What is the best financial decision you ever made?

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tvubpwcisla
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What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by tvubpwcisla » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:29 am

For me, so far, it has been to Max out my 401K every year.

:moneybag
Stay invested my friends.

jaqenhghar
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by jaqenhghar » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:33 am

Staying the course.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:35 am

Quitting my job as an electronic technician on the assembly line for disk drives to go get my Bachelors degree full time. By the time I graduated, I doubled my previous salary and led me to a great company who paid for further education, sending me away for 18 months to get my Masters.

Too bad great companies like this no longer exist.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

Tiny Portfolio
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Tiny Portfolio » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:37 am

So far refinance our house long story short(no need to post all numbers) we refi'd after 2 years went from a 30 year loan to a 15 year loan much lower rate(2.75), on the back end we will save ~60k in interest and have the house payed off 13 years sooner. A close second is marrying a financially frugal spouse.

RJC
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by RJC » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:37 am

VTSAX

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happyisland
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by happyisland » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:38 am

This gets discussed periodically, and I always chime in and say ditching my "wealth managers" was the best thing I've done financially. Of course, the bogleheads forum is what gave me the confidence and knowledge to ditch the big bank, so maybe joining bogleheads was my best decision?
:sharebeer

winterfan
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by winterfan » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:43 am

Getting married to a frugal person. Two incomes are a great way to build wealth, especially before the kids arrive. It's easier to gather a down payment for a house, pay off debt faster or get retirement savings built up early. Even is someone later stays home with the kids, you have that money tucked away early that can grow.

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DartThrower
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by DartThrower » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:45 am

There was no single decision for me. Maxing retirement contributions ranks pretty high though. It's really a cluster of decisions: keeping investing costs low, being diversified, not taking too much or too little risk, and living within my means.

The one great decision unique to me was to pursue a master's degree during the severe recession of 1982. That set me up for a lifetime of higher future earnings. I was unemployed in 1982 but I might have been able to land a job as a bank teller. I'm glad I chose grad school instead. These days graduate education can be ridiculously expensive so if I were in the same situation (jobless) I might look for alternative ways to further my education. Nevertheless the same logic applies.
Our patience will achieve more than our force. -Edmund Burke

SimplicityNow
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by SimplicityNow » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:47 am

After years of managing my own portfolio I was contemplating retirement and I felt I need a "professional" advisor. Spoke to friends who gave me the name and number of "their guy". Before I called him I was researching online and came across this forum.

I tore up the number and with the help of many wise and helpful people here did it 'on my own'

Best decision (financial) I've ever made not only for the extra wealth I've added to our pockets instead of in the pocket of a FA but for the knowledge and confidence I've acquired here that has helped me simplify and stay the course during turbulent markets.

Thanks to the people here and of course Mr. Bogle.

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Will do good
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Will do good » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:55 am

1. Found the right partner, we share the same values and goals.

2. Did side hustle early in my career and turned into a successful business after I was layoff.

3. BH

RetiredNewbie
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by RetiredNewbie » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:14 am

The best financial decision I ever made was to start lurking in this group.
Your attitude about risk changes significantly when the bear begins to maul you.

Familyman2012
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Familyman2012 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:14 am

My wife. I sucked at managing my money in my 20s. Buying everyone drinks and waking up not even remembering it. And i still didn’t get the girls phone number lol.

Now, I handle all finances. Big 180 turn.

scrabbler1
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by scrabbler1 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:16 am

From a purely financial perspective, I'd say refinancing my mortgage back in 1992 was the best financial decision I ever made. I went from a 5-year ARM at nearly 11% I got in 1989 to a 6% 1-year ARM, reducing my monthly payment by 40%. I recovered the closing costs in about 18 months and enjoyed a reduction in my monthly expenses for the next 6 years, until I paid off the mortgage (my next best financial decision BTW). Interest rates began creeping up in the mid-1990s but they never got close to the nearly 11% rate I had been stuck with before.

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AerialWombat
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by AerialWombat » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:19 am

Filing chapter 7 bankruptcy.

stoptothink
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:19 am

Getting out of the public sector and into the private industry (doubled my income in 4yrs).

IowaFarmWife
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by IowaFarmWife » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:23 am

Investing in my education and getting my graduate degree.
“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” —Will Rogers

IowaFarmWife
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by IowaFarmWife » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:23 am

Investing in my education and getting my graduate degree.
“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” —Will Rogers

ncbill
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by ncbill » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:24 am

another vote for picking the right spouse...they're cheaper than me. :)

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David Jay
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by David Jay » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:26 am

Married someone thrifty.

