No. of Recommendations: 14
I've been working, slowly, on a new aspect of investing -- stop loss and trailing stops. With a very limited number of exceptions, I have never sold a stock. (Warren Buffett took my Wrigley shares. I don't consider that a sale. I did sell Manitowoc Company shares -- and then bought them back when the price had dropped to something more reasonable.) I've owned some stocks for more than 35 years now, the large majority of my life.

So I am it approaching with caution.

I've been sitting and staring at my portfolio in the evenings for the last few weeks. How do I know when to sell this stock? I've owned it since I was 9. Or 12. Or 21. In some cases, more than 35 years. It's been a friend for a long time. It has a nice gain and a nice dividend that pays more than any savings account, and has for a really long time. Why would I want to get rid of it?

According to the idea of a stop loss, or a trailing stop as I have actually been working, you don't let a stock drop too far before you sell it. This makes sense to me. I capitulated in 2009 at just about the worst time. I didn't do that with my old friends, the stocks I've owned forever. I did it with the mutual funds that were in my 401k. I didn't know them and their habits. Their behavior was bizarre and scary.

But when the stocks I know well dropped so far, I just looked at them again. Nothing had changed in the basics of what the companies do, who they serve, what products they produce, or the quality and integrity of the managers. I sat tight. Wished I had the cash to buy more of those stocks, and did buy more where I could. Each of them has regained its value, and then some.

So it's very difficult, staring at these stocks and trying to decide when to part ways with them based on just a numeric (or a percent) drop,
rather than on the performance of the underlying company. It's not "could I use this money more productively?" even. It's "how do I protect myself from losing too much?" which is not something I've thought about before.

It's part of becoming a more conservative investor, I suppose.

A more recent example is General Mills, which I purchased this spring. When shall I sell the stock> When they decide to make Cheerios with fun marshmallow shapes? When it is no longer the finger food of choice for the 12-month-old set? When moms everywhere decry feeding oats of any type to children of any age? Or when a stock drop of a certain amount makes me, in some way, nervous?

This has been a very difficult concept to wrap my head around. And yes, I realize that the above is an emotional reaction at least as much as a cool-headed rational investor's reaction. I am doing it slowly. All the more reason.

And when I take a breath from my mental ranting and look at the portfolio, well, it makes me look, at the moment, like a freaking genius. I know I'm not that smart. If I were, I would already be independently wealthy, and I'm definitely not that. I know that the tide is lifting even my little boat, and when the tide goes out, I'd like to stay where I am rather than going with it.

So I stare at my portfolio. I look at how much of a gain I have in each stock, at the dividend yields, capital, debt, PEG ratios, and all those good things. And I look at what would happen if that particular stock were to drop a certain amount, and how I would feel about my portfolio overall.

It's hard work. I've set some at dollar thresholds, and as I've learned more, I'm trying percents. I may go back and undo the dollar stops I put in earlier. I may go and undo all of it. But I hope not. I think this is a benefit, and I'm writing about it here both to encourage folks who haven't thought about it yet, and to invite those who have to give me their thoughts on how they do it.

It's sort of like thinking about, and planning, for the end of a relationship. I've been loyal to these companies and they've been loyal to me. It's tough to think of selling because we go through a hard time. It's tough to figure out where that point of "I can't do this anymore" is. I don't want to be foolhardy. I don't want to be greedy either.

And I would much rather set my goals differently: I want to sell this company when I think that it has risen beyond where its fundamentals indicate it should be.

But that comes next, I think, after I consider the possibility that I've made a mistake and that General Mills' Progresso Soups are actually demon food rather than lunch. Or more likely that the Chinese market for Cheerios will collapse, leaving General Mills and Nestle reeling from their investment in Cereal Partners Worldwide. And then we'll have to do without Nesquik AND Bisquick.

Still. It's tough.

ThyPeace, grew up having Bisquick biscuits. Still loves them, doesn't eat them anymore.

