Biggest Investment Mistake

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RJC
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Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:41 am

What was the biggest investment mistake that you made and what did you learn from it? In 2008 when the market was crashing, I had no idea what I was doing and tried to adjust my equity/bond allocation in real time... :oops:

Hoping this thread will help new BHs (like myself).

wxz76
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by wxz76 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:44 am

Took money out in 2008 and later purchased Ken Heebner's mutual fund.

Subscribed to Motley Fool's service. Got out after the guy recommended Select Comfort 4 weeks in a row.
Last edited by wxz76 on Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:50 am

wxz76 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:44 am
Took money out in 2008 and later purchased Ken Heebner's mutual fund.
This guy? https://www.wsj.com/articles/and-the-no ... 1507515181

aristotelian
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by aristotelian » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:52 am

Should have maxed my employer plan much earlier. I didn't really understand that you can be wealthy and still pay low taxes in retirement.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:55 am

Held onto too much of employer's stock too long.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:57 am

cheese_breath wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:55 am
Held onto too much of employer's stock too long.
I'm doing the same right now :(

OnTrack2020
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by OnTrack2020 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:00 am

We inherited some Lehman bonds from my father in the early 2000s and held them. Ugh! :annoyed

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:02 am

aristotelian wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:52 am
Should have maxed my employer plan much earlier. I didn't really understand that you can be wealthy and still pay low taxes in retirement.
same... i had it at the company match until just a few years ago.

aristotelian
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by aristotelian » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:05 am

RJC wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:02 am
aristotelian wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:52 am
Should have maxed my employer plan much earlier. I didn't really understand that you can be wealthy and still pay low taxes in retirement.
same... i had it at the company match until just a few years ago.
Are you me?

BlackStrat
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by BlackStrat » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:09 am

- Went way to long with managed funds with fees that stifled growth
- Accumulated too much company stock

z3r0c00l
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by z3r0c00l » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:11 am

Started investing with an adviser at Chase. Assumed that because they were my bank, they would want to do right by me. They didn't, he sold sub-par (but not horrific) mutual funds by Franklin Templeton. I learned early enough to change course, taught him about Vanguard and I-bonds while explaining why I was no longer willing to pay an annual fee for his services. He lost his job during the recession, probably failed to sell enough annuities to unsophisticated elderly customers like another of his ilk, also at Chase, tried to do to my parents, and I have been at Vanguard ever since.

Thegame14
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by Thegame14 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:12 am

buying individual stocks when I first started investing instead of just buying the spider, not maxing my 401K when I first started working.

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alpine_boglehead
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by alpine_boglehead » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:16 am

z3r0c00l wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:11 am
Assumed that because they were my bank, they would want to do right by me.
I for my part assumed that because an advisor was a relative of a friend, he would want to do right be me.

Me: "Wouldn't it be a good investment to invest kind of into a stock index".
Advisor: "Yes, but there's this fund of funds that is safer."
Gullible me: "Sounds good." ***

*** Big investment mistake, that fund had a substantial portion invested with a Bernie Madoff fund.

averagedude
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by averagedude » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:18 am

1. Investing too heavily in company stock.
2. Procrastinated a couple years before contributing to a 401k fund.
3. Substituted the megellen fund for the 500 index fund for several years.
Then a bunch of small mistakes, a couple i continue to make today.

wootwoot
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by wootwoot » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:23 am

Not holding Bitcoin longer.

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:27 am

alpine_boglehead wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:16 am
z3r0c00l wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:11 am
Assumed that because they were my bank, they would want to do right by me.
I for my part assumed that because an advisor was a relative of a friend, he would want to do right be me.

Me: "Wouldn't it be a good investment to invest kind of into a stock index".
Advisor: "Yes, but there's this fund of funds that is safer."
Gullible me: "Sounds good." ***

*** Big investment mistake, that fund had a substantial portion invested with a Bernie Madoff fund.
I gave some money to a friend who was a CFP at Wells Fargo. Over a year he lost a little bit of money when the whole market was generally up. I quickly asked for my money to be transferred out.
Last edited by RJC on Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

wxz76
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by wxz76 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:27 am

RJC wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:50 am
wxz76 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:44 am
Took money out in 2008 and later purchased Ken Heebner's mutual fund.
This guy? https://www.wsj.com/articles/and-the-no ... 1507515181
Yes and luckily it was only around 8k dollars.

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Tycoon
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by Tycoon » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:28 am

Owning tax-inefficient taxable funds.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining; | Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; | Thy fate is the common fate of all, | Into each life some rain must fall, | Some days must be dark and dreary. | Longfellow

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:28 am

wootwoot wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:23 am
Not holding Bitcoin longer.
NOT HODLING??

renue74
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by renue74 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:32 am

Waiting until my 30s to really start "understanding" investing. Can't get those years back.

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blackfish
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by blackfish » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:32 am

Being willfully ignorant about finance and economics when joining the workforce. Instead of maxing our my tax advantaged space while I was still single and childless, I contributed the minimum required to get the full company match and still racked up a small amount of cc debt.

Oh and I bought a whole life insurance policy from a college buddy who was starting out at (you guessed it) NWM.

