I remember the day vividly. I’d been following the stock price for Ford Motor Co. for several months during the chaos that surrounded the market crash last fall. Our government was preparing to pull the trigger on the largest bail-out in our nation’s history.  The prospects for GM were grim at best, and Chrysler didn’t look much better. Ford had been caught up in the turmoil, and nobody could say with any confidence whether it would survive either.

Ford’s stock price that afternoon: $1.28 per share.

It was risky, to be sure. If Ford went belly-up, or accepted a government buy-out, the stock could end up worthless.  But on the other hand, for less than I’d pay for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, I could own a piece of one of America’s greatest companies.

I wanted it. I pulled up my online brokerage account to see what we could do. I was nervous . . . my hands were literally shaking at the keyboard. I’d made some good calls before, doubling down on one stock that had tanked and reaping handsome rewards. I’d also placed a couple of well-timed sell-orders. The problem is, I’d also made a couple of poor choices, the economy was on the verge of global collapse, and I was seriously gun-shy. I called my wife to get a second opinion. She said it was up to me (I hate it when she does that!)

Ultimately, I chickened out and did not buy the stock. Since that time, I’ve watched the price climb steadily. Today’s closing price: $8.44 per share. That’s a 659% gain in about 8 months.

Peter Lynch, world-famous stock picker, used to talk about the 10-bagger, a stock that increases in value tenfold, typically over many years. He said that a person only needs to find a few of those in their lifetime to become financially secure. Sure would be nice to have a do-over on this one.

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