What is your single most expensive mistake?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
tony_roach
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by tony_roach » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:50 pm

Surprised no one mentioned this one but for me:

1. Purchasing a Timeshare: we were young and we did get a couple of good vacations out of it but luckily realized very quickly it was a bad deal.
2. Not selling Startup Stock Options: Swinging for the fences on two start ups that didn't work out. First one in dot.com bust 2001-2002 and the second during the financial crisis in 2008.

Tal-
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Tal- » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:53 pm

My biggest mistake???

Well, I just bought $250 of HMNY (MoviePass). So, give it a week, and I'll have a good answer for ya.
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

sschoe2
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by sschoe2 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:54 pm

Majoring in Chemistry/Biochemistry. Every time I hang up on a recruiter wanting to pay me $15 an hour (with an MSc and 10 years experience) with no or crap benefits reinforces that.

hicabob
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by hicabob » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:10 pm

sschoe2 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:54 pm
Majoring in Chemistry/Biochemistry. Every time I hang up on a recruiter wanting to pay me $15 an hour (with an MSc and 10 years experience) with no or crap benefits reinforces that.
Chemistry used to suck way back when. I switched to computer science in the 70's. Ended up doing some analytical detector data collection though!

WRT expensive mistakes - I've made many including
2000 tech stock bust
worldcom
divorce
+ a few others

but I ended up (barely) in the 8 figure club so not too bad at all. Everyone makes mistakes but they are recoverable.

daveydoo
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by daveydoo » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:45 pm

Gotta say, I'm really impressed by how small most of these are. I can't tell if they're humble brags (that one time I lost $100 in the stock market :oops: ) or people here are way younger than I thought :D . Or maybe have really short memories. :D

The last time a post like this came up, I made a list of mine (top 10 or 12) and ranked them by financial impact. I never posted it but it was a helpful exercise. BH would have prevented some of them, but many were just "dumb" mistakes that I could make again tomorrow (like forgetting to renew tax-deferred contribution for a year, before these things were auto-renew) and not necessarily errors of commission.

Thus far, although I hope it has not been a mistake, my most costly financial move by a mile has been following the advice of this site. We were way too equity-heavy for age and stage (in large part through failure to re-balance over decades). Shifting a lot of our assets to bonds over the past few years has been the "right" thing but it's been painful to watch.
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:12 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:41 pm
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:02 pm
Bogleheads:

My most expensive mistake was to use a broker for our investments from 1950 until 1986 when we moved to Vanguard.

Thank you, Jack!

Best wishes.
Taylor
Was this a mistake though? Were there options to buy investments without a broker in the 1950s?

Genuinely curious.
jags:

I don't know the answer in the 50s. But I do know that all good salespeople try to become friendly with their customers. Our Merrill Lynch broker used to invite us on his sailing yacht once a year saying we were "friends." When we moved to Vanguard the invitations stopped. :oops:

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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abuss368
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by abuss368 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:25 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:12 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:41 pm
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:02 pm
Bogleheads:

My most expensive mistake was to use a broker for our investments from 1950 until 1986 when we moved to Vanguard.

Thank you, Jack!

Best wishes.
Taylor
Was this a mistake though? Were there options to buy investments without a broker in the 1950s?

Genuinely curious.
jags:

I don't know the answer in the 50s. But I do know that all good salespeople try to become friendly with their customers. Our Merrill Lynch broker used to invite us on his sailing yacht once a year saying we were "friends." When we moved to Vanguard the invitations stopped. :oops:

Best wishes.
Taylor
Taylor -

I thought there was also a book regarding this. The title may have been "Where are the customers yachts"?
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

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Watty
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Watty » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:35 pm

rich126 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:43 am
Not sure if it was my most expensive mistake but it was one of the most frustrating and stupid mistakes.

I have a normal size car (Elantra) which I park in a 2 car garage. My normal thing is to press the garage door switch as I walk by it, hop in the car, put my snacks/drinks down, seat belt on, start Waze on my phone, etc. Then take a quick glance behind me with the mirror and the rear view camera and back out.

Well I thought I heard something but I went further. Argh. For some reason my garage door opened about 75-80% and then got stuck. It was high enough that it was impossible to see view the mirror and camera (they are obviously meant for objects on the road and not above you). It was stuck at a height where it scraped along the top of the roof but then the door got seriously bent by the fin on your roof that contains the antennas for the electronics in the car.

