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Old 06-18-2016, 06:49 PM   #21
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Sorry to hear about your wife's illness. You should concentrate on helping her at this moment. A bit more than 3 years ago, I was faced with my own sudden serious health risk. I never thought of myself as an immortal or a potential centenarian, yet still got shaken up quite a bit.

About the money issue, I can empathize too. I have also gotten hurt by catching the falling knife though not to the same extent. It is quite human nature to buy what one perceives is a bargain. What I have learned is to think of how much I can afford to lose, and to limit my bet to only that much. I would buy 1/2, then perhaps double up once. Then no more. One should not keep on buying.
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Old 06-18-2016, 07:05 PM   #22
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Thank you for sharing your story with us. I too have made investing mistakes. I think we all have at one time or another. But we carry on.
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Old 06-18-2016, 08:25 PM   #23
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Thank you for sharing your story. I hope your wife is doing well, as that's far more important than the money stuff.


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Old 06-18-2016, 09:40 PM   #24
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Its not very courageous. The anoniminity of my forum name keeps anyone from knowing my true identity. If I were posting under my real name I never could have admitted publicly to this.
I disagree.

Even with the "cloak of invisibility" it takes real courage to share your story of investment misfortune - and such real life experiences are among the most beneficial posts on this forum.

My sincere thanks to you (along with VaCollector and dixonge) for your openness and candor. Good thoughts and good wishes for you and your wife.
I totally agree (with REWahoo's disagreement that is). And wish you the best in coping with the cards you've been dealt.

No lecture from me. I also got caught, and I wasn't in near the emotional stress you are under. And it wasn't individual stocks, it was the QQQQ (or QQQ whatever it was at the time). I think it dropped near the amount of some of your oil stocks/ETFs, and I had been doubling down. There were times I was yelling at myself in the car on the way to work "ERD50, you stupid ^%@$^%$(!!!!! What were you thinking??!!". I got out of some of my position at a big loss, finally managed to recover most of it though.

Since then, I've taken your "Maximum Tolerable Loss" to heart. I try to envision what would happen if a trade went absolutely bonkers. And I've sometimes cut back on the trade after thinking that through.

Good of you to share, some people need to hear this, and some of us can get complacent and need a reminder.

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Old 06-18-2016, 10:47 PM   #25
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So sorry for your wife's illness. I too wish you the best going forward.

Many of us discovered our Maximum Tolerable Loss back in 2008-2009. Fortunately for me I didn't have any outside pressures that forced me to sell certain stocks and was able to hold on and recoup my losses. And we all got lucky as many sectors recovered fairly quickly. But after going through all that, I realized I'm only cut out to be a conservative investor. See signature.

Thanks for your post.
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Old 06-18-2016, 11:24 PM   #26
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Thanks for your honest story, and best of luck and the remaining time with your wife.
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:34 AM   #27
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SW,
Thanks very much for sharing this painful story. You can bet it will save a few people from going down a similar road. Look, almost 1000 views of this thread already, it's certain that you've helped some of us.
Best wishes as you and your wife face the challenges ahead. There'll be plenty of time for you to address the financial aspects of your future later.
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Old 06-19-2016, 07:53 AM   #28
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I too applaud you SW for the courage it takes to post this painful experience. It seems the focus is on "maximum tolerable loss" and I get that; certainly burned a lot of value in 1999-2000 myself. However, what I'm primarily taking from your post is the sudden tragic discovery of your wife's health issues. DW and I are considering a move that would up our WR a bit. You're experience of having life suddenly take a turn for the worse is convincing me that, yeah we ought to do this while we can.

May things turn out far better than you expect. Best wishes and all the strength you need for this.
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Old 06-19-2016, 08:41 AM   #29
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I wonder if one's "maximum tolerable loss" is different when the herd is also losing money.

That is, if the entire market was down 40% and all the Target Retirement funds were down and all the forum members were posting about how they were losing money, then that would be a little bit different than if one was the only one who was 40% down and everyone else was slightly up or even.
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Old 06-19-2016, 08:44 AM   #30
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I wonder if one's "maximum tolerable loss" is different when the herd is also losing money.