Through careful spending, live way above our income.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

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Quercus Palustris
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Quercus Palustris » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:28 am

Learning how and why to save for retirement (which lead to finding bogleheads!). My dad was financially prudent but never talked about IRA/401k with me. When I got my first "real" corporate job with 401k, I didn't even understand the target date funds so I just picked some random funds until the provider site (ADP) said I had a good mix. No clue what fees I must have been paying or even what my AA was.

And this was in 2008 so ideal for buying at the bottom! :oops: live and learn...

sheepla
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by sheepla » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:28 am

YNAB literally changed my direction in handling finances.

hudson
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by hudson » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:29 am

Because of Diehards/Bogleheads, I stopped spending and started maxing out iBonds, 401K, and Roth IRA.
Also zero debt...with all the usual exceptions.
Last edited by hudson on Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jags4186
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:30 am

I would just add a caveat to all those thrifty spouse posters. My spouse is very thrifty. She makes $60k a year. We’d be financially better off if she spent 2x as much and made 2x as much.

The answer is marry a spouse who isn’t a spendthrift and don’t getting divorced.

Mr.Chlorine
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Mr.Chlorine » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:32 am

Prioritizing career. The more you make, the more you can save. And, if you like what you do it is a win-win!

SubPar
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by SubPar » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:37 am

Probably marrying someone who has a similar level of career drive, earning potential, and most of the same financial values as my own. Together, our ability to save is drastically facilitated.

poker27
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by poker27 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:43 am

I was 20 years old as working as a retail manager (never went to college), getting by, and ‘fine’ with life. I interviewed with a technology company (I was so young and didn’t even wear a tie to the interview even though their dress code at the time required a tie) for a sales posistion.

I received an entry level offer on the spot, which was in the same ballpark of $ I was currently making. I nearly passed on the offer because I was comfortable, and scared to try something above my then acumen. 14 years later I’m with the same company in a management role. I shake my head at my 20 year old self.

dcabler
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by dcabler » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:45 am

So many...
- Paid of my student loan debts early (though this was back in the 80's and they were pretty cheap)
- Getting to the point where we pay cash for new vehicles - and we typically go at least 10 (usually more) between new cars for each of us.
- Within a few years of starting work out of college every raise went to increasing my 401K until I was maxing it out.
- Marrying someone who (at the time) had a similar income - we developed our philosophy on finance together
- Purchasing a contract in the original TX Tomorrow fund when our daughter was 1 year old. Just finished her first year of college and between that and a scholarship she has, there has been very little out-of-pocket for us.
- Unless a major expense (like home repair) is needed, 100% of ESPP, RSU, Stock Options, and bonuses go straight to the taxable account, along with a fixed amount every month regardless.
- Reading bogleheads and walking away from managed funds. :D

stan1
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by stan1 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:46 am

Jobs that pay well enough that we can save a lot more than we spend.

Military retirement turns out to be a pretty good financial decision also.

260chrisb
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by 260chrisb » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:47 am

tvubpwcisla wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:29 am
For me, so far, it has been to Max out my 401K every year.

:moneybag
Yes, this for 20 years, a disciplined long term and knowledgeable approach, living well below my means always, and clear thinking as it relates to ANY financial decision. Was I supposed to have just one?? :D

Luckywon
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Luckywon » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:56 am

Picking the right spouse.

Going to medical school.

Adopting Bogleheads' personal finance philosophy.

Buying a home in California at beginning of career.

Chrono Triggered
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Chrono Triggered » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:03 am

Conducting research when I received an inheritance about five years ago when I was in graduate school and before my first salary based job. I wanted to learn the best way to invest this money for my future and that's when I discovered index funds, Jack Bogle, and this forum. I have been maxing out my IRA, HSA, and employer plan thanks to advice I've read on this site.
Last edited by Chrono Triggered on Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by livesoft » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:04 am

Picking the right parents living in a decent country. It's been all downhill ever since.
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SQRT
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by SQRT » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:10 am

Holding my employee options till they almost expired.
Last edited by SQRT on Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

runner3081
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by runner3081 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:11 am

-Spouse with same goals/frugal tenancies
-Buying a house less than 2x annual salary and paying it off
-Always saying "yes" as I built my career

BalancedJCB19
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by BalancedJCB19 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:14 am

Buying a house I could afford and not take out the bigger mortgage the realtor said I could get

Paying myself first in my 401k and maxing out many of those years

achillesheel
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by achillesheel » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:15 am

1. By far - marriage to a wife who has a similar vision for life and lifestyle. She also has been super patient with me as I finish my education. When I finish, we will both be very pleased. She plays great "defense" too - keeping our spend down, and asks for nothing for herself. The one exception: getting a nicer wedding band.
2. Diversification - getting out of concentrated holdings of individual companies. By pure dollar amount, this decision preserved the most $$.