So I ended up needing a new garage door. The car was a bit scraped and the fin was a bit bent but otherwise functional. I didn't bother getting it fixed which ended up being a smart decision because, unfortunately, quite a bit later my car got totaled (rear ended very hard) and now have a new one.

Now before I back out, I make sure to try and bend down to get a high view from the mirror and ensure the door is fully opened.
It could have been worse.

An old neighbor of mine once tried to back out of garage while the garage door was closed.

What made it worse was that his father in law owned a small garage door repair business so he had to call his father in law to come and fix it.

That had to be so embarrassing!

Silverado
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Silverado » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:46 pm

When I was mid-twenties I wasn't making much or had much saved yet, so I couldn't waste money on a boat. But I was able to scrimp together enough for a snowmobile. I was at least in Watertown, NY ( 25 miles from Canada, 15 from the Artic Circle is how we described it I believe) so at least got some use. But alas, after the second blown engine I transferred to Columbus, GA. Took a serious bath unloading it before leaving snow country.

That's the one that still stings 23 years later. Probably $8500 in a couple years that did not go into equities.

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Watty
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Watty » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:01 pm

Tdubs wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:25 pm
Sold Apple around 1996.
Apple had some very "dark years" in the 1990's and again after the dot com bust and there were many times that it was not clear that it would survive. It seems like it was longer ago but the iPhone was only introduced in 2007 and before it took off the future of Apple was far from certain.

In 1997 Apple was so close to going out of business that Microsoft bought a lot of Apple stock to keep Apple in business. The main reason was that as long as Apple existed Microsoft could not be called a monopoly.

While would have been nice to have held the stock selling it was likely a good choice.

At least that is what I tell myself. :oops:

I worked for Apple in the mid 1980's and at one time I had enough Apple stock to sell to buy a car, which I did. I don't have the exact numbers but that would be worth a couple of million dollars today.

Teague
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Teague » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:07 pm

sschoe2 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:54 pm
Majoring in Chemistry/Biochemistry. Every time I hang up on a recruiter wanting to pay me $15 an hour (with an MSc and 10 years experience) with no or crap benefits reinforces that.
I got one of those degrees too. Wound up working on cars for the next fifteen years. Way better money. And I could relate to my colleagues better.
Semper Augustus

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aspirit
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by aspirit » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:13 pm

abuss368 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:25 pm
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:12 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:41 pm
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:02 pm
Bogleheads:

My most expensive mistake was to use a broker for our investments from 1950 until 1986 when we moved to Vanguard.

Thank you, Jack!

Best wishes.
Taylor
Was this a mistake though? Were there options to buy investments without a broker in the 1950s?

Genuinely curious.
jags:

I don't know the answer in the 50s. But I do know that all good salespeople try to become friendly with their customers. Our Merrill Lynch broker used to invite us on his sailing yacht once a year saying we were "friends." When we moved to Vanguard the invitations stopped. :oops:

Best wishes.
Taylor
Taylor -

I thought there was also a book regarding this. The title may have been "Where are the customers yachts"?
fwiw:
Unknown Quote: (Peter Theil?)The markets today are not the markets of yesterday or tomorrow. Markets are always changing,..this M* BHs read might help. Good Luck!
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Jags4186
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Jags4186 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:37 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:12 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:41 pm
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:02 pm
Bogleheads:

My most expensive mistake was to use a broker for our investments from 1950 until 1986 when we moved to Vanguard.

Thank you, Jack!

Best wishes.
Taylor
Was this a mistake though? Were there options to buy investments without a broker in the 1950s?

Genuinely curious.
jags:

I don't know the answer in the 50s. But I do know that all good salespeople try to become friendly with their customers. Our Merrill Lynch broker used to invite us on his sailing yacht once a year saying we were "friends." When we moved to Vanguard the invitations stopped. :oops:

Best wishes.
Taylor
Hi Taylor,

I won’t debate for 1 second how expensive it must have been to invest back in the day. 8.25% loads on bond funds used to be common place from my understanding. I guess my question is, when did self directed accounts become a thing? Before Vanguard came around, were there no load funds with modest expense ratios that could be purchased? If not, I’m not sure you can say doing the best you can do with what’s available is a mistake. In short, don’t be so hard on yourself :sharebeer

