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Lessons Learned
Old 07-08-2008, 12:47 PM   #1
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Lessons Learned

Ever want to go back and teach yourself a couple financial lessons?

You can't go back, but you can try to let a few other people learn from your mistakes.

Here are some of mine from biggest to smallest financial impact (I think)

Mistake #1 - I started investing in the early 2000's. I heard and knew that investing too much in your company stock was a bad idea, but I did it anyways. They even encouraged it by doing our 401K matches in company stock! Even worse that being just another loser story, I did make a good chuck of money when the price spiked. I sold it for about $40K, and no kidding, started reinvesting it and chased it all the way back down to $0.05 per share. D'oh! I should have used $20K to pay down my mortgage (doing the math I think I would be mortgage free now instead of 4 years form now...), put $3000 into my Roth (I think it was still $3K max then), paid off my first truck, put $8K into SPY, and at most put $2K back into the company and let a small % of the profits "ride". Not having that money now hurts. Not that I'm doing bad, but I'd be far better off. Add a new pool and deck to the house would have been chump change and now it's not even a financially responsible possibility.

Mistake #2 - Buying a brand new 2000 F-150. Not so bad when you are young and dumb (I'm still dumb BTW), they're fun, but then 5 years later I traded it in for another new 2005 F-150. The first one would have been fine, the second one was stupid. If I could do it over I'd have kept the first truck the full 8 years, still have been under 100,000 miles, and probably more happy than with my current truck that I view as a mistake.

Mistake #3 - Not paying extra principle on my mortgage from the start. Sure, it would tough then and I'm making more money now, but I was paying $100/month in principle when I first started. A night or two at home instead of going to the bar and adding an extra $100 in principle to my payments would not have killed me. I'm paying more on my payments now because I didn't pay less into them then.

Mistake #4 - Don't work for free. I have a second job for a while that paid nothing. Promises and promises and making riches when the place started making money. Yeah, it went bankrupt a little under two years from when they first came up with the plans. Don't waste your time working with shady salesman.

Mistake #5 - Bars. Drink Miller High Life Lite's at home, it's much cheaper.

-Raymond
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Old 07-08-2008, 01:13 PM   #2
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popowich, not sure how old you are but you have one big thing going for you: you recognize these mis-steps and are likely to have learned something from them.. Imagine all the people out there right now still doing bone-headed things! The earlier you recognize what's going on the better position you are in to fix it. Today's the first day of the rest of your life, so keep reading and learning!! That's the first step to getting on a better track. Best of luck.
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Old 07-08-2008, 01:52 PM   #3
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I wasted a lot of money on cars and motorcycles too. I don't know if I'd do it any differently since I got so much enjoyment out of them. But, I probably would have kept them longer at least, and tried to resist the urge to upgrade.

I would probably invest more of my salary into my 401K. I think I started at 10% in 1993, or it may have been 5%.

Maybe I should have had DD sooner, instead of at 40. Heck, she would be 20 now if I had her when I was 20. But I was ready now and financially secure.
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:06 PM   #4
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If I listed all my dumb mistakes it would take forever but luckily I woke up in my early thirties and started saving . You are way ahead of most in the fact you realize your mistakes . Some of my friends are 60 and still don't get it .
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:16 PM   #5
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Took me until I was 40 or so to realize that "pay yourself first" was indeed a very good idea.
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:48 PM   #6
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i can write a Best Seller on my mistakes. Can't change anything now but what hurt me the most is not so much money down the drain but "opportunity lost", meaning those money wasted if wisely invested, today would make me a complete different person.

beside, i always thought of doing the right thing is the most boring thing on earth, right? u know, i rather eat fat food than salad, i rather drink at a bar than at home, i rather watch tv instead of working out, i rather go to a party than go camping, i rather be at a football stadium than at home watch the game on tv.......

enuff
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:24 PM   #7
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Drink Miller High Life Lite's at home, it's much cheaper.
Life is too short to drink cheap beer. Drink water until you save a few $ for something with flavor.

-ERD50
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:09 PM   #8
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Life is too short to drink cheap beer. Drink water until you save a few $ for something with flavor.

-ERD50
Homebrew and pay less than you would for the cheap beer.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:14 AM   #9
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Life is too short to drink cheap beer. Drink water until you save a few $ for something with flavor.

