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Biggest regrets of the older posters here?


yadayada
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My 20s and part of 30s were spent in training ( medicine) and starting a career. If I had spent a small amount of time learning about investing, I would have had a great start to growing capital when I started making money.  It took me a couple of years ( late training periods) to transition from indexing to value investing..  I would not trade my job, but more financial literacy as a young adult would have been great .

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In retrospect learning more about investing and finance in my twenties would have been nice. Also saving more in my 20s. I was making decent $$ and had very low overhead but still somehow managed to not really save anything. I quickly figured that out though at 30 and made some massive adjustments to make up for lost time.

 

Like many on this thread I did not really see the light until I was 30. On the flip side I turned 30 in the summer of 2008 during the financial crisis. So its quite possible that even if I had started in my 20s that I would be starting over from the place in my 30s.

 

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I think no matter the age there will always be some regret that you didn't discover something much earlier.  Many have said they regret not finding out about investing until their 30s or 40s.  You're asking on an investing message board, so that's clearly not something you'll regret.

 

I guess I'd recommend doing more before you have kids.  Before you have kids (if you ever want to have them) you have so much freedom, but you don't realize it until it's gone.  It doesn't disappear, it just changes.  We travel extensively with our kids, but it's different.  Take advantage of that while you're young.

 

I'd also say to enjoy the moment.  You're young, you feel invincible.  Don't fritter away the time worrying about the future or your career.  Decisions you make now don't determine the rest of your life.  You can always change direction, nothing is set in stone.  You can't plan your life when you're 20, it doesn't work that way.  Take things as they come and adapt.  I'm sure there are many on here who'd never have guessed they'd end up where they did in their 20s, yet it isn't a regret.

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The regrets of a 40 year old, stay the hell out of debt. I'm talking consumer debt. I wasted so many years under the weight of credit cards.

I've been (consumer) debt free for about 10 years and it feels great.

 

Travel. I think Nate hit the point though, he travels with his family. We don't, yet.

They're 3 and 5 and in hindsight, maybe we should have travelled sooner so they'd be used to it. They go crazy in the car after a half hour.

On the flipside, I have a friend who travels to Florida a couple of times a year (from Toronto) and they have 4 kids. The kids are used to it.

 

If you're passionate about something, don't lose it.

I've golfed since I was 4 and was regularly in the low 70's when I was in my midteens. After high school, life really starts and with the exception of one year, I've barely managed a round a year.

(I split with my live in girlfriend in Y2K and played 64 rounds that year.) She's also the biggest factor in my first regret about debt.  ;D 

 

You will lose touch with friends but keep in touch with the really close ones, even a text message every now and then or a drink or dinner around Christmas if you live close enough.

 

 

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"If you can keep your head when all about you

  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

  But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

  Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

  And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise"

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I'd also say to enjoy the moment.  You're young, you feel invincible.  Don't fritter away the time worrying about the future or your career.  Decisions you make now don't determine the rest of your life.  You can always change direction, nothing is set in stone.  You can't plan your life when you're 20, it doesn't work that way.  Take things as they come and adapt.  I'm sure there are many on here who'd never have guessed they'd end up where they did in their 20s, yet it isn't a regret.

 

+1

 

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I think the Professor in the Sure Thing said it best -

 

Loosen up . . . Have some fun! Yes, sleep when you feel like it, not when you think you should. Eat food that is bad for you - at least once in a while. Have conversations with people whose clothes are not color coordinated.  Make love in a hammock! Life is the ultimate experience, and you have to live it.

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I think the Professor in the Sure Thing said it best -

 

Loosen up . . . Have some fun! Yes, sleep when you feel like it, not when you think you should. Eat food that is bad for you - at least once in a while. Have conversations with people whose clothes are not color coordinated.  Make love in a hammock! Life is the ultimate experience, and you have to live it.

I really suck at that though. How do you get better at that? Maybe im too neurotic.

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Working weekends/evenings.  What a waste of youth.

 

Indeed. Unless you're an entrepreneur, working 80-90 hrs a week because that's what the firm expects is a horrible idea. I'm of the mindset no one can really be productive working that many hours, and (particularly in banking) most of it ends up being wasted hours showing your face at the office because that's what is expected.

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Wasting emotional energy on unproductive states.  We all only have a finite amount of time on this earth.  Getting mad or upset or stewing over someone that wronged us is a waste of our time left.  As I have gotten older I have gotten much better at this - it is not worth it to give someone else your mind. 

