Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

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stemikger
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Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by stemikger » Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:19 am

Every investor has made mistakes and/or has regrets.

Would love to hear some regrets or mistakes you made along the way that (a) you had a hard time letting go of or (b) you learned from them but still wish you knew then what you know now. I'll go first, here are two that come to mind.

When I first started, my company 401K had 10 funds and I just put 10% in each of them thinking I was diversified. I think two were money market funds, two were bond funds, etc. You get the picture.

After I realized that was not the way to go, I held two funds and was 50% in equities and 50% in bonds for many years and I was only in my early 30s. If I knew what I know today, I would have been 80% equities and 20% bonds. Looking back I missed out on a lot of gains.

And of course, I wish I would started in my 20s.
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Lafder
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Lafder » Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:28 am

Selling the REITs I owned in 2008 because they had dropped so much in value. Should have held, and sold later :) I do not own any now.

Not taking advantage of the post tax 401k option with my husband's 401k until this year. I did not understand the contributions could be converted to Roths later.

I have been good about watching expenses, since I realized there were options. And also good about minimal changes in holdings and not chasing gains.

lafder

rixer
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by rixer » Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:15 am

I've been too conservative but as I'm now retired I don't want to become more aggressive at this point.

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friar1610
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by friar1610 » Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:33 am

1. Starting my investing career with a front-loaded, high expense contractual mutual fund. On the plus side it got me into regular investing via DCA but the lesson was more expensive than it needed to be.

2. Buying into a variable annuity while still on military active duty. Erroneously thought I needed tax-advantaged space but I would have been better off just after-tax investing. (This was before military TSP,)
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Snowjob
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Snowjob » Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:56 am

looking at individual securities you can monday morning quarterback a thousand moves that would have optimized your outcome. However there are two big ones that are on a more general basis.

First, start earlier -- who wouldn't put that on the top of their list.

Second, do thorough independent research as to what your company benefit plans allow. When I started work I didn't want to read the 100 page document on our health care plan so I asked HR what the HSA and FSA options were (they said they were the exact same thing, and if you don't spend it you lose it --- ugh) So I just ignored the HSA for 6 years before finding out what it really was on this website!

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Sheepdog
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Sheepdog » Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:05 am

Too many mistakes to count as in all of life. Why have regrets for things which can't be changed? Anyway, it's how investing ends which counts the most and mine ended well. Mistakes, yes. Regrets, no. I learned from my mistakes, at least. :)
Just because it isn't your fault doesn't mean it isn't your responsibility....Josh Reid Jones

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by carolinaman » Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:03 am

Sheepdog wrote:Too many mistakes to count as in all of life. Why have regrets for things which can't be changed? Anyway, it's how investing ends which counts the most and mine ended well. Mistakes, yes. Regrets, no. I learned from my mistakes, at least. :)
+1. I agree. However, if this is rephrased to "what have I learned from my investing mistakes?" is a more useful and actionable question.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by BolderBoy » Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:49 pm

stemikger wrote:Would love to hear some regrets or mistakes you made along the way that (a) you had a hard time letting go of or (b) you learned from them but still wish you knew then what you know now.
The first 401k I was exposed to offered only a few options and I didn't understand most of them. One was a money market fund and I remembered the heyday returns of money market funds in 1980 & 1981, so I put all my contributions directly into it and only it... for the next 5 years. Even my bosses asked if I knew what I was doing. It didn't grow much.

In 1991 I left that employer and rolled the entire amount into a Vanguard IRA invested in the S&P500 Index where it grew HUGE over the next 10 years. I still didn't know what I was doing and only made that selection based on a Money Magazine advice column I read at the time.

Only when I found the BHs in 2009 did enlightenment finally come upon me.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by whodidntante » Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:50 pm

Listening to Dave Ramsey's investment advice early on was my worst mistake.

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bengal22
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by bengal22 » Sat Jun 11, 2016 2:06 pm

When buying our first house, I wish I would have bought more house. I played it way too conservatively.
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley

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Johnnie
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Johnnie » Sat Jun 11, 2016 2:20 pm

I regret my ignorance. I regret thinking that things I knew were useful for investing. I know nothing, and I knew even less before.

