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Old 09-18-2009, 04:46 PM   #21
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I am a living example of a person that has made tons of stupid money mistakes, but was still able to retire early. Is America great or what?
This is a great country!! It is difficult to think of other countries where we could have had the opportunities that we have had.

I could go on but I will spare you.
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:52 PM   #22
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Plenty of 'em. Mostly, I look at them as "tuition payments". Like Dawg52 says, I still got to retire!

A stupid (but not huge $-wise), early mistake was buying a whole life policy when I was single. A nice, family member sold it to me. Looking back I just can't believe how naive I was.

But it reminds me that my kids probably don't know any better either, so I try to spell things out to them when I can. Not preachy, but try to make them aware of the pros/cons of choices.

-ERD50
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:54 PM   #23
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Who hasn't?

For purely sentimental reasons (I owned a 1978 Pearson sailboat at the time), in 1996 I bought into a Cal-Pearson Corporation IPO for $1/share. The new owners were going to revive the company after it's 1991 bankruptcy - in less than 2 years it went to ZERO. They stopped answering the phone, vapor...

Fortunately I only bought 1,000 shares.

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Old 09-18-2009, 04:57 PM   #24
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Bought a house in Anchorage in 1981 and believed everything the real estate agent said (well, almost) and did not do my own research on future plans for road construction in the area, did not know about underground oil storage tanks, did not get up on the roof (fear of heights), yada, yada.
Was underwater in dollar terms for maybe ten years, garage was literally underwater until I threatened the city to fix the problem they created, and "quiet neighborhood" was suddenly adjacent to a 4-lane road. OTOH I became personally familiar with legislators and city officials and have been an active volunteer in the community to try to make citizens less vulnerable to commercial interests.
Also OTOH I'm probably only down about $40,000 in home value compared to similar houses not in such a noisy location. Not a catastrophe, mostly it just made me realize I wasn't as smart as I thought I was.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:08 PM   #25
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I seriously thought about buying $10,000 worth of Apple (pre I-Pod, iPhone days) stock when it was about $13 a share but talked myself out of it since I'm not really a stock picker.
I remember then. We bought around $11 in eager anticipation of some new software called OS X. It seemed to be going OK, but it popped up so quickly that we got nervous and sold at $15/share.

Stupidest money mistake? "CANSLIM"...
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:21 PM   #26
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Oy vey. I will spare you my annuity travails. I have been taking out ten per cent a year and redistributing with other insurers it to spread the risk. It is kind of like being enmeshed in a spider's web and I am the fly.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:21 PM   #27
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My other stupid money mistake is penny stocks . It would be better to take the money to vegas and at least get free drinks while you are losing it .
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:06 PM   #28
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I remember then. We bought around $11 in eager anticipation of some new software called OS X. It seemed to be going OK, but it popped up so quickly that we got nervous and sold at $15/share.

Stupidest money mistake? "CANSLIM"...

Yeah, that's it. In anticipation of new software called OS X. But during that time, headlines were saying things like "Is this the end of Apple computer?", "Can Apple survive?"
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:19 PM   #29
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I remember then. We bought around $11 in eager anticipation of some new software called OS X. It seemed to be going OK, but it popped up so quickly that we got nervous and sold at $15/share.
My husband still owns a few hundred shares of Apple stock and has for decades in his SEP-IRA. You would not believe how many cycles we have run through with it! Fortunately, we do tend to trim a little on rises - but not all of the position, and add more on crashes, like we did in 2002 and last year. Still we never time it optimally - far from it. It always goes below our buy-in value for a while, and then when we finally take some profits because it seems astronomical goes way higher - until the next go round!

Audrey
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:30 PM   #30
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I bought C at $18 around Aug-Sept '08 thinking that the market was overreacting, it was too big to fail, etc. Then I watched it fall down into the low teens so I bought some more. I gave up around $3. My professor in bus school once warned to never try and catch a falling knife. Guess some lessons you have to learn on your own.

Also - a lesser $ mistake, but really irritating one - last w/e I got snookered into spending $20 to see a movie (yes, that's right...) because the internet listing didn't show us that what we wanted to see "Inglorious Bastards" was only playing in the stupid fancy "premiere" theater, with plush seating & where they "force" you to buy popcorn & a drink by bundling it into the ticket. I'm still ticked at that. Live and learn I guess...never going back to that theater again... (we would have left when we discovered the outrageous ticket prices, but we had dinner plans after the movie, it would have messed up everything to leave and go to another theater...)
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:31 PM   #31
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Bought $25K worth of Worldcom at $1.25 per share the week before the fraud was uncovered/announced. Sold at $.06 so I wouldn't have to see it on my statement.
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:40 PM   #32
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I've been pretty lucky and really can't think of any stocks or bonds that were clinkers, but I've definitely spent too much money on new cars. I'd have quite a bit more moola in the old account if I had kept my vehicles longer.
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:43 PM   #33
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Bought a condo in Dallas in 1980 or so when real estate there was on fire. I didn't want to be bothered with maintenance issues. The condo was in a converted apartment complex.