That is, if the entire market was down 40% and all the Target Retirement funds were down and all the forum members were posting about how they were losing money, then that would be a little bit different than if one was the only one who was 40% down and everyone else was slightly up or even.
Another advantage of index investing vs. purchasing individual stocks - misery loves company.
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:24 AM   #31
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....
I stay positive because my wife's time is short and I don't want the time she has left to be spoiled by my being miserable or unhappy. But I will never forgive myself for losing money that we could have used to make her remaining time more enjoyable. I know I can make back the amount I lost but not in the time she has left. It's a hard reality to face as a husband.
....
It seems you are still too focused on the loss. Thanks for doing a public service by discussing this and maybe a few here will avoid making similar mistakes.

I would hope you will *really* put this financial loss behind you. Only you know how to do that. One day at a time.

And happy Father's Day.
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:24 PM   #32
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Great post. MANY people will benefit from you sharing your experience. MANY. Thank you for sharing and best of luck with everything.
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Old 06-19-2016, 02:09 PM   #33
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Another advantage of index investing vs. purchasing individual stocks - misery loves company.
Well my small investment in XLE etf has taught me a little lesson, just like OP I bought it after it went down, only to see it later go
down,
down,
down.
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Old 06-19-2016, 03:05 PM   #34
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My sincere thanks to you (along with VaCollector and dixonge) for your openness and candor.
I remember Vacollector's experience with BAC. An excellent example of someone who having done what experience had shown him was the right thing and still got burnt by crummy unforeseen circumstances.

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I really do think it will help other people who read it.
I certainly hope so. It would be nice if something good can come out of this mess.

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I can only say that I hope you forgive yourself, and unburden both of you from the stress of money concerns. Far easier said than done, I know. But so trivial given what both of you face.

Please don't continue to punish yourself for what many, many other less brave and less forthcoming folks have done.
Keeping things in perspective, you are exactly right, it's "only money", and for the immediate future I'm fortunate that we still have the means with which I can focus on my wife and her needs.

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You should concentrate on helping her at this moment. A bit more than 3 years ago, I was faced with my own sudden serious health risk. I never thought of myself as an immortal or a potential centenarian, yet still got shaken up quite a bit.
Like you, this never even entered into the equation of possibilities for us. No family history and my wife is the EXACT opposite of every single risk factor. It was a given for us that she would be taking care of me in our golden years.

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I too have made investing mistakes. I think we all have at one time or another. But we carry on.
Quitting is certainly not an option. I know I have to be strong now more than ever. I just don't know how to forgive myself or if I ever will.

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Thank you for sharing your story. I hope your wife is doing well, as that's far more important than the money stuff.
As I said earlier, she is the bravest woman I know. Far more worried about me and our son in Iraq than herself. I didn't deserve it, but I certainly got one of the "good ones".

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There were times I was yelling at myself in the car on the way to work "ERD50, you stupid ^%@$^%$(!!!!! What were you thinking??!!". I got out of some of my position at a big loss, finally managed to recover most of it though.
How well I know that "yelling at myself". I've always been overly critical of myself (I inherited that particular trait). But this has kicked it into overdrive. Don't misunderstand me, we still have much more than many people (according to another thread we are still in the top 1% of people in the world) and I recognize and appreciate what we have, but my losses were significant and it's still sickening to think about. I know over time it can be recovered but it doesn't look like my wife has the time required. Being better off financially in time (after she's gone) certainly won't help alleviate my guilt.

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So sorry for your wife's illness. I too wish you the best going forward.

Many of us discovered our Maximum Tolerable Loss back in 2008-2009......But after going through all that, I realized I'm only cut out to be a conservative investor. See signature.
Im with you 100%. I'm adopting your signature. I just wish I had done so sooner.

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Thanks for your honest story, and best of luck and the remaining time with your wife.
Every day is a blessing with her. It's a very very crummy position for my wife and our family to be in, but it's certainly much better than the original prognosis (3-5 months) so we are greatful for that.

