody made bad investments. By comparison, 2009 was a complete delight.

Still, investors made mistakes. Even with the huge rally, some stocks, including Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO  ) , MetroPCS (NYSE: PCS  ) , and Apollo (Nasdaq: APOL  ) , managed to drop this year. In addition, Treasury bonds, which rode high during 2008, also knocked investors for a big loss this year.

What might have been
Personally, though, my biggest mistake this year was in cutting my winners short. The decision to take some profits on part of my positions in Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) and Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX  ) well into the rally seemed like a no-brainer at the time, but those stocks just kept going up. Similarly, I trimmed my holdings in junk bond mutual funds and some international bonds, figuring that gains might well prove short-lived. Although that didn't cause any losses, the opportunity cost of getting out too early was extremely high.

There's a lesson in that. Plenty of investors are smart enough to buy top performers like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR  ) , and a good number of them earn decent profits from them. But only the most disciplined, patient investors stick with those winners for the long haul, squeezing every penny of potential gain out of their shares and turning a modest winner into a gold mine for their portfolio.

How about you?
But we want to hear from you, and we're willing to sweeten the pot to make it interesting. So here's the pitch: Leave us a comment below telling us about your worst investing mistake this year and the lesson you learned from it, in 250 words or fewer. Do it before 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 17, and you'll automatically be entered into our Worst Investing Mistake Contest. Our editorial team will select a winner from the comments we receive.

If you win, we won't give you back any money you lost on bad investments -- sorry. But we will give you a one-year digital subscription to our Motley Fool Income Investor service (a $199 value), which will give you full access to winning advice on income-generating investments like dividend stocks. With lead advisor James Early and his team on your side, you'll make a lot fewer mistakes in 2010. Read the complete list of contest rules right here.

Mistakes are only bad if you don't learn from them, so don't hesitate -- tell us yours today!

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has made his share of mistakes. He still owns some shares of Starbucks and Freeport-McMoRan, though not as many as he'd like. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and Starbucks are Stock Advisor selections. Apollo Group is an Inside Value recommendation. Good or bad, the Fool's disclosure policy tells all.

Read/Post Comments (189) | Recommend This Article (36)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:08 AM, naFOG wrote:

    I started buying before March, but continued buying through March, so that can't be my biggest. I'd have to say the biggest mistake I made was not having enough cash on the sidelines. I was able to take advantage of the low prices and obvious buys in some areas, but had to pass on others due to lack of cash.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:08 AM, Turfscape wrote:

    My worst mistake was not acting. On three occasions I sat on the sideline instead of getting money in the game...and then watched those stocks grow just as I thought they would.

    Missed opportunity. Sad, but not permanently damaging. Still other opportunities out there!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:21 AM, chaimyl wrote:


  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:23 AM, winegeekster wrote:

    My worst investing mistake was, well...investing. I ignored (until recently) putting aside 3-6 months worth of living expenses in my money market fund. So going forward I am building up my cash reserves by setting aside a set amount each month that will remain untouched unless needed. My "wake up" call was my wife's $700 Rx for an ongoing issue and as these "uncontrollables" keep coming at me, cash is needed...since you never know what will come at you next...

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:24 AM, BMFPitt wrote:

    I went short on some big overpriced zombie banks in the late summer thinking there was no way this sucker's rally could last much longer. I'll never again doubt the power of irrational exuberence, even in the middle of an epic recession.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:26 AM, techphile wrote:

    If the right thing to do as an investor is be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy, then I missed an incredible opportunity in November-March to put a much higher capital allocation into tech stocks with terrible sentiment. Premier companies that were trading at <1x revenues, 5-10x earnings estimates that were clearly beatable. Had I taken my tech equity allocation higher, from 30% to north of 100% of capital (still sensible given the huge margin of safety in stocks like AAPL at $80 in Feb with $40 cash), this would have been the year of a lifetime from a performance standpoint.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:26 AM, TMFBoiseKen wrote:

    2009 was a great year to be an investor and it was really hard to make a mistake. All of my mistakes came prior to March 2009. I jumped on the early parts of the stock market crash and shot nearly all of my bullets with the DOW between 10000 and 8000. Those look like solid buys now, but boy-o-boy do I wish I had kept more cash around for March. Luckily, I was able to make small purchases at the market bottom (like KHD at 6.86 -- thanks Hidden Gems!, and Starbucks at 9.16) that have turned nicely. Next time we see a mighty pullback, I won't be so quick to unload all of my sidelined cash. I'll be extra greedy and try to catch a bit more bottom.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:33 AM, steadyme wrote:

    I am a Bank of America customer and have always received great service from them. I knew in my heart that they would survive the economic tsunami. I watched the stock price plummet, waiting for the perfect time to buy. When their stock price dropped to below $5.00 I still did not pull the trigger, for fear it would drop more and become worthless and for greed that I could make more money if I waited for a further drop in price. So, like a deer in headlights, I waited for the perfect moment to buy and instead got hit with the hard reality that I missed out on the whole moment.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:34 AM, tcvdavid wrote:

    Easy question! Worst mistake was not committing cash in March and allowing myself to be scared and believing that the Dow could go to 5,000 or less! I had originally thought that 7,500 would be the bottom and put cash to work in '08 when it dropped below that level. It looked good for a while until it retraced and looked to be headed into the abyss. Cheap stocks can always get cheaper, but if they are trading at a discount to their intrinsic value, you should feel confident in buying it and holding it until it reaches or exceeds that value. I didn't have enough conviction to fully follow this advice and have lost out on a terrific opportunity.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:34 AM, lancekull wrote:

    I did not pay attention. I moved my funds to my broker and let him handle my retirement funds for the entire year. I did not notice that he had stuck the entire balance in cash and missed the entire move up since March. I called him on it in late July, and he apologized, saying he wasn't paying attention to the market. So what am I paying him for? He is the pro -- but I was the fool.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:36 AM, WizardofMe wrote:

    My biggest investing mistake was not becoming an investor sooner! It wasn't until August that I caught the investment bug and in reading and learning, realized that I would be in much better shape had I been stricken a few months earlier. Having come to terms with this side-effect (I keep telling myself there are more recessions to come) I am in the game and going strong, thanks Motley Fool!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:38 AM, Whitlatm wrote:

    My biggest investment mistake wasn't my fault---really!!!

    With prices so low, I was buying solid investment stocks (i.e. million dollar portfolio picks) with every dollar I could lay my hands on.

    I probably should mention here that my employer was one of the few that allowed their 401k participants to invest in individual stocks through an investment vehicle called brokeragelink. There lies the rub. They very unexpectedly decided that they would only allow mutual fund investing going forward, AND said we had 90 days to liquidate our holdings in individual stocks!

    I obviously cried loud and long to anyone who would listen that that was a TERRIBLE idea, and convinced them to at least give us longer to liquidate.

    Well, long story short, the time to liquidate was runnung out, so I sadly and reluctantly liquidated all of these great stocks, many at a loss.

    THEN, 3 weeks before the deadline, they said they had reconsidered and we could take until the end of NEXT year to liquidate!

    ....Sigh....(mutter, mutter...)

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:39 AM, steadyme wrote:


    Continued from above,

    The lesson I learned,

    Keep my eye on the big picture long term rather than focusing on a few pennies in the short term.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:49 AM, noryakerson wrote:

    My mistake was that I got so caught up in trying to scratch together money for investing during the March - September timeframe, that I lost sight of the immediate threat to my financial well being--credit card debt. I've reversed course, and paying off the cc debt is my primary objective now, but the money I invested in stocks could have gone to paying off a $5,000 chunk of this debt that was in a 0% account, which jumped, per its terms, to 12%! Lesson learned: pay off debt and sock away some cash first--then invest.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:50 AM, leosell wrote:

    I made a combination of mistakes. Like the commentator, cutting short a few winners like CTRP (recently got out at $68).

    Otherwise, it's been more a matter of missed opportunity. Got in to CAT at $26 back in March, then decided within a day or two that the sector wasn't going to go anywhere. (Now it's at $58). Thought about CREE in May, at $27 but didn't buy. (Now it's at $52).

    Lastly, I bought a couple penny stocks (DWR and TECI) and then didn't pay much attention.... small buys, pretty much totally lost.

    But, OTOH, the rest of my portfolio is in great shape. Some super returns. Some in the mid-range. A few dogs. Just waiting for a trend or for the long-term gain before selling.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:56 AM, Hawklet wrote:

    My worst mistake was not trusting all the research that I had done. I had bought shares of Apple in March 2008 at around $120, rode it all the way up to $190 and then watched it fall by more than half. The whole time, I knew that the company was firing on all cylinders and had done nothing to warrant the drop, and that the investment thesis was even better than when I originally bought. Yet I couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger on buying more shares in the $70s due to fear over the general economy. As a result, I missed the opportunity to watch even more shares rise to over $200.

    My take home lesson: Do the research, and be willing to trust your conclusion.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 10:35 AM, catoismymotor wrote:

    My 2009 was outstanding. I am almost certain that I will never have another year with returns like this. The only dark corners in my portfolio were CRDN DVN and UNT. I sold those at a loss but used the money to buy Chinese small caps that treated me very well.

