Your best non-financial investment?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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Chicago Lion
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Your best non-financial investment?

Post by Chicago Lion »

I was wondering what things people spent money on that have saved them lots of money in the long term?

Personally, ten years ago I bought some clippers, shears and a large hand held mirror. I have cut my own hair ever since. I spent about 50 dollars that day. I estimate I have saved over 1500 dollars in that ten years. In addition, I have the flexibility to cut my hair whenever I want and have no wait.
livesoft
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Post by livesoft »

I married someone who loves to work and makes good money. So I guess the $40 I spent to rent a tux was well worth it?
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Bruin
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Post by Bruin »

livesoft wrote:I married someone who loves to work and makes good money. So I guess the $40 I spent to rent a tux was well worth it?
Wow, didn't even have to buy a ring? :wink:
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TomatoTomahto
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Post by TomatoTomahto »

I also have to say my wife, who has saved me untold zillions of dollars. My next-best use of funds was a used snow blower. It cost me $400, which I saved in the first season. Ever since, it's all profit.
NYCPete
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Post by NYCPete »

Glad the first couple posts were already thinking along this line too...

No question, it's my partner of 8 years (we have lived together for that long but are not married). We are like-minded on money when it comes to our lifestyle and spending in general.

My non-sentimental answer would be the (approximately) 200 hours I've spent reading through the Bogleheads reading list as well as about every single reputable author on asset allocation.

My practical answer would be a smart phone with GPS map capability. For me, the ability to have GPS, check email on my phone, surf the web, and track text conversations was bigger leap than for most. My earlier phone didn't even have a camera! :)

Best,
Peter
To the extent that a fool knows his foolishness, | He may be deemed wise | A fool who considers himself wise | Is indeed a fool. | | Buddha
Grt2bOutdoors
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Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

My wife as well, she's even more frugal than I am.
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Post by rwwoods »

Investing in a MS in Computer Science got me into the computer industry where I prospered.
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Taylor Larimore
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Post by Taylor Larimore »

Our best investment was a Miami waterfront condominium (Grove Isle) in the 70s.

We invested $11,000 down payment on an unbuilt unit priced at $110,00. We watched it being built and lived in it for five years. We sold for $450,000 cash in the early 80s.

Our $11,000 turned into $450,000.
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle
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Jake46
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Post by Jake46 »

My wfe as well. She introduced me to no-load & index mutual funds.
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Halligan
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Post by Halligan »

Taylor Larimore wrote:Our best investment was a Miami waterfront condominium (Grove Isle) in the 70s.

We invested $11,000 down payment on an unbuilt unit priced at $110,00. We watched it being built and lived in it for five years. We sold for $450,000 cash in the early 80s.

Our $11,000 turned into $450,000.
Grove Isle is such a great little nook. If you would have waited till the 90s it would've been 800k.

I'd love to say my wife too, but she's more of the spender I have to reign in.
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jives
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Post by jives »

My education has probably been the single, highest yielding investment I ever made and, since I was on scholarship, it really didn't cost me anything other than 18 hour days for a few years. I worked for 9 years before I went to college and within 4 years of graduating, my salary had doubled compared to what I was making before. That enabled me to save more which in turn has put me on the road to a comfortable retirement.
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Post by snyder66 »

Wow, Taylor! where could I find a condo today that will appreciate like that? Where have all of you guys found frugal wives? They don't like shopping? It's good I'm the frugal one in our family.
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stemikger
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Trade School

Post by stemikger »

When I left the family business I went to a 3 month trade school for computers and have been working ever since. That was 21 years ago.
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Frugal Al
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Post by Frugal Al »

Taylor Larimore wrote:Our $11,000 turned into $450,000.
Way to go, Taylor. So much for the conventional wisdom that a home isn't an investment. The exceptions can indeed lead some to think otherwise. A good way to make money: buy smart, and sell into hot market. It certainly sounds easy.
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NAVigator
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Post by NAVigator »

Taylor Larimore wrote:Our best investment was a Miami waterfront condominium (Grove Isle) in the 70s.

We invested $11,000 down payment on an unbuilt unit priced at $110,00. We watched it being built and lived in it for five years. We sold for $450,000 cash in the early 80s.

