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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Investor Alley => Topic started by: HeadedWest2029 on November 16, 2020, 07:23:52 AM

Title: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: HeadedWest2029 on November 16, 2020, 07:23:52 AM
I'll start...

Prosper peer-to-peer lending.  I started this about 5 years ago when everyone was talking about P2P lending like Lending Club.  Shortly after, Prosper announced they had been exaggerating returns (they say a simple math mistake in the calculation), they shut down the trading platform to sell existing loans to other investors, and loans started going south at an alarming rate (soooo many bankruptcies).  It was a small investment, but it's been annoying to slowly wind this investment down as loans finally get paid off.  More tax complexity / less tax efficient, unsecured loans, cash drag waiting for your money to be reinvested.  If nothing else, it's given me an appreciation for more liquid & transparent investments.  The bar for me to actually get into crowdfunded investing is much higher, which is a good thing.  Anyway, I *might* make it out with at least a ~1% annual return on Prosper.  A cheap education!
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: August26th on November 16, 2020, 07:33:54 AM
Penny stocks.

I spent a few hundred dollars on a ďgreen innovationĒ company that was supposedly up and coming, and the stock went to zero and got delisted.

It was fun money, but a dumb investment.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: HeadedWest2029 on November 16, 2020, 07:47:49 AM
oh yeah, in my stock picking days (not penny stocks) I had one go to zero
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: RWD on November 16, 2020, 07:50:24 AM
Prosper peer-to-peer lending.
My investment failure was with Prosper as well, starting in 2007. My experience was similar to yours (except I lost $2k from my initial $7k investment). Sad to hear they haven't been shut down yet for their unethical practices...
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: celerystalks on November 16, 2020, 08:14:22 AM
Invested in a company with a relatively small amount of debt and enormous book value of easily moveable capital assets that were easily appraisable. The company declared bankruptcy and bond holders got everything in the form of new equity.  Also they did an unnecessary rights offering that gave very favorable new equity shares for bond holders that knew about it ahead of time and were prepared to cough up and commit more cash on extremely short noticeóeffectively diminishing the rights of small bond holders caught unaware and securing control of the company for a select few sophisticated bond holders.  Since bond holders, especially secured bond holders, run the show in bankruptcy there is no talk of liquidating assets to make bond holders whole and leaving something for subordinate classes of creditors and claimants ó instead they obtain overly pessimistic valuations and try as hard as they can in order to appear impaired in the BK plan and therefor entitle to vote to approve their plan. I learned that book value means nothing, share holders do not actually own a company since management can file a BK petition in Ch. 11 at any time, and it all goes to professional operators who consume these companies like a packs of hyenas taking down water buffalos.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: reeshau on November 16, 2020, 08:24:27 AM
I'll give you two....

A long time ago:  3DO.  Video game company headed by Trip Hawkins.  I loved their multi-game arcade machines back in the day, but by the time I was investing, they were highly dependent on the "Army Men" game franchise, and put out a bunch of crap.  Trip lost his shirt, too, so at least it wasn't saving management at the cost of investors.  (he could afford it, though)  Gaming, like all entertainment, is a hit-driven business.  I learned a lot about making sure I knew the product. (I had heard of, but not played, Army Men)  I have and do own video games and entertainment stocks now, but do much more to keep on top of what they are doing.  Buy what you know!  Great product is a necessary, but not in itself sufficient, part of a successful business.

The other stinker was HQ Sustainable Maritime, a Chinese tilapia farming outfit.  They had real product, even made its way back to Walmart.  But in the end, they fabricated a lot of their success, like a lot of Chinese agriculture / food processors at the time.  Didn't put a lot into it, but avoid Chinese companies like the plague, even with their success to date and future potential.  There is no check by investigative journalism / short sellers in Chinese markets to serve as a check to company or government numbers, so that's a game I don't want to play.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: JetBlast on November 16, 2020, 12:16:30 PM
Frontier Airlines.

Seemed to be in a strong position to gain if United Airlines failed, with both having large operations in Denver, and United still very weak after their trip through bankruptcy. The financial crisis spooked credit card processors and they raised holdback requirements on multiple smaller airlines, including Frontier, who was forced into bankruptcy due to the sudden massive decrease in cash flow.

Good lesson on the dangers of investing in marginally profitable companies. Even if the potential is high, the financial fragility can bite with a little bad luck. As Warren Buffet said, only when the tide goes out do you learn whoís been swimming without any shorts.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: bacchi on November 16, 2020, 12:20:01 PM
My first 401k had some American and Scudder mutual funds. I put some contributions into a broader growth fund but also put some into a tech fund that had gone up 100% in a year. Woo! I was going to be rich.

Then the dotbomb happened and that mutual fund collapsed to zero and shut down, just like my dotcom job.

In the same period, 9/11 happened and I bought some US Air stock and call options, anticipating a quick recovery. US Air declared bankruptcy in 2002. This loss was somewhat mitigated by my purchase of Priceline stock.


