What have you learned this year

Discuss all general (i.e. non-personal) investing questions and issues, investing news, and theory.
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Psyayeayeduck
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by Psyayeayeduck » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:18 am

Financial
- This is the first year where I tracked every single penny since the start of 2018 and my expenses ended up being just below $37600. Nearly $9000 of that was just extra expenses that could have easily cut out if need be leaving me a baseline of expenses of $28600 per year. It definitely give me invaluable information on my spending habits when everything else is settled. I am definitely continuing this in 2019.
- I can easily meet my 401k, Roth IRA, and HSA limits early if need be. I managed to give my HR reps heart attacks throughout the year when I send out requests to increase my pre-tax contributions to high double digits levels (one time I was asked if I really meant 6% contribution instead of 60%). Apparently, I'm the only "young" employee that does this in my company. Personally, I take that as a compliment but sadden that my approach is not the normal.
- Earlier this year, I had a "show them all" financial session with two close friends and found out that all three of us are similar when it comes to our net worth but with very different angles. Friend #1 works for a major tech company with two mortgages under his belt supporting a spouse who works part time, two pets, and no kids in a VHCOL area. Based on what I saw, I can see Friend #1 having the highest net worth out of the three of us. Friend #2 works for the government and his spouse works full time in the tech field supporting two children in another VHCOL area. Based on what I saw, I can see the household of Friend #2 having the highest take-home pay due to the dual income but the one with the most expenses due to children. I, on the the other hand, work closely with government customers living a medium COL area and have the easiest time stretching a dollar making my overall expenses incredibly low. It's the benefits of living in a not-so-well populated area but still having a DC-based salary.

kilkoyne
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by kilkoyne » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:40 am

I learned I need to complete my IPS and to stick to it.

acegolfer
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by acegolfer » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:51 am

1. Use Slack for online classes
2. Don't respond to internet trolls

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DWesterb2iz2
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Re: What have your learned this year

Post by DWesterb2iz2 » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:59 am

SGM wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:00 pm
My 95 year old uncle plays harmonica well enough to be a guest artist on a newly released CD.
Link please! This is awesome.

Topic Author
Mr.BB
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by Mr.BB » Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:32 am

Psyayeayeduck wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:18 am
Financial
- This is the first year where I tracked every single penny since the start of 2018 and my expenses ended up being just below $37600. Nearly $9000 of that was just extra expenses that could have easily cut out if need be leaving me a baseline of expenses of $28600 per year. It definitely give me invaluable information on my spending habits when everything else is settled. I am definitely continuing this in 2019.
- I can easily meet my 401k, Roth IRA, and HSA limits early if need be. I managed to give my HR reps heart attacks throughout the year when I send out requests to increase my pre-tax contributions to high double digits levels (one time I was asked if I really meant 6% contribution instead of 60%). Apparently, I'm the only "young" employee that does this in my company. Personally, I take that as a compliment but sadden that my approach is not the normal.
- Earlier this year, I had a "show them all" financial session with two close friends and found out that all three of us are similar when it comes to our net worth but with very different angles. Friend #1 works for a major tech company with two mortgages under his belt supporting a spouse who works part time, two pets, and no kids in a VHCOL area. Based on what I saw, I can see Friend #1 having the highest net worth out of the three of us. Friend #2 works for the government and his spouse works full time in the tech field supporting two children in another VHCOL area. Based on what I saw, I can see the household of Friend #2 having the highest take-home pay due to the dual income but the one with the most expenses due to children. I, on the the other hand, work closely with government customers living a medium COL area and have the easiest time stretching a dollar making my overall expenses incredibly low. It's the benefits of living in a not-so-well populated area but still having a DC-based salary.
Tracking your expenses for one year is one of the smartest things you can ever do. It is literally 50% of the information you need for financial planning. I had one friend do it this year (I was actually surprised they did it for a full year, because it is not easy to do), she was really surprised to see where her money was going. So GREAT job on tracking your expenses! :sharebeer
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

SGM
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Re: What have your learned this year

Post by SGM » Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:35 am

DWesterb2iz2 wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:59 am
SGM wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:00 pm
My 95 year old uncle plays harmonica well enough to be a guest artist on a newly released CD.
Link please! This is awesome.
This is a foreign language CD mixed and digitally mastered in the USA. Unfortunately I don't have a link. The band is Radost (Joy).

moehoward
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Re: What have your learned this year

Post by moehoward » Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:41 am

annielouise wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 10:42 pm
We learned that no matter how many layoffs you get through unscathed, you can still be blindsided by the one that hits you.