Dottie57
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:16 am

Signing up for 401k when I was not making much and increasing percent with each raise.

tryingtogetahead
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by tryingtogetahead » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:19 am

I know you asked for just one, but by far the two most important financial decisions you make in life are your career and spouse. Furthering your education and choosing a high paying career will fuel your entire financial future and making sure you have a spouse who is equally committed to earning and saving to both further fuel and not sabotage your plans is also very important. The lesser, albeit very important, factors are staying the course no matter what happens, living well below your means to maintain a 70-80% savings rate, delaying kids, and no debt.

sean.mcgrath
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by sean.mcgrath » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:23 am

I didn't think my reply would end up being so run of the mill: another for right partner and education.

RetireSomeDay
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by RetireSomeDay » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:29 am

Jumping in to Stock market during 2009 crash
Paying off Mortgage
Maxing out 401K

Invest2027
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Invest2027 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:30 am

Picking the right spouse as was mentioned before and joining the US Navy as a new immigrant to this country.
USN provided/gave access to the MGIB which resulted in my B.S.and MBA resulting in much increased earnings.
Joining this community and sticking (mostly) to the Boglehead philosophy is a close second.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. | Herm Albright 1876-1944

Namashkar
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Namashkar » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:32 am

Investing with the Vanguard.

quantAndHold
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:49 am

Being lucky. The rest is gravy.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.

birnhamwood
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by birnhamwood » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:56 am

Married right.

Bought the family farm.

tnr
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by tnr » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:01 am

Contributing to my 401k right from my first job in 1983 and continuing to fund and not touch it to this day.

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mmmodem
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by mmmodem » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:05 am

Getting a college degree is the best thing I ever did financially. It boggles my mind the discussions I see today about college being worth it or not. That's not the question. Cheap in state public college that doesn't require massive student loans is absolutely worth it. The question should be: is an expensive college degree worth it?

UnitaryExecutive
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by UnitaryExecutive » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:09 am

Investing in myself and my continued education through books. I read ~50 non-fiction books a year and have read at least 10 a year for a very long time. It's a huge advantage in investing, business, etc because a) knowledge compounds and b) for most people, their general education (they may dive deep in their field) ends as soon as they graduate college.

A sampling of decisions that have worked out:
1. Always playing the long game (took a job at a startup out of school working for free instead of one of my Lockheed or Xilinx offers)
2. Stretched ourselves to move up to a condo with the best view 700k purchase, 1.2M resale 3 years later. In the process we separately deeded one of our two parking spots in our old unit, sold it for market, and sold the parking spot separately for 60k.
3. Bitcoin at $29
4. Joined an early stage startup on day 1, took a 50% pay cut, and also put 50k of our own money in the seed round. Startup got acquired 18 months later and my career has accelerated at the acquiring company + we doubled our 50k investment in 9 months.
5. TSLA at $35 right after the Model S came out. Have sold along the way and have way less now than I'd like (we sold a large chunk ~350 when we thought Elon was going crazy)
Last edited by UnitaryExecutive on Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:10 am

I married a person with similar attitudes toward saving and spending which happen to be consistent with the Boglehead philosophy. I have been very fortunate in many ways.
Have a plan, stay the course, and simplify. And while you're at it, ignore the noise!

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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by friar1610 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:22 am

Not moving up from a "starter" home at one specific point in our lives. We bought our first home (in the DC 'burbs) in 1976 after 4 years overseas with the Navy. Lived there 3 years and then rented it out while we were transferred out of the area for 5 years. Returned for what was to be 5 years and moved back into the house. We really wanted to move up to a larger/nicer house but any time we looked at more expensive houses that we could afford we continued to conclude that we would not improve our situation enough to justify the additional debt. So we stayed where we were as my kids went through HS and college appeared on the horizon. The by-then modest mortgage payment coupled with my wife working outside the home for the first time enabled us to sock away a lot of money both for college tuition and for retirement. I suspect that my kids graduating from college debt-free and my somewhat early retirement would not have been as readily possible had we bought a bigger, more expensive house back then.
Friar1610

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Sheepdog
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Sheepdog » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:24 am

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:10 am
I married a person with similar attitudes toward saving and spending which happen to be consistent with the Boglehead philosophy. I have been very fortunate in many ways.
I was just going to submit my good fortune....great fortune.....of finding my wife on a blind date 60 years ago, to whom I fell deeply in love with and who has kept me in line on finances and everything else. Then I found that you already beat me to it so I hope you don't mind that I tag along.
Weren't we fortunate?

(Now, I've got to think what am I going to do for her on our 60th next New Years Eve.)
Last edited by Sheepdog on Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.” — Chinese Proverb

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