Our $11,000 turned into $450,000.
Taylor, so is housing now an "investment"? Should one consider their home as part of their portfolio or their net worth? Some Bogleheads post that they do, and some (like me) do not include their home as a financial component. I'm curious about your thoughts on the matter. Thanks.

Jerry
"I was born with nothing and I have most of it left."
rustymutt
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Post by rustymutt »

no doubts about it, education investments for me.
Even educators need education. And some can be hard headed to the point of needing time out.
isaidit
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Post by isaidit »

Although it is kind of a "financial" investment, our home was our best investment. We moved cities at the end of 2007 and rented an apartment through the housing fall in 2008. In early 2009 we purchased a two-year old, 4,100sqft home, that was last appraised at $260,000, as a forclosure for only $176,900. We could now easily sell it for $230,000 but we love it. We live in a medium sized midwest city where housing is very affordable. We feel so fortunate to have a luxury home with about $50,000 equity built right in. As a result we have a low mortgage payment each month but still have the dream home! Can't beat it.
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Post by Steelersfan »

Investing three decades of my time at the same company which: provided me with lots of job satisfaction, paid me well, had fine benefits, and has given me a pension that will last my whole lifetime.

Too bad there aren't many of those around these days.
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cinghiale
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Post by cinghiale »

I'll chime in with a "me, too!" for "marrying up" with a most wonderful woman.

Past that, I bought a salvage vehicle in 2005 when my ancient Camry gave up the ghost. A "totaled" 1998 Volvo S90-- the top of the line model and the last year that Volvos were made in Sweden-- set me back $8800.00. The car had 49,000 miles on it. I have added 60,000 more since then, and the car has been near perfect: safe, comfortable and fully paid for. The damage done was to the side, not the engine area, so I put up with a slightly askew front passenger door and a little crimping of the fabric near that door's window. It has proved to be a great investment and I fully intend to take it to and past 250,000 miles. And, as a personal aside, I detest the process of buying a car. For me, this purchase was a way to bypass and beat that racket.
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dgm
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Re: Your best non-financial investment?

Post by dgm »

Chicago Lion wrote:I was wondering what things people spent money on that have saved them lots of money in the long term?

Personally, ten years ago I bought some clippers, shears and a large hand held mirror. I have cut my own hair ever since. I spent about 50 dollars that day. I estimate I have saved over 1500 dollars in that ten years. In addition, I have the flexibility to cut my hair whenever I want and have no wait.
same. i saw the title and this is exactly what i was going to say!
JTJjr
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Post by JTJjr »

Two "investments" come to mind immediately: 1) Montessori education for my two boys and 2) a MAC kitchen knife bought 44 years ago after hearing Larry King talk about it on his radio program late one night in Florida. The Montessori education continues to pay off as both boys love learning and life. The MAC knife continues to provide good use each and every day for everything that needs cutting. Peace, JTJjr
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MP173
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Post by MP173 »

A couple of years ago I purchased a cheap new lawn mower as my old one died.

My 14 year old son used the opportunity to solicit lawn mowing business in our neighborhood and has built up quite a clientel. He made over $2000 last year and is well on his way to exceeding that this year.

His "clients" love him and he understands the importance of customer service, communicating, and following thru.

As a father, I am very proud.

Ed
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Post by hippodrome »

When my son was a teenager I used to frequent an industrial surplus store. I was there one day and saw a box of electronic components that I knew would sell for much more on eBay. I bought the whole box. He had more in the back and I bought those as well for pennies on the $.

Brought it home to my son and said "Congratulations, you're in business". He went on on to sell other things as well and from that point forward he never had to ask me for money again. Best $150 I ever spent.
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C319
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Post by C319 »

Deciding on a career field very early in life (decided on healthcare at age 10) and sticking with it has paid off. Also not switching jobs has turned out to be a good "investment", although it would be an understatement to say that military life can be really tough on a family. That said, with seniority comes some nice privileges to accompany the increased responsibilities. Most of all I am proud to have the privilege of serving my country in a tangible way and yes, the pension is something to look forward to.
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jamacq
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Post by jamacq »

Joining the US Navy. I found the Navy to be a source of great opportunity in many, many ways:

-Opportunity to serve the country that has provided us with so much opportunity.
-Opportunity to do a job that was exciting and rarely dull
-Opportunity to gain an education (joined with a few college credits and left with three Master's degrees)
-Opportunity to learn skills difficult to obtain outside of the govt
-Healthcare for life
-Nice monthly paycheck for life starting at age 42.

