Glon Mert: What Long-Term Investing Really Looks Like

Editor's note: The following is a fictitious account written by the author. However, all the dollar figures and returns are consistent with the actual performance of the stock discussed.

In February 1912, Glon and Thros Mert, fraternal twins of Scandinavian immigrants, were born at an Atlanta hospital. The Mert family didn't live an extravagant life by any means: Mrs. Mert was a stay-at-home mom, while Mr. Mert worked for the local Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) headquarters.  Though their life was modest, both parents were very proud of what they were able to give their children.

In 1920, a year after they became available for purchase on the stock market, Mr. Mert bought two shares of Coca-Cola -- one for his daughter, Glon, and one for son Thros. They were $21 each, and Mr. Mert was determined to reinvest any dividends the stocks produced. The children would be able to gain control of the shares upon their 18th birthday.

The Great Depression
The Roaring '20s progressed nicely for the family, and by mid-1929, Glon and Thros were starting to make plans for their post-high school lives. Then, in October, things changed. On Black Friday, the stock market went into an absolute freefall, and the country plunged into the Great Depression.

By the time the children's 18th birthday came around in February 1930, it was clear there was no hope for a quick economic fix in the country. Thros decided it was time to sell his shares of Coke -- which now numbered three. After a long talk with his father, Thros was persuaded to sell just one share. He collected $182 when he sold, an amazing 2,500% return in just 10 years.

Glon wondered why Thros, who was lucky enough to have a steady job lined up after high school, would do such a thing. But she kept her thoughts to herself, hoping to save the three shares she owned to help pay for a house in the future.

Post-World War II
Fifteen years passed quickly. Glon got married, had kids, got a job teaching at the local middle school with her husband, and lived a modest existence in rural Georgia.

Thros was doing well, too. Following the war, he had moved to New York City, was married with kids, and had a job on Wall Street. Thros, however, was living well above his means, trying to keep up with the latest styles from Madison Avenue.

In October 1945, after listening to a report about how Coke was bound to face stiff competition, Thros decided to part ways with half of his remaining shares. The payoff was great -- just over $2,000.

Thros phoned Glon and tried to persuade her to do the same. "Coke's amazing run is over, Sis," he said. But in the end, Glon's day-to-day experience in rural Georgia told her that Thros' information just didn't make sense in the real world, and she held her shares.

Old age creeping up
Fast-forward another 40 years to 1985. Glon and her husband, both 73, still lived in rural Georgia, grandparents to seven young ones. Thros lived in Georgia now, too -- though it was not by choice. His extravagant lifestyle had by then caught up with him. When he ran out of money in the mid-1970s, his wife ran out of patience.

He had since remarried and was living comfortably -- but not extravagantly -- near his sister and other relatives. One late August day, Thros was sitting on his porch with a friend, reading the newspaper. He came across a quote for Coke's stock price, did a little back-of-the-envelope math, and realized his remaining shares were worth a whopping $93,000!

"That's amazing," his friend said. "That's a return of 1,328,471%. You'd better cash that out; only a fool would risk losing that." And that was all the convincing Thros needed.

Thros called Glon and told her it was time to sell. Finally, Glon had had enough: "Thros, you have absolutely no need to do that. Your family is all taken care of, and you're not going to put that money anywhere useful."

"Yes," Thros said, "but think about it: My remaining third comes from an investment of just $7 by Dad. It's up more than 1,000,000%. I'd be stupid not to sell!"

"Unless you need it, or you've got better places to put it, the only stupid thing to do would be to sell it," Glon shot back.

Thros, of course, sold his shares.

Present day
Sadly, Thros has since passed away. But Glon is still alive and kicking!

Recently, on the occasion of her 100th birthday, I had a chance to talk with Glon. We discussed a lot of things, but when I brought up Thros and the shares of Coke, here's what she had to say:

Thros just didn't get it. First, he sold his shares because they were down and everyone else was doing it. Then, he sold when he heard a report telling him to. Finally, his friend convinced him that since it had gone up so much, he had to sell his remaining shares. He never actually thought for himself about it.