    My 2008 was not such a good year. Experience for me is the best teacher. And I was schooled harshly about buying into bubbles. As a result I bought The Intelligent Investor by Graham, jumped into the blogs on the TMF and read, read, read. For a while I kept stacks of pages printed on promising prospects that were in turn covered by my own handwritten notes. My wife liked to poke fun at me when she would find them around the house.

    I will remember the last sixteen months as the most educational, enlightening and important time in my investing experience. The lessons learned will be of benefit to generations to come.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 10:52 AM, alon2k5 wrote:

    My worst investing mistake in 2009 ? Is made up of 12 'small' mistakes:

    January - I did not invest new money due to memories from Oct 2008

    February - Slept through the winter, no new money invested

    March - The pain on old invested money was too strong to put in new money

    April - No new money invested, I was waiting for the continuation of the March downhill

    May - After a 40% jump on my old invested money. Is this the best time to put in new money?

    June - You must be joking, the market is way too high NOW to invest fresh funds

    July - with the summer so close, surely new money should be invested in the coming vacation, right?

    August - Nobody invests during the summer vacation, do they?

    September - All right, I'm ready to invest, but have no money set aside for that (remember the August vacation?)

    October - I'm ready to invest, I have the money to put in, but everything looks either expensive or not worth investing

    November - AAPL just reached $200, you have to be crazy to buy into this.

    December - Here we are, and my money goes into…AAPL

    Lesson learned - Always stay invested, keep on investing every month of the year, forget the excuses. Still go on vacation with the family

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 11:12 AM, Fool wrote:

    I was greedy and wanted to day trade AIG. Then the reverse stock split happened. With my money in this stock, and my face in my hands, I lost 40% in the blink of an eye. Lesson: don't let greed overtake the fundamentals of sound investing.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 11:26 AM, demoledor wrote:

    I almost don't dare to tell, but my biggest mistake is hard to beat: I was scared when everybody else was, and could not resist more: Sold all my positions on March 9th 15 minutes before closure (true, I promisse), and did not have the guts to get back in after a long time (when Mr. Market had recovered way-way too much to be obviously cheap)

    It is a shame, and this lesson I will never forget.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 11:27 AM, millsbob wrote:

    like many here, i fired all my bullets before March. but that's just market timing, and after all, the saying is "buy low, sell high", NOT "buy lowest, sell highest", which of course you can never do.

    but my biggest mistake that Could have been fixed was not pulling the trigger on BYD, Ltd. i was already following battery technology, because it is absolutely fundamental to future energy structures. i Knew Buffett was taking an interest, And that he thought the CEO was the best he'd ever seen.

    so in January it was sitting there at 12.50 the day i really started thinking i should do it. i would Definitely have bought if i could've done so online, but it was on the Hong Kong exchange and i didn't make the phone call to find out how. it jumped up 5% the next day, and i thought "hold off 'til it drops". it's now at 68. duh.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 11:35 AM, jman814 wrote:

    My biggest mistake was NOT investing in Diedrich Coffee. The stock was at .21 cents back in March and now Green Mountain is buying Deidrich for $35 a share. $10,000 investment would have made me a millionaire.............oh well.............hindsight is 20/20 everyone.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 12:30 PM, rednow wrote:

    My worst mistake was selling my last 100 shares of Apple on 4/24/09. I had bought them in the late 1990s, at around $10.90 per share and sold them for $124.50 per share. A nice profit, yes, but I had only intended to sell 50 shares.

    I was too quick to click the "enter order" button, not once, but twice on two different pages. Patience, when doing anything on my computer, is not one of my strong suits. I immediately bought 50 shares back at $124.49, and paid fees for each transaction.

    I have loads of patience when dealing with developmentally delayed children, no matter how "old" they are.

    Since that day, I have tried to have similar patience in other parts of my life, to curb my impulses to be quick on the trigger, and especially to be more deliberate when executing on-line transactions.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 12:37 PM, c5700 wrote:

    My worst mistake in 2009 was not buying AMZN. This is a stock I have long thought about owing, but it always seemed too expensive and there was always a lingering concern that it's business model did not have a wide enough moat.

    As the stock price started to tumble, I decided that once it reached $30 or less, I would buy. Now, I actually went ahead and "bought it" on CAPS for somewhat more, but in real life, I wanted it cheaper. After falling into the high 30s, AMZN started to go up.

    I kept thinking that it had to drop, but no such luck. So, I started thinking about buying higher....once it comes back to the low 40s. But, it goes higher....too high I thought; it's got to "correct". So, now it's about $ less than a year. Sigh....Well, at least it's helped my CAPS rating!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 1:40 PM, kentrades wrote:

    I bought MSFT on June 24 as a long term value investment at a good price. I don't normally use stop/loss sell orders but the market was volatil and I was going on vacation. I placed a stop/loss order and left. Two days later on 22 July the price spiked down just barely reaching my sell price. Lesson learned---listen to your fool advisor don't use stop/loss orders on long term value investments. I never got back in and now watch MSFT soar.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 2:20 PM, Fool wrote:

    By far the worst was Valero (VLO)

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 2:35 PM, ablga wrote:

    my biggest mistake was not having my Roth IRA, my trad. IRA and my old company 401k fully invested in the 1st Q'09.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 2:39 PM, mattinct wrote:

    Buying SIRI at 0.11 a share and STILL hanging on to it COULD be my worst mistake... greedy? yes...

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 3:14 PM, gmangroup wrote:

    Worst mistake of 2009 was fearfully bailing out of Oshkosh. On my watch list for some time - bought sizeable position late October 08 at $7.50..then watched it drift down to mid $5 few weeks later. Read about internal accounting issues and doubtful military contracts and bailed the first weeks of January at breakeven - only to see it rise to $40 the following qtrs. Should have held to my convictions. Have made good trades with msft, mo, rsg, aapl, aeo,but OSK is the one that got away!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 3:23 PM, Bamafan68 wrote:

    My biggest mistake was emotional trading after reading one too many zombulation threads from permabears on MF. I realized some short term gains on AMEX and LEU after their volatility during the spring made me nervous, but I knew at the time that the companies were undervalued. I let my emotions get the better of me. I am much better off thinking like an investor, not a trader.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 4:51 PM, muddlinthrough wrote:

    UNG in June @ $15.

    Not buying CAT or SLB at that time...


  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 5:01 PM, TMFTypeoh wrote:

    Worst investment mistake? That's easy. I have allowed myself to be anchored to too many stock prices this year, waiting for a pullback when i should have been buying.

    For example, CGA was recommend to us Global Gains members when it was trading around 3 bucks a share. I didn't have any cash on hand, and when i did the stock was at 6 bucks a share. Tim Hanson recofirmed his buying rating, even calling it a best buy now, but i was waiting for the return to 3 bucks before i would pull the trigger.

    What happened?

    I finally bought some around 12 bucks a share, and it still turned out to be a great investment!

    Did i learn? Of course not!

    I read the free commidity report by the Fool, calling for Compass Materials to be a great investment, and said to buy below $58.

    Well, once again, i had it in my mind that I couldn't pay $62 for a share, ill just wait for a pullback.

    Where is it now?


    I missed an easy 10% gain because it is so hard not to anchor your thoughts to a specific price.

    Lesson learned, Motley Fool. Keep the great recs coming, and I'll do my best to listen....

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 5:06 PM, flhstc wrote:

    The worst investment I made was to blindly buy into Gamestop Corp. I have lost about 50% on this recomendation this year. After the drop in stock I have gone back to my own way of evaluating stocks (which makes no sense to anyone else) but makes me very comfortable.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 5:09 PM, sanjay102 wrote:

    Didn't invest more money in companies like C, ARM, LAVA, CDNS, MENT, MRVL, NVDA. All these companies stocked have increased more than 50% in this year, some are even more than doubled.

    Had I invested more in these companies I would have not only recovered the loss from selling HPY, SNHY, IBOC etc but have earned more profit by now.

    However I am not regretting as I'll use this simple lesson in the next bear cycle. Also I'll be more active in fool board and read monthly newsletter thoroughly.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 5:19 PM, celem wrote:

    Selling Covered Calls on pharmaceutical company ACADIA Pharmaceuticals (ACAD). I bought at its peak, sold my calls and proceeded to see the stock plummet and then continue to drift lower and lower. I still like to sell Cover Calls but in 2010 will avoid pharmaceuticals and stick to solid companies that have reasonable but not greedy option premiums. An overly rich option premium is that way for a reason.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 5:23 PM, rbenesh wrote:

    My big mistake was trying to get a better price on AMZN when it was at $79... the next thing I new, it was in the stratosphere and I have nothing to show for it!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 5:24 PM, Rumpleforeskin11 wrote:

    Dumb, dumb me.

    I got into REITS too early and was clobbered, and then I searched for REITS with low debt levels and they had already left the train station and I didn't want to overbid for them. Then I bought a storage warehouse stock just after it took off and I ended up riding it down.

