When I started picking stocks in April 2000 -- yes, I was lucky to start my investment experience at the best time of the decade -- I knew almost nothing about investment, and I had great ambitions of doubling my portfolio every year. Soon, the burst of the bubble taught me that doubling a portfolio, or even a single stock, is not easy.
Since then, I have flirted with 26 stocks and 18 mutual funds/ETFs so far. In earlier years, I had a great batting record of buying into companies that would soon bankrupt. In May 2000, I bought an online retailer Beyond.com, only to sell next year at 75% of loss. As close as April 2003, I bought into Orthodontic Center of America (OCA), saw the value my investment doubled in one year, only to fell afterwards with no return (I only lost 20% of my original investment as I stopped loss pretty soon).
During the period, I had two double-baggers in my stable of investments -- only on paper. In both circumstances, my greed forced me to hold on the winning issues, only to see them heading south. (In both cases, I even lost some my original investment.)
Well, today, I can finally claim I have my first double-bagger realized, not on paper, but in real returns: I bought 50 shares of Altria Group, Inc. (MO, yes, it used to be Philip Morris) at $45.04 a piece back in May 2004 in my wife's Roth IRA account, and sold it earlier this week at $87.72. Since Altria is a high dividend payer, I also received a total dividend of $426 during the same timeframe. All in all, my original investment of $2,252 brought a return of $2,550 in a bit less than three years. (The better part: since it is in Roth IRA, the return is tax free.)
I guess based on my growingly risk averse mentality and preference for blue chips, another double bagger will be hard to come by for a while, but nevertheless, having the first double-bagger bagged is worth some celebration.