ETA: What heyyou said below. :(
Last edited by Johnnie on Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by jjface » Sat Jun 11, 2016 2:41 pm

Bought active management funds. The performance wasn't too bad though overall not quite as good as the S&P 500 - the main issue was the very large capital gains right at the year end which messed with tax planning.

Dabbled with individual stocks - sold some that skyrocketed and kept some that tanked! Didn't hold apple and amazon long enough.

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by heyyou » Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:41 pm

Too many mistakes to count as in all of life. Why have regrets for things which can't be changed? Anyway, it's how investing ends which counts the most and mine ended well. Mistakes, yes. Regrets, no. I learned from my mistakes, at least.
I'm here by default, I think I'm a veteran of most of the behavioral mistakes, and many of the other ones. I've done greed, impatience, recency, and thinking I needed to "beat the market." Owning rental property does not match my skills and ability.

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Sheepdog
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Sheepdog » Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:46 pm

carolinaman wrote:
Sheepdog wrote:Too many mistakes to count as in all of life. Why have regrets for things which can't be changed? Anyway, it's how investing ends which counts the most and mine ended well. Mistakes, yes. Regrets, no. I learned from my mistakes, at least. :)
+1. I .agree. However, if this is rephrased to "what have I learned from my investing mistakes?" is a more useful and actionable question.
Okay, I will give you one mistake, but it was not really my mistake, unless I consider taking the investment advice of a Vanguard advisor.
When I retired in 1998 I took my pension as a lump sum and rolled it over to an IRA. I requested advice on where to invest the funds. I also requested advice on an IRA rollover to a Roth IRA. This was the first year for Roth IRAs and I wanted advice on a conversion to be taxed over 5 years.(In the first year this was allowed.)
This was Vanguard's advice, which I followed to the letter:
In the Rollover IRA these 8 funds were recommended: Asset Allocation, High Yield Corporate Bond, Short Term Corporate Bond,Total Bond Market, US Growth, Total International Stock, Prime Money Market and Total Stock Market.
In the Roth conversion, they recommended 6 funds: Mid Cap Index, Small Cap Index, Total Stock Market, US Growth, Windsor II, and Aggressive Growth.
This advice was way too complicated and costly. I was ignorant. I never took Vanguard's investment advice again....only Morningstar's Vanguard Diehard and Bogleheads.

edit. Vanguard does much better today, I am told.

.
Last edited by Sheepdog on Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just because it isn't your fault doesn't mean it isn't your responsibility....Josh Reid Jones

TomCat96
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by TomCat96 » Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:56 pm

Attributing early successes to any kind of analytical prowess or prescience, and not recognizing the role random chance played.

carolinaman
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by carolinaman » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:59 am

carolinaman wrote:
Sheepdog wrote:Too many mistakes to count as in all of life. Why have regrets for things which can't be changed? Anyway, it's how investing ends which counts the most and mine ended well. Mistakes, yes. Regrets, no. I learned from my mistakes, at least. :)
+1. I agree. However, if this is rephrased to "what have I learned from my investing mistakes?" is a more useful and actionable question.
I have made a lot of mistakes over the years including too much active investing, too little equity for age, etc. Almost all of my current AA is in low cost index funds. My most recent mistake occurred last year, I was still hanging on to one active fund that I had had for years - Sequoia. The fund had done so well for so long I was complacent with it. I was not paying attention to the fund other than its YTD performance. In October I discovered the problems it had with Valeant. I quickly realized this was no longer a suitable investment and sold it. Had I realized this several months earlier, I could saved myself about 10% on a sizable investment. I read an article published by Buffett's partner, Munger, that was dated in June, that was extremely critical of Valeant. A little vigilance by me could have saved me money. Another reason for me to own low cost passive funds since I do not spend much time looking at investments anymore.

