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Investing for those under 40 or so?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by daveswoodhauler, Mar 3, 2009.

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  1. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Not trying to restrict the question to those over 40, so if over 40, please feel free to share advice/wisdom :)

    Just curious to see what folks are putting thier money in recently in light of the recession and returns being down appx 40-50% for the last 16 months or so.

    People putting more in less aggressive funds? bonds? Letting it ride an the same agressive funds? Just curious thats all.

    A part of me says to get more conservative (age 38), but then a part of me says stay the course and just keep the allocations as is.

    I would start one of those nifty polls, but not sure how to get that done.

    Let the debate begin.

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  2. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Stuff it in your mattress til things start turning around some, then invest. Cash is king right now.
  3. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Probably should have been more clear on my prior post...sorry about that.

    I am looking to see what folks are doing with 401K monies....IRA's, etc... (Basically, retirement funds)

    Agree with you Blah...cash is king right now.
  4. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    403 b money here. Let it ride.

    Stocks are cheap right now. My thinking is my mutual fund company can by more stocks for less money. Therefore, when the market comes back, I'll have more stocks. Obviously, some companies will tank and such . . . . but unless the American economy collapses completely, I should be ok. Also, changing my allocations ultimately costs money . . . I'm fairly diversified on the agressive side of moderate for my portfolio. I don't claim any expertise, this is just common sense to me. . . . I realize I may be missing something.

    I have 20-30 years for retirement.

    I'm also investing in DIY projects at my house.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I am right there with Vic and 32 YO, doing anything now would put you in the sell low/buy high crowd. If you wait until the market turns around then you have missed the opportunity to cash in on the recovery. The historic rapid growth will be a ride that you don't want to miss because you bought 50 lbs of gold to be "safe".
  6. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    With the market as low as it will ever be for the next 20 years. I am increasing my 401k to the most I can reasonable afford.
  7. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    I stopped putting more $ in 2-3 months ago as I felt there was no bottom in site. Nothing has been solved with a new administration and things are getting worse with no good news on the horizon. I'm holding out putting more in till there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That cash in my mattress wil do me more good than in the hands of a crooked CEO.
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    If you could buy gasoline at $.50 per gallon, you would buy all you can, right? Cuz you know that the price will be going back up, right? Now think of the market. Its pretty low, even for the blue chip stuff. Everyone is scared and keeping it close to the vest. Those stocks are now your 50 cent gasoline. Unless we have a total failure or crash, it will go up "eventually". I got the time to wait.

    If the whole thing does crash, only gold, food, fuel and guns are gonna be worth anything.

    NOTE: This is simply my opinion. This is not a recommendation in ANY way. I am NOT a professional investment dude and most likely should be ignored. :coolsmirk:
  9. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    Stay in the game. It's called dollar cost averaging. You buy more now and less when the price of the stocks are up. If you are not already maximizing your 401K contribution, then that is your first step. Once you do that, talk to someone from one of the houses (Schwab,Fidelity,etc) to look into next steps.
  10. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the posts....employer puts in an automatic 5% match regardless if I contribute...then guarantees another 50% of 6% (3%) and then bonus this year was another 50% of 6%. I put in 8% now (Max for me with one income and wife/3 kids) so I think I am doing the right thing....money is real tight now, but I refuse to go any lower than 8% of my salary as much as I would like to take the fam and kids out to eat every once in a while :)
  11. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    I'm still paying for past mistakes managing my money.

    I can't afford to invest anything until I get my debt taken care of. The cost of interest on the debt way outweighs the interest I would earn on any investments right now.

    At least I'm learning this lesson now, and not 25 years from now.

    -SF
  12. Crash11

    Crash11 Member

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    That's the biggest thing most people don't ever learn. I see lots of people who rack up a big mortgage then play in the stock market hoping to make more money than the interest is costing them. Right now my main goal is to pay off debt rather than try to increase income. Nothing annoys me more than paying interest. It's absolutely wasted money.
  13. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

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    I am 50. I have a not inconsequential amount of ROTH IRA money in mutual funds and basically want to throw up whenever I look at the statements. BUT... I still have time on my side so I've let it ride as the funds are pretty good. I also have a Simple Employee Pension at work and I've contributed between 20-23% of my gross to it for 7-8 yrs. now and have followed a more agressive strategy with those monies. Again, I'm sitting tight and working hard at not gnawing my fingernails.