    Lesson learned: Go with the trend, my friend. And don't chase anything, as my friend Tiger Woods has learned as well.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 5:29 PM, lennysims wrote:

    I sold some winners to get into cash, in case there was a bigger drop coming. those winners have kept on winning--the biggest seed.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 5:31 PM, bglaze250 wrote:

    My worst mistake was selling HTE two days before their sale was announced - missed out on 32% upside.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 6:11 PM, blesto wrote:

    My worst investing mistake in 2009 was not paying enough attention to my health. Even though I have good insurance the bills I still had to pay ate into the cash I would've used to buy during the lows this year.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 6:27 PM, ynotc wrote:

    Not investing.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 6:34 PM, richie54 wrote:

    Not buying last March.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 6:39 PM, Aerobatix2 wrote:

    Quite simply it was investing in GM. Even with the dire predictions I just simply refused to believe that an old and respected company such as GM would leave its investors hi and dry. So I held on much too long and wound up with about 20 cents on the dollar losses.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 6:44 PM, ihtfp92 wrote:

    I decided to play the earnings announcement game by buying a long strangle on Google just 2 days before quarterly results were to be published, and with only one week left on the options. I figured that they had made so many surprising announcements in the past they were bound to say something good or bad this time.

    Well, they did - announcing *both* good and bad news, which left the stock price quivering between the strike prices and led to the very rapid evaporation of both option premiums. If I had gone to Vegas and lost that much so fast at least they would have given me a few free drinks.

    I should have used a reverse iron condor - limiting my downside risk if nothing significantly net positive or negative happened. Even better, I should never have engaged in such blind speculation in the first place.

    Of course if I had guessed right then I would be congratulating myself for being such an astute investor (positive reinforcement can do such wonders for the human ego).

    This was an exercise in gambling - not investing. It taught me an expensive but powerful lesson about doing my homework and waiting patiently for the right opportunities to become available. Thus chastened I was able to make a very different purchase of a long call on Microsoft when I felt that the market was being far too pessimistic about potential Windows 7 sales.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 6:54 PM, katie7ch wrote:

    My biggest mistake of 2009 was not having confidence to hold stock picks that I thought were good. I am a small investor. I sold 300 shares of TCK at $6.8613 and I sold 300 shares of HGSI at $1.92. Yes, I have shed a few tears over this, even though I did sell them at a gain. At the time, I thought any gain was good, and I had listened to the bears too much. I did re-enter these trades later on, but could not buy the same amount that I had before for such a great price. It is a tremendously painful lesson to learn. I am learning to fail forward, though, and I hope that 2010 will be an even more successful year.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 7:02 PM, StuckinSATx wrote:

    My biggest investing mistake for 2009 was actually made in 2008. We carried over high interest, bad debt, from foolish (and not the capital F kind) spending and spent all year paying this down.

    Needless to say, I had no opportunity to Foolishly (now the good kind) invest in the market, thus missed out on plenty of ripe opportunities.

    2010 will be different -- projected to be free by April, and will hopefully have a nice solid investing year (certainly to be made all the nicer with a feature rich newsletter, such as Income Investory).

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 7:03 PM, Zaneyjaney wrote:

    I'm a Newby to the Fool community and to investing in individual stocks this year, so it's hard to find a worst mistake. My worst investment mistake could be not investing enough, although being new at this, and on a steep learning curve, I believe caution was warranted. Jumping in and having fun with it was a huge leap of faith for me. I doubt I'd have had nearly so much fun if I'd jumped in last year! The important thing is that I found the Fool community and took the plunge and invested!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 7:21 PM, fred666 wrote:

    My worst mistake was bailing on Apple @ $82 a share when I reasoned that it was on the way down and Steve Jobs' health was going to bring it down further. O woe is me.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 7:23 PM, MAURIZIO400 wrote:

    my worst mistake was sellin amzn at 118 to buy aib above 7...

    had a great run on amzn from 48$ but at 118 i got too fearful wen everybody else was gettin greedy and did not wait to read the sa take on amazon and sold. bad enough i missed sellin at 141$, i also got too greedy too soon and didn't even wait enough for others to get fearful enough and bought aib over 7 and to make a dumb move dumber i already had a position in aib that was already 10% of my investments. result m under of all the gain on amzn and then some.

    m pretty confident that aib will recover, but...i really XXXXit up.

    lesson learned?

    maybe to not get too fearful even when others are getting greedy, but take it easy and think twice before acting.

    and then not get soo greedy soo fast maybe.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 7:35 PM, mrbill6 wrote:

    I held onto FUN, riding this rollercoaster stock(no pun intended, well maybe I did intend it LOL)up and down and down and down, believing that the dividend would save me. I know now that a good dividend is NOT a good reason to hold onto a stock heading south. Sigh

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 8:00 PM, Fool wrote:

    Mistakes? Me make mistakes?

    Oh boy and how - sold MED at 8 for small profit but look at it now!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 8:06 PM, kajupa wrote:

    Not maintaining reasonable stop losses (actually I didn't even know how to set them up) on my positions to prevent riding almost all of them down to the March bottom. I may miss some upside in the future, but I'll never drop like a stone again. Thank you CGA and other China stocks that I DID put new money into!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 8:24 PM, NewOldMoney wrote:

    Buying 20,000 shares of AIG @ .39 (before reverse split) and selling for $1.20...yes, profitable but holding a little longer could have made a huge difference.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 8:24 PM, DivMonk wrote:

    My largest mistake was letting others change my opinion on my own holdings even though my original investment thesis hadn't changed. Worse yet- I recognized this mistake intellectually before I made it but still did it!

    Back in October, small-cap Chinese stocks across the board dropped drastically for no apparent reason over a number of days. 5% loss one day, 6% more the next, then 7-8% the next. I searched for news on China yet found no reason for this to be happening. I viewed it as a great chance to increase my share in these companies, as the fundamentals hadn't changed. But then on the fourth or fifth day, some of my companies dropped by an additional 10%! I began seeing people here on CAPS say that they were all over-valued, that China's bubble was bursting. My stocks were all reasonably valued I thought, yet days of hearing this started to wear on me.

    Long story short, I sold some (luckily not all) of my Chinese positions. I figured maybe I wasn't experienced enough for that level of risk, and that I had gotten in over my head. Most of the positions have rebounded well-past where they were before they fell, so I'm in the green but not as much as I should be.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 8:25 PM, xetn wrote:

    Selling XTO at $40.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:25 PM, jerryguru69 wrote:

    Not Buying FOOLX during the pre-offer.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:27 PM, DaytonFlyers wrote:

    When you think you had a bad day, week or year, just remember you could be Tiger Woods

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:31 PM, stephencmyers wrote:

    Refusing to sell that down stock because you were sure you could make your money back!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:34 PM, kansasav8r wrote:

    My biggest mistake was adding to my position on Sprint-Nextel (S) during the mid-Summer run-up when the Palm Pre hit the streets. Since then the stock has dropped over 25% and continues to hoover around the $4.00 range. I ended up buying a Palm Pre because of all the hype and now wish I had gone with my instinct of buying an iPhone. What a sorry excuse for a smartphone. Now I understand why Palm's stock has tanked.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 10:05 PM, tkell31 wrote:

    Having money on the sidelines, but not having any idea about how to evaluate companies for investment purposes. As a result, even though I got in at the bottom, my investments underperformed. I wasted the easiest opportunity in any investors lifetime by not being prepared.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 10:05 PM, JackVers wrote:

    I agree with you on FCX. When it got above 70 I had a nice profit and got out. Since then it has continued going up. My mistake was getting out too soon.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 10:06 PM, drkazmd65 wrote:

    Buying DSTI at $1.50 back in March,...

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 10:10 PM, vminehan wrote:

    I put 10% stops on all my stocks and got sold out on just about everyone. When I got called I stayed on the sidelines to wait it out. I bought back in on some of them and got about even but missed out on any gains. I should have stayed with them but got nervous. I have never seen such volativatie.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 10:10 PM, dividend123 wrote:

    My worst mistake was holding on to city group C hoping that it would be a bounce back while the indications pointed otherwise.

    my nextmistake wasnot buying ba bank of america when it was $4 and change

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 10:14 PM, TheLudicFallacy wrote:

    Adding to FMD, which turned a 60% loss into a 97% loss, enough said.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 10:40 PM, TheLudicFallacy wrote:

    FMD - adding to a position that was already down by 60%, turning it into a 97% loss

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 10:46 PM, rmg1440 wrote:

    Biggest mistake was selling out of Southern Copper...when they chopped their dividend, I sold.

    I should have held on, the stock price increase would have justified holding.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 11:11 PM, nickey2009 wrote:

    well it happens many times but now i am happy that even though i am making some losses that is due to market volatility,, but still able to remain in squaring it..guys work hard on portfolio

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 11:24 PM, Tacomatight wrote:

    Biggest mistake-

    Listening to fools who said the world was ending. This caused me to pull out several times since March. I still made tons but could have done better by sticking to my gut that the market was ridiculously oversold and that the economy was simply resetting itself. I also sold SBUX too...haha. I'm the only fool to blame for that.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 11:50 PM, BFH300a wrote:

    I was trying to get SIRIUS, but just couldn't get an edge.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 12:53 AM, dollarpuppy wrote:

    Yes, I sold FCX in the $50s. Yes, I sold half my AMZN in the $90s (and sold the other half soon after when it leapt above $120). And my PCU in the high $20s. I sold my ING at $12 instead of holding to $15 (though given that it's below $10 now, I'm satisfied).