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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Ostentatious » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:29 pm

subscribing :D

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JamalJones
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by JamalJones » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:35 pm

triceratop wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:37 pm
I've never made a financial mistake. A moderate amount of planning and use of logic before decisions with significant financial impact helps enormously. I have plenty of time to make a mistake though, so that's great.
Sounds like you meant to post in the "I've never made a financial mistake!" thread. Oh, it doesn't exist here. You can start it. I bet no one will admit to never having made a mistake. You are a GOD! And should offer investing advice for huge fees (or small fees).
TSP + Vanguard Roth IRA + Vanguard Taxable: 80% equities / 20% bonds | Yap, yap, yap, yap, - the bottom line is ya gotta buckle up the chin strap!

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Watty
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Watty » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:53 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:37 pm
I guess my question is, when did self directed accounts become a thing?
The rules were changed to allow discount brokers in 1975. I was a teenager then but I can remember my older brother and mom being excited about that since they dabbled in the stock market

Schwab was one of the early big discount brokerages.

Even then trading was expensive if you could not trade in 100 share lots and you would have to pay extra fees for "odd lot" trade. That is why stock splits used to be so important since buying 100 shares of a $10 stock was much less expensive than buying 50 shares of a $20 stock.

random_walker_77
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by random_walker_77 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:53 pm

2nd most expensive mistake: I bought a house with an unnecessary mortgage from 2007-2011, thinking that I could get better returns from the stock market than from paying off that mortgage. After years of near 0% returns on cash, and low bond returns, I finally gave in and redirected savings/bonds to the mortgage in 2010 for the guaranteed ~3.7% and paid it off. And then the stock market took off.

Most expensive mistake: I'm not ready to talk about it yet.

hmw
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by hmw » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:56 pm

When I was in my 20’s, I shorted a small oil field service company based on a tip from a relative. But the oil price kept going up and the company stock went up as well. I covered my position and lost about 10k. The company declared bankruptcy a few years later. :annoyed

srt7
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by srt7 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:01 pm

onedayer wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:07 pm
I’m only 23 so there haven’t been that many mistakes (yet), but my biggest mistake so far was going to college. I went to college for 2 years right after high school and quit with no degree and about $11K in student loan debt which I plan to have paid off in the next couple years. Looking back on it, there was no point in going to college as my career does not require a degree. On the other hand, I may not be where I am today if I hadn’t gone to college so it was probably for the best in the long run.
And if you hadn't gone you'd probably always wonder "What if ... "
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

squirm
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by squirm » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:02 pm

UpsetRaptor wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:45 pm
For all of you who are I assume in index funds now saying selling AAPL, NFLX, or whatever other individual stock that took off, is that really a mistake? By that logic, couldn't not-buying yesterday's winning lottery ticket be considered a mistake?

Edward Jones, for me
I thought the same thing. By that logic I made the mistake of not buying any XYZ stock that went parabolic, and not shorting ABC stock that crashed and burned, etc etc.

It's all about risk vs reward.

srt7
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by srt7 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:04 pm

bo105954027 wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:34 pm
Just a couple days ago I lost my car key, without having a spare one. What's worse, I know the key was picked up by some one living by, which means I couldn't leave car lock unchanged. This single one mistake cost me:

1. $300 - called Locksmith to open the door and make a programmed key, and
2. $500 - drove to Toyota dealership, had them change door locks and reseed my key,

totaling 800 bucks, which did upset me and depress me for quite a few days. I felt angry with my own carelessness just by thinking of how many stuff I could buy with 800 bucks as a frugal person.


What's a mistake/fault you ever made that indeed hurt your wallet? Legend has it that others' bitterness could make a sad one feel happier :twisted:


Edit: Thanks for all replies:) A lot brought up their opportunity costs. Well, I'd not count these as mistakes. Otherwise, my biggest mistake would be not borrowing as much money as possible, selling all my properties, and all-in all I had to Bitcoin when it's dirt cheap :D
Eight hundred bucks is your most expensive mistake? Jeez ... I must be on Bogleheads :mrgreen:
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

Carter3
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Carter3 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:04 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:36 pm
Buying a boat.

