What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
mcblum
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by mcblum »

It was not a "decision" but finding this site by accident. Marty
deltaneutral83
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by deltaneutral83 »

Knowledge transfer from people of the highest magnitude of financial literacy which includes this website with the usual suspects and then the published guys: Swedroe, Ferri, Zweig, Clements, Benz, Malkiel, Bernstein, WCI, Kahneman, Taverski, Roth, Stanley, Taylor, Mel, and of course Bogle.

But it all doesn't mean much unless you select a compatible spouse (or not at all) and save drastically more than you spend, regardless of profession. That or hit the lottery :D .
yosh99
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by yosh99 »

My best financial decision was to quit my mega-corporate job of 30 years and start my own business at the age of 51. The first few years were lean, but improved with time, and I sold the business to some employees last October after 17 years.

For the first time in my life I don't have to worry about money or financial security. I never expected to be in this situation and it's frankly taking some time to realize how fortunate I am.
Cruise
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Cruise »

Best decisions, in order:

Marrying the right woman: Compatible, frugal, and turned out to be a high earner later in life.

Staying the course: Stayed married to my wife--I did not get distracted by flashy new distractions. (well, at least not to the point of touching--just looking)

Moving out of public sector to start my own business.

Selling my business.
mrmass
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by mrmass »

Somehow stumbling upon and buying that used opened returned computer at Sears 27 years ago and figuring it out-

Then pining over the cost to enroll in a Boston University part time program teaching me Novell NetWare-subsequently pivoting from crappy jobs to great jobs and endless opportunities.
mrmass
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by mrmass »

yosh99 wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:49 pm My best financial decision was to quit my mega-corporate job of 30 years and start my own business at the age of 51. The first few years were lean, but improved with time, and I sold the business to some employees last October after 17 years.

For the first time in my life I don't have to worry about money or financial security. I never expected to be in this situation and it's frankly taking some time to realize how fortunate I am.
I'm a wantapreneur and love these success stories. Congrats.
otinkyad
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by otinkyad »

Most of my financial success I owe to accidents: learning to program at 13, starting a company in my twenties, and starting to invest in my thirties because our employees wanted a 401k. Add to those, investing in a few sectors at first, and then picking some individual stocks during the Great Recession. Both went so badly I’ll never be tempted again.

Besides the lucky accidents, the biggest decision we’ve made is to maximize our retirement contributions. Saving is the hardest choice to make, but more important than most of the others we fiddle with here at BH.
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cheese_breath
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by cheese_breath »

Left my money in TIAA CREF when I left the university.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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Mel Lindauer
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Mel Lindauer »

deltaneutral83 wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:27 pm Knowledge transfer from people of the highest magnitude of financial literacy which includes this website with the usual suspects and then the published guys: Swedroe, Ferri, Zweig, Clements, Benz, Malkiel, Bernstein, WCI, Kahneman, Taverski, Roth, Stanley, Taylor, Mel, and of course Bogle.

But it all doesn't mean much unless you select a compatible spouse (or not at all) and save drastically more than you spend, regardless of profession. That or hit the lottery :D .
Thanks for including me in that rather elite group. I'm very fortunate to know most of them and count them as friends. They all have their reader's best interests at heart and want to share what they've learned over the years. And many of us want to help others avoid all of the mistakes that we made in our early investing careers.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi
snshew12
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by snshew12 »

Stay out of debt. Spend WAY less than you make. Invest the surplus.
Go strong. Go long.
trufflepig
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by trufflepig »

In order of financial significance:
  • Negotiated equity shares in a start-up which eventually was acquired. Walked away from joining at one point and fortunately they agreed the next day.
  • Received 100% of available 401k match from day 1. Maxed out personal contribution early.
  • Found BH, dropped Morgan Stanley, read many of the books on the recommend reading list.
  • Rode out the major bubbles (2000, 2008) w/o selling any equity. Kept contributions going.
  • Purchased low mileage used cars.
  • Bought first house in 2004 before housing prices surged.
And like many others - I married someone financially frugal. I'm unable to put any specific dollar amount on that decision so I kept it separate.

While some of these decisions were well informed, many benefited from a great deal of luck. I have met few people where luck did not play a significant role in their wealth.
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Cubicle
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Cubicle »

Finding this site.
Cutting wasteful spending.