Glon admits she's sold a few shares -- they helped finance the education of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Other than that, she hasn't touched them. I asked her if she knew how much her father's original $21 investment was worth today had none been sold. She slipped me a graph she'd prepared beforehand, knowing I'd ask about it.

Source: Coca-Cola Investor Relations.

Source: Coca-Cola Investor Relations.

"Almost $9.3 million," she said with a smile.

"Not that we need it," she added as she gestured to the guests gathered in her honor at the same house she'd lived in for more than 70 years.

Clearly, Glon Mert's long-term thinking trumped Thros Mert's short-term thinking approach. If you're ready to start your own investing journey, read a special retirement report that promises to help get you started.

Fool contributor Brian Stoffel would like to thank Bill James, whose writing inspired him to publish this fable. All numbers associated with Coke's stock returns come from Coke's investor-relations website. Brian owns shares of Coca-Cola, though he's not sure he'll get the type of returns Glon did. Follow Brian on Twitter at @TMFStoffel.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Coca-Cola. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (37) | Recommend This Article (37)

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 February 16, 2012, at 10:10 AM, ji123 wrote:

    The days of a company share going up like KO did in the story are definitely behind us. However, the moral of the story here is very much true to take home with. I myself am a long-term investor, but am not expecting a return like KO (i.e., 1,328,471% in 73 years). Nonetheless, I believe in the trait of Glon Mert will help beat fellow investors' returns, who would react based on short-term roller coasters. It is sad truth that the vast majority of investors are too impatient, like Thros Mert, illustrated here.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 10:27 AM, JohnnyEvers14 wrote:

    What happened to the couple who bought GM and Kodak?

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 10:29 AM, bluedepth wrote:

    @ ji123

    - i'm curious why you are certain that "the days of a company share going up like KO... are definitely behind us." Is this because you see no way for a company to generate profits for that long in this day and age?

    Personally, I see a world with more people and a much higher global standard of living (with plenty of room to increase). Shouldn't that allow a great company with great management to flurish and generate enormous profits for generations too?

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 10:52 AM, TMFCheesehead wrote:

    @JohnnyEvers14-

    For what it's worth, that's why I threw in the part about "Glon's day-to-day experience in rural Georgia." She was still aware of how the product was doing.

    Brian Stoffel

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 10:55 AM, InvestWhatWorks wrote:

    @JohnnyEvers14

    Hopefully they realized what terrible companies GM and Kodak were and sold long before their respective bankruptcies.

    Having a long-term investing strategy doesn't mean you ignore company fundamentals or changing global trends.

    In good times and in bad, Coke was/is a good company. It made good financial sense for this fictional character to hold her shares and reinvest her dividends for decades.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 11:25 AM, JohnnyEvers14 wrote:

    Brian, Invest: This is a great, if sentimental, story, but the primary factor here is luck, imo.

    How many other stocks were traded in 1920, and how did their forever shareholders do?

    As for GM, these are close-run things -- what if she had bought Ford ... would she have sold when it was trading for $2 a couple of years ago when it certainly seemed doomed.

    ...

    I have children -- what stock would Thros recommend I buy for them!?

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 11:56 AM, RRGGBB wrote:

    I am hopeful it still exists. My initial purchase of Apple is up about 9,650% with a cost base average of $5.06. They do not pay a dividend but I have been picking up shares on dips to increase my position. Apple was my first stock purchase and it has changed my life. I was told often by brokers and friends to sell but I did not listen. I saw how Apple was attracting users and bringing them around to better products and creating a diverse money stream. I do not see this ending in the near future. This could all change because who knows what the future brings. My point - I am a long term investor that tries to block out all the noise so I can better understand what a company is doing and where they are heading. I might get nervous on big dips or rises but I remind myself to be confident in my choice and what is ahead. One day I might have to sell shares to augment retirement fun but I am hoping by that time dividends will have kicked-in.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 12:00 PM, TMFCheesehead wrote:

    @JohnnyEvers-

    Fair points.

    @RRGGBB-

    Great story, thanks for sharing, and way to think for yourself, wherever that may lead you.

