What was your worst investment?

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.

Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby travellight » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:53 am

honestly, it was being with the wrong people in my life. Finding the right friends/spouse/etc is a great investment. The wrong ones are poor investments in time and money.


Great point, sambb.... and a double whammy when it costs you real money on top of wasted energy and emotional investment.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby NHRATA01 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:59 pm

My worst investment was basically my first foray into stock picking, with roughly $1,000. It was when I was in college during the dot com boom.

I saw goto.com was having an IPO in '99, and knew them from hosting ESPN's website (I was around 19 or so). IPO was at like 25, I wanted to get in at 30-something, old man said it was too high. It went over $100 within a couple months. I was annoyed that I could've made like 3 grand (that's a lot when you're in college) in profits and missed out.

So next year, 2000 I believe, I decided to take that 1,000 or so and invest it in Earthlink, via our Merril broker at $50 for the comission, by phone, the old way. Held it for a few years, it didn't move too much, lost a couple hundred. At some point decided to exchange it for Sun Microsystems (I worked for IBM and at one point they were are largest server competitor). Stock tanks and does a reverse split eventually. I think I unloaded it in '09 and got back roughly $200 out of my initial $1000, so an 80% loss. Fortunately by that point $800 was a marginal sum, relatively. But the lesson stuck.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby chaz » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:27 pm

So far only some bad real estate.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Jun 30, 2013 2:58 pm

My tech company's stock on its way down in 2000. What's worse, I did it within 401(k). While I did not enjoy it at the time, I learned not to engage in market timing ever again.

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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Fallible » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:21 pm

VictoriaF wrote:My tech company's stock on its way down in 2000. What's worse, I did it within 401(k). While I did not enjoy it at the time, I learned not to engage in market timing ever again.

Victoria


Victoria,

It might not be market timing if you were in tech for diversity or as part of an overall IPS. Of course if it wasn't either of those... :oops:

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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:46 pm

Fallible wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:My tech company's stock on its way down in 2000. What's worse, I did it within 401(k). While I did not enjoy it at the time, I learned not to engage in market timing ever again.

Victoria


Victoria,

It might not be market timing if you were in tech for diversity or as part of an overall IPS. Of course if it wasn't either of those... :oops:

Fallible


Fallible,

It wasn't either of those. A general rule is not to invest in the industry that pays your salary. IPS? In 2000 it stood for Internet Protocol-based Services.

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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Fallible » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:03 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Fallible wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:My tech company's stock on its way down in 2000. What's worse, I did it within 401(k). While I did not enjoy it at the time, I learned not to engage in market timing ever again.

Victoria


Victoria,

It might not be market timing if you were in tech for diversity or as part of an overall IPS. Of course if it wasn't either of those... :oops:

Fallible


Fallible,

It wasn't either of those. A general rule is not to invest in the industry that pays your salary. IPS? In 2000 it stood for Internet Protocol-based Services.

Victoria


Got it. Definitely an IPS of another color.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby SnapShots » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:45 am

My husband bought six houses across the street from a hospital. Tore them down with a plan to build a multi-story medical clinic. A large hospital system came to down and bought all the primary practices and build a big new clinic down the road.

Lesson learned. Doctors aren't very good business people and I started handling the real-estate. Mortgage payments on vacant land is a bottomless pit. Eventually sold the land to the county government. Hospital was stupid and didn't buy the land, much to their later regret.

Bought Sand Ridge Energy when it first opened at $30+/share. Shortly dropped to $15/share. Bought more. Sold it two years ago and took the write off. Today it's $4+/share. Tom Ward, it's creator was recently ousted by the share holds.

Read John Bogles first book and switched to Vanguard mutual funds about 20 years ago. Found Bogleheads a couple of years ago. Better late than never.

