The Great Stock Experiment

Back at the end of 2015, I had about $500 kicking around. I’d watched the stock market from afar, particularly the tech stocks. I felt like I had seen so many tech stocks skyrocket in price, and that I’d known ahead of time those stocks would do well. I knew the tech was good, so I figured the stock would be solid, as well.

I decided I’d finally put my money where my mouth was.

Square was a company I’d followed for some time. They made little portable registers that people can use on their phones to take credit card payments, and they’d recently branched out to making full fledged devices. They were brand new on the market, and I bought 40 shares of their stock with my $500, resolving to see how things went.

For the first while, they didn’t go so hot The stock that I’d bought at $12 went down to $9, and I felt kind of dumb. But I held onto it, and eventually it rose back to $12. Then it hovered at $14.

Earnings were good. People gained faith in the stock. The company branched out into new areas. And the stock kept going higher.

Today it broke the $45 mark, and I was faced with a new decision. The company has branched out into Bitcoin, and I am quite skeptical of that currency. I feel like that’s the reason the stock has gone higher the last bit, and I don’t feel like it’s sustainable. I had first bought the stock expecting to hold onto it for ten or twenty years, but I had about tripled my money in two years. Did I want to bet that the stock would keep going up, or did I want to get out while the getting was good?

In the end, I got out. My logic was as follows: it’s like I’d gone to Vegas and put all my money on Red for a couple of spins. And I’d gotten lucky. Red was hot. So now I could either let it ride or walk away. There’s certainly a chance Square will keep going gangbusters. And perhaps in a couple of years, I’ll be looking back and wishing I’d kept it in.

But there’s also a chance the stock goes down a ways, and then won’t I feel good about myself.

So anyway, I’ve taken the money out, and now I have to figure out what I want to do with that money next. Maybe I’ll celebrate and buy $1,800 of Magic cards, but something tells me I’ll put the bulk of it into a safer investment and then take that initial $500 seed money and pick another stock to invest in.

I’ll have to mull it over some. But in any case, it’s certainly been a fun (and profitable) experiment.

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