I would do it over most certainly.

Jeff
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Taylor Larimore
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"Is a house an investment?"

Post by Taylor Larimore »

Hi Jerry:

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Our best investment was a Miami waterfront condominium (Grove Isle) in the 70s.

We invested $11,000 down payment on an unbuilt unit priced at $110,00. We watched it being built and lived in it for five years. We sold for $450,000 cash in the early 80s.

Our $11,000 turned into $450,000.

Taylor, so is housing now an "investment"? Should one consider their home as part of their portfolio or their net worth? Some Bogleheads post that they do, and some (like me) do not include their home as a financial component. I'm curious about your thoughts on the matter. Thanks.

Jerry:

I think the answer depends on the definition of "investment." Investopedia's definition is as good as any:

"An asset or item that is purchased with the hope that it will generate income or appreciate in the future. In an economic sense, an investment is the purchase of goods that are not consumed today but are used in the future to create wealth. In finance, an investment is a monetary asset purchased with the idea that the asset will provide income in the future or appreciate and be sold at a higher price."

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/investment.asp

It is arguable, but based on the above, I would call ownership of a house an "investment."

To answer your other questions, I do not consider our home a part of our portfolio but it is definitely a part of our net worth.
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle
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Post by Sam I Am »

Message deleted.
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FabLab
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Post by FabLab »

Investments in education. But really that would be second only to marrying my better half :D
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NAVigator
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Re: "Is a house an investment?"

Post by NAVigator »

Taylor Larimore wrote:Hi Jerry:

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Our best investment was a Miami waterfront condominium (Grove Isle) in the 70s.

We invested $11,000 down payment on an unbuilt unit priced at $110,00. We watched it being built and lived in it for five years. We sold for $450,000 cash in the early 80s.

Our $11,000 turned into $450,000.

Taylor, so is housing now an "investment"? Should one consider their home as part of their portfolio or their net worth? Some Bogleheads post that they do, and some (like me) do not include their home as a financial component. I'm curious about your thoughts on the matter. Thanks.

Jerry:

I think the answer depends on the definition of "investment." Investopedia's definition is as good as any:

"An asset or item that is purchased with the hope that it will generate income or appreciate in the future. In an economic sense, an investment is the purchase of goods that are not consumed today but are used in the future to create wealth. In finance, an investment is a monetary asset purchased with the idea that the asset will provide income in the future or appreciate and be sold at a higher price."

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/investment.asp

It is arguable, but based on the above, I would call ownership of a house an "investment."

To answer your other questions, I do not consider our home a part of our portfolio but it is definitely a part of our net worth.
Taylor, Once again you provide clarity to an issue which has been debated on the forum. I appreciate your response. Congratulations on your investment. :)

Jerry
"I was born with nothing and I have most of it left."
JoalyC
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Post by JoalyC »

My greatest investment was my library card. I used it to check out books every week for my son - whetting his appetite to learn more and more.

He won full ride scholarships at several of the schools to which he applied. What an awesome return.
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Frugal Al
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Re: "Is a house an investment?"

Post by Frugal Al »

Taylor Larimore wrote: It is arguable, but based on the above, I would call ownership of a house an "investment."
Nuance perhaps, but although the home in which one lives can indeed sometimes prove to be a good investment, it should not be purchased as an investment.
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Post by lambdapro »

The vacant lot next to my house.
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Post by FarmGirl »

I believe it is my grown children. While I strive to make myself fully supported when retirement comes, my well educated, self sufficient children are my emergency fund if I need help with money or just need a little help taking care of myself. I continue to invest in them with my time and the joy my family brings me is dividend enough!

In terms of the non-investment that I feels repays daily for everyone involved, I would say having braces for all the children. I believe it contributes to their daily interaction with people, their jobs, spouses, and their personal health.
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dandan14
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Post by dandan14 »

livesoft wrote:I married someone who loves to work and makes good money. So I guess the $40 I spent to rent a tux was well worth it?
I married someone who knows how to save and values the same things I do.
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dandan14
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Post by dandan14 »

hippodrome wrote:When my son was a teenager I used to frequent an industrial surplus store. I was there one day and saw a box of electronic components that I knew would sell for much more on eBay. I bought the whole box. He had more in the back and I bought those as well for pennies on the $.

