The Stupidest Investment Decision I Never Made

Published 2008-01-02

I ran across this tidbit today and it made me pause:

If you held the $10,000 of [Apple] shares bought in 1997, your investment would be worth $525,187 today.

It made me pause because, in 1997, I actually had $10,000 and I actually considered buying Apple stock with it, on the theory that

  1. it was very cheap so I could buy a lot of it
  2. everyone knew Steve Jobs was going to do something interesting with Apple, and
  3. I really liked my Apple-brand laptop computer.

In the years since, I have occasionally thought to myself, "self, I bet you'd have a little bit of money if you'd have bought that Apple stock in 1997." Now I know exactly how much money I don't have because of this nondecision.

This isn't the kind of random "Gee I wish I would've bought some MSFT in 1986" thought that sometimes occurs to me. I was genuinely going to buy some Apple stock until my then-girlfriend brought me to my senses. (OK I'm unnecessarily making her a villain here. I was very chicken to drop $10K on something as transparently stupid as Apple stock, which was cheap because obviously they were going out of business imminently.)

Of course, I didn't buy any Apple stock. Instead, I paid off my credit card debt from grad school.

Whenever anyone asks you for a definition of "leverage" you can tell them this story.