Error of Omission
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.