Investing learning fees

We are all in different parts of our investment journeys and are learning a lot along the way. What has been your biggest ‘learning fee’ to date, i.e. a situation were you lost money but learnt from it the hard way. I’ll start:

I invested in a 3x leveraged ETF as part of my longterm investment strategy thinking that all ETFs are a safe investment for beginners…

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I learnt to not break my golden rule of investing long term. I saw a price rise and sold for profit, only to see it rise twice as much over the next few weeks.

2 years on and I do my best to avoid doing that. I crystallise my gains at times, but I don’t exit my entire position.


Would you mind elaborating on this? I’m just starting out (really small portfolio) and have put the majority into 3 or 4 ETFs because I thought that might be a safer start?

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@Keith2065 - ETFs are a great way to go and there’s lots of beginner advice on here and Freetrade.

Some basic tips;

Invest only money you can afford to lose. Invest this money for the long term (think 5 years minimum rather than 1-2 years ideally). Don’t invest money you may need at short notice. Even if you sold for profit, the funds need to clear, then the withdrawal can take another 3-4 days.

Do research. Don’t look for companies you hear lots of hype around without proven performance. You may make a quick buck but you may lose more. Think about emerging markets. If we all invested in Zoom, pharma, and biotech 2 years ago cheaply, we will be quids in, but nobody could have predicted the pandemic and the rise some stocks achieved from it. This is where the long game may help.

Finally, and most importantly of all (I think anyway)… you see red, minus figures, losses… don’t sell unless you have considered all factors and simply need to avoid losing it all. The market dips and climbs regularly, throughout the day as well as over a longer time. My golden rule “you only lose if you sell at a loss.” So hold onto it and it will likely rise again in many cases.

I really like to look at least at 3 month views on stocks, if not 1 year views and all time. It’s not a perfect science but my basic rule is not to look at daily performance or even weekly. Freetrade is not a day trading platform so don’t go buying and selling like you are in Canary Wharf :wink:

This is not professional advice. It is my opinion only. Others are much more skilled and qualified than me, either professionally or with experience.


Leveraged ETF’s are different to normal ETF’s and don’t work the same way. Leveraged ETF’s e.g- 3x Leverage S&P 500 delivers 3x the daily performance of the index. It does not just give you 3x the S&P500 long-term due to the daily nature. Normal ETF’s are much less risky and some of the safest investments you can make, as long as you are happy with the fund as a whole with its holdings you don’t need to worry about the risks of leveraged ETF’s.

If you want a good overview of them and the risks:


Not really a loss but mental weakness. Bought a lot of SQ at $100. Sold at $130 because it rose too quickly and was scared of a fall in price. I was only 3 months into my investing journey and it was my first big individual stock holding having had a pure ETF portfolio. Similar scenario with LMND, I understood the business model and backed it but the market volatility put me off.
Both would be double baggers for me right now but I bottled it


Perfect explanation. Thanks!
If only I had read that article back then :smiley:

Also, I don’t think Freetrade offers these type of leveraged products (not that I can see at least, which is a good thing in my opinion).

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Yea I don’t think they do, I assume if they were to include them they would be behind plus anyways.

When I first heard of them I also thought they sounded amazing, getting 3x the performance of the S&P500 I was wondering why everyone didn’t use them. It sounded too good to be true so I had to google them and then realised they weren’t as great as they sound lol.

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I think this is a great example of why having these conversations about mistakes is so important. It’s so easy to do and for newcomers it can be off putting, but by sharing these sorts of stories I think it helps. :slight_smile:


Same! 3x the gains, imagine!
To add to my mistake: mine was also inverse :joy: essentially shorting the index with 3x leverage…

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Don’t worry I made some dumb mistakes getting involved with CFD’s on Etoro and Plus500 between the ages of 16-18. Not even sure how they let me on there at 16 but yea lost a fair bit of money there when I was younger lol.

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I managed to lose money on calls for JD, Alphabet and AMD despite their stocks going up massively since I started

In the end I broke even as I did also catch some wins, but I’d have been much better off with just putting all that money in shares from the start.

The lesson was when you are playing with options you can get the direction right and still lose money.


Started investing around may last year as wanted to take advantage of low prices with a view to sell after pandemic.
Saw the short term gains and made some small %s.
I’m still trading but wish I had held as the margins would have been much tastier if I stuck to my strat of waiting for price recovery :frowning: live and learn.

All people make mistakes. Fools repeat their mistakes. I’m a bit of both xD

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