:oops:

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:35 am

renue74 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:32 am
Waiting until my 30s to really start "understanding" investing. Can't get those years back.
Same... I feel like I am just starting to understanding investing in the last few years (I'm 42).

dbr
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by dbr » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:35 am

Not necessarily a mistake, but investing too conservatively in early years resulted in less wealth in the end that I might have had.

I was lucky to be sure to max the 401K, which was/is a really good one.

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:36 am

blackfish wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:32 am
Being willfully ignorant about finance and economics when joining the workforce. Instead of maxing our my tax advantaged space while I was still single and childless, I contributed the minimum required to get the full company match and still racked up a small amount of cc debt.

Oh and I bought a whole life insurance policy from a college buddy who was starting out at (you guessed it) NWM.

:oops:
Wow, I didn't know NWM was that well known. A friend's friend reached out to me a few years back about it.
Last edited by RJC on Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

InvestInLife
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by InvestInLife » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:36 am

By far, Marriage.
A permanent windfall loss equaling a decade of my working life.
Got me interested in investing, actually.
Last edited by InvestInLife on Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:37 am

InvestInLife wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:36 am
Marriage
:shock:

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GoldStar
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by GoldStar » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:38 am

Lost money on CMGI and some other late-90's internet favorites when the tech bubble-burst.

I got out of all individual stocks after that although really wish I'd held onto Amazon, Apple, and NetFlix - would have had many millions if I had the crystal-ball to know those were the right ones to hold while others were the right ones to shed.

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GoldStar
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by GoldStar » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:41 am

RJC wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:37 am
InvestInLife wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:36 am
Marriage
:shock:
I'd be curious how one would view marriage as "an investment"? Perhaps the spouse is better with money, makes more, and helps with economies of scale?

In my case I knew that marriage wasn't "an investment". My spouse's income was far less than mine and she came with no money - she did come with some debt which I had to quickly take care of. I knew going in it would be a sunk cost :)

I think the marriage answer came up a lot in another thread when the question was "What was the biggest financial mistake you made".

InvestInLife
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by InvestInLife » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:47 am

Yep... marriage is a huge investment... of time, resources, equity, personal finance. Maybe the biggest one.
I also don’t view investing as divorced from behavioral economics or other parts of one’s life and resources.

MikeG62
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:50 am

Too conservative an equity allocation at an early age. Should have been much more aggressive in my 20’s and 30’s.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

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ruralavalon
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:53 am

RJC wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:41 am
What was the biggest investment mistake that you made and what did you learn from it? In 2008 when the market was crashing, I had no idea what I was doing and tried to adjust my equity/bond allocation in real time... :oops:

Hoping this thread will help new BHs (like myself).
I didn't start to get serious about saving for retirement investing until my late 30s.

(Some right things we did, a partial excuse for the delays.

We saved for a down payment on an a large older home, and fixed it up ourselves. We always lived modestly, my wife is even more frugal than I am.

We put 4 children through college without using any loans.)

I didn't start to manage investments myself (saving the fees of our "advisor") and use index funds until my late 50s.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:31 am

MikeG62 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:50 am
Too conservative an equity allocation at an early age. Should have been much more aggressive in my 20’s and 30’s.
Agree. I should have been 100% equities in my 20s/30s!

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ruralavalon
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:36 am

RJC wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:31 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:50 am
Too conservative an equity allocation at an early age. Should have been much more aggressive in my 20’s and 30’s.
Agree. I should have been 100% equities in my 20s/30s!
100% equities could have been great, but only if you managed to avoid behavioral errors and avoid panic selling in the dot.com crash of 2000 and the real estate crash of 2008.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

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Stinky
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by Stinky » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:40 am

Bought a “hot” mutual fund in 2008. It declined way more than the market. Sold it just four months later at a 50% loss.

Been buying index funds ever since.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

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Sandtrap
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Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳 Retired.

Re: Biggest Investment Mistake - In R/E, etc. - Lessons

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:41 am

Bought an undeveloped 180 degree ocean view lot on a very high hillside hoping to build and flip.
Sitework costs were substantial.
Eventually sold and recovered my costs, barely.

Lesson: stick with what you know best and have a successful track record.

Best investment decisions:

Liquidate substantial holdings 2008 (on the up)
Added Multi unit income property -- 2011 (on the down)
Diversify to Bogleheadville
Paid cash for our retirement home.
Retire :happy

Hiwatter
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by Hiwatter » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:54 am

Here's a couple I made early on

1. Held way too much cash.

2. Used Edward Jones and followed their "advice".

dpa789kd
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by dpa789kd » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:04 am

My college roommate about 18 years ago worked at a nuclear reactor/research center. There was a bunch of buzz about a company they worked with called Nerex. Don't recall the ticker symbol anymore. Guys were emptying their 401k's to buy it up because they were going to announce some isotope that would revolutionize cancer cures or something ( I can't even remember the hype). We scrounged up as much as we could being college students and bought in to wait for our ticket to riches. A few months later they became a penny stock, then changed names, and slowly vanished. I still have the stock certificate somewhere. It was a good lesson in investing for us. We were just laughing about it over a beer at Christmas.

rg422
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by rg422 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:10 pm

Biggest mistake would be not starting early enough.