Oh! but there were so many more. If I knew then, what I know now we'd probably be the hated 1%.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:53 am

Here's a list of the wreckage in investing, thankfully I never risked more than I could not stand to lose:

1) Somatogen - a biotech that claimed it developed a method for artificial blood. Lesson learned - ignore biotech advice from ordinary folk who don't know the first thing about taking care of their own health. :oops:
2) Some penny stock that an acquaintance tipped me off on - bought it at 7 cents watched it go to 3 cents, back to 5 cents - got out of it, my friend "bought more" - rode it down to a penny. :shock:
3) Peet"s Coffee - bought it at 22, got out at 40, 3 years later it got taken out in a cash merger for a heck of alot higher - brings new meaning to the word - "buy and hold". :(
4) Tacoma Boatbuilding - my first stock investment recommended in a Money Magazine write-up in the late 80's. Bought it at 75 cents, rode it down to zero and bankruptcy. Moral of this story - don't rely on stock tips printed in a national magazine or even local paper, there is always a hidden reason why someone offers up their "best ideas". Hint - it's not in your best interests, ever.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby sschullo » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:15 am

403b-Tax Sheltered Annuities (TSA) from a large insurance company.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby parsi1 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:41 am

Two mistakes, First bought Facebook at IPO :oops: and second (and/or third :confused ) tried to time the market a couple of times.
Advise to myself and others: don’t buy a stock at IPO and don’t try to time the market :sharebeer
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby stevep001 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:43 am

Lending $10,000 to friends who were buying a bar.

The two big issues:

1. Investing in a bar.
2. Lending to friends.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Mingus » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:58 am

Lets see.

Buying a sports car about 17 years ago that I sold about a year and half after I bought it because I got sick of driving a 5 speed in bumper to bumper traffic everyday.

Selling Activision stock right before it took off (no clue what my holding be worth right now if I had held onto it), and buying another stock that pretty much is worthless right now.

Buying a house and using a real estate agent and home inspector who did not have my best interests in mind. Due to real estate transaction fees, less expensive to restore it, and have a really nice house. It wasn't that expensive of a piece or property.

Buying a Lexus, and realizing fancy cars are stressful and selling it about a year and half after buying it.

What I've learned is cars are a terrible, but necessary waste of money. A home is a place to live, and generally not an investment. And picking stocks is very difficult.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Dulocracy » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:18 am

Atilla wrote:My worst (and by far the largest) investment is federal income taxes paid. Learned nothing since I don't have a choice. :P


Paying my income tax is a GREAT investment. I do not go to jail and the IRS does not do bad things to me. Money well spent.


My actual bad purchases were pre-boglehead days. My overall portfolio did better than the market (because I lucked into one stock that almost tripled and it was 1/2 my portfolio). I realized it was luck because of the other picks that I had (which were not good).

Two of the stocks were:

BioSolar (a company in which I still have stock), which had a reverse split. I had something like 2000 shares, and now I have 40. I am still confused about that one. Why do I still own it? I am afraid that I will owe money in commissions if I sell it... the value is close to the commission to sell cost. This was a feel-good buy that I thought would do well, as it was trying to find a way to create non-oil based solar panels (using renewable plant materials!) I thought it would also be quite profitable. Unfortunately, it did not invent something good enough to be purchased, it would seem. :oops:

BioStar Pharmaceuticals: A Chinese company that was producing hepatitis medicine for rural Chinese. (Another feel-good one.) It looked like it had a solid growth potential. It was a long-term buy. Unfortunately, there was POISON in the capsules used for the medicine. :shock: I still own this one because it recovered well and is back on the right track. I think that it has potential from where it is. I am unsure as to whether I will need to harvest it for tax losses now or in the near future, but I will do so. If I do not have as much loss to harvest, well, that is not a bad thing.

Overall, I made more money on the crazy portfolio than if I was invested in index funds. I realize that this is due to luck only (One stock beat the market by a lot; others did not beat the market, and the above two tanked. I made money (I prefer to view it as an overall strategy that worked by accident than many losses and one good gain), and I learned an important lesson. Don't rely on luck. Also, the gambling rule is to stop while you are ahead. I am ahead, so I stopped gambling and became a boglehead.