P.S. General Mills' BMW chart:

http://invest.kleinnet.com/bmw1/stats25/GIS.html

Most Boring Stock Ever. I like that.
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No. of Recommendations: 6
ThyPeace:

I don't use stop orders at all. I might use a trailing stop for a stock I want to sell. Or if the stock I want to sell has good options I might sell a covered call that is likely to be assigned. For stocks I want to keep I either have no orders at all or I might sell covered calls that I hope expire worthless.

There are risks to stop orders, a flash crash might take you out of a position that bounces right back like many of yours did after March 2009.

As for what to sell, it really makes no difference what the stock did for you in the past, what counts is what it will do for you in the future. Or as Peter Lynch might say, sell when the story changes for the worse. Lynch didn't hold for ever. IIRC, he set targets for certain stocks and sold them when they reached the target. This would work for cyclicals. You seem to have "perennials" which you probably should hold until the story changes.

I consider the stop order a trader's tool, not an investor's tool.

Denny Schlesinger
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No. of Recommendations: 14
The stop-loss order is, in my opinion, quite the double-edged sword. It's just as easy to inflict damage on yourself as effectively use it as a productive tool.

Unless you have nerves of steel and can completely clamp down your emotions it's almost inevitable that the twins of greed and fear will inform your decisions as to when to instigate a stop-loss order, and at what price.

Hindsight, as they say, is twenty-twenty. How many of us wished we'd had stop-loss orders in place when the market plunged in the fall of '08? This having been a wise move; a big money saver, was however contingent on having the where-with-all to get back into the market at, more or less, the right time, when fear was at its height — much easier said than done for most people.

The reality is, nobody really knows when a stock goes down 15% whether this is a bottom, or the beginning of a slide to a 50% loss, or more. It's a sickening feeling to sell, taking a 15% loss, only to see the stock recover in short order.

Experience shows that it's quite possible to have a 50% + loss on a stock and then see it thrive again further down the road. On the other hand, positions sometimes go to zero. You win some and you lose some. Aside from either enormous luck and/or talent, this is the nature of the stock market. Warren Buffett has said that if you can't stand to see a stock go down 50% you shouldn't be in the market in the first place. Presumably he meant that it's probably going to happen to you sooner or later so you better have the stomach for it when it does.

The only time I used a stop loss order was when I had a stock that doubled from my purchase price in just over a year. It kept going up, but was, in my opinion, over priced and primed for a fall. Let's say I bought it a $20. When it got to $42 I put in a stop-loss order for $40. It got as high as about $44 and then started down. The stop-loss order was triggered at $40 and the stock continued down, down, down. I was happy to take my profits. If I hadn't put in the stop-loss order I doubt I would of had the gumption to sell at $40. I'd taken that decision out of my hands before it happened.

Although I wish I'd used stop-loss orders on some losers, I've had an equal amount of losers that morphed back into winners, so, all in all, with stop loss orders I probably wouldn't have been ahead in the end. I'm more comfortable with stock-loss orders when I'm fairly sure that a stock is over-priced and I have a good profit margin locked in. It's frustrating to lose out on an even higher stock price in such circumstances, but that's greed talking.

kelbon
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I've been changing a bit too as I both gain more experience and age ... I've never been into stop loss orders or trailing stops. I have no intention of getting into stop loss orders (but maybe-maybe I will do some trailing stops in the future).

The major change for me is that I am thinking more and more about the importance of dividends. I now think of investing not so much as creating an investment portfolio of XYZ value, that I will live off in retirement, but as creating an income stream of dividends that I will be able to use (along with other income streams -- mainly social security and a pension) that I will live off in retirement.

The first approach seems to assume that an investor will need to accumulate a portfolio of a certain value (your "number") that you will then live off by selling a fraction of it over your retirement years. The danger to be avoided is one in which you outlive your money; and that is to be met by using a Safe Rate of Withdrawal from your investment portfolio. Absolute perfection in this would be to have your portfolio exhausted right at the very time of your death; otherwise, the thought is that you might have saved and denied yourself too much in your earlier years. Next best (and, in fact preferable if you intend to leave something for your heirs) would be to still have a sizable portfolio when you die. But the danger, again, would be to outlive your money.