Bought a new custom $100,000 27' SeaSport Seamaster set up as a dive boat for SE Alaska together with a friend of mine. We had some good adventures on it and sold it a few years later after we both got married for perhaps a $40,000 loss considering all we had in it.
Wth that ain't no stinking mistake. That sounds wonderful. Personally I think that 40k is hardly a loss. You're my idol!!!

CarpeDiem22
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by CarpeDiem22 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:23 pm

Moving to a HCOL area without a sufficiently high salary increment. Expenses rose more than expected and reduced my savings. I was back to my previous location in a year.

criticalmass
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by criticalmass » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:42 am

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:47 pm
criticalmass wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:21 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:01 am
criticalmass wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:36 am

Then your only lost key expense (assuming you’re near home and/or a family member can rescue you with a key) is roadside assistance, and buying a new key. I wouldn’t bother changing locks (especially if car is garaged) because you unprogram the lost key (it can never start engine again).
That may be true for some cars, but not mine. I have a keyless entry and engine start, but each fob also stores a mechanical key. That key will open the driver door and also start the car without the fob. If "you unprogram the lost key" the mechanical key is still fully functional.
The mechanical key doesn’t have a transponder inside? That’s too bad, many cars including my old Dodge (now retired) from the mid nineties have a transponder. Even with the key cut perfectly, the car’s computer will not fire the spark plug coils without a correct interrogation reply from the transponder. If lost, you can remove the transponder from the valid list (and add a new mechanical key). Many (most?) cars’ transponder keys work the same way, even newer ones that use RFID instead of inserting into an ignition switch.

Transponder key systems can be defeated against protecting engine start by replacing the main engine computer or with a flat bed truck. (Or if they are intentionally defeated by placing a programmed transponder somewhere nearby to allow a remote start to operate).

And yes, buying an extra $25 transponder key was an investment that had a great return when a family member lost an original key. I was able to purchase another replacement ($25 again) and program it myself ($0).
My post above was in error. I just bought this car a few weeks ago and thought that the mechanical key unlocked the door AND operated the ignition. Actually it only unlocks the door, and the transponder key operates the ignition. Still learning this car. 8-)
Gotcha. Cars with (seemingly) only mechanical keys often have the transponder located inside the head of the key. They are very clever and require no battery; the transponder receives power from the car interrogator via induction. If you duplicate the key to a non transponder key (or don’t program a new transponder), you can of course open the doors/trunk etc. You just can’t start the engine.

Caduceus
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Caduceus » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:24 am

I bought $3000 of a penny stock that went to 0. :shock:

And then it became classified as a worthless security in the year that I didn't need the capital gains offset. So I couldn't even use it for tax purposes.

lostdog
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by lostdog » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:01 am

I bought new cars in my 20's and into my early 30's. We would be in the two comma club by now if I hadn't done that.

spitty
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by spitty » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:53 am

Joined a country club in 1990 and paid an initiation fee of $25k with the "deal" that staying members for 3 years we'd get 1/2 back. We resigned after about 4 years due to relocation and applied for the refund. Shortly after moving we got a letter saying the ownership group had filed for bankruptcy and any future related business would be handled by such and such law firm. I called them numerous times subsequently and long ago gave up after my lawyer advised throwing in the towel. Only saving grace is clubs these days can be upwards of 6 figures--could have been lots worse.

Many dumb stock buys--think WCOM, XOMA, VNR--and those are just a few. And of course several sold way too soon eg. AMZN. We all have these lists.

Personal loans to friends--bad idea and haven't done it in over 10 years. Don't do it if you really value a friendship. One turned out well to a friend starting a business that's still thriving today. Total outstanding I'll never recoup is $13.

This was a good therapy session!
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jabberwockOG
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by jabberwockOG » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:00 am

1. Thinking I was a genius trading individual stocks in the late 1990s - easily made and lost about $250k - easy come easy go. Glad I made the mistakes early as it was a lesson that helped me change my investing habits and eventually allowed me to retire early.

2. Staying at my first professional job for 15+ years when it was clear the company was doing badly.

3. Wife1.0 cost was huge. Be extremely careful who you marry. Be sure you know and understand very well your potential spouse, and their close family members - serious mental health issues, criminal background, drug and/or alcohol abuse, serious money/credit problems, all red flags that you may be partially or fully tying yourself into emotionally, physically, and monetarily - all should be carefully considered.