    I still feel good about all my "sell high" moves. My biggest mistake was hesitating to dump a loser.

    I opened a lot of new positions between Sept 2008 and March 2009, buying in halves or thirds all the way down. I was okay with seeing them all in the red, and it paid off when almost all of them were up by April or May. There was one stock, though, lagging behind the pack: ERTS.

    I bought my first shares of Electronic Arts around the time of the Spore release hype (not being diligent about fundamentals back then). After watching it lose 40%, I "doubled down". (My friend even told me that very day to "be careful about throwing good money after bad", but surely it can't keep going down, right?)

    I finally sold my ERTS for 30% total loss in April 2009, after coming to terms with the problems of the company. I resolved to re-invest the proceeds into a stock that I thought was a bit speculative, but undervalued with a lot of potential to grow. I picked RMBS (and I'm currently up 27%).

    My mistake was being more concerned with "winning" on ERTS than with cutting my losses. I wanted my original pick to be right, even if my thesis didn't hold water, even if it was still a dud 40% lower than where I first bought.

    And, having learned this lesson, that's why I don't mind "selling high" instead of "selling highest" on AMZN, PCU, and FCX. I sold when I felt the stocks were overvalued, and there were far better values I could invest in by re-allocating capital.

    Moral: Never double down on a dog.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 12:57 AM, goldenvb wrote:

    This is an interesting article and I am glad that most of the fool members only had a loss in their profit unlike me.

    There were number of mistakes made this year like throwing out all my fundamentals and liquidating hard earned portfolio from last 6 years in end of Feb, moving all my future pension and investments in 401K to CDs, not having the guts to buy things back till late Oct even after convincing myself back in June that there are solid undervalued companies, losing more money this year due to former investments in REITs, and the list goes on...

    Hoping that my small investment in MDP fees is not another one of those :-).. just kidding...

    I am glad to join a strong community of Fools, learn from others and build a secure future for my kids.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 1:29 AM, chocolatecoins wrote:

    This is a great topic. I could feel all the pain reading my way down. I made many of the same mistakes or noticed mistakes I've made in the past.

    I've been investing for some time but didn't subscribe to a fool news letter until mid this year. Not doing so before was a mistake as I've been able to make some great improvements in my portfolio since. I've also learned enough to do my own research so I can make informed investments.

    I bought into AIG and held until the split when it continued to drop I panicked and sold just before it started to go back up. My biggest mistake was buying that POS. I bought it based on a recommendation on the radio.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 3:49 AM, wwt17 wrote:

    that's easy! ran out of money on a buying spree before the bottom really fell out. but that's not really a mistake since no one can foretell which way the market will go. so that means my biggest mistake must have been taking profit too soon because i thought the market was ready to sell off. wait, not a mistake again, because we just don't know which way the market will go. so my mistake must be looking back on my decisions and thinking i made mistakes rather than just moving on.

    happy holidays everyone!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 4:31 AM, JakilaTheHun wrote:

    I hit it big in 2009 and I earned a 100%+ return. But I could've done better.

    My biggest mistakes:

    (1) Being too hesitant to build larger stakes in Colonial Properties (CLP) and Agree Realty (ADC). I recommended going long on both, but was afraid to put too much into them. Actually, there was a good reason to be hesitant on ADC, but not so much on CLP.

    (2) Never examining General Growth Properties till it had already climbed back over $10

    (3) Raser Tech (RZ)

    I lost on a few others, but I generally believe I made the right move when I did --- just didn't work out. I'm definitely not dissatisfied with a 100% return, but I do felt like I could have improved my performance from that significantly.

    I feel like the biggest "no brainer" move of the year was going long on Brandywine Realty Trust (BDN). Great company --- the market had beat the stock into a pulp at one point. There was never any real risk that they would go bankrupt. I plan on staying long on it for several years.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 5:58 AM, towny45 wrote:

    My worst mistake was thinkinbg GM might make a worthwhile investment. I made money on Ford but got greedy thinking GM would make it!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 6:19 AM, hooba wrote:

    not buying enough...

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 6:47 AM, VGFORBES wrote:

    My best and worst in 2009 followed on each others heels. I bought Apple at 92....Oh yes!!!! Then the news and worries about jobs kep looking worse and I bailes out at around 88...and stayed out at 120 I started saying I should be back in,,and at 130-140 and so on.......I finally bought back at 179 rode it to 195 and bailed again.......we are only talking a few hundred shares , but...oh the money left on the table

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 9:22 AM, lobo52 wrote:

    no one thinks it was a mistake buying into Allied Irish Bank? Come on!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 9:25 AM, johnpeterdouglas wrote:

    When very green I followed a pump and dump for UOMO left it overnight and lost most everything. Also placing puts on the FAZ after March 9th. Numerous errors on not watching closely enough when stocks took off and dropped back same or next day.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 10:00 AM, marginjim wrote:

    A Fool article in late-March, suggested that Sprint-Nextel might benefit from the upcoming health care reform The reasoning made sense to me; so I bought 5 October$7 calls and paid for them by selling 4 May$5 puts. The calls expired with Sprint at 4.88 but the loss of $125 was covered by the expired puts. But I wasn't through. Bought 20 October $5 calls. Sprint was at 3.74 when they expired for a $300 loss. Not done yet, I sold 5 Nov $5 puts and bought 5 Nov $7 calls. With S at 3.79, the calls expired and the puts were assigned. Down another $480. It's been a great year; so it's probably good to be reminded that bad decisions compounded by pig-headedness can be costly.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 10:00 AM, tbarth42 wrote:

    Worst mistake? We bailed out the banks so certainly the feds would step in and help the auto industry right? I looked at Ford and GM but purchased 100 shares of GM. Thankfully I got out at just over $1 a share but have learned a great deal. Like, really looking closely at the balance sheet

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 10:07 AM, tomigurl wrote:

    Man, I almost posted that my worst mistake was an investment I made in CSE, but that was way back in 2008, and you want my worst mistake in, time flies, doesn't it? Anyway, if I made any mistakes in 2009, I'm unaware of them. I hung on to everything I had in 2008 (except for what MDP told me to sell), and things seem to be doing okay--except CSE!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 10:42 AM, brusteph wrote:

    I did all my due diligence, I thought, with Gamestop (GME) and got creamed on some call options. I researched the company, its' management, visited stores in different parts of the country during my travels and used my intuition about video games.

    I believe VG's would be growing and liked the sell, rent, trade strategy of GME. They were rengotiating their rent across the country to cut overhead. I concluded that they would be super-dominant in the field. I even examined Wal-Mart's potential effect on their business and decided that they didn't have enough titles to do to GME what they had done to Blockbuster and other DVD vendors. There were too many games that acconted for the total business for them to outsell GME on just the few titles they carried. I believed that, even if the xmas business wasn't super, GME would have a good season.

    I was very wrong. What I didn't take into account was that event though Wal-Mart couldn't hurt GME too much in volume of total games sold (also, they don't rent or trade), the could, and did, cut the prices of the bestselling games. This generated WMT an enormous amount of publicity and panicked investors who believed that GME would be crippled by either losing sales, or matching prices. Both of those scenarios would severely hamper their holiday business. I don't think their revenue will be affected that much. Sales in volume and revenue are affected, but it's not the disaster that has been reflected in the stock price.

    The bottom line was tying my calls to xmas. If I had bought them into 2010, the real and psychological effects would have been minimized and disappeared respectively. I also would have taken a hit on the stock, but long-term it would have been a blip. I just flat out missed a scenario because I didn't think it through. Anytime one commits to a retailer with a time-sensitive trade you have to take WMT's potential actions into account. They could squash any specialty retailer in the short term by doing something that is very small in their world.

    Live and learn.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 10:47 AM, ArgusPanoptes wrote:

    as of today, my biggest mistake ever has been Helicos. HLCS. But i hope to retract that statement in the future. I'm sitting through a beating on it

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 10:53 AM, DebtFreeDave0 wrote:

    My biggest mistake, like the author of this article, had to be selling too soon. I bought Netflix in Oct '08. By March I had seen it go up 70% and I decided to sell most of it and get my initial investment back. It was at $38 then. Now it's up in the $50s and I'm wishing I didn't sell.

    What I learned from this is that I need to do more research in my buy and sell decisions, and not feel rushed to make those decisions based on quick gut feelings. If I had done my research in March, I would have realized that Netflix was still in a very healthy position and is poised to go higher. However, at the time I was feeling like if I don't act quickly, it's going to fall back down and I would have missed my chance to sell at a high price.

    On the brighter side, I still own some Netflix and have benefited from it's continued growth, but I can't help feeling like I cut my gains too short.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 10:53 AM, wildbill09 wrote:

    That I didn't sell all of my stock portfolio in January and buy it back in March and April.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 10:59 AM, Centerline75 wrote:

    Worst "investment" of '09

    Buying 5,000 shares of DRYS @ 12.00 in late January and still riding them. Maybe it is time to cut those losses and put the remainder in SLW or HL or AGQ.... how about XRA ??