The dividends-as-income-stream approach, OTOH, aims to build up a portfolio whose dividends will suffice to provide your needed income stream in retirement. Steady dividend-growers and stable stocks (in boring businesses that won't change much) are ideal here. Such stocks won't be sold -- in fact, they shouldn't be sold, since they will be needed to provide the income stream.

culcha
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culcha:

A dollar in dividend is exactly the same as a dollar in capital gains. What counts is the portfolio's CAGR.

You say: "The first approach seems to assume that an investor will need to accumulate a portfolio of a certain value (your "number") that you will then live off by selling a fraction of it over your retirement years. The danger to be avoided is one in which you outlive your money; and that is to be met by using a Safe Rate of Withdrawal from your investment portfolio. Absolute perfection in this would be to have your portfolio exhausted right at the very time of your death; otherwise, the thought is that you might have saved and denied yourself too much in your earlier years."

With the dividend approach you almost guarantee that you have "denied yourself too much" because the capital will be intact when you die.

I use a mixed approach, maximizing CAGR, or at least trying to. I simply take out as much as I need and put the rest to work as best I can.

Denny Schlesinger
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Such stocks won't be sold -- in fact, they shouldn't be sold, since they will be needed to provide the income stream.


Although I empathize with this statement, I think this approach will not serve as well as a more flexible approach. Sometimes good companies that pay steady, rising, and predictable dividends see their stock prices increase substantially. The stock price goes up, the dividend yield goes down. Of course, this doesn't affect your income from those dividends, but it often presents opportunities elsewhere for you to increase your income from dividends. In other words: sell the winner with its now diminished dividend yield if you can find a relative bargain that is of modest value and has a meaningfully higher dividend yield than the stock you are selling.

As a real world example, imagine you bought Wal-Mart for its dividend yield at $45 a share and over a couple of years it rose to $73 a share, which it has. If you sell your Wal-Mart shares you can take your profits and now buy shares in a company whose dividend is yielding considerably more than Wal-Mart's is at the current stock price.

kelbon
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Thanks, Denny. I appreciate your remarks.

A dollar in dividend is exactly the same as a dollar in capital gains. What counts is the portfolio's CAGR.

Well, the money is the same (if you're making the money-is-fungible argument). But one difference between collecting dividends and making capital gains is that you have to sell in order to collect capital gains. With dividends, you don't. And if you've been careful to choose companies that raise their dividends at least as much as inflation, the dividend stream will actually grow.

I use a mixed approach ...

I do too -- somewhat. I recently had some BRK-B --no dividend, right?-- but sold for a gain. But in this thread I'm talking about my own learning curve. When I started investing (about 12 years ago), I didn't pay any attention to dividends. Now, growing older (65), I pay much more attention to them; in fact, dividends are really central to my investing. And I think the BMW Method helps me here. Mike Klein's charts show me fast moving trains that I want to climb aboard when the RF is high and the RMS is low, PROVIDED that the stock (the "train") has a good dividend record. (I really like Mike Klein's charts, and I wish he would include at least the current dividends there; I think the historical record on dividends is extremely important too, and here I use the work of David Fish (over on the Dividend Growth Investing board and also on Seeking Alpha).

My approach is becoming more and more dividend centered, and focused on income streams.

culcha
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Sometimes good companies that pay steady, rising, and predictable dividends see their stock prices increase substantially. The stock price goes up, the dividend yield goes down. Of course, this doesn't affect your income from those dividends, but it often presents opportunities elsewhere for you to increase your income from dividends. In other words: sell the winner with its now diminished dividend yield if you can find a relative bargain that is of modest value and has a meaningfully higher dividend yield than the stock you are selling.

As a real world example, imagine you bought Wal-Mart for its dividend yield at $45 a share and over a couple of years it rose to $73 a share, which it has. If you sell your Wal-Mart shares you can take your profits and now buy shares in a company whose dividend is yielding considerably more than Wal-Mart's is at the current stock price.


