For 57-year-old Li Shuhong, the past year as a retail investor in the mainland stock market had taught her much more about life than the past five decades. 'Don't be greedy, and always remind yourself that good things will not fall down to you from heaven,' she said. Ms Li speaks from experience; her 200,000 yuan (HK$222,000) investment in the stock market is now worth only about 120,000 yuan. And her holdings could shrink further as the stock market slump shows no signs of letting up. Ms Li's 80,000 yuan loss equates to two and a half years of pension funds for her and her husband. Born in Hebei province, Ms Li moved to Beijing with her family at the age of six. She witnessed the political turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s, and retired from her job at a state-owned steel factory in 2001. Her quiet retirement life came to an end in April last year when she decided to invest in the stock market. 'When neighbours who basically knew nothing about the stock market made a lot of money simply by moving their savings from the bank to the stock market, I don't think anyone could resist the temptation. It all started with greed,' Ms Li said. Ms Li saw her first 50,000 yuan double in a month. But her profit evaporated just as swiftly in the market downturn after May 30 when the government announced it would triple stamp duty. The downturn kept her at bay for four months, but she returned to the market in September. 'It's the same story - everyone began to make huge profits again and I wanted to get a share too,' Ms Li said. When the Shanghai Composite Index dropped to 4,500 points from over 6,000 points in October, Ms Li made a 'miserable' decision to double her investment, believing a rebound was on the way. 'Everyone said this was the lowest point for the market, and I simply trusted them because last time I ran away, the market rebounded strongly,' Ms Li said. Contrary to her expectations, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped further. Like many investors, Ms Li and her husband blamed the government. But after days of watching the index linger only a little above 3,000 points, Ms Li started to put things in perspective. 'It's fair to say that I had a couple of opportunities to end up a winner, or at least not lose as much, but I failed to take those chances. Greed is one's worst enemy, but I did not realise that until recently,' she said. Ms Li and her husband have thought a lot about their lives and how they managed in the past to make ends meet. 'When cabbages were 10 cents a kilogram in the early 1980s, we waited until dark to buy half-rotten ones for a discounted price. Every cent in our savings account mattered,' Ms Li recalled. Nonetheless, the couple has decided to stay positive. 'You do not realise how good a life you have until you dig yourself a hole and jump in,' Ms Li said. She plans to sell all her shareholdings when the deficit is erased. 'Maybe I will have to a buy rotten cabbage at double the price this time. This is life.'