Eta: Around the same time, an older co-worker put a lot of money into Enron stock right after the initial scandal. It's not as bad as the market is making it to be, she assured herself. Well, it was, and she lost six figures.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: v8rx7guy on November 16, 2020, 12:24:38 PM
Prior to about the last year or so, I would have answered gold.  Glad I held on, but now I find myself cautious to sell for a profit...
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Ockhamist on November 16, 2020, 12:26:33 PM
Zenn Motors/ EESTOR

I invested a decent amount in this electric car company, Zenn Motors.   They had an exclusive deal with an American inventor and his startup that supposedly had developed an incredible ultracapacitor for electric storage, that would allow a regular car to easily store enough electricity for range comparable to if not better than gas powered vehicles.  This was 10+ years ago.

The story seemed plausible.  The science was a little secret-saucey, but how could it not be, the players seemed credible, and there were positive secondhand signs, including investments from some big names.

I went to the annual shareholder's meeting in Toronto, right when it looked like we were on the cusp of emerging with a product.  Had gone expecting that I was on the verge of a 100-fold return on my investment, and it was going to change the world.  I had big plans, was going to retire early on this one and follow other pursuits.

Without getting into details, during the meeting it became evident to me that it wasn't going to work.   Don't think there was any fraud involved, but excessive optimism and promises that could not be met, that became obvious.   Spent the next day just walking around Toronto, kind of in a daze.   

Next day pulled my pants up, went home, sold my stock at a moderate loss, and got to work on more realistic plans.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: lhamo on November 16, 2020, 02:34:30 PM
Bought Worldcom stock in 1999.

But also bought microsoft and ebay at the same time.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: moof on November 16, 2020, 04:27:29 PM
Moved ~20% some stocks into bonds around July when things seemed to be bouncing back a little too exuberantly.  Overall I missed out on about 30-40k of gains since then.  That was somewhat offset by moving about 10% from bonds into stocks back in March very, very close to the bottom.  Basically cancelled out and a reminder that I should not be doing anything other than occasional re-balancing no matter what my gut is screaming at me.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: ChpBstrd on November 16, 2020, 07:18:53 PM
I shorted (bought puts on) Netflix in about 2012 when they announced they were going to invest in making their own content. I saw this as a desperation move with the last of their seed capital because they couldnít make deals with the movie studios and content owners, who I figured were surely about to launch their own streaming services. Plus, content production was going to be a new skill set for Netflix, and I figured they would not be nearly as good at it as the big studios.

Instead, the content came out world-class, Disney and HBO foolishly failed to launch competing services for several more years, and Netflix went on to be one of the best performing stocks of the decade. I shorted one of the best stocks of a decade!
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: cl_noll on November 16, 2020, 09:03:55 PM
After discovering MMM, selling my piddly 20-ish share holding of NVDA sometime in mid-2015 for about what I paid for it 6 years earlier (about $23/share ) so that I could reinvest it in VTI.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Psychstache on November 16, 2020, 09:37:25 PM
I shorted (bought puts on) Netflix in about 2012 when they announced they were going to invest in making their own content. I saw this as a desperation move with the last of their seed capital because they couldnít make deals with the movie studios and content owners, who I figured were surely about to launch their own streaming services. Plus, content production was going to be a new skill set for Netflix, and I figured they would not be nearly as good at it as the big studios.

Instead, the content came out world-class, Disney and HBO foolishly failed to launch competing services for several more years, and Netflix went on to be one of the best performing stocks of the decade. I shorted one of the best stocks of a decade!

Yeah, my handful of NFLX shares certainly makes me look like an investing genius in my IRA.

(https://i.imgur.com/AMicEFt.png)

My swing-and-a-miss: Under Armor. I thought them buying up companies would lead to crazy breakthroughs in wearable tech and tech embedded athletic apparel and accessories. That.....did not pan out.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Tempname23 on November 17, 2020, 03:18:39 AM
Baldwin United, my very first stock. I bought was sold 30 shares of Baldwin United, it wasn't long and the price dropped, I was told if it was good at the higher price it's better now at the lower price, sold 30 more shares. I rode it to bankruptcy. Here is a write up* about a 24 year old guy, that that went against all others saying it was a house of cards, and made a career from that call. There is a much better, more detailed write up on the net, but I can't find it or it went behind a paywall. But this tells the story, although for some reason the layout and picture are odd, to me.
https://www.businessinsider.com/jim-chanos-baldwin-piano-2011-12?op=1#in-reality-the-spdas-were-used-to-evade-taxes-plus-they-would-sink-the-company-if-interest-rates-baldwin-was-getting-fell-4

* I never saw this while I owned the stock.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Michael in ABQ on November 17, 2020, 05:30:45 AM
I invested in some gold in the form of Swiss Francs back around 2003 when gold was trading at $350/oz. The sales rep made a much nicer commission on those vs. straight bullion or something like American Eagles. Fast forward a year or two and gold had gone up to $450/oz but the stock market was doing well. I sold my gold coins back, making a minimal profit due to the spreads they had on "semi-rare" coins. I turned around and used the money to buy financial stocks.