We had the income to max out our 401Ks and ROTH out of college, however we were young and spent every dollar we earned (granted we did buy our home at the bottom of the market and drove nice cars. :oops: ).

It was actually this site that turned us around. :sharebeer :sharebeer

SoaringEagle
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by SoaringEagle » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:19 pm

Biggest mistake was being sold a whole life policy that wasn't suitable for my needs by a financial advisor that was lining his pockets with fees and commissions and not looking out for my best interest. I learned my lesson the hard way.
Last edited by SoaringEagle on Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

baritone
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by baritone » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:22 pm

RJC wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:41 am
What was the biggest investment mistake that you made and what did you learn from it? In 2008 when the market was crashing, I had no idea what I was doing and tried to adjust my equity/bond allocation in real time... :oops:

Hoping this thread will help new BHs (like myself).
Edward Freaking Jones. I figure they cost me about 100k that I would have if I had gone to Vanguard to begin with. The basics of investing should be taught in high school.

TheDDC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by TheDDC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:37 pm

I should have been putting more into my 403(b) back in 2007-2009 and hadn't even started an IRA yet. Instead I was only throwing in $50/mo. in an Ameriprise TSA with proprietary and expensive funds. But at least I was saving something and I bought a house right before the housing market bubble in 2007. So it all balances out.

-TheDDC

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:55 pm

rg422 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:10 pm
Biggest mistake would be not starting early enough.

We had the income to max out our 401Ks and ROTH out of college, however we were young and spent every dollar we earned (granted we did buy our home at the bottom of the market and drove nice cars. :oops: ).

It was actually this site that turned us around. :sharebeer :sharebeer
At least my kids will have this knowledge early on and won't make the same mistake's I have made. :beer

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telemark
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by telemark » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:24 pm

Not opening a Roth IRA much, much earlier. I won't make that mistake again.

2015
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by 2015 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:12 pm

1) Not migrating to the 3 fund PF sooner than I did;
2) Not reading all of longinvest's posts on VPW sooner than I did which actually helped me understand the winning the game concept far better than Bernstein's explanations (nothing against Bernstein);
3) Wasting too much time reading too much financial schlock (e.g., 80 thousand books on "The ONLY Guide You'll Ever Ever Ever Ever Need To Tying Your Shoelaces") before deciding absolutely positively none of it adds value as it's really true these people really don't know nothin' when it comes to human activity in complex adaptive systems.
4) Not reading non-fiction business books in a wide array of fields outside of investing, personal finance, and micro/macroeconomics much earlier in life than I did.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:22 pm

Chasing dividends back in the early 2000s. Eventually ended up investing in Canadian unit trusts (forget the name) and then the tax laws changed and they got massacred.
Lost $50k.

Lost $50k speculating in someone else's development deals.

Lost $25k investing in someone else's web business.

Lost $1000 buying Iraqi dinars. That soured me on speculations and I successfully resisted many attempts to convince me to buy Bitcoin under $10. My broke ass buddy who was trying to convince me made about two or three million, if I recall correctly.
Potentially loss of millions.

cpan00b
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by cpan00b » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:29 pm

Not investing into my 401k or in funds in general until I turned 28, despite working full time from 21.

Day trading individual company stocks - lost about $30K which turned me off from the market for those 7 years, which also coincidentally happened to be a very strong bull market I missed out on.

dacalo
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by dacalo » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:31 pm

Buying a fancy Infiniti G35 coupe back in 2005 when I was in my mid-20's. Should have invested in VTSAX and I could probably add more than $150k to my NW.

Selling Chipotle too early. Picked it up when it spun out of McDonalds for $55 per share.

Topic Author
RJC
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by RJC » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:04 pm

dacalo wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:31 pm
Buying a fancy Infiniti G35 coupe back in 2005 when I was in my mid-20's. Should have invested in VTSAX and I could probably add more than $150k to my NW.

Selling Chipotle too early. Picked it up when it spun out of McDonalds for $55 per share.
I bought a fancy Honda Prelude as well back then. It was the thing to do after college and getting that first job. :oops:

E_Zwicky
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by E_Zwicky » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:35 pm

Sold my Comcast shares (I was an employee with a 401k) for cash when the price jumped from $14 to $17 back in the early 90s I guess. I expected the price to decrease and I would buy them back. They just kept going up and I eventually got back in around $20-something a share months later. So much for market timing.

rg422
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Re: Biggest Investment Mistake

Post by rg422 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:42 pm

RJC wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:55 pm
rg422 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:10 pm
Biggest mistake would be not starting early enough.

We had the income to max out our 401Ks and ROTH out of college, however we were young and spent every dollar we earned (granted we did buy our home at the bottom of the market and drove nice cars. :oops: ).

It was actually this site that turned us around. :sharebeer :sharebeer
At least my kids will have this knowledge early on and won't make the same mistake's I have made. :beer
Same with ours; let's just hope they actually listen when the time comes.

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