    Brian Stoffel

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 12:03 PM, sikiliza wrote:

    Dear ji123,

    That, my friend, is a very Interesting comment.

    In the last 3-4 years, stocks like SCSS, DTG, DAN, GGP have gone up over 5000% - and that is in three years. Select Comfort is the maker of the Sleep Number bed, if case you were wondering.

    I like it when I hear people say that "this time it is different". The more things change, the more they remain the same. If jumping in and out of stocks to rush to bonds or gold and rush back out again was such a great idea, then I would abhor the likes of Peter Lynch, Warren Buffett and other investing greats who have invested wisely and waited patiently for the seeds they planted to mature.

    What's changed is that we lack the patience; we want to get rich quick and that is why bubbles and market blow-ups are now commonplace - from the S&L crisis to the tech bubble to the mortgage crisis, the greed blinds us to what danger lies in speculation and in competing with the Joneses.

    To thine own self be true.

    Fool on!

    Yours Truly,

    A long Term Value Investor.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 1:01 PM, TMFCheesehead wrote:

    @kahuna-

    Congrats on not cashing out after the IPO, as I'm sure it was at least a little tempting--and for keeping a positive perspective on the absolute returns, even after the bubble popped.

    Brian Stoffel

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 1:16 PM, catoismymotor wrote:

    sikiliza,

    A most excellent comment. I wish I could give it a rec.

    -Cato

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 1:19 PM, TMFCheesehead wrote:

    Just want to throw out there: there are two anagrams in the piece as well, anyone figure them out???

    Brian Stoffel

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 1:36 PM, aardvestor wrote:

    The lesson here is a subtle one. The difference between a short-term investor and a long-term investor is not the number of years the stock is held. Thros, after all, was still holding 2/3 of his shares after a quarter of a century. That's longer than most investors will ever hold a single stock.

    But Thros' short-term mentality is revealed in his deciding to sell based on the stock's price and nothing more. He remained anchored to the purchase price, and all he could see was his profits to date.

    Glon's long-term strategy, on the other hand, was based on the company's prospects for continued success. There is no need to lock in profits when the company is still thriving and growing.

    Had the parents bought a different stock, say F.W. Woolworth, then maybe Glon would have sold it in the 1970s and bought shares of Wal-Mart.

    In the case of a solid company like Coke, long-term may mean buy and hold for 92 years. But it never means holding stock just for the sake of holding it.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 1:37 PM, aardvestor wrote:

    Aha:

    "Glon Mert" <=> "Long Term"

    "Thros Mert" <=> "Short Term"

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 1:39 PM, TMFCheesehead wrote:

    Well done :)

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 1:42 PM, pondee619 wrote:

    The only problem I have is: What good were those shares to Glon? Yes, She has, or would have had $9 Million of stock at the age of 100+. Yet, She continued to live as if she didn't own them. Throughout her entire life, she lived as if she had no Coke stock. (Unless she spent the dividends and did not re-invest them) How would her real life had been different if Daddy did not give her that one share? Seems like the only real beneficiary in this deal would be her kids, patiently waiting for her to die. Many a miser lived a lously life hoarding a fortune. Money is only good when it is spent. Albiet it MUST be sent wisely. My goal is to expire the moment my money does,( or to have my money expire the moment I do) many, many years from now. To have 9 million at the age of 100 is not the goal of a live investor.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 1:46 PM, TheDumbMoney wrote:

    Those who make points about GM and EK, etc., do have a point. A 50% loss wipes out a 100% gain. And even more vividly, a 100% loss wipes out a 1,000,000% gain.

    But that is just another way of saying you need a sell-routine, even as a long-term investor. There is no such thing as a "buy and forget" stock, and there are many fish in the sea.

    Personally, my sell routine is that I sell if my thesis changes. Also, accounting nonsense is a per se thesis killer. I'll give you an example: I recently owned ALIF, a little company that builds games in the mobile space. I bought at $0.86, despite some reservations. Then accounting shenangins were revealed and an auditor was fired. Thesis was blown. So I sold in the $0.50s and high $0.60s. It was a loss, on a stock I never should have bought in the first place. But now the stock trades around $0.11. The thesis was blown, so I sold. Those who did not sell truly got hosed, I just got my nose bloodied a bit.