Wal-Mart is an interesting example, I actually bought some when I was less focused on dividends. But look at their average dividend yield from 2000 to 2011 (according to Valueline):
4%, .5%, .5%, .6%, .9%, 1.2%, 1.4%, 1.8%, 1.7%, 2.1%, 2.3%, 2.7%.
Recently, with the price surge, this yield has dropped a a bit -- down to around 2.15% During most of these years though the stock was dead money. The dividend payment, however, is more than 6 times what it used to be (and it's still rising). So now, in a way I'm more interested than before -- when I actually bought it!

I have indeed thought about selling for just the reason you've mentioned. I think I can find more productive places to put the money. (SYY? CL?? PG??) So I might make a move. I'm really thinking about this one.

OTOH, now that the sleeping giant has awakened, then, granted that everything else has been increasing, (sales, cash flow, book value, dividends) -- maybe it has some more surging to do. Certainly if it surges above the middle line on Mike Klein's chart, I'd be ready to head for greener pastures.

culcha
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For the most part, I buy stocks with a specific sell target in mind. I do revise that number over time so it would not matter if I started with a portfolio of stocks that I've never sold.

When I buy a stock, the goal is to beat the market...that is, exceed 10-11% annualized returns. It theoretically doesn't matter whether this occurs by dividend (preferreds or common stock) or by appreciation in value as long as it increases over time. With higher risk obviously I have to increase the margin of safety as well in order to maintain the same AVERAGE. So in reality I'm looking for more like 15-20%.

If I just wanted average returns, then I could buy an index fund or index ETF and simply sit on it for decades, watching it slowly grow over time. So since this is let's just say a minimalist, no effort strategy, I have to demand more of individual stocks.

The highest dividend stocks these days typically run around 10-11% for some MLP's at best. There is little or no appreciation in value here and only a few of them actually go up even a little in value. So these barely make the cut. Just to give you an idea of what a dividend stock looks like.

Now what I've found over time is that there is definitely more stability in a stock with SOME dividend, any dividend at all, no matter how small. So I do look for that. But it's not an absolute requirement and most dividend payouts of like 1-2% barely move the needle when I'm looking for a minimum of 10-11% in an absolutely rock solid return.

So...when I look at a stock, I'm looking for something which is going to be growing over time, generating outsized returns. Now just as with the market over the long term, I'm pricing stocks based on this economic model so it really doesn't matter if they go up or down in the future because these are built into the price of the stock today, over the very long term. But over the much shorter term (<3-10 years), we'll definitely see some that are undervalued and some that are overvalued. Now those that are undervalued (plus dividends...CAGR) will over time eventually get priced fairly or overvalued, and vice versa. So when they are overvalued, their performance is going to suffer for a period of time and when they are undervalued, the opposite will happen, over a long period of time.

A secondary problem however is that the timing for this to happen can take an exceedingly long period of time, sometimes decades. A stock's price will not make a significant correction or even go significantly up or down without a catalyst for this to happen. So paying attention to significant events is the critical catalyst. It's important to look forward in history and pay attention to when various permitting issues, major events, and so forth, are going to happen and then price accordingly because these are when the jumps will happen.

So...when I buy stocks, I already have a target in mind. I hold until that point and then sell. I recently sold a stock in about 4 days because one of those significant events happened out of the blue sky and the stock instantly jumped to my sell point. Bye, bye. I've also gone back and re-evaluated some stocks that either changed direction (in a negative way) or that are simply not performing and are unlikely to do so any time soon relative to other, better investments. So I sold them and went after other assets.

All that being said the other point is that I keep the brokerage cost at 1% or less as well which is a significant issue when you are turning over stocks and not simply holding them forever where the brokerage fees all but disappear.
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if you're making the money-is-fungible argument

Yes.


But one difference between collecting dividends and making capital gains is that you have to sell in order to collect capital gains.