My second investment that didn't work out so well was financial stocks that had stuff like CMBS and CDOs. I had no idea what those were (along with most people at the time) but a company paying out a 7-9% dividend, jackpot! Things went fine for a couple of years then the Recession hit in 2008 and most of my individual financial stocks fell 70-80% and never really recovered.

Finally I wasted about $2k over two different times trying my hand at trading Foreign Exchange, aka Forex. I can't really call it an investment because it's basically just gambling. I'm sure some people have made some money, but it was probably due to a steady inflow of suckers like me.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: facepalm on November 17, 2020, 06:59:09 PM
Sun Microsystems.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Steeze on November 17, 2020, 07:07:43 PM
When I was 16 I invested all of my savings into ethonal stocks at the recommendation of a family member. When I lost 80% I sold everything and bought silver mining penny stocks. Eventually I lost everything and stopped investing until I was in my late 20s. Missed out on the GFC and the Housing collapse.

Worst of all though - I worked 20-100 hours a week from age 10-26 and didnít invest any of it. Misguided youth.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: markbike528CBX on November 17, 2020, 08:43:52 PM
Just my -90% or more losers.

OBELF was OBE was PWE
COHN was IFMI 50 was COHN was AFN  -- yea they have CDO, but it has already gone down 90%, how far down could it possibly go?.....
EGKPF 44@ 0    10/27/14 EAGLE BULK SHIPPING INC Warrent EXP 101521  --- this was just a bone thrown to the wolves.
93317Q105 was WLT (Walter Energy, coal)
57949303 was MNI Maclatchy -- newspapers.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: UnleashHell on November 18, 2020, 04:09:48 AM
Lehman Bros.
Obviously its too big to fail....
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Malcat on November 18, 2020, 06:18:10 AM
DH invested in a pre-build condo that was marketed as the crown jewel of the city because the developers got exclusive permission to build it in an extremely desirable location where no other condos can be built.

Except, it never got built.

Well sort of. The development was two buildings, a low rise on the special historic street which would maintain its historic facade, and it would be connected to a modern high rise behind it that faced a busy, ugly, bus filled street.

Only the modern building on the ugly street was built, for some reason, the nice side was abandoned.
Money was tied up for nearly a decade, but at least we were able to get it back instead of being switched over to the high-rise that we didn't want to own in, especially since they tried to only offer us a unit that was equal in sale price to our original purchase price, not an equivalent unit.

So we had bought a one bedroom plus den with balcony in a one of a kind location, only to be offered a tiny bachelor with no balcony on an ugly street littered with high rise condo buildings. 

There were multiple lawsuits, and we could have fought for a better unit in a building we didn't want, but instead when they offered to just give us back our money, we took it and walked away.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: ChpBstrd on November 18, 2020, 09:34:25 AM
When I was 16 I invested all of my savings into ethonal stocks at the recommendation of a family member. When I lost 80% I sold everything and bought silver mining penny stocks. Eventually I lost everything and stopped investing until I was in my late 20s. Missed out on the GFC and the Housing collapse.

Worst of all though - I worked 20-100 hours a week from age 10-26 and didnít invest any of it. Misguided youth.

I suspect experiences like this have convinced many people that stock investing is gambling, FIRE is impossible, etc. Missing out on the GFC might have convinced you that staying out of stocks had been, and would continue to be, the right call.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: PJC74 on November 18, 2020, 02:40:36 PM
Clean coal technologies -bought for $1 went briefly up 500%, of course I got greedy and then it went to 5 cents .
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: trollwithamustache on November 18, 2020, 02:46:34 PM
Equity from every start up I ever worked for.

I also bought Exxon last year.

C'est La vie.

Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Steeze on November 18, 2020, 03:22:56 PM
When I was 16 I invested all of my savings into ethonal stocks at the recommendation of a family member. When I lost 80% I sold everything and bought silver mining penny stocks. Eventually I lost everything and stopped investing until I was in my late 20s. Missed out on the GFC and the Housing collapse.

Worst of all though - I worked 20-100 hours a week from age 10-26 and didnít invest any of it. Misguided youth.

I suspect experiences like this have convinced many people that stock investing is gambling, FIRE is impossible, etc. Missing out on the GFC might have convinced you that staying out of stocks had been, and would continue to be, the right call.

I remember my economics professor sometime around 2009 telling us to get the biggest student loans we could get and throw it all in the SP500. At the time I thought stocks = gambling = day trading. Plus, if that guy was so smart with stocks why was he still working as a professor? Not to mention the news was on 100% doom and gloom.

Very lucky I kept reading and found this place - might have never made it back to investing in a meaningful way.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: CupcakeGuru on November 19, 2020, 09:00:07 AM
CMGI
Webvan - way ahead of it's time
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: ChpBstrd on November 19, 2020, 09:15:58 AM
When I was 16 I invested all of my savings into ethonal stocks at the recommendation of a family member. When I lost 80% I sold everything and bought silver mining penny stocks. Eventually I lost everything and stopped investing until I was in my late 20s. Missed out on the GFC and the Housing collapse.

