Author Topic: Experience sharing, first time you started investing  (Read 1152 times)

QyQ

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Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« on: August 30, 2019, 12:59:30 PM »
Im just wondering, how old were you when you first started investing?

And which strategy were you using? Stock picking, straight index investing, etc.

How has your strategy changed over the years?

RWD

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2019, 01:52:10 PM »
I guess I first got a 401k when I was 23 or 24. Didn't play around with it much at all though. I first started paying attention to investing when I was about 29 at which point I went straight for index funds.

NorCal

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2019, 02:00:43 PM »
I had done a little investing through mutual funds in my early 20's.

I'd say I really started at 27.  I was an intern at a Venture Fund, so I talked stocks (public and private) ALL DAY with some of the most brilliant minds in the business.

I was buying all types of crazy stocks.  I had telecom infrastructure stocks, small biotechs, and a chilean copper mine in my portfolio. 

This was 2007.  It did not end well.

Now I mostly stick with simple ETF's.  I don't find the standard S&P 500 or global funds to be diversified enough for me (worthy of a different thread), so I have a few funds weighted towards different sectors of the bond market, international market, etc.

bwall

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2019, 03:33:30 PM »
I bought my first stocks at age 13. Three shares of HSY at $35/each with dividends reinvesting. I sold them 30+ years later for $4000. My only regret is that I didn't buy 30 shares at the time. The power of compound interest is amazing.

I have some index funds, but I enjoy picking bio-tech stocks. I'm fortunate that my wife understands bio-tech where I don't and I understand the fundamentals of the stock market, companies, etc. where she doesn't. Together we've easily beaten the market in the past three years and look set to do it again this year as well.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2019, 02:12:29 PM »
I've had a 401(k) most of my working life, been contributing to a t-IRA since early on.  Both straight into "cash-like" or fixed income. Please don't scream at me, I was young :-)

12 years of that, then I took the IRA and dumped it into a Davis Funds "managed account" in March 2002.   Winners like AIG (which was true at the time).  Promptly lost 30%.  Didn't panic and just held.

Started an Harris (Etrade) account in 2004-5 and bought 10K of UL.  Still have it.

About 2007 my financial advisor was changing jobs so I took all the "managed account" money and dumped it into cash at Vanguard.   Waited until Sept 2008 to put it all into VTSMX (VTSAX now), as things were 20% down and that's what my Investment PLAN said to do.   Promptly lost another 30+%.  At the same time my 401(k) is worth less than the total contributions.  Dang, but too late for any action so I let it ride.

Now FIREd.


plog

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2019, 05:13:43 PM »
In 1995 at 20 went to my bank, talked to a personal banker and put 1500 into a front loaded growth mutual fund with annual 12b-1 fees of 1%. I came in knowing what "mutual fund" meant and left knowing what "growth" meant.  Those other words I had no clue about until 18 months later when my balance was $1350.

Best $150 spent in my life.   

Decided to learn what all those things meant and more.  Been 90% in S&P index funds ever since (rest is cash and  stock accumulated from past jobs).

bbqbonelesswing

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2019, 05:16:49 PM »
The first time I had enough money to invest was in college, when I landed a good job and was working crazy hours. The first stock I bought was GE, because an older guy I worked with said it was a good buy. After a few months of stagnant performance I sold that and started looking around for something else to buy. I happened to time the market well and got into a few pot stocks just as they first took off, I guess in 2012. I got out basically at the top and that gave me a bankroll to play with for a few more years, until I stopped trying to day trade and started investing in value and index funds.

maizeman

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2019, 06:06:39 PM »
I was in my mid-twenties, still in grad school, had accumulated some money and this woman I knew who I talked finances with sometimes talked me into putting some of it into a brokerage account rather than wasting away at 0.3% interest in my bank account.

I started out convinced I was going to be better at picking stocks than the average person, and anyway I was going to be a buy and hold investor, so what was the worst that could happen? ... as it turns out the worst I could do was, several years down the road, investing in a company called Seadrill between October and December of 2014.


(Note the share price looks crazy now, but this is after a 270:1 reverse split in 2018 and a second 10:1 reverse split in 2019.)