In practice this is not an issue if you normally have some cash in the portfolio. You pay your expenses from the cash reserve and your ordinary trading keeps the cash at adequate levels. In other words, the selling and the spending don't need to be synchronous. The cash is the buffer. If you don't have cash, you can use margin making sure you pay it off ASAP.

My point is that each position should maximize CAGR and you need a cash management program. I pay things with my credit card and each month I do an ACH transfer from my broker to the credit card account. This gives me the frequent flyer miles and a 15 day interest free float. For expenses that can't be paid by CC, use the broker's checking privileges.

Denny Schlesinger
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If you sell your Wal-Mart shares you can take your profits and now buy shares in a company whose dividend is yielding considerably more than Wal-Mart's is at the current stock price.

Seems to me that this is a very poor way to look at the situation.

The only yield that is important is the yield when you buy the stock. That yield will stay the same no matter what, for as long as you own the stock. If you had a 5% yield to begin with, you have a 5% yield forever.

The fact that yields drop when the price rises should not be a consideration for selling; it simply makes no sense. All it means is that along with your dividend over the years, you have also gained potential value in the underlying stock. To think otherwise is akin to hoping that your stock doesn't go up in price because your yield will drop. Not so!

I'll take the divvies and the appreciation 24/7/365, and I will still have the same yield as when I started. Or, perhaps I missed a point somewhere along the way; wouldn't be the first time. Adding to existing shares is another story and then the current yield becomes a consideration; but for holding, a shrinking yield only means that your stock has appreciated in value (actually, price) and that's a good thing.

Dan
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If you start with a stock with a 5% dividend, and the stock price rises 25%, and you sell the stock and use all the proceeds to buy a different stock with a 5% dividend, that new 5% dividend is based on a 25% larger base number.

You need to look at it both ways.
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I'll take the divvies and the appreciation 24/7/365, and I will still have the same yield as when I started. Or, perhaps I missed a point somewhere along the way; wouldn't be the first time.


Sure, you'll have the same yield from the dividend on the money you spent to buy the stock, and, maybe even more if the company raised the dividend in the interim. But, it's this line of thinking that stops people selling a winner and reinvesting their profits in a stock at a better price with a heftier dividend yield.

You— "I'm getting a 5% return on my purchase price just from the dividend alone, I'd be crazy to sell!"

Me— "Well, how would you like an 8% return instead just from the dividend?"

You— "No, that's not possible, is it?"

Me— "Yes it is, just sell your winning stock and invest all the proceeds in a better prospect with a higher dividend yield."

Here's some math for you: company A, the stock you hold, paid a 4% dividend when you bought it at $20 a share. They raised the dividend since. Based on your original purchase price you're now getting a 5% dividend yield. Let's say you spent $10,000 on the stock and you are now being paid $500 a year in dividend payments (5% of your purchase price.)

Stock A has doubled in value since you bought it. If you sold your shares you would have $20,000 in hand. What's more because the price has gone up so much the dividend yield at the stock's current price is now only 2.5%.

Now, you've ruminated a bit about stock B, which seems like a good solid company that is reasonably priced and has a dividend yield of 4%.

If you sold stock A and bought stock B with the proceeds ($20,000) remembering that it has a dividend yield of 4% you can easily calculate that you will be paid $800 a year in dividend distributions. This would be an 8% return on your original investment of $10,000 from dividends alone — you only have to switch horses to get it.

(I've ignored brokerage fees and possible tax implications for the sake of simplicity; to keep the math as simple as possible.)

kelbon
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god, I love it when you put words in my mouth, kelbon. Literally, no less. You're planting apples and selling oranges.

You: As a real world example, imagine you bought Wal-Mart for its dividend yield at $45 a share and over a couple of years it rose to $73 a share, which it has. If you sell your Wal-Mart shares you can take your profits and now buy shares in a company whose dividend is yielding considerably more than Wal-Mart's is at the current stock price. [emphasis mine]

Me: What the yield is on WMT today makes no difference for your original investment, period. If you wanted an 8% return, then you shouldn't have bought Wally.