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Toons
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Toons » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:22 am

Mistakes are realized when looking in the rear view mirror
For me just a few,,of many
Cable limited partnerships
Dogs of The Dow Unit trusts.
Real Estate Limited partership.
Pursuing "options".
:shock:
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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zaboomafoozarg
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by zaboomafoozarg » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:47 am

No regrets!

Image

(Well, except for that stupid penny stock I averaged down on...)

montee4
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by montee4 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:52 am

Waiting too long to start saving/investing. Boy does that retirement date creep up on you!

Cruncher
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Cruncher » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:01 pm

My mistakes can be summarized by not becoming a Boglehead much earlier.

It's a mistake I hope to have my kids not make ... :happy

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AtlasShrugged?
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by AtlasShrugged? » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:10 pm

Why, oh why did I not start sooner...and why, oh why did I not start with index funds?! :oops:
“If you don't know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.”

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PhysicianOnFIRE
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by PhysicianOnFIRE » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:20 pm

Not proofreading a thread title before pressing "submit." :D

Also, buying too much house as a young doctor, and choosing T. Rowe Price and some actively managed funds when I started a taxable account. I am now 100% Vanguard having sold or donated all of the TRP funds over the last several years.

I made a mega-Roth conversion in 2010 that I'm not thrilled with in hindsight, but was the right decision at the time with the knowledge I had. My net worth would be substantially higher now if I hadn't, but so would my eventual tax liability.

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:49 pm

1). Allowing myself to be talked into Amercan Funds Mutual funds in IRA. I should have trusted myself instead of a planner. I should have paid more attention.
2). I did not stay the course during the last financial crisis . I traded some of the stock funds for Bond funds. On the upside I started buying more stocks at the same time since they were cheaper.
3). I didn't start my Rith as soon as I should have. But it is now fully funded. I have about 6 years to figure out the amounts t convert to Roth between 65 (retire) and 70 (SS).

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by nbseer » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:54 pm

Playing around with options in the 80's and 90's.. shoulda just bought the stocks and never sold them. Instead of making a few hundred and losing a few hundred.. could have made some real money.

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by TOJ » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:02 pm

Not creating an IPS sooner. I was changing core holdings monthly for a while there, it seems. Now I am only hyperactive at the margins of my portfolio.

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by paper200 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:53 am

Very conservative approach and too much pessimism from 2003 through 2011 coupled with buy/high sell low. Stopped reading sky is falling articles.
Saving grace is high savings rate and prudent spending habits. Organizing a plan for the kids so that history does not rhyme.
Having freedom, food and roof is being 90% lucky in life and so is index investing. So, don't let the remaining 10% bother you.

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by grettman » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:07 am

What I did wrong:

1) Not realizing I could open up a Traditional IRA for my non-working wife and Roth IRA for myself. I have an employer 401K and thought that was all I could do. Didn't realize differently until about 4 years ago. Lots of lost opportunity to invest in a tax efficient way.

2) Picked tax inefficient funds to invest in non-tax sheltered accounts (PRWCX and VWINX).

3) Screwed around with some individual stocks a couple of years ago. Thankfully I used "mad money" for this.

4) Borrowed money from my 401K to buy my first house and then only paid the minimum on the loan (taking it the whole 15 years)

5) I am horrible at buying real estate. I buy high and sell low.

What I did/do right:

1. Aside from #4, I have been pretty consistent in plowing money into my 401K in low cost funds. I max it out every year.

2. I don't panic. I lived through the crises over the last 20 years without selling. (I did slow down because I was fearful of needing some extra cash but I never fully stopped).

3. I have reduced my monthly expenses and when I find extra money, I throw it at VTI.

overall I have to be happy with the outcome. I am on track with my retirement but I could be farther ahead if it weren't from my mistakes.

