My dumbest investment moves have led me to prefer making my buy and sell orders while the markets are closed. That way, I have time to cancel the orders if I have second thoughts. I learned this after experiencing several instances of "WTF did I just buy?'' -- R.L., Norwood, Ohio
The Fool responds: It's smart to put significant thought into investment decisions instead of acting on impulse. Your system is a good one, but you might want to make sure you're placing "limit'' orders with it. A limit order lets you specify a maximum price at which you're willing to buy or a minimum price for a sale, giving you more control over the trade.
If you place a "market'' order instead, it will execute at the best available price when the market opens. That's often fine, but sometimes a stock's price will change dramatically overnight due to some news or rumor. Then you'll end up having bought a stock at a surprisingly high price, or having sold for much less than you expected. When the market is closed, limit orders are smart.