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jharkin
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by jharkin » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:55 am

Oh boy where to begin....

Letting a family member talk me into cosigning on a timeshare they wanted to buy when I was a late teen. Looking back 25 years later... how was that even legal? When they inevitably walked away from it I ended up on the hook for maintenance for YEARS before I found a way to get out of the contract... which is NOT easy NOR cheap.

A lot of other mistakes helping family members with reckless financial habits in Stanley's "economic outpatient care" category.

Buying individual tech stocks during the dotcom days (I was convinced AMD would put Intel out of business because of the Pentium 4). At least I didn't have that much cash to gamble and learned my lesson after loosing just a few K.

Having my 401k in high expense active funds the first 10 years or so... Janus Overseas, etc....

Listening to all the panic in 2008 and moving my 401k to nearly 100% bonds for a couple years before I got wise and found this place.

Staying in my first professional job for over 20 years even when years of layoffs and offshoring should have been a sign to get out...


If my mistakes only cost me $800 I would be about a decade closer to retirement than I am now.............

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Ged
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Ged » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:02 am

My most expensive mistake was not acting on the advice in Random Walk Down Wall Street immediately after reading it. Most of my money was in various Fidelity sector funds in an employer 401K. Probable cost in the low six figures.

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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by knowledge » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:37 am

Exercising my company options too early. Given the stock is at all time highs, all of the exercises look bad in hindsight, but most were done with the right principles in mind, so I don't regret all of them. But there were a few back in 2013 really are painful to think about. In total, those have turned out to be a $1M mistake.
Last edited by knowledge on Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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triceratop
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by triceratop » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:58 am

JamalJones wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:35 pm
triceratop wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:37 pm
I've never made a financial mistake. A moderate amount of planning and use of logic before decisions with significant financial impact helps enormously. I have plenty of time to make a mistake though, so that's great.
Sounds like you meant to post in the "I've never made a financial mistake!" thread. Oh, it doesn't exist here. You can start it. I bet no one will admit to never having made a mistake. You are a GOD! And should offer investing advice for huge fees (or small fees).
I've lost substantial amounts of money, even in a single day, investing. I do not consider that a "financial mistake" because it was in line with my expectations for what could happen. I don't think anyone in this thread is counting their investing losses as financial mistakes. So no, I can't go offer investing advice for any kind of fees.

Okay I remembered a financial mistake -- I didn't realize BofA had a daily limit on the amount of money that can be transferred in with a 1-day turnaround. So I missed paying off my credit card in full, which meant I was charged interest for a month on a large purchase, which effectively negated the travel rewards that I had hoped to accrue with the large purchase. I broke even on the transaction.
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JamalJones
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Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by JamalJones » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:22 am

triceratop wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:58 am
JamalJones wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:35 pm
triceratop wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:37 pm
I've never made a financial mistake. A moderate amount of planning and use of logic before decisions with significant financial impact helps enormously. I have plenty of time to make a mistake though, so that's great.
Sounds like you meant to post in the "I've never made a financial mistake!" thread. Oh, it doesn't exist here. You can start it. I bet no one will admit to never having made a mistake. You are a GOD! And should offer investing advice for huge fees (or small fees).
I've lost substantial amounts of money, even in a single day, investing. I do not consider that a "financial mistake" because it was in line with my expectations for what could happen. I don't think anyone in this thread is counting their investing losses as financial mistakes. So no, I can't go offer investing advice for any kind of fees.

Okay I remembered a financial mistake -- I didn't realize BofA had a daily limit on the amount of money that can be transferred in with a 1-day turnaround. So I missed paying off my credit card in full, which meant I was charged interest for a month on a large purchase, which effectively negated the travel rewards that I had hoped to accrue with the large purchase. I broke even on the transaction.
:sharebeer
TSP + Vanguard Roth IRA + Vanguard Taxable: 80% equities / 20% bonds | Yap, yap, yap, yap, - the bottom line is ya gotta buckle up the chin strap!

jrbdmb
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:27 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by jrbdmb » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:46 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:15 pm
Decided to take out a larger than necessary mortgage so more assets could remain invested, when we purchased our current home. That was 10 years ago. Just before the great market downturn.
Which would have turned out fine if you had stayed the course. Or did you sadly compound the issue by pulling out of market immediately after the downturn?

jrbdmb
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:27 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by jrbdmb » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:54 pm

My worst financial mistake was moving my 401-K from my old employer to me new employer. Not that there's anything wrong with that decision, but i was out of the market for about three weeks straddling the 2016 Presidential Election, when I was *sure* that of all potential outcomes a market rally wasn't one of them. Of course the market did rally and I missed out on at least a 5% gain.