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by arthurdawg » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:16 am

Fortunately... I read the book "Investing for Dummies" by Tyson in the late 90s well before I had any money to invest. That led to me finding the old Vanguard Diehards forum on M* and having a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do well before I had substantial cash to invest. Tyson referenced "Random Walk" by Malkiel, which led to the Bogle books, which led to Mr. Swedroe and Mr. Ferri and Dr. Bernstein's website and books. I saw the internet crash come and go and saw friends who were day trading lose much of what they had invested.

I would say that the one thing I've been guilty of in the past was worrying too much about moving money around and generally trying to formulate an overly complicated asset allocation. I've not made it to the Kolinahr, errr, three fund portfolio yet, but I am down to a 6 fund portfolio that has done well and been easily managed over the past six years since I pretty much settled into it circa 2010 (in my sig below!).
TSM / SCV / FTSE Big World / FTSE Small World / REIT / TBM / Int Term Tax Exempt

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by tampaite » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:34 am

Deleting my messages on this forum
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Angrypuppy » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:23 am

Confusing speculating with investing for about 20 years.

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by LateStarter1975 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:12 am

1. Starting too late at age 36 to invest for retirement
2. Investing only 3% of my income in my first year of investing
3. Believing my company's financial adviser who told me I could not open a Roth IRA unless I become a US citizen.....did my own research 2 years later and found he had no clue what he was saying
4. Chasing returns with active mutual funds with highest recent returns when I first started my Roth IRA
5. Not discovering Bogleheads early enough


Since discovering the Bogleheads in 2013, I have learned a lot and keep learning everyday on how to be a better investor
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Elsebet
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Elsebet » Tue Jun 14, 2016 2:22 pm

My brief tryst with trading individual stocks is probably my biggest mistake. I'd say I was fortunate that I broke even from that lesson.
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca

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grabiner
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by grabiner » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:03 pm

Two previous threads on this topic (note that forum upgrades have broken the poll results):

Your worst investing mistake (from 2011)

Your worst investing mistake (from 2007)

My own worst is still from the 2011 thread, not learning about Roth IRA recharacterizations in time to recharacterize my 2007 conversion in October 2008; this cost me a lot in taxes.
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by sambb » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:07 pm

All in one fund in tax deferred is better than tinkering. And an emergency fund has no value if you have large taxable portion.

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by LRonHalfelven » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:12 pm

Listening to the permabears in the '90s. I sat out the entire decade waiting for the great buying opportunity that was bound to be coming any day.
"If you change your strategy frequently you don't really have one." --Garry Kasparov

Lou354
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Lou354 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:33 pm

1. High ER actively managed funds.
2. REIT fund in a taxable account.

BrandonS
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by BrandonS » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:54 pm

Enlisting the services of a Principal Financial adviser who sold me a VUL whole life policy and high front-end loaded funds to benefit himself. That expensive lesson brought me to the Bogleheads site - a painful and expensive lesson, but ultimately for the best long term.

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JamalJones
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by JamalJones » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:42 am

Bought Invesco Telcom fund in 1999. Then sold it to pay for a move. Shouldn't have bought it. Shouldn't have sold it....
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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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by smalltown » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:50 am

Not learning about investing earlier.

At 21 years old, about two decades ago, my employer said I needed to pick investments for the 401k, and I just selected what a coworker told me (Magellan and Contrafund, which actually did very well for a while). But schooling and work distracted me from investing, and I just let money pile up in bank savings accounts.

Then, as I had some time to invest, a few years ago, I found the wrong web sites, and ended up buying the wrong non-diversified niche stuff at the top of its market, unaware that the S&P at the time was delivering huge gains. I discovered Bogleheads just as that market run was ending.

Had I been socking away whatever money I could in S&P this whole time, I'd be sitting pretty. :)

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Brewman » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:43 am

Should have started sooner saving for retirement. Also wish I would have started reading this forum sooner, but very glad to have found it now

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by lostdog » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:45 am

Buying new cars, individual stocks and not saving enough for retirement in my twenties.
VTWAX and chill.

O2sats
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by O2sats » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:27 am

Not doing what I could to reduce my future student loan burden through college and medical school. But very grateful to have found this site and WCI a few years ago before I started making more mistakes with money.