    By contrast, I'm down 30-40% on RIG stock purchased in the very low 70s. I could care less. I doubled my holding at around $39/share, and the stock trades now around $49/share. To be sure, the thesis is tottering a bit, because the CFO left, fracking has made deepsea oil extraction relatively less attractive, and the Obama restrictiong has slowed down licensing even more than I expected. But it's not blown. So I hold, but pay close attention. Same with BAC -- a questioned by not-yet-blown thesis.

    To be a long-term holder does not mean you are an idiot who never pays attention to what is going on. It means you buy stocks that ideally you don't think you need to pay much attention to on a day-to-day or even a month-to-month basis, but you do occasionally check up on them, and if crazy stuff has happened, you spend at least a few hours figuring if your thesis is blown or whether this is just a glitch or a market misperception.

    All best,

    DTAF

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 1:55 PM, TMFCheesehead wrote:

    @pondee-

    We could get into a philosophical debate about money, happiness, and why Glon didn't need the money, but I'm not sure that'd be very productive.

    Instead, I direct you to this part, which I think is very important: "Glon admits she's sold a few shares -- they helped finance the education of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. "

    Brian Stoffel

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 2:16 PM, Mega wrote:

    Glon and Thros's names were a little distracting. I would have gone with Tom Glern and his cousin Mort Herst.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 3:39 PM, pondee619 wrote:

    Sold more than a few to pay for several college educations. Let's get the real story.

    Forget the philosophy, lets start a discussion on the other side of investing, reaping what you have sown. Investing is only worthwile if you can get the benefit of it. Dying rich is no benefit.

    A "forever" holding period may work for an institution like Berkshire, but the rest of us have lifetimes. We are all mortal.

    Let's get real fool. Proper selling is more important than correct buying and holding forever. I see precious little on that side of the program. Dying rich is not an option.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 3:59 PM, racchole wrote:

    I think an important lesson from this story that is being over looked is that if you had invested in share of 100 companies in 1920, and 99 went bankrupt and KO survived, you still made an outstanding return. It is a combination of a long-term perspective, combined with making logical investment decisions, that creates a winning investor.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 4:05 PM, racchole wrote:

    @ dumberthanafool: I love your viewpoints, but please help me understand this: "A 50% loss wipes out a 100% gain. And even more vividly, a 100% loss wipes out a 1,000,000% gain."

    This doesn't make sense to me, can someone clarify my confusion? $1 invested in a 50% loss results in $0.50. $1 invested in a 100% gain results in $2. You would have $1.50 (more than you started) with a 50% loss and 100% gain.

    Likewise, $1 invested in a 100% loss results in $0; a $1 investment in a 1,000,000% gain yields you $999,999. Or is my logic flawed?

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 4:06 PM, racchole wrote:

    Correction to the above (and sorry for the double-post): you would have $2.50 total after the -50% and the +100%.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 4:18 PM, TheDumbMoney wrote:

    Hi Racchole.

    1) Let us say I start with a $5/share stock. I make a 100% gain. I now have $10/share stock!!! Oh no, then accounting irregularities are revealed. I then lose 50%. Bummer: 50% of $10 is $5. Now I have $5/share stock again again. The 50% loss wiped out my PRIOR 100% gain, and I am left with only what I started as an investment. Hence, I said "[a] 50% loss wipes out a [prior] 100% gain." That word "prior" was omitted in my statement above, which treated that fact as assumed. This is a extremely commonly known and important point about investing, which is based on simple math. But many investors do not pay attention to its implications.

    2) Similarly, let us say I start with a $1/share stock. The stock then goes to the moon, say to $10,000 per share! I am ecstatic! Then as it fails to adapt over the subsequent years, the share price slowly fades down to $5,000/share. Let's say Bill Miller buys in at that point. And then after Bill Miller has held the stock for ten years and then doubled up his holdings at $2,500/share, eventually it goes to zero. Bankrupt! That is a 100% loss from the $10,000/share prior high! And Bill Miller lost 100% on his investments made at lower price points! Thus is one's original 1,000,000% gain (from $1 to $10,000) destroyed by a 100% loss (from $10,000/share to bupkus). To put it another way: zero multiplied by any number equals zero. And then Bill Miller retires.