You: ~"Earn more because you have cap gains to invest." [paraphrased]

Me: Agreed, but that isn't what you were talking about in your post that I responded to, is it.

We can disagree every day, it's fine by me, that's how we learn. But let me make my own arguments if you please. :)

Dan
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Dan,

In my post that you plucked the last paragraph from I was responding to the idea that one shouldn't sell dividend yielding stocks with a gain because of the need—or desire—for the income from the dividend.

culcha's post—which I was responding to—focused on the "The dividends-as-income-stream approach, OTOH, aims to build up a portfolio whose dividends will suffice to provide your needed income stream in retirement."

I was pointing out that someone could sell a stock that has appreciated and buy another one, and, rather than jeopardize their income from dividends, increase it.

Your response to that was: "Seems to me this is a very poor way to look at the situation." My next post was intended to further illuminate my post (that you quoted the last paragraph from), with a little simple math.

You now argue: "This isn't what I (kelbon) was talking about in my post when you (Dan) responded to it." Indeed it was. Here's most of the first paragraph from that post:

[…]Sometimes good companies that pay steady, rising, and predictable dividends see their stock prices increase substantially. The stock price goes up, the dividend yield goes down. Of course, this doesn't affect your income from those dividends, but it often presents opportunities elsewhere for you to increase your income from dividends. In other words: sell the winner with its now diminished dividend yield if you can find a relative bargain that is of modest value and has a meaningfully higher dividend yield than the stock you are selling.

Of course, selling a winning stock that you're invested in for the long-term just to increase your income from dividends isn't necessarily the best strategy unless your sole objective is to increase your income stream from dividends in the here and now. But, another subject for another day…

kelbon
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I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and comments on stop loss orders. I like the idea of a goal price to sell much better -- and you're all right that I have had a very high tolerance for risk in the past. (That also meant that I capitulated at the very worst time, though -- I want to become slightly less risk tolerant in order to avoid that.)

I keep my investiments at Fidelity -- does anyone know how to set up alerts that will warn me when certain things happen to my portolio, or to an individual holding? What I'd really like is to have it show me the RMS of the stock on a daily basis, and notify me when a holding crosses the average, +/- 1 RMS and +/- 2RMS lines....

ThyPeace, probably asking a little too much, but if anyone knows how to do that, it would be this board!
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ThyPeace, I'm a little late to the party but wanted to make a couple of comments. I tried using stop-loss orders on the advice of someone more knowledgeable than I (which includes just about everyone). I went back and compared my results with what would have happened if I hadn't used the stop orders. End result, about the same either way. I had a couple of stocks that fell to my sell level and then went up a lot and others that fell below my sell price and stayed there. What I didn't experience was the situation where a stock price falls precipitously, sell orders back up and your stop-loss order doesn't get executed until at or near the bottom. In short, the stop-loss order can enable you to automatically and immediately do what you did over a longer period when you rode a stock to the bottom and then sold. Ain't technology grand! (I had a similar experience with a low-ball limit order on MAKO, which fell so sharply that my buy order didn't get executed until the price had dropped several dollars below my limit. Some days you get lucky.)
My limited experience is that stop orders do not work as well with volatile stocks or during volatile markets as they do in more stable situations.
Some have suggested that you should set your stop loss at or a bit below the 50 day moving average for your stock since some use falling below that level as an indicator of a broken support level. I'm more inclined to buy stocks for the long-term as you have and sell only if the reasons I bought the stock no longer apply. Stop orders don't add much to that.
The one place I've found stop orders can be helpful is when I think a climbing stock is overvalued and due for a big drop and I'm ready to sell. In that case I sometimes set a trailing stop near the price to try to ride it up a bit farther before the stop order is activated. Sometimes this gets me a little better price, sometimes it just gets me out of the stock at a price a little less than I would have gotten if I'd just sold it myself.
I believe you said that you were 65 years old. Most professional financial advisers advise switching to a higher percentage of fixed income investments as you get older. I think that under present circumstances your portfolio of proven dividend payers is preferable. My finances would be in much better shape if I had done that for the past 50 years instead of letting professionals manage my investments for me.
Professional financial advisers are under pressure to perform and tend to keep 100% of their money invested in equities. For a long time I felt the same pressure. Now I agree, as Denny suggested, that keeping cash or very liquid investments available for the bargains that appear from time to time makes more sense for the individual investor. This of course, is in addition to anything that you set aside for personal emergencies.
Most people hurt themselves by selling winners too soon and holding losers too long. It sounds like you've had a winning strategy for a long time. I suggest that you consider continuing to do what you have done. Sometimes the opposite of good is better.
As far as getting alerts based on RMS, I think it's unlikely. The BMW method, with its emphasis on CAGR, is not widely appreciated. We're fortunate to be among those who are aware of it.
Congratulations on accumulating an enviable portfolio!
D
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Oops, that was culcha who is 65. My bad
D
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Thanks for your thoughts, maniladad! I have since cancelled my stop-loss orders, based on the thoughts from this group, and continue to try to figure out how to invest wisely in other ways. My review of the BMW list today produced almost nothing I wanted to research further, though I would like to know if anyone knows anything about Oshkosh Truck. I've just started that process, so any thoughts are welcome.