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by oldcomputerguy » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:41 am

Three come to mind immediately.

(1) When my company first offered the 401k plan back in the early 1980's, I started contributing but took someone's word for which investment options to contribute to. I wish I had taken the time back then to learn something about the whole idea, but I just took the advisor's word. Last year, I finally began doing some reading and discovered Bogleheads. At that time I took a fresh look at my 401k and realized that, for over thirty years, I had been 100% equities. That realization came at age 60.

(2) In my 401k plan, since I had no idea what I was doing, I fell prey to the tendency to chase performance. ("Gee, Dodge & Cox did well last month, I should move funds there.") Sigh.

(3) Last year (this is what prompted my self-education), my wife asked me to invest some of the funds from her inheritance from her mother's estate. I invested in a boatload of sector funds (the only index funds I invested in were a NASDAQ index fund and an aggregate bond fund that was over half corporate bonds). This was in a taxable account. I should have just put the money in a CD and let it sit while I educated myself.


Now, thanks to a boatload of reading, I am now in broad-market index funds across the board, all my bonds are in tax-advantaged, and I'm leaving it pretty much alone.
"I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people; and if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you." (Aaron Sorkin)

Radjob4me
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Radjob4me » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:42 pm

Buying Amazon at the equivalent of about $20 and selling at $30...
Buying Chipotle at $44 and selling at $60...

Still made some money, so not all bad, but... Now nice to be a BH and not always watch the market. Don't regret that at all.

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Elsebet
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by Elsebet » Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:19 pm

Radjob4me wrote:Buying Amazon at the equivalent of about $20 and selling at $30...
Buying Chipotle at $44 and selling at $60...

Still made some money, so not all bad, but... Now nice to be a BH and not always watch the market. Don't regret that at all.
I did the same thing with Chipotle. Bought at $80, sold at $90 because a co-worker kept telling me it looked like it was headed downwards. He even shorted it! Then it went up into the 500's. Bought VISA low and sold it before it went into the stratosphere.

I bought RIMM at $55 and held it for some dumb reason, sold it at $16.
Bought WPRT at $15, held while it was at $30 and didn't sell, now it's $1.90

But like I said I had some big winners (DIS, UHC, ABT, etc) that offset those losers. So glad I just do index funds now.
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by curmudgeon » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:17 pm

Biggest regret was not realizing that my wife had a Simple IRA option in her part-time job, which would have let us get more into tax-deferred during some high-tax years as we were over the limit for a deductible IRA.

Winners and losers in individual stocks don't really bother me; I make the decisions with the knowledge I have at the time.

I would have liked to have had a better understanding of fund loads/expenses earlier; "cost matters" was there in a corner of my mind, but I didn't always understand the real details of fund costs.

joebh
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by joebh » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:54 pm

Many mistakes, but no regrets.

I'll make more mistakes as I'm only human. I just try to keep my mistakes small, manageable, and non-fatal.

TonyDAntonio
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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by TonyDAntonio » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:01 pm

PCRIX (Pimco Commodity Real Return Fund). I still own it. I still don't really know how it works. I barely know that it is suppose to provide me some protection for when inflation ever rears its ugly head again. I rebalanced into it enough already that I've stopped. Thankfully it is not a large part of my portfolio. I'm actually sort of looking forward to inflation to see if it works.

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Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by S&L1940 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:09 pm

Mistake: coming to index funds late in life, working with "a friend" and a business associate who were with big name brokerages
also each if us were finally connecting with firms late in our careers that offered a 401K
regret finding Diehards and Bogleheads at the tail end of our accumulation stage

YET, the power of the BH philosophy enabled us to make a recovery and glide into a comfortable retirement
thanks again...
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

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nedsaid
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Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:33 pm

Re: Inevesting Mistakes or Regrets

Post by nedsaid » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:38 pm

I-Bonds at one time had a 3% real yield above inflation. I should have loaded up on these but did not. Oh well.
A fool and his money are good for business.

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