Profits and Losses – How to successfully sell shares

by | Apr 11, 2024 | 0 comments

Sell Shares: Making Money and Limiting Risk

Throughout your investing journey, you will eventually come to the point where you need to sell. Knowing the right time to do so can mean the difference between making money or losing it all. Selling Shares is simple enough; however, understanding how to make sound financial decisions is a skill that takes time. This article will walk you through the process of sell shares, even for those who don’t have much experience.

Understanding How Selling Works

To start off, let’s make sure that everyone knows what selling really is. When an investor sells their shares, they are essentially giving up ownership over a certain percentage of the company that they had purchased in the past. The goal of selling in most cases is to make more money than was spent on them initially. However, if a stock’s value starts going down, then selling can also be used as a way of cutting losses.

When Should You Sell Shares?

Knowing when to sell shares is arguably more important than purchasing them in the first place. The decision on when to sell could either lock in profits early, minimize potential damage from poor investments or free up resources for better opportunities elsewhere. Here are some factors you should consider before deciding:

1. Realizing Profits

Everyone wants their stocks bought at a low price and sold high later on; however, determining when “high” actually is can be quite difficult sometimes.

  • Investment Goals: Did the share price hit your target return yet? If it has met or surpassed this level then maybe it’s time for you sell now.
  • Overvaluation: Is there any indication that suggests that this stock might be overvalued? If so then maybe it’d be wise for you to get out now before its too late.
  • Portfolio Rebalancing: Has one stock done so well that it is now a much bigger part of your portfolio than you initially intended? If this is the case then selling some shares to rebalance the portfolio makes sense.

2. Cutting Losses

Not all investments will work out, and sometimes cutting your losses before things get worse isn’t such a bad idea. Consider selling in these situations:

  • Deteriorating Fundamentals: As time goes on, if the company’s basics like revenue or profit margins are falling then it might be time for you to sell and find something else.
  • Market Downturns: In a market downturn that has potential to really hurt your particular stock, it would be best for you to just sell now and minimize damage.
  • Better Opportunities: Have you found another place where capital could go instead that appears more promising? If there is then selling out at a loss wouldn’t be so bad if it means getting into something better.

3. Tax Considerations

  • Tax-Loss Harvesting: Sometimes when people sell shares at a loss they may actually reduce their overall tax liability. These losses can counterbalance gains from other investments and save money in the end.

When a company changes its strategy, market position, or economic landscape and the reasons you bought the stock no longer hold true, it may be time to sell. If your thesis is no longer valid, it’s usually a sign that your money could be better used elsewhere.

4. Emotional Detachment

Emotions can make investing difficult. If you’re holding onto a stock for sentimental reasons instead of based on its performance or prospects, then you should consider selling it.

5. Need for Cash

Life happens and sometimes money is needed. Liquidating investments may be required to free up cash for things like major purchases or emergency funds. Also, selling shares can help cover unexpected expenses.

6. Timing and Strategy

  • Avoid Market Timing: While timing the market seems tempting, it’s actually very risky and hard to do effectively. It’s typically better to use strategies focused on financial goals and investment theses.
  • Use Stop-Loss Orders: To avoid emotional decision-making and automate the process of selling shares at a certain price level, consider using stop-loss orders.

Knowing when to sell shares involves thorough analysis, personal financial goals, and an understanding of market conditions. Remember that although making money is important in investing having overall portfolio growth and financial security over time is just as crucial.

Read Also: How to Identify the Best Shares to Buy in India for Long-Term Growth

The Process of Selling Shares

Selling shares isn’t as easy as pressing a button but here are some steps you need to take:

Step 1: Review Your Investment

Take a look at what stocks you currently own, how they’ve been performing recently in relation to your investment strategy. Make sure you’re aware of market trends alongside any recent news about companies whose stocks you own.

Step 2: Decide on the Right Time to Sell

Timing is everything when it comes to selling shares. Keep updated on market conditions by consulting financial news or analysts’ reports so that you can make an informed decision.

Step 3: Choose How to Sell

If you’re enrolled in a direct stock purchase plan, then you can sell shares directly. But generally speaking, brokerages are better for their lower fees and convenience.

Step 4: Execute the Sale

After deciding to sell, go ahead and place a sell order. There are different types:

  • Market Order: Sells immediately at the current market price.
  • Limit Order: Sets a minimum selling price for your shares.
  • Stop-Loss Order: Automatically sells your shares if the price falls to a certain level.

Step 5: After the Sale

Once sold, it’ll usually take a couple of business days before your transaction settles. Fees and taxes will be subtracted from the proceeds of the sale in your brokerage account.

Tax Implications of Selling Shares

Make sure you understand what taxes need to be paid when selling shares because they vary depending on jurisdiction. In many cases, profits made from selling shares will be subjected to capital gains tax which can differ based on how long you’ve held onto them and how much money you’ve made overall.

Short-Term vs Long-Term Capital Gains

  • Short-Term: If you sell stocks held for one year or less, any profit is considered a short-term capital gain and is usually taxed at the same rate as your normal income.
  • Long-Term: Profits from shares held for more than a year typically benefit from a lower tax rate.

Strategies for Selling Stocks

When deciding to sell stocks, here are some strategies investors might use:

  • Target Selling: Deciding on a target price at which to sell shares for a profit.
  • Trailing Stops: Using a moving stop-loss order to protect profits while allowing for continued growth.
  • Partial Selling: Selling only some of your holdings to realize some profits while leaving potential for further gains.

Read Also: Identifying Market Trends: A Guide to Making Informed Decisions in India


Selling stocks isn’t just about numbers. It also requires careful consideration of market conditions, your financial goals and the specifics of your investment portfolio. Whether you’re selling in order to earn money or cut losses, make sure your decision is part of an overall investment strategy. By understanding the process and considering the tax implications, you can make better decisions that align with your long-term objectives. It’s important to remember that while it would be ideal to sell when stocks are at their most valuable, you need to make choices that will help support your overall investment goals and financial health.


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