    All best,

    DTAF

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 4:33 PM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    @Racchole - you're putting your figures in the wrong order.

    If I invest in shares of something for $10 and I get a 100% gain, that's $20. If I then suffer a $50 gain, then I'm back to $10. Wiped out the gains.

    If I invest in something at $10 and it climbs 1,000,000% to $10,000,000, and then suffers a 100% loss it winds up at $0. Wiped out.

    See?

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 4:34 PM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    ^^ Note that I also did my math wrong there and 1,000,000% of $10 does not work out to 10,000,000 dollars. Use DTAF's post as a guide, he explained it better!

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 4:41 PM, racchole wrote:

    LOL that was an entertainingly-stupid problem to figure out. Thanks for clearing that up. That is what I get for having 15 tabs open, a complete lack of focus.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 4:47 PM, InvestWhatWorks wrote:

    @pondee619

    In this account of this fictional character's life, she helped finance the education of three generations of her family. And when you get out to the third generation of descendants, that is potentially a ton of great-grandchildren. How many people have the funds available to potentially pay for the education of three generations of descendants? Helping your family succeed in life by funding their education; seems like money well spent to me.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 11:00 PM, TMFCheesehead wrote:

    Let's not forget the peace of mind that comes with knowing money won't be a problem. Is there a better gift to get from investing success than that?

    Brian Stoffel

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2012, at 3:26 PM, pondee619 wrote:

    Investwhatworks:

    So how many shares did she sell to send three generations to college(a "ton" of great grand kids) and STILL have $9 million left in coke stock from the original one share?

    Looks like we are eating our cake and still having it.

    My point is that money is only good when you spend it. It is not pretty to look at like art, you can't eat it, if you just keep it, it does you no good.

    If her dad had not given her the one share, how would her life had been different? She would not have been able to SELL SOME SHARES to fund college for three generations. The ONLY good that came from this one share is when SHE SOLD some.

    The true point of the story is that she managed to fund college for three generation selling only a few shares. That is the magic.

    A big part of investing is being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor, your patience, your discipline while you are still alive to enjoy it. An article that references this would be nice.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2012, at 6:26 PM, InvestWhatWorks wrote:

    @pondee619

    In this fictional account, the "almost $9.3 million" figure was if she hadn't sold any shares ("... her father's original $21 investment was worth today had none been sold"). It didn't say she currently had $9.3 million.

    And when you say "The ONLY good that came from this one share is when SHE SOLD some." you are forgetting about dividends. Selling shares isn't the only good that can come from this. You got to remember about those dividend payments.

    I'm sure this fictional character is living well in her retirement. Those dividend payments on however many shares she currently has is more than enough to live a very comfortable retirement. Depending on how many shares she still has (after paying for the education of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren), those dividend payments today are likely more than $200,000 a year. That is a great retirement goal.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2012, at 10:38 PM, jbonefish wrote:

    As far as the GM and EK comment = Survivor Bias ... excellent point! That is also something that is conveniently left out of the dividend growers/aristocrat discussion. That is why Fool recommends a large basket of diverse companies.

    I think the point of this fictional story was not 'try to pick the 1,000,000% gainer'. It was 'do your own homework and have conviction'.

    For the record, I would have sold at semi-early retirement and re-diversified living comfortably in southern california overlooking the ocean with a flat in Dupont Circle for visits to DC.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 11:15 AM, pondee619 wrote:

    InvestWhatWorks:

    Thros' one share would be worth the same If he hadn't sold any also. So, what's the point? Don't sell your shares and die rich without enjoying the fruits of you investments.

    The author did not say if the $9.3 million was with dividends re-invested. I assume that they were to get to that number.