Worst of all though - I worked 20-100 hours a week from age 10-26 and didnít invest any of it. Misguided youth.

I suspect experiences like this have convinced many people that stock investing is gambling, FIRE is impossible, etc. Missing out on the GFC might have convinced you that staying out of stocks had been, and would continue to be, the right call.

I remember my economics professor sometime around 2009 telling us to get the biggest student loans we could get and throw it all in the SP500. At the time I thought stocks = gambling = day trading. Plus, if that guy was so smart with stocks why was he still working as a professor? Not to mention the news was on 100% doom and gloom.

Very lucky I kept reading and found this place - might have never made it back to investing in a meaningful way.

Fun story. I was actually in a graduate-level macroeconomics class in 2009 with a NW of maybe a couple hundred thousand dollars. The professor explained to us everything about how the current interventions were the exact opposite of what was done in the Great Depression, how velocity of money would increase again, banks were finally being supported, the size of distressed assets vs. the whole economy, the effect of low interest rates, etc. Logically, I was being given all the info I needed to make a decision to go all-in. However, my professor seemed uncertain about it all, even as she was teaching it. I failed to go all-in, which cost me a lot more than any "investment... that didn't work out".

Knowing is different from doing. Not all knowers are doers, and not all doers are knowers, but a select few people do both.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: sixwings on November 19, 2020, 09:39:24 AM
I bought a bunch of Telsa in 2015 but sold it all in 2018 when Musk was having his twitter meltdowns with the navy seal, they were bleeding cash, and Musk was being fined by the SEC. Too bad.

I also bought a hundred bucks or so of bitcoin in 2010/11 through a friend who was really into it, I just wanted to buy weed online, but then I read about how bitcoins were really just used for human trafficking, decided I couldn't support that and never did anything else with them. I eventually forgot about it and the wallet that stored their codes were on my laptop that got reformatted and eventually went to the recycling center, and they were lost forever. I'm never going to do the math on that one. I just can't. It helps that I don't recall the specifics around how many I bought with that $100.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: talltexan on November 19, 2020, 09:46:37 AM
I was also part of prosper, I think I came away with $12,000 out of my $14,000. Every so often I was receiving checks in the mail from them with an extra $200 until last year.

Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: pdxvandal on November 19, 2020, 10:51:38 AM
Invested $10k in a local company in 2013 that was trying to patent a construction-related tool. Six years later, the company went "poof." Around that same time, I had bought $1,500 worth of FB stock at $19. Coulda, woulda, shoulda ... at least I can apply $3k of that failed investment toward my post-tax stock gains the next few tax years.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: PDXTabs on November 19, 2020, 11:27:55 AM
BP shortly after Deepwater Horizon.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: GoingToMaine on November 19, 2020, 12:20:17 PM
For me, it's pretty much any time I've tried to pick an individual stock instead of sticking to the indexes.  It seems I have a knack for picking stocks that will go up briefly and then drop like rock.  But I don't have a knack for getting out before the inevitable drop.

The only stock that didn't burn me like that was because of pure luck.  It was way back in the day when I first started working.  I didn't know any better, so in my 401k I had the vast majority of my allocation going to my company's stock.  I lucked out because it remained pretty steady for many years, and when I left the company and opened a rollover IRA, I didn't do an in-kind transfer, selling it all off.  The sell-off wasn't by choice.  Once again I just didn't know better.  Coincidentally, that was a few months before everything tanked in 2008.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Michael in ABQ on November 20, 2020, 12:44:21 PM
Invested $10k in a local company in 2013 that was trying to patent a construction-related tool. Six years later, the company went "poof." Around that same time, I had bought $1,500 worth of FB stock at $19. Coulda, woulda, shoulda ... at least I can apply $3k of that failed investment toward my post-tax stock gains the next few tax years.

That reminded me of another couple bad investments. I invested in two local companies in college. One was a startup my roommate was working on. $2,500 - I got maybe $100 out of it plus some valuable experience as I worked in the business a little. The second was a local nutrition/supplement shop that another roommate worked in and also invested in. That one I think I lost $3,500. The retail storefront seemed to be doing alright, though I never saw the financials so I don't know for sure. The owner tried to branch out into his own supplement line and in retrospect spent way too much on overhead. For instance he rented a whole additional office suite that was probably 1,000+ SF to use a single room to bottle this supplement. There was also some conflict with another person who helped develop the formula. Frankly I did almost zero due diligence so it was my own fault. The owner eventually filed for bankruptcy so all I got was the ability to write of a small amount of passive gain with that passive loss.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: geekette on November 20, 2020, 01:32:21 PM
My grandmother bought me some Toth Aluminum way back that went to nothing.  I googled it and the third hit is my own post here about it over 6 years ago.  LOL
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: theolympians on November 20, 2020, 02:10:54 PM
suncor energy
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: cincystache on November 20, 2020, 02:28:25 PM
DJSP stock which went to zero. Bought some with my first paycheck at the reco of a high school friend.