By far those 2 have been the most powerful.
"Oh look another bajillion point declin-Ooooh!!! A coupon for pizza!!!!" <--- This is what everyone's IPS should be. ✓✓✓
Normchad
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Normchad »

Switching jobs 20 years ago.....
Glockenspiel
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Glockenspiel »

1. Marrying a smart woman with a good career who also has fairly frugal spending habits.
2. Steadily increasing my savings rate until I maxed out my 401k, Roth IRA, and HSA.
novemberrain
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by novemberrain »

Automated investing. I mean automatically deposit money into brokerage account every week/month
Detailed budgeting. Including
- Monthly income tracking
- Monthly expense tracking
- Tracking various kinds of expenses & averaging it out
- Try to beat last years expenses
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mrspock
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by mrspock »

mcblum wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:26 pm It was not a "decision" but finding this site by accident. Marty
This. Easily changed my financial destiny .... I wouldn’t have the confidence to retire as early as I will be able to, without the knowledge and wisdom from forum members and the resources they shared with me.

It’s one reason I try to share this forum and the books I learned about with as many people who will listen to me :) .
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StevieG72
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by StevieG72 »

To live below my means.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
johnegonpdx
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by johnegonpdx »

top 3
1. Put off using credit cards until my late 20's and always paid off my balance once I started.

2. Ignored the sales pitches to buy a larger than needed 1st home in the early 2000's by using an ARM with a sweet teaser rate.

3. Dropped my broker and brokerage account at MSDW in the early 2000's and set-up a simple Vanguard account for both pre and post tax investing. Never looked back.
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AerialWombat
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by AerialWombat »

scrabbler1 wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:18 am (1) Being childfree (not wanting to have children)
This is an under-appreciated path to accelerating financial independence.
GT99
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by GT99 »

Outside of the obvious like saving money and maxing tax advantaged accounts, I've got 2:
1. Buying a 3 bed/3 bath townhouse when I was 26 and renting out 2 rooms to friends I had previously been sharing an apartment with. Their rent covered the mortgage, insurance, and taxes, and I paid off $10k in credit card debt (I was stupid in my early 20s) in like 10 months.

2. Leasing a Nissan Leaf in 2014. With federal tax benefits, the monthly cost was $273. Also got a state tax break. When I went to turn it in the first time, they told me they didn't want it back and they would give me 2 months free and then continue the same payment for a year. Before turning it in, I asked what the purchase price would be. They sold it to me for $6600 (this was in 2017). It had under 30k miles. I just sold it a couple weeks ago to Carvana with 52k miles for $7500. All in cost to drive the car for 6 years, including all maintenance, new tires, and electricity was around $8000.
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abuss368
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by abuss368 »

Simple - moving our portfolio to Vanguard.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
GenawithanE
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by GenawithanE »

The husband i chose. He is really good at collaborating for shared goals, really bad at spending money on himself, was good at earning money [we're mostly retired now], and doesn't criticize how i spend "my" money. We have literally never argued about money. He's terrific for other reasons too!
krafty81
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by krafty81 »

1. Doing pre=paid tuition plans for both kids when they were born.

2. Reading a Consumer Reports book on money management and investing when I was 28 years old. 30+years later, the advice is still good.

3. Going with Schwab right after reading the book and taking over my own investments with a los-cost broker.
hmw
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by hmw »

Pursuing a high paying career.
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Stef
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Stef »

Changing my way of living/spending and focusing on what really matters in life.
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Christine_NM
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Christine_NM »

Paying off 30 year mortgage in 15 years, having an employer with good retirement benefits, and using index funds. All 3 were equally important, can't pick just one.
18% cash 44% stock 38% bond. Retired, w/d rate 2.5%
theplayer11
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by theplayer11 »

loading up on stocks in 2008
truenorth418
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by truenorth418 »

To live most of my income earning years in a residence that was well, well below my means. I lived in a cheap studio apartment for almost 20 years in my 30s and 40s, socked away a ton of money, so I could retire at age 47.
Paddygirl
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Paddygirl »

Reading Daniel Solins book lead me to passive investing which in turn, led me to Bogleheads.
CycloRista
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by CycloRista »

Two come to mind:

#1 Registering then, when I decided it "was time"... exercising and selling stock options (at two different companies during 1996 - 2001 timeframe).

In both instances, I went against the advice of multiple financial advisors, accountants and the vast majority of coworkers (who were either afraid of the tax implications or viewed it as not being loyal to the company!). Both of those companies ended up delisted on NASDAQ within one year of when I sold while it was too good to be true.

