I opened my Roth IRA on November 8, 1999 and immediately mailed a check for $2000.00 to Fidelity. Aware that I had opened a new account, I took advice from someone I knew who suggested buying a promising technical stock by the name of Conexant because it was quickly growing in value.
Once the funds were available, I bought 32 shares of Conexant stock at $62.50 per share. The value of the stock quickly rose, I checked my Fidelity account on a daily basis, watching it double, increasing to $4000.00. I was pleasantly surprised to witness my new Roth IRA immediately double. I did not plan to purchase additional shares because the limit for a Roth at that time was $2000.00 annually. Believing that investing was easy due to the seemingly easy growth filled me with contentment…but only for a short time.
Unfortunately Conexant’s stock value fell drastically a couple of months later. My investment decreased as fast as it increased and I learned immediately as a beginner that one’s money can quickly vaporize in the stock market. The stock’s value plummeted and I was looking at a loss. By the early 2000’s the stock’s value was in the hundreds of dollars. I lost almost all the money I put into the stock. I never sold Conexant but held on and watched it dip into cents per share as well as branching into two new companies, Mindspeed Technologies and Skyworks.
This was a learning experience and I was relieved that it was only $2000.00. I hoped I could recoup the lost money by the many years of investing that I had ahead of me. Shortly after opening my Roth someone suggested buying stock in P&G since it’s value dipped to near $50.00 per share. Because it was a new year I was able to invest another $2000.00 into my Roth. Undeterred, I mailed a second check to Fidelity and bought about 38 shares of P&G. Not long after, I watched the value of my minuscule portfolio return to normal as the value of the P&G stock rose, bringing it near $4000.00, my original investment amount. I was happy to break even and planned to continue to invest in the years to come.