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 11:09 AM, SweetMircha wrote:

    What was my worst investment mistake in 2009?

    1. Fearing that the market was going to crash in November.

    2. Because of no.1, I sold my shares in KFT,HNZ,WMT,TGT,TJX,UNP,IBA,COST,NSC,ADBE,MRK,DIS, SAP;TSX, CANADA BREAD;TSX, amongst a few others; albeit at a profit.

    3. I had planned on holding these stocks as a long term investment but a very bad vibe caught me and I caved in and sold them all. Some have since risen substantially since Nov.

    A VERY BIG MISTAKE DID I MAKE. I'm now trying to buy them back 1 by 1 if they drop down to my selling cost or less.

    Many regrets on my part. I'm a real FOOL.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 11:10 AM, garyleif wrote:

    I was lucky and started buying in February and did awesome. Somehow, when I was looking at companies, I found a web site called "Penny Stock Chaser". What a big mistake... There data led me to invest $32K in two stocks that plummeted. As I looked into their web site I found that they were given free stocks to write great reviews on these stocks, CVRG & HYGN. I will be lucky to get $3K at the end of this year, but my gains greatly outweighed this bad one. Lesson I learned is to do better homework and trust only a few, like Motley...

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 11:37 AM, blaueskobalt wrote:

    CDBT--which no longer exists. I purchased for some 35 cents per share, watched it double then fall to under 20 cents before unloading.

    The trap was that it looked incredibly cheap by P/E, P/S, P/B and other such metrics, but (I guess) these numbers were fudged...or something...

    Either way, the stock no longer trades, and I encountered several red flags (at which points I could have sold for a gain) that I ignored:

    1) I emailed the company thrice regarding a recent capital raise, but I never got a response

    2) the CEO and CFO resigned

    In retrospect this loss seems very stupid, but as a novice, I suppose I must learn some lessons the hard way.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 12:08 PM, caltex1nomad wrote:

    North American Galvanizing and Coatings (NGA). Down about 30%, but will hold and wait for a turn around in Oil Services.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 12:18 PM, CMFStan8331 wrote:

    My worst mistake was losing patience and closing out positions on a couple of small companies that ened up skyrocketing later on. I should have taken fewer profits and traded less overall, making incremental sales when necessary to keep cash at an optimal level.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 12:40 PM, SuperchargedMR2 wrote:

    Biggest mistake:

    Stampeded out of virtually everything in a panic the day before Halloween. Thought we were sinking and went all cash; if I'd sat tight the stops would've done their job and I'd still beholding the cream of that portfolio.

    Biggest lesson:

    Unnecessary activity (and its concomitant commissions) is the small investor's biggest enemy.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 1:15 PM, chumchingee wrote:

    I invested in a 3-bedroom brick ranch home. It was in almost new condition for a $140,000. I paid cash. The home had a 3 car garage in back with a black top drive leading to the garage in the back. A 2 and 1/2 car garage is attached to the house. I have lost money as the house is now probably worth $130,000 due mainly to economic conditions in the area.

    I would still buy it because it provides a decent home for my wife and grandchild.

    Someday, when the banks and governments become a little wiser, they will correct the stupid mortgage conditions that have led to this economic disaster. I would suggest turning all 30-year balloon mortgages into 40-year fixed rate mortgages at a similar or same monthly payment. That would stop the foreclosures cold. The bankers would win, and so would the public. AS it now stands there is an average of one foreclosure on any street in Midwest town, USA. That makes Real Estate a bad investment short term. It also leads to the complete collapse of our economy.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 1:34 PM, Makmak8M wrote:

    Not trusting myself and my research led me to selling HGSI early, and missing 930% gains. I didn't lose money; I still made a little, but I'm still struggling with figuring out the point at which to sell. This did teach me that when buying a stock I believe it, I have to trust my instinct and stick with it. But that gain would've been great to add to my house downpayment account!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 2:23 PM, Shawnerz wrote:

    My biggest mistake of 2009?

    I bought COMS (3COM) back in 2007 trading at about $4.30. Over the next 1 1/2, I rode it down to $2.30. Early this year it started going back up. It got up to about $4.10 and I thought it was as high as it was going to get-so I sold it in April. Now, it's up to about $7.50.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 2:33 PM, ramblinche81 wrote:

    My biggest mistake was I listened to the expert advice from the investment firm who told me I was over exposed on international funds and I should cash out half to better balance my mutual fund portfolio for domestic, international, cash.

    Domestic up 30% YTD

    International up 70% YTD (thank you weak $)

    Cash - 0.7% after fees.

    It only cost me about $70,000 the difference between 70% and 0.5%.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 2:35 PM, stagedec wrote:

    I started investing in July 2008, so I was lucky enough to still have a relatively large cash position in March 2009. I bought up Apple, Netflix, Whole Foods, Goldman Sachs, Marvel, Dolby, and a few others. OK, enough bragging :)

    My biggest mistake was selling Netflix just below $40. I'd already made a 100% gain and got antsy to take profits. Big mistake. It's recently topped out at $60. A much smarter play would have been to either sell a small part of the position or buy puts. Now I'm stuck: I want to have Netflix as a core position, but I don't even feel comfortable nibbling at these record high prices.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 2:50 PM, aggiewes wrote:

    I'm a new investor and started in June of this year. My biggest mistake was not joining in march when the company that I wanted to buy HP was at i believe $25 a share.I thought at the time it would go even lower turns out it went the other way.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 2:50 PM, aggiewes wrote:

    I'm a new investor and started in June of this year. My biggest mistake was not joining in march when the company that I wanted to buy HP was at i believe $25 a share.I thought at the time it would go even lower turns out it went the other way.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 4:20 PM, ziq wrote:

    Like, probably 1,000,000 other investors: not putting in enough new money when things were in the flusher. I knew perfectly well things would recover--maybe in a month, maybe in 5 years, but eventually. But they could have gotten worse. So, I committed new money with caution. Too cautiously, it turned out. I could have afforded more, and afforded to take on more risk, I just didn't have the stomach. I'm looking at modest gains now, but it could have been a windfall.

    Of course, I could just as easily have taken staggering 1929-like losses after thinking we were about at the bottom, and be writing about that.

    At least I didn't cash in all my holdings and wait for things to get back to "normal". I may have been born at night but it wasn't last night!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 4:25 PM, 1232152314235 wrote:

    not buying on the May/April low, so in not buying on the bottom.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 4:25 PM, 1232152314235 wrote:

    Not buying when the market was at it lowest.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 5:19 PM, sweettea2u wrote:

    Listening to the nay sayers when they said the Dow would hit 1500.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 6:11 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    1. Not keeping enough cash in reserve as many others said. I guess that is a rookie mistake. Actually, I sold some stocks I bought last year for a loss to have cash to play with, which turned out to be the best decision I made. Made my losses back several times over.

    2. Being too timid. 2008 left me a bit gun shy- I identified many good trades and talked myself out of them.

    3. Trading a company that I knew was crap. I traded in and out of DRYS several times and made a few thousand on it. Last time I bought it right before they diluted the stock even more. Took my loss and vowed never to trade crap stocks again.

    4. Being antsy. Sometimes I am just in the mood to buy or sell, and I made a trade even though I KNEW the time wasn't right.

    5. Not making the time to do pre-market trading on a regular basis. Many times a stock will move then, if you wait for the official open you may miss lots of the gain.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 6:26 PM, dmduffy wrote:

    The worst investment mistake for 2009 was staying on the side lines.

    I felt that the news of companies making profits with the economic news of individuals did not make scents.

    The unemployment rate was increasing, and the nation debt was increasing, but somehow companies were making profits.

    I felt that profits were being made by cost cuts, and not increase in sales profits.

    I felt that the market was a rollercoaster ride I did not want to get on in 2009.

    My fear of the rollercoaster ride kept me away from the market and I was just content with not losing money.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 6:28 PM, dmduffy wrote:

    The worst investment mistake for 2009 was staying on the side lines.

    I felt that the news of companies making profits with the economic news of individuals did not make scents.

    The unemployment rate was increasing, and the nation debt was increasing, but somehow companies were making profits.

    I felt that profits were being made by cost cuts, and not increase in sales profits.

    I felt that the market was a rollercoaster ride I did not want to get on in 2009.

    My fear of the rollercoaster ride kept me away from the market and just I was just content with not losing money.


  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 7:14 PM, lawyerjeff wrote:

    My biggest mistake of 2009 was not adding even more GE and HRPT at market lows. I owned HRPT at 10 to 12, and bought more shares between 2 and 4. My total cost for the all shares I now own is less than what they are listed for, but I held back on loading up. I was looking at GE as a dividend play, and bought shares between 6 and 10. I thought I should do more, but held off. Nice ride with what I did buy, though.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 7:16 PM, irish77777777 wrote:

    Probably not buying Netflix which I know and use and instead buying Stryker which has been languishing while others are moving.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 7:24 PM, howsjimm wrote:

    My worst mistake for 2009 was not making time to invest for myself.