Glad it was only $500 and not more. In some ways it was a blessing in disguise. It pissed me off so much I never bought a single company stock I hadn't hear of again. Pretty much all index fund from there on out besides a few blue chip dividend kings here and there...

In high school I also bought a sound system for my car which got stolen 6 months later. I drove around without a radio for 4 years after that. The silence a constant reminder to not spend money on dumb stuff. Again, a blessing in disguise. Not really an "investment" though...
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: foghorn on November 20, 2020, 03:21:21 PM
In the mid 2000's I got talked into buying about $50,000 worth of a Non-Traded REIT.  It had a stable price of $10.00 per share and kicked off a nice dividend every month.  May 6% or 7%?  I forget.

Then the 2008-2009 GFC hit and they stopped paying the dividend and stopped sales of the shares.  After a period of time (year or two) they decided to convert to being publicly traded.  The price fell a ton and my $50,000 (actually about $65,000 with those initial dividends re-invested) was now worth less than $20,000.  Today that same investment is worth about $28,000. 

So, big lesson learned about understanding what you are investing in and do not let a smooth talking "investment advisor" sell you something that gives them a nice commission. 

Very painful lesson learned.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: vand on November 21, 2020, 01:49:24 AM
Don't mind to admit that I made plenty of bad investments when I started out investing.  My biggest problem was that I used to pick risky stocks which, although they seemed to be roaring along fine, were operating in risky sectors and would then be absolutely clobbered when there was a regulatory change. I think my worst one was having a significant chunk of my portfolio in a company that had already gone down 90% and I thought I was buying it at a bargain price, but then it tanked another 75% when they announced a DfE.

I took on way too much risk because I was young, and more than a little foolish.

Today I still do plenty of active investing, but I am much more conservative with the companies I choose to invest in and have learnt the value of having margin for error.

Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Buffaloski Boris on November 21, 2020, 06:17:32 AM
I'm thinking that it's not so much the investments that I made that failed but the investments that I failed to make!  I've purchased a few individual stocks that didn't do that well, but I never "bet it all on red" so those investments are in retrospect, completely forgotten.  What I regret is not going in, big, on a lot of diversified equities and real estate from about 2010 forward.  In the end I'm still FI, but if I had been wiser I would be FI!!!
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: MasterStache on November 21, 2020, 02:06:39 PM
Maybe not so much investments but I removed money out of a taxable account to pay off student loans with a 0.1% interest rate over a decade ago. I just wanted out of debt.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: 4tify on November 21, 2020, 03:08:19 PM
Put $300 behind GM when the industry was breaking up. Had 2 ways to get that one right 🙄

Tried Lending Club and not into it. Too many defaults and with Covid doesnít seem like a great time to be a creditor. Been pulling out all year.

Also put 10 grand in RealtyShares. They went belly up. My returns have been a fraction of the estimate and Iím waiting for a total loss or some partial return. Weíll see.

Basically anything that isnít an index fund has been pretty bad for me.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: SwordGuy on November 21, 2020, 04:45:50 PM
Invested in Tropical American Tree Farms in Costa Rica.

Owner got cancer and died, trees were looted by locals afterwards.
Possible fraud involved, too.   

Index funds and local real estate are way better!
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Michael in ABQ on November 21, 2020, 09:49:23 PM
Invested in Tropical American Tree Farms in Costa Rica.

Owner got cancer and died, trees were looted by locals afterwards.
Possible fraud involved, too.   

Index funds and local real estate are way better!

I'd never heard of that before reading about it on the blog of an international appraiser. He ended up writing multiple posts. Pretty interesting and definitely sounds like fraud was involved.

https://www.internationalappraiser.com/2011/08/costa-rican-teak-farms-for-gringo.html
https://www.internationalappraiser.com/2013/05/tropical-american-tree-farms-update-and.html
https://www.internationalappraiser.com/2019/07/tropical-american-tree-farms-update.html

This appraiser points out that the further away people are marketing a property to investors, the worse the deal is. For instance, if some Canadian or British company is buying investment rental homes in Detroit and trying to sell them to investors in Canada or Britain it's usually because any local investors, let alone American investors, have already passed them over as being over-priced or too risky. Same thing with trying to sell land in Central America to Americans. If it's such a good deal wouldn't a local investor have jumped on it already?
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: vand on November 22, 2020, 05:08:08 AM
I'm thinking that it's not so much the investments that I made that failed but the investments that I failed to make!  I've purchased a few individual stocks that didn't do that well, but I never "bet it all on red" so those investments are in retrospect, completely forgotten.  What I regret is not going in, big, on a lot of diversified equities and real estate from about 2010 forward.  In the end I'm still FI, but if I had been wiser I would be FI!!!