Then I learned how homeowners associations work.

Sold in 1990 bringing more money to closing than the buyer did.
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:54 PM   #34
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I bought Nortel at $18 on the way down. IIRC, I sold half of it at $10 and the rest at $6. Lost a couple of thousand, but it was educational.

As an early investor, I wasted money on high MERs for a few years, until I saw the light. But even back then I was smart enough to see that the early 1990s were the wrong time to invest in Japan. I had to work hard to persuade my advisor to sell. It was then that I realized that I was just as smart as she was.
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Old 09-18-2009, 07:10 PM   #35
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Back in 1978 I came across the story of a feller by the name of W. Buffett in a fascinating article. All the research I did indicated that this was a very smart fellow doing great things with a company he'd taken over by the name of Berkshire Hathaway. I decided to buy the stock but was taken aback by the fact that the stock then was about $300 a share or so and I had only saved about $5,000 then so I could have only bought about 16 shares or so and would not qualify for a round lot. So I didn't do it. Lets see 16 shares at today's closing price $1,635,200...
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Old 09-18-2009, 07:16 PM   #36
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Back in 1978... the stock then was about $300 a share or so... I could have only bought about 16 shares or so... I didn't do it. Lets see 16 shares at today's closing price $1,635,200...
Maybe it feels better to think of it as only making 20.7% APY for 31 years...

The reality is that you would've sold in the mid '80s, again in 1999-2000, and yet again in mid-2001.
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:10 PM   #37
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When buying individual stocks vs. mutual funds for a while I subscribed to the idea "to know the investment do you use it" idea. In the world of airlines although I used many brands I had some kind of emotional affinity for some of the older legacy carriers such as Pan Am and TWA. Well....those TWA shares for some reason were in my portfolio and even though the end was near I couldn't part with them....lesson learned is don't let emotion drive a buy or sell decision such as this...cut losses and move on before it hits zero value.
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:12 PM   #38
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Back in 2000 when DW was working at AT&T they had a big push for employees to get in on the ground floor of AT&T Wireless' IPO. All the higher ups were really pushing this as a once in a lifetime opportunity as so many IPO's were doing extremely well at the time. Many many employees took out home equity loans to buy as much stock as they could, figuring they'd make a killing. We ended up ponying up 100k by buying on margin.

Well, the stock pretty much imploded during the dotcom bubble burst, and we were forced to liquidate many depressed funds to make our margin calls. So we basically doubled our losses. It took me a long time to get over that debacle.
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:27 PM   #39
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Well thanks to all the other mistake makers ! I was convinced I was the only one on this board who ever made a big mistake . I feel better now !
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Old 09-19-2009, 01:12 AM   #40
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four of them:

1. not buying a one bedroom house for 220K, and thus not being able to sell it some years later for probably approx. 800K (yes, i live in california). i didn't have the money at the time, but in retrospect, of course i would have found a way. i thought the price at the time was way too high for what one got. so, i probably could have found a way, but didn't because i thought the proposition was not sound.

2. getting 80 percent out of the market when it was above 1200 (i'd read perhaps luckily, grantham, and the bank of scotland's warning on impending equity market drops) and then not jumping in with both feet (or even a toe) when it got to 666 (!). still kicking myself. but now it's a bit scary. i'd told myself i'd jump in at 700. but when the time came, there were prognostications of 300, from some quarters, so i didn't jump in. and the balloon has risen.

3. wasting money on stuff i didn't need. (this is just dumb on my part. no need to comment.)

4. buying BRK.B at 3k, watching it go to 4700 and not selling, then down to 2200 (more or less) and not buying more, i just held all the way through. ok, today i'm a bit ahead. but...not a great return for several years in the stock.

the first two were my main mistakes, i think. i know what to do about number three.
number 4, i'm not sure how i could have avoided it, but i am sure i could have.

i try to be sensible, but seem to fall short on picking up the profit.

is there a pattern here, that anyone readily perceives? i'm not sure it's a fair question, but if anyone feels like responding to it, it'll be grist for the mill.

in the spirit of sharing and questioning...and best of luck to everyone...

best...
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