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Can't Get Over Mistake
Old 09-11-2017, 12:01 PM   #1
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Can't Get Over Mistake

Hello,

I am a brand new member, although I've been reading others' posts on the forum for some time. Single male, 59 yrs old. Worked in public sector for well over 30 years. Inherited a little from parents, but basically lived a frugal lifestyle and, through investing/saving, have a net worth over $2M.

I know this is going to sound whiney, so I apologize in advance. I, like my parents, have always been pretty cautious with money. Yes, I bought a lot of useless crap in my younger years, but for the most part I think I've done pretty well. Anyway, I can now start to see retirement in my sights, although I'm not quite ready yet (I actually like my job.). However, a couple of things have really started to bother me and caused me to lose sleep lately:

(1) And this one goes to the title of my post. I foolishly -- VERY foolishly -- sold my deceased parents' small home (which I owned free and clear and was where I was living), several years ago because I was in a relationship with a woman, moved into her home, and didn't want to be a landlord or have to otherwise worry about my home. Plan was to get married. Well, as you probably guessed, the relationship didn't work out and, the next thing I knew, I'm moving into an apartment at the age of 58. Now, a year later, I can't get this mistake out of my head. First, I feel stupid for doing it, and second, I feel guilty at having given up something my parents worked so hard fo and left to me. Anyway, I can certainly buy a new home but, unlike someone who is downsizing, doing so is going to cost me a lot more than what I got for my old home. Now, with interest rates going up and an apparent shortage of homes on the market, I don't know what to do ... buy or continue to rent, possibly into retirement.

(2) Because of my "mistake," as described above, compounded by another thoroughly stupid mistake of agreeing to help fix-up (financially) my ex-girlfriend's home -- money I'm sure I'm never going to see again, even though she promised to pay me back if we ever broke up -- I am lately feeling extreme caution about spending ANY money. In a nutshell, I guess I feel the need to "make up" what I lost.

So, I guess I'm looking for a little validation. Has anyone ever (a) made a stupid financial mistake that has haunted them, even if only in their own mind, and (b) how did you get past it ?

Thanks very much.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:08 PM   #2
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Yeah, I took a flyer into "penny" stocks and lost twenty five grand.

I don't do that anymore -
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:13 PM   #3
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We are make bad choices in our lifetime. Think about the good side of it; you didn't marry her!

Heck, I sold my mint 1965 Corvette roadster in 1976 for $2000. Think I left $75 K on the table by today's values.

Only worry about what you can control.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:15 PM   #4
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Silver lining is that you know the kind of home you like, and the kind of woman you don't need.

It would take me a few years to get over that experience.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:16 PM   #5
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My first husband was a huge financial mistake. I divorced him 20 years ago when I was 44.

First, stop beating yourself up. A net worth of $2 million (plus a public-sector pension?) is nothing to sneeze at. Learn from it. Some of the most valuable lessons are from the School of Hard Knocks. And don't give up on the opposite sex entirely. I dated my second husband for over 6 years till we married but it was a match made in heaven and ended only with his death late last year.

Tough call on the "buy vs. rent". I know all the arguments about throwing money out the window if you rent but there are days when I'm mowing the lawn or weeding the garden or worrying about a maintenance issue when I think renting would be nice! Of the 4 houses I've owned, I've maybe broken even on two and made out like a bandit on two. My guess is my current one will be breakeven, if that. So, that's another consideration. Buying a house is no guarantee of a fat profit when you sell it, but you know your local market better than I do. My two big wins were in commuting distance of NYC.

Edited to add: is there any way you can lean harder on the Ex-GF- or take her to court? I hate it when people borrow money and then don't keep their promises to pay it back.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:26 PM   #6
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Well it didn't work out but don't beat yourself up for wanting love and a long term relationship.

Keep renting and take some more time to clear your head. Yes, your parent's house would have been cheaper. Can you honestly say staying in the house you grew up in for your entire life is the path you wanted to choose? Rent until you retire and then dig deep about how and where you want to spend the rest of your life. This of this time as an opportunity to plan your ER life and stop looking in the rearview mirror.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:26 PM   #7
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We all make mistakes that can cost us big time... move on...

Mine was not buying Compaq when it was new and had dropped to $4 per share... I almost put all of my $2,000 IRA into it, but knew diversification was better... cost me at least $700,000.... that is if I had held that long, which I KNOW I would not... so maybe $250,000 ish....


As an accountant I can look at things as 'sunk costs'... IOW, it is gone... do not make a decision based on that money... make one on what info you have in front of you right now...

If you have been working 30 years in public and have $2 mill, why are you waiting I would bet that your pension will cover 100% of your expenses...

Also, who cares about the old house... it is just a house... you can make a home in a new place that YOU pick out that fits YOU...
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PFloyd View Post


Has anyone ever (a) made a stupid financial mistake that has haunted them, even if only in their own mind, and (b) how did you get past it ?

Has anyone made a stupid financial mistake?? Hee, hee..... Has anyone never made a stupid financial mistake? There are two kinds of people in this world: those that have made a stupid financial mistake and those that delude themselves into thinking they haven't by evaluating their past decisions through rose colored glasses!