#2 Maxing out my 401k from the time I started working for 3+ decades and selecting the funds and allocations myself. These days I contribute a bit more than the minimum to receive the maximum employer match amount.
jason.durby
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by jason.durby »

I’d say marrying a woman who had her stuff together. I was comfortable being at a company that hired me out of college making good money. When I received a job interview offer out of the blue for a risky company at the time, I didn’t want to chance the security and comfort.

I was dating my wife at the time who was 5 years younger in her mid 20s and already a small home health business owner. Her finances were a mess but she had such an entrepreneurial spirit that I respected her. She urged me to take a chance and not to think about everything bad that could happen.

I got the new job. The company ended up being ultra successful and the bonus structure was amazing. I helped my wife reshape her business and finances. Now we are debt free as a family with great savings, retirement funds, two children and one on the way.

Sometimes love from the RIGHT woman or man is the fuel you need.
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racy
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by racy »

Married a working girl ... who's still working and supporting my retired lifestyle.
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SmileyFace
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by SmileyFace »

SQRT wrote: Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:10 am Holding my employee options till they almost expired.
Funny - one of my best financial decisions was the opposite - selling my options early enough before they became worthless.
mak1277
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by mak1277 »

trufflepig wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:49 pm In order of financial significance:
  • Negotiated equity shares in a start-up which eventually was acquired. Walked away from joining at one point and fortunately they agreed the next day.
  • Received 100% of available 401k match from day 1. Maxed out personal contribution early.
  • Found BH, dropped Morgan Stanley, read many of the books on the recommend reading list.
  • Rode out the major bubbles (2000, 2008) w/o selling any equity. Kept contributions going.
  • Purchased low mileage used cars.
  • Bought first house in 2004 before housing prices surged.
And like many others - I married someone financially frugal. I'm unable to put any specific dollar amount on that decision so I kept it separate.

While some of these decisions were well informed, many benefited from a great deal of luck. I have met few people where luck did not play a significant role in their wealth.
I'm curious...if you had *only* done the first one, would you still be in essentially the same place? In my own situation, my equity awards have been so good that no financial decision that came before them has any relevance at all. I didn't contribute a single penny to my retirement until I was 30, but my equity awards have been so good the "missed" opportunity has been rendered totally meaningless.
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1789
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by 1789 »

Refinancing 30 year mortgage from 4.375% to 15 year 2.75% was the best decision i think i have made so far.
"My conscience wants vegetarianism to win over the world. And my subconscious is yearning for a piece of juicy meat. But what do i want?" (Andrei Tarkovsky)
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praxis
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by praxis »

Learning a second language


Becoming fluent in Spanish during my time in the Peace Corps led me to my career traveling Latin America for a US manufacturer for 30 years.


I could have gone from college into career, but chose to work for $130/month as a volunteer instead. That was a good investment. And it taught me to be frugal.
trufflepig
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by trufflepig »

mak1277 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:51 am
trufflepig wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:49 pm In order of financial significance:
  • Negotiated equity shares in a start-up which eventually was acquired. Walked away from joining at one point and fortunately they agreed the next day.
  • Received 100% of available 401k match from day 1. Maxed out personal contribution early.
  • Found BH, dropped Morgan Stanley, read many of the books on the recommend reading list.
  • Rode out the major bubbles (2000, 2008) w/o selling any equity. Kept contributions going.
  • Purchased low mileage used cars.
  • Bought first house in 2004 before housing prices surged.
And like many others - I married someone financially frugal. I'm unable to put any specific dollar amount on that decision so I kept it separate.

While some of these decisions were well informed, many benefited from a great deal of luck. I have met few people where luck did not play a significant role in their wealth.
I'm curious...if you had *only* done the first one, would you still be in essentially the same place? In my own situation, my equity awards have been so good that no financial decision that came before them has any relevance at all. I didn't contribute a single penny to my retirement until I was 30, but my equity awards have been so good the "missed" opportunity has been rendered totally meaningless.
I'm pretty close to the situation you mention - I more than doubled my net worth and this was a recent event. Getting equity in some significant form in a new/growing business can overwhelm all other factors. It will be one of the financial lessons I stress with my children when they are older. I will likely not have another opportunity like that so following some of the other decisions to preserve it will now be even more important though.
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Go Blue 99
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Go Blue 99 »

Learning about retirement investing early in my career. I spent many hours on the Vanguard Diehards message board, and read books from Bogle and Bernstein.