We also learned that it is possible to get a new software job, even at age 53. Whew!
That hit a note for me but I was 60 at the time.

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tennisplyr
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by tennisplyr » Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:54 pm

1. Life seems to go faster as you get older.
2. Good health is way more important than virtually anything else.
3. People on this forum worry too much about running out of money.
4. That listening to others' problems is just as good as trying to solve them.

Happy New Year :beer
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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whodidntante
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Re: What have your learned this year

Post by whodidntante » Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:59 pm

KnowNth wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:44 pm
That when market drops, bogleheads surprisingly generate lots of noise as well. :D
I like the flippant responses, like "what downturn?" Yeah, you are so rich and so calculating that you didn't notice or care that you lost 300 grand. LOL

ge1
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by ge1 » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:45 pm

From an investing perspective, not much. I have to admit I am glad to see that valuations still matter - the FAANG and the Bitcoin bubble did predictably burst and the overvalued US market is correcting as well.

The main thing for me is to remember the lessons from the 2008/2009 crash, i.e.

- Don't buy too early into major corrections
- In a true bear market, only cash and US treasuries are "safe"
- The pain is initially isolated in certain pockets but will ultimately spread to virtually every risky asset

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Richard1580
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by Richard1580 » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:02 pm

What I learned from reading Bogleheads this year:
- TurboTax has a "what if" feature that lets you estimate next year's taxes.
- Using that feature, I discovered that if you take too many capital gains and your AGI goes above $250K, it triggers additional taxes on those capital gains, as well as (possibly) AMT.
- Tax loss harvesting lets you reduce those inadvertent capital gains, reducing your tax penalty. It basically gives you a Mulligan on your purchases.
- No matter how much you think you know, reading Bogleheads might give you some insight into issues that benefit you.

Thanks to all who contribute.

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DWesterb2iz2
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Re: What have your learned this year

Post by DWesterb2iz2 » Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:34 pm

SGM wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:35 am
DWesterb2iz2 wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:59 am
SGM wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:00 pm
My 95 year old uncle plays harmonica well enough to be a guest artist on a newly released CD.
Link please! This is awesome.
This is a foreign language CD mixed and digitally mastered in the USA. Unfortunately I don't have a link. The band is Radost (Joy).
Well, it’s great that he is on the CD. Thanks for sharing that.

OnLevel
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by OnLevel » Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:53 pm

I thought I was financially savvy before I jointed this forum late last year, but have learned so much since I joined that I wish I found it sooner!

Things I learned or understand better thanks to this forum:
  • Mega backdoor roth
    Backdoor roth and the fact that I pretty much can't keep money in other tIRA's if I ever want to do it
    Three-fund portfolio
    Why Vanguard Index funds are the way to go for equity in taxable brokerage
    Tax loss harvesting
    How to use extended market and s&p 500 to approximate total stock market
News that wouldn't have made it to my radar if it wasn't for this forum:
  • Fidelity Zero funds
    Fidelity HSA

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Whiggish Boffin
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by Whiggish Boffin » Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:05 pm

I learned how to prove that a parabola is a conic section, using an inscribed sphere tangent to the cone and the cutting plane.

To make a parabola, the cutting plane has to be parallel to exactly one generating line of the cone. (The generating lines pass through the cone's apex and its base circle. With a cutting plane parallel to none of them, you get a circle or an ellipse. Parallel to two, you get a hyperbola. If the cutting plane includes the apex, you get degenerate cases of a point, a line, or two intersecting lines.) Back to the parabola...

The sphere's circle of tangency to the cone lies in a plane that intersects the cutting plane. That line of intersection is the parabola's directrix.

The point of tangency to the cutting plane is the parabola's focus.

The parabola is the set of all points in the cutting plane that are equidistant from the directrix and the focus. The proof shows that every point where the cutting plane meets the cone has that property.

