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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 07-30-2005, 10:57 AM   #41
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

I had a retired friend of mine that had his entire 401k in his comapny stock. It was worth about 1 million and he was going to sell when it got to 1.5 million. Intead it when down to 500,000 then 200,000 and he never sold thinking that it would rebound. He is 65 now and he had to go back to work.
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 07-30-2005, 11:13 AM   #42
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

I have done only two really smart things in my life:
1) got married,
2) started saving early on as much as DW would let me get away with in the pre-401K tax-sheltered savings plan of the time. There is no substitute for starting early.

Worst investment decision? Many unbelievable lost opportunities (e.g., could have gone to work for Intel out of school, etc.), but I don't count them.

I have lost money on a few stinkers, but never very much due to being paranoid about making large bets on any one thing.

Maybe could generalize: Worst move: not investing more, earlier.

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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 07-31-2005, 08:29 AM   #43
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Worst--waiting til my late 30s to get started in investing.

Best--staying put in home we built 19 yrs ago
investing in energy stocks 3 yrs ago
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 07-31-2005, 09:44 AM   #44
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
Are you sure about this?
Humor: Are you accusing me of choosing poorly? I'll hold on to these opinions forever!

Seriously: Well, yeah, based on personal experience those are the two I have to work hardest to avoid. They usually involve admitting some personal degree of responsibility and mistakes. What are the alternatives?
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 07-31-2005, 09:56 AM   #45
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaDave
I think all this stuff is a big wash in the end. No substitute for good ole saving and compounding.
If you can't save and if you're not in the market long enough to compound it, then it doesn't matter how brilliant you are. We've always been great savers. I don't think I care to emulate Jesse Livermore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tadpole
Lessons learned from experience with financial advisers seems to always be negative. Has anyone a good experience to share?
No.

Well, maybe. I surveyed a half-dozen here on Oahu and most of them were bad right from the initial phone call. (One of them actually told me that he preferred customers who didn't understand investing because then he didn't have to argue with them about the right thing to do.) But one of the advisors actually got so wrapped up in the discussion that he said "Instead of trying to find an advisor who uses a Monte Carlo calculator to model all of this, why don't you just see if you can withdraw 3-4% of the portfolio every year and live off that?"

I haven't felt the need to talk to a financial advisor since then...
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 07-31-2005, 10:47 AM   #46
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
If you can't save and if you're not in the market long enough to compound it, then it doesn't matter how brilliant you are.* We've always been great savers.* I don't think I care to emulate Jesse Livermore.
No.

Well, maybe.* I surveyed a half-dozen here on Oahu and most of them were bad right from the initial phone call.* (One of them actually told me that he preferred customers who didn't understand investing because then he didn't have to argue with them about the right thing to do.)* But one of the advisors actually got so wrapped up in the discussion that he said "Instead of trying to find an advisor who uses a Monte Carlo calculator to model all of this, why don't you just see if you can withdraw 3-4% of the portfolio every year and live off that?"

I haven't felt the need to talk to a financial advisor since then...
Nords: Did any of the advisor's break down and "sob" during your conversation with them?

Would be high entertainment value to tap into those conversations.
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 07-31-2005, 11:06 AM   #47
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

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Originally Posted by ex-Jarhead
Nords:* Did any of the advisor's break down and "sob" during your conversation with them?

Would be high entertainment value to tap into those conversations.
No, but they were so desperate to get off the phone that they actually started telling the truth.

I think they quickly delete those recorded conversations to avoid being embarrassed by the subpoena/discovery process...

Hey, you've been retired for a while, maybe your spouse uses one of these scripts too: "Hello, you're about to talk with my husband. I feel obligated to tell you that he's a retired engineer, he has a restless analytical mind, and he has a lot of time on his hands. He's not as experienced or as widely informed as you, but he's much more of an expert on our situation than you ever will be. You can try to change his mind but he'll have a lot of questions and it might take the rest of your shift. So use the bathroom, get a fresh cup of coffee, order lunch at your desk, and remember-- the quicker you do as he asks, the sooner this will be over."
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 07-31-2005, 03:48 PM   #48
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
No, but they were so desperate to get off the phone that they actually started telling the truth.

I think they quickly delete those recorded conversations to avoid being embarrassed by the subpoena/discovery process...

