Discount broker blues
by Dan Weinberg
Everyone assumes that when you talk about "beginner's luck" you are referring to good luck. This is an
incorrect assumption in many cases, and it certainly was with my early trades in the stock market.
Let's begin with those first ten stock trades. After realizing that I was $350 in the red before even getting
out of the starting gate, I watched in amazement as my "well-chosen stocks" began to descend in value,
even as they had ascended during my "practice period.'' These were no speculative stocks, mind you; they
were "blue chips" stocks like IBM, Chrysler, Consolidated Edison (now Sara Lee) and General Motors, to
name a few.
Naturally, as my losses mounted, I grew more and more frightened. While I don't have a wife whose
anger I must assuage, I did have my self-respect to deal with, and it wasn't faring too well.
Although I picked good stocks during a "bull market" (when stock prices were on the upswing), I readily
learned that stocks can go down as well as up. I caught the market during a downtrend, when people were
selling off stocks that had made some pretty nice profits. I managed to lose about $850 in my first two
weeks "playing the market," and that didn't even count commissions.