 

With regards to investing - not studying history enough and not studying the qualitative factors including risks of business enough.  Understanding key drivers can be complex and I have had to grind it out for better understanding.  Not reading annual reports enough.  Not being patient.  Over the history of financial markets - it has always been the case that if you waited, low risk bargains would surface.

 

The other aspect of life is from Munger regarding the difficulty in transfering certain wisdom from one human brain to another. 

Some stuff you just have to experience yourself and cannot fully understand from reading a book.       

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Working weekends/evenings.  What a waste of youth.

 

Indeed. Unless you're an entrepreneur, working 80-90 hrs a week because that's what the firm expects is a horrible idea. I'm of the mindset no one can really be productive working that many hours, and (particularly in banking) most of it ends up being wasted hours showing your face at the office because that's what is expected.

 

I'll support this.  Working 90 hours a week at an I-bank is one year I'd like to get back.  Thankfully I didn't work I-banking more than one year.  That said, I (personally, this doesn't go for everyone) am better off having been inside the beast so I could 'lift the veil' of Wall Street and see that the rainmakers, etc. inside the industry are just hard working people and not inherently smarter or better than anyone else.  Though, they are willing to work longer hours than most.

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I'm only 32, but I was a late bloomer. Wish I had started reading more books when I was younger. Also, spending more time listening to music and discovering new artists and genres. To me, books and music are a bit different from most other 'inputs' because they require more active participation to truly get the most out of them, and so the reward is often more proportional with the effort.

 

Also, I wish I spent less time on ephemeral info and more time on "settled science":

 

http://lesswrong.com/lw/ow/the_beauty_of_settled_science/

 

The principle explained here applies to a lot of things, IMO, not just scientific stuff. I wish I had learned it earlier.

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Working weekends/evenings.  What a waste of youth.

 

Indeed. Unless you're an entrepreneur, working 80-90 hrs a week because that's what the firm expects is a horrible idea. I'm of the mindset no one can really be productive working that many hours, and (particularly in banking) most of it ends up being wasted hours showing your face at the office because that's what is expected.

 

I'll support this.  Working 90 hours a week at an I-bank is one year I'd like to get back.  Thankfully I didn't work I-banking more than one year.  That said, I (personally, this doesn't go for everyone) am better off having been inside the beast so I could 'lift the veil' of Wall Street and see that the rainmakers, etc. inside the industry are just hard working people and not inherently smarter or better than anyone else.  Though, they are willing to work longer hours than most.

 

Same here but as a lawyer. I had the exact same veil lifting experience as BTShine.

 

I'd point something out though. Even with the things I regret, I usually ended up learning something useful from the experience.

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Although it goes somewhat against the grain of this website, I would say (I am 52) that I wish I had paid attention to asset allocation earlier and less attention to stock picking.

 

I had money at an early age because of some good deals I did in the 1980s and 1990s and being a good saver.  I picked decent small and micro cap stocks overall, probably beating the averages by a couple of points a year.

 

But I was waaaaay underallocated to stocks and overallocated to bonds so the result is my compounding is okay but nothing like what should have been achieved over the past twenty years.

 

Oh yeah, and never, ever, ever fight the Fed.

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First off the job well done: accumulating capital and marrying well.

 

Now to the regrets.

  • Not reading, absorbing Buffett earlier. The Intelligent Investorwas sitting in my Dad's study, with WEB's preface.
  • Selling my Intel stock and not buying Microsoft
  • Not fully comprehending the power law. (It is often better to be a low level employee at an Intel then, or Google ten years ago, rather than starting your own business. A clerk who never got a promotion at Intel, was laid off at Intel, yet she had two houses in Palo Alto and a Corvette.)

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I have always been a great saver.  You don't realize how important this is because everyone goes through good times and bad times and saving during the good times makes the bad times less bad.

 

I also traveled a lot before kids.  Have traveled in US with kids but now planning on traveling overseas again.

 

A regret is that when you are in your 20's, you can reach out to just about anyone and there is a good chance they will speak with you.  Speak with as many people as you can and learn from their experiences. 

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She's also the biggest factor in my first regret about debt.  ;D 

 

 

"she's so fine there's no tellin where the money went"

No, she really wasn't. Not even close.  ;D

 

She was the less attractive sister with possible emotional problems. Her fraternal twin was hot but............ think of all those typical blond jokes we told in the '90's and that was her sister.

Apparently one time when they were kids they drove past a farm where some sheep were feeding, her sister opened the window and said, "Moooooooo".

 

That story was confirmed by their parents................

 

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