Circa 1995 I've opened my very first brokerage acct. and made my very first stock investment. Before that just mutual funds, did okay, nothing exciting .... I needed more JUICE, more action. That first stock was TWA. And holy smokes, I made a bunch of $$$$ really fast. And hey, I had a HELOC (home equity line of credit) on my house, good up to $100k. Oh yes, time to go for the gold. And yes, brokers give margin! Oh yeah, jack it up, more shares, on the margin! I built a MASSIVE position. And had a 6-figure profit.
And then ..... a spot of trouble .... a management shuffle. The stock takes a hit. Margin call! Do I sell? No, meet the call, write another HELOC check. Stock recovers a bit, but then starts down down down. Now I gotta sell shares to meet more margin calls. It gets to be July 17th, 1996 and I've got another margin call, and just before the close of trading I sell a bunch of shares to meet that call.
And five hours later .... TWA 800 goes into the Atlantic ocean, 230 souls lost. A simply awful, painful day I will not ever forget. Many of my colleagues have died. Many children died on that plane. It was a knife through the heart. TWA was not a huge operation, perhaps 30k employees worldwide, it was very tight-knit, we knew each other, we were all in it together. The loss of that plane was crushing.
Suffice to say, the next day I was thoroughly wiped out. Had to sell every last share. I was 44 years old, flat broke, couldn't even pay my CC balance.
But hey, suck it up and get to work. I fucked up, no doubt about it, but I've got a job that has lots of overtime and dammit I'm gonna work it, one hour at a time. Took me 3 years but I paid off the CC's. Then 9/11 happens, I got laid off and had to suck it up again and move cross country to keep working, but just kept on and it all worked out.
Now I'm retired, got a nice home and no debt. Nope not a millionaire, not even close, just got too gun shy from past mistakes but I have no worries and that's all that really matters in the end.
The gist of it all is, when you get covered in shit, take a shower, then get to work. If you never give up, you'll never lose.