Yes, very much this too. In my early days of investing I would sell my winners and hang onto my losers. I bought one stock  (EZJ.L) within a few pence of it's ultimate bear market bottom in 2004. Then there was a takeover speculation just a few weeks after I bought it and the stock jumped 30%, so naturally I bagged profits quickly... "this investing lark is so easy!" I thought to myself. 

However after I sold it it went on to more than triple its price over the year, and within a decade had gone up more than ten-fold. Nothing else I have ever held has ever come close to matching that, and I just think how much better off I'd be today if I had just hung onto that stock for another few years. This is was a major airline stock, not just a penny stock and even today after cvoid it is still many times the price at which I bought it at all those years ago.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: norajean on November 22, 2020, 05:15:02 AM
I bought a lot of Apple stock in about 2004.  It dipped a bit so I sold it and lost money. 

What is the point of this thread?
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: ChpBstrd on November 22, 2020, 08:58:10 AM
What is the point of this thread?

It has not been stated. However Iím finding benefit in organizing the responses into themes:

1) Trading instead of holding
2) Local non-public investments
3) Picking stocks that had lots of media coverage at the time
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: HeadedWest2029 on November 22, 2020, 01:01:48 PM
What is the point of this thread?

OP here.  Honestly this thread went even better than expected.  I've LOVED reading all the responses. 
As to the why...
1) because I just love the topic of investing in general
2) we learn a lot more from mistakes than success (which just makes you overconfident)
3) we often peddle the impression on this forum that everyone is a stone-cold rationalist who came out of the womb investing in index funds, which clearly isn't true.  People on this forum often came to passive indexing precisely because early forays bombed spectacularly.  If someone is new to investing, they could see passive investing as naÔve or stupid from unseasoned investors when the opposite is true.  We know active investing is hard from experience.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: achvfi on November 22, 2020, 01:37:45 PM
Under graduate and post graduate education. I dont think I learned anything helps me in my career or do my job.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: maizefolk on November 22, 2020, 02:27:16 PM
I've posted this story in other threads, but SeaDrill. Was at the very tail end of my stock picking phase.

Knew it was going down, but the dividend was so high. I figured even a major dividend cut was in the works but eventually it would recover. As the price dropped rapidly in late 2014, I ended up buying a total of 470 shares at an average price of about $16.70/share (almost $8,000, which is still an embarrassingly large sum of money, but was a lot more money to me in my financial position in 2014). The price kept dropping but I was a buy and hold investor even before I was an index investor so I did what I always do with my investments aren't doing well and just not pay attention to them, knowing things will turn around eventually.

Fast forward and in 2018 the stock did a reverse split 268:1. Now I had one share worth ~$18. Forget what I finally sold it for, but I think it might have fallen to about $10. (It's worth $0.23/today.) Call it a 99.988% loss. The only silver lining I can come up with is that the experience has cured me, once and for all, of the delusion that I, personally, can beat the market with stock picking.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: hodedofome on November 22, 2020, 06:58:52 PM
I bought a few Chinese stocks after '08 that turned out to be frauds. Nothing like having trading halted, seeing a bunch of rumors for a few days, and then it opens 80% down when trading resumes...

On that mark, I also had XIV when that imploded and was forced to be shut down as per their prospectus. That was the end of me playing with volatility products in size...
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Dicey on November 22, 2020, 10:55:46 PM
When I was in my late teens, going to junior college, working two jobs and still living at home, I bought a krugerrand. I put it in one of my mom's dresser drawers for safekeeping. We had a party at our house and when I thought to check on my shiny gold coin the next morning, it was gone, never to be seen again. I can't remember what it cost (google says $175-ish), but it was a huge loss at the time. Google also tells me it would be worth just over $2k today. I suspect whoever swiped it did not keep it. Perhaps they have similar regrets.

I've always suspected that one of my siblings told a neighbor kid and there was collaboration in its disappearance. I'll never know.

In the end, it was an inexpensive lesson, but it sure didn't seem so at the time.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: ChpBstrd on November 23, 2020, 07:45:28 AM
When I was in my late teens, going to junior college, working two jobs and still living at home, I bought a krugerrand. I put it in one of my mom's dresser drawers for safekeeping. We had a party at our house and when I thought to check on my shiny gold coin the next morning, it was gone, never to be seen again. I can't remember what it cost (google says $175-ish), but it was a huge loss at the time. Google also tells me it would be worth just over $2k today. I suspect whoever swiped it did not keep it. Perhaps they have similar regrets.

I've always suspected that one of my siblings told a neighbor kid and there was collaboration in its disappearance. I'll never know.

In the end, it was an inexpensive lesson, but it sure didn't seem so at the time.