I think I ultimately sold out when my ~$7,500 position was reduced to a couple of dollars. At this point that entire investment would now be worth $0.59, a 99.992% decline. I consider myself extremely fortunately to have learned I'm not smarter than the market while I was still working with such small sums of money. I think the absolute worst thing that can happen to a young investor is to get extremely lucky in your first few stock picks.

Now I have my investing automated and it's an all around improvement.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 07:21:23 PM by maizeman »

Steeze

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2019, 07:07:44 PM »
18 - knew nothing. Stock picked some ethanol stocks and lost a couple grand. Threw the remaining $1000 into penny stocks and lost it all. Picked up again at 25 with stock picking, this time blue chip dividend stocks. Started day trading volatility at work - didnít lose money but wasnít giving my job 110% - started reading MMM and moved everything into index funds. Fast forward three years and Iím 32 and 100% automated.

Iíve worked full time sine I was 14... so many wasted years. Didnít start an IRA until 27. I thought stocks were similar to gambling.

PDXTabs

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2019, 07:16:55 PM »
I got my first 401k when I was 18. Didn't make much, and invested even less, but always enough to get my match.

BicycleB

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2019, 08:29:03 PM »
Mid-20s, first job with surplus money of over 10%, also first job with 401k. Company match 100% of first 6% of gross pay, I think; invested 12%. 1990s. This went for four years and over time grew several hundred percent despite the match being in company stock that plummeted near zero a few years later, and stayed there. So the investing, not the match, eventually produced the value.

JAYSLOL

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2019, 08:56:23 PM »
Early 20s, around 2005, worked a full time job and for some reason kept my old night shift job 4 nights a week, lived at home and saved a stupid amount in a couple years.  Then immediately burnt out (duh).  I put the stupid stockpile of cash into a GIC (a Canadian fixed rate investment) in 2007 which fortunately I didnít have in the stock market through the 2008/9 crash, but I did end up spending most of it traveling for a few years.  Then mid-20s in 2009, went back to work but took a lower paying seasonal job and didnít really start saving again until 2012.  Found MMM in late 2014, started saving a lot harder and in 2015 started putting everything in index funds.  Feels great, absolutely zero fear of the market, absolutely loved that dip we had last December and look forward to the crazy ride ahead on the path to FIRE. 

seattlecyclone

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2019, 10:23:39 PM »
I started investing around 2006 as a senior in college. I had some money saved up from summer internships and opened my first Roth IRA. I mostly picked individual stocks, focusing on companies where I actually used the products (two I remember were Apple and Chipotle, but there were probably more). That didn't turn out all that badly for me, but I don't pretend I knew something the rest of the market didn't. I mostly got a bit lucky.

I went on to do a master's degree after that, and the bottom fell out of the market during my final year in school. During that time I tried out some dividend investing, picking some "dividend aristocrats" that had increased their dividends for many years in a row. Of course, several of them chose that year to decrease their dividends. Lesson learned.

Since then I've been mostly all in on index investing. Much easier to match the market performance than beat it. Just FIREd last month, so I must have done a few things right. :-)

crammarc

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2019, 08:14:37 AM »
My first exposure to investing was when I was about 10 years old.  I had saved every dime that I ever got at birthdays/holidays from relatives, any money from pulling weeds for neighbors, and any change that I found on the ground. I had a penchant for numbers/math/compound interest and I would pour over my monthly bank statements excited about the $1-2 I had received in interest.  My dad had watched me calculate by hand how long it would take me to get 1 million dollars and then how much interest I would get per day then. 

One evening my dad sat me down and explained to me how money could be used to buy tiny parts of companies and then receive commensurate percentages of their profits through dividends which could be thought of in a similar way to the interest from the bank.  My dad presented me with two options, if I was interested: I could buy 10 shares of Pepsi at $36 per share or 20 shares of Wendy's at $18.  He might have even given me some Value Line pages for each company to read about the projections, I don't remember the details exactly except that he made me take my time and had me wait until at least the next day to decide.

After, careful consideration the next day I said that I was interested in buying the 20 shares of Wendy's.  My dad then called the brokerage firm he used and got the shares for me that day. From then on I was the proud owner of 20 shares of Wendy's acquired at $17 7/8 (they didn't like to use decimals back then lol). Looking back I think my dad must have covered the brokerage fees because they would have been $50 or so.  From that day on I have always had at least few stocks in my portfolio.  I would check the stock prices every day in the paper for many years.  Eventually, I ended up selling the Wendy's stock after many years at $50+ per share to help pay for college. 