Luckily the market is up another 30% or so since then so i feel a bit better. :)

neilpilot
Posts: 1918
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by neilpilot » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:03 pm

jrbdmb wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:46 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:15 pm
Decided to take out a larger than necessary mortgage so more assets could remain invested, when we purchased our current home. That was 10 years ago. Just before the great market downturn.
Which would have turned out fine if you had stayed the course. Or did you sadly compound the issue by pulling out of market immediately after the downturn?
No, I stayed the course. But still would have been better off if I have put the assets into that mortgage, which was going to be paid off in 5 years. It would have lessened market investment 2008-2013 and returned to the market just in time for the largest gain. Resulting in inadvertent market timing.

Andyrunner
Posts: 668
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 9:14 am

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Andyrunner » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:23 pm

Biggest mistake was probably throwing $8-9k into new hardwood floors then selling the house two years later. We could have survived and sold the house for just as much.

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BeerMoney
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:53 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by BeerMoney » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:33 pm

Not maxing out my 401k pre-tax for the first few years of my career. I quickly realized that mistake after posting on Bogleheads for portfolio advice.

I still invested in taxable, but the tax savings and having more space in tax-advantaged accounts would have been great.
Last edited by BeerMoney on Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TheAccountant
Posts: 174
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:21 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by TheAccountant » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:35 pm

Getting too many speeding tickets in my younger years and having to pay NYS an assessment every year for 3 years.

MP173
Posts: 1935
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:03 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by MP173 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:43 pm

I have recalled a couple other mistakes:

1. Stayed in a dead end job way too long. Fortunately the next job was a winner and I am still there.
2. Bought Van Waggoner mutual funds in the height of the dot com era.
3. thought Warren Buffet was too old to invest in during the mid 90s when BRK was at $15,000 per share. Should have pulled the trigger.

Ed

atlanta_dad
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:04 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by atlanta_dad » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:14 pm

bo105954027 wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:34 pm
Just a couple days ago I lost my car key, without having a spare one. What's worse, I know the key was picked up by some one living by, which means I couldn't leave car lock unchanged. This single one mistake cost me:

1. $300 - called Locksmith to open the door and make a programmed key, and
2. $500 - drove to Toyota dealership, had them change door locks and reseed my key,

totaling 800 bucks, which did upset me and depress me for quite a few days. I felt angry with my own carelessness just by thinking of how many stuff I could buy with 800 bucks as a frugal person.


What's a mistake/fault you ever made that indeed hurt your wallet? Legend has it that others' bitterness could make a sad one feel happier :twisted:


Edit: Thanks for all replies:) A lot brought up their opportunity costs. Well, I'd not count these as mistakes. Otherwise, my biggest mistake would be not borrowing as much money as possible, selling all my properties, and all-in all I had to Bitcoin when it's dirt cheap :D
I will get a spare key for my van this weekend, thanks OP!!

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Leif
Posts: 2499
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:15 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Leif » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:21 pm

Commodity futures. It was insurance that was not needed. TIPS would have been much less expensive insurance against inflation.

Determined
Posts: 285
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:43 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Determined » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:23 pm

Waiting a few months too long too long to file for divorce. He took out $30,000 from our HELOC and lost it sports betting. Then I filed!

HerbsKid
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:54 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by HerbsKid » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:28 pm

Probably my most expensive mistake was being too conservative in my asset allocation during my 30's (coinciding with 1995-2000 tech boom). Investing was still new and dangerous to me then, and the 1980's (when I had nothing to invest) had already been so good that I had a hard time believing the 1990's would be a repeat performance.

I never paid commissions or bet on individual stocks, just no-load funds only. Many were actively managed, in retrospect I wish I'd gone wholly with index funds, but that's secondary to the AA issue.

I have since learned, and I am in reasonable financial shape now (late 50's) for FI and retirement. Nevertheless, I still find myself estimating where I'd be now if I'd had a more aggressive AA 20+ years ago.