At least you were protected from hyperinflation for a while.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: simonsez on November 23, 2020, 12:33:27 PM
3) we often peddle the impression on this forum that everyone is a stone-cold rationalist who came out of the womb investing in index funds, which clearly isn't true.  People on this forum often came to passive indexing precisely because early forays bombed spectacularly.  If someone is new to investing, they could see passive investing as naÔve or stupid from unseasoned investors when the opposite is true.  We know active investing is hard from experience.
#3 is me but I didn't invest until I had a 401k in my mid-twenties.  It seems like many who have "learned lessons" started off younger and may actually still be better off having by and large kept at it while adjusting.  I would also wager that those who start earlier and/or actively pick probably allocate a higher proportion to investing at least as young adults.  I could be wrong on that hypothesis and it would be hard to collect data on it.

Thanks for posting OP, very interesting indeed.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: J Boogie on November 25, 2020, 10:51:11 AM
I have matched the Nasdaq this year in my fun trading account, but I would have done far better if I would have avoided getting drawn into the tanker during the contango moment back in Spring.

I also lost money on getting trying to jump the gun on PLTR by buying the SSSS SPAC prior to the direct listing. SSSS shit the bed and has since recovered a little bit. So perhaps I didn't lose much after all, but I sure felt stupid about buying the overbought SPAC instead of just getting more PLTR.

My PLTR pick doubled but unfortunately I trimmed most of my position after I had a 50% gain.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: celerystalks on November 26, 2020, 05:53:28 PM
I have matched the Nasdaq this year in my fun trading account, but I would have done far better if I would have avoided getting drawn into the tanker during the contango moment back in Spring.

I also lost money on getting trying to jump the gun on PLTR by buying the SSSS SPAC prior to the direct listing. SSSS shit the bed and has since recovered a little bit. So perhaps I didn't lose much after all, but I sure felt stupid about buying the overbought SPAC instead of just getting more PLTR.

My PLTRpick doubled but unfortunately I trimmed most of my position after I had a 50% gain.

Yeah what is going on with this? I bought 100 shares a few days after listing at $9 and it has more than tripled..
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: brellis1vt on November 26, 2020, 06:34:16 PM
Yieldstreet and Peerstreet.  I tried to diversify away from stocks and these investments firms have not been good investment methods.  In both I have loans in default/foreclosure with limited updates from the companies and money in limbo for years (I can't get some of my money out and don't know when I will be able to.)  I also don't know how much money I will lose.  These companies want money for investments but don't care about you making money.  Stay away.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: J Boogie on November 30, 2020, 10:01:04 AM
I have matched the Nasdaq this year in my fun trading account, but I would have done far better if I would have avoided getting drawn into the tanker during the contango moment back in Spring.

I also lost money on getting trying to jump the gun on PLTR by buying the SSSS SPAC prior to the direct listing. SSSS shit the bed and has since recovered a little bit. So perhaps I didn't lose much after all, but I sure felt stupid about buying the overbought SPAC instead of just getting more PLTR.

My PLTRpick doubled but unfortunately I trimmed most of my position after I had a 50% gain.



Yeah what is going on with this? I bought 100 shares a few days after listing at $9 and it has more than tripled..

FOMO is my guess.

It seems like the one of the last companies like this that will come around - Paypal Mafia alum Peter Thiel is a co-founder, fellow co-founder Alex Karp is still CEO, uses cutting edge "big data" where data analysis seems to be decades behind (govts and other large bureacracies). They acquire customers (takes a lot money) and basically never lose them. Kind of the perfect recipe for an insane run-up and ridiculous valuation.

I got paper hands when I remembered hearing Thiel talk about how they timed their Paypal IPO and exit perfectly to avoid getting crushed by the dot com crash. I thought oh man he timed it perfectly again, I should take my profits. Should have HODL'd :)
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: ouroboros on December 01, 2020, 11:44:10 PM
AAPL bought a 10 shares at $20 circa 1998, sold for a couple dollars of loss after my best friend told me not to own a company just because you like their products.

TMTA - bought about $200 of Transmeta, way ahead of its time, an ARM-like processor in the early 2000s that was way faster and more power efficient than anything on the market. Too bad they went bankrupt, held their stock until it got delisted.

POT - Potash circa 2007 during a shortage, made and then lost a few thousand, but about broke even.

XIV - (luckily by this time had discovered MMM and 95% of my portfolio was in VTI) but I thought I was really smart in 2017 and with 5% of my portfolio invested in XIV, went up several thousand, I bailed the day it crashed for a scratch. I realize now how lucky I was to get out without a loss. Never again.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: norajean on December 02, 2020, 06:09:33 AM
What is the point of this thread?

OP here.  Honestly this thread went even better than expected.  I've LOVED reading all the responses. 
As to the why...
1) because I just love the topic of investing in general
2) we learn a lot more from mistakes than success (which just makes you overconfident)
3) we often peddle the impression on this forum that everyone is a stone-cold rationalist who came out of the womb investing in index funds, which clearly isn't true.  People on this forum often came to passive indexing precisely because early forays bombed spectacularly.  If someone is new to investing, they could see passive investing as naÔve or stupid from unseasoned investors when the opposite is true.  We know active investing is hard from experience.

What have you learned that you didnít already know?
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: J Boogie on December 02, 2020, 10:10:54 AM
What is the point of this thread?