The most valuable part of this was the experiences.  It helped open my mind from an early age that money could be used as a tool and deployed in a variety of ways instead of just paycheck in, bills/expenses out.  Also, over time I got to live through and experience the highs and lows of the stock market since I had a skin in the game.  There was joy watching the markets hit record high after record high seemingly without end in the late 90s and there was an intense feeling of loss when the internet bubble burst and money that you thought had vanished (I can still remember that bottomless feeling in my gut).  I was blessed to have this exposure for many years which galvanized my investing habits before I ever started collecting an adult paycheck. After the 2009 crash even though I had a couple investments drop to $0 I never considered pulling out of investing in stock/index funds.  I am forever grateful to my dad for starting me on this track, he saw my affinity for numbers and compound interest and took a chance showing me how investing can work.

maizeman

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2019, 09:45:17 AM »
My first exposure to investing was when I was about 10 years old.  I had saved every dime that I ever got at birthdays/holidays from relatives, any money from pulling weeds for neighbors, and any change that I found on the ground. I had a penchant for numbers/math/compound interest and I would pour over my monthly bank statements excited about the $1-2 I had received in interest.  My dad had watched me calculate by hand how long it would take me to get 1 million dollars and then how much interest I would get per day then. 

I have similar memories of opening my first bank account and getting fascinated with the math of interest from when I was about the same age. I also remember before we went in to open the account that my mother explained interest and that it was usually between 5-15%. This was the mid 90s so that was a bit optimistic even then but her frame of reference was shaped by the 70s and 80s.

I wonder if kids who grew up in the last decade have had similar experiences or if receiving less than 1% interest in the first savings account makes a big difference in their early views about the value (or not) of saving and later investing.


BicycleB

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2019, 09:50:09 AM »
@crammarc, great story!

Steeze

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2019, 03:23:35 PM »
My first exposure to investing was when I was about 10 years old.  I had saved every dime that I ever got at birthdays/holidays from relatives, any money from pulling weeds for neighbors, and any change that I found on the ground. I had a penchant for numbers/math/compound interest and I would pour over my monthly bank statements excited about the $1-2 I had received in interest.  My dad had watched me calculate by hand how long it would take me to get 1 million dollars and then how much interest I would get per day then. 

I have similar memories of opening my first bank account and getting fascinated with the math of interest from when I was about the same age. I also remember before we went in to open the account that my mother explained interest and that it was usually between 5-15%. This was the mid 90s so that was a bit optimistic even then but her frame of reference was shaped by the 70s and 80s.

I wonder if kids who grew up in the last decade have had similar experiences or if receiving less than 1% interest in the first savings account makes a big difference in their early views about the value (or not) of saving and later investing.

Yeah - the .01% interest my savings account paid as a child didnít wow me.

mies

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Re: Experience sharing, first time you started investing
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2019, 05:15:46 AM »
I made my first investment attempt back in July of 2008 when I was 26. It didnít go well. I put $3000 in CGMFX and it promptly took a giant shit. I think I paid $60 per share and 11 years later, itís still only trading at about $33 per share. Itís a growth fund, so no dividends are paid. I cashed out back in 2015 when it was trading at $43ish per share. It never experienced the rebound the rest of the market did. I was at least able to do some tax loss harvesting.

I was scared away from investing by that experience and didnít dip my toes back in the water until 2014 when I finally enrolled in my companyís 401k. They just put me in a target date fund. By 2015, I had gotten more serious about my finances. I was getting out of debt and wanted my money to work harder. Thatís when I came across MMM. I wasnít even concerned about early retirement at that point. His articles about index investing opened my eyes. I switched my 401k fund to the S&P 500 fund the plan offered which, loí and behold, was the cheapest one my plan had. Since I sat on the sideline with my money for so many years, Iíve been more aggressive with my investments and have everything that isnít cash in S&P 500 funds. Itís been a roller coaster ride the last couple of years. It turns out I have the stomach to watch my balance values go all over the map, so Iím just going to keep at it with stocks.

When I get closer to actually retiring, Iíll Look into adding bond funds. I need growth right now to make up for financially sleepwalking through my 20ís and early 30ís.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 05:20:41 AM by mies »