I started investing about 15 years ago. Well, it wasn't really investing but more like speculating in order to make a few quick bucks. I soon realized that losing money was a whole lot easier than making it. I knew that my superficial understanding of stocks and the market was a fatal shortcoming. I took the Canadian Securities course, passing with honours. I began reading numerous books, articles, technical papers in order to be a better trader. And, indeed, I became a better trader. For a while. I began to use margin. I placed bigger bets on options and leveraged ETF's like HNU (TSX). Eventually my trades started turning on me, the margin calls forced me to sell and I lost a significant amount of money. This was the price of my education. I think I've made just about every classic mistake one can make. Speculate on a news event (remember KRY?). Double down on a stock that is obviously circling the drain. Hold a stock whose only direction is down thinking I couldn't have been that wrong. It will soar again. Watch a stock move up 50% telling myself that there's more to come, only to watch it reverse and finally sell at break-even. Or buy a quality stock and then decide to get off at the next stop. I once bought AAPL at around $90 then sold at $97 or so. Nothing like leaving $60,000 on the table! Anyway, you get the idea. Errors in judgement that are stock market cliches. I'm a lot smarter now, more conservative. Here's my investment plan: -Find high quality companies trading at a discount -Remember Mr. Buffet: if you're not prepared to hold a stock for 10 years don't even think about holding it for 10 minutes -Use fundamentals to find the mis-priced stock then technical factors to determine entry points -A bias toward dividend payers -The two areas that currently look very promising to me are Uranium and Natural Gas. Oil and gas service firms also have appeal.
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