Brought it home to my son and said "Congratulations, you're in business". He went on on to sell other things as well and from that point forward he never had to ask me for money again. Best $150 I ever spent.
Love that story. I'm looking forward to the day when my daughter is old enough to operate a little business. I'll probably get as much enjoyment out of it as she will.
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Post by deerhunter »

Paid 2500 bucks for the old oil well on my property. It produces 50 pounds of natural gas pressure. The money included piping it into my house.

Haven't paid a heating bill in 12 or more years. Have a gas dryer, natural gas barbeque and a wall heater that needs no electricity to heat a couple of rooms in the house. Could add a natural gas generator and more wall heaters to heat the entire house without electricity. Our electric bill this month was only 39 bucks so am holding off on the generator.
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DiscoBunny1979
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Post by DiscoBunny1979 »

jamacq wrote:Joining the US Navy. I found the Navy to be a source of great opportunity in many, many ways:

-Opportunity to serve the country that has provided us with so much opportunity.
-Opportunity to do a job that was exciting and rarely dull
-Opportunity to gain an education (joined with a few college credits and left with three Master's degrees)
-Opportunity to learn skills difficult to obtain outside of the govt
-Healthcare for life
-Nice monthly paycheck for life starting at age 42.

I would do it over most certainly.

Jeff
---------------

I joined the U.S. Army right after High School, but while those above items you mentioned where enticing, I found that I

1) Didn't want to live off the Military for life
2) Found serving my country just for being "Patriotic" was nothing more than a smoke screen and marketing tool to make the uninformed stay beyond their initial enlistment, and
3) The military lifestyle is very transient, moving every 2 or 3 years and doesn't allow one to grow roots or feel "responsible" to maintain property they buy because they are short timers in the area they choose. Military families in my area don't keep up their property, let the weeds grow tall - the foreclosed properties they buy look worse years after they buy them!

BUT after saying that . . . the Military experience did give me something more valuable . . . that life is more precious than anyone's job. To be secure in one's personal skin AND to be accountable to no one except yourself is being wealthy.

Being physically fit - so that working out becomes a "lifestyle" is an important Military concept to be maintained throughout life so that the "investment" is good health in the older years.

And while an education is important, what's more important is that you love what you do so that any investment in time and money spent is not chasing someone else's expectations. So yes, Military dollars did help me in my beginning to complete the first year of college, but I used my own sweat equity funds to put myself through the other years of college and am very proud of being able to do things for myself rather than relying on the Military for handouts.
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Babakhani
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Post by Babakhani »

I'm not sure exactly what the topic is.

If you mean best investment outside of investing in stocks/bonds/real estate, then my education is even better than those investments because it allows me to make the income to do all those things.

If you mean best non-monetary investment, then my wife and 2 kids provided more enjoyment than any investment can ever do.
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jamacq
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Post by jamacq »

So yes, Military dollars did help me in my beginning to complete the first year of college, but I used my own sweat equity funds to put myself through the other years of college and am very proud of being able to do things for myself rather than relying on the Military for handouts.
I guess that's one way to look at it. I lived off of military handouts for 23 years. Will have to re-think my life.
MarginOfBuffett
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Re: "Is a house an investment?"

Post by MarginOfBuffett »

Taylor Larimore wrote:Hi Jerry:

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Our best investment was a Miami waterfront condominium (Grove Isle) in the 70s.

We invested $11,000 down payment on an unbuilt unit priced at $110,00. We watched it being built and lived in it for five years. We sold for $450,000 cash in the early 80s.

Our $11,000 turned into $450,000.

Taylor, so is housing now an "investment"? Should one consider their home as part of their portfolio or their net worth? Some Bogleheads post that they do, and some (like me) do not include their home as a financial component. I'm curious about your thoughts on the matter. Thanks.

Jerry:

I think the answer depends on the definition of "investment." Investopedia's definition is as good as any:

"An asset or item that is purchased with the hope that it will generate income or appreciate in the future. In an economic sense, an investment is the purchase of goods that are not consumed today but are used in the future to create wealth. In finance, an investment is a monetary asset purchased with the idea that the asset will provide income in the future or appreciate and be sold at a higher price."