Hey, you've been retired for a while, maybe your spouse uses one of these scripts too:* "Hello, you're about to talk with my husband.* I feel obligated to tell you that he's a retired engineer, he has a restless analytical mind, and he has a lot of time on his hands.* He's not as experienced or as widely informed as you, but he's much more of an expert on our situation than you ever will be.* You can try to change his mind but he'll have a lot of questions and it might take the rest of your shift.* So use the bathroom, get a fresh cup of coffee, order lunch at your desk, and remember-- the quicker you do as he asks, the sooner this will be over."
Nords: That would probably work, but neither my wife or I have that much extra expendable energy. We screen all calls, and that way we don't waste our time, or the time of the poor guy on the other end.
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 07-31-2005, 10:03 PM   #49
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Worst Decision(s): Of course, Enron and Dynegy. But I learned with those events how not to catch a falling knife. Don't catch it with your money. Just let the knife slice your fingers off; then you can't use your on-line broker until everything is repaired or healed.

Another, slower mistake, was selling KMR and EEQ. I bought them when they were paying a 7%+ and 9%++ dividend respectively (tax free until sold, in a taxable account--they pay the dividends in shares). I took my profits too early, got greedy and worried. I'll buy them again on the BIG dip--and hold. That compounding is wonderful stuff. I can't even watch them any more. Easy double in 4 years--pffft.

Best Decision: Buying Rydex short funds. I'm now down 10%+. But I feel partially protected. They provide comfort. And, if the market drops 50%, I'll be there ready and waiting with my hands out, using other people's money to prevent the cuts.

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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 08-01-2005, 11:25 PM   #50
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Worst: Bought a Mcmansion one year before my ex-wife wiped me out in the divorce. say, do you think she timed the deal?

Best: Took company options as bonus instead of salary when company was on hard times, sold them five years later once the situation turned around, and got to portfolio critical mass on the proceeds. I figured lighting was not going to strike twice, that I was lucky and not smart, and bought boring vanguard balanced funds to enjoy them for their conservative, low risk asset preservation. (Wellesly, Wellington, balanced Index...all Admirals on their own yacht sailing through the sea of investment pitfalls I most likely would have made but for one or two good breaks 8)).
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 08-02-2005, 09:53 AM   #51
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
Fascinating thread -- great learning opportunity.


I know scores of people in Silly-con Valley who held onto company stock or tech stocks as they imploded -- wonder how common it is to hold on too long vs choose poorly in the first place. Any other war stories of that kind?

Caroline
Hi Caroline,

Its a common mistake to hold on too long. Maybe knowing when to sell is harder to learn than when to buy. Recently I had to clear out the belongings of a deceased relative. I was surprised to see several stock certificates from companies long since dissolved. Now thats holding too long!


BUM


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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 08-02-2005, 09:59 AM   #52
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Quote:
Originally Posted by LEX
Worst: Bought a Mcmansion one year before my ex-wife wiped me out in the divorce. say, do you think she timed the deal?

Best: Took company options as bonus instead of salary when company was on hard times, sold them five years later once the situation turned around, and got to portfolio critical mass on the proceeds. I figured lighting was not going to strike twice, that I was lucky and not smart, and bought boring vanguard balanced funds to enjoy them for their conservative, low risk asset preservation. (Wellesly, Wellington, balanced Index...all Admirals on their own yacht sailing through the sea of investment pitfalls I most likely would have made but for one or two good breaks 8)).
You took an informed risk and it paid off, doesn't sound like dumb luck to me. The really smart move was knowing when to cash in and not double down!
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 08-02-2005, 10:19 AM   #53
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUM
I was surprised to see several stock certificates from companies long since dissolved. Now thats holding too long! BUM*
True, but possibly worth more as a collectible than the share price ever was...

And were they "dissolved" or bought out and exchanged for shares in another company? For example, Haloid shares are no longer traded since the company became Xerox.
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 08-02-2005, 02:37 PM   #54
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Best: HUD real estate auctions. Propertys I still own are up 10 fold (an'counting) in roughly 10 years.

Worst: Shorting the NASDAQ as it ran from 4k to 5k - lost $9k. Then watching from the sideline as it tanked .
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions
Old 08-02-2005, 02:40 PM   #55
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Re: Best and worst investment decisions

Quote:
Originally Posted by tryan
Worst: Shorting the NASDAQ as it ran from 4k to 5k - lost $9k.* Then watching from the sideline as it tanked.
I watched a relative short himself right back into the workforce on the NASDAQ between 1998-1999. He was absolutely right but not solvent enough to handle the market's irrationality.

Luckily he was able to buy back into his untapped pension plan (something about being willing to teach high school in East LA) and retire again last year.
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