Well, I sold my first stock. I agonized over when would be the right time, but then I just pulled the trigger, anyway.
In March, we paid our tax bill of over $3,300 using that card, so the 2% rewards were higher than normal. I asked a friend of mine who knows a lot more about the stock market than me what stocks were catching her eye, and on her unofficial recommendation I bought 60 shares of CAR, the Avis car rental people.
That was April 17th. The stock price was $1.50. With a $9.95 commission at Sharebuilder, I ended up “spending” a total of $99.95.
And then I watched as the stock price just rose and rose and rose.
On about May 20th I started wondering if I should sell my proceeds. We’ve had rather more pet problems than usual and I was a little worried that our upcoming vacation might suffer as a result. The “overall return” on that investment, according to Google Finance, was hovering around 200%, which is a heck of a lot more than the 7 to 9% we’re taught to expect from long-term investments.
So I sold it on May 27th. I was a bit alarmed to see that there was yet another commission of $9.95. To me, that’s like paying a toll over a bridge going in each direction.
Stock proceeds: $282.24
Minus original investment of $99.95: $182.29
Now, if I’m reading this Capital Gains Tax table correctly, we’re going to be hit with a 25% of the “cost basis” come next April. If the cost basis is the amount I spent on the investment, that’d be the $99.95 number again, which means a tax of about $25.
Profit minus upcoming tax: $157.29
So I spent $99.95 and got $157.29, a real profit of 157%. Not the nearly 200% that Google Finance was teasing me with, but not shabby, either.
The other way to look at it is that since the $99.95 was free money in the first place, I made a profit of infinity dollars.
More importantly, when we take our vacation next month, we’ll have $157 that we otherwise wouldn’t have had. That’s one fancy dinner with some very good wine. I’m looking forward to it.
Published or updated May 29, 2009.