    So, now we understand that Glon did not re-invest her dividends and DID sell some shares BUT if she did not do those things She WOULD HAVE had $9.3 million. But, then again, so would Thros. Let us try to get real if you are giving advise to those of us who have to live in the real world.

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2012, at 9:17 PM, InvestWhatWorks wrote:

    @pondee619

    I'm not giving you or anybody retirement advice. I wouldn't presume for a second I'm in any way qualified to advice anybody on their personal retirement plans. We're just talking here.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be suggesting that she should be spending large amounts of her retirement funds now (and should have been spending large amounts of it years ago) because you don't want to die rich without enjoying the money you've worked hard to save. You can't take it with you, after all.

    Problem with that is: None of us know how long we are going to live. If we could know exactly how many more years each of us had, we could all have more precise retirement plans. We would know exactly how much to save and exactly how much to spend (assuming no unforeseen financial-issues) based on the exact amount of time we have on this planet. But of course that's not possible.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to end up 100-years old with a retirement plan that assumed I'd only live to be 85-years old. When you get to 100, your financial-options are kind of limited at that point.

    Since I have no idea how long I'm going to live, I'd personally rather be at the end of my life with too much money, rather than too little. I'd like to have the peace of mind that no matter how long I live, I will never have to worry about my finances in retirement.

    And if a somewhat-cautious (though not in any way overly-cautious) retirement leads to the remainder of my funds going to my descendants or a worthy charity upon my death, that would be a good outcome for me. I'd personally consider that a successful life lived (at least financially; obviously not including any other possible personal accomplishments).

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2012, at 11:41 AM, pondee619 wrote:

    Yep, you are wrong. What I am saying is that she DID sell shares to spend on college for kids , grandkids , greatgrand kids, etc. The article advocated NEVER selling, and look at what you would have when you die. "I asked her if she knew how much her father's original $21 investment was worth today had none been sold? this is a bogus question." The ONLY way to enjoy the fruits of your investements is either to have your dividends paid out or sell some shares. Knowing what one share would be worth today if you NEVER SOLD A SHARE AND RE-INVESTED ALL OF YOUR DIVIDENDS, is a worthless endeavor. I contend that the most important part of investing is HOW TO HARVEST YOUR INVESTMENTS. This article and most artlices on the fool avoid this subject. They advocate holding FOREVER, never selling, & re-investing all your dividends. Nonsense, that is like having a ton of money under your bed and not spending a dime. Unless your are getting a denefit from your investments, there is NO reason for investing. Unless you spend your dividends or sell some shares you get no benefit.

    And OF COURSE I am not advocating selling ALL of your holdings. You don't know how long you will live. The above article does a dis-service to fools here as it advocates an eternal holding period. That is impracticable to mortal souls.

    Articles telling fools how to sell their investments to live comfortably for a long (undetermined) time are of use. Articles that tell us to hold forever, not so much. It is of no benefit to me to die with $9 million of coke stock if I could have used that money to better my life.

    Read the life story of Hetty Green for a case study on holding for the long term gone bad.

    "Glon admits she's sold a few shares -- they helped finance the education of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren" She sold more the a "FEW" shares to do that. Let's finish the education and tell us how to go about that selling. It is much more important than the buying and holding.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2012, at 4:59 PM, InvestWhatWorks wrote:

    The article isn't advocating for holding forever no matter what under any circumstances The main point of the article was to think for yourself:

    "Thros just didn't get it. First, he sold his shares because they were down and everyone else was doing it. Then, he sold when he heard a report telling him to. Finally, his friend convinced him that since it had gone up so much, he had to sell his remaining shares. He never actually thought for himself about it."

    That paragraph is basically the entire article in a nutshell.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 2:32 PM, aldousworp wrote:

    Saving and investing some money while young is painless if you don't get sucked into the idea that you need all the stuff you see others buy. Once it's invested you can spend all your income as long as you leave the invested funds alone and re-invest dividends. You don't have to leave them in the same stock if you find a better investment. There is a very good chance you'll have money for the grandchildren's educations and a comfortable retirement. Even just matching the S&P 500 over 40 years will grow a few thousand dollar investment into a sizable fund for retirement.

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