    I was too caught up with activities to justifiy my department's continued existence as my company went thru 2 rounds of major re-org (no thanks to the Financial Crisis). Missed the greatest investment opportunity window for 2009 & still lost 50% of my organization.

    On hindsight, I should have given equal time & energy investing for myself & my company.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 7:25 PM, PSU69 wrote:

    Great question and I love the comments from the Fools! My worst investment? Made two trips to Europe helping a client who promised several good things. As their business in Europe got worse, management changes hit. The new players did not embrace the agreement of their old boys. I got caught with a lot of expenses and a few good friends who may be helpful in the future. If I had invested that travel money in AAPL, CAT, AMZN, MWA, PLNR or others (rather than my ego runs to Europe) I would have fewer frequent flyer miles and a larger portfoliio.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 8:56 PM, Tripler76 wrote:

    I'm new to investing but thought I'd done enough 'research' to believe I was smarter than the Fools on here and could really make some quick gains trading penny stocks with my new margin account... LOL ... got a lot of 'advice' from various stock promoters and now have HALF the stack I started with just a few weeks ago...*sigh* Afraid to tell my wife, since she was convinced I was going to lose it all in the first place.. what to do??!??

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 10:05 PM, Chinastocks55 wrote:

    My biggest mistake?

    Not buying enough China Kangtai Biotech .

    CKGT.OB stock page in NY Times:

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 11:52 PM, DownEscalator wrote:

    1. Selling FCX once it hit 55 ("the worst 100% gain ever").

    2. going short on the whole market in June.

    3. not trusting my gut and buying gold sooner

    4. Not pulling the trigger on LVS <2.00

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 12:16 AM, goalie37 wrote:

    My biggest mistake this year fortunately didn't cost me much money. After years of being out of the market due to personal financial problems, I finally got back in. I received an unexpected, decent sized check about a month ago. I immediately opened an online trading account.

    With years of study and years of being an active Fool, I rushed out and put my money into the GLD (gold tracking ETF). This goes against all my investing principles and all my common sense.

    For about 3 weeks I stared at the 24 hour commodity and currency charts, feeling like I was watching a roulette wheel that never stopped. I watched with increasing uncomfortability as my thesis for an upcoming gold bubble unravelled. I even watched an hour of "Fast Money."

    A few days ago my better nature got the best of me. I dumped the ETF at a very small loss and put the money into a good old Graham and Dodd type stock. Within seconds I felt better. I don't know if my stock will outperform gold in the near term, and I really don't care. As a Fool, I have learned the value of a good night's sleep.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 12:16 AM, pt722 wrote:

    Not listening to Warren Buffett saying (and being reported in MF) that it was the best time to buy when things were at their worst. I am a fool, for not paying more attention to Motley Fool!

    Should have, could have, ergo, would have had- more gains!

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 6:07 AM, MDForever wrote:

    Worst mistake: Not buying Ford or Palm in March '09.

    Second worst mistake: Buying Nintendo

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 8:58 AM, dexter7590 wrote:

    I made several mistakes and not sure which was the worst. I heard the siren's call to penny stocks that logically were poor investments; I made good investments but sold too soon; I didn't take advantage of what I thought were great buys because of the fear mongers in the financial community, ie, Starbucks under $10. I'm not sure I want to be crowned the greatest fool of all. In spite of myself, it was a good year. Thanks, MDF.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 11:20 AM, ikkyu2 wrote:

    The biggest mistake I made was buying GM. The next biggest mistake I made was not selling it, over and over, because I believed that GM was too big and to good to fail. I eventually got out at $3 a few days before it really did fail, for a 96% loss.

    What I learned: when the income statement shows a $68 billion loss, no, that's not impossible, and no, it's not just an "accounting change." The figure was so large that I didn't really believe it could be real. Now I know better.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 12:41 PM, Classof1964 wrote:

    My biggest mistake had two parts: I held a very large block of WBS that I had inherited, disproportionate to my other holdings, because I assumed that as a regulated bank stock paying a good dividend, it was a conservative investment.

    I learned the hard way that everything needs to be proportionately diversified; that apparently safe dividends can be radically cut; that bear markets follow bulls and, as bull markets do, go to extreme levels; and that politics, ideology, and special interest legislation in Washington can be disastrous to long term investors and the financial markets.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 1:16 PM, revman1 wrote:

    My biggest mistakes was buying SIRIUS stock(1000shares) thinking when they merged with XM it would hit the roof by not having compation,also buying Fannie mae thinking they were to BIG to fail

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 1:28 PM, johnis9 wrote:

    Investing in Citi is my worst decision for this year. I should have chosen a better pennty stock.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 1:35 PM, Gmanetly1 wrote:

    Buying HOTT. I'd been researching dividend stocks for my youngest son's UGMA. When I opened one for my elder son (15), I bought PEP with half the money and let him talk me into HOTT with the other half. Not so good.

    Buy what you know...

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 3:44 PM, Windsun33 wrote:

    My biggest mistake is timing. I always seem to get out too soon. For example, bought 5000 shares of Ford (F) at $.97 in March (I think that was the first time in 50 years it had dropped to under $1). Sold them all at $2.37 because I **KNEW* it could not go much higher (closed at over $9.40 today).

    Since then, even when I think a stock is getting close to the peak, I don't always sell it all at once, but pull out the profits first, then wait and see.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 4:20 PM, JaysRage wrote:

    Biggest by dollar amount was letting a few pennies get between me and increasing my APWR position by a factor of 5. Twice.

    Doing the same with NHYDY was the second worst.

    Not a bad year when your worst moves were missed opportunities.

    Worst buy was CCGY, mostly due to timing. Still own it. Still like it. Timing was horrible. 1/10 the financial impact of the either of the other two, though.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 5:13 PM, smankle wrote:

    I've only been on the market for a year and six months. I've made some really good calls, and some super bad ones.

    Among several mistakes this year, one that still bothers me something fierce was picking shares of AEA in January and February for stupid cheap.

    Then I paid too much attention to a sudden but temporary dip caused by bears scent-marking the news in mid April, and closed out my position. I made my first profit, but it's gone up quite a bit since then. My sense of greed is displeased.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 5:20 PM, smankle wrote:

    Buying AEA in January and February, then panicking from bears scent-marking the news in mid-April and closing out the position. I made my first profit, but I was upset for being too easily influenced, especially since AEA recovered its dip in a day or so. It's up rather more since then.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 5:53 PM, eekthecat wrote:

    My biggest mistake was only taking about a 65% profit on Barclays (BCS), when I could have more than quadrupled my money if I had held it longer.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 8:01 PM, masterN17 wrote:

    This year was my first year, so it was a good beginner's entry :p

    I wish I bought Ford at $2. It was so obvious to me but I just didn't pull the trigger. I need to grow bigger investing balls :p

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 8:35 PM, ojdrew wrote:

    Buying garbage companies on the verge of bankruptcy. CIT & ASPI

    That's gambling not investing.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 9:03 PM, ozzfan1317 wrote:

    Selling FORD, Not having enough cash in march, Buying Ebix at its highest point instead of waiting for a dip.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 9:04 PM, ozzfan1317 wrote:

    Selling FORD, Not having enough cash in march, Buying Ebix at its highest point instead of waiting for a dip.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2009, at 10:00 PM, djkumquat wrote:

    i bought AIB at the start of the year for $1.59, enjoyed the ride up to nearly five bucks, then rode it back down and finally sold for $3.50. all in about three months time. i shared this story with my old man, and he said, "what are you, nuts? you get a 300% run that fast, take it!" i figured he was right, so later this year, i sold ACFN, CHS, and SWIR after 300% returns, even though i was sure they had a lot more room to run (ok, i never saw chicos going as far as it has). had i held on, i would have seen at least 600% returns on each stock. point is, i should have stuck to my original game plan, not some arbitrary percentage. i can't complain too much, since taking those profits helped balance out big loses on GE (average purchase price: $28), CPSL, KEY, ACH (china really screwed me this year), and a lot of other companies i bought by the boatload at the very beginning of the global economic crisis. you know, when they were a whopping 20% off. my portfolio is currently up, i feel good about my positions, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. this past year, i've heard that buy-and-hold is dead, go long, buy gold, don't bet against the dollar, there's too much market volatility, we'll be back to 13000 by year end, the other shoe is about to drop, and so much more. anyway, as my dad likes to say, "now you know the price of free advice!"

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 6:48 AM, ayaghsizian wrote:

    I never leave comments on these articles but this topic is all too familiar to me. On a good note I did sell every stock and mutual fund I owned when the Dow was around 11,000 in 2008. Not because I was smart but because I was scared.

    From October to March I was so excited to be out of the market because of all the money I saved. Maybe $50,000. My wife and I used to Hi-Five each other in congratulations when the market would drop hundreds of points in a day. We agreed that when the market goes down to 5000 we'll get in bigtime. Well, we waited too long. The market never went down that low.

    In 2009 we picked a few winners instead of dozens of winners and our total wealth has increased 5% instead of 50%.

