With Met@box, I was actually 99% sure that it was a scam, but I thought I could "ride the wave" and sell before it would collapse. Valuable lessons were learned.
The summer between high school and college (or somewhere around that time), I put most of my savings from my part time job into WCOM @ $25. I'm probably a little older than the median HN demo, so I'll just leave this here for you.
The good news is, I never did have to pay a commission to sell that stock. Obviously, I didn't have a lot of money, but it was probably about $1000 that I invested and promptly lost.
I later found out that most people who start restaurants lose money. You'd make something like $100k sales and $101k costs a month. The game is in trying to change sales or costs by 5% or so.
A lot of restaurants don't shut down for this reason. They're all really close to being rich and they all invest so much into it that it's worth trying out another year.
That's why they're not killed by the free market. There's a lot more out there than there should be.
Lesson: don't invest in things you don't know.
I have a used car. if I put $1,000 into repairs for it and get 12 months out of it. I win.
Can I lease or buy an equivalent car for $1000/yr, $83 a month? Usually not.
If I could, how much would the value deprecate in a year? More than $1,000? Most likely
$1,000 into a used car can be the wisest thing. I pretty much drive my cars till I hit 250,000 miles. It takes another $4k to usually go from 200k-250k usually because timing belt, valve cover and expensive routine maintenance comes up. But $4k to drive 50k miles? Totally worth it.
So you have to try to figure out, is this car still solid except for the thing that needs $1000 to fix, or is it starting to fall off a metaphorical cliff? And you never know. But sometimes the car feels less and less solid, and you can tell that it's time to get out.
Is that time the first $1000 repair? Not necessarily. (I've spent $1000 on the 100,000 mile maintenance on a Honda Odyssey twice, and not regretted it. I've also spent closer to $3000 on an unexpected transmission rebuild, and I haven't regretted it... so far.) But it's not a completely stupid rule of thumb that, if most repairs are $200 or $500, the first $1000 repair is a time to at least seriously re-evaluate the vehicle.
In retrospect, I should have put some of my IRA money into it - not a lot, maybe a few percent.