What Happens If Your Stock Goes Negative

What Happens If Your Stock Goes Negative? When it comes to investing, there is always some element of risk. The value of equities is not covered by federal deposit insurance, as is the case with a savings account. You can gain wealth by investing in stocks, but you can also lose money if you don’t make any money at all.

Are stocks riskier than cash investments? The solution is complicated since it is dependent on a number of variables.

Is it possible to lose more money than you invest?

Investing in stocks carries the risk of losing your entire investment. The sort of account you have and the types of trades you make do make a difference.

In contrast to a traditional cash account, a margin account might theoretically lose more than you invest. There is an interest charge on a margin account since you are borrowing money from the broker. Your losses are compounded since not only does the value of the stock decrease, you must pay interest on the borrowed money as well.

It’s advisable to spend some time getting to know the two types of brokerage accounts before making a decision.

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Understanding the basics of a cash account and how it works

When you open a cash account, you must pay for all of the securities you buy in cash or from the settlement of other securities. Investing on margin with a cash account is not allowed. To put it another way, you can’t use the broker’s funds to make a transaction.

Settlement requirements apply to transactions in a cash account. After the sale or acquisition of shares, the transaction must be finalized within two business days. Until then, you are not the legal owner of the stock. Once the seller receives the money you paid for the security, the settlement cycle begins. At that point, you must pay in full using cash or the profits from the sale of securities that you legally possessed.

Although they can lose all of their money, investors in cash accounts can’t lose more than the amount they put in stocks. For every dollar invested, you will never lose more than what you paid for the stock. Even though it’s upsetting to see all of your hard work go to waste, you no longer owe anyone anything. If the value of a stock drops, you won’t owe anything. This is why cash accounts may be your best option as a novice investor.

Pros and Cons

There are several advantages to opening a cash account if you’re just starting out in the stock market. It does, however, have certain downsides.


  • You can’t lose more than you put in. Investing in stocks through a cash account means that the money you put into the account is already yours. You won’t go over your budget, and you won’t suffer a loss greater than what you invested.
  • Compared to a margin account, it has a lower chance of loss. Cash accounts are less risky than margin trading since you can’t lose more money than you put in. Even if stock prices decrease, this offers you greater control over your losses.
  • You’re free to keep your shares for as long as you like. Cash purchases of stocks allow you to keep them for an unlimited period of time. There are no worries about being compelled to sell your holdings if you lose money, which is a problem with a margin account.


  • A sale’s revenues remain locked up until the deal is finalized. Two business days after an order is executed, the deal is settled. “T+2,” or “trading date plus two days,” is the abbreviation for this. You may only withdraw the money from your account once the deal has closed.
  • There is no way to short sell: Investors who believe that the stock’s price will fall typically employ the short selling method, which involves selling stock in which you have no ownership interest. The investor borrows shares from the broker and then sells the stock on the open market, thereby making a profit. To make money, the investor returns the borrowed shares and repurchases the stock at a cheaper price. To short a stock, investors must have a margin account.
  • Settlement durations must be taken into account while making deals. Purchasing stock with unresolved funds is permissible, but selling that stock before the unresolved funds are addressed is a breach of good faith. You may be prohibited to trade solely with settled money after a number of good faith breaches.

Reduce your cash account’s risk by following these three suggestions

There is some danger with cash accounts, although they are less hazardous than margin accounts overall. With a cash account, here are some ideas for reducing your investing risk:

  • Maintain the integrity of your account at all times. This can assist you prevent account breaches by understanding stock settlement timings and ensuring that you have settled funds available to pay for transactions.
  • Make sure you know what you’re getting into. A thorough understanding of your assets is essential, regardless of whether you’re investing in an individual company or a mutual fund.
  • Do not risk more than you can afford to lose by engaging in any form of speculation. Investing is not the same as speculating. Investing, on the other hand, entails the use of more volatile assets in the hopes of earning a higher profit. Investing in stocks carries the risk of total loss, regardless of the asset’s stability. Only utilize money you can afford to lose if you’re speculating.

About the author: David Krug is the CEO & President of bankovia. He’s a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he’s not reading about cryptocurrencies, he’s researching the latest personal finance software.