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/investment.asp

It is arguable, but based on the above, I would call ownership of a house an "investment."

To answer your other questions, I do not consider our home a part of our portfolio but it is definitely a part of our net worth.
My econ professor said to treat real estate as a consumption item, just like your car. He said that since your house is a tangible asset and does not produce any cash flows, it has a return of 0% after deducting inflation.
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Post by jmbkb4 »

livesoft wrote:I married someone who loves to work and makes good money. So I guess the $40 I spent to rent a tux was well worth it?
classy
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Post by friar1610 »

In addition to marrying the right woman (which many others have said), giving up the potentially higher summer earnings of wor king on Cape Cod (where my parents were retired) for the lower earnings of a Seaman Apprentice to go to a summer OCS program with the Navy. As a result I was commissioned upon college graduation. I ended up spending 28 years in the Navy, retired as a senior officer and have a very nice retirement as a result. I also got to do a lot of neat stuff during my career, live in and visit foreign countries and live in various parts of the US.
Friar1610
james22
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Post by james22 »

The $150 dermatologist examination that detected melanoma.
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mlebuf
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Post by mlebuf »

Without question, the money I spent/borrowed to go to grad school was my best investment. The total cost was approximately $6K for 4 years back in the '60's. I borrowed about $3K and financed the rest through summer jobs and working as a grad assistant in my last year.

The first year I taught, my pay, including teaching summer school was $16,500. The terms of my student loan were that I had ten years to pay it off. The interest rate was something very low like 2 or 3 percent. However, the federal government forgave my loan payments for the first five years because I was teaching. That meant I paid back half the money I borrowed and didn't have to begin payments until I began my sixth year of teaching. My payments for the remaining 5 years were less than $30 a month.

Working in academe led to writing books, which in turn led to speaking, audio programs, video programs and consulting. The outside income gave me the financial freedom to retire from the university at the ripe old age of 47. I seriously doubt that any of that would have happen had I opted not to go to grad school. In my particular case, Ben Franklin was right: "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
Best wishes, | Michael | | Invest your time actively and your money passively.
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TomatoTomahto
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Post by TomatoTomahto »

JTJjr wrote:Two "investments" come to mind immediately: 1) Montessori education for my two boys and 2) a MAC kitchen knife bought 44 years ago after hearing Larry King talk about it on his radio program late one night in Florida. The Montessori education continues to pay off as both boys love learning and life. The MAC knife continues to provide good use each and every day for everything that needs cutting. Peace, JTJjr
I have to chuckle at your saying that. My wife (whom I referred to in an earlier post as my best investment) attended a highly-regarded college (Vassar) and got an MBA from Fordham, but credits attending Montessori at an early age for her success. She says it taught her to finish things she starts. It's rare in the business world.
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touchdowntodd
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Post by touchdowntodd »

my wife
my dog (dauchshund)
always having a classic car (always make money, im lucky that way, and a great way to enjoy life as i drive a small toyota as a daily with 160k on it
tryin to do this right... thanks guys
pkh01l
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Post by pkh01l »

Simply from a return stand point it would be a Nolan Ryan rookie card. I paid $40 for it from a high school classmate and sold two years later for $850 while in college. That $850 seemed like $8,500 to a broke college kid!
Dori79
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Post by Dori79 »

I would have to say the new bed I bought last year was the best investment I've made recently. Fewer trips to the chiropractor means hundreds of dollars saved! Next step, find out how much money I'll have to invest into <a href="http://www.medicaresupplementshop.com/">medicare supplement insurance</a> when I retire.
Last edited by Dori79 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Abe
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Post by Abe »

Taylor Larimore wrote:Our best investment was a Miami waterfront condominium (Grove Isle) in the 70s.

We invested $11,000 down payment on an unbuilt unit priced at $110,00. We watched it being built and lived in it for five years. We sold for $450,000 cash in the early 80s.

Our $11,000 turned into $450,000.
That's a very good example of the magic of leverage.
TRC
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Post by TRC »

A recent investment we made was a beach condo / 2nd home about 2 hours from our house. We rent it for a few select weeks in the summer at $3,500 a week, which covers our entire yearly mortgage payments. The rest of the time we use it and enjoy it very much with our friends and family.
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