So, what did I learn from my 10-month adventure in margin?
- Being forced to sell stock to pay the margin loan is really stupid. Those 90 shares of Hospira that I sold to pay off the loan would have generated $1,000 in dividends over my holding period and possibly increased in value by 50-100%.
- The real world uses different terminology than the Series 7, but the concepts are exactly the same as what you study for your exam. My account doesn't use the term "SMA," or "debit balance," but you quickly get used to the terms "available funds for trading" and "margin balance."
- I will never use margin again.
My adventure was highly educational, and the $4,000 loan was totally necessary when I took it. But, if you see me blogging about another adventure in margin, please remind me that I no longer engage in that sort of foolishness.
I could borrow $4,790.72 from "SMA" right now with just a few clicks of the mouse, but I won't do it. Just like I won't walk down to the liquor store at the end of the block this evening. Nothing illegal about either activity, but as someone who has experienced both destructive pursuits, I can say with confidence that I'm better off without it.