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Compartment 14B

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Back in the saddle (and hopefully itís strapped to a bull).

2004-02-12 - 11:09 a.m.

This week I braced myself and bought a stock for the first time in a couple of years. Like many people, I had dabbled in some trading back at the height of the stock market frenzy and, like many people, didnít get out in time and got bitten on the ass. The only reason I didnít lose more is that I didnít have more to invest up front. That and I didnít sell everything off at rock-bottom prices so the marketís had a chance to climb up a bit again. If Iíd sold my entire portfolio off then, Iíd have lost well over 90% of my investment and if I sold it as it stands now, itís only a 70% loss. In relative terms, Iím on much better ground now than I was a year or two ago. And to be honest, while I knew that the possibility of losing money existed, it was a calculated and informed risk I was willing to take. Iím fairly good with saving money and if I put a yearís savings into the market and lost it while I was young, well, lesson learned and Iíd just save the money again the next year and put it somewhere more secure. Of course I was hoping to make money but I knew that if I didnít it wouldnít be the end of the world. I was single and had no big responsibilities (this was before Iíd bought the house that I eventually turned into my infill project and well before I met J) and itís a lot easier to take risks when itís only yourself who suffers the consequences. And even in the worst case scenario, I only stood to lose money I already had, not go into actual debt.

So why am I buying now? Well for one thing, there seems to be a mood of optimism thatís gotten to me. For another, my damn brokerage firm has decided they have every right to charge me an inactivity fee and there doesnít seem to be much I can do to stop them other than, well, get active. Hindsight being what it is, I wish Iíd had the money to invest last year as things have picked up substantially since then. For another, I noticed a stock that Iíd owned once had dipped lower than the level itís been sitting at for a number of months and they had a good quarterly report recently so Iím thinking it might go back up to the level it normally enjoyed. I suppose weíll see. Wish me luck.

In an almost inevitable, ironic twist, one of the very few stocks I sold at the bottom of the market and took a loss on is one of the only ones that is worth considerably more right now than it was when I bought it. Isnít that always the way?

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