stock market

So you’ve invested your money, some are up, some are down. How do I know when to buy more, keep holding or sell? This article aims to provide you with some guidance through the ups and downs of your portfolio.

Take your wins when you can

It sounds simple – if a share has had a dramatic increase in share price due to an announcement and jumps up anywhere above 30% in a single day, it could be worth re-evaluating and selling. Especially for shares in which you have taken a punt on without significant amount of research. Recently, off the back of a solid announcement from the company I’ve had a win with one of my holding ASX:COD (a copper explorer I took a gamble on a few months ago after hearing it could be a winner from a friend). The share one more shot up over 150% in the morning, without any science and worried the potential gains could erode away, I set the sell price at $1.00 which would earn me roughly 300% – a very respectable amount I am happy to take.

It’s not uncommon though for the share to keep shooting through the roof (which is the risk you take when selling) or to plummet back down if the market overreacts to good news. I was recently caught up in the hype of one of my other investments ASX:88E, where I was up roughly 800% at one point, they then let out an announcement of bad nature and plummeted 80% on the Monday at open. Although still up overall, if I had sold earlier, I could have secured much better gains. 

Selling at any price on the way up would have yielded much better gains and it’s really impossible to know what the peak is or see the future. So be happy if you can take your gains where possible, if you really believe there’s much more potential, keep holding. Another strategy I like is:

Partial Sale

This is probably my favourite method of taking acceptable gains as well as still riding the wave if you have good believe or just want to keep some risk in the portfolio. Example with ASX:88E above.

  • Watch the share sky rocket up to maybe 200-300%,
  • ‘This is amazing, I have seen them release good news thus far, but there’s still some uncertainty over the samples’. 
  • I recognise I have made good gains, but it could be better. However there is risk that it could all turn into nothing…. 

I could:

  1. Sell it all and take the win
  2. Partial Sales: Sell my original Purchase amount ($) and keep holding the remaining
  3. Hold the entire amount – go go go

With the Partial Sales, you would limit any losses that could be made in the future. Even if the company goes bankrupt, you will have pulled out the initial amount. Great!

Even as the price climbs higher (like 600-800%), you can keep selling part of your investment realises gains and gains. If we did a strategy like this for 88E potential gains would be much higher than what I actualised (100%). Doing this strategy would potentially yield $2,500:

You can see how powerful the partial sale can be in this illustration. Be cautious and watch the shares (daily) to look for spikes and opportunities for potential sales.

Buy more when the price drops (AKA Averaging Down)

In essence, if you have some shares you really believe in could be a future winner however they are currently at a loss (in the red), you can thinking of this another way as ‘oh, I can buy more as this share will surely increase in value over the next few years. I’m getting a bargain! I should buy more‘. 

You can read a full article on this here but that is the true crux. Example would be COVID, I should’ve put everything I owned in shares in March 2020 and I’d have paid off my mortgage 3 times over!

Tax Implications

If you are serious, go see your accountant, tax or financial adviser. 

The main thing here I think is the 50% CGT discountLink to ATO website

Simply put, if you are holding an investment and it’s been a full year, any gains you get may be discounted by 50% for tax purposes. So IF you are sitting on a gain and were thinking of selling, it could be worth waiting a few extra days to get this discount. 

Next time

  • Tracking your investment portfolio in Google Sheets with automatic updates

Create A Trading Account

Step 1
: Go to
Commsec and click ‘Join Now’

Step 2: Click ‘Open an Account’ and go through the prompts

Step 3: Open a CDIA (or trade with your bank – not recommended). You will need your your ID – See details below.

Step 4: Confirm details via email

Step 5: You’re ready to trade – however you’ll need to put some money in your trading account (CDIA).

So I have an account, now what?

I would recommend reading my next blog – which I haven’t written yet. Also familiarise yourself with my previous post – Beginners Guide to Investing (Shares, Crypto and Trading Cards and more) and How much money should I be investing?

Other Details

Caveat 1, each bank is slightly different, but generally the same. I use Australia’s largest retail bank – Commonwealth Bank of Australia, therefore will use Commsec as their trading platform.

Full disclosure, I am not advertising or sponsored by CBA.

Possibly the most difficult question to answer in getting started in some serious investing. This is not a perfect guide as each person is different, this is MY APPROACH which you can feel free to follow or take parts of to apply them to your circumstances.