I certainly didn't think this up -- a Belgian named Dandelin did that in the 1830s. The Dandelin sphere was a more direct proof than the one by the ancient Greeks. There are variations that use two Dandelin spheres, tangent to the cutting plane from above and below, that work for ellipses and hyperbolas.

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aj76er
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by aj76er » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:19 pm

That living way below my means (yet still living well) while also living in an owned (payed-off) residence brings great psychological comfort.
"Buy-and-hold, long-term, all-market-index strategies, implemented at rock-bottom cost, are the surest of all routes to the accumulation of wealth" - John C. Bogle

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Mr.BB
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:19 pm

aj76er wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:19 pm
That living way below my means (yet still living well) while also living in an owned (payed-off) residence brings great psychological comfort.
+1
:sharebeer
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

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CyclingDuo
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by CyclingDuo » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:00 am

Mr.BB wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 5:40 pm
This year is about over, and I was curious if there was anything you have learned this year? Good or bad, financial or personal.
We certainly learned what it is like to experience an unexpected layoff in the latter portion of one's career. We also learned about all the ramifications, how the layoff seems to impact everything in one's routine, the adjustments one goes through emotionally and financially to try and move forward, what it takes to re-tool, and what it feels like to land temporarily on one's feet for now. The full process of transition is not over yet, but it has been a challenge personally and financially throughout the final 10 months of 2018 to adjust to our new routine.

The good news - we were able to max out all retirement plans and buckle down with our expenses to compensate for 2018. The other good news - I did find replacement work although it came to me via more than one job. Piecing together several part-time jobs to replace one full time position has kept us cash flow positive, but the trade-off involves working 7 days a week for me (only had 4 days off since the end of August). That is functioning for now, but most likely not a healthy sustainable path for the longer term which is why in the previous paragraph I called it to land temporarily on one's feet for now. The whirlwind of juggling between positions and mentally being in two to three places at once creates a non-stop challenge of producing my best work in each venue. However, I felt it necessary to keep my toes dipped in several options to see what unfolds for the future.

Meanwhile, we stay the course and will continue contributing what we can to tax deferred and taxable.
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time." ~ Steven Wright

DrGoogle2017
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:14 pm

It’s much ado about nothing. Why all the excitement?

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KlingKlang
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by KlingKlang » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:24 pm

Financial: Sometimes you can't come out ahead no matter what you do.

Personal: Sometimes you can't come out ahead no matter what you do. The good die young but evil people live forever (The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones).

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CaliJim
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by CaliJim » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:26 pm

1)don't take your health for granted. it can change at any time.
2)don't ignore aches and pains
3)be prepared for anything
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oldcomputerguy
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by oldcomputerguy » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:32 pm

I’ve learned to be more careful when working around the house. (Elbow surgery, physical therapy, and doctor bills are no fun.)
"I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people; and if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you." (Aaron Sorkin)

stimulacra
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by stimulacra » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:33 pm

I learned that my allocation lets me sleep through almost all of the noise.

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CaliJim
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by CaliJim » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:44 pm

Whiggish Boffin wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:05 pm
I learned how to prove that a parabola is a conic section, using an inscribed sphere tangent to the cone and the cutting plane.

To make a parabola, the cutting plane has to be parallel to exactly one generating line of the cone. (The generating lines pass through the cone's apex and its base circle. With a cutting plane parallel to none of them, you get a circle or an ellipse. Parallel to two, you get a hyperbola. If the cutting plane includes the apex, you get degenerate cases of a point, a line, or two intersecting lines.) Back to the parabola...

The sphere's circle of tangency to the cone lies in a plane that intersects the cutting plane. That line of intersection is the parabola's directrix.

The point of tangency to the cutting plane is the parabola's focus.

The parabola is the set of all points in the cutting plane that are equidistant from the directrix and the focus. The proof shows that every point where the cutting plane meets the cone has that property.

I certainly didn't think this up -- a Belgian named Dandelin did that in the 1830s. The Dandelin sphere was a more direct proof than the one by the ancient Greeks. There are variations that use two Dandelin spheres, tangent to the cutting plane from above and below, that work for ellipses and hyperbolas.
Yay greeks! It is a shame that Euclid's books on Conics were lost.
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heyyou
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by heyyou » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:59 pm

Financial: Been retired long enough to become comfortable with our spending, so this stock downturn has no stress for us. SS starts in 2020, plus the current no-COLA pension, together will cover all of our necessary spending. Staying at the job with the pension was not good long ago, but is okay now as my memory fades.