And yes, I am not yet 65. In 20 years I will be, though. I think about that age a lot lately. My husband is 8 years older than me, and suddenly retirement seems all too close and entirely too ugly. I worry about it. And about many other things these days -- doing a home remodel and refinance to pay for it feels like a bad idea now. When I was 35, it felt like I had forever to pay off a mortgage. I have similar difficulties about a lot of stuff. DD's college fund is growing too slowly. I am not successful enough (not that my irrational worry has given me what "successful enough" looks like). I am also not thin enough, healthy enough, strong enough. When I really get going, I can be very down on myself. It's a surprise to me, because although I have had rough times in my life, I have never been negative about myself before.

I believe it's the sudden realization of a profoundly time-limited problem. I don't have all the time in the world. In fact, I barely have any time at all.

I recognize that this is a phase, a developmental milestone, soemthing like that. I watch it with calm interest, when I can, with grumpy disapproval when I'm too darned tired and, well, grumpy, to do that.

And I recognize that a lot of this is genuine stress. DH found out last night that he needs a pacemaker to correct the major arrhythmias he's been dealing with. I have an ongoing minor, but very painful, health issue. (And chronic pain will mess with your mood faster than almost anything.) My house had a tree fall on it and even the minor repairs to the exterior structures are costing more than insurance provided. We're talking about adding onto the house and refinancing the mortgage. DH lives 365 miles away and there are no jobs for him in my area. We both applied for jobs and haven't heard anything. DD has all her health issues and two hours of homework every night. I just got an email directing my staff to locate and inventory 1,126 computers by Tuesday.

So, err. Hmmm. Yeah, I've lost my train of thought on investing, except that this is perhaps one reason why my investing does better when left alone for long periods of time. Most of the time I am the only person responsible for my household (see above ref. DH living 365 miles away), and my job is not a low-stress easy one. So if I can give my investments two hours a month and they do okay for me, well, that's the best I can do right now.

But it worries me. Deep down, it worries me. It's not enough.

ThyPeace, needing a little more Peace in the Thy, please....
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ThyPeace, sounds like a mid-life crisis. One grows out of it.

In Spanish we say: "No por mucho madrugar amanece mas temprano." English translation: No matter how early you get up, you can't make the Sun rise any sooner meaning that things will take their time to happen no matter what. One should only fret about things one can influence.

I wish you Inner Peace.

Denny Schlesinger
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ThyPeace, sounds like a mid-life crisis. One grows out of it.

Ayup, I kinda figured that's what it is. Every age has its level of "sophomore," where you're just into it and uncomfortable with all its aspects. Apparently I'm a middle-aged sophomore. Or a sophomoric not-quite-old fart.

Or something.

ThyPeace, going back to working now.
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