    I've not contributed to the SEP since mid-October as I've had obligations with respect to settling my late mother's estate. At present, I'm socking cash away in short term ROTH IRA certificates of deposit at our local bank(s) and am contributing to a Health Savings Account to lower my taxable gross income. I'm still saving for retirement but have the cushion of accessible cash and the option of rolling the CDs over or investing in mutual funds when I've gotten over my present case of the jitters.

    The key is to keep saving. We have also trimmed our household expenses to the bone and are putting the "savings" toward payments to principle on a home equity loan. We are of thrifty natures and have always lived below our means so we plan to refinance that loan (at no cost to us) as interest rates have dropped since its inception. We will realize considerable savings by simply doing that, payments to principle will retire the loan years ahead of term. This is precisely the strategy we used to pay off the mortgage.

    The key is to keep the expenses low, and keep saving. These are the times that create wealth. Consider this adage carefully: "Money makes a wonderful slave, but a terrible master".
  14. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    I just turned 31 a couple months ago, so luckily I'm learning this lesson fairly early on.

    -SF
  15. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

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    I putting as much as I can into Deferred Comp right now and hoping the market will come back (which I'm sure it will). Also I'm purchasing all the Mel Gibson Mad Max movies to brush up on my survival skills in a lawless world if it doesn't.
  16. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    another great tip (but slightly off topic): Don't carry a balance on your credit card. If you cannot pay it off at the end of the month, don't buy the item(s). If you can, always play a little extra principle on your mortgage to help shorten the life of the mortgage and decrease the overall aomount of interest you pay the lender.
  17. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, that's the lesson i've learned the hard way! Ha!

    -SF
  18. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    no credit card balances are carried over from month to month...we only charge gas and pay it off each month, then use the reward points for xmass and stuff.
    Good tip....started doing this about 6 years ago when my wife stopped working, and have never carried a balance yet.

    Paying off the car this month, and an extra $250/month is going to the mtg....sounds like we are on the same page...thanks for the thoughts.
  19. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    at this point ride it out it is to late to get out i am thinking of up my 401k contribution.
  20. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

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    I am a protectionist by nature so consider that when evaluating my comments.

    I have never contributed more than my employers minimum amount (usually 1%) even though they match the money etc. Yes, I know, I've heard it from financial advisers, my employers, my friends and family; "you are making a big mistake!" I am only 37 and have disability insurance that will pay for my existence if I am injured (it may not be a glorious existence but I really do not need much other than food, very modest shelter). My reasons for doing so? I just have had an unusually eerie feeling about the stock market and our economy.
    Reason #1
    For at least 10 years I have been watching people live beyond their means. New cars, big houses, lunches out, cloths etc etc. I have notice that my generation WILL NOT pay back their debts and have NO INTENTION of doing so. It has become our norm, live for the day and if it gets touchy just declare "bankrupt". This generation has a complete aversion to ANY SUFFERING. At some point we will have to pay the piper (something I learned a long time ago). I also noticed as an early teenager (who was small, not popular, geeky, etc) that the race was not won or lost in high school. Think of the turtle and hare story. Long, consistent, calculated growth and development ALWAYS wins, maybe not in 10 years but over 50 years it always will. **Note this is the least of my reasons for initial statement**
    Reason #2
    The Stock market. I have parents who are in their late 60s early 70's. They, like all the other baby boomers have been investing in their 401ks, ira's etc for 30+ years. They represent the largest population as well as financial power in America. When they approach retirement (right now) they will start or have started transferring to more stable, guaranteed income investments like cd's, us bonds etc. They can not afford to risk a 50% reduction in a lifetime worth of savings. In addition to this you must factor in current market and mindsets of the the public investors and traders. Think about the hugh level of day trading and other short term investment strategies. Our generation does not want to think about investing in GE and P&G;, (i.e long term brick and mortar investments). We want 20X gains of yahoo and other internet stocks. We WANT the corporate ceo's to do WHATEVER it takes to make a stock go up. We all blame the corporate greed, but really that should be directed back on us. A secondary ill effect of day trading is that for every one buying low this morning and selling high this afternoon, someone else had to buy it when it was high and now its worth less. In other words, evertime you or I make money in the short run someone has to lose in the short run. Just like insurance, not everyone comes out ahead. In fact insurance is a calculated loss. If people stop investing for long term growth (baby boomers, day traders, YOUR mutual fund trader, etc) the market will never recover or grow.
    My plan.
    My wife and I are harmoneous when it comes to money. We make what I would call allot of money. Never-the-less, it is how we handled that money that got us to where we are today. We lived in a 900 sf condo with 2 dogs and 2 kids and no garage for 7 years even though we are both professionals. We did not buy new cars. We paid off debts. We never borrowed any consumer money. If we could not pay cash we went without until we could. We rapidly paid off student loans. We lived on a students budget for 5 years after graduation. Was it tough? Yes. Did we see others taking vacations, driving nice cars, eating out, etc etc etc? Yes. The major difference is that 7 years into our marrage both me and my wife only work 3 days a week and I started farming (my real passion) and we are enjoying our stable life inspite of the economic turmoil.