Thankfully, the overall
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby bigb » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:33 am

Bought a bunch of stocks a few years ago before I found this site last year. After learning tons here I decided to sell all my stocks and move the money to Vanguard which I do not regret one bit, I was about even on all of it. However, one of the stocks I had was FNMA. I bought about $2000 worth at about .40/share. Ended up selling it for a loss at about .30/share. Well low and behold I'm doing some reading on the internet last week and notice FNMA turned a profit the last few months so I decide to check the stock price. Its currently around 1.5/share and hit 4.5/share a month or two ago. Could have made a cool $20,000. Lesson learned on buy and hold.

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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby madbrain » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:39 pm

hoppy08520 wrote:
Professor Emeritus wrote:Worst investment DECISION was holding on to COMPAQ as it sank. Compaq was the first and only individual stock investment I ever made. I owned the machines and I thought they were fabulous. I made real money on the stock. I failed to watch as they fell further and further behind. Finally sold the stock at 25% of the peak. Proceeds now in Vanguard.

Good lesson. Contradicts the "buy what you know" advice that Peter Lynch (Fidelity superstar fund manager) made famous. It's easy to fool yourself into buying a bad stock from a good company just because you know the company.


Maybe that just shows he didn't really know it.
But how could he have known that ?
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby OnFire » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:29 am

Podiatry school. I was always a adrenaline junkie. I wanted to be a trauma surgeon or an ER doc. I thought podiatry would be cool because A.) I could get in with my 3.1 GPA and 2.) You could become a surgeon with a 3 year residency. I didn't realize before I started there are only haIf as many surgical residencies each year as people graduating from the class. Your salary being a podiatrist, and NOT being a surgeon, SUCKS. I didn't like the material, didn't REALLY want to be a podiatrist, and was completely burned out from my 5 years of undergrad. My Dad kind of talked me into it. I was on probation after the first semester and should have gotten out then, when I knew my heart wasn't in it, but I stayed another semester and paid another $13K in tuition/living costs in downtown Chicago.

Overall I paid $26K in student loans, (which I am STILL paying on 16 years later), and got essentially nothing in return but some friendships. I am afraid to calculate what the cost with interest has been over the years. The only reason I haven't paid it off sooner is the certainty that they will be forgiven in 2018.

Lesson learned: Follow your heart when it comes to your career. I am ecstatic with being a firefighter/paramedic. I wanted to be one since I was 9 years old.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby siamond » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:56 am

The dreadful combo: Bank of America (old advisor), Merril Lynch (new advisor), Hartford (annuity), Putnam (funds of annuity)...

I invested a solid chunk of money, then $250 a month for 10+ years without paying much attention. The outcome: I paid outrageous fees for years and years, and LOST $35k on the capital.

Silver lining: as explained on another thread, I finally moved the remaining money, some of it on a regular investment account (first move, not fully smart, but I was *pissed*), the rest of it on a Vanguard annuity (second move, smarter), closed the wretched Hartford annuity (relief!), and I'll wait for the new annuity to slowly grow basically tax-free, cf. the big loss on the cost basis...

The thing which killed me that the Merril Lynch guys tried to talk me into investing in another rip-off of the same type when I started to loudly complain last year. Unbelievable.

Lesson learned: triple-check what biased 'advisors' are telling you. And watch those fees...

==

Oh, and my only IPO investment ever... Facebook. Ok, lesson learned. Very last time I'll get caught on hype (well, I hope so, at least).
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby DoWahDaddy » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:01 am

Best Investment: Bought Sci Tech Fund '97
Worst Investment: Held Sci Tech Fund '00
Lesson: Rebalance
Me: 75/25 stocks/bonds | Son: 45/45/10 matchbox/hotwheels/thomas & friends
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Mr Grumpy » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:20 am

Whole life policy without question.