Let's see...... what was my "dumb as a stump" financial boo-boo so far today? I know in retrospect, something will fit into that category by bedtime!

PFloyd, you need to lighten up! With your significant resources your past less-than-optimum decisions are no big deal. Your fretting over them is the problem, not the so-called "mistakes" themselves.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:35 PM   #9
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I don't think that it is useful to dwell on the past, so I rarely do. You made the best decision you could at the time. Now that the house is sold, there is little you can do to change the outcome. So beating yourself up over this is pointless and a waste of energy.

Therefore the only question is rent vs. buy... And we all have our opinions on that. Depending on the situation, one could make more sense than the other.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:38 PM   #10
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So you no longer have a small old house and gave some $ to a girlfriend to fix up her house, where you were then living, and might not get that $ back. Worse things happen. You'll be fine.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:45 PM   #11
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Enron ..... Tyco ....... shoot, move on. Those, at the time were tuff lessons for me, but I learned from them.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:54 PM   #12
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So you no longer have a small old house and gave some $ to a girlfriend to fix up her house, where you were then living, and might not get that $ back. Worse things happen. You'll be fine.
Exactly. It's only The Principle of the Thing you're hung up about. It's not like it's real money.

Age 59. Two-jillion bucks. The house, the GF expenses = chump change. You're golden. Live happily ever after.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:56 PM   #13
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1. 2001 I sold my 1 br condo in Arlington, Va for $112,000. Three years later, it was worth $295,000.

2. 2004 - Marriage #1 - lasted a year and a half. Fortunate to have ex sign a prenup. Could have been disastrous.

3. I purchased 1,000 shares of Lehman on Friday afternoon prior to their closing their doors permanently. Paid $1 a share.

Today, I am 56 years old, been married to wife #2 for almost 7 years, have a paid off home, 1/2 the money and 1/2 of the pension as you - and I am ready to FIRE.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I have no regrets.

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Old 09-11-2017, 12:58 PM   #14
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My DW chides me (lightheartedly) for retiring - thinks OMY would have been better. By her interpretation, I'm still making a big financial mistake.

I know better, because next year (and the next, etc), she'd tell me "just OMY."

Like others have stated, let it go --- and let her go.

I've made some horrendous financial decisions in the past, but like the hot stove, I learnt my lesson(s).

Good Luck (and read my tag line below).
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:58 PM   #15
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We never stop learning. You did what you thought was right at the time. You had no idea the relationship wasn't going to work out at the time.

Over the course of a lifetime it's negligible and will not affect your standard of living one bit unless you let it.

Chalk it up as "tuition" and move on.
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Old 09-11-2017, 01:28 PM   #16
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Wow ! Thank you all for responding so quickly ... and in volume. As someone said, it very likely is more the "principle of the thing" than the thing itself that bothers me about all this. My gut was telling me "No." in regard to both decisions, but I ignored it. That's what really bugs me ! I knew better. Thank you again.
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Old 09-11-2017, 01:38 PM   #17
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Learn from mistakes and move on. And really, do you think you could've predicted those mistakes? If there were warning signs with the GF, pay closer attention to them next time. As for the house, unless it really was just right for you, you can probably get something more to what you want now. You had a very reasonable reason to sell it, so don't second guess a decision that's been made long ago, especially applying factors you didn't and maybe couldn't have known then. Look forward.
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Old 09-11-2017, 01:41 PM   #18
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3. I purchased 1,000 shares of Lehman on Friday afternoon prior to their closing their doors permanently. Paid $1 a share.
That is an impressive one!

Probably my worst one was doubling down twice on MCI/Worldcom on its quick path to zero.... alas, like RobbieB, I don't do these things anymore , so it was probably just my fair share of the tuition for attending the school of hard knocks
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Old 09-11-2017, 01:52 PM   #19
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I made a few beauties myself. There was a thread in here a while ago about credit card fraud and how I was the only idiot to be on the hook for almost a thousand dollars. Then around February 2000 I discovered the dot coms,that everyone was making a killing on. I got the tips from a co worker that had the Midas touch. Yeah, I lost my shirt. I bought LA Gear bonds , never collected a single payment, lost 100 % of that investment.

Misery likes company, your running with a good crowd. I would say most us us made some whoppers of financial mistakes. Kiss the girlfriend's loan good bye, its just a source of aggravation that is behind you, move on. The parents house is water under the bridge. I feel very bad about that situation you described but you can not do anything about it.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:01 PM   #20
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Nobody ever bats a thousand

From the data you've given, the decisions you're regretting don't compare to the much more significant wise choices you've made. You've saved millions, and could RE at any time - you're a major success! You oughta be congratulating yourself on winning the game, not fretting about having thrown a couple of bad passes.

It's fine to review the game film and see what you can improve on next time around. Perhaps do NOT pour $$ into the coffers of a woman to whom you are not yet hitched. If you never see her or the money again it's probably a good thing.

But it sounds like your most bothersome issue is having sold the ancestral homestead. Put this concern to bed right now. You had plausible reasoning for doing it, so it was NOT an error which could have been foreseen; it only appears that way in hindsight. It's unfair to yourself to find fault for a reasonable decision that didn't happen to work out.

Overall you've done great! Bask in the glory of your financial independence, and keep posting on how well you do in the future.
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