Also, marrying someone who had high earning potential and no debt.
trumpet83
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by trumpet83 »

Getting on a written budget and being content with what I already have.
shell921
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by shell921 »

marrying someone who had good earning potential and no debt and who was frugal.
living beneath our means and making a savings plan
buying and selling rental property
being not interested in jewelry or expensive cars
tiburblium
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by tiburblium »

1.) Giving myself promotions when I was ready for increased responsibility or new challenges by seeking out new opportunities. It may seem obvious too many, but leaving a stable job seemed difficult and even foolish at the time. In 2003 my TC was 80k, 10 years later in 2013 it had only increased to about 120k. In 2014 I switched to a more senior role at a different company for more than a 100% increase in TC to 250k. Compensation aside, it also helped me out of my comfort zone/rut and improved my skills, not to mention kept life interesting.

2.) Finding this website, it is a great resource! I can't think of many other internet community that come close :sharebeer

3.) "Set it and forget it" investing style
Ependytis
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Ependytis »

The best financial decision I ever made is difficult to answer. There are so many variables. For example I’m fortunate that I have a natural abilities in engineering /sciences to make decent money, living below my means, investing in low cost funds, and not getting taken to the cleaners in a divorce. You could argue all of these were decisions however a lot of them stem from how I am wired and not something that I cultivated and struggled to figure out.
schwarm
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by schwarm »

1) Living below our means for years, which meant that when the storm hit this year, we have options.
2) Educating myself about passive investing ~15 years ago.
Candor
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by Candor »

Divorcing my ex-wife. I didn't realize it at the time and the divorce wasn't due to financial issues but I would never be where I am today if I was still married her. The divorce was a low point in my life and I'm not sure it was a net positive in my life but it certainly changed my financial future.
Time is your friend, impulse is your enemy. - John C. Bogle
confusedinvestor
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by confusedinvestor »

1. Coming to America to pursue Masters in Engineering from a Top Tier School.
2. Saving for my twins Collage Education so they can perhaps have a good fulfilling life.
3. Spending money on my parents.
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MN-Investor
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by MN-Investor »

Marrying my sweetie 44 years ago.

We were both great savers, but he was always curious about investing. He got us investing in our 20s and it has worked out phenomenally well.
The key to success - Save early, save often, invest well.
shelanman
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by shelanman »

Back in 2005, it was deciding to ask my boss and his buddy who did "finance stuff" (at the time, I had no idea what), "you two seem to know something about money. How do I get started learning about investments and stuff?"

That's a super naive question, but boy did I ask the right people.

Neither of them told me what to buy or who to invest with. One mentioned that he used Vanguard, but told me not to buy anything until I knew enough to decide for myself what I wanted.

They pointed me at Morningstar as a great place to get data. And they told me to make sure that I always understood how financial companies or pros were getting paid.

On Morningstar, I found their find reports kinda impenetrable, but they had an education section, and if you did all the coursework, you got enough points to get most of their books for free.

I was a real cheap bastard then, and I had all the time in the world, so I did every single course they offered to get all the points.

And boy did I learn a lot.

By the time the books arrived, I realized how little value the much-vaunted Morningstar Rating meant. But back then, a printed book was still a vaguely useful tool for finding about what funds exist and what their vital statistics were

Then, I found the forums, which, of course, included the "Diehards" as we used to be called.

(I do still wonder what ever happened to Sudhi)
BrownEyedGirl_27
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by BrownEyedGirl_27 »

Starting a taxable account and funding our Roth IRAs. Gotta start the Roth clock sooner than later, because you don't get that time back!

Taxable will be great for making large purchases, helping us pay for a house, kids' college, etc. There is just so much versatility.
"Your mind has a mind of its own. At the very moment when you are most convinced of your own rationality, you may be feeling rather than thinking your way toward a decision.” | Jason Zweig
harrychan
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by harrychan »

Buying a single family home during the 2008 recession. It was scary times and we almost gave up and bought a tiny condo but we held firm and after viewing over 80 homes, we held firm on a short sale. It has almost doubled in value since.

A very close second would be switching industries from Head of a global networking firm to Healthcare IT. I increased my salary by 45% with healthcare covered (I pay $8 per paycheck) and pension. Due to Covid-19, my project I am managing has created tremendous visibility and importance to our company. Oh, and I'm working from home full time.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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22twain
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Re: What is the best financial decision you ever made?

Post by 22twain »

I didn't think of it as a financial decision at the time (32 years ago), but in retrospect, my best one was marrying someone who spent less on herself than I did on myself, while earning a comparable income. Now that we're retired, her accounts are bigger than mine. If we had to split, perish forbid, we'd each do all right.
Help save endangered words! When you write "princiPLE", make sure you don't really mean "princiPAL"!
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