Loik098
Posts: 644
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 9:29 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Loik098 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:54 pm

I spent the first 2-3 years after graduation just paying the minimum on my 7.5% federal student loans in the IBR program. I thought I would just do this for the next 20 years until the balance got written off, because I didn't know any better.

A somewhat lousy excuse was that the refinancing options (SoFi, etc) weren't available when I first graduated. Still should have paid more each month.

After wising up and refinancing the loans with Earnest, I then spent the next 2 years making payments just once monthly instead of twice monthly.

Thankfully, I found White Coat Investor and then this site to help steer me financially a few years ago.

seychellois_lib
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:05 am

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by seychellois_lib » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:01 pm

Carter3 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:04 pm
texasdiver wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:36 pm
Buying a boat.

Bought a new custom $100,000 27' SeaSport Seamaster set up as a dive boat for SE Alaska together with a friend of mine. We had some good adventures on it and sold it a few years later after we both got married for perhaps a $40,000 loss considering all we had in it.
Wth that ain't no stinking mistake. That sounds wonderful. Personally I think that 40k is hardly a loss. You're my idol!!!
You got that right. I bought a sailboat in 1999 for $32K I have spent over $90K in maintenance, dock fees, insurance, etc over the past 19 years. Best investment I ever made. I am serious.

Worst mistake? in 1979 I was looking at the quotes in the WSJ, had about $10 grand at the time. Saw BRK at about $120 a share. Thought "I have read about Buffett somewhere, isn't he a pretty smart money guy?" well, the $10 grand went for a Mazda sports car....oops.

livesoft
Posts: 62917
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by livesoft » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:23 pm

sschoe2 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:54 pm
Majoring in Chemistry/Biochemistry. Every time I hang up on a recruiter wanting to pay me $15 an hour (with an MSc and 10 years experience) with no or crap benefits reinforces that.
Hmmm. Majoring in Biochemistry was my single biggest win!

As for mistakes, I have made a lot of not so expensive mistakes. None of them really stand out. Sure, I've lost money investing, but hasn't everyone? And I have no big wins in investing to point to either.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

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Elsebet
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:28 pm
Location: Washington state

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by Elsebet » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:38 pm

CarpeDiem22 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:23 pm
Moving to a HCOL area without a sufficiently high salary increment. Expenses rose more than expected and reduced my savings. I was back to my previous location in a year.
I did this too (Cincinnati, OH -> Seattle, WA), but corrected it 4 years later with a new job in the same area. Still want to go back home though.

My worst mistake was in my late 20's when I ran up about 16k worth of credit card debt and decided to move for a contract-to-hire job 1.5 hours away. They almost didn't hire me when my contract was up due to project changes but lucked out and they changed their mind. The sale of my townhouse took longer than expected and I got a lower offer than I needed when it finally did come. I ended up piling on more CC debt trying to make ends meet. Took 2 stressful years to dig out of that hole and have never repeated it.

panine
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:32 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by panine » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:43 pm

samsdad wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:59 pm
Law school.

Followed by practicing law.

Followed by not not accepting the sunk costs earlier and getting out of either earlier.

Now life is different and I’m in a different “job” of running the family business. I sell landscape supplies. Or, as my employees say, I’m a dirt farmer.

To those that hate their jobs: get out now. Don’t regret the sunk costs. They’re gone. Go and live a different life while you can. You think life will be worse if you quit the career you chose but hate. Or that your family will be shocked/disappointed/let down, etc. Or that the money won’t be as good. Or that you should just suck it up. Or that you’ll be making an intergalactic mistake. I thought so too.

But my life is so much better now in every way I can’t believe it. I’d do it again even if the money wasn’t as good as it is now.

I haven’t practiced law in years and don’t miss it. The last time I used my law license was a year or two ago when I used it to scrape ice off a rental car windshield outside a hotel in the middle of nowhere Utah early one morning on the way to my home in Colorado. No one was at the front desk to borrow an ice scraper at that time of morning, and I didn’t want to screw up the credit card, because that’s more valuable to me these days. I knew that law license would come in handy one day . . .
I love every dang thing about this post. :sharebeer

happytrades
Posts: 90
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Post by happytrades » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:48 pm

Marrying a woman who was not frugal, like me. Could have made much more money over my career. Still glad I married her. She is fun. Money isn't everything.

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