Personal: Spouse has a major health problem, so we now treasure those years we had together in early retirement.

vbn
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by vbn » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:23 pm

I fired my financial advisor in July 2017, and learned a lot from this site. The most valuable lesson I learned is having the IPS and stick to it. It keeps me from being greedy and being panic.

csmath
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by csmath » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:29 pm

ge1 wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:45 pm
- Don't buy too early into major corrections
If only we knew when "too early" was!

blinx77
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by blinx77 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:31 pm

I don't think I "learned" new lessons this year as much as I have managed to finally internalize some wisdom from others.

The future is inherently unpredictable. One can prepare and plan but those preparations and plans need to be adjusted as needed because life will always throw curveballs.

Despite this unpredictability, you can almost always make the future much better with applications of efforts now. I am starting to see my life improve across many domains because of past efforts in big ways (financial cushion now because of past savings) and little ways (the frittata I made last night was way better than the one I made a week ago). 2016 and 2017 were difficult years and I spent a lot of time just trying to put one foot in front of the other and keep going, and now in 2018 when things are better I very much appreciate that I did so. Seeing these efforts bear fruit has made me more motivated to continue these behaviors now. Specifically, I want to network even though I am currently satisfied in my job, so that I can have greater access to knowledge and interesting and innovative opportunities in the future. I also want to take the time to read up on areas of interest (strategic thinking, methodologies for establishing habits, partnership taxation (this last one's for the career)) and continue to expand my library of notes in Evernote. I can't pinpoint exactly how these behaviors will help me, but I know that they will, regardless of what job I have or where I live. In short, I am spending less time worrying about the specifics of the future (what will happen when) and more time trying to lay the groundwork for a satisfying life.

I've also done a better job of harnessing technology to improve rather than harm my life. I used to spend a lot of time reading online, including pointless political arguments, etc. I've reduced this and increased attention to using increasingly sophisticated technology products to track my behaviors (You Need a Budget, Personal Capital, ToDoIst, Fitbit, mood trackers, productivity software that blocks websites) so I can information about myself and keep myself organized and make sure I am hitting all my career, financial, personal, health, etc. goals. And worrying less about things I can't control in the process. So my advice to folks dealing with similar issues is not to just beat yourself up for spending too much time with technology (though I agree a good detox can be very cleansing) but to harness your energy and enjoyment of technology and route it in a productive fashion.

I've learned to be better in touch with my body, and to try to schedule activities according to my circadian rhythm (hard work in the morning, wind-down activities like washing dishes or reading in the evenings). A goal for improvement in 2019 is to focus even more on maintaining my body well to maximize energy (I still do not exercise enough).

I also learned, both from my own small struggles but also watching as the somewhat helpless bystander of someone close to me, that addiction (to food, alcohol, drugs, video games, whatever) is horrible. The more that our desires can be satiated at our fingertips, the more important it is to have mental control and make sure that you control your desires rather than become a slave to them. (NB: IMO, it's more important that your desires be "rightly ordered" than that you strive to eliminate them -- but beyond the scope of this post.) Honestly, I think this is becoming the #1 issue of our time.

I have guilt from not doing enough to help and I realized that I can't sit around in my life and wait for things to fix themselves or even for someone else to rush in and solve everything. In the future, if I see a problem like this, I need to roll up my sleeves and do whatever I can when I can. This is difficult for me because I am introverted and can be somewhat emotionally distant with pretty much everyone except my wife -- but I feel like I mostly watched sadly and actively helped later when things were too far gone, in part because I wanted to avoid difficult conversations and pretend things were fine when they were not. So my advice to others is that if someone is heading down a dark path please intervene in the early stages when things don't seem too bad -- don't say "well maybe they need time and space to sort it out themselves" and only engage when things are a total mess.