Questions to ask yourself

How much cash do you need to last an ‘Emergency Period’ of X Months?
X month is different for each person. I would interpret it as how long it could take until I start earning decent money again? For me this might be 2 months, for others it could be 6 months to a year, it depends on jobs, specialisation, business type, market, etc.

To determine this we’ll have to set up a simple
Personal Income Statement:

The main parts to this are:
 – Income: for most people this will be on your payslip  / salary
 – Expenses: from your cash / credit card / debit spends

How much money do we need to live (on current spending patterns)?
It’s a good idea to log into your bank and some have features which will tell you how much you spend. Example Macquarie Bank

It’s best to find a base for your spending, either monthly or yearly. Then you can understand for yourself more easily. Just note that sometimes the spend can be skewed by a holiday or other expenses, so you can normalise these for a more accurate number. I.e I might only go on 1 holiday per year, so $14K would be much too high.

So… what’s my minimum? $2,900 per month. Yearly…. $35,100

Final Result: $2,900 per month. For 6 months I’ll Need $17,600
This money will be kept in cash (in a bank account) and (hope to) never touch unless you really need to.

How much cash do I have available to invest?
Take some time to form a to look at your cash balances and other assets.  This will help determine how much money we have left over to potentially invest (As we need a buffer of $17,600 minimum).

Cool – maximum investment amount $62K, but

What would be a reasonable amount considering my circumstances?
Considering this further, we may want to bulk up our emergency fund to consider the following:

  • Age / Closeness to retirement: The older you are the more you want to bulk up your fund with protected cash
  • Dependents / Inheritance: You may have children on the way or want to pass on a lot of your wealth to kids / grandkids.
  • Future Earnings Ability: you might have a successful job and be earning significant cash each year so your current balance feels particularly low
  • Other Expenses
    • Funding your retirement – ensure your super balance is adequate to fund your desired retirement lifestyle
    • Upcoming significant expenses – holidays, purchasing a house, wedding etc


The below examples are simple examples not financial advice. Apply your own circumstances and knowledge to your situation before investing. 

Simply put these examples will give you an idea of the maximum amount of money you could invest. The weighting is your personal subjective opinion on each of the 4 categories. You can find the template HERE to manipulate your own google sheet and set yourself up to invest! The additional steps below will add  to your starting emergency funds to provide additional safety to your equity.

Example A: Young Person in a solid Financial Position

  • Age / Closeness to retirement: 30 Years old, 20+ years to retirement. Long way off, would be wanting to build adequate retirement funds
  • Dependents / Inheritance: No children expected in the next few years and no dependants.
  • Future Earnings Ability: Currently earning in excess of $100K yearly with regular pay rises and promotions expected over the medium-long term.
  • Other Expenses
    • Funding your retirement – Want to enjoy a comfortable retirement, nothing too flash
    • Upcoming significant expenses – Wedding planned in the next year, expected to be $20K

Example B: Closing in on retirement

  • Age / Closeness to retirement: 55 Years old, <5 years to retirement. Very close to retirement, should be protecting assets built up over the years to spend during non-working times.
  • Dependents / Inheritance: 10 kids & grandchildren, they are self sufficient but want to ensure they are provided for comfortably before and in the Will.
  • Future Earnings Ability: Currently semi-retired and spending the majority of this money for life expenses and enjoyment. Earnings will only deteriorate from here.
  • Other Expenses
    • Funding your retirement – Want to enjoy a comfortable retirement, nothing too flash
    • Upcoming significant expenses – None to note.

Example C: Young and supported by family – e.g Uni Student

  • Age / Closeness to retirement: 20 Years old, +35 years to retirement. Very far from retirement. Longest time to build asset value.
  • Dependents / Inheritance: Nothing planned for now or in the future.
  • Future Earnings Ability: Might make some cash mowing lawns or very part-time job, but earnings can only go up from here. Parents will be supporting most expenses.
  • Other Expenses
    • Funding your retirement – Want to enjoy a comfortable retirement, nothing too flash
    • Upcoming significant expenses – Holiday for a gap year or something. Important for life experiences.


Each person is in a different circumstance. Looking at your life factors will help determine how much you can afford to invest. 

You want to have a good balance between using your assets effectively to further your income and protecting the equity you’ve earned over your lifetime. Every year or so you should consider if your life circumstances have changed and adjust accordingly.