-ERD50
I prefer Duvel............
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:41 AM   #10
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I prefer Duvel............
Nothing to stop you from brewing it. Pilsner malt, sugar, Styrian Goldings & Saaz hops. WY1388 yeast.

-ERD50
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:06 AM   #11
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Life is too short to drink cheap beer. Drink water until you save a few $ for something with flavor.
It's almost 4-1 cheaper to drink high life lite over sam adams.

Anyways, I make up for it by drinking Dunkin Donuts vanilla coffee instead of the regular crap.

You can get the DD coffee buy 1 get the 2nd half off at wal-mart.

-Raymond
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:30 AM   #12
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It's almost 4-1 cheaper to drink high life lite over sam adams.

Anyways, I make up for it by drinking Dunkin Donuts vanilla coffee instead of the regular crap.

You can get the DD coffee buy 1 get the 2nd half off at wal-mart.

-Raymond
To each their own I guess, but given the choice of one Sam Adams or four 'lite' anythings, I'd choose the SA any day. There's always good old water or ice tea when you are thirsty.

I'm not a fan of 'flavored' coffees either. Fresh ground/brewed, black, no sugar - let the coffee flavor come through. I should roast my own green beans, have not gone there yet.

-ERD50
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:32 AM   #13
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There is a pile of the Sam Adams bottles in my garage.

To be honest I got sick of the Cherry Wheat. I'm good until next year.

I do enjoy a nice Guinness when fall/winter come around.

-Raymond
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:06 AM   #14
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Mistake #4 - Don't work for free. I have a second job for a while that paid nothing. Promises and promises and making riches when the place started making money. Yeah, it went bankrupt a little under two years from when they first came up with the plans. Don't waste your time working with shady salesman.
Dont they call that "volunteering"? I think that the same could be said for taking on more at work without significant more pay or authority
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:09 AM   #15
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It's almost 4-1 cheaper to drink high life lite over sam adams.
(Four glasses of water + one Sam Adams) >>>>>> four Millers.

And besides, I usually see Sam Adams for about $6.99 a six-pack which is less than twice the price of Miller High Life (usually).
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:11 AM   #16
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Eh, depends. Authority for more stuff is good. Authority for other people not so much. I'm good at managing me and my time, not so good or even a desire to manage other people. I prefer to leave them on their own and answer questions as they come up. Making me a manager would be career suicide. Which brings me to why do companies feel the need to promote people into supervisor/manager roles who were great workers but are not good managers? A whole new thread probably not even close to relevant to this forum.

-Raymond
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:07 PM   #17
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For me the 30 pack of miller cans is $12.99, and a 6 pack of SA bottles is $7.99. A 4 pack of the Guinness cans is $6.99.

-Raymond
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:12 AM   #18
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Don't buy more house than you really need. (have one now - my mistake - but we have a good 15 year loan at a low rate that helps diminish some of that mistake)

Big fancy houses are overrated in terms of quality-of-life. (unless of course you can really afford it (maids, groundskeepers, etc)

Make sure it's a good resale type house in a good resale location. (Fortunately mine is.) Buying something odd or out in the boonies where it can be slow to sell can cost you if your plans change.

You may think you know, but you never know.
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:46 PM   #19
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Mistake #3 - Not paying extra principle on my mortgage from the start. Sure, it would tough then and I'm making more money now, but I was paying $100/month in principle when I first started. A night or two at home instead of going to the bar and adding an extra $100 in principle to my payments would not have killed me. I'm paying more on my payments now because I didn't pay less into them then.
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Mistake #5 - Bars. Drink Miller High Life Lite's at home, it's much cheaper.
One of the biggest mistakes I made was paying off my 30 year mortgage in 10 years. I didn't have the discipline at the time to save the money I wasn't paying. My next house I took out a big(ish) mortgage, invested the cash, and truly got started on autopilot investing. Now I'm FIREd at 52, and I think having a mortgage had a lot to do with that.

As far as the bars, when I was young and dumb and whatever, I liked to go to bars for the bands and the friendly social environment . But I was broke, and I've always been cheap, so I would buy some beer, drink it in the parking lot, then go in and nurse a single all night long. If I got too sober I could always head back out to the parking lot to finish the 6er. Not recommending this course of action, and I doubt it would work in this era of heightened awareness of drunk in public. But it worked for me back in the day.

Harley
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:14 PM   #20
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Like a great man once told me "I don't drink beer for the taste of it."
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