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EdLaFave

A huge personal milestone!

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My portfolio exceeded a million dollars for the first time today! Combine that with the equity I have in my house and I should be able to rely on a 3% withdrawal rate to safely live out the rest of my days without having to earn another dollar or be directly dependent on anybody else.

Thirteen years ago when this all began, I imagined I'd be joyful and celebratory, but I'm far more ambivalent. I'm just really tired; the grind has absolutely taken its toll. It has cost me relationships and in many ways it has done its very best to disconnect me from the things that make me human.

On the happier side, I recognize how lucky I am to have the opportunities I have in front of me. I suppose I'll spend the rest of the night reflecting on just how awesome that is. I almost can't believe this is real.

...I'll largely keep this story to myself, but posting it on the internet is a really nice release.

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Congratulations Ed . Amazing accomplishment at your age.  I'm not surprised.  You are smart, ambitious, and you understood the secrets to successful investing right from the start. Not too many like you.

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Yeah! Congratulations. I reached that milestone at the ripe young age of 53 but lost most of it during the tech wreck. But California real estate and a reformed fully diversified portfolio with reasonable returns are what brought my late hubby and I back to millionaire status less than 6 years later. We were ready for 2008, and it's been great ever since. 

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Thanks everybody. This market has been insane! Now that I hit this milestone, I think I'll go back to not peeking for the next year or so...I don't even want to know how many times I'll have to recross this threshold.

On 12/18/2019 at 7:06 PM, tony said:

you understood the secrets to successful investing right from the start

Not so fast my friend! I got taken to the cleaners by Schwab, Merrill Lynch, and then individually selected actively managed funds. I touched the proverbial stove three times before I did my own research. I hope others learn from that lesson.

On 12/18/2019 at 8:05 PM, sschullo said:

I reached that milestone at the ripe young age of 53 but lost most of it during the tech wreck.

I can just imagine that pain. Absolutely brutal.

On 12/19/2019 at 12:48 AM, krow36 said:

Your timing has worked out.

No kidding. I got into the housing market at the bottom of the crash. My entire investing career has been one giant bull market. I managed to graduate with degree that is highly valuable nowadays and wasn't affected by the financial crisis. Lots of luck went into this and as always, I'm mentally bracing for the inevitable crash.

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The euphoria of reaching a million can very easily be defused when the market crashes. It happened to me. I don't exactly know how much I lost during two downturns but it was at very least 50%. I never understood Steve S's fascination with bonds at the time and didn't own any. My first crash featured me heavily invested in Janus funds which were riding the technology wave. They ended up being a deceptive company. I thought I was diversified but the fact was all their funds were all heavily invested in the same high flying funds. SO DISHONEST!!  Talk about being stupid and being taken to the cleaners. My 403b was almost as bad in that even though I got out  of Janus funds at a loss, I also fell for an Amerphrise advisor who sold my conservative funds and put me in more super aggressive funds. All the while I was also contributing to an annuity inside of my 403b. I let him mess with both my 403b money and taxable money. The results were horrible.Today, I own more bonds and plan on adding even more at the first of the year. I also have better investments, all with Vanguard.While no-one can predict the future, I get the feeling that this expansion has gone on too long and anyone who understands economics and business cycles knows that what goes up will eventually go down. I think it's coming. Its inevitable. Be prepared. A million dollars is a heck of a lot of money to mess around with. Preservation of capital is very important.Lobbying for better 403b and 457b choices is also part of the formula to better returns over time. Advisors have been more of a hindrance than a help.

The good news  is when the markets crashed, I regained those losses but it took time. The current market expansion's  length seems too good to be true. So many younger investors have yet to experience a down market. They have been riding an incredible rising wave. It is going come down because it really is too good to be true. Be prepared. Ed,  as I would hate to see you  emotionally upset if you should lose 50% of your investment and end up with half of your current portfolio. Granted you are young but still I would encourage you to make sure you have plenty of bonds  and cash so you can preserve your hard earned money.

Incidentally my son doubled his income with a new job and I helped him set up his 401k. His new company has fantastic choices mixed in with the typical high cost suspects. We went 50% Fidelity 500 Index,   25% Vanguard Mid Cap  index and 25% Vanguard Small Cap Value Index. He is only 24 so I though It was O.K for him to be this aggressive for now. His costs are very low. I think I finally wore off on him a little bit because he came to me for advice and followed it. His plan had no low cost international fund  option for some reason so we just skipped it for now.

Of course I suspect  from the sounds of his post ,Ed has this already all figured out and doesn't need me to lecture him.

 

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On 12/20/2019 at 8:16 PM, tony said:

The euphoria of reaching a million can very easily be defused when the market crashes.

Why yes it can. I’ve been mentally preparing for a crash for a long time now, but we just keep going up and up! When it inevitably hits, I will pay the price for sure.

On 12/20/2019 at 8:16 PM, tony said:

Be prepared. Ed,  as I would hate to see you  emotionally upset if you should lose 50% of your investment and end up with half of your current portfolio

I’m prepared in the sense that I’m counting on losing 50% of my portfolio multiple times before I die. It will be upsetting and if it happens soon then I will continue to work through the recovery.

However the pain is all part of the long term plan and expectation that over 20+ years stocks will have higher returns. One thing I will never do is change course due to market conditions, but maybe we can commiserate when the pain hits!

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