Tag Archives: losses

Fun with Tax Loss Harvesting When the Stock Market Goes South

What’s a girl to do when her short term and long term “gains” are actually bright red losses?

Sell! Sell! Sell!

Now, before you berate me for selling when the market is down, let me explain, I am not selling to get out of the market.

My Vanguard shares were down significantly enough that I wanted to take action. Investing in index funds, I don’t have a strong opinion on one or the other. I had a dividend appreciation fund and a small-cap fund that today were mutually down about $500. That’s a $500 loss I can take against any gains made this year. I could wait for it to go down even more (it probably will) or, I could just pull out the money now and plop it straight into another “different” investment to reap the potential gains (or further losses) of being in the stock market this year.

I pulled out a good $23k from these two investments, and moved them into my Vanguard Healthcare fund which I’m slowly but surely plugging away at the $50k minimum for the Admiral version (I love me a good low-fee admiral fund.) So now my healthcare fund is at about $34k and I’ll have $500 in losses to write off come tax time next year. Not so shabby.

Note I’m not a tax professional and I don’t actually know what I’m doing, so get some real advice before you take any of mine. šŸ™‚

Networth Up and Down and Up and Down

The majority of my networth today is tied up in the stock market. It is difficult to understand how much risk one should really take to reach their goals of wealth. It appears that the only way the 99% has a chance of achieving wealth and financial freedom, one must take great risk. Risk that leads to many days looking at your networth going down instead of in the positive direction.

A few months ago, my networth was $183,000, according to my Personal Capital accounts. Today, it’s $159,282, a 13% loss from the highs this year. Granted, I’ve also spent money this year and I started the year with $150,000, so I’m still “up.” But that includes all of the money I’ve put into my investment accounts so far this year as well.

Obsessing over becoming the next Warren Buffet isn’t healthy. But I also don’t believe that mutual fund advisors are better apt to succeed in the markets with my money versus investing in my own diversified strategy. The problem is that despite owning a lot of different stocks and ETFs, I’m not sure how diversified I am.

My idea for my Sharebuilder account, especially my taxable account, was that it would be my play money account vs my IRA and 401k programs, where I’d invest in time-based mutual funds. But now with over $100k in my Sharebuilder account, it doesn’t look like play money anymore.

They say don’t sell when a stock is down, but I don’t believe that either. If a stock has lost 50% it’s time to sell (it’s time to sell before that happens if you see it dropping) and put that money into something more stable. For instance, today my $4000 CBOU investment was down to under $2000. I sold 1/2 of that, giving myself $1000 in liquidity, and invested in AAPL, VZ, and KO (my first investment in Coke.) I’m concerned about investing in dividend stocks in my taxable accounts, but it seems these are the only stocks that have a shot at earning a decent interest income in the future.

I do need a better way to track my spending on investments (both in terms of principal investment and transaction fees) to understand my true gain or loss per year. None of the sites (Mint, PersonalCapital, Yodlee, etc) seem to offer this. Any ideas on how to do this more effectively? I’m sure all the information is stored in my many different accounts, but no one is surfacing to me. Sharebuilder is bad because they only show you how great you’re doing based on the account increases, removing any losses that you have sold off. So I’m “up” 33% this year, but that’s no where near true.

Time to Take My $5000 Losses

Investing is scary. Even when you’re diversified and even when you buy stock in megacap companies that pay stable dividends, it’s scary. I don’t like it. But I’m just as scared of not having enough money in retirement with my Bank of America riskless CD earning a whooping .35% interest.

A few weeks ago, I sold 69.7 shares of OSTK, taking a $450 hit. I’ve realized that while “buy and hold” is an overall good strategy (I’m not planning on becoming a day trader or options speculator), there are many times when companies are not doing well, and aren’t going to be doing well for a while. Granted, I shouldn’t buy these companies in the first place (I’ve learned that too), but I made some of these mistakes early on in my investing career. OSTK was one of them. $1000 spent, down to $548.54 in 6 months. Luckily I only owned 70 shares of it.

The one stock that has been killing my whole portfolio is COMV. I kept hoping it would go up again… I’ve dollar-cost averaged down from $18 to a point where I owned 1200 shares for an average of $5.05 a share. Unfortunately the stock kept tanking, even as I added to my position thinking it couldn’t get worse, it got worse. I’ve invested $6452.46 into this stock that is now worth $1828.74. A $4623.72 paper loss. Ouch. Continue reading