    I am not trying to sound preachy, but it works. If I am wrong, so what, I won't have as much money during retirement as everyone else. But I will have done what I love for the next 30 years vs working because I have to. If I'm right, then I will enjoy the fruit of my labor, that is until the government comes in and taxes me because I am "rich".
  21. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

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    I am fascinated by how people relate to their money, or NOT, as the case may be. Money management is FUN.

    I was raised by frugal, honest, hard-working parents. I've always paid myself first and taken care of bills after I contributed to my savings/investment account(s). I've paid my bills in a timely manner and I've never "bounced" a check. I do not pay interest or late fees on revolving credit accounts and never have. I have never had enough money to squander it so foolishly. Money is a fascinating hobby and one that is not terribly difficult to master with some effort and practice. I am one of those sickos who actually enjoys paying the bills and reconciling the accounts. If you look inside my wallet you will find the bills all faced and ordered in ascending order. I do not keep change in my wallet, I put it in a jar and save it, usually applying it to the principle of whatever note is outstanding. Sometimes I put it toward an item I wish to purchase.

    I am routinely shocked by the sloppy and cavalier way so many treat their money. I believe a healthy resect for money is another way of demonstrating respect for yourself. I am a blue collar worker, a very skilled tradesman and have never earned a tremendous amount of money but I have carved out a comfortable lifestyle for myself and lack for nothing. I do not "go to bed with gimmees and wake up with the wants". I learned early on to discern the difference between "want" and "need" and how to take care of each in a satisfactory manner. Learning how money works was the key to it all. Once you understand the fundamentals of compounding interest and self control you are nicely on your way to a very comfortable life.

    I have watched several of my high earning friends "crash and burn" in the past decade simply because they did not bother to apply themselves to master the fundamentals of basic money management. I was teased relentlessly for having a "room-mate" and driving a "junk" car. But my car is paid for, cheap to register and insure. When required maintenance reaches the tipping point I will simply purchase another used one. My home is paid for, too... it was paid for by someone else, and all the time they were paying for it and we were splitting the bills I was saving, investing, and putting money into home improvements.

    Perhaps the best decison I ever made was to marry a man who shared my views on money and was equally committed to diligently working toward a comfortable future. Working in concert with someone who has a similiar outlook has made it all easier and a good deal more fun. :)

    As for investing, invest in things you understand and/or use yourself. Understand risk and your willingness to assume it. Make sure you have invested in some "little old lady" things and always have some cash (Index Funds are great) and branch out from there. Naturally, I'm less than thrilled with the statements on the "riskier" things I've purchased, but I still have time on my side and other savings/investment vehicles that are more staid and more secure.