OP here.  Honestly this thread went even better than expected.  I've LOVED reading all the responses. 
As to the why...
1) because I just love the topic of investing in general
2) we learn a lot more from mistakes than success (which just makes you overconfident)
3) we often peddle the impression on this forum that everyone is a stone-cold rationalist who came out of the womb investing in index funds, which clearly isn't true.  People on this forum often came to passive indexing precisely because early forays bombed spectacularly.  If someone is new to investing, they could see passive investing as naÔve or stupid from unseasoned investors when the opposite is true.  We know active investing is hard from experience.

What have you learned that you didnít already know?

Geez Nora! Even if there are no lessons to be had we're on a forum just having fun bragging and commiserating :)

Sometimes its valuable to have colorful illustrations of what you already know theoretically, especially as our news feeds include stories of newly minted millionaires who went all in on TSLA, BTC, MRNA or what have you.  On reddit's wall street bets forum, if you only see the gain porn you'll be far more tempted to start trading options boldly. But when you see the loss porn you get a bit more sobered up.

There's a guy Ben Felix on youtube who provides a nice young professional and academic polish to the age old Jim Collins common sense advice. He constantly pours cold water on anything that isn't total market index fund investing.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: HeadedWest2029 on December 02, 2020, 10:50:30 AM
Exactly.  This was mostly for fun and it's delivered for me.  Feel free to peruse other threads if you don't like talking about this sort of thing.  As for what I've learned specifically, there were a few crowdsourcing or private investments that I've been tempted by in the past, and still tempt me to this day.  It's helpful to hear others pipe up who have direct experience with stuff like YieldStreet, Prosper, etc.  I started the thread with Prosper because a lot of these P2P or crowdsourcing websites tout the annualized returns since inception, but my experience is that most of the performance gain was frontloaded to the early days before things have trailed off considerably (so I find their quoted historical performance a bit disingenuous).  If that stops someone from going down the same rabbit hole, then all the better.  Plus, there's a stock picker in me who just likes to talk stocks.  I didn't mention it earlier, but in my stock picking days I invested in GT Advanced Technologies because they totally changed their company to supply the material for the iPhone screens.  The stock price kept going up and then Apple informed them they wouldn't be using their product, the company declared bankruptcy, and the stock went to zero.  I learned a lot from that experience and it makes for a good story when a person getting into investing starts asking me about stock picking ideas.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: EricEng on December 03, 2020, 09:56:07 AM
Helmerich and Payne Inc HP Stock, lost 80%. Bought at $85/share and now hangs around $20.
Bought on recommendation from financial magazine (not my usual source) while looking for some diversity in my investments outside tech.  Bought at peak in 2016 thinking energy and mining stocks would improve under new president.  Ended up diving and just staying way down for multiple reasons such as energy glut.  Lesson learned was beware picking stocks outside sectors you don't have much knowledge of.

Thankfully this is my only terrible stock pick and now represents such a small amount I just hang onto to it as a reminder.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: talltexan on December 04, 2020, 11:14:20 AM
I thought coal would thrive under Trump and had a stake in $ARLP for a while. Loved that double digit dividend yield, and capital appreciation was about even. Got out when I decided stock picking required more attention than I could give, and...turns out they've fallen from $18 to below $5.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: YYK on December 04, 2020, 01:58:09 PM
I thought coal would thrive under Trump and had a stake in $ARLP for a while. Loved that double digit dividend yield, and capital appreciation was about even. Got out when I decided stock picking required more attention than I could give, and...turns out they've fallen from $18 to below $5.

Is there any coal company that is doing well? I had the impression that coal was long in decline anyway because of competition from gas and renewables, and not even a pro-coal administration was going to be able to turn that around.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: Proud Foot on December 09, 2020, 02:18:09 PM
Helmerich and Payne Inc HP Stock, lost 80%. Bought at $85/share and now hangs around $20.
Bought on recommendation from financial magazine (not my usual source) while looking for some diversity in my investments outside tech.  Bought at peak in 2016 thinking energy and mining stocks would improve under new president.  Ended up diving and just staying way down for multiple reasons such as energy glut.  Lesson learned was beware picking stocks outside sectors you don't have much knowledge of.

Thankfully this is my only terrible stock pick and now represents such a small amount I just hang onto to it as a reminder.

I got into HP in 2015 when it was right under $50. I am still holding onto it and will continue for the time being.

My biggest loss is GE. Got into a small position early in 2015 right before everything started going south. Currently holding as the cost to sell is too large of a percentage of my balance. Totally written it off and am just holding to see if I can get any spin off activity or they are able to get things turned around.
Title: Re: Name an investment you made that didn't work out
Post by: MustachioedPistachio on December 09, 2020, 02:29:21 PM
I funded 99.5% of the equity for a vacuum repair and retail shop that also had a decent central vacuum installation and serviceable client base...with my ambitious, strapping, handy, and supposedly industrious younger cousin.