    Lesson: There are many companies (ISRG, AAPL, EBIX) that should make me smile when their stock price goes down because I should look at it like a short term sale on a long term company.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 10:29 AM, thespartacus wrote:

    Abercrombie and Fitch. Was featured as an affordable blue-chip, but bottom was still falling out when I bought it. Still up in my portfolio but this one stock has kept gains painfully mediocre despite some significant work to make otherwise correct selections.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 11:58 AM, kingofcancel wrote:

    My worst mistake was anticiaping the down market and investing in bonds. My corporate bonds were down about 40%, but I begin liquidating and buying into eguities starting in Jan.

    The bonds rebounded nicely as did my stocks, but probably a bigger mistake was investing in GE which has performed like a lead anchor. I will continue to hold it because I believe it is a $30 stock with issues.

    The year was tough on me as I am approaching 65 and it killed me to see my portfolio cut in half, You just have to remain calm and have trust in the US economy as the greatest capitalistic market in the world.

    King of Cancel

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 12:11 PM, doseagles wrote:

    My worst mistake was not buying Ford at $1.56. My second worst mistake was selling what I did buy. I made about $20,000 on it but, if I only had it now...

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 12:18 PM, doseagles wrote:

    Having made several mistooks in '09. Maybe not listening to my son was the worst. He had researched Dana at $.20, yes that's 20 cents. He figured it was going to do real well after Chrysler was bailed out, since Chrysler is their biggest customer. It was $9.63 on Thursday or Friday. I could have been a gazillionaire.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 12:51 PM, britpick wrote:

    Easy - in March I moved all of my 401k into capital preservation, long after the capital I wanted to preserve was gone! Then left it there for 6 months thereby missing most of the big uptick in the market. In my (small) non-401k portfolio I rode Citi all the way down to sub $4 from a cost base of nearly $50

    Woe is me

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 12:54 PM, albersdg wrote:

    Reading Motley Fool.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 12:57 PM, stratman2k wrote:

    My biggest mistake was taking stock advice from friends. They had it wrong both ways, when to hold and when to fold. Had I done exactly the opposite, I would be holding two solid blue chips at a 35% profit instead of worthless, bankrupt small cap gas operators.

    Guess I am a certifiable fool!

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 1:06 PM, Isabellej wrote:

    I took profit on Green Mountain Coffee after it tripled, keeping only a third of the stock. Definitely a wrong decision. My only very small consolation is I have losses to balance on my taxes. (I'd rather have the stock!)


  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 1:07 PM, ARJTurgot wrote:

    Ever investing in any airline, although I've made good money off of some of the support functions they've spun off. UAL will never be a healthy company, but they have enough mass to drag most of their competitors down with them. Throw in some corrupt national and local governments that run airports, bingo.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 1:18 PM, TideGoesOut wrote:

    Greed. Twice this year I was bit hard by not taking a profit when I had a gut feeling I should do so, and in both cases I took a 20% hit (GSAT and SWHC, if it matters).

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 1:24 PM, bosoxfanme wrote:

    My biggest mistake this year was getting scared out of the market in March, just at the time it headed back up and then trying to play ketch up in the fall. Big mistake, got to emotional and lost discipline at the wrong time. If I had stayed put I with my stocks I would be ahead of the sp500, intstead I will be downfor the year.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 4:03 PM, PhulishMortal wrote:

    My biggest mistake in not getting started on reading Ben Graham's [i]The Intelligent Investor[/i] until just a couple of days ago. I cost myself the benefits of some valuable insights from a true professional for too long.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 5:23 PM, busterbuddy wrote:

    My biggest mistake was not buying more ATT when the price dropped. I'm a battle scared believer in Dividend paying stocks. And Not invest more in ATT was a mistake. When large caps stocks yield 2% more than 10 year treasuries they are a bargain over the long term. The problem with investing in no paying dividend stocks is you have to sale to realize the profit and then what do you buy. And Central limit theorem tells us that you are not going to be right more than 40% of the time. So Dividends paying stocks don't give you quick big returns but they do provide you a sound foundation.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 5:47 PM, JohnQuill wrote:

    A "mistake" is when you fail to learn from your experience. A "mistake" is when you do something that cannot be undone. A "mistake" is when you confuse the map with the terrain.

    I think it's wrong to consider a few bad choices on stocks, or especially on a few missed opportunities, as mistakes. In fact, I fully expect to lose on about four out of ten stocks in my portfolio. Remember, you can only lose 100% on any one stock, where as a few winners now and then can go up several times your initial investment. Is it a "mistake" to have purchased a stock in 2009 that lost 50% of its value? What if you sold another stock that went down even MORE in order to buy it!

    Back in March, we could have bought an ounce of Gold for about $900. But what if we had sold Human Genome (HGSI) in order to buy that gold?! Today gold is selling for $1100 per ounce, but HGSI went from fifty cents to over $25 per share! We should be extremely careful what we call a mistake!

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2009, at 8:24 PM, Fool wrote:

    I thought Washington Mutual (WM) was going to get Government assistance. When the buzz started going around the stock took a mighty leap forward and then crashed, burned and disintegrated

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2009, at 1:02 PM, BornIn1985 wrote:

    My biggest mistake was selling all of my stocks - BWLD, AX, TLF, and a few other stocks that were recommended in several Premium Newsletters at - and investing it into penny stocks!

    After taking huge loss (-80%), I decided to invest what little that remained into a girlfriend.

    She ended up giving me the just friends then I almost spent everything I had on her. Oh yeah, did I mention that I was a starting college student back then?

    Yes, I did mange to graduate. Now I am a Business Analyst at a leading bank in the Middle East.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2009, at 1:54 PM, LAURABB wrote:

    Not converting an old 401K to a Roth IRA when the market was down last spring.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2009, at 3:25 PM, alexxlea wrote:

    Not being a GS parter or higher.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2009, at 3:25 PM, alexxlea wrote:

    Not being a GS parter or higher.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2009, at 4:36 PM, bammerone wrote:

    My biggest mistake was sticking in an agressive trend mutual fund. Quaker Strategic Growth. Lost 60% of the value (i bought in late 2008) and is back up to losing just under 50%.

    My best move was making purchases of SO, PG, (staying in) JNJ based in part on INCOME INVESTOR research and background. Added to my other Dividend favs (MO, MMM, ECL, ZNT) My portfolio - which I stayed in equities the whole time - is reviing back up.

    Also had some nice acquisitons and wicked good short-term gains from ICOC, MIC, ARLP, CVH, HIG and RPV.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2009, at 5:50 PM, jm7700229 wrote:

    In April, I moved about $150k from a traditional tax deferred account into a Roth -- the first time my income level has been low enough to do that. I limited the swap to keep me from maxing my tax bracket. Now I wish I had swapped the whole account (actually, several) since the runup since April would have regained what I would have lost to taxes.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2009, at 8:57 PM, Fool wrote:

    simple. NOT investing. feeling kinda dumb about it so subscribed to Motley Fool to get back in the game.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2009, at 9:29 PM, rle1875 wrote:

    I could kick myself. I bought KMGB=KMG Chemical at 12.71, then it dipped to 15.00. I held till it came back up and I sold for a break even. Then it shot up to 19.00. I still may buy on a dip and hold it.

    It has good earnings.

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2009, at 12:52 AM, flabanker wrote:

    Biggest mistake is investing in individual Chinese stocks. Too volatile! researching BRIC ETF's now instead to spread the risk and still capture some upside.

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2009, at 4:52 AM, Shmakistan wrote:

    Speculating in Activision options before the release of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 with my entire portfolio and wound up losing 2/3 of my investment capital.

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2009, at 9:46 AM, myorgensen wrote:

    Gambling on Washington Mutual and then having the government interfere forcing a sale making my stock basically worthless. Timing the market has always been a multi-faceted research approach taking into account multiple variables but now has gotten even more complicated with the socialist democrats in power right now and their redistribution of wealth agenda. Be very careful out there. Bad things on the horizon with all this deficit spending.

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2009, at 10:49 AM, plange01 wrote:

    3 bankruptcys in the works for 2010 .sirius soon to be delisted and long overdue. this one has seen very special treatment by nazdaq but its losses are still hertz hedge fund controlled and extremely poorly run with huge debt to top it off. after a reprsie in 2009 as car rentals did fair this has already changed and this one wont be able to keep up with huge debt payments.last the one you already know! GM the disgraced automaker living off taxpayers welfare checks.its losses grow by the day with no chance of a change.this one should have been closed months ago but its never to late!!

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2009, at 6:16 PM, nPuffer wrote:

    Biggest Mistake..........BUYING ON MARGIN

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2009, at 8:55 PM, 1022ThirdAvenue wrote:

    The absolute worst:

    My wife sold everything at the nadir in January.


  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2009, at 9:29 PM, mhonarvar wrote:

    bought Gneral Growth Properties at .68 then sold at around $3 thinking it had gone high its around $10!?!

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2009, at 11:33 AM, QuirkyWorky wrote:

    La-Z-Boy went down to $.70. I saw where it was, I was watching it. I didn't buy. It's now exceeded $10. I'm a dipstick!!

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2009, at 3:35 PM, jgb919 wrote:

    I thought this was the year of the sponge! I got into reading the forums on google, and got excited about a pink sheet SPNG, and decided to invest 10k in their superior sponge technology. Then they got banned for not reporting at 10q, then they got sued, now SPNG is worth .04. I learned don't invest in OTC penny stocks.

