I spent all weekend raising money when I was supposed to be writing my column. Sorry! The one I planned to do for today will probably be tomorrow.
In the meantime:
Mark: “Listen to radio stations from around the world! Fun site!”
☞ I got to the site with no trouble and found lots of Portuguese, Russian and Malay stations to listen to. Simply select one, click PLAY, and — if you’re old and stupid, like me — you get silence and: PAGE CANNOT BE DISPLAYED. But I have no time to listen anyway, so I’m OK with this.
Bad Timing: “I recently started building my own portfolio of stocks. This is purely a long-term investment strategy. Unfortunately for me I acquired most of the stocks (including Intel, Cisco, IBM and Microsoft) before the recent tech thrashing. I am tempted to sell these stocks and take the (significant) capital losses and then buy them back in thirty days under the theory that it seems extremely doubtful that they will be able to make up those losses over that 30 day time period. Is this a good idea?”
☞ If the commissions are low, and you wait 31 days to avoid the IRS “wash sale” rule, that would disallow the losses otherwise, it’s a good idea. There is a real chance the stocks will have rallied and you’ll regret it. But I’d say there is an equal chance they will have slumped further, with more tax selling. So from the standpoint of logic this could work.
Or do this: Sell some of your issues now and use the proceeds to double up on the others. Wait 31 days. Buy back the ones you sold; sell the original shares you doubled up on. That way, unless you’re really unlucky, you’ll likely net out much of the effect of market movements. (If the market jumps, you’ll do well enough on the ones you doubled up on to make up for the ones you sold and now have to buy back at higher prices.)
Quote of the Day
In 1800, 75% of [an American's] working man's expenditures went for food alone. By 1850, that had dropped to 50%. Today it is a little more than 11%.~The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 1996
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