Dan Sweet

How not to invest.

I am not good at trading. I try to be honest with myself, admit that, and avoid trading. However, in our Jim Cramer/Fast Money era it seems like you are leaving money on the table if you don’t have at least a couple positions on at all times.

Here is a summary of my trades of the last 4 years or so.

Trade #1 (Winner) – Buy Gold via CEF with gold at $600 back in 2008ish? Sell at $1000+ and rebuy at $900. Just sold again at $1500+ last week. 2.5x

Trade #2 (Winner) – Close all positions with market at roughly 11,000 in fall 2008 when I see on C-SPAN that Congress isn’t going to pass first TARP bill. I look like a hero as market falls to 6,000ish. Avoid getting cut in half.

No Trade #2.5 (Loser) – I never rebuy. Buffett say its time to buy, I see 4,000 around the corner and take a pass. Market now at 12,000+ and all of a sudden Trade #2 doesn’t look so great. Miss an easy double.

Trade #3 (Loser) – Try to make money shorting commercial real estate over a long period of time using a short term structured ETF. Very bad idea, lose lots of money. I suck at trading. I’m reminded yet again to not even play if you aren’t going to put the work in. Lose 75% of position.

Trade #4 (Winner) – Buy SLV at $13.89. Sell last week at $45ish. 3x

Net – I’m basically completely flat over those 4 years. Basically on par with the market.

I’m completely in cash now but want to get back in and “set it and forget it.”

Current shopping list looks like this:
Buy AAPL
Buy GOOG
Buy CEF (Canadian gold trust)

This passes the Warren Buffett test where hypothetically the market closes tomorrow for 10 years. I’d feel just fine owning these three. Keep it simple.

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