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SW,
Thanks very much for sharing this painful story. You can bet it will save a few people from going down a similar road. Look, almost 1000 views of this thread already, it's certain that you've helped some of us.
I truly hope. I made several mistakes that culminated with unforeseen outside circumstances which combined to make a terrible result. I take full blame for my stupidity and hope that my example serves for someone else to avoid the dumb moves I made and recognize that bad and unexpected things can happen. One's life truly can change for the worst in an instant.

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DW and I are considering a move that would up our WR a bit. You're experience of having life suddenly take a turn for the worse is convincing me that, yeah we ought to do this while we can.
You do not want, nor should you follow, any financial advice from me. What I can say with certainty is that even if your life has been relatively trouble-free to date, that can all change in an instant. As I have found out there is no guarantee for the amount of time you or your loved ones may have left in this world. I very much regret the time wasted not spent with my wife or the times engaged in stupid or pointless arguments.

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I wonder if one's "maximum tolerable loss" is different when the herd is also losing money.
Excellent point. And I can tell you for fact that very much did enter into my thinking in February. Being down 40% plus, with the market currently down about 15%, I began to extrapolate where I would be if the general market continued south. Coupled with the thought of my wife only having a matter of months I was in full and complete panic mode. It was very much a combination of factors, and the fact of my portfolio being in a much worse position than the general market was very much a significant one!

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It seems you are still too focused on the loss.
And happy Father's Day.
You are right, but it is going to take some time for me to get over the amounts that have been lost. And I got a happy Father's Day phone call from my son this afternoon. Made for a great Father's Day. Only his safe return to the US will make it better.

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Great post. MANY people will benefit from you sharing your experience. MANY. Thank you for sharing and best of luck with everything.
I do hope so.

I'm hoping I have not come across as being whiny or ungrateful. I am scared of losing my wife more than anything I have been scared of in my entire life. I am scared of the chance that I may have to live a significant portion of my life without her. I am extremely upset with myself for losing the amount of money that I have.

However, I truly do feel very blessed to have the amount remaining in our account that is not insignificant. I am grateful that we do not have to start over with nothing like many other people do (wiped out by illnesses, divorce, etc). I am grateful that our insurance has been covering as many of the bills as they have. And I am very much grateful that my wife has longer than 3-5 months. As bad as this is, and it truly is very bad, it could be worse.

I am grateful and appreciative for the kind words and messages from everyone on this Forum. I made the original post with the hope that someone could learn from the several stupid moves that I made. There were several serious mistakes that I made, all of which compounded and reached critical mass when I received horrific news that my wife had terminal cancer, and that pushed me towards making a final stupid financial move that I shouldn't have. It has left us in a significantly worse position and I would like to see that avoided if someone can learn from my example. The guilt that I have from this and will continue to carry with me is significant and not something I am able to easily recover from.

My suggestions: Maintaining conservative investments once you have "enough" make a lot of sense, and, don't take for granted what time you have with your loved ones.
.
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Old 06-19-2016, 04:09 PM   #35
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Man, that's about as tough a situation as it gets. My heart goes out to you.

Forgiving yourself is harder than forgiving others, but you certainly have earned the right to do so. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:55 PM   #36
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Snideley, Thanks for sharing your painful story....please spend time with your wife as she battles for life. This too shall pass.

God Bless you both.
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"Maximum Tolerable Loss may be too much", or......
Old 06-20-2016, 04:41 AM   #37
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"Maximum Tolerable Loss may be too much", or......

Thanks for sharing your story.. I guess it is a reminder about the danger of chasing returns and concentration risk...

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Interesting story and I hope that you fare well. I have had similar experiences with the stocks.

That is precisely why index funds are in most recommended portfolios. You can buy individual stocks, but the odds of you getting it right on the way up and down, is slim.

The world is full of unknowns - while I follow the same investing index funds and highly diversified style there are no guarantees. Specifically I recognize that in this crazy world I simply am not smart enough to see where the next disaster is coming from.


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