I should have dropped it earlier than I did. I just received a medical discharge from the army in 1971, having just completed an 8 month stay in a hospital due to gunshot wounds. I had suffered 4 bullet holes in my legs, so life insurance wasn't a hard sell. Dumb move: I was 23, no dependents, and locked into a money losing situation. Finally cashed out just prior to dot.com bubble burst. Luckily for me, not a major part of my net worth.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby linenfort » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:58 pm

1) Computer classes. Expensive and bad. Owner of school is now incarcerated, I believe.
2) Indy stocks: Bank of America, First Solar, Harmonic Lightwaves
3) Two tickets to see The Place Beyond the Pines.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby tonyski » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:05 pm

I was going to put $10,000 in to Microsoft right after the ipo. Instead, because of tax credits, I put it in to a biomass plant that was subsequently put under IRS investigation. Funny thing about the IRS, they make the company report that they are under investigation, but they will never officially end investigations if they don't find anything (which they didn't).
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Abe » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:24 pm

My worst investment was getting in on a local savings and loan IPO. It was during the S & L heyday. My initial investment was $10,000. and I believe I invested an additional $7,500.00 later. The S & L made a lot of bad loans and eventually had to close its doors. A lot of people I knew sold out before they lost everything, but I didn't. I remember calling a local office and an employee told me not to sell, that I didn't have anything to worry about. Of course, this is what she was told to tell me. I rode it all the way down and lost it all. I can't believe I was that stupid. Actually it wasn't stupidity, just ignorance. This turned me against stocks in general and I didn't invest in any for a long time after that. If only I had known then what I know now. :(
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby scone » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:29 pm

GOLDX. What can I say, I had no idea what I was doing. I sold it long ago, and now I'm glad. :shock:
"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." -- Preacher Roe
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby gwrvmd » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:01 pm

If we are lucky, they all happened before we were 30 and each taught us a relatively cheap lesson
"We learn more from our mistakes than from our successes" Ann Landers...Gordon
Disciple of John Neff
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby MGBGTV8 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:08 pm

Vanguard US Growth. Contributions in 1999, and stayed with it for years and 3 or 4 management changes. Finally cut the cord on a fund I am glad I left!
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby wilpat » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:36 pm

Two bad financial moves.
1. Bought Chinese Solar stock about 3 years ago. Bought more as it was going down and am now out about $22,000. I really don't care, as it is in my "Las Vegas" account. :wink:

2. Loaning money to friends and family over about 40 years. I am out about $75,000 there. :x

You win some, you lose some, some end up in a draw, some get rained out, but ya' gotta suit up for every game!
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby DrDoodle » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:56 pm

Every single individual stock that I've ever owned has been a bad investment. Or at least a bad investment or me. They've all gone up, then gone down, and mostly gone out of business. I realized that I just am not cut out for the amount of research, monitoring, and analysis that's needed to decide when to sell an individual stock. I'm so happy to have found the Boglehead way; now I just buy and maintain my allocation of index funds and I never need to think about selling.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby HoosierMike » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:05 pm

Based on recommendation from DRIP Investor Charles Carlson at the end of the telecom boom in early 2000, I bought
100 shares of ADC Telecom at $80/share....it immediately dropped to roughly $2/share and never really recovered. Company was bought out in 2010.
So I lost nearly my entire $8K and never invested in an individual stock again. I invest exclusively in mutual funds now.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby gnosis » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:07 pm

My first house. My wife and I had just gotten married, and planned to start a family shortly after moving into the 3-bedroom house. Well, shortly after moving in, she decides she wants to put off having kids for the next 4 years and start taking night classes so she can get her Master's degree. Here we are, over 5 years later having lived in our big house and still no kids. Well, at least my wife with a Master's degree is finally pregnant now. :sharebeer
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby House Blend » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:40 pm

gwrvmd wrote:"We learn more from our mistakes than from our successes" Ann Landers

That's because most of what we learn from our successes isn't true.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Jim85 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:06 am

Bought a bunch of preferred stocks in financial firms - Lehman, FNMA, others - in early 2008. All but disappeared and investment was in a IRA - so no loss to harvest for tax purposes. Just terrible.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Hexdump » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:35 am

General Motors bonds. It still riles me how they were handled.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby BigOilTexan » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:37 am

I got pretty lucky with my initial stock picks, but I was starting to invest during 2009. I bought Anadarko, Apple and Valero which are all up 50-100%.

I read a Newsweek article about China and decided to buy China Natural Resources without doing any research. Low volumes, high volitility. I sold it after a few weeks but lost ~25% of the $1200 I put in. Just looked up CHNR again...bought at 12, sold at 8. Its now at 4. I can time the market! :beer

I also bought BP and Transocean after the Macondo spill...BP recovered nicely...Transocean did not...