I also learned, from the addiction issue, that no matter what happens in my life I will NEVER, EVER, EVER give up. This does not mean I might not decide to reallocate my time away from one activity (such as working) to another (self-employment, exercise). I mean give up on the idea that you can create a meaningful life out of any circumstance and that if you can push through the pain you may come out the other side -- or at least when you leave this earth you will know that you pushed.

It's fascinating and inspiring to me to see that some people (e.g., celebrities) seem to have it all and create a mess of their lives while others (Victor Frankel, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn) have literally everything stripped from them and but yet created astounding meaning from it. I don't know if I can ever be as strong as they were, but I want to use their experiences as beacons of light on the path to living the most fulfilling life I can -- and helping others do the same.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:39 pm

I have more appreciation for my bond holdings. Glad I added them a few years ago. Seems it was the right thing to do at the time.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

bgf
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by bgf » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:47 pm

i dont need to hold VTI, VWO, and VEA in tax sheltered accounts. i sold all three and just bought VT.

in taxable, i still hold them separately for TLH purposes.

in doing this, i decreased my total stocks owned and increased the ER a tad, but the simplicity is worth it to me.

VTI + VEA + VWO =/= VT.

but its darn close i think.
“TE OCCIDERE POSSUNT SED TE EDERE NON POSSUNT NEFAS EST"

staycalm
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by staycalm » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:51 pm

I learned the value of simple arithmetic. If bonds = age, then increasing my stock allocation should make me younger :sharebeer

fire4fun
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by fire4fun » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:17 pm

tennisplyr wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:54 pm
1. Life seems to go faster as you get older.
2. Good health is way more important than virtually anything else.
3. People on this forum worry too much about running out of money.
4. That listening to others' problems is just as good as trying to solve them.

Happy New Year :beer
Could you expound on this?

Pu239
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by Pu239 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:56 pm

Financial: Into our 60s, we reached "enough" this year and then some. Retirement is near.

Personal: It's one more year closer to the end, whenever that may be.
Between the idea And the reality...Between the motion And the act...Falls the Shadow - T. S. Eliot

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Sandtrap
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:10 am

Patience
Humility
Integrity
Counting our blessings.

Happy New Year everyone. :sharebeer
Mahalo
jim :D
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Sandtrap
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:12 am

tennisplyr wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:54 pm
1. Life seems to go faster as you get older.
2. Good health is way more important than virtually anything else.
3. People on this forum worry too much about running out of money.
4. That listening to others' problems is just as good as trying to solve them.

Happy New Year :beer
+1
Yes
After age 66-75-?? we age in dog/cat years.
Happy New Year
:sharebeer
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know

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Sandtrap
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Re: What have your learned this year

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:14 am

dwickenh wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:26 pm
Health > Money.
+1
Happy New Year
:sharebeer
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Sandtrap
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Re: What have your learned this year

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:15 am

Toons wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:59 pm
How to speak Spanish more fluently
:happy
Muchos Buenos!!!
:sharebeer
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DrGoogle2017
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:58 am

My husband and I survived 2018. Let’s hope 2019 brings better luck in everything.

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Elsebet
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by Elsebet » Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:29 am

I read a good book on stoicism and realized I was already practicing many of the tenants of the philosophy but am awful with a few of them and need a lot of work there. For example I struggle with letting other people's actions/words (especially ones that I admire/respect) affect me and I am constantly playing the "what if" game with decisions I've made in the past. I hope to work on both of those starting this year.
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca

Lynette
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Re: What have your learned this year

Post by Lynette » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:59 am

.....
Last edited by Lynette on Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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tennisplyr
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by tennisplyr » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:39 am

fire4fun wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:17 pm
tennisplyr wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:54 pm
1. Life seems to go faster as you get older.
2. Good health is way more important than virtually anything else.
3. People on this forum worry too much about running out of money.
4. That listening to others' problems is just as good as trying to solve them.

Happy New Year :beer
Could you expound on this?
Sometimes people (like my wife) just want someone to be there and listen to what they are going through. As a male, I often find myself trying to give a solution to a problem rather than just listening. I learned this from "Men are from Mars, women Venus"
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

linenfort
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Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
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Re: What have you learned this year

Post by linenfort » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:46 am

I learned that I am still not ready to give up on dividends as part of the strategy, as I find them comforting.

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