I was 16. I had read about the upcoming VA Linux IPO on Slashdot, but I never in a million years imagined I'd have anything to do with it. Then I got an email from VA Linux. They were inviting me to participate in their IPO, because I had an active project at Sourceforge. It goes without saying that I jumped at the opportunity. I choked up the cash to buy 140 shares of VA Linux IPO stock at $30 per share (actually, my parents and friends choked it up, but I digress). The guy I talked to at Deutsche-Bank Alex said I was the youngest person they'd ever seen get an offer like this. Then VA Linux had the biggest IPO in the history of IPOs. I was happy happy happy. I made lots and lots and lots of money on my investment.

Fast-forward one month. I'm 17 now. And I'm not stupid -- I know that VA Linux's stock price is waaayyy overvalued. So I decide it's time to sell my stock while I can still make a killing. Unfortunately, since I'm not 18, I do not actually have the ability to do anything with my stock unless my parents approve of it. So I go talk to my parents. They don't approve. They insist that VA Linux is a strong company and a valuable long-term investment. I insist that it isn't. But they don't believe me. They won't let me sell my stock.

Fast-forward to the present. VA Linux's stock price is now $39.25 per share. I have now completely lost my chance at having that lovely $40,000. All because my mommy wouldn't let me sell my stock. But I'm not mad. No, of course not. I mean, I didn't actually lose any money, I just lost the prospect of lots and lots of money, right?

Right.

I ended up finally convincing her to let me sell it, just before the stock took its final nosedive into the single digits. I got a few thousand bucks out of it, which bought me a nice big widescreen HDTV. Not bad, but still not as good as a college education. Or an Audi S8.

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