And Cheasapeake, before their CEO turned out to be a douche and natural gas prices tanked.

And then I found bogleheads!

Lesson learned: I can't pick stocks better than anyone else. Luckily APC, AAPL and VLO kept me ahead overall but I've since sold every individual stock I previously purchased (except those) and switched to index funds.
Peak oil is a myth perpetrated by those who dont believe in technological innovation.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby siamond » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:51 am

jimmy wrote:I figured this is a good forum to learn from others mistakes.. What was your worst investment and what did you learn from it?


Actually, I was thinking more about this question and realized that my worst investment was not about investment decisions... It was about my unwillingness to spend quality time thinking about it... A non-investment of time if you wish... Meaning:

1. I did NOT stop to think about retirement and saving money until I was in my early 40s... I did save some money by then, but not deliberately, nor thoughtfully....

2. I didn't read any proper investment (and retirement) material until TWO years ago. I dabbled aimlessly & randomly in some stock investing without stepping back at all on the overall process. Then I read Bernstein. And then I started thinking. Just about time.

This dimwit attitude is impossible to quantify, but obviously cost me a giant bundle. Crazy thing is that I am an engineer, pretty deliberate & analytical in many things I do, and yet I didn't stop to think much about investing until 2 years ago... :oops: :oops: :oops:

Lesson learned: try to get my kids into thinking MUCH harder and MUCH sooner about investing & retirement... And be analytical about it, not emotional.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Oilburner » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:08 am

My worst three investment mistakes were:

1. Not investing in tax deferred accounts as soon as I could and putting too little in when I did invest. I now max them out. (I missed out on the big stock run-up in the 1990s, but was in a 401k plan, but investing a minimal amount).

2. Not having an asset allocation and believing stock mutual funds always go up (except for very small day-to-day gyrations) and believing stock funds by far always outperformed any other investment type of fund.

3. Not finding and adopting the principles of this forum sooner. I discovered the Forum in about 2009, after the last market plunge. To add insult to injury, I was fortunate enough to receive an $80,000 inheritance in May of 2007 and in July of 2007 I met with a for fee financial adviser and had her put it all in actively managed stock market mutual funds that very day :oops: Little did I know that the market was at the top of a very steep hill. I paid about 3.5% per year in fees while she "managed" my money. That lasted about 2-1/2 years before I wised up.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby golfallday » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:15 am

In 1995, neighbor who was a stock broker advised me to dump Apple Computer and Walgreens stock and buy Callaway Golf and Motorola. It still hurts to think about it. Took a $20k haircut before I dumped ELY and MOT and got back into APPL and WAG. APPL and WAG have been wonderful to me, but due to my sale, I missed a huge surge in APPL when Gil Amelio was aced as CEO.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Oilburner » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:37 am

nedsaid wrote:Ethanol stocks and a Biofuels stock. Purchased in 2006. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Yea I can relate. I forgot to mention I bought into a PowerShares clean energy fund ($10,000 worth) in 2007. I was great at picking one thing, the market peak. I bought at $36 a share. When it hit about $20 a share, I bailed and I was so frustrated, I thought, "why not" and put the sales proceeds in Fanny Mae stock. I was going for broke. This was after Fanny's big fall from grace. After I bought (at about $2.20 a share), the price kept dropping and I sunk another $6000 in spits and spurts on the way down. Occasionally Fanny Mae would spike up on sheer speculation and one day on a whim I sold it all and actually made about $7,000, including taking my loss on power shares into consideration. A couple of days later the stock was delisted from the NYSE and the bottom fell out again and it settled at about 15 cents a share. At least this time I had a little luck and was not left holding the bag, so to say. Fanny Mae was the only individual stock I have ever owned and ever will own. The PowerShares fund I had is priced at $9.76 today and bottomed out at about $5. Fanny has actually come up quite a bit. That stock just won't die.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Groundhog » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:41 am

Munder NetNet
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby dbltrbl » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:02 pm

Buying Massey-Ferguson, in early 80s at about $40.00 per share. Good news only about $1000.00 total invested. I ended up getting 25 cents per share :D Lesson learned. No more individual securities since that time. All mutual funds only and thanks to Eddy Owen wonderful end result.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Duckie » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:56 pm

dbltrbl wrote:Buying Massey-Ferguson

Great tractors. At age 10 I learned to drive on a little red Massey.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Spirit Rider » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:26 pm

That's easy, buying GM bonds when I clearly knew better. Classical behavioral finance, "but hey GM will never default"!
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Abe » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:25 am

Spirit Rider wrote:That's easy, buying GM bonds when I clearly knew better. Classical behavioral finance, "but hey GM will never default"!


