Er­ror of Omis­sion

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - BUSINESS -

My dumb­est in­vest­ment is one I didn’t make — I didn’t in­vest in Ap­ple when it was trad­ing for $42 per share. Live and learn. — T.D., on­line

The Fool Re­sponds: That’s the kind of re­gret that many in­vestors have. Even Warren Buf­fett has ex­pressed re­gret about not buy­ing shares of com­pa­nies such as Ama­zon.com or Google long ago. (Note, though, that his amaz­ing in­vest­ing suc­cess re­flects how well you can do miss­ing many op­por­tu­ni­ties, as long as you pounce on some good ones. Much of Buf­fett’s suc­cess also stems from his know­ing the lim­its of his knowl­edge and not in­vest­ing in com­pa­nies and busi­nesses he doesn’t un­der­stand well.)

Shares of Ap­ple split 7-for-1 in 2014, and re­cently traded for around $266 per share. But re­mem­ber that while you and oth­ers who didn’t buy at $42 missed out at that price, you could have bought shares later — at around $50, or $100, or $200 — and still prof­ited.

Buy­ing in early isn’t even enough: Many early in­vestors lose faith or get skit­tish and sell their shares too soon. There are cer­tainly some in­vestors who bought Ap­ple at $42 only to sell if the shares tem­po­rar­ily dropped a bit, or as soon as they dou­bled their money.

For best in­vest­ing re­sults, park your money in the best com­pa­nies you can find, and aim to hang on for many years, through ups and downs, as long as you re­tain longterm con­fi­dence in their prospects.

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