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I recently made my first venture into the stock market(a few months ago). I did not consider myself a "Fool" but I have learned some very valuable lessons. I am a sophmore in college, and 19 yrs. old; so not too many people give me the respect I deserve when it comes down to choosing stocks to invest in. I had saved about $4,000 during the fall semester from working my butt off, and decided it was time invest in a small portfolios of stocks. Keep in mind that this was prior to reading any of the the Gardner Bros. books.

I am going to try to keep this short, so please bare with me, if you still happen to be readingg this.

I sent for financial statements and communicated with investor relations reps. of the companies I was going to invest in. I read the reports well as I knew how, then went on to study how each company was situated in their industry; if they were leaders, if their product was highly demanded, how management was, revenues...etc, etc. To my surpise I turned my intitial investment of $1,500 in my first stock into about $5,000. I was quite pleased, but I would later learn a now valuable lesson.

The company, which I invested in was about to get caught up in the biggest upward swing I had ever witnessed(along with many others). My stock doubled, then tripled it's value. While being delighted, all my family and friends were telling me to get out, saying, "people were going to to start taking their profits eventually." But as stubborn as it sounded to them, I stuck it out. By sheer confindence in the company, it's management, their eventual earnings, and many news announcements that I knew were still to come. As the market continued to rise, within a matter of a week my in price of $19/ share had rocketed to a high of $107/share. Being new to this whole thing, what I failed to realize was this; there are people that buy into a stock on hype, not knowing what the company does, or what they sell, just taking a ride on a high-rising stock to make a quick buck. I should have listened to my elders and taken my profits, then put my money back in the stock, once it had reached a reasonable market price.

To close, I ended up selling at around $50/share...still making what was some great money for a 19 year old, but to sit back and ponder what could have been??

Now months later, I hold nothing in my portfolio, and my savings is much higher. I decided that it was time to do some reading. I hit the "Fool" and have been visiting this site for 4-5 times daily. I have read 2 of their three books, I now know how to read a financial statement, and I am ready to get back into an area that is still fairly new to me(age), but I feel I know a lot more than I did a few months back.

Thanks to the Gardner brothers, I am a much wiser fool. The Rule Breaker, Rule Makers book, it quite interesting...I cannot wait to finish it!!

comments, advice?

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As you probably know by now, having read Foolishness on the web and in books, you should not try to time the market as you talked about in your story. Buy great companies and hold! At age 19 you have plenty of time to become a millionaire. At age 40 I would be a millionaire by now if I knew what the Fools teach when I was your age.

Advice? Keep reading the Fools and invest in stocks for the long haul!

Good luck!

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Thanks for the advice, and taking the time to read my shortened story. I now know that trying to time such a volatile market can really hurt you, but if you are lucky enough to get in at a an upturn more power to anyone. Myself, I have given up on that whole "timing" thing. I am getting ready to put some money back into some small-cap, and large-cap stocks for the long haul. It's anyone's best bet.

The only thing that is holding me back right now, is the fact that the market is do for a small breather, so I may wait a bit(this may sound like I am trying to time again), but the way the market is heading right now, it needs to take a break.

Thanks again!

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Hi Sean,

Sounds like you are on the right track, m'boy! I am young, too (24), and feel so blessed to have found out about investing at such a young age. I was about your age when I started learning about stocks. And the Fool is the most valuable tool I know of out there to help you along the way. These message boards are not to be rivaled anywhere on the internet. The interaction with other investors is amazing and has taught me so much (as well as amused me quite often!).

The only advice I would have for you would be to not wait before getting back into the market. I know you may think the market is high right now, but if you continue to wait, there's no guarantee it's going down anytime soon, and you might be left high and dry and totally uninvested as the market tacks on gains.

Alternatively, let's say you put your money in and see a correction in the market -- no biggie -- as you've said you want to be in for the long haul, right? Just take a deep breath and stick it out. The market has historically (over the last 3o years) returned 11%, and with you investing so early, you will be more than fine.

Take care and have fun in Fooldom,
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