Rarely do I differ with Mark, but here’s two things. First, of anyone, someone in Joe’s position can least afford to lose. Mark and I are old enough, well off enough that we could lose a little ‘gambling’ and not see a big hit to our life style. I can’t speak for Mark, but my notion of gambling can be summed up “The next dollar I lose in a casino, will be the first dollar I lose in a casino.” Joe, please look up the old thread “Maria, farewell”. Bad early experiences can ruin your career.
Second, you and all the other newbies will do yourself a big favor to stop thinking in terms of making X% in X period of time. First, you haven’t done it long enough for there to be a reasonable time frame to measure. When they used to post a ‘leaderboard’ on Tk, I frequently railed that it was never over a long enough time period. The absolute minimum to look at is yearly, and what you do over a decade might be good enough to make some projection into the future.
I am not saying profits (and of course losses) don’t matter. Just that is not what you should concentrate on. You want to figure out what investment seems to make sense and then assess whether it is doing what you thought it would do or not, and whether you think that may continue. Profit and loss, percentages will enter the picture at some point, but not as the primary focus. Should you sell AAPL at 300, just because you bought it at 37, or should you wait to see if this new fangled Iphone will catch on? There are no absolute numbers; it is always contextual. Okay, it ain’t contextual when they put the lid down on the box.Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, it was a great piece, Wolfy.