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2009, at 3:43 PM, plange01 wrote:

    my worse investment ever the bankrupt disgrace GM! i am working hard to see to it that this company closes for good as soon as possible...

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2009, at 10:01 PM, FlyingRiki wrote:

    I bought Thielert two days before they declared bankruptcy. I thought I had done my due diligence and they had long term contracts for a couple different major customers with an excellent product. Turns out the owner was stealing from the company and they folded. I'm not sure how to avoid the same mistake again? I'll look harder next time, must be a rookie mistake!

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2009, at 11:46 PM, garifool wrote:

    Ironically, my worst investment was International Shipholding (ISH).

    Ironically, because my pitch on this stock was quoted lengthily by a Fool article about ISH "5-Star Stocks Poised to Pop: International Shipholding" .

    Got in twice, and got out twice, the first time with a moderate loss, the second time with a much bigger one.

    Was the fact of being quoted by Fool (an article that one could find on so many financial sites, probably because there where so few news about ISH) flattered my ego and made me stick too long to it?

    I still believe it is " Poised to Pop", but I guess I was * way too early*. "No news is good news"?

    Now might be the time to jump in but 2009 was definitely not!

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2009, at 10:10 AM, spcalan1978 wrote:

    January 2009 - Marriage and Job working out wonderful.

    March - Found out my wife had 10k in hidden debt

    April - Lost Job

    April - Figured good idea to pay off all debts with 401K balance

    May - All bills paid off!!! No retirement,, but no bills.

    June - Found out wife has been having an affair

    July - filed for divorce

    August - Got tax bill for $14,000 ( state and fed and penalty )

    September - Divorce final - lost truck but kept house

    December - refinance house to get her name off of it - which cost me $6,000

    January 2010 - starting over from scratch

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2009, at 12:54 PM, plange01 wrote:

    starting to look like we can add yahoo to the growing list of 2010 bankruptcys that already has..GM,moodys,sirius,hertz and rite aid on the list

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2009, at 1:29 PM, Ironbob wrote:

    AIG before the reverse split.

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2009, at 9:05 PM, devilzadvocate wrote:

    Made the same mistake that many above mentioned.. I didn't save enough cash for March. I bought all I could in December'08-Jan'09 thinking we were close to bottm.

    I am not going to complain as my portfolio is up 50% for the year.

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2009, at 10:00 PM, 1wayout wrote:

    One of my worst investment mistakes (so far) was deciding not to sell a position because I had already calculated my taxes and didn't want to recalculate them. I was holding a long term position with a 95% loss, when the stock price suddenly started climbing for no reason. In one day the price went up 525%, with an astronomical increase in volume. My loss was completely wiped out and I was showing a reasonable annualized gain. However, it was near the end of the year, I had already calculated my taxes and didn't want to go through the trouble of recalculating my gains and possibly paying more taxes, so I just crossed my fingers and hoped that the price would hold until the new year started. Big mistake. Within a few days I was back to a huge loss, without any indication that the stock price would start climbing again. So, lesson learned, even if I have to pay a few dollars in a capital gain, that's better than watching a position go from almost a complete loss to a satisfactory gain back to a huge loss. Next time, just pay the piper and be thankful.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2009, at 4:08 PM, st93ct9u wrote:

    I got greedy on covered calls. I first learned about them in January. I sold calls on most of my stocks and made a good bit of extra income. Which was great. I did this throughout the year and probably made about $10k just through covered call income (and stocks called away).

    Then in November I started looking for stocks to buy ONLY for the covered call income. I bought some risky biotech stocks which had calls where you could make 15-30% in one month. Well I learned the hard way why you can make so much money selling those calls. 2 of the 3 stocks I bought tanked on not getting approval for their drugs. One of them fell from $7 to $1.80 overnight (3 days before call expiration). It wiped out my gains from the calls from the rest of the year.

    Now I'm back to just selling calls on the stocks that are worth owning.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2009, at 12:06 AM, Krabfive wrote:

    I sold Ford (F) wayyyyy too soon. I bought at 2.66 and it seemed to take forever to even reach my starting point. When it went up 20%, I sold it.

    Fortunately, I am wiser now, and I'm sure I reinvested that money in something else.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2009, at 1:04 AM, Keith09 wrote:

    I am the biggest fool of all time I held on to double leverage short ETF's SRS, REW, and short basic materials and got my ass handed to me. I took 15K in July 08 bought it up to 50K by Nov 08. After that my portfolio just kept going down day after day. My biggest mistake was listening to advice from internet investment services (not motley fool) to continue to short the market. I made bets on put options that worked out well at 1st and then failed miserably. I just kept hanging in there and I am now down to 9K. And to add insult to injury I paid thousands of dollars for this investment advice. I continue to beat myself up about this but I guess I have to lick my wounds and move on. I am now like a deer in headlights completely confused, frustrated and disgusted with myself.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2009, at 4:09 PM, potente wrote:

    I was doing great this year, averaging down on my existing stocks, selling puts, I was feeling great seeing my portfolio coming back to life, then in July, I thought I would give my portfolio a boost, and I tried out Well, that's been the biggest investment mistake of my life. His reputation at the time, according to the members was very good, and he was convinced it was the the time to take any profit and start shorting the market. So I exchanged stocks that were moving up, for garbage such as FAZ, SRS, ERY, FXP shorting anythig from material, emerging markets, to real estate, to everything ... shorting individual stocks, buying short etfs, double and triple short etfs. Well, I lost 60% in 2008, and 50% in 2009. It was my fault to listen to this guy's advice, but my advice to you is to only listen to reputable sources such as These guys have been around for a long time, and give great investment advice!!

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2009, at 10:59 PM, caddydlr wrote:

    Holding LM from 80 down to 12. I did buy at 13 and 14 so maybe I am trainable. Maybe. Held cash from May through current waiting for the correction??????? Maybe Not Trainable. I still am not even with 12/31/07.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2009, at 2:11 PM, Fool wrote:

    My biggest mistake was not subscribing to Motley Fool

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2009, at 2:32 PM, ARJTurgot wrote:

    I had a triple in Prologis (PLD) in Feb/Mar 09 from when I bought at the start of the crisis in Sep 08. I thought it was real and durable and then watched it drop to only a double before I sold.

    Generally though, did really good. Out performed SP500 by over 100%. Biggest mistake was not being born rich. With so many really good companies so beat down early in the year, if I were a rich man, I would be a whole lot richer man today. I believed the world wasn't going to come to an end, and lo, I was right.

    This was the chance of a lifetime (or a decade, depending), and I made some nice money. But more would have been nicer.

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 12:41 PM, jimj43 wrote:

    bought urre at 1.50 on 5/5/09 sold in dec at.80 bought it first in 08 at .20 and sold it at 1.75 in 4/09 thought i could make a quick flip

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 5:12 PM, thevossman wrote:

    Biggest mistake: selling SIRI too early. I purchased in January when doom seemed imminent, & cashed in after it became a 2-bagger in March. Wish I held at least a few shares, DOAH!

  • Report this Comment On January 01, 2010, at 1:30 PM, gazbot wrote:

    My worst investment mistake? Not taking the $20,000 I pretended to invest and actually investing in CREE, F, PETM, BBB, OMX and TGT. It would now be worth about $61,000...more or less. And, selling SIRI too early (I bought it at the same time as CHARTER...guess which one I sold and which one I held onto?)

  • Report this Comment On January 02, 2010, at 9:36 PM, cavanilla wrote:

    not having more cash

  • Report this Comment On January 03, 2010, at 4:47 AM, ajnapower wrote:

    Il mio errore e Stato Maggiore Quello di credere in e BCON CTIC SPPI. avevo messo quel poco Che avevo in BCON e ho seguito cell. Quando era bassissima 0,06 ma non avevo soldi e ho investito solo 500 euro per rivenderla a 0.7. buono no? ma i soldi li ho Rimessi Nelle promesse di Bianco e perso molto. E' andata male anche con sppi e bcon che non partono. La cosa migliore che ho fatto è stato togliermi CELL dal portafoglio. Spero che sppi con Zavalin abbia un buon 2010 visto che è passato in prima linea e rimborsabile grazie ad Obama. E che Bcon cominci presto la redditività con la contruzione dei 20mw.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2010, at 9:08 AM, Fool wrote:

    In March of this year as the economy seemed to be crumbling, I became scared by all the talk of doom and gloom. I was holding 30 shares of Baidu that my former broker purchased for an average price per share of $303. Three poor buys that got him fired. The stock dipped under $110 and I considered buying some more but decided against it. The stock rose back to $150 and I decided to protect further losses and put in a sell stop at $140. The stock dipped below $140 the next day so it sold, but then it went back up and now sits up over $400. My fear cost me at a minimum $3000 but more like $20,000 had I bought at $110 like I had considered. Lesson learned, I hope!

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2010, at 11:35 AM, fatchance42us wrote:

    Biggest mistake was selling on March 9, 2009. But I did reinvest by early August, which still was a tad late, but better than never.

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