    My single greatest worry is healthcare. I do not delude myself, a catastrophic health calamity would wipe use out... we're certainly not alone in that!
  22. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Dang. How is it that you can make that statement with such apparent conviction? In my 30+ years of managing my own investments, I've heard of absolutely nobody who could accurately predict market tops or bottoms, regardless of what sort of investment tools they've tried using. Peter Lynch, Warren Buffet...you name it, they'll all tell you that you can't call it with any sort of confidence. Do you publish an investors' newsletter to which I could subscribe? If you've got some special insight, by all means...please share! Rick
  23. RowCropRenegade

    RowCropRenegade Feeling the Heat

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    I'm only 27 but I don't feel like that disqualifys me from this conversation.

    I have never believed in owning paper. Like someone said above, if the house of cards falls, paper means NOTHING! I told my girlfriend a couple years back NOT to get involved in 401k. I begged my Mom a few years back to pull hers out and pay the tax. Hard earned money invested by someone else who knows no more about markets than you. WTF is an investment banker, anyway? Asking a magic 8 ball will get you just as close. I really believe we are FAR FAR FAR away from hitting bottom. I predict the Dow will be below 3000 by next winter. This whole banking/government fiasco goes much deeper than they let on. I saw this coming years back and I'm a dumb farmer. My heart goes out to you people who worked their whole lives for retirement to be robbed of it. I play on the commodity futures occassionally but I like physical ownership.

    At 21 I bought a farm. Cost me 200,000. Made 100,000 in equity when I bought it. Financed it for 30 years. Didn't have a dime to my name at that time. If I cash rented it out right now, I could make my payment, pay the taxes and put a couple thousand in my pocket. I'm looking at buying a Garn or Econoburn right now. It will give a rate of return as well.

    So how bout you older guys send me 800,000. I know of 230 acres for sale. Sell off the house/barn/bin can lower that to 700,000.You use your 401k to buy it. I'll write you a check for 31,000 every year for cash rent. Return on Investment EVERY YEAR. Plus it's something you can pass down to your children to generate income. It does require a little management, but with a good tenant (me) we both can make money.

    Plus if inflationary times are coming land values increase, just like this past summer. Equity is power.

    If I was to buy stocks I'd pick companies that actually produce a physical product. Fertilzer, Oil, Chemical, Tires etc. Alot of people are saying buy gold right now. Paper gold isn't the same thing as buying physical gold. At least if the market crashes you do have something of true tradeable value.

    Just how I see it, no disrespect.
  24. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

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    How'd I make my moneys? I am/was a pharmacist. I worked 2 jobs threw pharmacy school and then went directly into a Ph. D program. Four years into my Ph.D I met my wife and decided to quit grad school and go back to being a pharmacist full time (I never actually worded full time as a pharmacist). My wife finished her schooling 2 years into our marriage and works at a dental office 3 days a week ever since graduation. We have always felt that having a family was more important than having money so she works 2 full days and 1/2 day (3 total) so that she can spend the majority of time with our kids. We make good money both working 3 days a week but as I outlined before, everyone wants to discredit our success by assuming we got here on the easy street. I also actually built my own house from scratch even though I had never built even a shed before that. It was a very hard 2.5 years before it was done, but I built nothing short of a mansion (in my opinion) for about 1/2 the appraised value. In that 2.5 years I increased my equity by approximately $200,000. Not bad. The last and final thing. I have forgot to explain, the #1 reason for my success has been my Lord and Savior. Yes, I know that I just threw a grenade in here, but I have felt incredibly blessed by Him in my life. I hope and wish for the same to all of you, truly.
  25. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Check out John Boogle's books on investing. He was the founder of Vanguard, but now is retired. Basically he pretty well proves that you cant beat the market in the long run and if you try, the odds are highly likely you will miss out on the best times to be in the market. He advocates that the best long term results are going to approximate the return of the overall market minus what you pay for management fees. So invest in index funds that approximate the total market and pay the lowest maintenance fees. Inevitably Vanguard funds are usually the lowest cost as they dont have any shareholders.

    IMHO, there is a whole lot of money sitting on the sidelines in little or no interest bearing accounts and when the economy stabilizes, that money is going to be going into the market as the stock market has the best potential for making money in the long term that at least beats inflation.

    Needless to say, its pretty darn painful these days to follow the advice!, but the alternative is to assume its the end of the financial world as we know it and then where you keep your money doesnt matter as the Mad Max scenario kicks in.
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