Hey, I did that too on my Wells Fargo advisers advise. He's the only one that made any money on the deal. :(
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:55 pm

Hexdump wrote:General Motors bonds. It still riles me how they were handled.


Just goes to show - "What's good for the country, is not necessarily good for GM" :P
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby wastenot » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:15 pm

My worst investment was *not* investing in I-bonds when they were paying phenomenal rates, on top of the inflation rate. This failure occurred over a decade ago, when I had just started browsing the Bogleheads list but was not yet sure about the wisdom of following Mel's advice to back up the truck and load it until the tires squealed in protest, at a time when 30K worth of those lovely I-bonds could be bought every year. :oops:
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby dratkinson » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:18 pm

(1) In late 1970s, failed to follow up on Andrew Tobias' advice in The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need, to invest in Vanguard index funds. (Believe I followed most of his other advice.)

(2) Through the 1980s, loaned money to support my worthless brother's greater-fool real estate schemes. (Knew better.) When I finally had enough, I stopped counting my losses at $100K. (Any more just rubbed salt into the wound.)

Between the two and compounded over 30+ years, figure I've lost >$.5M. But who's counting.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby mmaguy » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:03 pm

Freshman year a college buddy convinced me to invest in a Ponzi scheme known as Excel (long distance phone provider) all I had to do was get a bunch of friends and family members to switch their phone providers and I would be making money hands over fist. $250 later (all the money I had at the time) and I soon realized I had been swindled.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby Texas hold em71 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:48 pm

jmoisand wrote:
jimmy wrote:I figured this is a good forum to learn from others mistakes.. What was your worst investment and what did you learn from it?


Actually, I was thinking more about this question and realized that my worst investment was not about investment decisions... It was about my unwillingness to spend quality time thinking about it... A non-investment of time if you wish... Meaning:

1. I did NOT stop to think about retirement and saving money until I was in my early 40s... I did save some money by then, but not deliberately, nor thoughtfully....

2. I didn't read any proper investment (and retirement) material until TWO years ago. I dabbled aimlessly & randomly in some stock investing without stepping back at all on the overall process. Then I read Bernstein. And then I started thinking. Just about time.

This dimwit attitude is impossible to quantify, but obviously cost me a giant bundle. Crazy thing is that I am an engineer, pretty deliberate & analytical in many things I do, and yet I didn't stop to think much about investing until 2 years ago... :oops: :oops: :oops:

Lesson learned: try to get my kids into thinking MUCH harder and MUCH sooner about investing & retirement... And be analytical about it, not emotional.



I think this same thing has led to my retirement portfolio being roughly 10 percent lower than it should be by now. Between fees in actively managed funds, funds selected almost at random in my 401(k) in my 20s and 30s (I did at least always stick to age in bonds), trying to time the market in 2002, not knowing about indexing, not doing a back door Roth (or even a non-deductible IRA) every time I could- death by a thousand cuts may be an exaggeration but I figure it adds at least a few years to my retirement date.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby sschullo » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:03 pm

Duckie wrote:
dbltrbl wrote:Buying Massey-Ferguson

Great tractors. At age 10 I learned to drive on a little red Massey.

I learned to drive a Allis Chalmers with an electric starter (http://automotobounce.com/Allis_chalmer ... eries.html). My father got injured a few times cranking tractors or cars, a good investment for him.
Last edited by sschullo on Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What was your worst investment?

Postby sambb » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:16 pm

another bad investment - getting navigation on a car. Becomes obsolete quickly, and the phone's nav (iphone or android) is superior.
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